Pieces intended to tell a story, and have an impact, in 1000 words or under. Shorter examples of the form are published in collections.
The On-and-On Tin
“When she first arrived they said nothing to her, they just looked. An ordinary enough woman, halfway through her life perhaps … modest and respectful, but they were shocked at this female on her own… She said her village had been wiped out in a mudslide, she alone had survived… The gods favoured her, then? No, she said, just lucky.” (from Too Much Too Soon) Across twenty bite-size flash-fiction stories of no more than 500 words each, the reader can travel from Pre-Conquest Latin America to Post-Catastrophe Britain; or see inside the mind of Don Quixote’s horse and the mind of an impatient would-be suicide bomber; or meet the mythological character who delights in other people’s dilemmas and the woman who decided not to tell the world about her supernatural experiences. Perhaps you will find the answer to questions you never thought to ask: What was the real effect of The Great Plague? And how did British cities end up with such woeful transport provision? If you get annoyed when others try to tell you what to feel, you’ll sympathise with Jeffery in “Che Bello!” And if some people just leave you exhausted but you don’t understand why, you’ll sympathise with Eddie in “Is This a Law of Thermodynamics?”
Days to Come
Brindley Hallam Dennis
A collection of 8 short speculative fictions with a Lake District flavour... "Despite the distortion of the fish-eye lens, Terrence could see quite clearly who was standing in the corridor. Maurice looked no older than he had all those years before. He hadn’t even put on weight. His hair was still dark and full, and cut in a classic, almost archaic style. He looked like the 1940’s matinee idol he’d always modelled himself on. Terrence had not lost the plot, he reminded himself, though his hair had thinned, and his figure was wiry rather than slim, worn away rather than honed. Chickens had come to roost, he thought. Maurice was looking directly at the little lens of the spy glass. Could he see Terrence’s own eye looking back? His hand rose and lost focus, and the doorbell rang softly once again. Terrence closed his eyes briefly before opening the door. Terry? Maurice. I expected staff. There is no staff, only me. Hard times. Hard times. Well, aren’t you going to invite me in? Of course, you are. Maurice stepped past him into the hallway. Terrence glanced both ways down the hall, closed the door and followed Maurice. To the right, he said. Into the lounge. Through a picture window a bare and narrow balcony was not softened by a parched palm tree in a plastic pot, the thin browned leaves of which quivered like dark knives. Beyond them the ruins of Tower Bridge could be seen, emerging from dark waters like a piece of last century art. Maurice turned from the view and smiled. Terrence passed behind the counter of an open plan kitchen and drew from a cupboard a bottle of real scotch. Not all bad then..."
A woman leaving town decides to have a farewell drink with her ex-partner. "Just one drink to say goodbye, you’d said. Half an hour, tops. I’m off tomorrow. You’re not naïve enough to think that if he comes it means he still cares. That idea is on a par with telling yourself that if all the traffic lights turned green on the way here, he’d fall back in love with you and beg you to stay. Stupid. And they all turned red..."
Twenty-Five Tenpenny Tales
Brindley Hallam Dennis
A collection of twenty five flash fictions. "It frightened him when she walked out alone like that in the early evenings and in the mornings. Sometimes he watched her from the upstairs windows, a flickering upright between the hedgerow trees beyond fields. She ranged a little further every time, in widening circuits of the empty space between them. Sometimes he tried to follow her, though not to catch her up, and by the time he’d put his coat on and the heavy shoes – the fields and tracks were often wet and muddy after rain – she was too far ahead for him even to be sure that he was following; not merely walking in his own unravelling circles. Sometimes, when walking out like that he knew that she was one side or another of him, perhaps ahead, and felt they were like planets in their orbits, or rather comets. Their orbits were not perfect circles around the house, but stretched, elongated ellipses. Sometimes when he walked, searching for glimpses of her through the trees along the rides and lanes, he would glance back towards the house and see it setting like a sun, glinting in the early morning light or lit with yellow panes at evening in its deep cut windows..."
If the public don't have the discipline to watch what they put into their mouths then the state is just going to have to do it for them... "The lines are always long but no one ever complains about that. It’s to be expected. After all, this service is provided by the government. More than that, it’s for our own good.I shuffle along in the queue. The girl behind the plexi-glass window sees me out the corner of her eye and continues to monitor her customer’s products but I know she is thinking about me. The way she purses her lips gives away her disgust. The buzzer sounds and customer 4572 inserts his card into the payment slot. No unauthorised items. His units are deducted, his items are dispatched into suitable biodegradable packaging and off he goes. Relief obvious on his jowly face."
