June Flash Fiction

Entry Conditions:

Entries are limited to paid 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.

All entries are to be submitted to competitions@ballaratwriters.com by 5:00pm Friday, 23 June. Voting will open here on the blog at this time and will close at 4:00 pm on Wednesday 28 June.

Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 28 May, 7pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel to hear the winner announced. (Results will also be posted here on the blog the day after.)

This month’s Flash Fiction parameters are:

Prompt: Include the sentence, “You’re an Idiot”

Genre: Drama 

Word count:  100-110

 

June Flash Fiction Entries

Entry 1       6:12

Words:    110

“you’re an idiot a stupid stupid idiot” she kept repeating to herself as she sat on the rock.

Then she saw her reflection in the water.

With each ripple of water as a fish swam by she felt something change.

The hurt dissolved to be replaced by hope.

The hatred sunk to the bottom of the lake as she felt compassion for the first time in a long time.

Her reflection changed further as tears released the final remnants of her past.

The rising sun warmed her back as she walked away.

All that was left to greet it was a loaded gun and a book on top that rock.

 

Entry 2    Kiss Me

Words:   106

“Don’t just sit there, kiss me.”

“Kiss you?”

“Yes; you know you want to.”

“Why would I want to do that; I hardly know you?”

“We’ve been taking notes at this tiny table, and role-playing together, for four days. You know me.”

“Sitting beside you does not constitute knowing you.”

We’ve eaten together, compared notes together. Critiqued each other’s work. You know me.”

“I’m married.”

“So am I.”

“Have you learned anything here?”

“Huh?”

“This week of workshops is to strengthen our resolve not to stray in our relationships.”

“But you like me. I like you. Come on, kiss me.”

“You’re an idiot. You’ve learned nothing.”

 

Entry 3   Easy Target

Words:   110

Steve peddled his bike madly along the back road, praying Dave wouldn’t find him. Then he saw the Ute come tearing around the corner, bumper bar smashed, dints in the doors, no number plates. Dave whispered ‘got you!’ pressed his foot hard on the accelerator and swerved towards the bike. Steve held on tight and slid into the gutter as Dave yanked back the steering wheel and shot past.

‘You’re an idiot,’ Steve yelled, raising his fist as he picked up the bike. The Ute did a sudden U-turn, and Steve felt his stomach lurch. Dave tightened his grip on the wheel – his mouth set, his eyes cold and hard.

 

Entry 4     Wreck

Words:   110

My brother storms into the kitchen, a set of keys swinging from his index finger.

‘Ella, I need help.’

Fragments of glass are tangled in his hair, glinting under the fluorescent lights. Mum told him not to do anything stupid, her words thick as she tried to stem the flow from her broken nose while waiting for the ambulance. She begged Simon not to touch him.

I glance past Simon to the front lawn, where Darren’s prized BMW sits. The tyres are flat, rims bent, the windscreen scattered over the car’s front seats.

            ‘You’re an idiot,’ I groan, but I follow him to the wreck. We have to hide it. 

 

Entry 5    The Idiot

Words:     110

Not for the first time, the old man lay dying, legs curled under him like a newborn foal, open mouth revealing ancient, rusted teeth. You could be mistaken for thinking he’d gone already.

Emergency fluoros illuminated a weary gaggle of nurses. How hard they work, thought Louise, tearing her eyes away from her father’s heart monitor. It was all she had.

“He’s slipping again,” Louise whispered, to the bearded nurse. Had he heard, over the beep of the alarm?

“Tell the next shift,” he replied, moving to the monitor. He flipped a switch. The red blink disappeared.

“Problem solved,” he said to Louise.

“Sorry,” she answered, “but you’re an idiot.”

 

Entry 6   Three Wishes

Words:   109

A Genie watches while you are reading this.

Hoping you find these words interesting;

so interesting that they bring you magic.

 

Magic in the form of wishes.

Three wishes. Yes, vote for this

and you will receive three wishes

for anything your heart desires.

 

But, if you choose not to vote for this,

your three wishes will vanish

beyond the curtains of time.

 

Make your decision straight and true,

remember the three wishes are waiting

among these words for you.

 

If for some illogical reason

you decide not to vote for this

dramatic spine tingling write.

Next time you look into a mirror,

you will see you’re an idiot!

