BWI Flash Fiction competition for September, 2019

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to Alice Bhatt, winner of the August Flash Fiction competition, for her story , ‘A Closed Gate’.

What a bumper lot of entries. Here they are for this month’s competition. Happy reading:

Entry 1 The Package

James smiled as he put the handle with care sticker on the Package, in the package was his wedding present for his son and daughter in law. He regretted not being able to make the wedding in person but he couldn’t get the time off so this present would have to do. In the box was a glass statue of a mother holding her baby, it was fitting because his grandson didn’t even wait until after his parents were married to be born, he had made his grand entrance during the ceremony but at least it was a funny story.

Entry 2    Handle with Care 1

A frail old lady sits alone in her room. She is in an institution that cares for the aged. She is afraid of the outside. She looks out her living picture. Windows are obsolete. The outside is held at bay through forcefields. Rarely do they breakdown.

Today the forcefield breaks down bringing the outside in. Leaves are scattered throughout the room. The wind swirls them around inside.

Entry 3 2020

The Autumn leaves crunched under my sandals as I walked down the isle. Waiting for me was the man I had dreamt about but didn’t think really existed. Then one day on the side of the road there he was. Now only a year later about to enter into a covenant to travel the rest of the journey with me.

I’ll forever be thankful to that friend that helped me see that I didn’t need to live my life stamped “Handle with Care”. I’ll forever be thankful I decided to give my heart back to it’s creator.

“I do”.

Entry 4 In the Hands of Others

I’ve come to the café; book in hand, to read. It’s been many months since I last picked up this book. I’d felt a hesitation, and placed it back on the bookshelf. Now I glance at it lying on the café table – this time I will make a start.

The waitress wanders over.

‘I’ll just have a coffee please.’

‘What are you reading?’ she asks.

‘Handle with Care’.

‘Oh great. I’ve read that, loved it; couldn’t put it down. You’ll enjoy it.’

She moves away and I smile as I brush my hand across the cover of my first novel.

Entry 5 A Delicate Move

Carl placed one finger on the ivory queen.

He glanced at the revolver in the president’s hand. If he lost, members of Ultimate Daredevils Club would claim his life: a single muffled shot, beneath this billionaire’s country mansion.

So far, he had passed all their tests, sky-diving into rocky ravines, crossing highways while blindfolded. But death chess was the ultimate game. His life waged against a fortune.

He knew they were ruthless, and hatred cowards. But the gold, twenty gold bars!

Carl got a grip… springing his own daring ambush.

Checkmate!

His opponent smiled. “Now double or nothing,” he whispered.

Entry 6 Learning EFTPOS

Back in the community and volunteering, Roz soon got the rhythm of sorting clothes into men’s, ladies’ and kids’.

‘You’re in the shop today,’ Todd said. ‘Ailee can show you the ropes.’

She’d been dreading it: talking to customers, giving change —worse still, working the EFTPOS machine. And now Todd had paired her up with some smiley chick who looked like she’d been rinsed in a rainbow!

Ailee knew the names of regulars, asked after pets and was untroubled by toddler tantrums. When, after ten attempts, Roz mastered EFTPOS, Ailee clapped.

‘You champion, Roz! It’s all about handling with care!’

Entry 7 The Treasure

The mood was sombre. Everyone walked around whispering engaged in various activities. Cooking, cleaning, praying and this continued like clockwork cycle.   

“Susan, will you please come to Grandma’s room?”. Startled I turned my head,  not expecting my aunt to be standing behind me.

Upon entering the room, my Aunt opened a drawer, retrieved an item and placed it on my palm. She looked at me and said, “This was Grandma’s and Grandma would have wanted you to have it. It was a very old, delicate jade pendant. Handle it with loving care.” I simply nodded admiring this treasure.

Entry 8 Don’t Touch

‘Don’t touch, just look!’

What child could follow that instruction; isn’t curiously is a prerequisite of childhood? Her mother left the room.

Emma waiting for the soft scuffed footsteps to fade away, then using both hands and all her young strength, dragged the coffee table across the room and positioned it in front of the mantle piece. Up she climbed, then gently lifted the perfectly blown glass ornament and traced her fingers around its shapely edges. Still admitting all the tiny bubbles suspended inside, she carefully replaced it and climbed down. The coffee table legs bumped along the floorboards.

