Flash Fiction Competition #6

IMG_5482Another fine crop of flash fiction this month, but a clear winner was Melissa Dobson with Parallel Lines. Congratulations to Melissa!

Don’t forget, we are open for submissions for our next iPamphlet on the theme of Winter/Christmas.


Parallel Lines

“She was lost. I thought it was Izzy.”

“She doesn’t look anything like Izzy, Molly. Our little Goldilocks?”

“She wouldn’t look that way now, Irv. Remember how she loved those crazy shoes?”

“They look nothing like her shoes, Molly.”


“She doesn’t look lost to me. She looks like she’s got someplace to go in those shoes. She’s got a phone, for Chrissakes. And that hair.”

“She’s far from home. She’s lost, Irv.”

“How do you know? Did you talk to her?”

“I asked her for the time. She had dark eyes.”

“So, not Izzy.”

“It could have been Izzy.”

“So you took another picture. Molly, you can’t keep taking pictures of strangers.”

“I thought it was her.”

“But you knew it wasn’t her when you took the picture!”

“I’m going to put it in her room. I think she’ll like her room.”

“Molly, please.”

“She was crazy about those shoes, Irv. Don’t you remember?”

Melissa Dobson

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I think she was about to set off a bomb.

I was watching her through the peep holes that I had cut into the two a’s in ‘Daily Mail’. Don’t give me that look, that’s official MI5 endorsed spy craft. Anyway, she was looking all casual, as if she was just another student earning a few extra pounds propping up a sign to some place that sold some stuff. But I could see from the intensity with which she considered her phone that she was not just checking for messages or looking up train times. I could see her thumb tremble, hovering over the OK button. She was completely immersed in a moment, a decision.

Time stretched unbearably.

My leg was starting to itch. My elbows hurt.

Then she looked up, her eyes sharp.

I lowered my guard and my paper, my mouth shaping a silent ‘No!’ as her thumb finally made its choice.

Judith Kingston

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Good Money

He was paying her good money to hold the sign. He had too. But he couldn’t pay enough for her to be enthusiastic about it. So she held it lackadaisically while she looked down at her phone and updated newsfeeds.

This job blows, but it’s good money.

Ugghh just remembered my rents due.

She thought of her cockroach infested apartment that reeked of the neighbors’ cooking. It was depressing that she stood out here all day to live there. She tossed jet-black bangs over her eyes and blinked hard to stop the welling tears. It’s good money, she told herself.

He had been waiting to see her break for months. It’s why he paid her good money, to keep her around. The predator seized his opportunity. He proposed a lucrative, albeit immoral, transaction. In the depths of despair, she agreed. It’s good money, she told herself, but he still couldn’t pay enough for her to be enthusiastic.

Carlos Orozco

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The New Job

‘Sorry mum, can’t really chat right now, it’s manic here. The new job? Great. Honest mum, it’s good. I’ve got an amazing view across the city from my office and my boss is a dream. In fact I’ve just got a promotion. They’ve put me in charge of marketing. Tell dad I’ll soon have enough saved to pay him back what I owe him. Not sure I’ll be able to get home this weekend. Going out with some people from work and then looking for somewhere new to live. Sorry mum, must go, got an important meeting to go to with some new clients. Speak to you soon. Love to dad.’

 Maureen felt a tear trickle down her cheek as she put her mobile back in her bag. Sitting there, nursing her third latte, she looked through the crowds outside, watching her daughter lug her billboard across the busy street.

Mike Jackson

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Future software updates pending

 Tina wished she had never downloaded the ‘time travel’ app, but she was a sucker for anything free. Of course, she had reckoned without the curse of in-app purchases. It turned out the first trip was gratis but you had to pay for the return journey at a frankly exorbitant cost.

Now she was stuck in a time loop in the middle of last week, trying to avoid bumping into herself in case it caused the universe to end. She had resorted to begging on the street with an improvised sign: ‘Stranded time traveller. Need cash to get back to next Wednesday’.

After an hour of raising nothing at all, she looked around, saw the street was crowded with similar people with identical signs. In fact, they all bore a striking resemblance to herself. They were almost elbow to elbow—

It was at this point that the app crashed irrevocably before anyone else had a chance to use it.

Gavin Parish

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Small Fish

This was not what she had signed up for when she came to London six months ago! She was told by the Manager that she would be in charge of direct marketing and had assumed it would mean telesales cold calling. She hadn’t for a second imagined he would expect her to do this. Her mother always said that to assume ‘makes an ass of u and me’ and she was right. This was such an insult – the latest in line of degrading jobs and quite frankly she’d had enough.

Weren’t the streets of London supposed to be paved with gold? She was hoping to have been talent spotted by now, but was starting to realise that things like that only happened in the movies. Or to Kate Moss. Perhaps she should have stayed put and not left her home town after all. Being a big fish in a small pond didn’t seem quite so undesirable now.


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I am a statue. I am unnoticed.

I see a lot of things, standing here. I fade into the background noise of cars, and sirens, people and hustle bustle. The orange, white, red, green lights flashing across my face.

I see secrets, plans, friendships, lovers. I see hope, fear and pain.

I looked up, looked ahead. I saw you take that bag and run like the wind. I saw you push that woman to the floor, vulnerable and old. I saw you.

I ran, I did. I threw down that stupid sign and I ran until my lungs felt like they were breathing ice. Statue come to life.