 

Vote here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March Flashes

Entry 1 | My Journal – For You | 100 words

It’s our annual holiday and I smile across at you as I stop the car. The smell of the sea, the sound of the waves, soothes my soul and calms my troubled mind. ‘Come on,’ I laugh, jumping out. The sand burns my feet but the sea beckons. The wind carries your plea, ‘Wait for me.’ Running over the dunes and down to the roaring sea, I sense you behind me. ‘Hurry up,’ I cry, glancing back. But your vision has faded– as it always does –and pain strikes my heart. I sink into the soft wet sand, and weep.

Entry 2 | Trevi Sorrow | 100

It was eerily quiet on the ancient cobblestone streets. The dawn light was mellow and so blessedly cool. Thank goodness for jetlag, for we had the city to ourselves. With our arms around each other, we each tossed a coin over our shoulder into the Trevi Fountain. He smiled, then kissed me. I sighed and blinked away tears. Tom’s leave is over soon. He’ll be going back to the war. To Afghanistan. And all I could think as I tossed my coin and heard its gentle ‘plop’ in the water behind me was, ‘God, please, bring him home to me’.

Entry 3 | Holiday | 97

Dear diary, Today was cold and grey, a very good day for a holiday. I stayed in my warm P J’s, putting my phone and iPad on ‘do not disturb’ mode. In my studio I placed a new, large canvas against my easel and enjoyed the smell of the oil paint as I spread a deep shade of green over the surface. My mind was full of dreams and ideas of the trees that would flow from my mind, my hand and then onto the canvas. It will be added to on another holiday .

Entry 4 | Hello | 100

Hello again, It’s me. It’s funny. I don’t know when I first really registered you were gone, though there were many moments momentarily ambushed by memories. I cook, eat, garden, I enjoy some things again, like the sun on new growth, and today’s unexpected warmth after winter. But its funny the holes people leave in your life. You think you’re ok. People leave, and when they do you grieve, you regret, and then you adjust until some little thing happens. Today the rose you planted bloomed for the first time, and I had to say goodbye, all over again. xxx

VOTE HERE:

August & September Winners

Congrats to Linda Young and Maureen Riches with their stories for August and September. This is Maureen’s second win and Linda’s third!

Linda’s August Story: The Awakening. 250 words

The boy was new to my class. He sat in the desk beside me, head hanging down.
‘I’m Lucy, what’s your name?’ He glanced at me with clear blue eyes as ginger curls fell across his brow.
‘Charlie,’ he replied, a flush spreading over his freckled face.
‘Do you want to be my friend?’ He nodded and a smile appeared.
In the school yard I held his hand and showed him around the playground. The others looked on, sniggering as they gathered into their groups.
The days were suddenly brighter, and each morning I ran to meet Charlie at the gate. In the shelter shed he told me stories about his life–his family moved from town to town, his father was a shearer, and his mother was a cook. His world sounded exciting, and I clung to his every word. He held my hand and kissed my cheek, and I was filled with joy.
The other children said his family were poor and his father drank a lot. I didn’t care.
Charlie came to school one morning with a bruise on his face and said he’d fallen off his bike.
The next day I waited at the gate until the school bell rang. I stared down the road– willing him to appear. I sat alone at the desk as the teacher told us Charlie was not returning to class. A deep sadness descended on me as I looked at the empty seat beside me, and tried not to cry.

Maureen’s September Story: A Bad Businessman. 200 words.


Since we grew up living away from our extended family we were fortunate to be adopted by elderly neighbours who became known to us as Ma and Pa.
Fortunate because this cultured couple who never seemed bothered by the racket of six noisy children next-door, brought into our lives art, music, gardening and…meat!
Pa was a butcher and owned his own business. The first week we moved into the house beside them, Ma called over the fence to my mother, holding out a parcel wrapped in butcher’s paper.
‘Would you mind taking this off my hands, dear? Pa has brought home much more than we can use.’
‘This’ was a mass of chops, strings of sausages and at least a pound of casserole steak!
As the years went by our adopted grandparents shared our triumphs and heartaches, were adored as if they really were family and kept passing parcels of ‘too much meat’ over the fence.
One day I watched Mum unwrap yet another bundle of chops and steak.
‘Pa’s a darling but he can’t be a very good businessman.’
‘How’s that?’
Mum smiled. ‘In all these years he hasn’t figured out how much meat he and Ma can eat.’

