BWI FF for January 2020

Hi all, here are the four entries that we received for our January Flash Fiction Competition. If they have not scrupulously followed the requirements, they may not be eligible to win the competition.

Your votes will be a guide to deciding the winner for this month and voting closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 26 January.

1          Cluster

Cluster lived across the street from us in Fitzroy. Fitzroy East, according to Cluster and if he could have arranged it, would have done away with Hoddle Street and had us living in Collingwood!

He was a fanatical Pies supporter, went to all the games, and the training sessions! He had painted his fence pickets black and white, ate vegemite on de-crusted white bread in summer and an infinite number of dog’s eyes and dead horse, throughout the winter. He once explained his diet in terms of the pies and sauce, representing the defeated foes from Saturday’s match and the black and white sandwiches providing off-season “…encouragement to the lads!”

We loved Cluster, even though he was a bit of a mad bastard! There was a bit of a whiff to him too, if you got downwind. He umpired our cricket games, arguments as well, if needed. He found us a set of wickets to replace the battered rubbish bins. He had stories too, of Squizzy Taylor and the local Push. He sold newspapers at the home games, and that got us into the ground, as assistants – we learnt to deliver “Heresya ‘erald, Inya ‘argus” like pros!

On Sundays, Cluster appeared in a collared shirt, Pies’ tie, a frayed, food-stained sports coat, shiny-arsed pants and a pork pie atop his balding pate! I followed him once. He kept to the narrow, cobbled laneways but eventually, with a knock at a side door, entered the Empress of India pub.

There, old Ma Harris maintained a knowledgeable Sunday trade with the Coppers’ collecting a few bottles on the side. Everybody was happy, and Cluster emerged, clutching a paper bag with his couple of Richmond Bitters.

Towards the end of April, Cluster would go a bit funny. Late at night he could be seen marching up and down the street crying, screaming, ducking and weaving. On Anzac Day, with his chest of medals, he would be off early to St Kilda Road, comrades to meet, memories to relive, thirsts to quench, coins to toss! We learnt to steer clear of him until early May!

With the footy season’s arrival, he’d cheer up and became Old Cluster again. He was our mate and thinking back on things, everybody in the street had a soft spot for Cluster. He put bins in and out for the neighbourhood, did unbidden odd jobs, ran the Cup Sweep in November and with his grizzled chin, was often called upon to don the Red Suit!

Twenty years later, Mum sent me a cutting – the Sun’s Death Notices. At first, I was puzzled as I read “Members of the Collingwood Football Club are saddened to learn of the death of Scott Maurice Treblecock and …”

2          An Aussie Day at the Footy

Tom gathered the gear as Harry and Geordie scrambled into the car, excitement mounting. They were heading off to watch their team play at the MCG.

Sally waved goodbye; then hurried back into the house. Smiling, she grabbed a magazine, a glass of wine, and headed out to the patio. Sheer bliss!

They arrived at the carpark, and trudged through the crowd until they found the entrance. The boys pushed and shoved each other as they waited in line.

Finally inside, they located their seats in the balcony.  The boys jumped around, swapping seats in their excitement. ‘Can we have a snack dad?’

‘Alright, but if you eat everything now, there’ll be nothing for later,’ he warned them.

They settled in with their snacks, and Tom sat back with a sigh of relief. The siren sounded and the game began. 

The boys sat bolt upright in the seats – entranced as they watched their team playing.

The game was slow; by the end of the first quarter they’d only scored a few points.

The crowd became agitated, and vocal.

The blokes behind them were on their feet leaning over Tom and the boys, fists clenched, swearing and roaring.

‘Use your f**king eyes, you useless bastard!’ they yelled at the umpire. The crowd around them roared and booed.

‘Grab hold of the f**king ball you pack of pussies,’ they screamed. 

The boys shifted in their seats; moving closer to Tom.

Turning around, Tom glared at a big burly bloke. ‘Hey mate, mind the boys.’

‘F**k off,‘ he snarled, leaning forward.  ‘Which f**king side ya on anyway?’ he hissed.

Tom leapt to his feet. The siren rang for half-time, and the crowd rushed out.

 ‘Come on, let’s go for a walk,’ Tom said, feeling agitated. 

‘Can we get a pie dad?’ Harry pleaded.

