Flash Fiction Fever
I’m pleased to announce the winners of my first short story competition. A huge thank you to everyone who entered. After weeks of deliberating, the judge has decided upon her winners. She had this to say:
“I was amazed by the very high standard of entries. The writers made my job very difficult. I expected there to be three which stood out straight away, but a number of stories were beautifully written and gripped me. Credit goes to every entrant.
“Sadly a few very good stories had to be rejected because of mistakes. My advice is to always read your story through; everyone makes mistakes.
“After several readings I arrived at my final three, but I feel a few of the stories deserve a special mention. Congratulations to you all. It’s been a joy to read all the entries and to judge writing of this calibre.”
So, the waiting is over…here are the winners and highly commended stories:
1st prize: Jocelyn Barker – The Trip
2nd prize: Christine Steenfeldt – Dark Side of the Moon
3rd prize: Kanika Hope – Overheard
Susan McCall – On the Edge
Lesley Mace – Locked Out
Andrew Newall – Sorry I’m Late
Geoff Le Pard – Love
Janet Williams – New Life
Now read the winning entries:
“Couldn’t tell me Mum the truth, could I? She’d ‘ave gawn ballistic! You know what she’s like, always on me case …”
Bazza was talking to his mates, Ronnie and Tom, supping lager at a beach bar in Ibiza.
“What d’you tell her, then?” said Ronnie.
“Said I’d got work abroad, putting in a swimming pool for some rich geezer. Liked that, she did. She’s always on about me getting work. Like I haven’t tried …”
“She doesn’t know you’re on holiday, then?” said Tom.
” ‘Course not. She even let me off rent to pay for me plane ticket. Didn’t tell her me Dad gave me a few quid, neither.” Bazza laughed at his own cheek and his mother’s gullibility.
Frowning, Ronnie asked:
“What you gonna say when you get back?”
“Job fell through. She won’t know no different.”
The lads were pondering Bazza’s genius when the sound of a toilet flushing announced the arrival of a text on his smartphone. He read it.
“Bloody hell! Stupid cow’s only gone and put her bloody foot in it!”
“Who?” asked Tom.
“Me mother. Says some bloke rang two days ago because a job had come up in the Garden Centre where I tried to get work last summer. Had me home number on their records.”
“That’s bloody brilliant news!” said Ronnie.
“No it ain’t! She told him I was fixed up working abroad.”
Ronnie and Tom said nothing.
“Stupid,” murmured Bazza, shaking his head and gazing into his empty glass.
Dark Side of the Moon
If the moon hadn’t been full that night, Jim wouldn’t have taken the short cut from the pub along the river and through the ginnel. And if Jim hadn’t done that he wouldn’t have seen a man sneaking into the alleyway from the back gate of his house and none of what followed would have happened.
He stood in the kitchen listening to the sounds of Angie in the bathroom. Washing off the scent of a man?
“Only me. Fancy a cuppa?” he called.
“Ooh, ta, that’d be lovely.”
He waited a few moments and then went upstairs, empty handed. Angie turned her head from where she lay in the bath, the water lapping at her breasts.
“Where’s the tea?” she asked, smiling.
Killing her was remarkably easy. She fought but catching her unawares gave him the upper hand as he pushed her under the water.
Later, after he’d mopped up, he went downstairs. He wanted her mobile, wanted to find out who the bastard was. He went into the lounge. Her handbag was lying open on the coffee table, its contents strewn. Had it been upended in the heat of their passion? He rummaged through it, opening zips, looking in pockets but there was no phone. He picked up the purse. It was empty. No cards, no cash. He let it drop to the floor where it lay bathed in the glow from the moon shining through the window. And he stood there, until light dawned.
“When you arrive, I will leave your Daddy. He’s always going to the King’s Head where he drinks too much and gets into a frightful temper. Last time he went there he smashed my face with his belt and kicked me in the stomach. He was so angry he might even have killed you, my pet. No, I won’t take this anymore. I’ll start work at the hair salon again – Martha will have me back. Now you promise me you’ll eat well and get a lot bigger, my little survivor. We’ll both be fine then, won’t we?”
I was curled up with my book in a secluded arbour in the park. The mother’s soft, crooning voice came from behind the rhododendron bushes. It was a one-sided conversation; she was presumably on the phone to the child, a child too young, perhaps, to grasp the meaning of her terrible words.
I resented this intrusion on my peaceful Saturday morning; I had overheard without meaning to, and had ended up with a nagging sense of responsibility.
There was a panting sound, like someone lifting something heavy. I peered over the bushes and saw her getting up from her bench. She was much younger than I’d thought, with curly brown hair forming a halo around her angelic face. Sure enough, an ugly red weal ran across her left cheek. Her slim, child-like body was disfigured by the most enormous belly. There was no phone – she’d been talking to her unborn baby all along.