Pamela Miller Prize Winner

Congratulations to Meg Ross who won the Inaugural Pamela Miller Memorial Prize with her story Song of Complaint.

We will return next year with more Flash Fiction competitions. Until then, here is Meg’s story for your reading pleasure.

ENTRY 13: Song of Complaint | 386 words

Singing my song of woe and affliction. Singing my song of complaint. Broadcasting it to the skies. Gathering the birds to sing it with me. Flying on their backs across the world. Telling the people and the trees. Telling people who are interested, and people who aren’t. Telling all the different people. Not sure it will make any difference. Not sure at all. Going to do it anyway. Too long quiet with this load. Going to put the load down and sing out. Or maybe drop it on someone’s head from a great height. Tired of it. Tired of carrying it quietly.
Going to write a book about it.
Going to give it away for free on street corners.
Going to donate it to the library, make an audio book as well. Want to dedicate myself to the task. My dedication will be complete. People are going to listen to my book on long drives. People are going to hear my story on their way to the coast. Or driving to the doctor. Or picking up something for tea.
They will recognise themselves in my tale of woe.
They will say ‘yes, know what you mean’ in my song of complaint.
They will sing their own song. The world will be bathed in the sounds of sorrow. The music of affliction. The tuneless notes of grief.
We’re going to sing it out all over the world. We’re going to type it and publish it and read it. There will be public gatherings of singing and wailing. Our tears will form puddles beneath us. All together we say, this is too much. This is too hard. This is too long.
Everyone will know how we feel.
Everyone will join with their own song.
Then we’ll make choirs and print music and have concerts.
Then someone says, do you see that bird, that one you flew in on?
Do you hear that song of that bird?
And I say, yes I can it’s a song. Different. Got another sort of tune. What are the words to that one.
And the bird says, you can put down your music and books now. You can stop.
There’s another one, another song in the world.
There is.
Listen to this. This is a good one.
Learn to sing this beautiful song.

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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.’

And The July Winner Is…

Our very own Maureen Riches with her story ‘Another Mother’s Son.’

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.

And The June Winners Are…

Entries 2 and 6! Congrats to Linda Young and Anthony Johns!

ENTRY 2 | Words: 100  | Title: Crime With Intent

Bobby climbed up the ladder, pushed open the window and jumped into the store room. He shone the torch along the shelves of shoes. Size six his mother had said. Bobby looked for the shiny black ones, with lace ups. Like the other children wore. He moved along slowly; then saw them in the glow of the torch, sitting on top of a box. He checked the size.

He wrapped them carefully in the newspaper sitting on the bench, and headed for the window. He smiled, and tucked them under his arm–tomorrow his sister would wear shoes to school.

ENTRY 6 | Words: 100 | Title: Black And White And Red All Over

Rupert Welles was in his office with his nose buried in a newspaper. The media mogul had been shot from behind and his blood was all over tomorrow’s headlines. Detective Chandler sighed and scratched his stubbled jaw. Years of investigations and this was how they got him. Stolen evidence, tampered juries and missing persons improved Welles’ stock price and infuriated Chandler. “Bad luck blesses me,” had been Welles’ smirking confession. A fine phrase to imply working with the mob. Chandler leaned over to read the fateful headline. ‘Mob Owns Media And More: ‘Stand Against Bullies’ says Welles. Chandler sighed again.

And The March Winner Is…

Congrats to Pamela Miller once again!

Entry 3

Title: Rosemary

When the lover of her dreams came into her life, Rosemary could not believe her good fortune.
Within a short while Anders had wooed her and brought her to his divine home tucked in the hills.
He was attentive and pampering; preparing baths of scented water and sweet smelling oils, massaging her all over until she purred with love and contentment.
Anders was a fine entertainer; a superb cook with a flare for the exotic.
Rosemary met his friends at their progressive dinner parties where they expressed their admiration for her, telling her how beautiful she was and complimenting Anders on his good fortune, until Rosemary would blush with a stir of discomfort.
She smiled as she watched them boyishly compete for the culinary prize of the month, comparing the food and flavours each produced.
Anders had been so much in charge of the pantry that Rosemary had left him to do what he did best.
‘Tonight, with your help, I’ll make a gourmet meal to die for,’ he whispered as his own cooking night neared, encouraging her to finish the last drops from the bottle of the finest French cognac, before leading her for the first time to the basement where he began to wind tendrils of nasturtiums into her hair.
Rosemary swayed, staring overawed at a large vat of aromatic chicken fat, sage and bouquet-garni simmering on a low hot plate.
Anders gently lifted her in his arms, and as the broth lapped around her head and body he quietly said, ‘All this meal needs for perfection is Rosemary.’