Tom laughed, and relented. ‘Well just this one time’.

They waited in the long line. ‘That’ll be $10,’ the woman said, passing over the pies.

“What, just for two pies?’ What a rip off, Tom thought, handing her the money.

Seated again, the boys got out the pies. Late comers pushed their way through the seats, banging into people.

Geordie lifted the pie to his mouth as a young girl flung past with a back pack and knocked it out of his hands. The pie splattered onto the concrete floor, and Geordie burst into tears.

Paper cups and rubbish flew down through the stand as the crowd got to its feet, swearing and yelling abuse at the players.

Tom looked around. ‘Time to go boys.’ 

Arriving home, Sally met them at the door. The boys looked downcast, Tom looked troubled.

Watching the boys drag themselves inside, he declared, ‘We won’t be going back there again!’

3          Useless

He broke. He kept going because that’s what Aussie’s do.

It was the start of summer and he’d just returned from a trip to Sydney to finalise his parents estate. He didn’t like the city. Each visit it felt busier and busier. More cars, more buildings, more people.

This land was were he loved to be. His grandfather had been born on the porch where he now stood. They were all gone now. He was the only one left and now he was about to leave.

Growing up on the land he never had much time for socialising. The neighbours daughter left for university and then she got a job in the city.

Now as he surveyed the horizon, thoughts of her turned his mouth up at the edges. They’d stumbled into each other. He looking at the piece of paper with the solicitors address written on it. Her trying to juggle her boxes of dresses she had bought to take back to Western Australia with her.

A dinner apology was all it took for him to be thinking about leaving New South Wales for the very first time.

Before Christmas he managed to lease the farm and sell all the livestock. It was too big a task for one to do alone but he was motivated by spending the new year getting to know her family and friends.

He was battling exhaustion as he rode his horse to the station to book his ticket when the fires broke out. January vanished in a smoky haze of ash and embers. He was so tired, getting dressed made his head hurt but neighbours houses needed saving. It had been a dry year. Everyone knew that fires were part of living on the land. No one could remember a summer this bad.

Sleeping in his barn wasn’t how he planned to start this year but a handshake had sealed his fate and the new tenants had already moved in.

Before the fires he would make a quick phone call to wish her goodnight. Now, so exhausted, he didn’t have energy to re-read the letter that came from her last week. She didn’t understand why he wasn’t there or why he no longer called her. He was struggling to fall asleep and yet felt like he needed to sleep for a week.

The fight against the fires was finally won on Valentines Day. It was a few more weeks before the community stopped feeling on edge day and night.

It was the end of summer before he felt well enough to travel and think clearly again. Now as he road his horse along the track he wondered what he’d do with the rest of his life.

4          True Blue

I am standing in front of the mirror trying to figure out what to say at the service. Over the past week I must have written over a dozen different versions of what I want to say but nothing seemed quite right. I mean how do you sum up a life in just a few sequences. I could talk about how I learned about fair play and standing by your mates from him. Or maybe I should talk about how he was always preaching about equality and tolerance. I just want to say the right thing and make him proud of me because I know he is watching over me. Just then I think of a song I once heard on the radio and I know what I am going to do. I will sing true blue by John Williamson because that is what my dad was, he was true blue.

BWI FF for January 2020

BWI Monthly FF for January 28 2020

Entries close at 11.59 pm on Monday 20 January. Voting begins on Tuesday 21 January and closes at 11.59 pm on Sunday 26 January. The winner will be announced at the Members’ Night on Wednesday, 29th January 2020, at The Bunch of Grapes Hotel in Pleasant Street Ballarat.

The closing date coincides with Australia Day, so the THEME is about Australian/s’ values, mores, idiosyncrasies, or traits. You have up to 456 words to use, NOT including the title.

Conditions of entry

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 its word count, not including the words in the title.

Make sure of: –

  1. 12 point, Times New Roman font.
  2. Single line spacing.
  3. A title.
  4. Submitted as a word.doc, or .docx file, (PDF files lose all formatting in their transition) If you use PAGES on a Mac then you can still save the document as a .docx file, or you can download WORD for Mac (I think WORD is best, but that’s just me).
  5. Being a current member of Ballarat Writers.
  6. One entry per member.

Just one word too many, double spacing, or the wrong font, will invalidate your entry.

