For the month of April, the team at Writers Victoria kept many of us sane with a 30-word flash fiction challenge. The challenge took place on Twitter with the hashtag #WVFlashFic20, but participants were also able to email entries in. The theme was ‘Focus’ and each day a new word was revealed and we’d have 12 hours to come up with an entry.
The competition soon became the starting point of my day and was a perfect nudge out of the isolation doldrums. Each day I’d look forward to the challenge. It didn’t take long to create a team spirit with other participants and I soon found myself looking for their entries, scrolling through Twitter to find what they had written.
I was fortunate to win the daily entry with a zombie story on Day 24, with the keyword ‘measure’. It was truly an honour because I was amongst very talented authors in the competition.
I’ve listed all my entries below under the daily keyword. Some days had two entries, but I stopped on the 28th because Mum had a stroke – ironically the same day my entry won – and I couldn’t complete the month.
I had such a great time with this competition, reading and writing. Thanks Writers Victoria, and see you – hopefully – for 30-words next year!
As far as routine goes for May… well, once I’m through this current medical situation, we’ll see what that looks like!
Here are all the stories I’ve written for the 2020 comp:
Day 1 – Eyeball
‘Nearly there!’ Squelching intensifies. Two sharp pops. ‘Tadah!’ Two eyeballs on Pete’s palm.
‘Just don’t lose them. You know how long they take to grow back.’
Vampire discussion at Halloween
Day 2 – Concentrate
Uneven stitching. Mother glares. ‘Hopeless!’
Danita trembles. ‘I’m only four!’
Tears form. She tries again. Fabric slips.
She sews. Tears flow.
Everyone works during the plague.
Day 3 – Intense
‘Fire cleanses, renews! Divine—’
‘Shut-up, Ray!’ Every sunrise. Damn pagan classes! They’d promised fun: spellcasting, covens. But no. Delivered intense prayer, weird boyfriend, smelly herbs. Bettina wanted a refund.
Day 4 – Blur
I try to remember. Memories tangle, blur, slip away – elusive gossamer strands in fat and fumbling fingers.
‘Who is Mum?’
Her disapproval swells.
Sometimes it’s better to forget.
Day 5 – Hocus-pocus
Hocus-pocus don’t lose focus!
Pinch of sugar and fat
Eye of spider, hair of lioness
Cunning of a rat
Touch of royalty, three sharp blades
#spell to make a cat
Day 6 – Blind
Renovations caused such grief: bright, pastel, pink, magenta, designer, store-bought. He liked, she didn’t. They spoke of divorce. They found reconciliation in the vermillion venetian blind. It had to go.
Day 7 – Hazy
Their music lasted 20 years. His loss: a chasm, deep, endless. On repeat: a hazy shade of winter, memories in vinyl. New love discovered. In a glass. Johnny Walker, neat.
Day 8 – Mirror
Cocaine, a mirror, four crisp bills were buried beneath dog-eared textbooks and a drawn-on pencil case in his weather-beaten backpack. Tears soaked its skin. His death no longer a surprise.
Bourbon-sour breath. Vicious tongue, bleeding fists. I’m cowered, beaten, repressed. Bruises bloom, some inside; they mirror all of you. Grief-wrapped fear. Searching for the exit, I fail. Life’s a maze.
Day 9 – Crisp
Hammering in Dad’s workshop sets the beat. We dance the washing line, Mum pegs. Birdsong joins laughter as we peekaboo through billowing crisp linen. Sun-drenched and joyous, with me forever.
Day 10 – Lens
Why so selfish and indifferent? We’re together, I’m alone. You enfold me, tell me it’ll pass. This road we’ve run before. When my lens clears, I’ll see the better you.
Day 11 – Myopia
Your silken touch, your whispers a caress. You bite, I gasp, at first. Blood runs, your tongue laps. Blinded by desire, myopia a subjugating mist. I’m lost. I’m yours.
Day 12 – Converge
The horde converges outside.
‘Is that our Sheena?’ says Pete.
‘Bit … green,’ says Maude.
‘Is… she waving?’
