#Fridayflash 31 (0r 131) Word Creative Flash Fiction Comp

This series of articles running through January will explore ways of keeping our head above water in physical, mental, emotional and creative areas. There will be creative challenges, competitions and giveaways. For the full background see here.

To receive all the 31 posts, sign up for email notification on the sidebar. On twitter it’s at @31HAW or @alisonwells. Hashtag  #31haw and #headabovewater.

31 (0r 131) Word Creative Flash Fiction Comp

Write a short fiction of either 31 or 131 words (loosely) using inspiration from this line ‘The woods were silent, not even the twitter of a bird’ but not including those exact words. You can be as left field as you like, the more innovative the better.

Post your responses in the comments. I’ll leave the entries open until Sunday evening at 8pm here (GMT)

NB: ADDENDUM I’ll announce the winners in Monday’s post!

As this competition is about just getting yourself to be creative I will randomly pick three winners of the prizes 52FF by Marc Nash, Kettle of Fish by Ali Bacon and Clodagh Murphy’s Frisky Business.

Although, this time, the winners will be picked randomly, it would be great if you appreciate someone else’s story for you to mention it to them in the comments.

#Fridayflash – Take it to another level

As I explained in yesterday’s post #fridayflash on Twitter has been the single most inspiring creative activity I’ve participated in since I began writing seriously. So now that you have written a story why don’t you share it more widely? If you have a blog and are on twitter you can post your story on the blog, then tweet a link to it with the #fridayflash hashtag. You also add it to a directory of stories here, which is another way that people can find it. Writers on #fridayflash are supportive and enjoy the innovation of each others work. So if you like the idea join #fridayflash, if not just enter the comp!

The prizes and their authors

Marc Nash and 52FF

Master of flash fiction and regular participant in #fridayflash Marc Nash describes himself as “Author, literary molotov cocktail thrower. Word contortionist.” He has five books available amzn.to/r5TgGa including today’s prize 52FF, 52 flash fictions compiled out of his #fridayflash activity. If anyone knows about flash fiction here does! You can sample 52FF here.

Ali Bacon and Kettle of Fish

Ali Bacon is an exiled Scot living in the West Country.When she isn’t writing she plays golf, goes ballroom dancing and picks books from her teetering TBR pile, most of which end up being reviewed in one place or another. She has won a number of writing prizes and her novel A Kettle of Fish (Scottish contemporary fiction) was published in 2012 by Thornberry Publishing.  Kettle of Fish has been described as ‘A rollercoaster family drama’, ‘Harsh, gritty, lyrical’, ‘I couldn’t put it down.’ 

Clodagh Murphy and Frisky Business

Clodagh Murphy is a Dublin based author of romantic comedy novels. Frisky Business has been described as ‘Ballsy, witty, warmhearted, refreshingly original and very sexy’ Novelicious, ‘A gripping story with a pacey plot’ Irish Independent. Clodagh is offering a print copy of her book.

Stories to read on the train, Stories to make you go ‘ah’ and Stories to make you go ‘ooh’

I’m going to throw an ecopy of my mini flash collection Stories to read on the train’ into the pot plus a copy of ‘Stories to make you go ‘ah and Stories to make you go ooh’, tiny collections of longer stories 
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Flash fiction offering

Since I’ve set the challenge, it’s only fair I should have a go. I’ve put my entry here and in the comments below. Now add your 31 or 131 word entry to the comments and mention if you’d like to be in for an ecopy (52ff and Kettle of Fish) or print copy prize (Frisky Business) or both.
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48 comments

  1. Silence (Alison Wells example) 31 words

    Silence, how he liked it. Twigs snapping like bones. A cry, single and sharp. Silence. Hands over his ears under the bushes in his boyhood garden. Hand over her mouth. Silence.

  2. Horizon
    The waves heaved under the soft gaze of the full moon. She groped along the rocky shore to find her New Year’s Eve ‘Wishing Stone.’ Burnished gold unleashed. ‘Sea, his presence.’

  3. Queen – 131 words

    The woods weren’t there anymore. Trees failed to sway to the music of the birds and the ground was unsheltered from a harsh red sun that seemed ever closer.

    Elizabeth crouched down close to the ground, the faint booms of bombs and explosions still being blasted in the distance. Everything was gone. Everything had been taken by this final war.

    The air was still around her; the sky above had been plundered of its blues and greys by the smoke they had caused. Blood reds and black smoke in the sky mirrored her war. All because of her.

    Elizabeth stood. It was time. They’d hunted her down like animals, tearing apart the ones who defended her. Now it was time, time she let them find her.

    And then fought back.

  4. One of each.

    Going

    The snow fell, dulling the lines of the trees. Obscuring footprints, blank slate on the ground. If she left now, she knew he could never follow her. Knowing that, she stayed.

    Got You

    I pressed myself against the trunk of the tree. This was wrong, all wrong. The animals knew it, the woods were deserted for miles. I was the only creature stupid enough to come here now.

    I heard a twig snap somewhere behind me. Got you. I whirled around the tree, pushing all the stored magic into my fingers and fired.

    “Got you”

    I froze at the voice at my back. I turned slowly, hoping for a mistake. Some trick that would get me out of this. All I saw was her smile, perfectly content. Then everything was bright and pain.

    I lay on the dry leaves as the world turned grey and dark. There was no hope. No help coming. I was the only creature stupid enough to come here.

  5. Free Bird 31 words

    A free bird I’d like to be, soaring away from dense forest, from gnarled roots that trip and bind. The distance between us lengthens like shadows at dusk. I am petrified.

