Martha Takes Her First Drive in Frank’s Car

Alison Wassell

Five miles from home, Frank’s car loses the will to live. Unused to driving, Martha blames herself, then concludes that the car is grieving.

‘I miss him too,’ she tells it, stroking the steering wheel.

There is a ninety minute wait for recovery. To pass the time Martha tidies the glove compartment. It is the small things that break her; the half-eaten Mars bar, the screwed up receipts for the burgers and fries he swore he had given up.

Martha rests her head on the steering wheel and prepares to wait. Recovery, she thinks, may take longer than ninety minutes.

This story won the People’s Prize vote in the April 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction competition.

About the author: Alison Wassell is a writer of short stories and flash fiction, published in The People’s Friend and various other places, including NFFD, FlashFlood Journal, Retreat West and Bath Flash Fiction.

Searching for a Blazer on the School’s Donated Clothing Rail

Joanne Clague

The hooks of wire hangers click and scrape along the metal bar. They are question marks rising from the collars of second-hand sweaters and blazers. Is it here? Is this the one?

The corridor is deserted, halfway between bells. Closed doors deaden the sounds of laughter, a shout, singing.

She’d donated his blazer without a care when his wrists shot away from the cuffs like shoots springing out of the ground. Pulled out. She gathers the black material in her hands and kisses the washing label where he had carefully inked his name.

A relic of a life lost, recovered.

This story won Second Prize win the April 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction competition.

About the author: Joanne is a writer of mid-nineteenth century historical fiction, represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She loves writing and reading flash fiction ahas recently been longlisted by Retreat West and Reflex Fiction.

Pieces of Our Boy

Kay Rae Chomic

We, five sisters, cut our dead brother’s clothes into six-inch squares for a memory quilt. From Woolworth’s, we stole an extra pair of pinking shears, and four thimbles.

The denim from his jeans made us smile, one pocket’s contents—a four-leaf clover—made us cry.

His flannel jammies smoothed our edges as we cut them into flower shapes.

The stripes and plaids from his shirts we used as borders.

The corduroy, we scratched with our fingernails, and remembered him biting his own and ours.

We laid the quilt on his bed taking intermittent comfort underneath his short life.

This story was the First Prize winner in the April 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

About the author: Kay Rae Chomic is a novelist (A Tight Grip), and writer of flash: Ellipsis Zine, Every Day Fiction, Hundred Heroines, Retreat West (shortlisted), LISP (semi-finalist), The Dribble Drabble Review, Storgy Magazine, Crack the Spine, Five:2:One, 50-Word Stories, Writer Advice, Two Sisters Writing, Hysteria 6, The First Line. Kay lives in Seattle dodging raindrops.

After the Funeral

Sally Doherty

I push open the door, circumvent a mound of unopened post. In the front room, dust now lines the sideboard, smothers the china figurines she’s arranged into perfect families. A hollow indents Mum’s armchair. I can see her sitting, straight-backed, pearls, cashmere cardigan. I should have visited.

The garden has succumbed to a tangle of weeds. Dandelions vie for space with their siblings. Ivy creeps into crevices, suffocating patches of forget-me-nots below. The roses flourish strong and tall. Mum’s pride and joy. I stroke a crimson petal, and a thorn pierces deep into my flesh. I remember why I never visited.

This story won First Prize in the March 2021 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Sally Doherty lives in leafy Surrey with her husband and three-legged Labrador. She dabbles in flash fiction with pieces published by Reflex Fiction, Spelk Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and Funny Pearls, and she has won Retreat West’s micro fiction competition three times. She is also the judge for WriteMentor’s quarterly flash competition. Primarily, Sally writes middle grade novels. You can find her on Twitter @Sally_writes, Facebook and on her blog

The Significance of Horses in the Dreams of Young Girls

Rosie Garland

While Sister Mary Bernadette is teaching biology, your classmates doodle horses in their notebooks. At lunchtime, they describe the scent of straw that fills their dreams, the warm snuffle of horse-breath at their throats. All night they ride trit-trot round walled gardens; spend hour after hour combing manes until they shine like silk.

You have nightmares torn around the edges. You lie, tell them you dream of horses too. You know how to be convincing. If you dreamed of a horse you would swing your leg over its back, jab your heel into its flank and gallop far, far away.

This story won Second Prize in the March 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

About the author: Writer and singer with post-punk band The March Violets, Rosie’s award-winning work has been published internationally. New poetry collection ‘What Girls do the Dark’ (Nine Arches Press) is out now. In 2019, Val McDermid named her one of the UK’s most compelling LGBT+ writers.


Alison Wassell

When he goes, she lets her hair grow out of the bob he favoured. She leaves off her bra, and wears the same t-shirt three days in a row. It is the one with the slogan that offended him. This pleases her.

Mould grows in half empty coffee mugs and the washing machine is switched on only when she runs out of underwear.

The cat reclaims her position on the bed and the two of them sleep curled together long into the morning.

In a month she is as he found her, but stronger in the places he assumed broken.

This story won the People’s Prize in the March 2021 Micro Fiction Competition.

About the author: Alison Wassell is a short story and flash fiction writer, published by Reflex Fiction, NFFD, Flashflood Journal, Bath Flash Fiction and elsewhere.