April Flash Fiction 2023

This year our April Flash Fiction took on a new direction, with members of the team from previous years taking on the organisation as a personal project to support each other and keep the fun going. Each day they provided a new prompt to inspire our #30words30days stories. This year's over-arching theme was COMMUNITY. Once again, writers shared their stories and their support on Twitter. Here are my entries for this year's competition.

April 1 #village
Eyam 1666. The hound lay curled on the mound of soft earth. Whimpering. Keeping vigil for her young master, last child in the village, asleep beneath a blanket of soil.

April 2    #communication
That velvet skin, her tender touch. Those eyes—pools of purity and trust. The scent of her—bliss. She mews, my blouse blooms milk. Tiny magical babe, invisible communication. Awe.

April 3    #chief
Billie was the youngest, and the only girl in a brood of six. She was small, but she was fierce. ‘I’m the chief today!’ she roared, thrusting her stick-sword skyward.

April 4    #gather
Roses were mother’s favourite. The child gathered them from the garden, scoring her unpractised hands with the razor thorns. Ruby beads of blood stained the snowy petals, the cold gravestone.

April 5    #outcast
Five exquisite bundles of fur. Two black kittens. One tabby. A tortoise-shell. An albino—rare, precious, beautiful. She scrabbles for her place to suckle. But mother won’t allow the outcast.

April 6    #solitary
The prairie teemed with life, with companionship and alliance. Except for the leopard. He was condemned to the shadows. To a solitary existence. A perpetual observer. Excluded and feared. Lonely.

April 7    #identity
She was perfect—beautifully proportioned, sparkling eyes, a perpetual smile. But that curious hair—marbled, profuse. Her true identity revealed by DNA fingerprinting—a cocktail of Samoyed and Australian shepherd.

April 8    #build
‘Git,’ her brothers yelled. ‘You can’t build a sandcastle. You’re just a girl.’ Billie scowled, retreated. She forged her own grand fortress, surrounded by a moat and an admiring crowd.

April 9    #oppression
‘Damn boys,’ Billie cussed. A sharp clip across her ear disoriented her. Daddy. ‘Damn boys,’ she thought, this time. The root of an oppression she was only beginning to understand.

April 10    #together
They weren’t just together. They were in sync—perfect sync. The shape-shifting flight of the thousands-strong flock. Low murmur that is the symphony of wingbeats and birdsong. Starlings. Murmuration. Magic.

April 11    #sharing
Edith couldn’t be consoled. Or coaxed away. She lay in foetal curl at Eleanor’s grave. They’d shared everything in life. Everything—including the womb. Why could they not share death?

April 12    #hierarchy
Billie was little, but she was clever. She knew how the hierarchy worked. Daddy thought himself boss. But it was Mother who ran the show. Billie was an attentive apprentice.

April 13 #gang
Tramp with me in the paradise of the Australian bush and I’ll show you treasures beyond your imaginings. Ferns. Eucalyptus. Lizards. Lyrebirds. Possums. Echidna. Koala. Kookaburra. Gang-gang cockatoo. Original Eden.

April 14 #motley
Of all the places on Earth, the reptile house is my second favourite. First is Madagascar—the quintessential ark. Exquisite. Unrivalled. And home to the inimitable and fabulously motley chameleon.

April 15 #individual
Martha’s parents and teachers expected so much of her. So far she had delivered. She was smarter than the other kids. Individual. But it cost her acceptance. She would adjust.

April 16 #feast
Breath of the outback shimmers on the scorching tar. A lifeless roo lays swollen. Curing. But not for long. Wedge-tailed eagles stake their claim. Ravens wait. Hangry. Australian bush feast.

April 17 #support
A remarkable animal that was misunderstood. Mistreated. Hunted to extinction. The thylacine was an enigma—doglike appearance, tiger stripes, a marsupial! And a keystone species supporting its entire community. Tragic.

April 18 #college
It all looked so different now, looking back at the sweep of life. She’d left her small rural town for college. Never looked back. Until now. Loneliness, regret plagued her.

April 19 #stranger
The years had wracked her, body and mind. Five children, twelve grandchildren—all strangers to her now. Except for dear old Sadie—her gnarly fingers knew that soft warm muzzle.

April 20 #guest
Hospitality had become a rare commodity. People were more isolated, suspicious, less kind. But when I fell hard on the pavement, a wheelchair-bound woman helped—welcomed me like a guest.

April 21 #ideology
Erroneous thinking, my father called it. But they also believed they were right. They’d simply lost the art of logic. Traded it for the ideology of conspiracy. Twenty-first century plague.

April 22 #adjacent
Maisie arrived in a whirlwind of furry love, a companion for us all, but mostly Maggie. Maggie was unenthusiastic—wouldn’t share the big plush bed. Adjacent singles, then. Suddenly inseparable.

