October Flash Memoir

It is essential that memoirs are judged exclusively on their merit, including (as appropriate for the item), punctuation, syntax, spelling, and grammar.

Please vote only on the memoir’s worth, and do not allow personal loyalties to influence your vote. Our aim is to encourage all writers, not discourage any through having no chance of winning solely on their excellence.

Please vote for the best all-round submission. That is true honesty and good-citizenship.

  1.  No Second Chance

Words – 295

The call came in the early hours of Saturday morning. The doctor’s voice was kind, concerned, reassuring, all in one short conversation. My elderly mother had died during the night he told me.  She’d had a sudden heart attack, and didn’t suffer.

I sat bolt upright in the bed, shocked and overwhelmed by the sudden loss and a feeling of regret. How could this be? I was to visit her today and take her home.

She had been admitted to hospital the previous week for treatment of a non- threatening blood disorder.  I visited her every day, taking in fruit, nibbles and the daily paper. We chatted about her day, she quite enjoyed being in hospital, but always looked forward to going home. She lived alone in a small unit and was happy there.

On Friday I had to go out of town for work, and returned home late. I was tired, hungry, out of sorts after the day out, and did not feel up to a trip to the hospital. I rang my mother, ‘How are you mum?’

‘I’m feeling better, and the doctor thinks I can go home tomorrow.’ She sounded bright and chirpy.

I felt relief. ‘I’ve just come home.  I won’t come in tonight, unless there’s something you need?’

‘No, that’s alright, they’re looking after me well in here.’

I could hear a whisper of disappointment in her voice, but I blocked it out.  The day had left me exhausted.

‘I’ll get some groceries in the morning and freshen up the unit. I’ll call into the hospital about 11 o’clock.’ She seemed happy with that and said goodbye. I felt a pang of guilt as I hung up, but told myself I’d see her tomorrow.

The next morning she was gone.

 

  1.  A Life Lesson Learned

Words – 294

One bright summer’s day, aged twelve, my mate Russell, and I, chased Brian Beswick and his four mates, up the back lane into Brian’s backyard.

Brian and his friends threw stones at us. Russell tossed a piece of tree-branch. It hit Brian’s leg.

We raced back to our homes knowing we’d be in trouble.

Russell darted inside his house. I sat in my driveway in the dirt.

Mr. Beswick strode up, arriving as my dad, Bill, came out to stand beside me in the sunshine.

Mr. Beswick said, “Bill, your son threw a piece of wood at my boy that hit him”.

Dad looked down at me drawing circles in the dust, and asked, “Did you do that?”

I shook my head and said, “No Dad”. To my young mind, it was not me who had thrown the stick, so it was a truthful answer to the question.

Dad raised his eyebrows, and cocked his head at Mr. Beswick, as if to say, “That’s that then”.

Mr. Beswick said, “Well, he knows who did do it”.

Dad asked, “Do you?”

“Yes Dad”.

Mr. Beswick said, “Well, who was it?”

Again, Dad looked at me, and said, “Are you going to say who it was?”

“I don’t want to say, Dad”.

He spread his arms out from his sides, palms up, shrugged, and looked at Mr. Beswick with an open, blank, but understanding face, clearly indicating that the conversation was over.

“Harumph,” said Mr. Beswick, then spun on his heel, and walked off.

Dad half-turned, looked at me, winked, and without another word, walked leisurely back up our drive.

He never mentioned the incident again.

“It was in that moment that I learned about quiet strength, loyalty, steadfastness, love, and how to be a man.”

 

  1.  365

Words – 235

He grew up afraid of the sound of his own name.

Before he was old enough to write a single word he understood the power of them.

Hiding in his wardrobe at night he would try and forget all the words he had heard that day. They pinned him down making him feel so heavy that to move even the smallest amount gave him splinters. The wood from the bottom of the wardrobe burying deep under his skin smashing against the rocks inside causing even more pain.

The softness of that thin strip of satin held tightly against his face offering little comfort as it soaked up his silent tears till it could hold no more. His fear heightened as the drops fell hitting the wooden floor, petrified with every splash he would be found.

The morning sun would sneak under the crack in the bottom of the door waking him before anyone else as he quickly and as quietly as he could, he would wash and leave the house. Making sure his school uniform covered as much as he could.

Each step the voices in his head fuelling the inner turmoil as he walked from one place that should have been a sanctuary to another. Always in fear and dread of what would happen today. How many new names would he learn he had. How he longed to be called just one, just one.

Advertisements

October Flash Competition

General Information:
Entries are limited to financial members only. Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the maximum word limit – even if by one word, and must comply with all the required parameters. Your email must include author’s name, story title, and word count. One entry per member, and sent as a Word file (.doc or .docx file). PDF files will not be accepted as they lose formatting in transition.