Judging will include popularity, and attention to spelling, syntax, capitalisation, punctuation, grammar, and misuse of similar sounding words including ‘there’, and ‘their’, and may be moderated by non-entering member reader/s.

Use of F7, GRAMMARLY, or PROWRITINGAID will obviate many basic errors. Call me if you need assistance with any of these, on 0409023919.

Submit entries to:

Happy writing


Congratulations to Kirsty Hawkes who won the Pamela Miller FF for 2019

Kirsty will receive a cheque for $100, and an engraved commemorative wine glass. Her entry was number 5 – “No Wonder”

Let’s hope we see more of Kirsty’s stories and well done to everyone who entered. There were 48 votes cast, with Kirsty gaining 17, and the next nearest received 10 votes; AND Kirsty had the least errors in her entry, which clinched her win.

BWI’s Pamela Miller Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Voting will be a guide to the popularity of each entry. The judge/s will also take into account spelling, appropriate grammar, capitalisation, punctuation, and syntax. The judge/s decision is final.

  1. Happy Christmas

I wonder as I pause just long enough to gaze into his eyes for a split second what this first Christmas means to him. Is he aware of all the extra time people use finding gifts and organising meals at this time of year? The schedule of his feeds and diaper changes haven’t changed any. Are his eyes developed enough to notice all the extra decorations everywhere we go? His love of playing peekaboo remains the same. Has he felt the kick of his sister who’ll have her first Christmas next year, as he suckles on his mothers breast gazing up into her eyes? Seeing how much she loves him pauses me long enough to wonder maybe we would all have a happier Christmas if we slowed down just enough, to remember what it was really all about.

  1. Different Spelling

“Eyes are meant to be the keys to the soul.” Said Thomas.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that before.” Replied Fritz.

 “Sole is also a fish, spelt different though.”

“Yeah, I wonder if there’s any in here?

You reckon we’ll catch anything today?”

“I hope so.”

“Seoul’s the capital of South Korea,

spelt different again.”

“We should go fishing there one day,

might be better than this lake.

Missus is always whinging about a holiday.

I could send her there, we could go up the river for a week.

Not such a bad idea is it?”

“No, Reckon it might work, She could go with mine.”

“That would be even better.”

“Hey! Think I had a bite.

There’s something on the line”

“Reel it in.”

“Look at this!”

“What you catch?

Fritz laughs, while holding up his fishing rod.

“An old boot sole.

Spelt different again.”

  1. Baby girl.

I enter the hospital room and catch my breath. I can’t believe my eyes there on the bed is my girlfriend Kerry holding our beautiful baby girl. I walked over to them and kiss Kerry on the forehead and stare down at our child in wonder as she yawns and opens her eyes. I see she has inherited Kerry’s blue green eyes. “She’s beautiful isn’t she?” I whisper. “Yeah she is” Kerry replies. Kerry and I had been so worried that something would go wrong because a couple of years ago we had a son who was stillborn but thankfully she is perfectly healthy. “Want to hold her?” Kerry asks me, I nod and take the baby into my arms. I kiss her forehead and whisper “hey baby girl, I’m your daddy and I will always be there for you whenever you need me”

  1. Backyard gardening wonder

Found a body in the back yard not long ago. Well the dog did. Son’s pup. We were babysitting 35 kilograms of ridgeback – a digger!

She worried this one spot repeatedly. I swore and backfilled. She dug again. Over a week I reckon her digging and me backfilling, was risking RSI for both of us! Then, on the Friday, up comes this skull! Human, err, with eyes – well, ya know, sockets – staring, spooky. I did wonder if this was blackpella bisnus?

I called the cops. They dug and asked around. I didn’t have to worry about digging the veggie patch this year. Jees, the back yard had enough dug to keep McCains’ going for decades.

They found a coupla more bones. Heard they arrested a fella, used to rent the place years ago – a writer. Funny really. Ya gotta wonder, eh!

  1. No Wonder

It’s been a heavy, heart pounding heave up the hill. Every time I do this I wonder how much longer…

My lithesome daughter is already at the top. How long has she been there I wonder?

“Wow this is awesome!” she enthuses.

That devalued word annoys me, but it’s peak superlative in the teenage lexicon. Good, she’s getting it. The walk, every step bittersweet with anticipation and decrepitude, has been worth it. The view – lochs and hills slicing to the sea, islands scattered artfully to the horizon. Joy.