Brindley Hallam Dennis
Ten flash fictions of last words, last actions, and last loves...... "Wilson didn’t know he had only one week to live, whereas Seymour had been warned that he would die within the year. He was already too ill to drive, so he asked Wilson to take him to see her. Wilson was reluctant, but they had been friends for decades. Take a week’s leave, Seymour said. Wilson’s wife, knew the value of friendship, and she told him to get on with it. You never knew what they meant by ‘within the year’. Why, it might happen the next week, who could tell?"
David Churchill Barrow
Christmas goes terribly awry for a Hessian Colonel in America. "Colonel Count Karl Emil Ulrich von Donop was once again mesmerized by the visage and cleavage leaning towards him, pouring the wine into his crystal goblet. It all seemed as if it was a storybook fantasy – the crackling fire keeping out the damp December cold, the holly (for which the little village was named) decorating the mantle and table pieces, candles all aglow – and a young hostess who could fill Greek goddesses with envy. Christmas had not been this comfortable since he left his home in Hesse-Kassel years ago..."
Kallikids Short Story Competition Winners 2015
March 2015 marked the opening of the first annual KalliKids Short Story Competition. With help from KalliKids' ambassador and best-selling author, Joanna Rees, we set "Shine" as the theme and gave entrants the freedom to adapt "Shine" to whatever it meant to them, with a limit to each story of 500 words. We received over 500 entries from children throughout the UK, and were delighted to read such a creative mix of short stories with themes ranging from singing competitions to doomsday thrillers. We were captivated from start to finish. The 12 stories included in this book are the winners and runners-up from each age category, a real achievement for these truly talented young authors. Thank you and well done to all the children who took part, and the schools that helped to make this competition so special.
Countdown and Other Horror Stories
A date from hell; a camping trip with freshly-caught meat on the menu; a Spanish lesson concerning the futility of life; an alcohol-fuelled dream or was it reality?; a secret assignation at a graveyard; the nosy neighbour who found more than he expected; the hair of the dog that wasn't a cure; the effects of the moon on a near-empty beach; exploring an alien landscape - a new collection of nine stories with a theme of horror running through them.
Inglorious Sunset and Other Stories
A collection of a dozen stories with a romantic theme - although all is not always as it might first seem. The subject matter covers wedding anniversary surprises, prom night, an anticipated proposal, double-crossing and backstabbing, love overcoming time and mortality, mistaken identity, someone who is not as sweet as appears at first glance and a harsh payback for an innocent misdemeanour of youth.
What If and Other Stories
Ten stories rooted in the world of science fiction - What if Hitler had died of a childhood ailment? Can you really change your destiny? The horrors of more than half a century earlier revisited; childhood games across time and space; the girl who wasn't there; an affair that wasn't what it appeared to be; a cinema visit with a difference; strange beasts on an alien world; a cyclical life; the man in the moon bides his time.
Sealed With a Kiss and Other Crime Stories
‘Sealed With a Kiss’ is a collection of ten crime-based short stories covering topics including a social media reunion that doesn’t end as expected; a chance meeting in a bar with tragic consequences; wife-swapping with a difference; a teapot that delivers a cocktail of death; the heightened senses of a young sergeant sniff out the criminal; somebody at the library has something other than reading on their mind; a volcanic eruption scuppers best-laid plans; a gamble to replace misappropriated funds that doesn’t pay off; an old lady who mistakes people and doesn’t appear to know what she’s doing; and a flash of light for an over-bearing partner.
The Queen In Red: Welcome To My Truth
Liam A. L
A Fan Fic based on The Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice In Wonderland'; The Red Queen has forever had a reputation for being heartless, yet is that truly what she is? Does she not perhaps care for the people who have grown to loathe her?
Stop, Look and Listen
Stop, Look and Listen is a short collection of flash fiction pieces. It features Escape, a story about a son who wants to keep his parents together for the sake of his father, Mannequin, a creepy tale about a husband and his wife's disappearance, as well as the titular story Stop, Look and Listen, an exploration of life through instructions. The collection also includes other pieces by Akeem Balogun that have appeared in various publications throughout his writing career. Stop, Look and Listen is an enjoyable read that will appeal to all fans of the short story form as well as to any reader who is entertained by writing that is precise, fun and thought-provoking.
David G Allen
A man in a suit interrupted the programme. ‘What happened to Noel Edmunds?’ I said. ‘Shhh!’ said Lulu. ‘I want to listen!’ I wanted to know what the banker had said. The man in the suit kept talking. ‘I swear they’re making it up,’ I said. Lulu didn’t answer. She just stared into space. ‘I can’t believe I’ll never see my dad again,’ she said. Not for the first time I feel guilty.