Furious Fiction: May 2024 Story Showcase

Welcome to May’s Furious Fiction story showcase – a celebration of flash fiction creativity for this month. The creative prompts were:

  • Each story had to take place on an IMPORTANT DATE from the past 50 years – i.e. from May 1974 onwards. 
  • Each story had to include a character who builds something.
  • Each story had to include the words ENOUGH, CHASE and MISTAKE.

(Variations or longer words containing the original are okay.)

This month, we saw characters building friendships, fences, houses, model planes and things using LEGO. Many characters were named Chase, and they made enough mistakes to make their chosen dates memorable!


Using the backdrop of an actual event can add interest and context to a story – and this month we saw everything from characters right there amongst the action to simply hearing about it half a world away. The best stories found a way to link the event specifically with the characters in some way, rather than simply retelling a historical event. And YES, tragic events far outweighed happy ones (as you will see in the showcase). Popular dates chosen were:

  • 11 September 2001 – this New York event featured the most times in stories, perhaps due to the familiar setting and sheer number of stories and perspectives possible. Many stories put their characters right in the towers.
  • 9 November 1989 – the fall of the Berlin Wall was another popular choice for stories, and thankfully the overwhelming message here (unlike the many disasters and attacks) was one of hope and unification.
  • 31 August 1997 – Royals featured in many stories, none more so than the death of Princess Diana. 
  • 26 December 2004 – The Asian tsunami featured in a bunch of stories, again no doubt due to the sheer number of international travellers who were affected (as well as the drama of telling such a story).
  • 25 December 1974 – Known to older Australian writers, Cyclone Tracy’s destruction of Darwin was a surprisingly popular choice.
  • 20 July 1969 – Yes, we even had the moon landing. And YES, these stories were sadly disqualified as they did not fall within the past 50 years!
  • Others included 1986’s twin disasters of Challenger and Chernobyl, the 2000 New Year’s Y2K bug scare, 2020 pandemic and many more.

Remember that ideally, your event served as the BACKDROP to your story – not the whole story itself. It was about creating an engaging piece of fiction, not merely a retelling of a historical event.

So, now it’s on with the showcase stories – including our Top Pick of the month from Simon Shergold (congrats!). Simon’s story, along with our shortlist and longlisted stories are all showcased below. Well done to ALL who rose to the challenge – let’s do it again next month!



Ronnie Saunders is my best friend and I hate her. Today, I mean. I hate her today. Normally, we’re inseparable. It seems like she’s been making me laugh my whole life, since that day in 1978 when I froze at the school talent show and she clambered on stage, stood next to me, and sang so badly out of tune that the whole place dissolved into laughter whilst she held my hand. They always say the ones who make you laugh the most, make you cry the most too. And so here we are, 8 years later, ignoring each other across the physics lab because of a boy.

‘We’ll be stopping 10 minutes early today kids’ announces Miss Grant, her frizzy hair bouncing with enthusiasm as usual. ‘A special treat. A really important moment because …’ the rest is blah, blah, blah as I think about Ronnie and what she did. And what I said on the phone last night. My fingers subconsciously play with the lolly sticks laid out in front of me. The rest of my group is engrossed and I hear the words ‘load’, ‘structure’ and ‘supports’ but I’m not contributing like I usually do. I glance over and I can see Ronnie. Her back’s to me but I know that she isn’t working on her bridge either. She’s stewing too.

The next thirty minutes are eternal, the weight of everything unsaid hanging between us whilst everyone else is gluing and taping and failing and succeeding. I have one job to do – calculate the maximum load the span can carry. I’m the maths genius but I make a simple mistake that sees the weight I suggest crash through the flimsy wooden frame. Broken, like our friendship.

My blushes are somewhat spared because, at that moment, Miss Grant pushes the massive TV cart on wheels into the lab, the doors crashing open and then shut again. She’s fiddling with the tuning dial as my classmates jostle for position. I sense Ronnie next to me, the swirl of teenage bodies eddying around us like we're stones in a river as they chase a clear view of the screen. I’m not breathing, and I don’t think she is either.