Smash!

Entry 9 In the End

He was gazing moodily down at the sea when Gabriel found him.

“Well, yes. But did you actually tell them to take care of things?” asked Gabe.

“I didn’t think they were that stupid!” God sighed.  The sea thrashed and roared under the whip of a punishing gale. “They understood life, death, love. Loss. Did they expect me to put a bloody label on everything?!”

He picked up a feather, focused on it. “They understood beauty”. A line of fire made its looping way along the feather’s spine: handle with care.

“Maybe it was the opposable thumbs…” Gabriel whispered.

Entry 10 Handle with Care 2

“It’s not a sea urchin. Sea urchins have spikes.”

“You’re right, Darling. Living sea urchins are covered in spikes, but when they die, the spikes fall off and all that is left is this delicate outside shell.”

“Mrs Carmody said that sea urchins always have spikes.”

“Look at the beautiful patterns. See all the tiny, bumpy rows?”

“What is it called?”

“It’s an exoskeleton of a sea creature. Would you like to hold it? You need to be very gentle.”

 “Ok, I’ll hold it, but it’s not a sea urchin. Sea urchins have spikes”

September’s Flash Fiction prompt is “Handle with Care “. Write about a very fragile or delicate object.

You are limited to 100 words (not including the title).

Our Flash Fiction prize is a commemorative wine glass engraved with the Ballarat Writers logo, and details of FF month, winner, and title of story if it’s not too long – the title I mean.

Entries close at 11.59 on Tuesday, 17 September.

Voting closes at 11.59 pm on Sunday, 22 September. 

The winner will be announced at our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 25 September.

Remember –

  • Times New Roman 12pt
  • Single line spacing
  • Must have a title or it will be rejected
  • Current BWI member
  • One entry each member
  • Submit as a ‘Word’ file
  • All conditions must be adhered to – e.g. not even one word over 250 (discipline!)

Your entry must be sent as an attachment to an email file. In the email make sure to include your name, the title of your entry, and the word count of your entry.

Submit your entry to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com

Regards,

Irene (in lieu of Phil while he’s sunning himself in Europe)

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BWI Flash Fiction competition for August 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to Alice Bhatt, winner of August’s Flash Fiction competition, for her story ‘A Closed Gate’. Take a look below to read the story.

Hi everyone,

August’s Flash Fiction prompt is “Please shut the . . . “

You are limited to 250 words (not including the title).

Our Flash Fiction prize is a commemorative wine glass engraved with the Ballarat Writers logo, and details of FF month, winner, and title of story if it’s not too long – the title I mean.

Voting closes at 11.59 pm on Tuesday 27th August. 

Remember –

  • Times New Roman 12pt
  • Single line spacing
  • Must have a title or it will be rejected
  • Current BWI member
  • One entry each member
  • Submit as a ‘Word’ file
  • All conditions must be adhered to – e.g. not even one word over 250 (discipline!)

Once entries are posted, voting will close at 11.59pm on Tuesday, 27th August. Judging may be moderated by non-entering member readers. The winner will be announced at our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 28th August.

Your entry must be sent as an attachment to an email file. In the email make sure to include your name, the title of your entry, and the word count of your entry.
Submit your entry to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com

Irene (in lieu of Phil while he’s sunning himself in Europe)

Thanks to all who submitted this month. Here are the stories awaiting your vote.

Entry 1  A Closed Gate

He had left the gate open. The ute was new, but I knew it was him. Flashy, yellow-green, the colour of envy – real farmers didn’t buy that sort of thing. Real farmers didn’t leave gates open. No one left gates open. No one, except him.

“I brought you your favourites!” He held up a packet of pine nuts. He looked pleased with himself.

I kept the screen door locked.

It had never ceased to amaze me how his sense of reality could be so utterly divergent. An onlooker could have concluded that he had just dropped in on his way back from the shops – that he had seen me yesterday – that we were in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. His face betrayed no recognition of the fact that we had not laid eyes on each other for three years. He seemed to have no recollection of the police, the courts, the fact that I had blocked his number and asked him never to contact me again. Still, even at the time, he had reacted to my decision to leave with astonishment. Why wouldn’t hospital staff allow him to see me? He’d said feminism would be the death of us.

