When It’s Okay To Come Second!

We all like to win but you can’t win them all, as they say.  I didn’t win first prize this time, but I was chuffed to be awarded the runner-up slot, in a flash fiction competition, with my short story, ‘Dead’. This one was something of an experiment for me. I like trying out different styles and genres. For those of you who’ve read my book of short stories, you’ll find this one somewhat different.


I didn’t think looking down upon oneself when dead would be quite like this. In fact, I didn’t believe in all that. Once you’re dead, you’re dead; aren’t you?

I look at my face, so pale and my eyes, insignificant and lost amongst the dense drama of lashes. The slash across my mouth; Blood Red, the lipstick’s called. God, what a state. How did I let it come to this?

Then I see him. He’s standing on the spot, right by the bed, his hands clasped together, the knuckles bone white. His head tips back and a growl escapes, gaining momentum with each grunt. His fingers escape their prison and grab at his hair. In moments he’s spent and slips to the floor.

Drip, drip, drip. The sound demands my attention. I find the source. I liked that top. Mum was with me when I tried it on.

“Green’s your colour. Go on, I’ll treat you,” she’d said, giving my arm a squeeze.

That stain will never come out. I watch the trail of blood, snaking its way from the cotton, over the sheets, spattering the wooden floor.

“Where did you get that bruise from?” I can still hear the catch in Mum’s voice. “He’ll really hurt you one day.” I ignored the tears. Told her she didn’t know what she was talking about.

A flash of silver on the bed. Smoked Scottish salmon fillets, tender belly pork – the knife has seen it all. And to think I moaned that it was getting a little blunt.

A flicker of movement. A finger. Mine. Now two. My hands wrap round the knife. I can’t see myself anymore but I don’t need to. I’m not done yet. But you are, you bastard. I’m coming for you.


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28 Responses to When It’s Okay To Come Second!

  1. JasonMoody77 says:

    I really like this!

  2. TanGental says:

    Really good and well deserved.

  3. Naomi Harvey says:

    Oooh! I love the story! Congrats for a well deserved runner up place.

  4. Julie Lees says:

    Great imagery! Loved your story.

  5. Ula says:

    Powerful. Scary. Congratulations on getting runner-up. Well deserved I say.

  6. Different, but no less enjoyable.

  7. Congrats, Esther. Second Place is wonderful!

  8. Sacha Black says:

    F***ING brilliant! LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED the ending!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO MUCH. I literally lit up when I read it. 😀 😀 😀 😀 more please

  9. Kate Loveton says:

    Great job, Esther. The story had me from beginning to end. There was a sad bit of irony re the past complaint about the bluntness of the knife. Not quite dead, not yet… something left for her to do first.

    Well done.

  10. I can really feel the violence in this piece Esther, it’s very creepy.

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