Sunday, 3 January 2010

My flash fiction - FRANTIC - wins Writers News Talkback online comp!

Like any writer giving it a go, I'm really pleased to announce another first place for my flash fiction over at Writers News Talkback Forum for December's One Word Challenge. It's particularly pleasing as the competition was fierce (in a nice way). The idea is to write up to 200 words on a word chosen by the preceding month's winner - who then becomes the judge for the following month, if you get me drift.
Well, anyway, the word was 'Frantic' and the winning story is below...


The superstore was abuzz with shoppers. Clocking the newspaper headlines, “Local Paedophile Escapes,” Ged whisked Beth and Josh to the next aisle.

‘Right, stay close. No wandering.’

Ged became engrossed in reading the back of the supermarket’s own brand of Choco-pops. Instinctively looking down, his heart flickered.

‘Where’s Beth?’

Blasé, Josh clutched a box of Shreddies. ‘Daddy, can I…?’

‘Where’s your sister?’


Ged scanned left and right. He sprinted, stopped at each aisle.


Glancing behind, Josh wasn’t there. Panic swamped him. Torn, he back-tracked. His head pivoted back and forth like an owl on speed.

That headline! Shit. Make a decision.

Frenetic now, he ran for the exit, dodging shoppers. He bumped into a shelf-stacker. ‘Pleeease...lost my kids...Beth n Josh!’

He patrolled the exit foyer, head spinning, eyes manic. Children’s voices amplified, teasing him. Every man was a paedo’, every woman an accomplice. Lips pinched, fists clenched, teeth gritted.

The Tannoy boomed their names. Tears welled, palpitations intensified.

A security guard emerged from the crowd, Beth in one hand, Josh in the other.


Sobbing, Ged hugged his kids like never before.

A wide-eyed man in a trench-coat strolled past them, sighed then exited the store.

© Col Bury December 2009


Anonymous said...

Egads, frightful situation. Really scared me when you said "heads spinning" reminded me of The Excercist. :) This is reat flash. I can see why you were comped.

Matt Hilton said...

Congratulations Col. What a great way to start the new year (winning the comp, that is, not losing your kids in a superstore!)

Paul D. Brazill said...

Well done mate. Top piece of slice of life flash with plenty of tension. Not a word wasted.

David Barber said...

Nice one mate. The start of things to come, I feel. Great story with great pace. I was there with him!

Regards pal, David.

Adrian M said...

Well done, Col. Tightly drawn and really lived up to the title. Also left us with the burning question: Was he...?

Col Bury said...

Glad you liked it.
Just the tonic I needed to start the year.
200 word comps are good practice for tight writing.
All dad's can probably relate to this.
Nice to hear from you, mate.

Thanks to you all for your comments and a happy new year.

Alan Griffiths said...

Congrats Col on winning the competition and very well deserved. A great piece of flash.

Happy New Year!

Col Bury said...

Cheers, Al.
Hope 2010 is good for you, bud.

Erin Cole said...

Real life horror is always the best! Congrats and well done.

Col Bury said...

Cheers, Erin n thanks for popping over.

sheila quigley said...

hey col, just found this, very well done, have a drink on me. xx

Col Bury said...

Hey, Sheila, great to see you over in these parts - thanks!