“What sort of welcome is this?! You could at least say ‘thank you!’”

I kept my gaze steady.

“Please shut the gate on your way out.

I closed the door.

Entry 2    A Quiet Night at Home

Dom and Luke having a quiet night in front of the tv after a long day. They both had working long hours lately because they were having money troubles because of their plans to hire a surrogate to carry a baby for them. They were desperate to have a child together but it was so expensive dom feared that it would never happen. Luke was convinced that they would eventually make it happen but for the moment he was happy for it to be the two of them. Luke stood up and said “well I going to turn in for the night, please shut the lights off when you’re done” Luke then walked to their bedroom leaving dom to watch the end of the movie. Dom stayed up for a bit longer trying to quieten the thought buzzing around his head. Around midnight dom crawled into bed beside his husband and had sweet dreams of the family he hoped they would have.

Entry 3  Date Night

“Please shut the hell up,” she says, but we’re the only two people in the cinema, so I’m not going to.

“We need to talk about this,” I say. “And it’s not like you’re watching the film. You’ve been on your phone for the last half hour.”

“I’m listening to it,” she huffs into her little glowing screen. “I’m enjoying it. Or I was.”

“But you know what’s going to happen. Patrick What’s-His-Name and the blonde one will have a fight. She’ll leave town. He’ll come to his senses, chase her down and they’ll make out on a beach or something.”

“Of course I know that; it’s a rom com, it’s not Citizen Kane. If you shut up and listen, then maybe you’ll get something out of the movie too.”

She shoves the phone back in her handbag and snatches the popcorn. Meanwhile, Blondie has just started laying into Patrick What’s-His-Name.

“Told you so.”

“Do you really think,” she says, “just because you know how it’s going to end that the rest of the movie’s a waste of time?”

“A little bit, yeah.”

She throws the popcorn back into my lap and swings her handbag onto her shoulder. Without so much as looking at me, she gets up and storms out of the cinema.

“You’re such an arse,” says the blonde one as she slams the door on Patrick What’s-His-Name’s nose. Now she’ll be leaving town.

I scoff a mouthful of popcorn. It’s okay, they’ll be together in the end.

Entry 4   Moonlight and Dawn

“Please shut the … “ he jolted from the stupor into which he had sunk. The words echoed in the dim room. What had she said? Familiar clatterings from the kitchen drifted through the miasma in his head. Close the what? What was she on about! He was a procrastinator, he knew that. Shutting doors, closing minds, choosing sides, making decisions – all the same sort of thing. He liked to sit on fences. Anything else meant closing options, losing that vision where anything was possible.  You still had to act in the end of course. He turned toward the kitchen shouting angrily “Close – what!!”  And then he remembered. There was no-one in the house save himself. She had died, in this room, on this day two years ago. He had watched this day approach with dread. The night before he had started reading the philosophy textbook his concerned son had left. In case it had anything to offer better than the rope coiled and hidden beneath his bed. The door was slightly ajar. A thin strip of silver at its edges signalled – moonlight, or dawn? He stood, and groped his way over the debris of lost months and pushed the door open. Outside the approaching dawn glimmered on the edge of the paddocks, on his son’s head bent over a newborn lamb. Something inside his heart seemed to lift from the blackness within like a broken reflection rising from a stained mirror. Behind him a ghostly hand closed the door.

Entry 5   Shut the Bitch Down

Please

shut the door

(shut your mouth)

Just listen

I’ve got a job for you

It’s your lucky day

shut the blinds

We can’t be exposed as calculating

                                                cold-hearted

Open that drawer, there                      capitalists

Get a pen.                                           

Now    shut the drawer

Like you were never here      

This is new party policy

This is the new line                 one li(n)e         only li(n)e       til death do us part

When the cabinet papers go public

Only then, and even then…

So, please

shut a (coffin) lid and keep it on it

Get it? Got it? Good.

