To celebrate National Storytelling Week (Saturday 26th January – Saturday 2nd February) Nottingham Festival of Words has run a Flash Fiction Competition. Here are the best stories. Enjoy!

Winner

The Wasp

Andy Boulton

With an elegant ferocity, he took skywards. Tumbling through the sharp summer air, buffeted by his own hunger, his furious thirst for the sweetness of man’s dark nectar, a primitive stench of violence burning beneath the nothingness of his eyes. Poor Ian. He really thought he was a wasp.

Runner Up

How the Music Lingers

Zelda Chappel

The music lingered only in her ears. Outside streetlights offer an awkward spotlight ’til the guys join her, adrenaline spiked, two girls following. High-fives and cigarettes exchanged, their laughter hangs melodies on cold air. She stole his eyes, held them in her pocket. In these times, she thinks, it’ll do.

Runner Up

Another Door Opens

Neil Baker

I told my husband that anticipation was everything. There is not enough suspense, I said. He thought for a year and said this: I will leave you for another woman, but I won’t tell you when – would that do? You are a year too late, I said, shutting the door.

Shortlisted

Isaac Counts Coins

Pete Walsh

In the moments before time ends, Isaac counts his coins. Whether they are ducat or florin is immaterial, so is the concept he does it to remain occupied. Whatever drives him, Isaac surrenders freely when the end of time arrives. Not everything stops however: the coins fall from his hand.

Seventeen Letters and One Reply

Lauren Rogers

“They’ve replied!”
Lynne rushed into the kitchen waving the letter.
“What does it say?”
“I haven’t opened it yet.” She propped the letter against the jam pot. “I can’t do it, George. Open it for me, but only tell me if it’s good news.”

The Door

Andy S. Barritt

The door was black and set in a wall near the park. ‘Daddy lives there’ I told my sister. Years later she called it a mean trick, not realising it was a secret I shared because I loved her. A door Daddy never entered was one he could never leave.

Arabesque

Sue Barsby

She saw him through a gap in the loom. The machinery moved and he was gone. And back again. And gone. He appeared in full, incongruous beside a tatting display, took one look at her and they ran from the museum. Fingers woven together, they left the past behind.

Routine

Jane Hogan

I go down on her. She goes down on me. We have sex. We play Call of Duty.

(A)shame(d)

Emma Zimmerman

There was that day when you got found out. The police—like ants at first—advanced up the rough field, handcuffs strapped to their waists. I ran and hid and couldn’t look at you. For weeks I stared at the ground, tears burning my hot pink cheeks.

Working Towards The Weekend

Kate Rounding

The roar of productivity from the huge machines dwarfed the tiny figure of Shell. She reached up and dragged the huge plate down, turning the cranks to create another step in the evolution of the tiny socks with lacy edges. One step nearer pay-day and party time.

Man’s Best Friend

Kate Cartwright

Sacha found him in the woods. I wanted to get help, but he stopped me.
‘I’m sick,’ he said. ‘I’ve come here to die, like your dog would.’
She nosed at his hand.
‘Let her stay awhile?’ he asked.
I called her away; he would be colder alone.

“One Final Kiss”

Elizabeth Simpson

“In a relationship.”
Two years together, and this was how he chose to tell her he’d moved on? A Facebook update? After a few moments spent in shock, Laura composed herself. Hacking into his computer was easy.
She blew him one final kiss before pressing “send” on the virus code.