October 2019 Micro Fiction Competition Results

October 2019 Micro Fiction Competition Results

We had an amazing response to this month’s stories and 371 of you read and voted for your favourite!

Congratulations to all the writers who were shortlisted and well done to our two winners.  Many thanks to the super-talented, Sophie Jonas-Hill for the artwork for the prompt.

 

Winner: Ash and Cinder by Camille Heenan

Read it here

 

Runner-up: When the Party’s Over by Dettra Rose

Read it here

 

The next Monthly Micro Fiction prompt will be live on 4th November and it comes from award-winning author, Joanna Campbell. We look forward to reading the next batch of stories!

Ash and Cinder by Camille Heenan

Ash and Cinder

Camille Heenan

 

His world, engulfed in ash and cinder. Strange how in the fire and heat there’s more smoke than flame, more darkness than glow. He stands there in tatters, a rabbit carcass on his head like some kind of wild and primitive king. He’d just shaved yesterday and not thought to take a hat. The burnt patch on his head is aching now.
Looking out across the dam, he glimpses a small green shoot sheltered under a rock beside the water. One life untouched, in all this chaos. He imagines its tiny roots desperately clinging to the earth. He walks on.
***
About the author: Camille Heenan is an amateur writer who also has a passion for proofreading and editing. She lives in a regional area of Australia and is constantly inspired by where she lives.
If you have enjoyed Camille’s story please let her know in the comments below!

When the Party’s Over by Dettra Rose

When the Party’s Over

Dettra Rose

You say you love me.
It was my birthday.
You forgot.
Invited you to my animal print party.
You didn’t come. Didn’t text.
We met at a masquerade ball; you gave me kisses and your mask.
Took a while, but I unpicked the gauze and sequins. Stitch by stitch.
Don’t show up now in your new costume.
Touching me. Following me.
Brandishing a limp flower under the darkening sun.
I won’t laugh this time.
Your superhero clothes and funny sky-high ears won’t beguile me.
Nor buffed, gushy words.
Go find a monster party.
There’s nothing real here. It’s all pretend.
***

About the author: Dettra Rose writes flash fiction, non-fiction articles, poetry and shopping lists. She wrote her first flash in 2018 and has become addicted. Dettra’s pieces have won and been shortlisted/longlisted in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, Reflex Fiction, The Fish Prize, TSS Publishing, Retreat West and the Australian Writers’ Centre. Currently, Dettra’s precious writing time swings between finishing her novel and flash fiction. A born and bred Londoner Dettra now lives in Australia; she calls both places home. Say hello at Dettrarose.com Twitter – @dettrarose Facebook – @dettrarose

 

If you’ve enjoyed Dettra’s story let her know in the comments below!

October 2019 Micro Fiction Shortlist

Thanks to everyone who took part in the latest comp to write a story inspired by Retreat West Books author, Sophie Jonas-Hill’s beautiful artwork. Lots of great stories have been read to get to our shortlist of 10 stories shown below. Congratulations to everyone who’s made it through to the final round of judging and to all the writers who made the longlist.

Voting is anonymous so if your story is on this page please don’t tell anyone what it’s called!

You can vote until 23.59 on Monday 28th October 2019 and winners will be announced on Tuesday 29th. Go read and vote!

Ash and Cinder

His world, engulfed in ash and cinder. Strange how in the fire and heat there’s more smoke than flame, more darkness than glow. He stands there in tatters, a rabbit carcass on his head like some kind of wild and primitive king. He’d just shaved yesterday and not thought to take a hat. The burnt patch on his head is aching now.

Looking out across the dam, he glimpses a small green shoot sheltered under a rock beside the water. One life untouched, in all this chaos. He imagines its tiny roots desperately clinging to the earth. He walks on.

A Family Portrait

She returns home from university, unexpected and tearful. Her parents make tea and help her unpack.

You kept my picture up, she says.

A picture above the bed, painted in art college. She can see the figure again – the trees forming its shape, dark to match her mood, visible only to her.

Her parents always threatened to take the picture down. They believed it to be harmful, stifling her recovery.

Well, they say, I guess sometimes it’s OK to change your mind.

They hug with brave smiles, and when she looks again at the painting the figure has gone.

Chimera

In my dreams you stand tall, upright and proud. All around are spikes of grass, trees, reflections; pushing up to the sky, fracturing into water. A jagged world.

You used to tell me tales of a chimerical creature that was half-rabbit, half-human. It stalked my sleep until I was old enough to understand that it was just a story. Such creatures don’t exist.

Now, clearing your house, I find a head, fur-covered, rigid, ears long and stiff, and wonder: why would you have this?

At night I wake shaking, forgotten nightmares gripping me tight. Questioning my memories, fearing the truth.

In Search of Alice

She’s not here. I thought, hoped, she’d be here. Dormouse said she wouldn’t come. They all said it was madness to expect her.

I stand still, ears forward, listening for her gentle laugh. Staring at the skeletal trees around me as they search for the sun. Their wasted limbs stretching upwards out of the gloom. Chasing a warmth that is only a memory. I look down at where the rabbit hole

should be. Long since collapsed. The persistent drizzle filling it in.

I know time changes things.

Memories slip silently into the fog.

Children become adults.

Rabbit holes become ponds.

Payback

They came from the woods, the meadows, the railway embankments. Thousands of thrumming feet, pulsing hearts, twitching noses. Over the fields – what was left of them – toward town.

