Monthly Archives: February 2016

Flash Fiction: Alone Again

A short flash of terror …

Published in Flash Flood Journal, June 2014 

I turn my head skyward at the screech of a lone black bird. A crow, if I’m not mistaken, although from this distance it’s hard to tell. The summer evening holds a winter chill. The sky is dark and overcast, like my thoughts. I watch as wings flap and the bird circles round and round in the bleak sky emitting a baleful cry.

I tear my eyes away, resisting the urge to cover my ears.

I remove the gloves, overalls and shoe covers. Naked, as the day I was born, I stuff them into a black refuse sack and push it deep inside the empty plant pot buried at the back of the shed. Replacing the padlock, I take a final look down the garden, before entering the house and taking the first step into my new life without her . . .MEN048

Standing under the shower I relish the ice-cold water as the powerful jets lash my body, reminding me of my father’s belt as a boy. I scrub until my skin is red raw, the carbolic soap burning my nostrils and stinging my eyes while all I can hear is the drumming in my ears. Just like before.

When I can stand it no longer I towel dry and dress: a fresh white shirt and grey tie; black trousers with a sharp crease and freshly polished, laced, black shoes. Finally, I don my favourite blazer with the gleaming gold buttons. She always liked it and somehow it seems fitting to wear it tonight. Respectful, somehow.

Time has passed quickly. The sky is black. No stars in the sky tonight. Yet the full moon shines brightly. I wait until it clouds over before placing the suitcase gently into the boot of my Mercedes. I coax the dog into the back seat where she whines incessantly. I drive to the other side of the city and park beneath a broken streetlight.

New territory; the dog is excited. I wheel the suitcase halfway across the bridge, lever it up onto the barrier and drop it over. For a moment I freeze, thinking that it’s going to float, but it topples over and the black water consumes it. The walk is over. We return home and I head out to the shed. I need to be sure it wasn’t all a dream. I pull open the chest freezer and her blue lifeless eyes stare up at me, ice crystals already forming over the gaping wound on the side of her head.

I run my finger over the crease in my trousers. Maybe I can wait a week or two before replacing the iron; no point in raising suspicion.

Writing Competitions

Check out the latest short story and poetry competition listings below, no excuses – get writing!

Bogmans Cannon’s Shame The Divil
Deadline: Feb 15, 2016
Written Word: Flash fiction, flash memoir, anecdote, aphorism, mini-rant, performance text, short audio or video, graphic, poster, gif etc, theme of our first issue is ‘Dare’.
Entry:  Free

Fish Flash Fiction Prize (short short story)
Deadline: 28 February 2016
Written Word: Flash Fiction up to 300 words
Entry:  €14 for 1st entry, €8 for subsequent entries

The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Competition
Deadline: 3rd March 2016
Written Word: Maximum word count is 3,000 words
Entry:  €10 + (€3 booking fee if submitting online)

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2016
Deadline: 12 noon on 11th March 2016
Written Word: Maximum word count is 2,000 words
Entry:  Free

The Fish Poetry Prize
D
eadline: 31 March 2016
Written Word: Poem restricted to 300 words
Entry:  €14 for 1st entry, €8 for subsequent entries

Interview: Holly Seddon – Try Not To Breathe

Try Not To Breathe - Holly Seddon

Holly Seddon is a freelance journalist whose work has been published on national newspaper websites, magazines and leading consumer websites. Try Not To Breathe is her debut novel and has already been hailed as ‘the most original psychological thriller of 2016.’ While according to Tess Gerritsen, one of my favourite authors, this novel has: ‘A razor-sharp, fast paced plot and wonderfully complex characters. Not since The Girl on the Train have I been so captivated by a work of suspense.’

Naturally, my expectations were high and I was delighted to find that Try Not To Breathe delivered:

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…

I’m interested to know where the idea for Try Not To Breathe emerged from. Seddon tells me that it was while cooking dinner, some years back, when a health programme on the radio caught her attention. They were “talking about persistent vegetative states. Listening to the stories from loved ones left behind – unable to grieve but still having lost the person they loved – really floored me. And that’s where the character of Amy came from. Amy was a vibrant, brave 15-year-old in 1995. In 2010, she’s in the same hospital ward she’s been in for 15 years. A hot mess of a journalist called Alex stumbles upon her and becomes obsessed with working out what happened all those years ago.”

You can catch the full interview over on writing.ie by clicking here.

 

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