Category: Flash Fiction

Wired for Action By Andrew Newall

Wired for ActionA little man made from one rod of wire, standing no more than eight inches, stood motionless on a high shelf. He shrugged off his stiffness and walked to the edge of the shelf to look across the studio. Strewn with drawing and painting utensils, it was chaotic clutter uplifted by striking watercolours and pastel pictures lying here and there.

The artist had left for lunch and the sound of the door locking signalled relaxation time for the wire man and his colleagues. Paper mache figures sprung to life on the worktop; two of them played sword fencing with paint brushes while the other three played tag. A dog made entirely of paper-clips, snatched a nearby glove puppet in its jaws and shook its head wildly, paper clips rattling while the glove puppet wriggled, annoyed and dizzy…again. The clay thinker just sat, thinking, looking. Being the first one made, the wire man had known each one since they were first put together.

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Exclusive Member Story Men of the World By Nick Black

Men of the WorldI write this by the guttering light of a candle, melted down so far, it’s mostly wick and puddle now.   The darkness around me billows and retreats, billows larger again as a draft creeps in near my feet.

My nib scrapes against this paper, though I can barely read what I am writing.  I ignore the repeated, demented, banging that I cannot tell if outside on the street or within this very house.  I steady my hand so as to spill no more ink, and start at the beginning, with Thurwell bursting into the Club, a train of snow in his wake. Burton and I beckoned him to join us by the hearth, and sent for brandy. Neither of us had seen him since his return to England, and while he answered our many questions, I took the time to examine the changes five years abroad had wrought on the man. Never thickly set, he had dropped a weight of flesh from his bones but was finely dressed, moustache well waxed, beard curling from his thin chin in an upward hook.

“Gentleman,” he said, raising his tumbler in a toast. ‘To old friends.” In the dancing rosy firelight, his face had a positively Moorish aspect so that his eyes and teeth flashed all the whiter by contrast. “And tomorrow, my lambs, you must come to my rooms, for I have brought back mementos that I believe may amuse, things,” he looked around, “not suitable for such public galleries.”

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Will Tree Roots Damage My House? By Natalie Bowers

Will Tree Roots Damage My HouseAs Daniel sits and opens his laptop, Ruth takes a sip from her well-earned glass of white and looks at the little oak tree that has planted itself in the flowerbed at the bottom of the garden. Against the darkening sky, its leaves look almost black. From where they’re seated on the patio, the swaying of its branches makes the stars behind them seem as if they’re really twinkling.

‘It says here that some species of oak tree can grow up to two-and-a-half feet in a year.’ His eyes still on the screen, Daniel reaches for his beer, but before he can knock it over, Ruth slides it across the table and into his grasp. His lips quirk acknowledgement, and after taking a long draught, he peers over the top of his glasses at the tree. ‘What is it now … eight feet tall?’

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Exclusive Member Story: Thalia By Patrick Sagaram

ThaliaThe muse comes to me on a Saturday morning, while I am in bed, tucked underneath the covers, luxuriating in waves of sleep. She tries descending on me in a dream, but since her attempts at poking through my unconsciousness are unsuccessful, she glares at me through slivers of sunshine, rousing me awake.

I’m ready for you to write me, she says.

But it’s still early, I tell her drowsily. Not now. You better come back later. So she did. About forty-five minutes later that morning when I’d finally gotten out of bed, washed up and peered into the fridge, looking for milk and eggs only to find what looked like two cloves of wrinkled garlic.

I’m ready now, she says. Write. Now.

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CROCODILES by Matt Harris

CrocodilesOnce there was a very happy little girl who lived in a village between a jungle and a river. The little girl was so happy that she smiled all day long. She smiled when she woke up in the morning, smiled when she saw there were noodles for breakfast, smiled on her way to her school lessons, smiled when she came home for lunch, smiled as she spent the afternoon helping her mother with the laundry and cleaning, smiled and laughed while she played with the other children in the evening and went to bed smiling and looking forward to happy dreams. Life was good for the happy little girl.

But not everyone liked to see the girl smiling so much. In fact almost everyone in the village disliked seeing her smile all the time. This was because life in the village was very hard. The reason it was hard was that they lived between the river and the jungle. The river was full of crocodiles and the jungle was full of tigers, so the villagers had to scrape a living from their thin strip of land. At night they stayed indoors, fearful of the rustling sounds from the jungle where the tigers crept, and the sloshing sounds from the river where the crocodiles surged slowly through the brown waters.

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