Submit entries to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com by 4 pm Friday, 20 October 2017. Voting will open here the next day and will close at 4 pm on Wednesday 25 October.

Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday 25 October at 7 pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel to hear the winner announced. You can have dinner there from 6 pm (Results will also be posted here the day after.)

This month’s Flash Competition parameters are:

Genre:     Memoir

Word count:      not more than 295 words (the title is excluded from the word count)

Conditions of entry

Your entry must:

  1. Be in 12 point Times New Roman font
  2. Have single line spacing
  3. Have a title
  4. Include the author’s name
  5. Include the word count; exclusive of the title
  6. Be submitted as a Word.doc, or .docx file (PDF files lose all formatting in their transition and will not be accepted in that form)

P.S. The use of F7 on your keyboard is highly recommended. If you are not familiar with this valuable aid to accuracy, Phil Green is happy to assist. Email him at philgreen@eftel.net.au

September Flash Fiction

It is essential that entries are judged exclusively on their merit, including (as appropriate for the story), punctuation, syntax, spelling, and grammar.

Please vote only on the story’s worth, and do not allow personal loyalties to influence your vote. Our aim is to encourage all writers, not discourage any through having no chance of winning solely on their story’s excellence.

Please vote for the best all-round story instead of necessarily voting for your own story. That is true honesty and good-citizenship.

 

1  Title     A Tender Heart

  Words   352

The school bell rang out as they ran from the class rooms, down through the corridors and out to the locker rooms. Tom called out, ‘Frankie did you get your bike fixed?’

‘Yeah,’ she replied, ‘I’ll meet you out the back’.

Tom grabbed his bike, flew around the corner of the school, and raced towards the lake. Frankie was sitting on her bike by the water’s edge; pony-tail flying in the breeze, fringe protruding from under her school cap.  His heart gave a familiar tug.  He remembered the school social; laughing as they danced around the room; her warmth as he held her close. Tom yearned for something more, but Frankie belonged to no-one. Music was her passion and playing the guitar was the most important thing in her life. Tom wished he could play.

They took off on their bikes across the narrow causeway of the lake, down onto the bush track on the other side. It was a short-cut to home where they lived as neighbours. Tom recalled the times he had Frankie on the bar of his bike, dinking her home; arms wrapped around her, her hair brushing his face. Now they flew over the gutters, their bikes going at a rapid pace. Frankie glanced back and laughed, ‘Keep up Tom!’

Tom hung back; his eyes soft and tender as he watched her swerving around on the bike. He planned to take Frankie into town later to buy her a birthday present. He longed to give her something special, just from him.

As they arrived home, Harry flew past on his bike and shouted, ‘Frankie, we’re having a music session, bring your guitar, it’s at the church hall.’

Frankie jumped off the bike. ‘Hang on and I’ll grab it,’ she yelled, running into the house.

Tom cast his eyes down, and made his way up the driveway. Throwing down the bike, he marched into the bedroom, slammed the door shut and dragged the old guitar out from under the bed. Mouth set with determination, he placed his bulky fingers on the rusty strings, grit his teeth and started strumming.

 

2   Title     Love At First Sight

Words    348

‘Father, it is 2017, I am old enough; I should be married; I need to be married.’

‘What do you mean my son, you need to be married?’

‘I need to have intimacy.’

‘Ahh. Good, your mother will be pleased; she was becoming worried for you. I will find a wife for you my son, trust me.’

‘Allah be praised; thank you Father, but please Father, I want to love my bride, and I want to be happy with her. Please, I do not want just any woman for a bride, I want for there to be romance too.’

‘Trust me Muhammed my son, I will make sure that you are not disappointed.’

 

‘Father.’

‘Yes, my son?’

‘It has been nearly three months since we talked of getting me a wife. Is anything happening?’

‘Yes, I have been speaking with my old friend Aabid. Aabid has many daughters, and one is suitable for marriage.’

‘May I know her name, Father?’

‘Yes, her name is Aisha.’

‘Aisha! Oh, Father, that is such a good sign. She has the same name as our dear prophet’s second wife, and the Hadeeth tells us that he was mightily pleased with her.’

‘Yes, my son, and as Allah, in his perfect wisdom, has chosen to make you in our Prophet’s image, peace be upon Him, she will be perfect for you. She is only two years older than blessed Aisha was when our Prophet took her as his wife. Who knows, perhaps you may become an Iman and aid in spreading our cultural teachings?’

‘But, please tell me, Father, is she pretty?’

‘I have not seen her, but Aabid says that she is pretty and well-schooled in all home duties.’

 

His wedding day is two months later, and Muhammed the obese dwarf stands in the courtyard after his marriage ceremony. His passion is rising; his eyes are closed. On opening them he sees his father’s token dowry of a white goat standing beside Aisha his eleven-year-old bride as she shyly lowers the hood of her burqa.

Allah be praised; love at first sight!