We have to ditch her

She takes up too much space

Those clothes              that hair          that face

We want her to suffer

stab her in the back

It’s going to be brutal  (brutus)

Make no mistake, this is a witch-hunt

You get it.       It’s good for us

Now go.                                               Got it?

Your instructions are clear

shut the bitch downPlease

         

Entry 6     The Mountain Man

The sun felt so relaxing. The wild flowers smelt delightfully fresh. The mountain air had her longing to breath in another lung full without expelling the last.  It was a rare moment of relaxation.

Frank left as soon as Elsbeth was born. He didn’t want a cripple for a daughter. Their small village had given her as much support as they could.

Every cent she could earn went towards Elsbeth’s care. They had never been on a holiday. High in the mountains thanks to an anonymous gift, Hilda was struggling to stay awake as the sun caressed her face.

As her mother dozed in the sun Elsbeth waved to the man walking his donkey.

“Would you like to say hello to him?”

“I would Sir but you’ll have to bring him closer.”

“Stand up and walk to him.”

“But I can’t Sir I was born crippled.”

“Stand up Elsbeth and walk to him.”

Elsbeth pushed up on her arms. There was something in his voice that compelled her to try. As she stood for the first time in her life she walked to him giving donkey a tearful hug hello.

Walking back to show her mother she stood above her thinking how different she looked from up here.

Hilda woke feeling cold as Elsbeth blocked out the sun.

An hour of tears later they walked back into their holiday cottage.

“Please shut the …” “Door” caught in Hilda’s throat. It felt so foreign saying that to her daughter.

Entry 7    Week One

‘Please, shut the bloody racket and get to sleep,’ Rob roared as he flung the blankets off and stomped to the door, slamming it hard. ‘Christ’, he thought, ‘how am I going to last another week of this!’

Two weeks he was to have them, after a fraught and long drawn-out battle in the courts. And now after one week his nerves were already shot. He took time off work, thought it would be a good break, but it seemed more like a prison sentence. Stuck here with two small active boys, he felt the familiar craving engulf him once again.

In the middle of the night he found the bottle, took a few swigs, and settled as sleep came smooth and easy.

When he woke he knew he had to get out of the house; meet up with his mates. He’d only stay a short while, long enough to have a cigarette and a quick chat. His mates understood what he was going through, they’d been there.

The morning dragged on, the boys constantly fighting and screaming. He gave them lunch, then sat them down in front of the television with a packet of chips and a coke, and told them he’d be back soon. With their eyes fixed upon the brightly colored screen, they barely heard him leave.

He shut the front door with a hard pull and checked the deadlock was in place. Scanning up and down the street, he hurried off towards the pub.

Entry 8   Wind of Change

What did you do to my walls? I’m not used to plaster sheet walls, they were all tongue and groove boards the last time I was here.

I’d like my blanket. The crochet one with the coloured squares please, and a cup of tea. If I can’t have my chair at least bring me my blanket, or did you change that too?

Neat squares, not a mistake anywhere, never dropped a stitch! Purple and green with a cream scolloped edge. I finished it the day before your father was born. Bought him home in it a few days later, all bundled up. That’s why I kept it. It reminds me so much of him… where is my Joe? 

Joe, where are you? Oh Joe… so young, so young…

There used to be a vase there, on the mantle, in front of the mirror, with flowers from the garden. You should bring in some flowers, I can still see them out there, through the glass. At least they will always stay the same. Can’t break their spirit. 

Have you heard from Vera? Is she coming for tea? You better bring another cup. She likes hers with milk and sugar, just lemon for me. In a pot. And unless you’ve moved them, there’s Jam Fancies in the tin above the stove. That’s all. 

Oh and would you please shut the window. Though I fear it’s to late, the wind of change has long since blown in; guess I’m stuck with this now.

 

 

BWI FF for July 2019

Voting closes at 11.59pm on Sunday night 28 July

  1. Nothing To Lose

‘Mmmm pizzzaa.’ Ben said in his best Homer Simpson voice whilst rubbing his protruding stomach. Ironically, after spending the last twelve months with his bottom melded seamlessly to his recliner, pizza was one of the few things that got him out of the house. Delivery is fine until you’re down to your last ten bucks. At those times, the magic of pizza would lure Ben out of his chair for the three block walk to the pizza shop.

