Archives for My Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Paris

In the thing where I keep the small metal circles I give the man in the shop where I buy bread, I find two papers I do not know. Why don’t I know them? This is my thing, it is mine because inside is a yellow paper with my name. Mary. Inside is my purse, this is where I keep the small metal circles and sometimes large paper things with people’s faces on. The lady at the bank, Annette, gives me the paper things every Friday. She says “Hello Mary, have you come for your money?” and she gives me the paper things. She always smiles and is ever so kind. I look at the two papers, they do not have my name on them, on one side there are words and on the other is a picture of two grey men. Who are these men? What are they doing in my thing? Someone must have put them there when I was asleep? I mustn’t go to sleep. People want to steal things. My Bill bought it for me, he said I needed a thing to keep my money in. Perhaps the papers are not mine. They do not have my
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash fiction: Left or right

The tall dark figure stood behind the small pink one, at the open door of the coffee shop. They looked out at the wet pavement, the December squall pushing the rain horizontally into their faces. “We’re going to go left. Which way is left?” “This one.” A hand waved in the air and was quickly shoved into a pocket. “No… Try again.” The man shared the same dark brows as the pink figure which leant backwards against his legs, sheltering from the chill wind which arrived in their High Street from snow-blocked continental Europe. “Grandpa, can we go. Please.” She stamped her feet. “It’s freezing here.” “Where to next?” “To get Mog.” “Show me the way then.” “The library’s over there.” She waved her left hand vaguely in a left direction. Her hands were cosy inside hand-knitted mittens, each with a crocheted-flower sewn on it. She was so proud of her new mittens. She had chosen the colours and her grandmother had done the special crocheting with a huge grey needle. The pair clasped hands, his left in her right, and disappeared into the cold rain. In the coffee shop, Mary watched them go. She sat at the table beside
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Categories: Book Love, My Flash Fiction, and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: The Ten Questions

There are various tests to be passed in life. Some we pass, some we fail. Sylvestra hated tests. Practise or don’t practise, learn by rote or don’t, nothing made any difference. It coloured her life. Spelling tests at school: Rhubarb, Psychosis, Blancmange, Rhododendron. The egg-and-spoon race. The driving test, certification to drive a motor vehicle. The breathalyser test, when stopped for driving erratically in charge of said motor vehicle. Sylvestra tried, and failed them all. She was not a clever woman, but she would not call herself stupid. She knew right from wrong, right from left, she knew wars were started by men who thought they knew better than everyone else, she recognised when she was being over-charged and knew instantly whether or not someone could be trusted. Then came a new Government test. The ‘clever enough to vote’ test. Over 10 years ago, voter turnout fell. Subsequent governments elected were all further and further right-wing. This was the first test Sylvestra had ever passed, but she took no delight. Now Sylvestra awaited the most controversial element of the next Queen’s Speech. It was a white paper anticipated with relief by an ageing electorate tired of decades of family-dominated government
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Categories: My Flash Fiction and On Writing.

#FlashFiction: ‘A Little Drop’

Tatiana could read the writing backwards. EFAC SNUB YENOH YCNACAV EEFFOC WINNING-DRAWA The window stickers hadn’t changed for weeks. The door banged and in with the cold air came ‘Mr Triple Shot Espresso and Cheese & Marmite Bagel’. He didn’t wink at her this morning. His eyes were slits, like the coin slots on a parking meter. She popped a little something into his espresso. Just to give him a lift. Next to arrive was ‘Mrs Hot Chocolate on my way home from night shift’. Her eyes were like coin slots too, narrowed by an eight hour shift plus two hours overtime on the ward. Dealing with other people’s pain was tiring. So Tatiana popped something into the hot chocolate to make sleep come effortlessly. After that there was a bit of a lull, the pause between the night shift going home and 9am starters leaving home. She arranged her bottles under the counter. Brown bottles on the right, clear in the middle, green on the left. Generally she found the brown bottles were needed most often, she kept the green bottles for emergencies. Exhaustion, lethargy, depression, hangover, grief, headache, laziness, irritability, apathy: there was a bottle to relieve them all.
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Categories: Book Love, My Flash Fiction, and On Writing.

#Flashfortnight… image rights

  The #Flashfortnight competition by Ether Books is a two-part affair: the first week involved writing the seven stories, this week the emphasis is on promotion. Each story has a dedicated promotional image directly related to it, you can see them here.     From top to bottom: Beginnings… a beautiful tiara brings bad luck [above] Revenge… June’s weapons are a sandwich + binoculars [above] Celebration… the end of a friendship [above] Movies… step into a black cab and a world of movies [above] Home… Joey is more like pigeon Darth than he realizes [above] Space… Why is John’s mother singing ‘Space Oddity’? [above] Endings… the final 60 minutes, the Golden Hour [above] Copyright for all photographs: Sandra Danby [except Beginnings:  Millisenta | Dreamstime.com]
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Endings