 

3  Title      BnB

Words      348

The tears streamed down my face as I walked down the isle solo.  From that first moment noticing him in college taking photos of the football team to now seeing him all dressed up waiting for me to join him for the rest of our lives.

What a journey these last few years had been. I couldn’t have been prouder of his quick rise from Intern to Editor at the newspaper. His investigative prowess made it difficult to keep the details of the dress I now wore a secret from him. One of the few secrets we had between us. He’d kept the honeymoon plans a secret from me and I was ok with that, it would make the week ahead even more exhilarating.

The aroma from the bouquet took me back to those lazy spring weekends when he’d pick me up and  we’d ride out to our favourite meadow. His back strong and firm against the tree my head in his lap as we took time just to listen to each other.

As I slid my hand into his I was surprised to feel it damp. I’d never known him to have sweaty palms before. My one and only forever and ever, I finally noticed everyone in the church. I wish my parents could have been there, I wish he had a better relationship with his.

We’d written our own vows and I’m glad I hadn’t tried to memorise them as my memory may have failed me under the pressure of the moment.  ‘Where’s the photographer oh there she is.’

“Yes I do”

The passion of that first kiss, words fail me. How can one describe something that felt so connected, so deep down right and natural.  My face must have given away what I was thinking about next as he looked at me inquisitively.

“I now present to you Mr and Mrs..”

While everyone was cheering I whispered in his ear “you’ll have to wait until the honeymoon to see the something blue”.

 

 

September Flash Fiction

General Information:
Entries are limited to financial members only. Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the maximum word limit – even if by a word, and must comply with all the required parameters. Your email must include author’s name, story title, and word count. One entry per member, and sent as Word file (.doc or .docx file). PDF files will not be accepted as they lose formatting in transition.

Submit entries to: competitions@ballaratwriters.com by 4 pm Friday, 22 September 2017. Voting will open here the next day and will close at 4 pm on Wednesday 27 September.

Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday 27 September at 7 pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel to hear the winner announced. You can have dinner there from 6 pm (Results will also be posted here the day after.)

This month’s Flash Fiction parameters are:

Prompt:      Passion (must appear somewhere in story)

Genre:     Romance 

Word count:      325 –357

Conditions of entry

Your entry must:

  1. Be in 12-point Times New Roman font
  2. Have single line spacing
  3. Have a title
  4. Include the author’s name
  5. Include the word count; exclusive of the title
  6. Be submitted as a Word.doc, or .docx file (PDF files lose all formatting in their transition and will not be accepted in that form)

 

P.S. The use of F7 on your keyboard is highly recommended. If you are not familiar with this valuable aid to accuracy, Phil Green is happy to assist. Email him at philgreen@eftel.net.au

August Flash Fiction votes

Hi all, the highest Flash Fiction popularity votes for August were tied between number 1, “The Return” by Linda Young, and number 5, “Beauty Without Borders” by Neville Hiatt.

Congratulations to you both for having the highest number of people voting for your submissions.

We look forward to receiving further submissions from everyone for September, where the genre is “ROMANCE”, the word count is 325-357, and the word that must appear therein is ‘Passion’. All of the rules and parameters will be published here tomorrow, or the next day, or …

Happy Writing – Phil Green, BWI Competitions Co-ordinator.

August 2017 Flash Fiction Entries

This month’s Flash Fiction parameters were:

Prompt:      Early spring in the forest 

Genre:     Thriller 

Word count:      200 – 220

Please judge all entries solely on their merit.

 

1          Title    THE RETURN

Words             219

It’s said that evil never wins, and I have returned to this place to ensure it never does. The house is still, the shutters drawn, and around the trees daffodils stand like sentinels in the chill of the early spring.

I was raised here; I know the secrets within these walls, and the people who left their footprints upon this house of horror.

Searching through the rubble inside the house, I sense his presence. Like an animal he has returned home, and around the room I see the unmade bed, the scattered bottles, the empty plates. The warmth from the fire tells me he’s near; I spin around, alert to the sounds as the floorboards creak.

Staying close to the wall, I remove the gun from the holster and release the safety catch, my heart pounding in anticipation.

I pause, listening for movement. The wind howls through the forest as a branch crashes to the ground. I freeze, then move quickly through the door, scanning the trees on the hill. A mist covers the mountains, blocking out the sun as darkness closes in. I drop to my knees, and wait.

High above the ground, a man stares through the lens of a rifle scope, his finger resting upon the trigger. Shaking with fear, he knows he must not miss.

 

2          Title    I’M TRULY SORRY SUZANNE

Words            219

I lie hidden in the dank, green bushes of early spring in the forest, watching my duct-taped hostage. He’s a disgraced politician. I know how little he is worth in the minds of others, and I now wonder if anyone will pay even the mere $10,000 for his life.