July Flashes

Here are our 250 word stories with the theme of mothering:


Entry 1 | A Mother’s Joy | 250 words

I will never forget , that look of exultant joy on my mothers face I had just being ordained a priest in St Peters Cathedral Adelaide .
THe Archbishop and the other priested had laided hands upon me ,and when they stodd back , all I could see was the radient face of my mother , cought up in the euphoria of this special day . MY mother had always stood by me , she had aways supported my vocation , despite intense opperstition from my father , who had wanted me to be normal , to get marriesd and provide a son and heir .
But mum never crubled in her support of me , and came to my ordination although she had to be transported by my sister .
So now many years later, her look of amazement and gratitude is still a force of tremendous encouagement and support


Entry 2 | Another Mother’s Son | 225 words

‘Are you happy, Mother?’ His arms are extended, slender hands resting lightly on my shoulders.

I catch my breath and look up at the fine young man towering over me, staggered at the generosity that moves him, in his circumstances, to ask if I am happy.

My peripheral vision encompasses the others who hover behind him, surrounding us, waiting their turn to kiss me goodbye. Fine young men all of them, emanating a patient resilience that makes me want to cry.

‘I’d be happy if I could take you…all of you…home with me.’

‘Oh, Mother! Little Mother!’ His broken voice betrays him, the title he gives me a tribute to my grey hairs. The others move closer, murmuring, reaching out to stroke my arms, my hands, my shoulders. ‘Will you come back, Mother?’

‘I will. I will come back.’ I get the words out without choking, forcing smiles for faces from Afghanistan, from Sudan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Serco guard moves up. The young men back away.

No sound so cold, so heavy in my heart, as the clunk of steel deadlocking doors between us.

I blink. No tears in front of this man who holds the next door open and waves me out with such an obsequious show of chivalry.

‘Mother,’ Sanjay had called me.

I will come back.


Entry 3 | The Sun Room | 250 words

It started with a family holiday. Three days trapped in a caravan on a Scottish beach, with the stink of wet socks. We went home silent, our skin sallow and our clothes damp like the weather. From that day forward, my mother’s purpose was to have a tan.

My father built her a sun room. A lean-to on the side of the garden shed, made from old windows he’d found at the tip. Every day, shiny with oil and smelling of coconut, my mother trekked out the back to wait for the sun to find her, as though she wished the sun room could magically split the dank Scottish sky and create sunbeams just for her.

After six weeks of summer and no change in skin colour, my mother went shopping. She came home with glossy brochures. Pictures of vivid skies and sandy beaches, kangaroos grazing on lawns and happy people chatting over fences. Everyone looked golden with shiny hair and bright faces. COME TO SUNNY AUSTRALIA.

Everything we owned was either sold, or packed into six tea chests. My mother sunbaked her way around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Indian Ocean. By the time we reached Perth, she was sunburned and blistering. Our new house had sand fleas, redback spiders and bush flies that stuck to your eyes. My mother spent her first Australian summer inside, sitting by the open window with a fan and glass of ice while she cried for home.


Entry 4 | A Time Untold | 250 words

Sally did not know her mother. She knew who her mother was– they lived together for years– but her mother remained a mystery to her. Sally heard others speak of their mothers with affection, with familiarity, with pride. But Sally spoke of her mother with indifference. She knew nothing of her mother’s inner life–her thoughts, her beliefs; her sense of self. Sally was unable to say ‘My mother is…’, for words could not be found. Her mother did the things required of her; cut the lunches, cooked the meals and kept the house clean. She was there when Sally came home from school. But Sally sensed an emptiness about her mother, and wondered at her vacant eyes.

Down in the river at the back of the house, lost amongst the rocks and weeds, there lies a memory of a young mother and her crying child. She’s unable to stop the child from crying, and she cannot tolerate the noise. She knows she must do something to end the voices in her head. She walks into the river, holding the baby close. Her dress swirls around her; the mud clings to her feet. She hesitates, then something shifts within her, and her mind is lost. In a daze she walks out of the water, holding the quietened baby, and walks back to the house.

Sally wanders into the kitchen and sees her mother staring out the window at the river below, and feels again the absence of a mother‘s love.


Entry 5 | A Little Girl Called Lynda | 249 words

A little girl stood on a pedestal washing dishes. No luxuries here; just lonely steep hills and long cold winters.

Lynda grew, attended high school away from home, and afterwards holidayed with her impish cousin, Winnie, whose killjoy grandmother often sent their suitors packing. But immediately Grandma was safely in bed, they’d escape to join the crowd!