I’m trying to focus on the screen, the slightly fuzzy picture settling down as Miss Grant finds the right channel. I can see a picture-perfect blue sky on the screen. Florida, I think Miss Grant said. And I can hear someone counting down – ’10, 9, 8, 7 …’. Is this for me and Ronnie? For one of us to say ‘Enough', and apologise when we get to zero? But the moment comes and goes and neither of us says a thing. The kids around us are cheering and Miss Grant is talking about a teacher and then … there’s a gasp. Like, a really loud gasp because that picture-perfect blue sky has turned orange and grey. And Ronnie takes my hand, and squeezes.


While so many of the pieces this month put the chosen important event at the centre of their stories (and that’s just fine, by the way), this deftly decided to merely make it a fuzzy backdrop. Instead of excited anticipation and expository details about the upcoming shuttle launch, we are treated to a far more realistic apathetic teenage point of view – where one is more worried about losing a best friend than seven astronauts. By doing this, when the actual event does play out (cleverly alluded to only in snippets throughout, with just enough clues including the lovely diary-entry style title), it makes the hand squeeze moment feel earned as they finally put things in perspective. An authentic “where were you?” vignette – nicely paced and weighted!

EIGHT by Dani Smith, QLD

I’m bringing sexy back, Rosemary Strong sang in her loudest voice. Justin Timberlake’s hit song burst out from her car’s left speaker. The right speaker was still broken after a little mistake she had made last week when she had misjudged the distance between her red Toyota Echo and an electricity pole.

On this cold Winter evening in Sydney’s West, Rosemary had just left the high school where she worked as a science teacher. It was a 10-minute drive home, which she always thoroughly enjoyed as it was her only alone time between teaching teenagers and enduring the chaos of family life.

After she had brought sufficient sexiness back, the news introduction music started, which made her sit up straight in the driver’s chair and hold on just a little bit tighter to the steering wheel with her hands precisely at ten and two.

The news was nothing out of the ordinary – someone had died, there was a natural disaster somewhere, and a politician had promised something or other. However, there was one news story which made Rosemary (and her car) stop in its tracks. She indicated off the road, put her hazard lights on and sat very still as the story unfolded.

At first, she was shocked, then felt utter disbelief. Tears filled her eyes and dampened her cheeks. After the news was finished, she had had enough of the radio and swiftly switched it off.

They had changed history, she uttered. She didn’t know how this was possible. Something she had always known to be truth was now a lie. It wasn’t long before the shock and sadness turned to palpable anger.

She realised she had built her entire career on an absolute lie. She had finished school, studied teaching and had diligently taught her students for more than twenty years what she had thought was the truth. She had continued to build her life around her career. She had moved to this suburb, started a family.

The students, she thought, as she just realised how she had misled them. Perhaps they would come after her now because of the lie she had taught them. They would chase her down and punish her. She started imagining the implausible.

Darkness shrouded her car. She desperately needed fresh air so she leapt out of the car. The cold night air brushed her face and the traffic whooshed past her.

There were too many bright lights so there was no chance of seeing anything in the sky. She looked up anyway, hopeful to see something that would help her make sense of the news.

There was no sign, just darkness.

Rosemary got the courage to continue driving home, which meant facing her family. Her cheeks were blushed in peach as she explained to her children that something had changed forever.

This was a significant day in history, she told them. You will remember this day for the rest of your lives.

Then she told them what had happened to Pluto.


Right from the moment Rosemary announces that she is bringing sexy back, you can’t help but want to be on her side through whatever is to come. But once sufficient sexiness has been brought back (great line!), we begin the rollercoaster that is the mystery news item that has so rocked her world. Dished out in purposeful dollops of melodrama, we brace for the worst all the while searching for clues. And they’re there – her science teaching profession, the disproving of something she understood to be fact. And of course the stages of grief that culminate in searching the night sky. The final line reveals the news – and for those who remember it happening (24 August, 2006, by the way), it was indeed a bewildering day. We love that this large celestial relegation created this roadside story!

BEST SHOW IN HISTORY by Leah Kinninmont, WA

Sam looked out over the vast open paddock. It was perfect. He dumped his armload of pillows and blankets on the flat roof.

‘I don’t know about this Sam.’ Melly looked the roof over. ‘It’s kinda old and, well, icky.’

