Flash Fiction – Stripping the Words Bare, Part 3

Today, I post the final 10 of my entries in Writers Victoria flash fiction competition, which they ran to celebrate their 30th anniversary. For 30 days they posted a prompt at 8:00 am and we had until midnight to write a 30 words response.

I was lucky enough to win April 7 for the prompt Saltwater. I posted my first 10 stories here. And the second 10 here.

Today’s photo, matched to April 25 – ANZAC Day, is very special to me. It was taken in Port Melbourne by my great-grandfather, Earl Barnes, one of Melbourne’s official WW1 photographers. I’ve always wondered who this soldier was writing to and what he was saying as he prepared to depart for war.

April 21 Beginning

Folds of fur separate and a nose emerges. The nostrils twitch, sniffing eucalyptus air. Alert brown eyes follow, then quivering ears. Joey’s paws scramble as he tumbles into the world.

April 22 Inventive

A minor glitch, but I alone could fix it. If he stole the credit in the board meeting – again – the system would crash. All for a simple word of thanks.

April 23 Celebrate

Centenarian trees standing sentry over wallabies and wombats. A birthday picnic?
Moths as big as birds. Spiders the size of saucers. Halloween?
No, just another day in the Australian bush.

April 24 Transform

Midnight. Cinderella’s clothes ripped in a drunken brawl and she lost her reputation. She called an Uber rather than risk driving her Mercedes. An admirer followed, stalked her for weeks.

April 25 Remember

The writing bled, damp from her tears.
1915
Dear Mum,
Sorry I left without saying goodbye, but I’ll be 18 soon. I wish you could see my army uniform …

The Letter WW1
Soldiers departing Port Melbourne for WW1 Photo by Josiah (Earl) Barnes

April 26 Iridescent

Sienna brushed spiderwebs from the cave entrance with trembling hands. A bag of guano was her admission price for the ancient coven. The bat droppings gleamed with half-digested insect exoskeletons.

April 27 Nacreous

She perseverates on the accident ad infinitum. If only she’d spotted the telltale swirl sooner. The oil slick. The skid. The tree. Glass shattering in the nauseating moment of impact.

April 28 Treasure

The map flaunts oceans, islands and a bright red X. Unsolved for generations, it’s Billy’s sixteenth birthday present. He studies the signature and gasps. “Grandpa, this is an original Rubens.”

April 29 Perfectionism

The physics professor raised his voice. “Entropy is everywhere: spiderwebs, weeds, clutter. Global warming, refugee crises, war. Some people enjoy chaos, but for me, entropy is the enemy of perfectionism.”

April 30 Pearl

‘You’re under arrest for the Barton Pearls robbery.’
‘But how did you know it was me?’
The policeman laughed. ‘Dude, when you steal something, don’t brag about it on Twitter.’

Next time: The next Mansfield interview, Bob Romanes, Teacher A1 Mine Settlement

2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction – Stripping the Words Bare, Part 3

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