Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thank you!

Well, that's it for another issue.

We hope you enjoy the tsunami of words, the torrent of tales, the... the... what's the word?
FlashFlood!

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted a story. This time around we had to expand beyond our normal 144 story limit (that's one every 10 minutes for 24 hours) and squeeze in an extra few, because there were just too many stories we liked. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you weren't included, don't be disheartened, chances are it was because we were getting a slew of stories on the same subject (a lot of death this time; and vampires) so it may have been just that we had fulfilled our quota of your topic. And we will be back with another journal later in the year, so you can always try again (when the main topics will probably be something random like stoats, or maybe okapi).

And, don't forget, today we have announced the launch of this year's Micro-Fiction Competition and also the opening of submissions for our Anthology, so that's two more opportunities for you to send us your work. (Full details below).

Thanks must also go to the veritable hordes of people who have blogged, tweeted, shared and otherwise spread the word both during the submission period and over the last 24 hours. The waves of support were nearly enough to wash our Flood away. So, thank you all.

And finally, thanks to all the editors - Susan, Susi, Cassandra, Annette and Caroline - and to Tino Prinzi who helped out with some of the logistics. They, like me, do this for no reward other than the joy of sharing flash-fictions. So give them a big hand!

For me, well, it's off to start gearing up for National Flash-Fiction Day (27th June) so no doubt you'll be hearing from me again soon.

Thank you all, and until next time, keep flashing!
Calum Kerr
FlashFlood Editor and Director of National Flash-Fiction Day






2015 Micro-Fiction Competition
Closing Date: Midnight, May 15th, 2015

The National Flash-Fiction Day 100 Word Flash Competition selects the very best from contemporary micro-fiction from all over the world. This year is no different, with the ten winners published in the 2015 NFFD Anthology as well as prizes of books from both NFFD and our sponsors.

To enter, get writing and submit your 100 word flash-fictions and send them to us before midnight on the 15th May.
Full submission guidelines at http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/comp.html.


2015 Anthology Call for Submissions
Closing Date: Midnight, May 15th, 2015

Once again we are delighted to open ourselves up to submissions for the annual NFFD anthology. This year, our topic is Geography and you should feel free to interpret that however you like. It doesn't have to be set in a classroom, it could be about any place - about a mountain, a valley, a river, a desert, or you could even talk about terminal moraine or drumlins. As long as something geographical is at the heart of your story, we'll be happy

However you care to work with our theme, we want to read your stories. The word limit is 500 words, and you can submit up to 3 stories. Please include them in the email, not as attachments, and follow all the guidelines.

All writers who have a story selected for the anthology will receive a free print copy of the book upon publication.

This year's editors will be the Director of National Flash-Fiction Day, Calum Kerr, and renowned flash-fiction writer, Angi Holden.

To enter, get writing and submit your 500 word flash-fictions on the subject of 'Geography' and send them to us before midnight on the 15th May.
Full submission guidelines at http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anth.html



Friday, 17 April 2015

'Murder On a Death Bed' by Bart Van Goethem

She bowed her head towards his mouth and, barely audible, he said, Honey, I... I need to confess something.



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

'Supreme Dragon' by Holly Geely

Spring meant that the humans would be imitating his form, donning a fabric carcass created in his image. Every year he was outraged by their presumptuousness. They had his looks right, leftover from a time when humans gave him due respect, but they did not know him. They did not know how he moved.

He was Dragon.

They would dance the night away, light their firecrackers, perform their rituals. None of them would look to him. They no longer believed.

He was Supreme. He was beyond their mortal ways.

But if he was completely honest, he was bummed that they hadn’t invited him to the festival.




FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

'Rose Petals' by Susan Shipp



She lays there, my other identical self, older than I by twenty minutes.  Her eyes are closed, and her breath laboured.  She clings tenuously to life – fighting to stay with me.  She will lose.  I knew that in my heart, long before the monitors told me so.

            A warm breeze filters through the open window of her hospital room, carrying the heady scent of rose; her favourite flower.  Letting go of her hand, I ease up from the chair by her bed and move to the window, arriving in time to see a rose-petal fall softly to the moist, warm earth.

            For a moment, I smile, and the years tumble away and we are children once more …

            ‘Hurry up Jude.  We must get them before they turn brown.’
            ‘Let me finish this page.’
            ‘No, you must help me now.’
            As usual, I put my book down and follow my sister’s instruction.  She will not stop until I do.
            ‘Go and get a dish: the one with the pink roses.  I’ll start collecting.’ She dips her head back to the task, safe in the knowledge I will do as she bids.
            As I run into the kitchen, Mum is smiling.  She hands me the old ceramic pink rose-patterned bowl, and a jug of water.  ‘Best take the water now, or she’ll send you back.’
            Crouching down beside my sister, I hand her the bowl.
            ‘Did Mum see you?
            Starting to collect rose petals, I shake my head.
            ‘Good.  It’s a surprise.’

In the warmth of the hospital room, I look back at my sister.  Still, no movement.  No sign she can smell the scent she so loves.  But as sure as I am in my heart of losing her, I know there is time for one more rose-petal collection.



