Entries open for April 2020

Entries are now open for April 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.

Prompt: Begin your piece with the words “The last thing I expected was…”
Word Limit: 150 words, not including the title.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 20 April
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 27 April

Send your work as a doc.x or pdf file attachment to an email to competitions @ ballaratwriters.com by midnight on Monday 20th April.

In the body of the email include your name, title of the entry and word count. See entry conditions for more information.

Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online on or near Tuesday 28th April.

Entries open for March 2020

Ballarat Flash Fiction has a new lease on life for 2020!

Now just BALLARAT FLASH, the competition is now accepting entries of all forms – poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, non-fiction as well as fiction of course.

Entries are now open for March 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.

Word Limit: 600 words, not including the title.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 16 March
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 24 March

Send your work as a doc.x or pdf file attachment to an email to competitions @ ballaratwriters.com by the specified date each month. In the body of the email include your name, title of the entry and word count.

See entry conditions for more information.

Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online on or near Tuesday 17th March.

Flash Fiction Winner for February

Congratulations to Neville Hiatt, whose story ‘Priceless’ was voted the winner of February’s flash fiction. His engraved BW glass is on it’s way!

Thanks to all of those who submitted a story in February. We always love reading our member’s work.

How we are running Flash Fiction for the rest of 2020 is under review, so stay tuned for more news following our committee meeting this week.

BWI Flash Fiction voting for February 2020

Here are the five entries for February 2020’s Flash Fiction competition.

Voting is now open and will close at 11.59pm on this coming Sunday 23 February.

1 Reaching the prognosis

The bike.  The air. It’s the breathing in that does it. I fall flat. My legs will work but my head won’t.  Riding a bike through the forest up to the art gallery. The stuffy humidity and bug traffic as I push through the full air.

The city looked after me – the daily manners we used with each other, the soothing, energizing architecture, the sound of the flow and rhythm of life carried me along. When I found out, the city gently held me until I could make it through the taxi ride home to finally fall apart.

One day you’ll feel like you’re swimming along with everyone else, other days you will feel like you’re jumping out of your skin. A late prognosis after it’s all happened.  That feeling of sinking into the earth as you walk down the steps.

Walking through the city, down the street or through the supermarket will be confusing, and you’ll want to freeze on the spot like a deer in the headlights. Your feet twitch, your hands are in conflict like two magnets repelling.

2          A Canberra voyeur

In a bedroom, somewhere within the Canberra ‘bubble’, a fly, on the wall, is listening!

“Jude, it has been a hell of a few weeks; I don’t seem to be able to take a trick. Do you reckon they would come at a new, multi-million-dollar research facility, to finally nail down Clean Coal? Could I convince the faithful that the pictures of me holding that lump of coal were manipulated, … you know, fake news? Arsonists have lit over 35% of the fires and yet we are still being blamed! It’s as though they expect me to man the trucks!”

“This climate thingy is a global phenomenon and, our share of emissions is only 1.3%. We are doing our fair share. We have to protect the economy – jobs and growth! But how do I convince those woke, inner-city lefties?”

“Relax hun; you need to relax! Your marketing spin will win the day, it always has. Thoughts and prayers might help, too! “

He ponders and absent-mindently starts considering options. He settles deeper into the pillows and starts to relax. “OK Jude, we need to cuddle so where the bloody hell are you!” The mood softens and the fly retreats.

In the morning the fly has moved to the kitchen. The couple are sitting down to breakfast. The bloke is distractedly licking excess jam and crumbs from his plate. “What about the religious discrimination business? Or a media stunt, demonstrating my record of under promising and over delivering! Maybe ‘throwing somebody under a bus’. Enthusiasm lifts his spirits – yer, that’ll work! What’s her name, you know, the girl who runs that sports funding program – er whatsername!”

The mood lightens significantly as the idea begins to take form.

“You know Jude, I reckon we deserve a holiday. Why don’t we leave all of this behind for a bit. We can take the girls to, err … weren’t they talking about Vanuatu? We can slip away quietly and be back before anybody knows we’ve gone!”