Head down, hands in pockets, he would with purpose place one foot in front of the other until a whiff of bread and herbs opened his nostrils, then he would tilt back his head, take a deep breath and grin briefly at the neon sign. Returning to his customary sloughed position he entered and in an almost unintelligible mumble, ordered his usual BBQ meatlovers pizza.

Scuffing his feet along the store floor, Ben walked outside. He never waited inside, preferring instead to sit on the fire hydrant post at the front corner of the shop. People were less likely to talk to him there, that said, today someone was definitely talking.

‘Pssss. Passt!’

Ben took a quick look around, but couldn’t see anyone.

‘Psssst. Mate! Ya got a smoke?’

Ben looked up to see a boy, no more than ten, arms folded leaning on top of the fence beside him.

‘Go away, kids shouldn’t smoke!’

‘I’m not a kid, I’m a leprechaun.’

Ben couldn’t help but have a chuckle.

‘Well I am. Give us a smoke and I’ll solve all your problems. Leprechauns have magic powers you know.’

Ben reached into his pocket and with nibble fingers moving seemingly without direction, flicked out a cigarette. He smirked and passed it up to the kid.

‘What the heck. I’ve got nothing to lose.’

 

  1. Pineapple on Pizza

Barry and Chi are standing with their backs against the front window obscuring the faded lettering of Pauly’s Pizza. The light from inside casting their shadows out into the dark of the parking lot.

“Pineapple on pizza is just wrong.”

“It was in his will, so we’re doing it.”

“A strange food request for a wake, but Evan did like to make people think.”

“You know why he’s doing it right?”

“Nah man no idea, but it’s the kind of guy he was.”

“Hold on.”

Chi sticks his head through the multicoloured plastics strips hanging in the doorway.

“Hey Pauly pass us one of Evan’s pizza boxes can ya.”

“Chi ya know no one is meant to see it till after they’ve eaten it.”

“Yeah man I’m just going to show Barry I’ll bring it back.”

“Fine but if he tells anyone early he might be joining Evan.”

“Chill man, chill he’ll keep it a secret.”

“Here ya go Bazza get a load of that.”

Barry opened the empty pizza box and spent a few moments reading Evan’s final words.

“Shit man that’s deep.”

“Yeah it’s going to make people think.”

“And cry. Ya ever think we’ll impact people like he did?”

“Ya think his dad knew how much impact he’d have on his life when he adopted him?”

“Nah man I guess your right. We probably never really know the difference we can make.”

Pauly wheels out the trolley with all the pizza’s.

“She open mate?”

“Yeah let me give you a hand. Ya knocking off in time to see the fireworks.”

“Yeah man I wouldn’t miss saying goodbye to him.”

“He lived life like his fuse was always lit it seems fitting he goes out with a bang.”

“Hashtag Dynamite”
“Hashtag Dynamite”

 

  1. Love’s First Meeting.

I am standing in front of the pizza shop called June’s pizza waiting for my wife Lucy. We met on this exact spot thirty two years ago today, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a wonderful spring day, the birds were singing and I had just gotten a great mark on my maths test, so I decided to celebrate by getting a slice of pizza. I had just brought a meat lovers pizza and left the store, when I quite literally walked into Lucy. I know as soon as I saw her I knew she was the most beautiful girl in the whole world. “Hi” she said and me being the absolute fool I am just stood there with my mouth hanging open. “You had better closed your mouth or the wind will freeze it like that forever” she said with a laugh. I snapped my mouth shut and then introduced myself to her. Then like magic we ended up sharing my pizza and talking for hours. I found out later it was magic after all because Lucy is a the great great granddaughter of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty. Which means she can use magic to make herself look like as beautiful or as ugly as she wants. But I don’t love her just because of her beauty, I love her for being the most kind and compassionate woman I have ever known. We come here every year on our anniversary to celebrate. Just then I see her coming up the street and I thank my lucky stars yet again that I bumped into her all those years ago.

 

  1. Shazam Pizza

“You do it.”

“No, you do it.”

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. Just concentrate and summon it up.”

