Running Away Themed Flash Results

Thanks to everyone on the shortlist for your patience while I read your stories again. It’s been a tough decision but I now have the results…


Winner: The Names Of Stars by Rosie Garland

Why I chose it: The unexpectedness of what happens when the narrator hides in the loft during a family Christmas gathering is excellent. Love how the star signifies the distance the narrator really wants to run from her situation. And that the ending poses as many questions as it answers. Beautiful use of language too, a really light touch on a dark subject. Great stuff.

Read it here


Runner-Up: How Not To Feel by Mary Thompson

Why I chose it: Love the disjointed sentences that show how disconnected the narrator is from what she’s doing as she’s all consumed with the emotions she’s feeling about something else. It perfectly captures the human desire to numb pain in ways that end up causing more.

Read it here


Runner-Up: The Hanging Tree by Lucinda Hart

Why I chose it: Beautiful, atmospheric writing that makes the situation timeless. It could have been set in any era and it is only the final line that reveals that we knew who it was all along.

Read it here



Well done to all the writers who made the shortlist too. I really enjoyed all your stories:

  • Resolution by Jac Harmon
  • The Book Group by Nancy Ludmerer
  • The Bunker by Claire Whatley
  • Unfinished by David Osgood


If you love writing flash fiction then we have lots of great flashing things coming up:

23rd March – Fantastic Flashing Live

A 3-hour workshop in London Bridge based on the online course where you’ll be experimenting with voice and style to create new stories. Info here.

31st March – Fire Themed Flash Comp Deadline

Send your stories to win cash and get published on the website. Info here.

1st April – Fantastic Flashing Online

The original 2-week online course where you’ll learn lots of new skills, create loads of new stories and make new writing friends. Info here.

12th April – Flash SOS

A weekend course where you’ll get the insights and tools needed to revive an old story that’s been gathering dust in a drawer. Info here.



The Hanging Tree by Lucinda Hart

The Hanging Tree

Lucinda Hart


He knows where he is going. He’s seen it before many times – a jagged dark mark on the cliff edge – never guessing that one day he would be striding, running, towards it. The ground is dry and dusty, a path formed by countless feet over the years. He pauses a moment, and turns to look back the way he has come. The city’s pale roofs sting his eyes, whitened by the sun. He inclines his head to that sun, a hard coin in the sky. There are no clouds; the air is blue.

He does not look beyond the city, not yet. Instead he veers off the track and starts climbing the rugged stony incline. A lizard scuttles for shelter under a rock. His legs brush against grey-green herbs; their scent rises and tears smart in his eyes.

He stumbles on a loose rock. Grit and sand skitter down the bluff behind him. He can hear the discordant buzz of noise from the city. Shouting, a sudden cry. A mob. They are not coming for him. They do not know where he is, probably do not even know who he is. Yet. He catches his breath and stares back at the relentless sun. It seems to move a fraction in the blue, a shimmer of light, then stillness.

He reaches for a jutting slab of rock and hauls himself up the last slope. The tree stands alone on the edge of the chasm, blackened and twisted as though once struck by lightning. A long sturdy branch reaches its fingers out into the void.

The roaring from the city is louder. He stands, one hand on the tree’s rough bark and, this time, he looks beyond the city walls. Three shapes silhouetted against the sky. That bright flat aching sky.

He uncoils the rope, spools it out through his hands, throws it over the branch. Fingers fumble with the rough hemp. His feet slip on the dry ground and he grabs at the tree to save himself falling from the edge.

If anyone were looking at this rugged cliff, they would see a tree and a man and, perhaps, the thin trace of a rope. But no-one is looking this way. Their eyes face another direction. Another man.

The noose around his neck, he stands on the edge once more; this time his feet are firm. Below him, the gritty path he walked, the scented herbs, the city walls, the three dying men on the hill.

They will be remembered, the thinks. So too might he.

As he jumps into air, the first darkness rushes towards the sun, and his hand loses its grip on the cloth pouch he’s been holding all this time. It tumbles beneath his jerking legs; the loose cord opens, and the contents spill out onto the rocks, the dusty baked clay, the thirsty herbs.

Thirty pieces of silver.



Lucinda Hart is novelist and short story writer from Cornwall.


Please let the author know if you’ve enjoyed her story in the comments below.