They would finish before the sun melted into the horizon: reclaim the land, ruined from over-farming, over-housing, overuse, overabuse. They would devour crops, dig up gardens, slink through cat flaps, draw blood.

A canine. It gave chase but skittered to a stop when a forest of ears rose up. Seconds later it ran fast and far, ignoring its master’s whistle. The human shrugged and headed to its bricked-up burrow.

The rabbits followed.

Reflections on Alice

‘I’m sorry. Do you mind?’ White Rabbit twitched his cigarette towards the officer with a yellowed paw.

She placed one hand on his sleeve. ‘Go on.’

‘Don’t believe Alice’s stories.’ He took a long, deep drag as his gaze darted across the glass-like waters. ‘I’ve still got the watch, look, and I was running late, but that’s where the truth ends.’

‘And the Queen of Hearts?’ she asked again gently, handcuffs ready.

His paw trembled, dusting his jacket with ash. ‘She was a lovely woman. Just lovely.’

He retrieved the evidence from his bag. A rose, painted red. Blood red.

The Fate of Small Creatures

We were brown-seed eye-tiny with tawny-soft feathers. We were needle-teeth nibblers whisker-twitch tender. We were earth-clad or air-bent, just gentle-nest small things. We pecked or we scurried or fluttered or dug, and our colours were ochre and bull-rush and earth-straw. We lived tiny and balanced by roots and dark-water, died quiet in nature by mist-muted dusk-mud.

You were huge-brained humongous with massive potential, striding like giants regardless of small things.

We darkened. We sharpened. We hardened, grew larger, swelled by your ruins, your wastelands your twilight.

We watch from the shadows, hate-biding our time, ghost-eyed and tooth-clawed soft-gentle no longer.

The Lepus Hadn’t Come

The new tree by the lake is growing fast. No-one else notices it. They walk around the water, skim stones, feed the ducks or leave carrots for the Lepus who protects the wood.

One day the tree was bare branches. Next day it was covered in leaves. Third day it had brown apple-like fruit. Next day the fruit was rotting on the ground and the tree had bare branches.

Following Tuesday I found saplings where the fruit had rotted. I pulled them up, burnt every branch and root. I had to protect the wood, and us. The Lepus hadn’t come.

Turning Mermaid

She knew of a method, she said, to turn mermaid, she said; a place in the woods, a copper bath, in the midday sun of All Saints Day, she said, and she invoked the I’d do anything for you, babe promise – something I’d said, repeatedly.

So, for once, we had a sober Halloween and we hired a van, drove through dawn, and set up in Wych Elm Wood. This is it, she said, heat up the water, she said, I love you, she said, while she wriggled her toes in the carpet of leaves and muttered her goodbyes to them.

When the Party’s Over

You say you love me.

It was my birthday.

You forgot.

Invited you to my animal print party.

You didn’t come. Didn’t text.

We met at a masquerade ball; you gave me kisses and your mask.

Took a while, but I unpicked the gauze and sequins. Stitch by stitch.

Don’t show up now in your new costume.

Touching me. Following me.

Brandishing a limp flower under the darkening sun.

I won’t laugh this time.

Your superhero clothes and funny sky-high ears won’t beguile me.

Nor buffed, gushy words.

Go find a monster party.

There’s nothing real here. It’s all pretend.

If you have any problems using the survey shown below, you can cast your vote via this link instead:

Go to survey

 

Wind Themed Flash Shortlist

Wind Themed Flash Competition Shortlist

Thanks everyone for your patience while we have been reading the stories again. Well done to all who made the longlist and congrats to all whose stories have made this shortlist. Winners will be announced soon!

 

  • Blowing My Mind Clear
  • Emmylou, Patron Saint of Dirt-Poor Folks
  • I am a feather for each wind that blows
  • Kite
  • The Nest
  • The Perfect Word
  • Zephyr Zefferelli

 

The next themed flash comp deadline is 29th September and the theme is WATER. Enter your stories here.

We’ve started thinking about the quarterly comps for 2020 now and we’ll be having guest judges who will pick their themes. Details coming soon!

Fire Themed Flash Winners

Fire Themed Flash Competition Results

This has been a tough decision as all the stories on the shortlist have so much that’s great about them. I’ve been dithering but know that I can dither no longer! So, the following stories have been chosen as the winners and this month we also have a couple of highly commended mentions too.

Congratulations to our winners and well done to all 10 shortlisted writers.

Winner: Yia Yia Burns Olive Leaves To Ward Off The Evil Eye by Michelle Christophorou

Why I chose it: The imagery, atmosphere, setting and use of the senses is fantastic. I was transported to that hot and dusty island. I loved how it surprised me as the ending wasn’t as I expected and the tension didn’t lead where I thought it would. Really great take on the theme.

Read it here

 

 

Runner-up: A Fire In Drimnagh by Joe Bedford

Why I chose it: This just kept surprising me. It never went where I thought it was going and the love and regret woven through it were palpable. Despite what he’d done, I was firmly on the narrator’s side and this was a whole world depicted in a very small space.

Read it here

 

 

Runner-up: The Future Will Wait by Emily Harrison

Why I chose it: Such a clever mix of lust, sensuality and future regret woven together to tell a tale of a relationship with a now, a past, and a future all without leaving the bed where the characters lay.

Read it here

 

 

Highly commended: In The Backyard by Nancy Ludmerer and Warm Hands by Stephanie Percival

 

 

Congratulations again to all.

The next theme is WIND and the deadline is 30th June 2019. Winners get cash prizes and published on the website. Get all the info here.