Picture © Kath Keep.

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Latest International Competition ... Science Fiction challenge ... £100 Cash and Book Prizes

 

Picture © Kath Keep.

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The Hastings Modern Art Beach Book

The Hastings Modern Art Beach Book

 

Visions of Hastings - stories, memories, pictures and articles by the people of Hastings. £9.99 from Earlyworks Press.

Visions of Hastings Anthology

 

Picture © Colin Breck

 

Picture © Colin Breck

 

Picture © Kath Keep

 

Picture © Kath Keep.

 

 

 

The Winner of the 2011 Flash Fiction Competition is... 

Judy Evans

She receives £75 prize money for her piece 'Into the Light', and a place in our next poetry/flash fiction anthology. The authors listed here were short-listed in the competition; the authors of the stories shown below received runners-up prize money and a chance to submit work for the anthology (details below). Selected runners up were also offered a temporary membership of the Earlyworks Press Writers' and Reviewers' Club. 

 

Damian Mark Whittle

Mike Morris

Andrew Newall

Sue Hoffmann

Rebecca Camu

Jamie Hershing

Sandra Burdett

Christine Howe

Sarah Cluderay

The Winner and some of the Shortlisted Works

The Winner

 

Into the Light

by Judy Evans


Sally was filled with fear. In the oppressive, quiet darkness, her heart flailed against her chest like a small bird beating its wings against the bars of its cage, desperate to escape. Although she tried to breathe deeply as she’d been told, her breath came in short bursts that rasped their way out of her dry throat. 
     She remembered her mother’s words: ‘Trust me, darling. Go towards the light. Grandma and Pop will be watching for you. Truly, they’ll be waiting to see you. Just go towards the light. You’ll be just fine.’
     She remembered the tears and tremulous smile on her mother’s lips and the whispered ‘you are such a beautiful girl’. She remembered her father’s farewell, his strong arms holding her tenderly. She could still feel his lips kissing the top of her head. And now she was on her own – just waiting.
     It was so sombre and silent. Even after all she had been through, all the preparation, Sally was no longer sure she was ready. She took a deep breath and was suddenly aware of an insistent hum forcing its way into her consciousness. She had been oblivious to the soft, orchestral music drifting through the background but now the volume increased until it surrounded her with an insistent, pulsing rhythm. Suddenly, with a fanfare of trumpets and clash of cymbals, the curtains swished apart and, looking like a million dollars, Sally sashayed down the catwalk towards the footlights.

 

© Judy Evans 2011

~~~~~~~~~~

 

A Selection of the 

Shortlisted Works

 

Continuing

by Damian Mark Whittle

 

With every roaring gust, he was hurled into a new clearing. He allowed himself to be carried along by the winds, trusting to luck that they would not crunch him into one of the angular trees. His hair streamed back and forth, let and right, a white flame dancing above his head. He drew his tattered green cloak tight round his scrawny body, keeping in what little warmth he held. He hit the ground again, the impact making his wobbling legs ache. He never fell, the attacking winds somehow supporting him, too.

     More than anything, he wanted to lie down beneath a blanket of leaves and sleep. Just to stop. No chance of that. He was pushed from place to place without end. An old man who could barely climb the stairs, dragged through eternity and kept alive by some act of ruthless kindness. Sometimes he walked quietly down gentle pathways. Other times, he scurried the edges of nightmare landscapes of war and grief. Occasionally, what he saw was simply unfathomable.

     He knew that he was watched. Always, He had no idea if they did it for pleasure or study. He sensed - without knowing how - that they were recording his journey with words, pictures, sounds and other things he didn't know the names for. Each reluctant step that he took was significant to them.

     He reached the end of the wood at last. Taking a deep breath, he brushed the twigs from his hair and cloak.

     And continued.

 

© Damian Mark Whittle  2011

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Solomon G

by Mike Morris


Solomon G. was born on a snowy winter’s Monday morning. His parents, always in a hurry, took him to the church the next day, and the ice-cold droplets of water, sprinkled liberally from the christening font caused his little body to jump and his baby heart to skip. Throughout the service he trembled in the cold hands of the old vicar. He contracted pneumonia, and was a sickly child for all his formative years
He got married on a Wednesday so that he could have a full day’s combined holiday and honeymoon without taking too much time from his work. He was exhausted by the night’s exertions with his energetic young wife, and he was pale and ill the next day. His illness worsened on Friday, and by Saturday he was dead.
     His family, still in a hurry, buried him on Sunday. The wake that night was a lot of fun; his widow got drunk and flirted with his workmates as they drank beer in front of a blazing fire.
     Everyone agreed that Solomon G. would, for once have enjoyed himself, had he managed to be present.

 

© Mike Morris  2011

