The 2020 Winning Flash Fiction Entries

Under 16 Winners

Under 16

Joint 2nd Place

‘Moths are My Butterflies’ by Angelina Morosan


Crystals of teardrops rolled on my glistening cheeks, veiled in a scruffy, moth-eaten scarf. I could feel the fabric’s bristly texture rubbing on my soft skin, striving to help me pass inconspicuously. Soft, shimmering dust coated the festering, raw edges of the holes pierced in my muffler – probably the last stage of metamorphosis the velvety night butterflies experienced. The thought of the dead, skeletal creatures tugged at my heart-strings, while the idea of being noticed by someone sent shivers running down my spine – a metal claw shoved down my throat. Sasha squeezed my hand, giving me a reassuring nod. I’d put faith in my brother, hoping that he would protect me for the vicious world that would want to hurt me, should they ever discover what I was.
Holding our luggage in the other hand, he nudged me towards a towering barn on the verge of collapsing, crumpling like a sandcastle washed over by the glittering azure waves – columns of magic smoke rising from the depths of the underworld – their pearly foam scattering seashells on the burning tong of sand, brought all the way from the clouds by the merchant of dreams. I forced my feet to walk down the dirt alley, staggering at every step. Vexed, I indulged myself the smallest act of rebellion, jumping in a puddle. Ripples crossed the shallow water, my reflection staring right back in my kaleidoscope eyes. Just above the torn scarf, I could make out the gossamer web of fine, dark lines that painted my face, turning it in an intricating mosaic. Lacerations of threads enveloped my porcelain skin, their repetitive pattern hallucinating anyone who dared look closer. I was a monster.
The only one who would support me was Sasha. Thanks to him, now, we were about to find our new home…

Joint 2nd Place

‘Forlorn Hopes… Revived’ by Javier Yung

Chung Cheng High School (Main), Singapore.

The air was cold… forbidding. An attempt to escape seemed forlorn as time ticked away. War was imminent. We had to leave. Post-haste.  The seventh train bound for Britain was departing soon. There, I would get a new lease of life – no fear, no suffering – but without Mama.
The hands that once reassured me that my world was safe had withered to little more than skin and bone. The once smooth black skin was wrinkled and thin. Mama could no more hold my hand than feed herself, but I clutched at her weary fingers anyway, letting the warmth and softness of my own hands let her know I was there.
Until I wasn’t.
Rooted before my new house, the wooden framed sash windows were propped open with sticks and the brick work, perhaps once a jaunty yellow, looked dirty with over a hundred years of London grime.
Perhaps this could finally put an end to our years of suffering. A dozen years of living was enough for me to distinguish the polarities between first world and third world, in which I have been through the latter for the past 12 years.
It was not long before word spread like wildfire – no; the reverberating tremors of the bombings were enough to send shivers down our spines, albeit the fact that we were nearly 2000 kilometres away.
Perhaps I should have stayed behind and accompanied mother. Now, the survivability of the lives of millions remained in the dark, including Mama’s. But I wasn’t abandoned or of any sort; Mama implored for me to leave on the train. The seventh bound for Britain.
Perhaps, death is what gives life meaning. Maybe this was the pathway Mama yearned for me to have in exchange for hers.
Word Count (including title): 295

Winning Entry

‘Evacuation’ by Paddy Duggan

Cólaste Treasa, Kanturk

“Operation Pied Piper”, Michael thought. “What could it mean?” Yet its cruel reality would soon become apparent to both him and his little sister, Ruth. The year was 1940, and the mass evacuation of nearly two million school aged children from major English cities was under way. With the threat of German bombing raids, Michael and Ruth were being reluctantly sent into the unfamiliar countryside.
Gas mask. Night clothes. Spare stockings. Comb. Soap. Macintosh. Michael looked on in fear as his mother snapped his suitcase shut. She handed it to him and, with tears in her eyes, whispered, “I’ll see you soon Michael, I promise.” She then repeated the same routine for Ruth, finishing by planting a kiss on her forehead. This was the earliest they had ever left for school. Even Ruth, at the young age of five, knew there was something different about today.
Chaos, panic and trepidation greeted them on their arrival at the school. Volunteers grouping the children by age had to roar to be heard over the cacophony of hysterical children. Ruth’s grip on Michael’s hand tightened as a man in uniform placed labels around their necks. Labelled like luggage. The inhumane nature of warfare robbing them of their childhoods. They were led out and herded towards Bristol train station.
As the crowded train rattled to a halt, Michael and Ruth stepped onto the platform. From Brent train station they were carted deep into the countryside. “This is your stop”, the driver announced. Michael and Ruth stood at the gateway of a dilapidated house.” Look Ruth, you’ve always wanted a dog”, Michael’s lower lip quivered as he prevented his little sister from walking away. Slowly they edged towards the house. What awaited them inside, they did not know.
Under 16