Sixty Word Saga
1st prize £60, Kenneth
£30, Anne Lawson
prize £10, Julie Swan
has been an interesting competition from the readers' point of view. There is
clearly a wide variety of ideas about what micro-fiction should be: anecdotes,
punch-liners, prose-poems, mini-stories, aphorisms and Zen-like philosophical
pieces. It wasn't easy to judge between them. In the final round, we went for
the ones that really took us into another world in the way that the best fiction
does. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks
to all who entered for an enjoyable reading list.
are the winners and shortlisted entries:
“My best friend just killed himself.” The words are true; my mother told me on the phone.
Everyone gasps or exclaims. I sit on the stone ledge, looking into the night-time courtyard. From behind, Rick puts his hand on my arm; Heidi sits beside me, resting her head on my shoulder.
What a tawdry way to get love, I think.
Sari’d women glittered, barefoot, in the stream, chattering and babbling over the washing. Their naked children splashed laughter at each other in the shallows. A youth trawled loose limbs, bubbles dancing in his wake, to tend goats on the opposite bank.
Across wider waters the new boy arrived triumphantly at school, wet and barefoot, precious shoes strung around his neck.
The Big Day
I’m really here. In a long white dress. I think I’m going to faint.
What’s he saying? It’s not making much sense. Oh, his vows. Don’t look at me! Don’t be so earnest, I’ll laugh.
My turn. I can’t look at him. Just concentrate on something out the window.
I’m now married to an ornamental cherry tree in the gardens.
The Agony of Choice
It was decision time again for James, always the worst part of his day. He didn't pay enough attention in school for things there to affect him too much, but he would start to stammer and even sweat at the mere thought of this choice he had to make daily.
"So son, crisps or chocolate today then?" asked the shopkeeper.
Dank air folded in on him, sticking to his hair, his glasses, like a wet shower curtain. The handle felt cold in his grasp. Below him, black water swirled round the hull. Dripping walls pressed closer, glistening with ancient growths. He swallowed hard to quell his panic as the boat reared.
“Shall I open the lock now, Dad?” Mandy called.
Her Finest Hour
“Help!” cried Mikey. “The bath’s overflowing!”
Jane dropped the dish towel, and ran. She jumped Mikey’s tricycle, landed on Josh’s skateboard, and careened wildly down the hallway. The smoke alarm shrieked from the kitchen. As Jane slipped and fell, the skateboard launched itself at the front door. The door opened; Paul
- home to spend quality time with the children.
Scrabbling for Love
The combatants faced each other across the table. It had been nip and tuck all the way, a little ground here, a minor victory there, him and then her.
Such competitiveness. With bed to come, it was almost foreplay.
Then the mood changed irreparably. With only three letters left to be drawn, he put the Q back into the bag.
Their bloodied, blasted faces stare in livid judgment the moment my eyelids droop. I’ll get my revenge on their hauntings. I’ll send their friends to follow and then
their friends after that. Maybe I’ll scare them enough so as they won’t come back each night, staring, accusing.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
‘Hail George. Hail George. Hail George.’
A Bad Morning
Clanking startled her awake. She snorted ungracefully. Dragons are not morning creatures, especially when it is the clunky armoured shell of an over-stroked ego that wakes her. Muttering assignations to ill-tempered woodland creatures she stalked towards the weak daylight.
The sight of her children fencing with leftover gauntlets sent her back to bed, wherefrom she roundly ignored them for the rest of the day.
G G Knight
“It’s ridiculous not having email. Not even being able to text in this modern age.”
“Just think of all the fun you could have on YouTube.”
“No. It’s Google. You really should try a bit harder.”
“Look, here comes Mum. You can have your bottle back. And Cuddly Ted.”
“Yeah. Whatever. I’ll see you around.”