‘That’s what the tarp is for. See we spread it out between these two chimney stacks, riding up at the sides and back. Use these old timber beams to hold it down.’ Sam fiddled with the tarp, fighting the light breeze for control, then covered it in blankets and pillows. ‘Presto. A nice, cosy nest for tonight.’ He patted the pillow. ‘Take a seat. I’ll go down and bring up the rest.’

‘Well, I guess it is nice enough.’ He watched her settle down in the nest. A few moments later he rejoined her, handing her a hot cup of tea.

‘Are you sure about tonight? All the predictions are for it to happen tomorrow and further west.’ Melly wrapped a blanket tighter around herself. Sam reached over and tugged it up around her shoulders more. His Melly always felt the cold.

‘I got a feeling. Tonight’s the night and we’ll have the best view.’ He snuggled down deeper into the nest with her as night fell.

‘How long will we have to wait? It’s almost midnight.’ Melly asked.

Sam looked up at the dark, starless sky. ‘Not too long, I hope. Why don’t you sleep. I’ll wake you when it starts.’ He heard Melly’s breathing deepen and slow as she slept against him. He rested his head the top of hers, waiting. A boom startled him awake.

‘What was that?’ Melly jerk upright. His gaze went upwards, and he grinned.

‘Just the best show in history.’ More booms sounded. Melly gasped. Fireballs chased each other through the night sky.

‘It’s beautiful.’ Sam stared upwards in awe. Fireballs fell as sonic booms echoed across the open expanse.

‘Sam. Sam!’ Melly grabbed his arm, shaking him out of the moment. “That one is getting bigger.’ He looked to where she pointed.

‘Oh crap.’ He watched as the fireball flared brighter and brighter, getting larger and larger. Had he just made his last mistake? ‘Oh crap. Hit the deck, Melly.’ He yanked her down flat, throwing himself over her. A whistling filled the air. Heat scorched his back. A loud thud deafened him as lumps fell on top of him.

He shook his head. Sound returned and he realised Melly was screaming. He painfully sat up, dislodging the bricks the fell on him.

‘It’s okay Melly. We’re alright. It missed.’ He helped Melly sit up. Her eyes widened at something behind him. He looked over his shoulder and felt his jaw drop. There, just metres away was a car sized piece of debris, half buried in the roof. Spread across its pitted surface the words Skylab could be seen.

‘Maybe the roof wasn’t the best place after all.’


From one celestial object to another, as this July 1979 event made global headlines. The Skylab was the USA’s first ever space station, launched in 1973 at a low Earth orbit that meant that within six years, it would disintegrate into the atmosphere and burn up open re-entry. As it happened, Western Australia got front row seats to the light show as the structure hurtled to the ground in many pieces. And here, Sam and Melly get a little closer than they bargained for in a story clearly ‘based on true events’! (It is true that the calculations were wrong and it landed further east than NASA expected, over mainland Australia instead of the ocean.) It nicely captures that feeling we still get during eclipses and any night-sky search – that our place here is  so small compared to the universe!

IN MEMORY OF by Thomas Brodkin, USA

My wife died today. It wasn’t expected, and I’m honestly not sure if anyone is going to care.

She woke me up early with the words we both had been dreaming of.

“It’s time.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. I’m not sure why fathers ask that question. When women say it, they’re sure.

You’d think I would be tired. I stayed up late building Chase’s crib. That’s what we decided to call him. I voted for Dakota, but my wife wanted Chase. I’m a smart enough man to know when to argue and when to agree — this was a time to agree.

The crib? That’s a family tradition passed down from father to son for as long as anyone can remember. My dad built mine, his dad built his, and I wanted my son’s to be ready when he came home from the hospital.

I had my assigned tasks. Grab the suitcase, call the neighbor, leave water for the dog. We had made plans. We thought of everything. There would be no mistakes.

I pulled the car up to the front walk and opened my wife’s car door.

“You’d better not be laughing at the way I’m waddling,” she warned. She was waddling, however, and I did laugh, not loud but apparently loud enough. She punched me in the arm before climbing in the car.

They say that pregnant women are a special kind of beautiful, and my wife proved it to be true. In between contractions she would smile and talk to our son.

“Why are you kicking your Mamma?” she asked, rubbing her belly with one hand and my leg with the other.

At the hospital, the professionals took over. Dr. Conrad joked about the “earliness of the morning.” He put my mind at ease. Everything was going to be okay. Chase was on his way. His crib was ready. We were ready. My wife was meant to be a mother, today it would happen.

