After a very tough deliberation process, the winner of our Flash Fiction challenge has been decided by judge and author Roshi Fernando.
As mentioned when the shortlist was posted, the standard of entries has been extremely high. All who entered should be proud of themselves for really capturing the feeling of alienation in such a limited number of words.
However, there can only be one winner....and this time, it is Jane Roberts, for her entry 'Silent Space'!
Roshi Fernando said of her decision to award the prize to 'Silent Space'; 'The winner manages to use so many literary fiction techniques - and paints a beautiful picture.'
The winner will receive a bundle of short story collections plus two tickets for George Saunders and Jon McGregor’s event at the Southbank Centre.
The second prize, which is a collection of signed copies of books by Jon McGregor, D W Wilson & Roshi Fernando, goes to Louis Malloy, for his entry 'All The Way From Sorrow Mountain.'
Finally, third prize, a signed copy of Roshi Fernando's Homesick, goes to Saul Leslie, for his untitled entry.
You can take the opportunity to read all of the winning entries below.
Silent Space by Jane Roberts
His parents argue. Ad infinitum. Preoccupied, they don’t notice the alteration in their son after he browses a science website in the public library, that comforting place immersed in silence away from the uncertain world of trying to match distorted noises with the right people or machines.
He can’t always hear them arguing. Clouded expressions, staccato movements are enough to gauge the mood. Coffee mugs obscure lips; wine glasses share partially-transparent secrets; the signs they make with their fingers not quite part of his official language. Something has to change. But his words queue up in the limbo between thought and voice; writing emerges confused.
He finds everything in the local pound shop – black, blue, white, silver paint, and tin foil. Phosphorous stars now glow on the ceiling, planets dot his navy duvet, and spaceship silver pimps the furniture.
When they notice his absence, he can see their arguing stops upon entering his bedroom – their mouths exposing Merlot-dyed tongues suspended like stomped-out leather shoe soles.
Now they hear the same thing, all three of them a mute constellation amongst the tin foil stars in his silent space.
All The Way From Sorrow Mountain by Louis Malloy
Billy Fontana travelled all the way from Sorrow Mountain to touch the magic of the King. He got on a bus at noon. At the airport hotel he watched TV, ordered hamburgers from room service and watched more TV.
On the plane the next day, the stewardess smiled a big white American smile at him and told him to have a great stay. He got to the Las Vegas Hilton, feeling half-drunk with excitement. The cheers started and Billy could see that Elvis was heavy now, too heavy, like him.
When the King in his cape walked by, Billy put out his hand and briefly touched the garment.
“All my trials,” sang Elvis, his eyes closed. “All my trials”- he waited, then opened his eyes, looking impossibly weary- “will soon be over.”
After the encores, Billy walked slowly through Vegas, past the hotels where there were a million lights and silver coins rushed down like waterfalls. Underneath all these buildings it was just a desert. Billy knew it and Elvis knew it, he could tell. Underneath their feet there was nothing but desert and they were all alone.
Untitled by Saul Leslie
Prometheus wiped his hands on his apron. Red-brown residue crusted over his palms and collected under his finger-nails. He observed his creation which sat with legs swaying on the work-surface of the hut. Slumping, its head hung down as though drunk. No matter. Over time its chest would swell, its back would straighten and the head would hold itself high. Man would rise to the height demanded by its creator.
As Prometheus opened the door, sunlight and sea-air poured in. Outside, he washed his hands in a bucket. Clear water clouded red as he pondered the future of Man. Would he, the god-defying Prometheus, become meaningless if Man grew beyond his control?
Wind blew the door and it rattled against its frame, but the cliff-top was quiet. His insides twisted as he realised his failed ambition. Prometheus was powerless. Man was not his own and the supposed sovereign was now servant.
The wary creature stood - alienated and alone - on the brink, looking to the hostile sea. Another gust threw dust in his eyes. He squinted up to the sky for relief and through a tangle of eye-lashes and shadowed lids, he saw a bird beginning to descend.
If you enjoyed reading this, you might like to take a look at:
Interview With Roshi Fernando