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.