She is Everywhere and Nowhere

Kimberley Shiel

Anna wasn’t my real mom, but she stayed the longest. 

After she left, I relived every fantastical bedtime story she told me, from feeding a baby kangaroo in Australia, to dancing the samba in Rio de Janeiro. 

Dad called her a lying tramp. 

Sometimes, I believe that I chose to travel the globe with my camera because I’m chasing a ghost. 

I met Johnny and his daughter while photographing the CN Tower. 

They want me to stay. 

The empty spot in their toothbrush holder competes with the safety of my toiletry bag. I pray I will make the right decision.


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

About the author: Kimberley Shiel lives in Winnipeg, Canada with her husband and their mischievous cat, Maui. By day, she is a professional accountant. By night, she is an amateur writer who appreciates micro fiction and flash fiction. Although now a city girl, Kimberley grew up on a farm. Before becoming an accountant, she studied Psychology. She also enjoys gardening and painting.

The Shadows Cast by Silent Stacks

Charles Prelle

A man in a well-worn suit faces the crowd. He’s well over six feet tall, a barrel stuffed into a perfectly pressed white shirt. A banner reading ‘One factory. One family’ trembles above him in a stiff Midwestern breeze. He raises a megaphone to his lips. From there his words become distant, fragmented. 

…closing down

factory……

profit…

shareholders…

…cutting costs

unsettling time…

apologies.

A tattered American flag flutters overhead. Grey and pink stripes. Fifty grey stars. A few miles away my daughter plays in piles of orange leaves. My wife watches distractedly as clouds spill across the horizon like oil.


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

About the author: Charles Prelle is a London based writer and playwright. His short fiction has been published in The Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, Idle Ink, Storgy and Reflex Press among others. Charles’s writing has been longlisted in Flash 500, Glittery Literary and Reflex Fiction and is included in the Reflex Press ‘Beguiled by a Wild Thing’ anthology. Find him on Twitter @CharlesPrelle or on his website https://cprellewriter.wordpress.com/

What the Small Ones Know

Marie Little

Day weaves through trees, wind calls in circles like an incantation. I see you: your Hunter wellies, your waxed jacket, your flask of warm pretence. You trail your shampooed dog through centuries of forest. You never see me.

Today you have a child in tow, pink and glossy as a cake. The dog pulls as you close on me, sniffs like a truffle-pig, scrats at bark. I hold my breath. I watch as the earth tells the dog, who tells the child, who picks up the talisman, presses its feather to her face, then slips it silently into her pocket.


This story won 1st Prize in the October 2021 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Marie lives near fields and writes in the shed. She has short fiction featured or forthcoming in: The Birdseed, Catatonic Daughters, The Cabinet of Heed, Re-Side, Sledgehammer, Gastropoda, Free Flash Fiction and more.

Five Gods I Worship in a Tiny Shrine Hidden Right at the Top of My Secret Garden

Jan Kaneen

  • The plastic gnome we stole in Scarborough that first sugar-spun summer of seashells and starfish.
  • The emerald bead you found in the tide-line and threaded with ribbon and slipped round my wrist.
  • That button-eyed squirrel, spotted in Oxfam, brought back home because no-one would love it.
  • The driver’s side wingmirror from my company Kia, still scrawled with the word HELP in black felt-tip caps, because it was the only place I’d see what you’d been trying to tell me.
  • The ghost-white feather floating onto my coat sleeve the day your wife laid you to rest, and I lied my goodbyes.

This story won 2nd Prize and was a joint winner of the People’s Prize vote in the October 2021 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Jan Kaneen writes because it helps keep her something like sane. She’s been published all over the shop on line and in print and her memoir-in-flash The Naming of Bones is published by Retreat West and available at: https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/the-naming-of-bones/

Snog, Marry, Curse

Joanne Key

“Too much blusher” the third husband says. He spits on a tissue and scrubs my cheeks. I burn the tissue with a pinch of salt. Steal a drop of blood while he sleeps.

Write his name on a broken mirror. Draw a tree around it with green eyeliner. Bury everything in the woods.

In the morning, he’ll wake up stiff, towering over everything, wondering why he can’t move or call for help. His voice is no more than a rustle.

I promise to visit soon.

Smile as number four carves a heart into him, my new name at the centre.


This story was a joint winner of the People’a Prize vote in the October 2021 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Joanne Key lives in Cheshire. She writes poetry and short fiction.

The Winter of Relationship

Dettra Rose

A harsh white blanket spread across the sky and every grassy blade.

Penny’s fingers numbed sticking posters to lampposts.

Missing Cat. Freddy.

Later, her husband, Rob, said, ‘I never wanted that cat,’ and dumped Freddy’s dish in the bin. Penny fished it out.

A dead rat was on the doormat in the morning. Penny whispered, ‘Freddy?’ and hid a saucer of milk behind her bike. Rob turned the engine of his car, drove off in a snowstorm. Penny buckled in the silence. No goodbye, kiss or smile.

Three days later, Rob still wasn’t home. Penny didn’t put up any posters.