Delighted to find that I have been shortlisted for Friday Flash Fiction’s 100-word competition for the Edinburgh Festival. I had entered two stories for consideration: Interlude and Muddy Roots.
Muddy Roots has been selected for the shortlist of six stories. Frequent contributors to the website have been emailed and asked to vote for their favourite of the six, with each person restricted to one vote.
Exciting! It looks like I’m in good company as the other stories are all very different and well crafted. I will post an update when the result is announced.
Delighted to have been one of five shortlisted entries for Globe Soup’s microfiction competition, based on the theme ‘a discovery’. I missed out on being the overall winner, but the winning entry was far superior to mine and very much deserved the winning spot.
You can read my entry as well as the other finalists’ stories on Globe Soup’s website here.
My short story Curtain Call, which I posted in a previous blog entry, was chosen by the Carrot Ranch writing group to be read on the online zoom call for Buxton Fringe Festival 2020.
Unfortunately, I had some internet issues and didn’t join the call until 10 minutes in – but I do read my story at around 15.18. I was also (quite aptly) having some ‘fringe’ issues of my own due to the lockdown hairdo!
One evening, the national animals of England, Scotland, and Wales met to settle a friendly argument: who, if it came to it, would overthrow all the others in a fight to the death?
England’s lion went first, flashing his claws, gnashing his teeth, and roaring as menacingly as he could. Wales’ scarlet dragon laughed quietly at his non-magical cousin’s display, orange flames escaping carelessly from his nostrils as he did so. Scotland’s white unicorn simply rolled her eyes and bowed to display her crowning glory: her twisted opal horn, sharp as a dagger and a hundred times as deadly.
July 30, 2020, prompt for Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” (Thanks to Anne Goodwin for the prompt idea.) It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute.
How fun language acquisition started out! One-syllable words of comfort: Mum, Dad, toy, car. Then, educational vocabulary (fun to say but hard to learn): onomatopoeia, Pythagoras, #epsilon. Later lexis is far less exciting: bills, debt, calories, anxiety. Make it stop! #vss365
“Nectar of the gods,” he slurs. “Sweet and soothing and strong.” As he slurps, his own sweetness is extracted; he sways but isn’t soothed. Between snores and spews, he cannot locate his strength. “This #nectar acts a lot like poison” – a whisper, immediately dismissed. #vss365
It is strange to think that you were once skin and bones and laughter. Now, you are more stars and dust and dark matter: a faraway #galaxy that I can never hope to visit, at least not in this life. #vss365
Something about the succulence of mangoes – or perhaps their promise to be wholesome, healthy snacks – causes my partner discomfort.
My tastebuds secrete saliva as the fruits are scrupulously sliced. But, instead of tossing delicious morsels of mango onto his tongue and tasting Indian summers, he feeds them – juicy, plump, nutritious – into a sterile white contraption, to wither for eight hours in vigorous dryness, dying.
On removal, their backs are bent; they are drained, parched, shrivelled.
Original flavours are now unsalvageable – but at least they are a familiar shape! A pale, curved ‘potato chip’: far more palatable to the American constitution.
(Written for the above image prompt and longlisted for Retreat West’s monthly microfiction competition in July 2020.)
“You won’t feel a thing,” the surgeon assured him. “You’ll simply fall asleep and we’ll slice you open, remove the tumour, and stitch you back up. By the time you wake, the worry will be over.”
They were right: he didn’t feel a thing. But he did wake – prematurely – to sounds of clicks, cuts, clamps. A high voice asking for suction; a deep voice groaning in disappointment; a younger voice, incredulous, asking how they could have missed it.
Completely paralysed, he couldn’t cry out, couldn’t ask what they had found. But slowly, steadily, a scream grew inside his heart.
July 16, 2020, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the phrase, “scream inside your heart.”