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Time to Dry Out...

The waters are receding, and the sun will soon dry the land. All that is left is silt and devastation.

Thus ends the Flood.

So, what did you think? Cracking, wasn't it?

As always a big thank you to all the writers who submitted, and to all those who were published an extra congratulations.

Thanks also to the editors:

Shirley Golden
Susan Howe
Ingrid Jendrzejewski
Caroline Kelly
Cassandra Parkin
Nettie Thomson

And thank you to you, dear reader, for your constant support for FlashFlood and National Flash-Fiction Day.

And... that's it.

So, until next year, be excellent to each other, and thank you again.

Calum Kerr
co-Director of National Flash-Fiction Day

'Daylight' by Tim Stevenson

In the quiet hour before dawn there was a ‘plink’ and then darkness.
Mary swore.
Across her desk taxidermy leapt, bright-eyed in the second life she’d given them. These early mornings were stolen time, when she could work in peace without the squeamish complaints of her family.
She opened a drawer and found the box for the replacement bulb. She pulled it out and shook it.
Empty.
She tilted her lamp, angling it so she could grip the cooling glass and twist.
Inside the delicate balloon of blue, the filament hung limp, molten ends quivering at the slightest touch.
“Make do and mend,” Mary thought.
Pliers.
She cracked the glass, swept the pieces into a bag, and examined the bare wires
“So, all I need is something between them and…”
She looked up lightbulbs and, reading very carefully, tied a single grey hair into place and watched it melt, filling the room with stink.
Upstairs she heard soft footsteps. She closed the drawers, and covered her desk with a sheet.
After breakfast and slamming…

'Traces' by Anniken Blomberg

Gelis Ker speaks to the elements.

There’s fire, burning her temples. There’s water; the base element of the substance trickling out her mouth—entwined with beautiful scarlet thread. There’s air, hovering outside her mouth. She needs to draw in more of it to push her words out. They’ll help her. They’ll unwind the bloodied yarn of her words to the end. When the last bit of thread falls from her lips, she’s spent. She’ll tell them everything. She’ll soar in the telling—high above her broken body.

Gelis Ker talks while their shadows loom and oscillate above her.

They burned Gelis Ker on Castle Hill, but first they strangled her. Locked her breath inside with the last of her words. Out of mercy, they said, to spare her the skin-nip of fire. On the day of the burning they stood with other onlookers and watched her body’s disintegration, its silent subjugation to flame.

But the ash of Gelis Ker was not the light, grey dust off a cold bonfire. More like fatty soot of the kind that sticks t…

The Sourness of Kisses Past by Michelle Matheson

Sometimes a gift is just a gift; sometimes it is a cry for forgiveness.
I hold the amber in my hand, the insect frozen in its centre.  I turn it over searching for the answer to an unspoken question.   It is a beautiful thing, a love token I suppose.  The rounded shape fits my palm perfectly and it’s the exact temperature of my blood.  If I close my eyes I hardly know it is there at all.
Once upon a time, limbs were flung wide, bodies strained and breath was rapid, almost rabid with desire.  But they were not my limbs; it was not my breath. I was side lined.   Since then I have subsisted in an alternate universe where neither heat nor cold exist. This world is grey.
And now this gift, this peace offering.  But where is the pleasure?  Instead the air is suctioned from the room and my lungs will not expand to fill my diaphragm.   I search for the green scent of resin but there is no longer any hint.  Helplessness hangs limp upon me.  The sourness of kisses past lingers on my tongue.  A…

'Study of a Boy with an Aeroplane' by Susmita Bhattacharya

I’m not lover of art. I don’t know how to react to a splurge of colours on canvas. Or appreciate fine brush strokes on paper. And yet, this evening, I chance upon your painting. It has started to rain, and I don’t have an umbrella. So I step inside the nearest door. As I brush off the raindrops from my coat, I look around. I’ve walked into an art gallery, and you are there, beaming at me. Urging me to come and look at your art. I hesitate. I don’t want to move around and make appropriate noises. Nor make eye contact with you. I have things to do. But you seem so alone in this space. So needy of appreciation that I walk around the room. You paint local scenes. The farmers’ market. The Dover crossing. The white cliffs seem to be your favourite subject.  I cannot believe what I see. This painting: The study of a boy with an aeroplane. I look closer and my breath stops. I turn to look at you. Are you some kind of sorcerer who has drawn me in here? Where did you do this painting? I ask. By the…

'Memento' by Karen Jones

She confuses Jacques Cousteau with Marcel Marceau. She drinks Midori, but has no idea how to pronounce it. She wears shoes that defy gravity and will, in time, change the shape of her calves and the grace of her gait: she knows she looks damn good in them now, and now is all that matters to a girl like Suzi.

I’ve watched her for months, studied her appearance, her mannerisms, her act. Know when her mood changes, when her breasts swell for a few days each cycle. I see her – completely.

But Suzi has a disability; she’s blind when it comes to men like me. We have no place in her world, no value, no purpose, so why should she waste one of those wide-blue-eyed gazes on us? We’re not quite tall enough or handsome enough, not rich enough for Suzi to grace with her sham-shy smiles.

It’s such a shame, because I know we’d be good together. I could teach her so many things – not just laugh at her mistakes, however cute they may be – but all she ever asks of me is one more drink. I pour, she tott…

'Heat/Wave/Length' by Christina Dalcher

H is for hole in the sky Heading into the third day, she wakens to the sun's colours dancing dervish-like on the backs of her eyelids. She is hungry, thirsty, still cold from the desert night. In another hour, her skin will sting and burn, blistered by a red hole in a cloudless morning sky. E is for echo Ears singed the shade of her hair—brilliant, flaming orange—sense familiar sounds. A howl travels over the dunes, floods her with memories of comfort and companionship. It is only the wind, echoing the Sahara's silent song. A is for aeroplane A clockwork bird carried her here. She gazed over its wide wing, down to silica waves three miles below. As she wanders the graveyard of aeroplane bits, her hands touch random steles of metal, jutting like silver sculptures in a sea of monotonous yellow. T is for tree Teatime back home--cakes and Earl Grey and clotted cream. She is hungry and hot. In the afternoon, she peels off another layer, revealing the tan lines that criss-cro…