Throughout the month of April, Writers Victoria ran a flash fiction competition. For each day, they issued a one word prompt and challenged writers to write a 30 word story inspired by the prompt.
I took part via Twitter and loved being a part of the community who delivered 30 words each day and the variety of story telling the prompt words inspired. Below I've compiled my thirty entries simply titled by the prompt word for the day they correspond with.
1st April: Crease
Crack the whip and charge the confetti canons. An empty stadium for the tightrope walkers. Stale popcorn and faded ticket stubs. The ringmaster’s coattails creased as the clowns’ greasy frowns.
2nd April: Develop
Soft, fleshy limbs, tangled in tired sheets. Dust specks sparkle in fading light. He clicks the shutter, winds the roll. She’s doubly exposed at the mercy of his developing tastes.
3rd April: Segmentation
I pull the pieces apart. Slide one onto my tongue, bite down, taste citrus tang. Offer you a segment, as you stare, aghast. Your packed bags waiting in the hall.
4th April: Blossom
‘It’s too late in the season,' he’d remind her each year as she gazed at the garden, wishing. Too young to understand back then, now she understands too much.
5th April: Hands
The turbulence takes us by surprise, including the air stewardess who tumbles, losing her confident smile. I hold her as we shudder through. Her hands’ gripping mine lingers for days.
6th April: Illuminate
An Edward Hopper painting in reverse, you stand at the window gazing outwards. An ambiguous expression pressed to your lips. A car engine idles as streetlights illuminate my nightly departure.
7th April: Crumple
The mattress crumples as you sink your weight down, cautiously. It reminds me how the scraps in the bin collapsed as I piled your uneaten dinner on top hours earlier.
8th April: Renew
She talks about the good old days like I’m not here. Age has locked her in the past. Each day restored. She forgets the dark, raw scribbles in-between. I'm jealous.
9th April: Open
I bury the teaspoon handle into the golden foil of a new jar of coffee. Relish the gentle yield, the soft pop as it opens, and I inhale the morning.
10th April: Pop
She stands behind me, waiting. Annoyed, I turn to face her, so close I can smell her bubblegum breath. Without saying a word, she blows a perfect gum bubble.
11th April: Elaborate
Catching the last bus on a dimming day the city, draped in a thin blanket of snow, looks like an elaborate movie set. Barely real. She clings to the feeling.
12th April: Unravel
The children pull the thread she asked them not to thrice. They tug with glee but gasp with horror as the seams unravel and mother’s head tumbles to the floor.
13th April: Manifest
My latest class gush about the power of ‘The Technique’ as I smile grimly, knowing a brutal truth. I certainly didn’t manifest my husband leaving for his secretary ... he did.
14th April: Scrunch
I tug the words out of my mouth, scrunch them into a ball and throw them to you, hoping you’ll catch and pass some back. Hoping for more than silence.
15th April: Consciousness
The media reports it as a ‘collective consciousness’. We rephrase it to ‘collective undoing’, curtains drawn, phone brightness turned up high. Greedily suckling on the world’s demise.
16th April: Burst
Yesterday, I dropped some blueberries at the supermarket. Without thinking, I began squishing them underfoot, vivid juice bursting forth. An attendant joined me and we danced joy across the mess.
17th April: Learn
‘You need to train him!’ the man exclaims, backing away. As he disappears, my dog stops barking, returning to me for his treat. I smile. He’s trained just fine.
18th April: Explore
‘It’ll pass’ they tell me, ‘Just a mind trick’. I close my eyes and clench my phantom fist, explore myself in time and space; the parts missing and still here.
19th April: Reveal
I wrap myself around you from behind, cheek pressed between your shoulder blades. My hands rest across your heart, its beat revealing an answer I don’t want to hear.
20th April: Origami
‘We’re the same flock, you and I,’ he opens his cupped palms to reveal a small paper crane, intricate folds, two shades of paper. I swallow hard, avoiding his gaze.
21st April: Expand
His speech forms uncomplicated bubbles that expand with every puff of his ego. They drift off into the outer atmosphere like crude children’s party balloons. ‘Are you listening?’ he demands.
22nd April: Emerge
I follow you to the river. Note the sweat at the small of your back. We strip, immersing ourselves in cold water. Emerging finally to our innocence washed away.
23rd April: Unfurl.
Sleepy and slow, your fingers reach out to me like fern fronds unfurling. Incomplete. Seeking growth in a new light.
24th April: Letter
I think of all the words I used to know. Stack them one by one inside my mind. Watch as the precarious house of language begins to tumble, lost forever.
25th April: Unwrap
You hold your clenched fist out to me, palm up, fingers wrapped around an unseen object. Anticipation mounts as I hold your gaze and unwrap them one by one.
26th April: Display
‘Wrong!’ her boss rolls his eyes, ‘if you want something done right’ he mutters, snatching the necklace, delicately draping it in the window display. Later she’ll spit on his car.
27th April: Betray
The Wife sits in limbo, wondering whether to save her family. The Husband keeps her guessing. The Lover cries for them all, relief for a betrayal finally uncovered.
28th April: Become
In the grey coastal town I grew up in, you’ve got to have dreams to survive. Sometimes I go back and see what’s become of those whose dreams fell flat.
‘You don’t fully discover consequences’ she thought, ‘until the whole thing’s over with.’ She patted the earth down flat over the hurriedly dug hole, wondering what they’d be this time.
Returning was a rupture deep as a vein, coming back to a place discarded. But as the days go by, without persuasion, she lets herself unfold into what once was.