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Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Winner: ‘Game Over’

I’m pleased to share the winning entry of August’s Flash Fiction Competition!  The theme this time was ‘Game Over’, and Jess Larter has been chosen as August’s winner for her short story about a queen at war.

You can read her winning story below:


The Queen has lost count of how many times they have stood here, ready to play war as if they are children about to play a game.

She stares out across the battlefield and observes the army on the other side. It is as if she is looking in a mirror, the other army a reflection of her own except for the colour of their armour. Her soldiers stand in front of her in a neat row, all dressed in the white garb of their kingdom. They are restless and eager to fight; ready to sacrifice their lives for the crown, for her. It’s likely they will do just that.

One of them takes a tentative step forward and his reflection does the same. Within seconds the playing field becomes a thunderstorm of black and white as more troops from both sides rush into the fray. The Queen doesn’t hesitate to join them.

After what feels to her like hours, she is finally able to stop and catch her breath. When her eyes find the King, his white armour a beacon gleaming in the sunshine, she is surprised to see she is not the only one eyeing him. A Knight clad in black armour sits atop her horse, a shadow ready to charge. The shadow waits just a second longer then spurs the horse forward.

She is almost upon the King when he finally hears her racing up behind him. He only has the time to take a single step to the right and out of the reach of her sword. At least this time it will not be that sword that deals him the killing blow. Or perhaps this time he won’t be dealt any fatal blow and instead it will be the King in the black cloak who dies.

It is a hopeful thought, but a fleeting one. Both the King and Queen realise too late that the Knight was intended to be a distraction so that other enemies could surround him. He frantically searches for a way to escape; the Queen resigns herself to the fact that there isn’t one.

Every other player on the field pauses their fighting to watch the situation unfold. Silence falls as they hold a collective breath, waiting to see what happens next although they already know what will. It won’t be long now before they are tidily arranged back on their own sides of the battleground, about to repeat this all again. There is comfort in the inevitability.

A single word booms out above their heads, louder than cannon fire. The absence of the sounds of war makes it even more startling.

“Checkmate.”

In the end, it isn’t clear which foe is the one responsible, but the result is the same.

The Queen watches. The white King falls.

Game over.

The Queen has lost count of how many times they have stood here, ready to play war as if they are children about to play a game.


Congratulations to Jess for winning!  The Flash Fiction Competition is returning on Friday 1st December 2017.  Check the Flash Fiction page for more information.

Emma

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September 12, 2017
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Flash Fiction Winner: ‘Beautiful’

I’m pleased to share the winning entry of April’s Flash Fiction Competition!  The theme for April was ‘beautiful’, and the judges enjoyed Nicky’s short story about a disillusioned mother and the relationship with her son.

You can read her winning story below:


Perfect day for it. Could have gone either way, really. If I’d gone to the gym first I’d have talked myself out of it, definitely. An endorphin-fuelled shallow sense of contentment. No, it was now-or-never. Done with the pretence, too old to care what people think. Growing this thick-skin recently felt bloody amazing. With the big year approaching, well, it’s just shouting out for a big decision, isn’t it? Besides, I still haven’t struck off half the things on my bucket list. Been all about you from the start; you, my one and only, my son. Now nearly 16. You’d get it; you of everyone. You’d been allowed to follow your dreams. Me, parenting solo, always was over-compensating for the absent one. There had been the trumpet years, the Nintendo years, the karate obsession, the violin and drama classes. The holidays to Disney and Thorpe Park. I was there enjoying myself too, don’t get me wrong. But not properly. Worry always there. Would you fit in at your new school? Worry I’d get a knock on the door at midnight with news you’d been in a road accident. Would you pass your exams? Would you start to resent me for my failed relationship? Any hopes and plans of my own were discarded, buried with my former self. Just what you have to do, what we all do, isn’t it? My life coach kept cheering me on that now I had to step into my own power.

Gave you a hug, pulled you close to my chest this morning as you went to kiss me goodbye. Smell of your shampooed hair made me wobble. “Mum!  Get off! My mates will see.” Don’t think I didn’t spot that smile fighting with your top lip there.

“Your dad’s picking you up today from football. Don’t be late.” Christ, how I said that so matter-of-factly. So driven lately. Nothing was going to get in the way. Been paying an arm and a leg for those life coaching sessions. About time my investment paid off.
“Can’t you, Mum?  Don’t wanna see him. I’m old enough now to make my own decisions.”
“All in good time, love.” Waving a bit too manically as you hurry out the car. When did you get so tall? Catching a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror, I wince. When did I get so lined?

I’m putting my foot down. Driving past the school playing fields, past the railway tracks, swing onto the ring road. Clock the traffic sign for Dover. Open the glove compartment. Guide book, check. Euros check. One way to Calais. Check. Shoulders drop, face muscles relax. I switch the dial from Radio 4 to Kiss fm. Bill Withers. I tap out the beat on the steering wheel, joining in. ‘And the world’s alright with me…’ The light bouncing off the windows on the houses in front never looked so beautiful.


The Flash Fiction Competition is returning on Tuesday 1st August 2017.  Check the Flash Fiction page for more information!

Emma

Follow me on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

May 1, 2017
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