Jerry sighed, closed his eyes and puffed his cheeks as if blowing out a cake full of candles.

Doug watched intensely. His mouth salivating, anticipating, as Jerry went blue trying to conjure up their favourite pizza from the shop-front window: a mega-sized meat-lovers delight with cheesy thick crust.

They were starving after bush-bashing BMXs up and down Mount Warrenheip all day then riding back to town on sunset. Their mums’ meat and veg wouldn’t suffice that night.

“Hey, what’s that? A spark. Your ear,” Doug said, jumping back.

Jerry shrugged and rolled his eyes. They both knew he could do it; ever since he subscribed to that comic book series and they sent him a package with a mysterious green rock inside. Since then, he’d been able to conjure up whatever he desired, as long as he wanted it bad enough.

He had to be careful though or his parents would start asking questions. Like when that gorgeous Instagram influencer was in his room. She was difficult to sneak into a taxi back to her house. Luckily, Jerry was a good talker.

Now they wanted pizza. Badly.

“Try harder, Jerry.”

Jerry leered at his mate, turning a darker shade of blue.

Suddenly, a bright flash struck the ground in front of them. On the charred footpath sat a humungous pizza covered with every slivered meat, sauce and olives on a two-inch golden dough filled with oozing melted cheese.

A note on the top read:

If you want me bad,

Just one thing, bud.

Eat me in five seconds flat,

Or I’ll evaporate.

They shook their heads and laughed.

“Meat and veg aren’t that bad anyway,” Doug said, both pedalling away.

 

  1. Patience

There’s a man, alone, walking around a street corner to the front of a pizza shop. It has sufficient umbrellas, tables and chairs, kerbside, for him to take a seat and order a soft drink. He has glanced about the rest of the street and checked his watch. He is early but this does not bother him as he can observe the passing pedestrian and motor traffic as well as the clientele of the shop itself. He is still the only solo person in the vicinity.

 

He doesn’t have expectations but the woman he has arranged to meet had a good voice on the telephone last night. She didn’t give too much away though they had discussed the peculiarities of the service. If, one day, there came to be some way of seeing what the other presented as, it could help though there were arguments against that agreed to by both. The agreement was that either could walk away without engaging in more conversation if that look wasn’t acceptable. He chose to be early so he just had the waiting game.

 

The waitress had asked if he wanted to order if he was dining alone but he said he was expecting company. The waitress gave a smile that he took as complimentary. He wasn’t keen on pizza and generally preferred to dine at home with preparing well-balanced meals a particular delight.

 

Many people came past in pairs and groups but no one asked about the large book he had as signal for the expected company. Several women of the right range, but attached, appeared to notice him and though he appreciated that, the passing time became tedious.

 

Forty-five minutes after the appointed hour, he got up, went around the corner to his Ferrari and drove home to a better meal.

 

  1. All in the Name

They stood outside Marcello’s Pizzeria. Ben held a tin of pears, covered with aluminium foil; they’d eaten some for breakfast and nothing since.

He smoothed his girlfriend’s long blonde hair. ‘Marcello’s the one doing all the dough tossing.’

‘Yep. Can’t miss a moustache like that!’ the beautiful woman said. ‘I’m going in.’

 

He watched her proudly: her shy smile and the way she tentatively pointed to the list of pizzas on the wall. Marcello dusted his hands on his white apron, swiftly appearing from behind the counter to guide her choice. She laughed, gently tapping his arm with her small hand. Ben was not surprised to see Marcello make the micro-muscle movements that puffed his chest out slightly. And then he watched Marcello’s surprise and laughter when his girlfriend left her name with the order. He could see Marcello’s lips mouth out the name. ‘Margherita! And you wanna Margherita?’

His girlfriend nodded. Marcello, who regularly used a mirror to choreograph his pizza-making moves, bellowed it out for the benefit of the patrons at other tables. ‘Hey, it’s Margherita and she’s ordered a large Margherita!’

 

A table of people draped in the local footy club’s colours cheered. ‘Hope ya not thinking of charging her, mate!’ said the club’s president.

And then what could Marcello say? The football club was his biggest client.

‘Nah, you’re right. This is on the house, Margherita!’