It’s the final #Flash Fortnight story today and the theme is Endings. The End. Fin. Conclusion. The Golden Hour. Click here to read my story Endings for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Space     To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Space

The sixth theme for #Flash Fortnight is Space.  What did your mother do during the Space Race? John thinks he knows what his Mum did, but he’s wrong. Click here to read my story Space for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Home Coming tomorrow, the final story… Endings. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Home

More than halfway there now. The fifth theme for #Flash Fortnight was Home. Joey has more in common with his pigeon Darth than he realizes. Click here to read my story Home for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Movies Coming tomorrow… Space. To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Movies

The theme for the fourth day of #Flash Fortnight was Movies. A passenger steps into Jarek’s black cab and enters a world of movies and double-meanings. Click here to read Movies for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world. Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Celebration Coming tomorrow… Home.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Celebration

The third theme for #Flash Fortnight is Celebration and my story tells about the toxic combination of three girls, three dresses and a forthcoming party. Click here to read Celebration for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review. #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.   Click here to read my other stories:- Beginnings Revenge Coming tomorrow… Movies.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and disc over new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Revenge

My second story for #Flash Fortnight is Revenge, about June who sets out with a cheese sandwich and binoculars. Click here to read Revenge for free at Ether. If you enjoy the story, please leave a review.   #Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’, click here to read my story Beginnings. Coming tomorrow… ‘Celebration’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay. Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

#Flashfortnight… Beginnings

#Flash Fortnight is a competition for very short stories – ie ‘in a flash’ fiction of up to 500 words – so last week I wrote a story a day. Each day, organiser Etherbooks announced a different theme. The first week was about writing the stories, this week we release the stories to the world.  The theme for the first day was ‘Beginnings’. My interpretation of ‘Beginnings’ involves a beautiful tiara which brings bad luck. Click here to read Beginnings for free at Ether.   Coming tomorrow… ‘Revenge’.   To read Ether’s selection of short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays to your mobile or tablet,  click here to download the app at iTunes or GooglePlay.   Follow all the Twitter gossip about #flashfortnight and discover new writers using the hashtag or by following me @SandraDanby and @Etherbooks
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: Stone

Joanna stood like a human pebble amongst the ebb and flow of the tourist tide on the roof of the Reichstag. She’d bought a £39 flight to Berlin and got on the plane the very same afternoon, something she’d never done before. She was giddy with bravery. And now she was here, with Berlin at her feet. So far she had eaten currywurst – a disappointing long sausage with curry sauce on the side, rather than the curry-flavoured sausage she had expected – she’d been on a boat trip down the Spree, walked through Checkpoint Charlie which was a street filled with tacky souvenir shops – not like the films at all – and she’d plucked up the courage to ask a stranger to take her photograph outside the Brandenburg Gate. He was Japanese, she thought, or possibly Chinese, but he smiled a lot and seemed to know more about how her camera worked than she did. She had managed to say danke schön, which afterwards she realised the tourist wouldn’t have understood. And now she was standing on top of Berlin. Her nose felt hot, she hoped it wasn’t red. September in Berlin was hotter than September in Leeds,
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

How I write flash fiction

There’s something freeing about writing a short story, compared with a novel, and that effect is exploded when it comes to writing flash fiction. So when I was nominated by writer Lisa Devaney for the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the way I write flash fiction. But first, something about Lisa [below] who I met at the book launch party for our mutual friend Tina Seskis, whose book One Step Too Far was published in April by Penguin. Lisa’s new novel In Ark is just published. It is a new genre called cli-fi [climate change fiction]. In the year 2044, Mya Brand lives in New York City and pursues her passion—trying to digitally save the life story of every human on the planet before climate change makes Earth un-liveable. Recovering from a failed marriage, she stays laser-focused on her mission. With support from her actress best friend and bartender buddy, she is rebuilding her life and trying to heal her hard shell. For more info about In Ark, visit Lisa’s blog here. Now to my writing process. What am I working on? I have a selection of flash fiction ideas at the moment
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Categories: My Flash Fiction and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: Redbreast/After

Her breasts float in the bath, the left is as it was yesterday. The right is fragile. Between the three black lines it is red from the squishing of the white metal frame of the scanner. The faint indigo blush of a bruise spreads outwards like a bottle of ink spilt on a carpet, as if absorbed from the blue light which x-rayed her tissue. She watches as the black marks of the radiographer’s pen dissolve in the bubbles. She will not get of the bath until the lines have gone, she decides, until the experience is washed away. They float in front of her in the bath, bobbing to the surface like corks, demanding to be noticed. Just as they did yesterday. They still look perfectly normal, feel perfectly normal. Left and right, slightly lob-sided as usual. And usual has been restored. Almost. She takes the mug of tea her husband has made her, he closes the door behind him quietly as if she is mourning. Since walking out of the door of the assessment clinic with the ‘all clear’ ringing in their ears, they have lurched from tight hugs of euphoria, tighter than they have hugged since the
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: Redbreast/Before