My fingertips brushed your hooded top, a scuffle, a force. Sudden air expelled from me, a ball to the stomach, a fall to the ground. Head hit concrete pillow, all blur and fog and fuzz.

 Was it a dream? Now I stand here again. Frozen for hours.

Emily Greentree

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A Sign

It’s ironic, she thinks. She is carrying a sign with an arrow on it, pointing to somewhere, some destination, and an end of a journey. But, inside her head, she is lost. Fingers fly over the phone, she is trying to contact Freddie. He is never lost. He knows where he is going, his internal navigation is switched on. Trouble is, he doesn’t want any passengers. Pick up Freddie, pick up! She won’t cry, she tells herself. He isn’t worth it. She is worth more. She keeps repeating that as she continues trying to contact him. She hugs the sign, hoping it might direct her. Finally she shakes her head, knows deep inside, that she alone is responsible for what happens next. As if an inner sat nav lights up inside her, she stops her tapping, turns off the phone, straightens her shoulders and starts walking. Her journey has begun. One step at a time.

Linda Sprott

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 Casey’s finger’s trembled when the phone rang again, demanding to be answered. Goose pimples rose on her arms, telling her that something was wrong. Tears formed in those hazel coloured eyes, but she refused to let anyone see the vulnerable side she had buried years before.

‘ANSWER THE PHONE.’ screamed the text message on screen.

Looking up, she peered around, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, no one knew she was here. As the phone rang for the fifth time, Casey caught sight of the sirens calling to her, but still she did nothing. Car doors slammed with warning.

Finally, it was over.

“Casey Singleton, I am arresting you for the murder of Timothy Edwards. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence….” The voice trailed off, Casey felt the weight lift from her shoulders. No more running.

Kirsty Higginson

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Photo of cute cats – retweet and favourite #lol #cutecats

I could do with a cigarette – another twitter update.

‘standing in street #sobored #work’

I like this song it was playing the first time I tried a jagerbomb, I wasn’t keen on it at first but I drank it anyway. Some guy bought it for me. We snogged later that evening outside the pub. My friends were waiting for me on the corner, I could hear Jesse moaning that I was the one who always held them up. She was just jealous that I’d hit it off with a bloke and she hadn’t. Made a change.

Another update. More cute cats #cutecats #schneeze

‘#schneeze’? that was a new one. Must be the expression the cat has. Retweet. Update.

‘#schneeze #WTF’

When will this day end? Just a few more hours. Update.

‘at #work #soooobored #schneeze’.

Paul Millar

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World of Dew

She is just a working girl, trying to make it in this world. Her job at the moment is to stand outside and hold the sign for Fun World, the fantasy adventure store.  It is always fun at Fun World, where anything is possible in virtual reality.

 In reality, she has a boyfriend, named  BobbyZen–a  Twitter poet she has never met. She knows nothing about him except his words. They connected one spring day when he wrote about crabapples, not the usual cherry blossoms. The way he said it, too, that they chose to bloom, not some romantic forcing.

They trade messages all day. She checks her phone obsessively. Today, a fine warm day in October, he has written about autumn grass. She responds with the color of dew.  He answers with blue sky and birds.

Bird song drowns out the sound of traffic.  The world is a drop of dew….

Diana Gallardo

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This Is The Way

She had no direction in her own life so she thought the least she could do was point other people the right way. The agency she was signed with gave her the job and a key to the lock-up where the signs were stored. They told her where to stand and which direction to point. Inevitably she grew bored. She searched the Internet on her phone wondering about the place she was directing people to. There was nothing online; the place did not seem to exist. She followed her own directions then, until she reached another girl with a similar board. She nodded as she passed. She did the same to the boy who was next, and the old man who pointed her back to where she had stood. Well, she thought, this pointing is pointless. But she was being paid, so she shrugged and resumed her place. Though for a laugh she pointed the sign the opposite way.

Mark Newman
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The Taken

This is the moment everything changed. One minute I’m standing on the high street, holding my sign and trying to decide what tattoo I’m going spend my savings on; the next, I’m kneeling on the pavement, my whole body trembling.

No one could understand what the invaders were saying, but none of us were in any doubt as to their meaning. As they arced their weapons above our heads, a tsunami of fear ripped through us. One by one, they shone their lights into our eyes, and by the time they neared me, they’d already started separating us into two groups.

Beside me, a woman screamed: ‘No! Stop! Please! Help! Someone help! They’re taking my son!’

Instinct drove me to reach for her, but one of the lights caught my eye, and, mesmerised, I froze. The next thing I knew, I was standing in a cage, cradling my wrist and staring down at the barcode tattooed on my skin.

Natalie Bowers

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The K.O.D.E.

Remember the K.O.D.E., says Papa. No Kids. No Oldies. No Disableds. No English. And after what happened last time, no couples. My rules, he adds, are subject to change. Like you, he says, meaning me.

I’m not worried. I do a good job. We rendezvous at Papa’s place around 10am every day, “we” being me, Doc and the Gasman. Papa picks that day’s sign – gold, denim, tanning – while the medics scrub up. As long as I bring in one customer per day, Papa’s happy.

Talking of which, there’s a girl making eye contact. She seems clean. She’s definitely alone. Pretty-ish. Possibly Lithuanian.

Cheap tan, she asks?

Sure, I say: 1st left, 1st right, 2nd left.

Too easy. I text Papa to say there’s a Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirt coming his way.

Never forget, says Papa each morning, you’re the monkey but I grind the organs.

Ed Broom

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