I look out of the window to the old apple tree at the bottom of the garden. My inheritance you may call it for though valueless it has repaid me many times. Now it is a naturally decorated tree, the light shining and glinting on the frozen streamers. In Spring blossoms appear, pink snowdrifts in short-lived glory. Leaves slowly unfurl, changing hue as the sun passes overhead, food for marching caterpillars. Bright red apples form then wither and fall for hungry animals and birds to scavenge before in readiness for Winter, the leaves form falling, orange-brown carpets. My living calendar.
Again I assured her it was safe but I could see she still had doubts. I had passed behind the roaring curtain many times. That gave me the idea it would look great to pose, head back, arms outstretched behind, through the translucent milky screen. A persuasive setting for a glamour photoshoot.
I will never understand how the boys in my school’s minds work. They don’t realise we do like a bit of courtesy some times. The least one could have done was to offer to carry my books for me. 193
She sits on the frozen snow. Her nose twitches as she surveys the ice floes ahead. Beside her the mewing toddler is crying for more milk. She knows that she will have to kill soon after her long hibernation. In her icy den she successfully gave birth to one cub who at three months is becoming more and more demanding of food. But then she spots a dark shape lying on one of the numerous floating ice blocks , a seal snoozing in the Arctic sunshine. Motioning the cub to sit quietly the huge white bear slips into the freezing waters and with just her nose above the water gently swims towards her prey causing hardly a ripple. This is the opportunity she has been waiting for. On such a calm morning the ambush will be difficult but desperation favours the bold and the large seal will satisfy her and her cub’s hunger for many days. Judging her moment she risks one glance above the waves, the snoozing seal, oblivious to the danger, lazily draws a flipper across her itching nose but suspects nothing. A few more short strokes and the bear launches her attack, the ice floe rocks and sways and she manages to grip the seal by her fat-lined neck. The struggle is fierce but eventually the b ear drags the exhausted seal into the water and returns with the bloodied, limp carcass to the patient, hungry cub waiting on the icy shore.
Hunger drives her on
across the desolate ice
Flash fiction competitions, don’t we just love them? Cast your eyes over this and start sharpening your metaphoric pencil for an attempt early in the year.
Reflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.
We had a fantastic response to our Winter ’17 competition: 250 entries from nineteen different countries. We’re busy reading and judging in preparation for announcing the long-list on January 1. In the meantime, the next round of the competition is now open for entries. We’re delighted to have Michelle Elvy, Assistant Editor, International, for the Best Small Fictions series, acting as judge. Here are the important details:
Prizes: £1,000 / £500 / £250 (or the equivalent in your local currency)
Entry fee: £7 / $9 / €9
Deadline: February 28, 2018
Judging: March 2018
Long-list announced: April 1, 2018
Judge: Michelle Elvy
Submissions should be made via our online entry form.
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Fortune’s favour will
surely grant rewards to those
daring to be bold
Twisted and turned it
but it refused to stand still
set me to thinking
a third hand would be useful
the solution was a cramp
Mother come quickly, now
please come, come, you must,
for all over the ground
everything’s covered in fairy dust
Outside of my window
is a magical sight,
she stands on tiptoe
eyes wide with delight
Come and see Mother
the moon shines so bright
the trees and the fields
in the cold of the night
all seem to be wearing
a lambs coat so white
So pray, tell me Mother
is this a trick of the light,
If I go to sleep Mother
will it stay through the night
then can I go playing
Oh please say I might
Surely now begins the rebirth of the short story. Help to make this imaginative form of story-telling by entering such as this. I wish all of you the best of luck if you choose to take part but keep the submission dates in mind as they will soon be upon us.
I’ve rather neglected the short story scene of late – my head has been stuck in the clouds, dreaming of becoming a bestselling novelist!
Last week Mars Hill from Nottingham Writers’ Club kindly sent me an email about the Club’s 2018 competition and I’m sure that some of you more down to earth people will be interested in having a go. My one dismal attempt at the RNA NWS came back with a comment indicating that it was easier to earn money with short stories than novels. So maybe I should get my head out of the clouds and have a go at this.
The prompt for the Nottingham Writers’ Competition is ‘Choose a Season’. It can be any kind of story in any genre, as long as your chosen season plays an important part. Maximum word count is 2,000.
The three main prizes are £200, £100 and £50. There…
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We sat in silence in the yurt in expectation not knowing why we had been summoned. A boy entered with three jugs with bamboo tubes for straws. I looked inside mine, the cold hit my nostrils for it contained frozen yak milk which is only offered to visitors as a great honour.