April 23 #ritual
She couldn’t remember when the rituals started, or how they got so bad. Now they were both debilitating and the glue that held her together. Either way, she wanted help.

April 24 #clique
She tried not to care about the kids at school. She had her own clique at home, anyway—the two dogs. Her cat. Teddy. Still, her heart ached with loneliness.

April 25 #initiation
Life became so lonely after Walter died. At first, book club seemed daunting. Hazel braced herself. Went along. Her initiation involved picking the next book. She was an instant hit.

April 26 #native
‘Give it to me, Gran,’ Billie said, taking the phone and flicking through the settings with ease. Gran watched, perplexed. ‘It’s okay, Gran, I’m a digital native, and you’re not.’

April 27 #meeting
It was supposed to be new mothers’ meeting. The park was packed with strollers, ponytails, lycra, bawling infants. But it was Max and Luna’s furry meet-cute that stole the show.

April 28 #clan
She recognised the clan immediately. They devoured books. They wielded notebooks and pens, recorded observations. They created scenes, settings, characters, then breathed life into them. Story shapers. Finally, she belonged.

April 29 #company
She was a ball of contradictions. Withdrawn, but lonely. Guarded, yet vulnerable. Harsh, yet sensitive. Impossible. Eventually, she sorted it perfectly. Max the Maremma was all the company she needed.

April 30 #belong
He just wanted to belong. We all need to belong. They abandoned him on an island. Than in a hotel. Denied freedom. Despondent. Depleted. Desperate. He found freedom in death.



Australia Votes

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Australians across our great nation turned out to vote this weekend, and they have voted for change. A change of direction, a change of leadership, a change of prime minister. They have voted with hearts and minds set to the goal of doing better on so many important issues for our community, our children, our climate, our place in the world, our future. In the spirit of freedom and democracy, we do this as always, with dignity and grace. #greatestcountryonearth ☀️

WV April Flash Fiction 2022

Writers Victoria's April Flash Fiction challenge is like reading a good book—you can't wait for the next page/day, but you also don't want to get to the end! The competition drew out flash fiction writers from all over to craft 30-word stories in response to the daily prompt. A fabulously supportive writing community wrote and read and critiqued the rich and diverse stories by so many wonderful wordsmiths in the Twitter community. Sorry it had to come to and end, and already looking forward to more of the same next year. In the meantime, here are my entries for this year's competition. And filled with excited jumping beans to say that my story for the #pyrite prompt won the daily pick on the second day of the competition!

April 1 #hint
Reaching across the table, her delicate fingers enclose the puzzle piece. Her hand brushes his. She looks up, meets his glimmering eyes. A hint of blush stains his six-year-old cheeks.

April 2 #pyrite
The ebony kitten lay silent. Still. Something shifted in me. Her velvet nose twitched. Her eyes unseamed, revealing glimmering pyrite moons. ‘This is the one,’ I said. ‘We’ll take her.’

April 3 #glow
By the light of the embers breathing still, their bodies cleaved, they divine the new dance of this new life. The small hours. Sweet scent of suckling babe. Sacred glow.

April 4 #fortune
1621. She sought providence in the Fortune. Wagered their lives on the crossing—her family, her hopes, her swollen belly. The sea took her husband, Plymouth’s landing her baby son.

April 5 #idol
Missing only hours. Long enough though, to trace back to him. The empty flat heavy with the memory of her. Empty, but for the idol wall—a montage of photographs.

April 6 #intermittent
She doesn’t say much. Opens her eyes intermittently. Keeps mentioning singing. Closes her eyes, smiles when the singing starts again. It’s the angels, she says. Coming to take her home.

April 7 #bright
She envied her sisters—they were petite, pretty, vivacious. Bright baubles indeed. But she was possessed of more precious treasure—kindness, patience, humility. Jewels to which she alone was blind.

April 8 #moon
A warm summer’s night and the full moon rises—spills a carpet of light across the Coral Sea. A kaleidoscope of corals rendezvous—spoon the intimate dance of creation. Renewal.

April 9 #perceive
 She was never the same after the attack. It took so much from her—broke her spirit, her sense of herself, her trust of others. Everything now a perceived threat.

April 10 #twinkle
The weight of sadness, of tears shed, the long search, import the missing treasure. The witching hour, she steps outside. Breathe. Moonlight kisses the garden—the lost diamond twinkles back.

April 11 #sequin
The little mermaid rests on the rocky platform, eyes closed and smiling against the midday sun. Content. Sunbeams shoot like arrows, explode against the silver sequins of her glistening tail.