And The February Winner is…

Nicholas Boulter with The Young Gun’s Son. Congrats!

ENTRY 6

Title: The Young Gun’s Son

Word Count: 246

At his sweltering hot ground level station Noah builds up the tyres, layer upon layer. Sweating away profusely in the livid heat, pressing the raw tread of rubber against the solid steel drum as it moulds into place.

“Get out of the goddam way Noah!” howls Landon from his crane on the sweltering hot top level, his avastly abrupt pitch smothering the repetitious sounds of manual labour throughout the factory. The rookie jumps back like clockwork to the sound of his bosses warning, avoiding the avid cables from snapping cleanly across his face. A shocked Noah takes a deep breath, patting himself down with sweaty pulsating hands ensuring that he remains intact. ‘I’ve done it this time’ thinks Noah frantically ‘I can still taste that dam liquor too; he’ll smell it on me for sure… I ain’t losing my job… Sure as hell ain’t losing my boy!’ Noah turns his gaze scanning the upper cranes for the silhouette of his precariously aggressive yet makeshift hero of a boss; his eyes find Landon in the crane directly above. In a final attempt of sympathy for his callous tomfoolery, Noah speaks “That must be the second time you’ve saved me this week old man!” a mischievous yet grateful smirk splitting open across his young charred face. A furious Landon had already left his crane, rapidly descending down the fleet of steel steps bellowing “Grab your gear and get to the car park!” conveying himself sternly towards the exit.

And The November Flash Winner is…

Pamela Miller with her story Young Shivers! Congrats (again) Pamela 🙂

ENTRY 5

Title: Young Shivers

Word Count: 100

‘So! I’ve changed my mind!’ Goblin sneered at Shivers, watching the young elf tremble.
‘But…you said three! Three wishes…if I chanted the words. Three!’
When the old tree had begun speaking to the raggedy elf, imploring him to chant an incantation, he was willingly helpful. Three wishes would be very handy.
Shivers was now long-faced at Goblin’s change of mind. Goblin, released from his hundred year oaken prison, began shouting in a fever frenzy. ‘One wish, before I withdraw even that. Hurry! Gold, riches—your pick.’
‘Okay,’ sighed Shivers. ‘I wish you were a bag of diamonds.’

And the October Flash Winner is…

Pamela Miller! Congrats! 🙂

ENTRY 7

Title: The Proposal

Word Count: 149

Round and round they spun, the grass cool against their feet. With a lift that took the breath from her body Gerald placed her in the fork of a tree. Her yellow dress floated around her knees and the breeze lifted it’s diaphanous folds. He breathlessly planted himself firmly in front of her.
‘I’ve had many happy moments in my life, and I know I’ll have more, but this is one cemented forever.’
Rachel laughed down into his face, her eyes as wild and excited as his. ‘Oh, yes, a thousand times, yes.’
Adoration of the other takes lovers into a mystical world; the love that swirls around the young—with the promise of a future with endless hope and joy—tells them angels have sent their blessings.
Gerald lifted her down, swinging her around again. He kissed her tenderly then took her hand.
‘Let’s go look at rings.’

And the September Flash Winner is….

Linda Young with ‘The Pub.’ Congratz Linda!

ENTRY 2

Title: The Pub

Word Count: 101

Johnny climbed up on the rock, clutching the windowsill. Stretching his small frame he peered through the window of the pub. He saw his father sitting at the bar, cigarette in one hand, beer in the other. Shouting abuse at the men gathered around the bar.
“Come on Lionel, it’s your shout you bloody mongrel”.
Johnny trembled. He was to fetch his father home for tea. He knew the anger of his father, but his mother’s rage was worse. He jumped off the rock, headed around to the front, and stood.
With a feeling of dread, he pushed open the door.