SHORT STORY ENTRY: Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition

Dear all,

The long-list for the Flash 500 Flash Fiction competition has been announced so I am now free to post my entry. You can find out details about the competition here:

As the title indicates it is for flash fiction with a maximum word count of 500.

You can find my entry below in blue but to repeat myself (which I do often) I will post this ‘disclaimer’ whenever I post a short story entry: I decided that 2016 would be the year I enter competitions and at present I have around four or five a month on my list. Every time I enter one I will copy the story as a blog post ready to go and share it with you. Let me put my hands up in surrender now, I do not expect to be shortlisted or win any of them. That’s not an easy excuse, it’s just being honest. I don’t think these will be my best work and I have a lot of years ahead of me in which to improve my writing but this is my reasoning… it’s more of a compromise. I have two main objectives this year, to grow my company (a little bit) and complete the first draft of my novel. They are ongoing projects that occupy my mind night and day, however, I have a lot of scraps of ideas that I have set aside (as I won’t be spending time developing any short stories to self publish this year) and I felt bad at just leaving them to rot. They are playing on my mind so why not use them to enter short story competitions? The ones I self publish are always a minimum of 10k words (up to around 20k) and take me weeks to work on but the competitions can be as short as 500 words. I think that by allowing myself to spend a few hours (at most) on these entries I will firstly feel better than I am keeping myself busy when not working on the novel (which again, is often), secondly improve and test out new ideas or techniques (that may come in handy later) and thirdly reach out to new people and new content which is naturally a frightening thing because you are exposing yourself to people who are better than you. That’s the only way to learn though and I have never shied away from that. The only negative is that I know I won’t be spending enough time on the stories to show off the best I can do, but that’s the compromise isn’t it? I get a lot out of it without spending huge chunks of time. You can’t have both. So, is that a good enough excuse for you? (By the way - Blogger simply refused to 'justify' align this paragraph, sorry.)
The Mound
A walk past the mound sorts things out. Puts things in perspective.I stopped myself from calling Sandra. It would have been the third, no, fourth time today. That’s plain ridiculous. Could I be any more embarrassing? Crying all the time. Manage two words… then tears. God, it’s humiliating. In fact, it’s more than that, it’s… sad. Am I really that much of a loser? Enough is enough. Today is the end of it! When that dark cloud chases me I’m going to walk around the block and talk to the mound.There’s a small patch of grass by a road near my house. It’s vivid green and peppered with little yellow flowers. That’s because it’s fenced off and no one can walk on it. There are four-thousand-year-old bodies buried there. In a way it’s like a secret… out in the open! Hardly anyone knows. People think the fence is for the house next door, but it’s not. It’s the Bronze Age helping me out. How’s that for calling on a long distance friend! I wonder what memories are buried with them? Was there a twenty-four-year-old girl crying over nothing just like me? What was her everything and her nothing? That’s what helps. Those bodies put me in my place. They look up and tell me there’s nothing to worry about. Do they see me crying over things they can’t understand exist and wonder why I am torturing myself? I have food and water at my command; I must be a queen! What a view it must have been. All forest? What do they think of me? Do they understand it wasn’t me personally that enclosed their resting place as if a caged animal at a zoo? It wasn’t me that made London what it is! Concrete and wires and electricity and pipes with the poor people there and the rich people there. Would they be proud of me? What does it matter after four thousand years? We’ve taken away their view. I wonder if they care about what this land is called now? When did patriotism start? That’s why I like talking to them. They are my family, my connection to old England… well, who knows, France, Spain or Germany? Vikings? When were they? Where did they come from? Not that they would have known anyway. That’s why it cheers me up. The ridiculousness of it all. A simple mound of earth and grass reminds me of what matters. Underneath the houses and the roads, all our signs and markings… the earth is still there… we forget that, but it is, still there, always has been, always will be. We take refuge in the precious moments we squeeze time for in the parks and the woods thinking our real life is within concrete… but why?Yes, a walk always makes me feel better.Who’s going to put a sign up and enclose me in four thousand years? No one.That’s why I love it so much.

Have a great weekend,

R.G Rankine