Winnie holidayed with Lynda, too. Once a neighbour’s lunch invitation ended in muffled giggles as Winnie shot a pickled onion across the damask tablecloth!

Later at the farm, Winnie and her mother, Matilda, laughed and reminisced with Lynda over cups of tea and lemon filled sponge; great comfort for Lynda, hands housework worn and heart wrenched by the loss of three family members within three years.

Lynda’s children were scolded if unruly. ‘Here, none of your nonsense!’ Then she’d burst into song at the kitchen sink.

She knitted and crocheted, read local history books, poetry, Bible studies and newspapers. Yet Walter often admonished his lifelong partner, ‘Oh, you wouldn’t know!’ No harm intended…

They travelled Australia with her brother Jack, and others. Jack always led just like when they were littlies heading down the big hill and across the river to the local state school.

Years on, Lynda couldn’t recall family visits. But at shower time she’d query,
‘I’m in a rest home aren’t I? Well I’m resting!’

‘Okay, we’ll be back in half an hour.’

‘Well, make it a long one!’


Entry 6 | Nan | 249 words

‘I’ll have that in writing please’, I said, as Mum told me, ‘If I ever get to be like my mother, you have my permission to shoot me’.

Of course she didn’t mean it, sitting in her invalid armchair, as we fondly remembered Nan’s ways. Both stubborn these two, my mother and her mother, but of course I’m definitely not. Undoubtedly, Nan’s a part of us, as our everyday expressions were hers. We always “put our face on” before we went out, and on returning, she’d ask, ‘So who did you see better-looking than yourself?’

Everybody in the town where she lived knew my Nan, Ethel Maud -known as Keat. She was a well-rounded figure with comforting arms to wrap around you, a rather wide backside and slightly bandied knees. Softly-permed fair hair framed her crinkled face with sparkling blue eyes that didn’t miss a trick.

Mother to three sons and a daughter, Nan was also Mother Hen to many suffering the Depression and war-time hardships. Hers was a lifetime of gathering unwanted goods, sewing, baking cakes, making jam and pickles as she set up the local branch of the Red Cross. Every Sunday after church the dining room was filled with laughter and chatter as the family shared Sunday roast with soldiers based nearby. Nan was generous but strict too, as she warned the boys not to look too closely at her young daughter. She called a spade a spade – as did my mother.


Entry 7 | Over The Hill And Far Away | 250 words

My teeth chattered as I indulged in a deep breath. The fog on the glass obscured an infinity of stars beyond the cockpit. It’s damn cold and I’m damn hungry. Could Samson and Biggs have survived the extra time out here? The ship’s slow rotation let The Hill rise before me and I heard the echo of the Commander when we first saw it.

“You sure you can get in and out? Tech says this planet has more gravity than physics allows.”
“That’s why it’s so important to do the readings ma’am. Uphill struggle or not, no one else is coming out here for a while.” Spoken like the idiot I was.
The first run we returned without Samson. Dehydration reminded me of my anger at the crew
“Why was his comms faulty! Which one of you failed him!” I swallowed and curled up in my cockpit to fight the cold.
Run two was worse. A botched rescue. Coming home alone, leaving Biggs. I’d never heard the hangar so quiet.
“The quantum entanglement failed.,” explained the Commander. “ They couldn’t hear us calling them home. There’s nothing to be done Graff.”
She was right, but that hadn’t stopped me. My breath turned to ice on the window and the cosmos loomed. Abandoned on The Hill to die like babies in old stories. I’ve never been so alone. The flash of a warp drive was startling and I half cried half laughed. Our mothership. Warmth and comfort come to take us home.


July Competition – In Memorium

We are running the July Flash Fiction competition in memory of Pamela Miller, a very active Ballarat Writers Member who died on Sunday the 21st of June. Pamela was a foster carer and over the years looked after nearly 60 children. She had a strong mothering instinct and was named runner-up in the 2004 Barnardos Australia Mother of the Year Competition. So, in memory of Pamela this month’s competition is to write a 250 word story about being a mother, mothers, or mothering.

Entry Conditions:

  • You must be a Ballarat Writers Member to enter.
  • Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the word limit – even if by a word.
  • All entries to be submitted USING THIS FORM by Friday July 24th. Voting will open the next day here on the blog. Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday July 29th, 7pm at Irish Murphy’s to hear the winner announced. (It will also be posted here on the blog the day after).