Then I see her eyes – glazed and glued. That bloody ubiquitous screen! For me a door to many wonders, an aid for curiosity, but never a substitute for real life. For her a brain-melting, mediocrity-making, creativity-crushing, memory-munching, wonder-wiping addiction.

The scenery fades like a screensaver, my heart plunges.

“You get a full signal up here!”

  1. Doubt

‘Come on son, you’re as brave as Ned Kelly, you can do it,’ he insisted.

‘Don’t be crazy dad, she’ll buck me off!’

‘No she won’t, she’s as tame as a lamb. Up you get,’ he demanded, leaning down, his arms reaching for me.

‘I don’t want to,’ I yelled, backing away.

‘Come on, be a man, tell her whose boss.’

My legs felt weak as I looked up at her. I’d have a long way to fall.

With a glint in his eyes, dad grabbed me and hoisted me into the saddle. I sat there frozen in fear.

I stared at the vast expanse of paddock in the distance and clutched at the reins as dad gave her a hefty whack on the rump.

Our old cow Daisy looked back at me, gave her head a shake, and off we trotted.

  1. Crime Novel

It is when I turn the corner of an unassuming street in Ararat that I realise something is wrong. It is no longer sunny daylight; the street is narrow, dim and mean; drizzling rain is puddling in the broken cobblestones; Raymond’s Chandler’s bishop is kicking in a stained glass window and the moon glinting on the broken shards – just like in every ‘show don’t tell’ writing guide.

I am in a crime novel.

Does that make me the hero of this tale, and is this my journey, I wonder? Or perhaps I am the unreliable narrator. I look down at my fingers clutching the half-empty whiskey bottle. I rub my weary eyes and feel the baggage of my broken childhood bowing my shoulders like a permanent swag.

No doubt I am lately returned to the place of my youth, to face unfinished…

  1.  A Change of Heart

She had resisted the hype and half-truths of Gallipoli for years. Making the obligatory pilgrimage at last, she saw what she had expected…white crosses, graves facing the sea, impossible cliffs soaring above narrow beaches.

She had not expected acres of parks, and monuments to the fallen still immaculately maintained, or the great bronze Ataturk commanding the high ground. She stooped to read the generous words with which he had comforted the mothers of his enemies:

“These heroes lie in the soil of a friendly country.

There is no difference between Johnnies and Mehmets to us.

You mothers, who sent your sons from far away countries, wipe away your

 tears. Your sons have become our sons as well.”

She followed the eyes of the statue over the graves it guarded. Respect and compassion had banished bitterness and united former adversaries for generations.  Gallipoli was important.

  1. Dancing eyes

Older than six but small for her age, Jenny sat straddled on her aunty’s lap, facing her. Aunty’s arms rested comfortably around the little ones waist forming a band of love secured by interlocked fingers and DNA.

Both her heart and her cheeks glowed warmly as two small hands cupped her face, one on each side. Aunty’s contented smile grew between Jenny’s pinkies as she observed the wonder of deep thought on her niece’s angelic face. They stared at each other for what seemed like quite a while. 

Finally Jenny asked. She never had before, but she was old enough now to notice differences and still young enough to be curious without reserve. 

‘Aunty, why do your eyes dance around?’

Settling in for the explanation she thought Jenny deserved, she began to explain. Jenny listened then gave a satisfied nod and concluded,

‘OK then’. 

  1. Beneath a Layer of Paint

Sculptures made from driftwood and easels filled with her parents’ work decorated the rooms of Layla’s house. An endless stream of guests sipped wine—the Wilsons were celebrity honey to swarms of bees.

Layla’s siblings had blue eyes, hers were moss green; they were drenched with the family’s artistic genes, and she was drawn to science.

‘She’s the black sheep, isn’t she?’ said her aunt, an Archibald winner.

Layla’s mother sniffed. ‘At least she’s using science for art conservation,’

After her mother died, Layla examined her family’s portrait. She shone a halogen lamp behind it and placed an infrared camera in front, the alchemy of which would expose any drawings underneath the paint.

Layla focused the camera’s lens, knowing years of wondering were about to end. A figure emerged. It was Owen Taylor, regular guest of the Wilson’s—a geneticist with green eyes.

