A dreary day outside, but your #QUICKFIC pieces sure made up for it! Your prompt was this slightly odd looking contraption:
Let’s see what you made of it…
Runner Up: Zoya Afzal
Sometimes she wishes she could dig a hole deep into the earth, build a little cove surrounded by wrought iron gates and hidden entrances, and spend the rest of her days out of reach.
She dreams of existing only within the parameters of her own mind- flashes of colour blur into a murky brown haze, distorted voices shift into a distant buzz, and not a single pair of inquiring eyes fall upon her. She lies in her pit feeling invincible, invisible, victorious, defeated.
Her brain terrifies her, it paralyses her. But this is what she wants, right? She wants to be free, she wants to be safe. She craves a moment, a lifetime of silence and security. Surrounded by nothingness. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
No. She hates the isolation. Every day she shuts herself further and further away, deeper within the suffocating loop of guarded walls and jagged barbed wires. Her pit is her nightmare, her haven, her inescapable prison. She wants to scoop out her brain, maybe try a new one- her mother has an innumerable amount of high heeled shoes perfectly tailored for different occasions, why can’t she have her own line of tailored brains? She wants a brain that doesn’t shut itself into crevices, that doesn’t seek comfort through isolation and misery.
She lies in her pit, immobilised by fear, desperately wanting to throw herself into the hustle and bustle of life, of purpose, of happiness.
She wants to feel happy.
But she’s stuck.
Runner Up: Catherine Oddy
Bless! The little creature is running as fast as it can.
Of course speed, like size, is relative.
Poor dear — darting around the foliage — surely it must know that its orange flank is doing it no favours here.
Look! Despite appearing emotionally committed to escape, it’s keeping to the mud paths instead of hopping through the bushes to the road out of the park. It’s all the same to me but quite illogical, yes?
Now, I’ve found with these tiny beasts that panic both sears the wits and infuses the body with visible electricity — be it a tremor or shimmy or jolt. Of course we must be fair — being suddenly overwhelmed with an empty head and spasming limbs would make hatching an exit plan difficult for any prey. That said, you should watch for this unique dance next time you find one. It’s quite a thing when performed in your honour, if you can call it that.
And how predictable! When given the option, if there are any stairs within sprinting distance, they will always try to escape up them.
I can’t help but feel for it now that it realises there is nowhere else to go.
There. It’s laying down in submission. That was quick.
Please note that feasting like this is an art form of sorts. You must squint your eye and lean in slowly. Too much intense staring can spook it further and you can be left with sour meat. No one likes sour meat.
Winner: Julian Goode
Solitude. That’s what he craved. Finding a space to be away from the world. Away from all the hectic madness.
He’d been seeking it out since he was a boy, climbing trees beyond his back garden. Venturing further when he could escape, when his parents were happy he was old enough to go into the hills by himself. There were some great places rejoiced in back then; and he’d been looking for similar ever since.
Anti-social? He wasn’t that. He loved people. Some people. His family; his closest friends from boarding school and university; his girlfriend, obviously. He was happy in and around them. But he often felt the need to get away, or for them to go away, so he could control his surroundings.
Starting work in London that hadn’t been easy. There were plenty of parks, woods and grasslands if you knew where to find them. But it was never quite the same as boyhood.
He’d jumped trains at weekends to every remote Home Counties beauty spot he could think of trying. In the end, wanderlust had got the better of him. But his backpacking plans didn’t feature the usual twentysomething hotspots. He sought a different extreme, a different path to euphoria.
And he’d stumbled upon it by accident, in a clearing behind his island hostel. An ornamental garden containing various bamboo structures, including a magnificent tower. Like a helter skelter without the slide. Lying there alone sky-staring was simply perfect. He’d finally found it.
Congratulations to Zoya, Catherine and Julian. Everyone that submitted, you have my eternal admiration and thanks for your brilliant pieces.
I’m on holiday next week, so no prompt. #QUICKFIC will be back again in August. Enjoy your week off!
For a look back at our previous #QUICKFIC flash fiction competitions, click here.