Ever since the letter arrived, every day has lasted a year. Eight days since the screening. Nine sleeps to go until the re-tests, except sleep won’t come. So Shirley sits in the bath and tries not to look. Tries to look anywhere else but… there. She averages two baths a day, with relaxing aromatherapy oil. She swishes her legs from side to side, watching the bubbles hide the dimples on her knees. She flexes her legs, admiring her muscle tone. She studies her red toes, painted yesterday while her husband watched the Sunday afternoon football. She’s never before noticed the relationship between footballs and breasts. Everything she looks at now is related to breasts, even though she’s stopped looking at her own. Balls of any description, hills, clouds, apples in the fruit bowl, the cold pile of mashed potato on her dinner plate. Eight sleeps to go, seven, six… They float in front of her in the bath, bobbing to the surface like corks, demanding to be noticed. They look perfectly normal, feel perfectly normal. Left and right, slightly lob-sided as usual. Except usual has been suspended. She hooks herself into her bra every morning with efficiency, briskly, avoiding the
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 5/Trainers’

The trainers were new and very white. He didn’t want to walk every day, but neither did he want to die. He couldn’t ignore the doctor. His wife came back from the shops with the trainers and a pedometer to measure every step he took. He couldn’t ignore his wife. He didn’t want to die. So on Monday morning he dressed as usual – old grey trousers, white shirt thinning around the collar now, black belt he’d worn for years with his work suit but notched tighter, ditto the grey tie. The trainers shone as bright as a Belisha Beacon; if a Belisha Beacon was white of course, not orange. They’ll do the job, he told himself as he laced them up tight. He walked back and forth across the pink shag pile bedroom carpet, up one side of the bed and around to the other. If he shut his eyes, he might think he was wearing his slippers. He didn’t see why he couldn’t do his ‘heart walk’ as Margaret called it, in his old brown suede lace-ups but Margaret had taken control, as always. As always, it was easier to do as she said and she said trainers
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 4/Hunger’

The businessman never noticed him, people generally didn’t. Whether because they really didn’t see him or it was a conscious avoidance of the uncomfortable, he wasn’t sure. He knew he wasn’t pretty but he tried to keep himself in order. He’d learned over the years how to stay invisible, to recognise kindness, developed an instinct to avoid trouble and to be gracious. He was first in the supermarket every morning, into the bathroom where he stripped off and washed. Sunday Opening had seemed a bonus, the supermarket was open seven days a week except it opened very late which messed with his routine. Thirty years he’d been on the road. His food came from bins at supermarkets and restaurants. Twice a year, spring and autumn, he updated his clothes and shoes at the same charity shop, the cancer one down the side street, where the manageress let him in early before the punters arrived. He chose what he needed and she would put her own money in the till. Often she added a book to his pile, something she thought he’d like. A poetry anthology one year, a guide book to the birds of Britain and Europe another. She never refused
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 3/Temptation’

Florence’s calorie counting was going well. She’d bought a diary and kept it in the front pocket of her handbag with a mini-pencil. According to her doctor, the trick to losing weight was to “Know what you eat, and then cut things out.” Florence found that concentrating on what she was eating was helping her diet, though finding out the calorie count was a pain in the proverbial. Today’s list so far was:- Large hot chocolate and skinny blueberry muffin on the way to work; Diet Coke [all the other women in the office were dieting and they drunk Diet Coke, without exception]; Bottle of sparking water with peach [because water had no calories and peach was fruit]; Pizza margherita for lunch in the canteen [that was two of her 5-a-Day]; Mini-pack of chocolate Bourbon biscuits bought in the canteen and saved for afternoon break; A piece of Tara’s birthday cake with lemon in the icing [Chloe on Reception said lemon juice helped her lose two stone]. In the canteen there was always a bowl of fruit, usually untouched, slightly soft, browning; it smelt like the food waste bin which hadn’t been emptied since the last time the bins were
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 2/Outdoors’

The list fell out an old book. It was a story torn from a paper magazine and the headline read ’10 things for your child to do outdoors’. Marianne was clearing out the apartment belonging to her elderly neighbour, who had recently died. Evelyn had lived alone and had no family and Marianne, liking to be helpful, found herself sorting and emptying the flat of Evelyn’s life. There were so many books, thick, old-fashioned books with pictures on the covers, so different from the e-books waiting on Marianne’s tablet for her to read. The motivation was absent. But now the printed word drew her in. She sat on the floor, surrounded by books large and small, thick and thin, and picked up one at a time. Gold letters, The RAC Guide to English Villages; Gates on fire, Rebecca; An egg, Cooking for One by Delia Smith; A beach, the sea, Echoes; Reader’s Digest Guide to the Garden. The piece of paper fell from the gardening book. It was the first Marianne opened, drawn by the cover picture of old English roses. Pink, pale as the first hint of a sunset, dark like a blood blister forming. ’10 things for your
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.