Ben’s girlfriend effused gratefulness, surprise, and even kissed Marcello on the top of bald head. She waved at the other tables and swept out the door with the pizza.

 

‘Nice work, Sally!’ said Ben. ‘Daylesford tomorrow. Lorenzo’s Pizza Palace sponsors the footy club and I’m guessing they’ll be there after the game. I’m thinking Lorenzo would like to meet Margherita.’

‘Yep,’ said Sally. ‘No doubt!’

BWI July Flash Fiction

BWI Flash Fiction Winner for June 2019

I apologise for the delay in advising of last month’s FF winner, but I’ve been having computer issues.

The winner was Rachel O’Neill with “Salty Tears”. Congratulations Rachel, and we hope you’ll be at our next Members’ Night on Wednesday 31 July at 6.30pm at The Bunch of Grapes to receive your commemorative engraved wine glass.

BWI Flash Fiction competition for July 2019

Subscribe to the flash fiction update newsletter here.

Our Flash Fiction prize will be a commemorative wine glass engraved with the Ballarat Writers logo, and details of FF month, winner, and title of story if it’s not too long – the title I mean.
The BWI Flash Fiction Competition (FF) for this month (July 2019) is for a story, or poem, or otherwise, of not more than 300 words (NOT including the title). Write whatever it is, based around – imagine if you will, that there is a person standing outside a pizza shop with another person. One of them may, or may not, have magic powers. Write a story or some such.

Entries close at 11.59pm on Tuesday 23rd July.
Remember –

  • Times New Roman 12pt
  • Single line spacing
  • Must have a title or it will be rejected
  • Current BWI member
  • One entry each member
  • Submit as a ‘word file’
  • All conditions must be adhered to – e.g. not even one word over 300 (discipline!)

Voting will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 28th July. Judging may be moderated by non-entering member readers. The winner will be announced at our Members’ Night on 31st July.

Your entry must be sent as an attachment to an email file. In the email make sure to include your name, the title of your entry, and the word count of your entry.
Submit your entry to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com

Voting time for BWI June Flash Fiction

1          THE JOURNEY

The orchard stood on the crown of the hill in Mount Pleasant many years ago, but on the return of servicemen from the war, the need for more housing led to its demise. A few brave trees resisted this destruction. The gnarled apricot trees stood as silent testament to the orchard that had once thrived and every spring produced orange fruit in its upper branches.

The fruit was shared between the lorikeets, a family of possums and Ben and Caitlin. Sugar, lemon, ginger and apricots over a low heat made the jam that went into sterilised jars and used at picnics.

Grey clouds slowly rolled in from the west as Ben and Caitlin finished the last of the apricot jam on their scones baked earlier in the day. The rain hit suddenly and everything was loaded into the car except the empty jam jar which was abandoned to the storm.

The jar rocked on the old wooden picnic table and finally succumbed to a stormy blast, dropped off the slab and rolled down the grassy bank into the swollen creek. The Southern Ocean was no great distance away and the creek gurgled its way into the briny carrying the jar with it. The waves welcomed the jar and the next high tide carried it up the beach ready to greet the morning sunrise.

 

2          Still dark night

Momentarily content, I lie waiting in the silence until the world awakens. This treasured time is so fleeting. Before I can make a sound, birds are chirping. Cold air nips my skin, distant car engines scratch my ears, irritating my mind. Give it back- the quiet that is so quickly snatched away the moment one re-joins the waking world.

Darkness becomes dawn. Peace is now gone, emptiness dissolved. My bucket reminds me that it is still full. I fight with the sheets that tangle around my upper body, I battle with the crowd trying to climb into my bed. Responsibility, obligation, expectation, judgment, regret, commitments, concerns… they make no ordered cue but instead push in indiscriminately. Fatigue, heaviness, anxiety, depletion and survival all press against me like bargain hungry customers at a Boxing Day sale.

Pleading with the light to stay at bay, to let my eyes pretend that day has not yet intruded upon me, I tug at those same tangled sheets and bury myself under them. This cave is warm. This cave alludes to be safe. The weight of the covers is enough to remind me I’m alive, but is not enough to suffocate me. The dull glow creeping in at the edges, enough to guide me but not to blind me.