  6. She is seven and has never made a sound. She knows that if you walk far enough you can find the place where the earth stops speaking. She doesn’t have to block her ears there and she likes that she’s not the only one muted.

    It’s a wood about a mile from her backyards border. They go there sometimes and she imagines her fingers pressed into crosses as she hopes for noises. He has her hands held flat. She thinks that’s why there are no noises, that the woods wait for her to really mean it, to cross her fingers for escape or scream. But the silence is stuck in her throat, stuck in those trees.

    If she could only lace together cracked branches and birds song, she’d be OK.

  7. Pack – 31 words

    She stood at the edge, unblinking, scenting the cooling air.

    Nervously, others peered, near invisible, behind her. A distant howl, and in a breath each turned, merging back into the trees.

  8. Scales

    Nature is not supposed to be silent. She should be loud and obnoxious, filled with creatures and critters crawling and crunching their way through life, but when that thing came stumbling toward camp, everything in the woods went silent, except for the loose sound of shuffling feet.

  9. Prodigal – 131

    The rope unravelled as he kicked the rotting wooden swing seat away. There was nowhere to hang it from now, just stumps. And the house decayed.

    His childhood playground, trees to climb all the live long day, his teenage suffocation and his unrepentant escape. Returning, it would be sanctuary.

    The chimney smoking amongst the trees of the valley used to be the only clue the house was nestled there. Mired in thought he’d missed that there had been no smoke, not that many trees. “You sure you want dropped here?” doubted the driver. Yes, it was best to walk up the lane, best be humble.

    This couldn’t be home. Light-headed relief. Then reality splintered his vision and he fell. He awoke when the damp seeped through the fabric of his suit.

  10. Opportunity Knocks – 31 words

    I dropped the gore-spattered rock. He wasn’t moving. Was it finally over? I tried to smile with a broken face, deafened by sudden silence. I spat at him, then stumbled away.

  11. 31 words.

    The cacophony of battle stopped as soon as he Flickered. In its place wasn’t just quiet, but total silence. The shock staggered him, and he almost dropped the umbrella into the river.

  12. Simon felt the sun on his face as he strode through the trees, but he couldn’t hear the leaves crunching underfoot or the distant hum of farm machinery.

    When Bessie stood stock still and stared into the distance he felt the hairs rise up on the back of his neck. “What is it, Bess?” he urged, trying not to panic.

    His dog led him to a ditch at the side of the path. A teenager, muddy and sobbing with the wreckage of his bike next to him, barely had the energy to look up.

    Simon undid Bessie’s lead and held one end, throwing the other to the boy. He pulled the youth out of the ditch, while his Hearing Dog watched.

    The boy threw his arms around Bessie’s neck and sobbed.

  13. I’m on twitter trolling for an opportunity to be clever. The wind is blowing hard but it’s otherwise quiet around here except for the tv that is mostly on during the day. I’m sure the refrigerator is whirring but it’s seldom heard above the sitcom sound. Anyway, this Alison chick randomly came into my life. She followed me on twitter and before I followed her back I wanted to see what she’s all about. I found out she’s a writer and she likes to challenge people to write a little more than 140 characters. I bit at that challenge but I think I have to limit this mini story to 131 words. I’m ok with that, but I want to be clever and interesting. Hmm a haiku. Reaching up to touch the sky the corn grows up and pop it goes.

  14. Scar (31 words)

    Drunken fingers felt the arrowed initials. Counterfeit scar.
    Tears of sap long since dried, choked him now.
    They had waited all this time.
    Now the trees pressed in around him,….. accusingly.

  15. DAWN
    Bare feet, flowing sleeveless green dress, drinking a glass of white wine. She kisses the little fir tree in the heart of the wood.
    ‘So, she still loves him,’ he mouthed.

  16. Burn

    She wore the woods like a cloak, the trees hiding her, keeping her secrets. No sound but the beat of her heart. Even the birds were silent, complicit. Proof, perhaps, if it were needed. Surely only a witch could conjure such stillness. Only a witch, they would say, could make peace with nature. Her smile was bitter, resigned. She knew no proof was necessary.

    The blaze of their torches cut through the darkness, the silence broken by the snapping of twigs. They shouted the verdict as they crashed through the trees. And the punishment: burn. The word fell like an axe. She poised to run as noise splintered the night. The flapping of wings. The shrieking of birds as they scattered. The crackle of flame on the hem of her cloak.

    (I’d like either of the ebooks)

  17. Escape

    He ran through the silent legions of trees. The branches whipped him, and the briars not wanting him to escape from that original sin, hooked his clothes and lacerated his skin.

    His heart pounded on the prison wall of his chest as he followed the map committed to memory.

    Like a feral animal he fell to his knees in front of the crucifix-shaped tree, digging through the leaves with his bare hands. He giggled as he held the notes in his smudged and bloodied hands.

    But the trees had informed on him and started to close ranks. He felt the nozzle of a gun in the back of his head and heard the voice of the Law. He was fourteen again, in a stolen car, shackled to the dare of a lifetime.

    1. Ooops – In paragraph 3 above “feal animal” should have read “feral child” as you’ve probably guessed.

  18. Ancient woodland, no birds’ song but the hush of breeze softly rustling the russet leaves, copper bright in the autumn afternoon sun. She sighed, surrounded by space, time suspended, set free.

  19. so glad I don’t have to decide on the winners! – great idea, Alison and great entries. Let me know who wins/claims Kettle of Fish. x
    Ali B

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