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

"The Long Flight" by Rhoda Greaves

They ask if you have anything to say. You look up towards us in the gallery, and I hope you can feel me there with you, holding you. I think you’re going to speak, just for me. And I’m trembling. I want you to. But I don’t want to be recognised. Not that I’d deny you. Not even here. My aunt and uncle lent me the money for the flight, even though they thought I was crazy to come. I spent it drinking mini wines and trying not to tell the nice man in the smart grey suit next to me, why I was travelling to the States alone. My parents gave me the money last time. But made me pay it back when they found out why I’d gone.

You shake your head, and my heart settles its rhythm. The journalists take out their pads and scribble, and to my right she flops into her hands, weeping. An older man props an arm awkwardly around her shoulders, but instead of it soothing her, she just gets louder.

‘My babies,’ she wails. And as she pulls her hand from her mouth, tendrils of snot contaminate the arms of her long black jacket: she clutches herself in a hug. Pushing her silver-threaded hair back from her face, she looks towards you, her cheeks streaked with sticky black makeup. And I can’t understand what you ever saw in her. ‘Why aren’t you sorry?’ she shouts at you. It comes out a slur.
‘Evil son of a bitch,’ the old man says, like he’s just taken a gulp of raw sewage. 

Evil? I just know you as you: letter writer, cat lover, lover. You’d said that if you’d been granted one final wish, it would have been to spend half an hour alone with me, so we could be like the Bible says; as one. Your face remains impassive. You can’t hear them. But if you could?

Another woman, a younger, better kept version of her, kneels at her side and offers a tissue, which she blows so hard I almost tell her to shush. 

You stand. You walk proudly like you told me you would. And I want to tell all of them: ‘That’s my husband, you murderers.’ 

Do you think Tilly is missing you? Or already wrapped around the legs of some other poor soul, creating a stink for a saucer of milk? I look away. You’d warned me it would take longer than I’d think to make the pronouncement. More than just the flick of a switch to turn the body off. There are some like her, weeping for their own loss. And others. Men, whose blood-baying eyes shine in the falsely bright lights. I wrap my scarf a little tighter to better hide my face, then glance at my watch, and wait. For their cheers. 



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

'Girl' by Claire Whatley

She’s here again.  With that same vacuous stare. She perches on the edge of her cafĂ© chair, smiling at some private joke. I see her everywhere. Today she’s in jodhpurs. I would say they flattered her legs but her legs are perfect already. I read the other day that a woman’s thighs should never touch. I imagine her standing, and envisage the gap for a clear passage of air to waft straight through her legs, right up to the top.

The shirt that hugs her tiny waist is the same virgin-blue as those inscrutable eyes. Her blonde hair is scooped into a firework, sparking and tumbling in graceful disarray. For a moment I think her head turns, and unblinking, she glances my way. Her secret smile widens just a touch. I look down at my own lumpen form, and, finishing my frappuccino, I stand. Katy scoops a last finger of milkshake froth and hops down from her chair. I take her hand and we leave. The eyes of the young woman catch mine one last time before she disappears from view. 

I stride through the park, enjoying the dazzle of copper-and-gold above me, my scuff-and-crunch below. Katy had been lagging but now she runs on ahead. Clouds block the sun and I huddle into my coat. A sudden rustle of autumn leaves sends a shudder down my spine. I spin around and it’s her. She’s poised on a bench, legs outstretched in her long brown boots. The arch of her feet in those killer heels defies nature. Her coat falls open over a red wool dress, skimming the smooth lines of her taut body. She’s close enough for me to appreciate her flawless skin; close enough for me to slap her. I’d like to knock her off that bench, send her flailing into the mud. Her mouth is fixed in that eternal smile and her eyes are taunting me. I increase my pace. 
*

It’s dark now. At the bottom of the garden, I sink into the ancient parka that hides my bulges beneath. I eat another hotdog. The bonfire smells of childhood when I was such a skinny thing. Kids wield sparklers as they await our annual display. 

Behind me the house looks so cosy, but then I catch sight of a figure that shouldn’t be there. The hotdog falls from my fingers: I must be mistaken. I move closer and even from here I can see she’s naked beneath her negligee. She’s sitting on the patio table, leaning back as though soaking up the summer sun. Her lustrous hair cascades and glints in the moonlight. I march over and grab her by the arm; carry her down to the blaze.

Yes! I consign her body to the flames. She flies; she falls! The negligee is gobbled up before she lands; her nylon hair, devoured. The fire hisses and spits. I watch her plastic face melt and her impossible body shrivel into molten blobs.


Goodbye, Barbie.



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

"The Right Recipe" by Diane Simmons

I decline the slice of cake Michael offers. I do this every week, but he always tries to bully me into eating one. John, as usual, grabs the largest piece and they both giggle. I hate those giggles – the Sunday afternoons lost.

John and I have only lived together for two months, but he obviously relishes Michael’s non-stop invitations.

I thought I’d be enough.

‘I’m getting tickets for Glastonbury. Do you want some?’ Michael asks.

I’d planned on Florence, but John doesn’t hesitate, looks thrilled to be asked, seems to follow Michael’s lead no matter what.

I can bake too, know exactly what I need to put in the cake I take round to Michael’s. It’s good to be friendly to neighbours, John says.

And it seems only polite, if Michael’s so keen on cakes stuffed with drugs, for me to oblige, to provide the hit of all hits.



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.