An Unfinished Story

Photo by Thomas Hawk

On Fridays the toddler is home with me, and it’s difficult to find a pocket of writing time. We play, I do chores, we go out with friends. This Friday I was determined to put pen to paper. It marked the last regular round of Flash! Friday, a much loved flash fiction writing competition hosted by Rebekah Postupak.

There were wonderful stories submitted this week, as writer after writer turned up to serenade and say farewell to Rebekah, who has devoted so much time to building this community, nurturing the writers who showed up, giving them a place to belong and to hone their skills.

Three years ago when I became more determined about writing, Flash! Friday played a big part in helping me to establish a regular writing routine. In the intervening years flash has become more popular. I’ve written before about my passion for it herehere and here. The Flash! Friday website will remain live, so you can take a look at the stories in your own time. I’m in awe of writers, who can use so few words to build worlds and make us feel.

There remains only for me to thank Rebekah, for her passion and time. I can’t wait to see what she does next. And to give you my story from this week’s contest. There’s always time for a story.


An Unfinished Story

Photo by Michael Shaheen

The deserted village nestled in a valley, just the place to complete his novel. Beckton was no ordinary bolthole. Tom felt it in his bones. An eerie fog emerged as he arrived at the rental cottage. A sudden urge to lock his car doors.

He swallowed his unease and ventured out towards a half-lit café, the collars of his coat turned up against the grey day, his laptop tucked under his arm. The man behind the counter registered surprise when Tom crossed the threshold.

“You shouldn’t have come here. Didn’t you feel the warnings?”

“Feel the warnings?” said Tom, confused.

“Well, I could hardly put up a sign. She’s watching.” His features seemed to rearrange themselves as he spoke.

“Who is?”

“The beautiful girl, who lived there.” He pointed across the street.

“Where is she now?” A knot of fear unfurled in Tom’s belly.


Tom saw the walls unmask themselves: peeling paint became glistening scales; dim lighting, a fiery glow. The dragon’s head descended, erasing Tom with gnashing teeth and scalding breath, leaving behind only the bones of a barely started novel.

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