Themed Flash Winners Dec 2016

Many thanks to everyone that entered the last themed flash competition of 2016; and also for your patience in waiting for the results, which after a lot of tooing and froing over which one should have the top spot and which one the runner-up, are:

Winner: Ticking by Gwenda Major

A whole new world very deftly created in so few words. We liked how the reader realised the truth long before the character did and how she would react when it dawned on her kept you reading with baited breath until the end.
Read It


Runner-Up: Lunacy by Tracy Fells

A great take on the theme, which had a real sense of exuberance running through it despite what appeared to be a story heading for a sad ending.

Read It



Many congratulations, Gwenda and Tracy – great to see you both here on the winners’ podium again.

Don’t forget the themed flash competition has changed to quarterly for 2017 and the cash prizes, as well as the number of them, have increased. You can get details on the deadlines, themes and prizes here. But hurry up if you want to enter the first one as the deadline is in just 6 days!

For even bigger cash prizes and publication in the paperback and ebook anthology, the annual RW Flash Fiction Prize is being judged by Tania Hershman for 2017. Get all the info here.

Ticking by Gwenda Major

Little things used to annoy me  medichecks, crowded transtubes, that sort of thing.
But not much gets to me these days.
To be honest I can’t remember when I last went out – by that I mean away from this place.  It’s quite remote here.  Two hours on foot to the nearest habitation cluster.Fifteen minutes by transpod.  Of course when I came I wasn’t alone and we wanted to be away from the crowds. And now there’s just me I find I’ve got used to it.  I couldn’t even start to think about leaving and my transpod gave up ages ago anyway.
The dronedrop brings my supplies every two weeks and I imagine they’re still deducting the cost from my credits.  I remember signing something before we came so I probably agreed to all sorts of things. The days can be quite long but I’ve got a system.  In the mornings I tidy up indoors. In the afternoons I go outside, breathe for a while, watch the sky. There are all sorts of things up there these days but I’ve rather lost track of all that.  
In the evenings I work on my paintings.  Not many walls left to cover now.  While I’m working sometimes I find myself whistling. Which is why I wasn’t really aware of it in the beginning.  The ticking.  At first I quite naturally assumed it was my wrist-timer, a relic of the old days.  I put it to my ear and listened but the sound didn’t seem to be coming from there. Just a gentle tick-tick-tick.
For a few days I thought it had stopped but then when I kept really still and listened,there it was again, tick- tick-tick.Then I began to wonder if the ticking could be some sort of insect  a survivor, living in the fabric of this place. They still used wood back then. I lay on the floor and listened to the walls, pressed my ear to the doorframes. Nothing.  It was only when I stood up and moved around that I could hear the sound  tick-tick-tick.  
This morning I woke up late  the synthisun was already high and shafts of light were streaming into my room. After tidying up I opened the door to go outside as usual. The air felt good  cold and clean.  The sound came with me  tick-tick-tick.  It was just as I stepped outside that the truth dawned on me and I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before.  It’s obvious really  the ticking is me.  I stood quite still outside the door while the beauty of the thought struck me.And then a few minutes ago it stopped.  Tick-tick-……  So I’m holding my breath and I’m waiting

About the author: Gwenda Major lives in the South Lakes area of the UK. Her passions are genealogy, gardening and graveyards. Gwenda’s stories have featured in numerous publications. She has written four novels and two novellas; three have been either longlisted or shortlisted for national competitions.

Gwenda has a website and blog at

Fertility Rites by Gwenda Major

Amanda and Graham met at a teachers’ conference in Scarborough. On the second night they gazed dreamily into the distance as the rain lashed against the windows of the Spa building and the noise level rose beyond deafening. Later, huddled more intimately over a small table sticky with beer, they discovered that they shared a birth sign and that they both had a passion for all things green, both politically and horticulturally.

Amanda and Graham didn’t have sex until their second meeting in Huddersfield; there was a certain decorum to such things in the seventies. They arranged to meet at a cinema Graham knew where they watched The Godfather, so overcome by lust for each other that they were later unable to recall any of the plot, only the thrilling vibrato of Nino Rota’s famous waltz theme. Afterwards they caught a bus back to Graham’s flat, a soulless place located above a hardware shop on the outskirts of the town, where they tore each other’s clothes off and made frantic love on the lino flooring of the sitting room, then on the kitchen table before finally making it to the bedroom. Later they lay in each other’s arms, listening to the hiss of traffic on the A61, the glare of the headlights filtering softly through the brown linen curtains. There was never any doubt that Amanda and Graham were made for each other.

Their wedding night passed in a blur of passion. “I could eat you all up” murmured Graham as he stroked Amanda’s thigh during a brief gap in the proceedings.

“What’s stopping you?” Amanda whispered, closing her eyes. That night she dreamed of lying in a giant cornucopia, nestled against the red flush of a watermelon, the swollen firmness of a courgette, the sensuous curve of a chilli pepper.

As time went on Amanda filled the house with large and luscious foliage plants while Graham nurtured enormous prize vegetables in the garden. Growing things became their consuming passion.

Time passed and Amanda and Graham pottered about in contented retirement until one day in September cousins came to visit and found the house empty. In the living room they discovered Amanda’s slippers aligned neatly in front of the sofa. Amanda’s cousin remarked that the rubber plant and the huge philodendron seemed even larger than ever and just for a moment he thought he heard a delicate sigh but then decided his imagination was playing tricks.

Mystified they searched the garden but drew a blank. The cousins marvelled at the incredible size of the vegetables in the raised beds, especially the potato bed where the foliage seemed to have grown to an enormous size. As they turned away from their search the sun glinted on something lying on top of the deep dark earth of the potato bed; had they looked they might have recognised it as one of the buckles from Graham’s gardening braces but they had already walked away.


About the author: Gwenda Major lives in the South Lakes area of the UK. Her passions are genealogy, gardening and graveyards. Gwenda’s stories have featured in numerous publications. She has written four novels and two novellas; three have been either longlisted or shortlisted for national competitions. Gwenda has a website and blog at