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Would He Dare?

I’m delighted to have my flash fiction piece, Would He Dare?, published today in Arizona on The Flash Fiction Press:

elevator

Walking towards the office, he blew into his hands, sniffing to ensure the alcohol fumes weren’t too strong. It probably wouldn’t do in his first month, he thought, even if it was a bank holiday and he was one of the few skeleton staff expected to work. Just as he noticed his blood encrusted index finger, a hand grabbed onto his arm.

“Jack, isn’t it?”

 

If you’d care to read on, please click here to reach The Flash Fiction Press.

 

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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

Spelk – “Remember Me”

Spelk

I’m delighted to have my flash fiction piece, Remember Me, published on Spelk along with so many fabulous writers from across the globe:

“All these years later and she still attended mass. That was where she saw the young child with the teddy bear. It was hugged close, appearing like a child peeping over its mother’s shoulder and looking right at her.

Kate closed her eyes tight. The priest was talking about forgiveness. Ironic, she thought, tears pricking her eyelids. She blinked furiously, before running the side of her fore-fingers beneath her long lashes in a vain attempt to prevent her mascara running.

“Will I tell you a secret?”

The golden-haired bear with the black eyes stared.”

If you dare to read on, click here to reach http://www.spelkfiction.com.

 

Spelk is a new platform for the very best flash fiction on the web. We post three stories a week, from both new and established writers, from the UK and overseas.

WHY SPELK?

A spelk, in northeast England, is a splinter of wood – a tiny little sliver or shard embedded under the skin. Without getting too pretentious, we think there’s probably some kind of analogy there – we like flash fiction that’s short and sharp, that gets under your skin and leaves an impression. That, and we just happen to like the word.

Flash Fiction: Snared

Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of Flash Fiction – a short, sharp story to get your imagination into a spin. For the writer it offers a challenge to whittle words down to the minimum while still delivering a story worthy of a read.

I’m delighted to have Snared included in the current on-line edition of Brilliant Flash Fiction along with talented writer and friend, Doreen Duffy.

Check out a taster below:

Johnny’s eyes skim the room, finally settling in the corner. It appears darker there; black as ink. Yet he is unable to decipher a shape as his hands feel for the tangled sheet, pulling it over their naked bodies. It is cold and his chest feels as if icy fingers are squeezing his heart. He shudders.

Jennifer? Jemima? Shit! He can’t even remember her name.

If you’d like to read more click here and scroll down to Snared.

And don’t forget to check out Sweet Justice by Doreen Duffy – it just might make you re-think your confectionery choice . . .

Your feedback and comments, as always, much appreciated.

Enjoy!

 

Flash Fiction: Alone Again

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 . . .

 

Compelled to read more? It’s one of the many Flash Fiction pieces to make the cut (excuse the pun!) and published on Flash Flood as part of National Flash Fiction Day.

Click here to read on – if you dare!

And if the compulsion takes hold, give in to it and leave a comment.

Check out Alone Again published today over on Flash Flood.

 

Flash Fiction: Killer Smile

A stranger in town – and all the way from the United States of America, no less.

Surely things can only improve for barman, Sean and his impoverished Irish town.

But then again, maybe not . . .

 

Check out Killer Smile published today over on Flash Fiction Magazine.

 

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250 words that will stop you in your tracks!

Flash Fiction: Let It Snow!

Johnny looked out the window and whooped. It was snowing!

He dug under the stairs and pulled out an old pair of wellies, shoved his feet inside, zipped up his jacket and grabbed a pair of gloves.

‘I’m just going out, Mum,’ he called, the front door already open.

‘Wait! Stir before you go,’ she called.

‘Aw, Mum. Later?’Fir in winter landscape

‘It’s now or never, Johnny-boy,’ she laughed, standing in the doorway.

He looked out at the driveway. No footsteps yet in the perfect blanket of snow. But not for long. He could see friends trundling up the road, firing snowballs.

‘Last chance!’

He closed the door and followed her into the aromatic kitchen.

‘Quick Mum, where’s the spoon?’

‘Gloves off first,’ she said, as she pointed to the bowl.

He pushed the spoon into the dark mixture of currants, cherries, brown sugar and Christmas spices.

‘It has to be clock-wise, Johnny,’ smiled his mum. She had flour on her right cheek and her blue eyes were shining. ‘Three times, then make your wish.’

Johnny nodded, his face solemn, as he performed the yearly Christmas pudding ritual.

‘Okay. Done,’ he said. ‘Did you make a wish?’

‘Of course, you don’t think wishes are just for kids, do you? Now go, enjoy the snow,’ she shook the wooden spoon at him, her eyes brimming with unshed tears, ‘but make sure you’re back in time for dinner.’

Shoving a handful of cherries into his mouth, he hugged her tight, ‘Dad always loved this part of Christmas.’

‘He did,’ she ruffled his hair, ‘so go, have fun. Make him proud.’ She turned back to the bowl.

Johnny licked his sticky fingers before pulling his gloves on and heading outside.

Thirty minutes later, the snow had turned into a blizzard. His hands were freezing, his ears were ringing and he was cold.

A tall man dressed in black, a striped scarf covering half his face, walked slowly towards him. He cradled a brown box in his arms.

A flurry of snowballs pelted him, causing him to lose his balance. His eyes held a look of panic as he struggled to hold onto the box. Instinctively, Johnny knew that the contents were important. He rushed forward.

‘I’ve got it!’ he shouted. The man released his grip as he slipped to the ground.

‘Thanks, son,’ he muttered, as his scarf fell down to show a pale face scrunched in pain.

The box was light, but when something moved inside, Johnny nearly dropped it with fright. He noticed small air holes at the top. ‘It’s not a snake, is it?’ he whispered.

The man shook his head.

‘Johnny, didn’t you hear me call?’

Johnny turned to see his mum standing at the gate.

The man stood.

‘He’s a good lad. Just came to my aid.’ He took the box and opened it, gently lifting out a tiny black kitten with four white socks. ‘At the animal shelter, they named her Lucky,’ he smiled, holding her towards Johnny’s outstretched arms. ‘I guess she is.’

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