I’ve never been in a delivery room, but I was shocked how quickly my son was born. It seemed as if we had just arrived when the doctor told my wife to push. She did.

But the joy of the birth was short-lived.

One nurse took Chase out of the room, two others came in. Then a second doctor arrived, followed by a third. I think they might have forgotten I was there, but I saw it all. I heard it all.

“Time of death, 8:30.”

The doctor pulled off his mask and put his hand on my shoulder. I don’t remember what he said, I only recall that his eyes were kind.

I walked out of the delivery room and into the lounge. I looked up at a television in time to see a plane fly directly into the World Trade Center.

The cries of the people in the lounge matched my own.

My wife died today. It wasn’t expected, and I’m honestly not sure if anyone is going to care.


Of course, sometimes even the biggest “where were you?” moments in the world pale in significance to more personal events. The scene is set bluntly for one such story here, with an opening line that immediately intrigues in its cold offhandedness. In essence, it is a solid example of telling the reader exactly what will happen upfront, but still packing a punch when that very thing arrives.

Of course, as the opening line is repeated, we realise that this was never about whether anyone cared for their personal plight. Instead, it’s a curious study in both ‘spotlight syndrome’ and the importance of TIMING. So while 11 September 2001 will forever mark an important birth and death in the world of the narrator, for everyone else it was overshadowed by something else to care about.

UNTITLED by Sian Campbell, QLD

There’s this moment right before the gun goes off. A moment where you can feel the entire world still and quieten, as if just for you. A moment you’ve been holding your breath for. There’s a buzz in your fingertips that you’re aware is radiating now through your whole body. I think this is the feeling people spend their lives chasing. Like your body is live-wired, ready to be triggered at any moment. You want to slow these moments down. You take deep breaths, as if steadying your racing heart can will time to bend to your command. You aren’t sure if you’re ready. You aren’t sure if you prepared enough for this. You aren’t even sure of your ability to do this. But of course you can. It’s too late now to back out anyway. The gun will fire regardless.

I understand now why the colour of envy is green. Because it feels like the bile in your throat, waiting for someone you love to achieve something you’ve dreamt your whole life of. It is the colour of the whistle they gave you on the way to the hospital, your best friend holding your hand apologising through tears, desperately hoping that if you breathe the pain relief in a bit harder, it will take it all away. But the pain doesn’t go away. It comes back every time someone mentions the marathon you were meant to be running. The one you’d worked for years to qualify for, only to have it taken away by a mistake that you didn’t even make. The one in your hometown you spent your whole life watching from the sidelines, patiently waiting for your turn.

I switch the live stream broadcast on, in the hopes that watching my friend cross the finish line somehow compensates for the way I’ve withdrawn from her life almost completely. As though, maybe just witnessing her smash her PB time would be enough to counteract the way I wholeheartedly wish it was me crossing that yellow finishing line instead.

The weather glooms over the city, conjured perfectly just for me. It’s a quiet April day outside. To my right, my son constructs and destroys a tower over and over and over again, delighting in the joy of destroying something you’ve worked hard to create. The washing machine sings its finishing song.

The bile that lines the back of my throat threatens to rise as I watch it all unfold in real time. The jealousy turns to dread as the finishing line descends into chaos. The sound is unmistakable. Not once, but twice. People scrambling away from smoke clouds that begin to fill the air. I hold my breath. Just for a moment, the whole world goes quiet. It reverberates through my entire body. Breaking News from Boston, we’re live now.


Using a chopped narration that speaks to us in two points of view, this story starts off veiled in mystery – is the gun going off from something sinister or is it a sporting endeavour? The heart-racing duality in which the act is described means that it could be both. But now we see mention of a marathon and we think we have the measure of this timeline, in which our narrator appears to be sidelined with injury and forced out of this iconic event. Of course, watching on in envy soon turns to chaos as you realise that while the starter gun was harmless, something deadlier and more explosive has haunted the finish. The final sentence completes the puzzle – 15 April, 2013. An effective mix of red herring and gut-punch tension from start (line) to finish, exploring pain and suffering in its various forms.


I was watching Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.

It was Sunday. My brother was playing Sega. My mum was doing marking at the kitchen table.