How I long for the return of the still dark night.

 

3          The Sands of Time

If I could put wisdom in a bottle, I’d set it to sail upon the pounding waves of the sea in the hope it would land in some far off foreign land. There to be found by a small child, scurrying along the beach, searching for lost or discarded treasures left there by well-off foreigners.

I can picture her in my mind’s eye as she looks with wonder at the strange object. She knows this is meant for her; for it is a message from her father, whose spirit she has always felt, but whose presence she has never seen. She hides it in the pocket of her straw bag.

She hurries on, holding it close, then catches sight of a bright trinket half covered by the sand. She pulls out a beautiful bracelet, with ruby stones attached to a gold bangle. Her eyes light up with joy; this she will keep for herself. Looking around quickly, she tucks it in beside the bottle.

She makes haste as her mother will be waiting for her return, bringing bits and pieces she has found to be cleaned and sold at the market. Heading towards the house, she can see her mother collecting the eggs. She hurries to a tin hidden beneath the mattress of her bed, quickly places her treasures and closes the lid.

Each night she strokes the bottle, and with it comes the wisdom of understanding:  her father is with her always.

 

4          A Quilt full of Memories

She sat on the edge of the beach a quilt covering her lap.

Every square evoking a memory from her life.

Her husband.

The honeymoon.

Their son.

All but memories now.

No grandchildren.

Nothing but this quilt left.

 

Her eyes once sparkled like the ocean.

Now her hair the colour of the white sand.

A quilt full of memories.

Love, the thread holding them all together.

The flowers her husband planted.

The medal awarded to her son after the war.

every square a marker in time.

Each memory as precious as the next.

 

An empty jar in her hands.

They met at this spot at dusk in 1959.

It was were they’d said goodbye to John.

Now she was saying a final goodbye to her Bert.

As the last rays of sunlight laid his ashes to rest in the waves.

Her gaze was lost in the horizon.

 

She pulled the quilt tight around her.

Her white hair covering the flowers her husband planted.

The places they had visited formed an edge around the quilt.

Memory after memory as their camper travelled mile after mile.

It sat in the parking lot now with a for sale sign in it’s window.

 

The moon illuminated the centre of the quilt.

6 hand prints all joined together in the middle of her back.

As special as all the other memories were.

Family was at the centre of it all.

 

5          Salty tears

In a bottle is a message,

Of love in times gone by,

Hope sees it floating aimlessly,

Through a silent anguished cry.

Tossed away regretfully,

This heart could not hang on,

So into the waves I set you free,

My favourite memories, gone.

 

The pink dusked sky grows darker,

It’s so real that you’re not here,

Recollection fails me

To recall your words so dear.

I look into the distance,

And realise my sad mistake,

I call out longingly to you,

But no sound can I make

 

My salty tears of nothingness,

Fall into the empty ocean.

Null and void of tenderness,

Understanding and devotion.

Now absent of all feeling,

I wade into the vacant space,

Gasping for breath as I slowly drown,

Reaching out for your embrace.

 

BWI Flash Fiction competition for June 2019

The BWI Flash Fiction Competition (FF) this month (June) is for a story of up to 246 words (NOT including the title) using this picture as the theme or prompt. Okay, so I don’t know how to put a picture in here – it was a picture of an empty glass jar on a sandy beach at dawn or dusk with gentle waves in the background. Use that mental image as your theme/prompt.

I was feeling a little whimsical when I wrote this 😊

Entries close at 11.59pm on Thursday 20th June.

Remember –

  • Times New Roman 12pt (most measurements are Roman)
  • Single line spacing (double is too much
  • Must have a title or it will be rejected (I need to know)
  • Current BWI member (it’s only fair)
  • One entry each (unless there are extraordinary extenuating circumstances)
  • Submit as a ‘word file’ (others are messy)
  • All conditions must be adhered to – e.g. not even one word over 246 (discipline!)

Judging may be moderated by non-entering member readers. The winner will be announced at our Members’ Night on 26th June (all being well)

Your entry must be sent as an attachment to an email file. In the email make sure to include your name, the title of your entry, and the word count of your entry.

Submit your entry to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com