3          Great aunt 

I sit here watching my great aunt sleep and can’t help remember how much she has affected my life. She is such a amazing woman, so kind and compassionate even to complete strangers. When I was a child she was the one I went to for advice because I knew no matter what I had done, there would be no judgement from her just unconditional love. Who knows where I would be if it wasn’t for teaching me to always look for the good in people and to be kind no matter what. I hear her breathing hitch and it’s like a knife to my heart. I’m a doctor, it’s my job to help people and yet when it’s a member of my family, there’s nothing I can do. Maybe if I had visited her more or at least phoned her more then the prognosis may not have been so bad. I reach out to take her hand into mine and kiss it. Barring some miracle from god I know she has a few days to live at most. How do I say goodbye or express how much she means to me, I don’t know but I won’t let her die alone. Even if it breaks my heart.

4          Spin-off

The blue-grey walls with gaudy carpet, round tables and high-backed chairs, an old dance hall perhaps. Perhaps with ballroom dresses swishing across bright chrysanthemums on the floor and long thin ties at the corner counter where alcohol spurred with glace cherries or lemon spiked into the sides of long glasses. Then his eyes averted to a painting, orange loose on its cut side, lying close to the shine of an eggplant. The tone of the elongated skin, the purple of one and the bright velour of the other. How could something so chunky in purple shine with any amount of rubbing?

  He sat alone, casting back to when they were so young and she was friendly. How could things change just by one word? Prognosis, not a sister to diagnosis but more of a long-lost cousin. Only four months after a random annual check. A blood test which came back with another ugly word ‘results’.

Her body was riddled they said, “with the cancer everywhere”. They could not do anything but wait for time to pass, to elapse. There was no treatment possible; out of the blue, the grey emerged. And to this day, he had not forgotten when he had asked what to expect. They said, “Oh, you mean the prognosis?”

  Two months, not long to wait, they had said, but were they being generous? They were dumbfounded. She was till then an ordinary member of society jumping to dance at every chance. He, the older of the pair, wondering how does one accept this ‘prognosis’? Was the diagnosis not enough, in one go? No, it is not, prognosis is ‘what to come’. He gazed at the painting, without a whisper What he meant by ‘what to expect’ was what would happen to them, as a couple, and other questions, not just the clinical predictions.

  So he sits here on sunlit afternoons in the dark bar, ordering drinks and wondering . . . could there be another word other than ‘prognosis’?                                                             

5          Priceless

I remember seeing a snail climbing up the window.  That’s what I remember when the doctor said she only had weeks to live.  Of all the insane things to remember.

She had only just started school and now within weeks my precious Sam would be joining her mother Emily.  I don’t recall the trip home, a unicorn chasing a leprechaun could have passed us and I wouldn’t have seen it.

We sat on the beach that night watching the sun set.  

“What would you like to do Sam?”

She giggled “Eat green eggs and ham?”

I laughed as tears streamed down my cheeks.  She was so much like her mother Emily. I would do anything to make her final days as memorable as possible.

“Come on, seriously now”

After being quiet for a while she grabbed my hand and I followed her inside to the world globe on her desk.

By the time I tucked her into bed and read her a story we had roughed out out an around the world trip to see some sights before she took her final journey. 

An hour later and I’d managed to book all the flights and accommodations for our big adventure. I had to max out all my credit cards to do so but I had a lifetime left to pay them back.

Falling asleep that night I couldn’t help but remember the very first time I’d held her in my hands in the hospital.  It seemed too surreal that only a few hours ago I was holding the test results telling me the news we had been dreading.

Those final few weeks will probably be the most memorable of my life. She made so many new friends that trip we ended up live streaming the celebration of her life for those that couldn’t attend.

I now have so many houses around the world that I’ve been told to consider as my home, but with this house empty, nowhere feels like home.

BWI FF Winner for January 2020

The winner was Chris Burchett with his entry, “Cluster”.

Chris received a commemorative wine-glass engraved with the BWI logo and all the details relating to his win. In 50(?) year’s time he’ll be able to fill the glass and brag to whoever will listen, that he was a winner in this area too. That will probably be the start of another story from him.

Well done Chris and keep up the good work.

All the best to all FF contributors from the BWI committee.

BWI Flash Fiction – February 2020

The theme this month is PROGNOSIS, and you have up to 333 words to use, NOT including the title.

The competition closes at 11.59pm on Monday 17 February. Voting will open shortly after, and will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 23 February. The winner will be announced at the Members’ Night at The Bunch of Grapes Hotel in Ballarat on Wednesday 26 February.

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 any 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, or font size et cetera, will invalidate your entry.

Attention to detail is essential for a writer. When all things are equal, attention to detail will win or lose an editor, or a competition.

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: competitions@ballaratwriters.com

Happy writing


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: competitions@ballaratwriters.com

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.