Typing fingers, halt! We’re over, we’re done and my choice is made. Here’s your prompt:
And here are your winners:
Runner Up: Jose Varghese
“Art is dead, honey. They draw things that look like dog shit, superimpose photos of vulgar body parts or huge construction sites and call it art these days.”
His hands move over her shoulder blades, fingers pressing down the flesh between them with each emphasis. She doesn’t have the courage to tell him that he has to stop doing that. He’s too dumb to notice that she’s neglecting his rant, and goes on speaking stupid.
She fishes out her pencil and notebook from her bag and takes down a number from a poster.
“Come on honey, let’s have a nice lunch together. Where do you live now?”
“Would you stop calling me that?” She turns to face him.
“I used to call you that at school.”
“That was then.”
“You being tetchy? You’ve changed so much.”
“You should leave me alone now. Enough of courtesy, my mistake!’
“So, you don’t consider me a friend anymore?”
“Why should I, if you’ve turned out to be this in two years?”
She extends her hand for a goodbye, but he just stands there staring at her. She catches a glimpse of his glassy eyes. He looks weak and lost, but creepy too.
She turns away from him to walk towards the bus station. He follows her.
“Honey, care to buy me a ticket too? I won’t mind…”
“No. Sorry. Art is all about shit, as you know.”
She graduates to a trot, waving him off. He stops, to smile at a middle-aged woman.
Runner Up: Daniela Azzopardi
Rex scanned the noticeboard, vibrant posters screaming out for attention. He scrutinized adverts for upcoming concerts, realizing he was no longer alone only after he was done being disappointed over the fact that only cover artists were performing.
“Couldya tell me what the flyer up top’s for?”
Rex jumped and spun around. Besides him stood a man beyond retirement age, judging by the wrinkles etched into his skin, wearing a striped shirt and beige trousers. He was pointing steadily at a flyer above their heads.
“Skydiving.” Rex answered.
The old man he frowned minutely, his brows furrowed in contemplation, before ultimately shrugging.
“I’ve already been skydiving twice in as many ‘ears. Feel like something new.”
Rex wished he had taken up his mother’s suggestion to get his ears cleaned.
“I said I’ve already done ‘at. And no more tattoos right now.” He continued as he disregarded another poster.
He inched closer to a piece of paper showcasing a woodworking class. “This looks new,” he mused as he tore a stub off the paper with the contact details on it. “A more relaxing activity every now and then’ll do me no ‘arm.”
The man saluted Rex as he sauntered out of the community building. The youngster shook himself as if waking up from a daydream.
The chaotic chorus of colours beckoned him back to the noticeboard. He reached out, not knowing where his fingers would land but knowing he would not be leaving empty handed.
Winner: Sarah Nash
BABY I LOVE YOU
Baby I love you.
Did I tell you how much?
Heat rises from the sidewalk with relentless intensity. The kid upstairs is yelling so loud it seeps into my brain. The shop opposite is boarded up, has been for months, the corrugated sheets covered in bills.
Promises: the land of milk and honey.
The stench of summer is in my nostrils.
We came here together, through the tunnels, hoping for a better life. Thought we could be the new Ike and Tina, with just the loving, not the other stuff.
But it got to us – the trying, the waiting, the failing.
It felt good to hold you.
I remember nights like this when we would lie for hours, dreaming and listening, my arms around you, hot and sticky in the faint light from the neon sign on the street below. For ever, we said.
Then, when I was working down under, on the subway, you packed your bags in the darkness and you left.
Did you cry?
My heart curls at the edges like the posters opposite. I hear you calling my name in the rush of the traffic, the hum of the generator, the cursing of the janitor.
I wore those lyrics out. They swirled around my head, the tune buzzing in my ears. There never was another woman for me.
Now, my heart can’t wait another day. It has dried, in the heat, to a stone.
I sit on the ledge. Can’t live without you.
Soon, I’ll fall.
Huge congratulations to Sarah, Daniela and Jose! Daniela, if you keep being this good I’m going to have to temporarily bar you from competing. Thank you as ever to all you wonderful flash fiction writers. You keep my Friday’s bright.
See you soon!
For a look back at our previous #QUICKFIC flash fiction competitions, click here.