Photo Flash Challenge #4: Finalists Announced

Photo Flash Challenge #4: Finalists


Update: Winner announced!

With Christmas fast approaching, thanks and well done, to everyone who managed to submit an entry or vote! Congratulations to the overall winner, Jan Brown, with her story, Press Send. You’ll receive a £25 gift voucher and one free entry into a Quarterly Themed Flash Competition.

Names and bios of all five finalists have been added below.

Happy Christmas and good luck with all your writing goals next year!

A). The Pin-up Girl by Caleb Eriksson

The phone buzzed before eight. It was my manager, Charlene. Her tone saturated in desperation. One of her trusted girls had dropped out of a job. She explained these guys were regulars and I’d have to do a ‘girlfriend experience’.

My face slacked, limbs groaned, and eyes dropped closed against the morning sun. I was still recovering from a late night with some clients and was deciding whether I had it in me to gaze a strange man with the fervent, timid, curiosity that would sell a first date girlfriend. Then rethought, this profession pays for men to sap the glow of youth from your bones, and offers no retirement package.

I met my boyfriend for the afternoon on the corner of Second Boulevard. He took my hand, gently caressed his thumb down the ridges of my knuckles. There was a warm clamminess between us as we wandered away from traffic and into the park, passing mummy strollers and retired readers.

I peeked glances at the man, something that I wouldn’t usually do. It was a job, best not to remember people. He was handsome, a chiselled nose and strong jaw, a head of thick brown hair but it was something beyond that. His eyes glowed with a humbleness I hadn’t felt since I left home.

Detouring to a waiting cart. He returned a minute later with two cones in hand. I played my part: doe-eyed, dolly faced, fluttering mistletoe eyelashes and sensuously licking the cream.

There was a succession of clicking. Dave exclaimed, “That’s a wrap.” Rolling his finger in the air. “Nice shoot, Mia, your cheque will be left with Charlene.”

Turning back to Second Boulevard, back to the blustery of traffic, my hands cooled where he had touched and I left love where it should be- photographed.


Author Bio: Caleb is a writer and training librarian from Australia.


B). In Future, Strawberry, Please by Isabel Flynn

Our love was fresh, sweet, vanilla flavoured.
At first, we were tentative, with gentle nibbles around the edges.
We licked our tongues. Each other’s.
Quickening excitedly, we moved from just sampling what we enjoyed to experiencing deep and rich sensations.
With our tastebuds tantalised, the thrill spread through our bodies and we quickly became addicted.
Our eyes could see nothing else but the beauty and joy we shared. We wanted it to last forever.
Holding on tightly, we devoured with lust when savouring should have kept us sated.
Our equilibrium was unbalanced; how could homeostasis ever be regained?
The first drop fell on deaf ears, the second dripped harder but was brushed away.
For a while we could ignore the disappearing softness, focusing on the strong exterior.
But we had become careless, distracted and messy. Our lives would be left with stains.
The blissful experience had transformed to become a picture in our minds.
Discomfort now brought drastic consequences
It was time to wash our hands and move on.


Author Bio: Isabel is new to writing and loving it to the point of seeing an easy addiction taking over.


C). To every other question by Eilise Norris

Park near Beckley Insurance just before 1 pm. Shutter down. Hold the music until the signal.

Over the phone, the young man’s heart had been a bouncing ball that his throat kept catching. Fidgety yeahs and thank yous punctuated by more questions and double-checking. Could you wait any longer, just in case? What about sherbet, do you have sherbet? Can you play any song on the sound system?

I wanted to tell him nothing needs to be so perfect. People say yes in thousands of ways that aren’t planned or recorded.

When the woods were bleary with rain, my love moved both our car seats back, draped the picnic blanket over us and said, “How about it, Lou?” I laughed until my mouth was busy. He brought home his late mother’s sun-bleached curtains for our front room, which I cleaned with white vinegar and kept a little open always. We wanted a business; something so that he could be home earlier and we could plan for the future. He suggested an ice cream van.

My phone rings. Time to raise the shutter and start the music of choice: Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Romance and nostalgia aren’t so different, are they? The freezer rumbles through my feet up to my stomach as I stand ready at the window. Workers heading back from lunch look up from their phones, hopefully. I shake my head: private hire, sorry. And there she is, pointing out the van with her free hand; the other hand swings in his. He’s leading her away from the ocean-glass office, towards me. Her smile is full hammock. She hasn’t realised this is for her yet, and she’s going to say yes. My love, she’s sure as sure can be.


Author Bio: Eilise Norris writes flash fiction, poetry and short stories from above a pub in Oxfordshire, UK. She is on Twitter.


D). Press Send by Jan Brown

Not all holiday romances are doomed. That picture of Ben and me is proof positive. I don’t want to brag but I think it’s kind of perfect. Ideal height ratios. See how even our clothes complement each other? Totally absorbed in each other, oblivious to everything else. You look at it and see the epitome of love. Simple as that.

That’s how it is. We met. We clicked instantly. We knew we belonged together. It’s not just physical; we even complete each other’s sentences.

We didn’t know there was a picture. Some old woman came up to us later in the hotel bar.

Apologised. Said she couldn’t resist at the time and was so glad she hadn’t because it was a beautiful photograph and would we like a copy? Well yes, obviously. We used it as our wallpaper for months.

Well, I say we. I do. I can’t speak for Ben. We belong together but getting together has proved a bit more difficult than I anticipated. Jobs, flats, commitments… always something preventing that final step. Would I move down to Bristol or should he move up to Manchester? I was happy enough to give up family, friends, work, anything so we could share our life in Bristol if that’s what he wanted.

Then up would come another obstacle.

Ok, I was naïve. He’s married. Two kids. Leaving would “destroy his family.” We’ll see about that, Ben. I have it all in hand. I’ve befriended Wife on Facebook. We follow each other on Twitter.

Snapchat, Instagram – she’s such a social media junkie. The photo is uploaded and, at the touch of a button, she’ll see a picture I call ‘Destiny.’ Maybe it’ll be humiliating but this is true love. Needs must. He’s mine.

So why haven’t I pressed Send?


Author Bio: Jan Brown lives in Yorkshire. She’s still enjoying working on improving her flash fiction skills.


E). Broken by Margaret Garrod

He’d slammed the front door with such force that it caused a photo frame to fall to the ground, the glass shattering on impact with the stone floor. As with so many of their recent arguments, what had started as a petty quarrel had quickly escalated into a full-blown row. But this time things had been said from which there was no going back. She’d finally voiced her suspicions about him seeing an old girlfriend and he’d shrugged in that annoying way he had, calling her needy and paranoid. No sooner had she made the accusation, than she recalled one of her mum’s favourite sayings, ‘Least said, soonest mended.’ Well she never had been one to heed advice, particularly where relationships were concerned.

She bent down to survey the damage, noting the photo itself was unscathed. She eased it out of the twisted frame and recalled the day it had been taken; an unseasonably warm day in early April with hardly a cloud in the sky. They’d walked hand in hand along the Brighton seafront until they’d found an ice cream vendor. As it was early in the season, there wasn’t a lot of choice, but they were more than content with their identical cones of vanilla. Rory had asked a passer-by to capture the moment on the camera she’d bought him for his birthday and she’d been so pleased with the photo that she’d got him to make a print that she could frame. Every picture tells a story she thought, and now it was just a painful reminder of how loved up they had once been. She selected one of the larger shards of glass and began repeatedly stabbing the photo until Rory’s image was entirely obliterated.


Author Bio: Margaret Garrod lives in Fleet, Hampshire and has been retired for three years. She enjoys writing short stories and hopes that practice makes perfect.


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