Our latest free-to-enter micro-fiction competition attracted scores of entries and the standard was extremely high. We are delighted to published the winning entry and some of the honourable mentions.
A Bright Day
Picture this: a frost-thatched house on the edge of a field welcoming me home.
Don’t picture this: me hunched, breath shallow, heart jumping, dreading the lock’s shudder when he fumbles the key to our city flat.
Don’t see him staggering in this frost; my hands hanging down his back, his blood rust-dark beneath bitten nails.
Picture this: me already packed and beyond earshot of his slurred anger.
Picture this: me waking safe where he can never find me again, heart singing in anticipation of a bright day.
Not the bone-twist chill of wishing, too late, for a different ending.
by Judy Darley
Author Bio: Judy Darley is the author of short fiction collections The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain (Reflex Press), Sky Light Rain (Valley Press) and Remember Me to the Bees (Tangent Books). Her words have been published and performed on BBC radio and aboard boats, in museums, caves, a disused church and an artist’s studio. (Website | Twitter/X)
As with any writing competition, there is a high level of subjectivity involved in ‘judging’ the entries, so if you didn’t win this time or make it to the honourable mentions, please don’t be disheartened. But here are the three other entries that stood out from the crowd.
George watched the children looking for places to hide. He remembered how hedgehogs hole themselves up and stay dormant for winter. He’d read that once upon a time they’d been called urchins. Urchin was what Michael’s mum had called him. He’d looked it up: ‘a poorly or raggedly dressed child.’ He thought about the holes in his socks, the frayed cuffs on his school jumper. Pushing his way into the thickest part of the wood he curled up and allowed his body to relax. Perhaps if he tried really hard he could hibernate long enough to sleep away his childhood.
By Caroline Jenner
Author Bio: Caroline Jenner, a retired English teacher who lives in South London, enjoys writing Flash Fiction and exploring the concise nature of a complete story in a few words. Her work has been published by Free Flash Fiction, Trembling with Fear and Syncopation Literary Journal. In 2022 she won the Hysteria Flash Fiction prize and in 2023 came third in the Blandford Forum Rotary Short Story Competition.
Winter in my head is snug, mulled and spicy. It is arctic snow-laden walks, flickering flames, plum-coloured drinks and the scent of cinnamon.
Winter outside my head is a damp tramp across a soggy moor, a blinking head torch and the fragrant aroma of wet dog.
I blame the movies …
By Tara Phillips
Author Bio: Tara works as a wellbeing officer in a local FE College in West Yorkshire. She studied a Creative Writing Degree at Roehampton University and mostly writes for pleasure, but enters a writing competition now and again for extra motivation.
The entry from Chris Cottom also earned an honourable mention. Details tbc.
Thank you to everyone who entered. If you’d like to find out about our upcoming writing competitions (both free-to-enter and those with an entry fee such as the Flash Fiction competition with a £1,000 top prize), as well as writing prompts, book recommendations and more, sign up to our newsletter (we send one each month and will not share your email address or any other information with anyone else).