I’ve always been a fan of the Fish writing competitions. They draw fierce competition from around the world. However, this also makes entering one of their prestigious competitions more than a little daunting.
But, I decided to go for it this year and entered the Flash Fiction competition. This genre of writing always appeals to me as it is so short. Flash fiction is like a micro short story. The stories are usually limited to 300 words or to one page.
I entered a short piece called Cancer and I am pleased to say that I made it to the long list. I mean, first place would have been better (!) but to rank at all in a Fish competition is an honour. I made it to quite a long list of 200 writers out of 1,285 entrants. So not too bad at all.
Here is the piece I entered below:
A single sheet of white paper, filled with words, carries a story. In a linear fashion, it starts at the beginning trickling cautiously past milestones like a young stream. The pace picks up. The story rushes along. Adolescence passes in a series of stormy, tempestuous clauses.
Later, there are important pauses – for the important moments. And finally the tale slows down, meandering along with middle age. But one day, for no reason, a drop of black ink falls on the page. It creates a dirty and pernicious blemish.
At first it seems small, manageable even, but steadily the mark spreads across the second paragraph obliterating punctuation, words and entire sentences. The ink holds fast like ivy to brick yet it’s not confined within that middle piece of the page. As a relentless shadow chases the light away, the ink seeps upwards into the feet of the first paragraph. And then it edges downwards to the third paragraph like a low tide lapping quietly and consistently at a message written in the sand.
The ink, insidious and black, can be wiped, mopped, blotted, smudged but it soon becomes apparent that its passage is unstoppable. Soon the page itself becomes heavy with the fecund volume of ink and finally it tears.
What was once someone’s journey in words comes to an abrupt end – mid-sentence, with no conclusion.
The story would have ended, naturally, at the bottom of the page but now it has been cut short. Senselessly, in a most malevolent way, it has been destroyed. And nobody knows why.