‘No, she’s eating an arm.’
‘S’pose we said to BYO.’
Day 13 – Sharp
Her tongue was sharp, his blade, sharper.
She bled lost words
Her last breath, the closing scene.
In his cell, he wrote her missing pages.
Guilt, his ink and muse.
Day 14 – Bullseye
Focused. Arm straight. She drew back the bow and fired. The arrow flew–straight past the target. She was a shocking archer. Her smile, however, hit the bullseye every time.
Day 15 – Glasses
Your wedding gift was a painting: two glasses smashed over ice. Strange, but artistic.
A year later, you’re in Aspen with my husband. While you’re away, I’m learning to paint.
She read the incantation, Poof! … Husband materialises, pants down, on the throne.
That’s not a king!
She cleans her glasses. Hmmm. That’s where she’d gone wrong. She tries again.
Day 16 – Peripheral
He hid his new tatt. A peripheral view suggested it matched one of hers.
Gross! What’s next? Matching undies?
His gift was labelled ‘Annie’s lingerie’.
Sometimes she hated being right.
Day 17 – Vague
‘It’s going to be great! Can’t wait until I can share!’
A collective moan filled the room.
Joe, still smiling, was undeterred. Everyone else, however, was sick of his vague-booking.
Black half-moons on nails, a grime-covered face, dirt-scented clothes. The camouflage hides her. Bunkering down, she waits, surrounded by a disquieting silence, a vague unease.
A twig snaps. Is it—?
Day 18 – Laser
Your laser-gaze cuts deep. Newfound courage imbues you.
‘Love?’ it drips from your bloodied lip. ‘Cowardice.’
Anger fuels me. Your defiance dares me.
But something tells me you are right.
Day 19 – Drift
The orange glow sinks below the horizon. Cicadas serenade. Stars flicker, fall and blink out. We know the sun won’t rise, but our wishes drift, seeking birdsong and sunny mornings.
Day 20 – Spotlight
Your white-gloved hands don’t pull the rabbit from the hat. You freeze. The crowd sniggers then laughs. The spotlight features your failure while the rabbit nibbles your shoe.
Day 21 – Sway
For her party, turning 50.
Fancy Dress! Something nifty,
A touch of regal with tiara?
Nah. Kimono? Sigh. Sayonara.
Kinky boots, psychedelic hippy?
Yep, sway of hips, applies the lippy.
Day 22 – Centre
He rolled the toilet paper forwards, she backwards. He squeezed toothpaste from the end, she the middle. She double-dipped. Eww. Throwing him off balance, it was hard to re-centre.
Day 23 – Read
The rustle of pages alerts you. Within moments, deep snoring stops and amorous husband hands search. Determined to read, I’m annoyed. But later, when you’re gone, I beg for interruptions.
A tall dark, handsome …
In inheritance from …
A new job …
Travel! Lots of travel!
If only Zelda could read the tarot, rather than using the suggested predictions.
Day 24 – Measure
Crazy, mental, stalker?!
Only called a thousand times.
May have followed you around
Sent sonnets, songs and rhymes
But, If you measure how I love you
Are these really crimes?
‘Fascinating,’ says the doctor. ‘Fast-moving necrosis! If I can measure how long it takes to reach the brain—’
The patient bites his arm.
‘Not long,’ I say, and run.
Day 25 – Rivet
‘Riveting, I’m sure,’ said Jim. Smiling intolerably.
‘It’s about being a human chimpanzee,’ said the writer. ‘People will love it.’
Next fancy dress, Jim would not go as David Lynch.
Day 26 – Clarity
Clarity, not charity! If you don’t learn this for yourself now, you’ll always rely on others. I didn’t think much of the old man, but on this he was right.
Day 27 – Distorted
We stand at the edge holding hands. Summer scents mingle with salty air, water tickles our toes. Is this how it ended? Our bodies diminished and memories distorted by time.
Day 28 – Gather
We take the flowers to the temple, gather and sing praise to our pagan gods. Performing the ritual, heady perfumes combine with blood-stench. I’d gag, but the blood is mine.