April 12 #shimmer
Shimmering heat rises from the charred landscape, blurs the seam of the distant horizon. Insects buzz amid the trees’ new clothes. A lone goanna trundles by. Life’s relentless marching on.

April 13 #altar
Sooty was just a kitten. It wasn’t fair. She kept tearful vigil at the little garden grave. Rested her sorrow on the sacred altar there. Photo. Collar, the silent bell.

April 14 #horizon
Grandma was an enigma, keeping all beyond the invisible ring she’d drawn around herself. Understanding her was like approaching the horizon—every advance driving the elusive boundary further away. Untouchable.

April 15 #subdued
The war of the aggressor is futile. Hardened hearts, cruel unyielding evil no match for the righteous brave, their courage and honour. The incandescence of truth, freedom cannot be subdued. ????????

April 16 #oasis
Trouble followed Mimi wherever she went. Underfoot in the kitchen. Spilled milk on the sofa. Lego lodged in Daddy’s toes. Then there was Nanna’s lap—an oasis of unconditional pardon.

April 17 #dapple
The night was long and cold in the mountain clearing. The frosty morning exploded in sunshine, birdsong, glistening dew—a sanctuary for the wild mare and her dappled foal. Perfection.

April 18 #faint
An eeriness had possessed her ever since the funeral. Not disconcerting or uncomfortable, but something hovering in the shadows. Then one day she saw it, the faintest presence—her sister.

April 19 #blink
Poor old girl—exhausted, whimpering, bleeding when we found her. Her trapped leg mangled. Not a snarl when we tried to free her. Just the quiet whimper, occasional stunned blink.

April 20 #waver
The hike was exhilarating, the view breathtaking. His heart swelled with awe, anticipation. Sinking to one knee, he held up the impressive ring, risked the question. She wavered. Excruciating descent.

April 21 #gold
Special boy, they all said. A way of softening his intellectual disability, the learning delay. Of explaining away his social awkwardness. Only child, though, to defend the bullied kid. Gold.

April 22 #scintillate
 A formidable performer, Athena held their little lives in the palm of her acerbic humour. She was sharp, captivating on stage. Scintillating. But her caustic tide always climaxed at home.
April 23 #hope
‘Stars are doorways you go through when you die,’ Kitty explained to her little brother. ‘To the other side of the sky. They’re hope we’ll see Daddy again one day.’

April 24 #inkling
‘He’s on his way,’ the surgeon assured us. ‘Hasn’t an inkling of anything going on.’ A strained murmur shifted our attention. Grand-père’s eyelids slowly unfastened. ‘Je t’aime,’ he whispered. ‘Adieu.’  

April 25 #sparkle
He’d insisted on this getaway. After everything, it would be the way forward. Back here where we started, sunshine sparkling off the lake—it feels like his spirit taking flight.

April 26 #neon
My first time and nothing could have prepared me. A calm, cloudy night—perfect conditions, they said. The sea was alive with dazzling neon. Bioluminescent plankton. Preservation Bay. Spectacular Tasmania.

April 27 #soft
In the mountain clearing, a wild mare nudges her dappled foal. Quivering in the frosty morning, she rises on unsure legs, virgin breath conjuring soft clouds on the chilly air.

April 28 #flash
The clipper rocked wildly in the roiling sea. The intermittent flash of the lighthouse was no match for the pitch clouds and savage rain. Nor for the cape’s shallow reef.

April 29 #eye
They climbed out of the bunker, surveyed the destruction. The farm. The animals. Devastation in the midst of surreal calm. But it wasn’t over. Merely the eye of the storm.

April 30 #glimmer
April peeked through rising tears, relentless disappointment foreshadowing the pain. A faint blue line stared back at her, a glimmer of deepest longing realised. Comes the deluge—tears of joy.


Time for a Break

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Autumn in the hills is a brilliant time of year. The welcome break from school and study makes more time for those longed-for self-indulgent pursuits. For me, that's writing and walking. And walking in the hills in autumn is spectacular, with the turning leaves delivering a stunning display of colours. Nothing better than a walk in the crisp morning air to blow out the cobwebs, land at a local café for a brief respite with a good book and fresh brew, before heading home again. The perfect kick-start to the writing life!


April has arrived and you know what that means... daily-dose-of-Flash-Fiction month! Every day a creative writing aficionado at Writers Victoria posts a prompt for the day, and addicted writers everywhere get to see what they can do with it. In 30 words! A daily writing pep pill that offers the highly sought after instant gratification that the pursuit of long-form cannot provide. Lots of fun! The theme for this month is GLIMMER. Every day a new word related to the theme launches us into action. In the first few days alone there have been four new prompts, and thousands of 30-word masterpieces posted on Twitter. Why not head over and take a look? You won't be sorry!