Flash Fiction – Stripping the Words Bare, Part 1

To celebrate their 30th anniversary, Writers Victoria ran a flash fiction competition in April, 2019. For 30 days they posted a prompt at 8:00 am and we had until midnight to write a 30 words response.

The word limit forced entrants to focus on a key theme and to strip anything redundant. It was fascinating to read the entries and see who had clever concepts, who slipped in a plot and who focused on pure poetry.

Camaraderie formed between the participants and Twitter friendships have been cemented. The wonderful @AnotherCatLane has started a weekly flash fiction competition, Flash Thru The Weekend. Check out #FlaThWe for more info.

I was lucky enough to win April 7 for the prompt Saltwater. Here are my first 10 stories. More to come …

April 1 Grit

The house was a dump, but it was all she had. She blinked grit, tears streaming, as the flames roared. No insurance. Her father was right; she was a screw-up.

April 2 Irritation

‘Irritated? No. I’m fucking furious.’
‘It was a simple mistake.’
‘The wrong tablets could kill her.’
‘Ma’am—’
‘She might be just another patient to you, but she’s my mother.’

April 3 Diving

Fetu hovered in his canoe, poised to dive, razor sharp knife in hand. Come nightfall, it would be shark or boy. He would return a man, or not at all.

April 4 Freshwater

The river slowed around the bend. A peaceful resting place. “Double Indemnity” research confirmed his life insurance. Hands trembling, he approached the unblinking eyes in the shallows. Death by crocodile.

Crocodile

April 5 Rare

Professor Ingleton rubbed his temples. Nobody met his criteria, their intelligence in short supply.
‘Next!’
The sharp-eyed woman devoured his questions.
Now, here was an engineer he could work with.

April 6 Freedom

He nagged, poked, turned my stomach to acid.
I brushed him off, ran to hide, but couldn’t escape.
I came clean.
She forgave.
And guilt, my ugly companion, walked away.

April 7 Saltwater (My winning entry)

The serpent rises from the ocean seabed and looms over the pirate ship.
Captain Cutthroat battles to right the hefty vessel.
A voice calls, “Out of the bath now, Johnny.”

April 8 Baroque

A hush descends, the baton rises,
Light snow begins to fall.
A sigh, a trill, virtuoso games,
Icicle rainbows dance.
A maestro’s joy, Vivaldi Winter,
The listeners shiver with delight.

April 9 Imitation

Tired eyes smile. So much love. “Say Mama.”
Gurgle. “Dada.”
“Oh, come on, that’s not fair. Say Mama.”
“Dada.”
Tired eyes droop. She’s asleep in seconds.
A gentle coo. “Mama.”

April 10 Shell

Every summer, sun-scorched paddocks bled his dams dry. Fire danger soared.
This year, he stared unblinking at the home’s charred shell. The news. So real. Thank God it wasn’t his.

Next time: and interview with Eleni Hale – Novelist about her first novel, Stone Girl
Next fiction: Flash Fiction – Stripping the Words Bare, Part 2

4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction – Stripping the Words Bare, Part 1

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