~~~~~~~~~~

A selection of the

Shortlisted Works

 

The Flight

 

by Andrew Newall

 

My friends and I are hurrying to get to the plane. We’re late. The three of us were called almost half an hour ago. It’s my first time and my heart is pounding. Everything is moving in slow motion. To make things worse, it’s a long haul flight, so it will be packed with passengers, waiting for us. Is this how people with a fear of flying are supposed to feel? I’m not scared of flying. I’ve flown lots of times, but that might change after today. This isn’t a holiday. This is work.

We’re almost there. I can barely see in front of me, the dying light of late afternoon lost several feet above us, the light from my headlamp fighting its way through the obscurity of depth. The rescue boat’s engine is now so faint, it has almost gone. My pulse is racing but I have to control my breathing. I’m holding on to a rope which is tied to my colleague in front of me. He turns, takes my wrist and guides my hand, placing it where I can feel and grip on to a large piece of metal. My eyes fix on wherever my lamp’s light lands, following the metal as I effortlessly pull myself along its length. It’s not immediately recognisable as the wing until I reach the propeller and then the body of the plane. Our lights bob back and forth with our head movements, coming to rest on a giant tear in the airliner’s side. I can where a row of seats ends, and the passengers, still fixed in position. Before I follow my colleagues inside, I glance over to a window, where I see a woman, very relaxed, staring in my direction. Not at me, just in my direction, her long hair floating around her face. The passengers are waiting. It’s time to get them out.

 

© Andrew Newall  2011

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

The Norseman Goeth

by Sue Hoffmann

 

Mud squelched beneath his feet and wriggled its way determinedly towards the top of his boots. Wrinkling his long nose in disgust at the foul smells emanating from the ground, Valdemar climbed onto a huge boulder to escape the mire. One hand hooked into his belt, the other gripping his sword hilt, he paused to take stock of his surroundings.
     To his left, the village of Maldon was just visible through a dense grove of silver birch, and in a small dip near the copse Alrik and Moldof fought back to back against five Saxon warriors. From the summit of the hill to his right, Skap’s group descended like Thor’s hammer to aid the beleaguered pair. 
     It began to rain. Valdemar swore aloud. His eye patch seemed adept at gathering grit and his head sweated beneath his metal helmet. His arm ached from wielding his sword and his stomach hurt from lack of sustenance. He thought fondly of hot stew, warm, crusty bread and cool ale.
     Gudrun might call him a coward, but he’d had enough. Scratching furiously at his beard, he stomped off in search of the nearest hostelry. It was definitely not for him, this re-enactment lark.

 

© Sue Hoffmann 2011

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

June

by Jamie Hershing

 

“Remember, clutch down as you turn the key,” I say. It’s the hottest day of the year, and three months since my brother last drank. I glance in the rear view mirror and see nothing approaching except the swollen sky.“Can we leave this until tomorrow?” he asks, iodine fingertips tapping the steering wheel as keys jangle in the ignition. Three months ago our mother sang lullabies too fast, rocking his limp body as sirens hoarded the air.
“No,” I want to tell him, “no,” as a butterfly lands on the windscreen. My brother watches. His eyes are broken corks pulled from spoiled earth beneath forgotten wood. The butterfly is scrambling to steady itself on its glassy slope. 
“Let’s just wait here a few minutes,” I say instead, “and see how you feel.”
A gust of wind yanks the butterfly away, and then summer hail bursts, surprising us both. It tears leaves from the trees around us. It probably tore butterfly wings.

 

© Jamie Hershing 2011

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

The copyrights of all works displayed on this site remain with their creators.  No works may be copied off the site by any method or for any purpose without the prior permission of the individual creators.

 

The Anthology*

 

£6.99 + £1.50 p&p to UK addresses

more info...

* If you are one of the shortlisted authors, please do not click on the Paypal button to obtain copies. Your free copy will be on the way and, if you require further copies, contact me to receive them at cost price. - Kay G.

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