Follow the link below to cast your vote.


The Pamela Miller Annual Flash Fiction Competition 2019


The winner will receive a prize of $100.00. The competition will be open for voting in the usual way, and the results will be a guide for the judge/s to consider.

The theme this year is ‘wonder’, and your story MUST include the word ‘eyes’. You have a maximum of 144 words (isn’t that a gross figure?), and the title will NOT be included in the 144. If your entry exceeds 144 words, excluding the title, by even one word, it will be disallowed.

The competition will commence at midnight on Wednesday 30 October 2019, and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 18 November 2019. Voting will be open from 11.59pm on Tuesday 19 November 2019 and will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 24 November 2019.

The winner will be announced at our Xmas Break Up evening on 27 November after 7pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel in Pleasant Street Ballarat.

The judge’s decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.


Submit your entry to:

BWI Flash Fiction – October 2019

Hi all, here are our five entries for this month. Voting closes at 11.59 this coming Sunday. Your vote will provide a valuable guide for the judge.

1          Mythical Romance

Every blade a dew drops vessel,

To reflect the stark white moon,

All that glitters in the stillness,

While the eves melodic tune,

Plays it’s symphony of 


Softly tempting those who chance,

To step upon that crisp damp green

Where night-time fairies dance.

Each one caught up in the fancy,

Of a mythical romance.

They are there but no-one sees them,

Not the women or the child,

Not the calm well meaning old man

Or the rebel boy so wild.

In the midnight mist they breath there,

Moving amongst the game,

Knowing all the while,

That there mischief won’t be tamed. 

So their silent secret lingers

And the merriment remains.

2                                              .fairies.

All that glitters is not gold is a saying that my parents used to use all the time when speaking about fairies and it is true. Fairies are masters of deception and tricks of the mind. They may not be able to lie but the can make you see things that are not real. They can make you see horrors that will send you to madness or make you see beauties beyond your wildest dreams. So always be careful when dealing with fairies.

3                                              Harvey’s Gilded Tomb…

Harvey Leach was promoted to Creative Director, with leading ad-brands to manage.  But his partners at Bastings-Shelldrake never guessed his true ‘inspiration’.

He had been stalking poets for years, to fillet and ‘monetise’, poor flatheads.

Life was a hard race, and ‘integrity’ for wimps and losers.  Everything was for sale, including love, wisdom, sincerity: just ‘flag words’, commodities.

His own early scribbles were securely locked in a drawer.

Still asleep at 2am, Harvey floated back to his younger self, the poet now buried in a shallow grave, suffocating forever.

Harvey woke with a start, sobbing faintly.

Such promise, potential, all gone!

4          Same Old Story

He sat slumped across the table, snivelling, snot running from his nose. I squirmed in my seat.

‘For god’s sake, wipe your bloody nose,’ I snapped.  He was clearly a broken man. I relented a little, asked him what had happened.

He mumbled through his sorry tale. She was the love of his life, dazzling, glitzy, sexy – up for a good time. Then she fleeced him of his money and took off.

‘Mate, you’re not the first to fall for ‘all that glitters is gold’ crap.’

I shook my head. ‘Believe me, I know – gaze at that glitter long enough, you end up blind.’

I tossed him my handkerchief. He’d learn.

5          Our 42nd date.

We stopped during our stroll through the park. Michael was like none I’d met before. My heart started racing as his knee caressed the earth. It had only been 3 months. Watching his hand slip into his jacket I silently mouthed, “yes”.

I froze as he pulled his hand out.

It glittered in the moon light.

The look in his eye, I’d never seen before.

My heart skipped a beat as he reached between my legs. It may have been dark but we were in a public park.

As I felt the vibrations reverberate up my thigh I dared to turn my head to look behind.

It was a kill shot.


BWI Flash Fiction Competition October 2019

Congratulations to Neville Hiatt, winner of September’s Flash Fiction competition, for his story “2020”. You can read this in last month’s post.

You may be familiar with the saying ‘all that glitters is not gold’. October’s Flash Fiction prompt is “All that Glitters“.

You are limited to 111 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, 22 October.

Voting closes at 11.59 pm on Sunday, 27 October. 

The winner will be announced at our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 30 October.

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:



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.


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.


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:


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

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:

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 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.