He’s rorted the system in claiming false expenses. His demands for hundreds of thousands of dollars for travel not undertaken, and for personal credit card purchases unrelated to his electoral duties, have finally brought him undone. A select committee is investigating further allegedly spurious receipts. All who know him, despise him, including his wife, who has found out that his supposed fact-finding tours to exotic countries have been without her, but with his private secretary, Enid. He had told his wife, that as a female, she could not accompany him.

My partner, Suzanne, without whom I can’t make it, is to phone the moment the money-parcel is at the drop-site. I will then pull a string allowing a sharp knife to fall beside my hostage who can cut himself free without knowing that I hide nearby.

But wait!

A deadly brown snake slithers silently past my knee; I jerk; the snake bites; I die without having pulled the string.

You’ll have the money, but not me; I’m truly sorry Suzanne.

 

3          Title                Early Spring

Words            220 words

It was the early spring in the forest that saved me. The young cougar was an inexperienced hunter and mistimed his jump – too early.

I had a micro-second’s warning and dropped and rolled, coming to my knees and fumbling in the quiver for an arrow.  His body crashed ahead of me, scrabbling and growling, head already swivelling back at me, his body leaning hard left, pivoting in a U turn.

Hunting deer was one thing. Being hunted was another. This tree-hugging environmental shit with a bow was about to kill me.

The cougar wheeled, claws gaining traction in the forest floor, yellow eyes focused on me.

I notched an arrow – a metallic, expensive thing. Still only an arrow. Compound metal bow, unrecognisable to a hunter for another age, but only a bow.

The cat accelerated towards me. I drew, aimed at the open mouth and loosed. The arrow dropped a little and took it in the neck but didn’t stop it. The bow dropped and my hunting knife was it my hand.   It hit me hard, its claws  embedding in my skull.  I stabbed sideways, blade repeatedly finding the head. Blood flowed down covering my eyes blinding me, but I kept stabbing, falling, screaming now – terrified.

If I lived – telescopic Winchester from now on. If I had eyes.

 

4          Title

Words            207

Gerhard turned a corner and abruptly stopped to light his cigarette. It was an old PI’s trick to spot a tail. He turned up the collar of his coat and pulled the brim of his hat low, cupping the light with his hands. It was dusk and street lights glowed yellow. From the corner of his eye he watched the approaching shadow grow longer and stop. He pressed himself into a recessed doorway on the cobbled lane and waited. The tail came round the corner in a hurry having lost sight of his quarry. Gerhard stuck out his size twelve, tripped him and then pinned him to the ground. “Who are you’, he growled. No-one. I’m walking home like you.’ ‘Who are you?’ This time the luger was pointed to his head. “Please, I can explain.’ ‘ SS or Gestapo?’ Gerhard cocked the pistol. ‘Early spring in the forest….. Gerhard eased his weight off the man slowly. He recognised the password. But something was not right. He patted him down and took his piece. ‘Alright. Whats it all about?’ ‘Your client is a double agent.’ ‘And you’re not?’ Gerhard was suspicious, but too late for the blow on the head from behind. He hit the ground hard.

 

5          Title                Beauty Without Borders

Words            220

As the wind caressed the wild flowers, they looked lovingly into each other’s eyes. Their weekends in the forest had become a ritual ever since their honeymoon. No one knew where they went; they just disappeared every Friday after work and never returned till the wee hours of Monday morning.

During the week, work colleagues would look on wondering how they could still be so in love years later. Their weekends away seemed to be paying off, as their performance at work only accelerated post-marriage.

The sun felt so warm on their skin as they paused for a drink.

Everything stopped.

The darkness was overwhelming and they were suddenly shivering.

They pulled their helmets off, looking in disbelief at each other, and then gazed around the bright, white room.

“Where are we John?”

‘How long had they been here, were they even married?’ Nelly wondered, staring at her gloved hand.

“I don’t know” he responded. John’s search for an escape was halted as Nelly started shaking uncontrollably. “John” was the last word she whispered before fainting.

Laying her down gently John ripped the rest of his suit off.

‘This must be some top level tech to make us believe that was all real.’

‘Now where’s that door that got us in here? We have to be able to get out.’

 

AUGUST FLASH FICTION

Entry Conditions:
Entries are limited to financial members only. Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the maximum word limit – even if by a word, and must comply with all the stated parameters. Your email must include author’s name, story title, and word count. One entry per member, and best sent as .doc file as PDF files lose formatting.

All entries are to be submitted to competitions@ballaratwriters.com by 5 pm Friday, 25 August. Voting will open here the next day and will close at 4 pm on Wednesday 30 August.

Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 30 August at 7 pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel to hear the winner announced. You can have dinner there from 6 pm (Results will also be posted here the day after.)

This month’s Flash Fiction parameters are:

Prompt:      Early spring in the forest 

Genre:     Thriller 

Word count:      200 – 220