By Dione Bradley
(Dione has recently gained a place studying for a Masters in Creative Writing!)
If you want to see Africa, more than anything, open your heart. It’s not only about the sights, sounds or smells, it’s emotions and souls full of depth. I was born with an open heart – I think, most Africans are. It’s only time that sets the theme, only time that determines whether a heart remains open or becomes dried up and shut under the oftentimes harsh heat of the African sun. Growing up, I know my heart got scorched. It didn’t just shut, it shrivelled. Perhaps, that’s why I forgot… everything.
Now I’ve returned. I’m back here, back home in the rural areas of The Houses of Stone.
I’m sitting in a small house burdened by decay and age. It is my father’s house. He built it just before I was born as a gift for my mother, when he was still robust with youth and love.
It’s coming back to me in fractions.
He’d loved my mother – some might say too terribly. The effects of that terrible love are visible up to now. He is a spent man with sun-burnt skin – wrinkled ebony; eyes sunken and permanently red-rimmed from too much drink; a shaggy prematurely grey beard covering most of his face.
He’s perched on a stool, somewhat awkwardly because of an out of shape back and damaged leg. The hardwood walking stick that has always seemed a part of him is never too far off, rested close beside against a wall.
It seems I’ve been hiding out in here since my not so welcome arrival last night. I am labelled the girl whose betrayal devastated an entire community. The girl who betrayed everybody and sold her soul for an air ticket and a Green Card.
Chipo. The whisper comes as if from nowhere. A consuming whisper.
Chipo. I’m still waiting.
FIFTY WORD FICTION COMPETITION WINNERS – 2019
Task: Write fifty words based on this picture
“I told her, didn’t I Gary? I said it was a mistake. Chelsea, I said, yeh a pigeon. Yeah dad is a pigeon. Yeh mum is a pigeon. You don’t need to build a paraglider out of crisp packets to fly. Now get up, before someone puts this on Coo-tube.”
By Cat Franklin
Gus, the trouble with architectural photographers is they’re not interested in us. A twitcher would wait for the moment, a proper action shot – whirring, blurred wings. But this guy, we’re just here for scale, he’s only interested in the bloody ceiling. So, on the count of three – evacuate bowels!”
As I lay on the ground, staring up at the ceiling, I contemplated my situation. Two pigeons were eyeing me up curiously and I stared straight back at them knowing I would have to face the inevitable soon. How I longed to fly away with them. Oh to be free!
By Alex Wadsley
Thank you to all entrants into the competition. It was very hard to pick the winners and I enjoyed reading all your work very much.
If anyone would like to enter other short fiction competitions, click on one of the following links:-
The Field of Cats
In the open space where all the cats go
There is wild grass and crickets chirruping
Poppies, daisies and buttercups
There is something rustling nearby.
A furry head pops up
And in the gorse bush, a ginger face appears
They approach me
One wants a stroke
One walks in circles round me
One leans his head on my leg
Another cautiously sits down next to me
In a nearby garden
I hear a lonely dog.
Winner of 2014’s Suffolk Young Poet of the Year
I am slouched into one of the many seats of the oval, pine table that encompasses the room. Its surface is cluttered with mugs, muffins and manuscripts. Crystals, candles and coasters bring character to its marked but polished frame. On this occasion I am surrounded by the people who feed my brain with the knowledge to bring life into my work. Eyes down, pens out, and keyboards ready we create new worlds and characters for the universe of fiction.
By Timothy Howard (back row, second from left).
The monster doesn’t have eyes like headlamps, horns like daggers or teeth like icicles. He’s just a normal monster.
I won’t tell you what the monster looks like, sounds like, feels like and smells like. I won’t tell you where he lives. You must use your imagination.
Yesterday, the monster ate my English teacher.
That was the exciting part of my story and if you don’t feel excited by thinking about a monster eating a teacher, there’s absolutely nothing I can do for you.