My dad wasn’t there because my dad didn’t live with us anymore. He lived half an hour away in a little flat, with a car that sometimes only drove backwards and a TV that only played ABC. He didn’t have Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.

It wasn’t my favourite show. I liked Friends and Home Improvement and Third Rock From the Sun.

But it was Sunday and there wasn’t much on TV that wasn’t Christian programming and cartoons and I still liked cartoons but I wasn’t going to let my brother know that because I was thirteen, and thirteen-year-olds didn’t watch cartoons.

I found that out last summer. We went to stay with Mum’s friends near Hobart. They had a son and a daughter and the son was thirteen too. He didn’t watch cartoons. He listened to rap music. He made me blush. I stopped watching cartoons, then.

I had lots of photos from the Hobart trip. We went to the maze at Richmond. We built sandcastles at Sandy Bay beach. We went to Port Arthur. I made peace signs at the camera in my new Tencel overalls, standing by the old jail buildings; sitting at a table at the café. I liked looking at the photos because the boy was in them and I looked grown up.

My brother chased the boy’s little sister, from one end of the ground to the other and our parents yelled but then they laughed.

The site was so pretty, in the bright sunshine.

At the ad break, I got up to get Ribena and chips.

As I left the room, I heard the theme from the news.

I turned.

The news wasn’t on, at this time of day.

I held the TV remote. I didn’t feel it slip from my fingers.

Doctor Quinn didn’t come back on. It was only the news.

Mum came into the room when she heard me crying.

“Is this real?” she whispered.

“I don’t know.”

“James can’t see this,” she said. She made to leave. Halfway to the door, I heard her cry, “I have to ring Petra.”

Petra was her friend. The one we stayed with, who lived near Hobart.

And I was alone. And I watched the news. And it had to be a mistake.

Things like this didn’t happen in Tasmania.

I picked up the remote.

I turned down the volume, so James couldn’t hear.

I kept watching.

After awhile, Mum came back. I could still hear Sonic, playing in the next room.

“How many?” she asked. “How many died?”

I shook my head.

I couldn’t answer.

I thought of the boy who made me blush.

I thought of sitting at that table, at the café that was on the news.

I thought of the site, so pretty in the sunshine.

“Enough,” said Mum. And turned off the TV.


Once again, seeing things unfold through the authentic lens of a child is a powerful way to revisit a moment in time – gifting us with one of our favourite opening lines this month! The strong voice is clear immediately in this Sunday lounge-room drama, obsessed with teen crushes, TV shows, Ribena and chips. Even without referencing the year, the details place it in a particular time frame. And as the holiday locations are mentioned and then the news flash references Tasmania, most Australians will understand that this is 28 April 1996. We particularly appreciated the inclusion of banal details throughout (the TV reception and the car at Dad’s house etc) – peppered only sparingly with things that hint to the important event of the day. The story’s title continues this vibe – doubling down on the most trivial piece of information for great effect. The later repetition of “I” sentences (including a trio of “I thought of” ones) aptly convey the sensory overload that completes this “where were you when?” scene.

DECEMBER 15, 2012 by Amber Sayer, USA

Greta placed two small plates on the counter. She mindlessly opened the cabinet and grabbed homemade sourdough and two jars of peanut butter—crunchy for her daughter, smooth for her son.

She remembered feeling annoyed at the grocery store months ago over needing to purchase two kinds.

“I only like crunchy now,” her daughter had announced. “Extra crunchy, or I won’t eat it!”

Her daughter, then a full-fledged kindergarten graduate, seemed to be in a summer phase where suddenly everything she’d previously liked was “babyish.“

“I’ll put it on the list!”

They’d always been a smooth peanut butter family, an expectation her son wasn’t going to cede without a fight.

Greta remembered how his face flushed with anger, so much heat radiating off his body that it could be felt across the breakfast table.

“That’s not fair! I like smooth. She always gets her way cuz she’s older!”

The two argued back and forth, her daughter haranguing that smooth peanut butter is for babies, dramatically gesticulating with skinny arms polka dotted with mosquito bites.

“I’m not a baby,” her son had said, choking back tears. “I’m goin’ to school this year!”

It was true.

Both kids would soon be in school all day, her son starting kindergarten and her daughter, first grade.

Greta remembered that fight like it was yesterday, the August humidity making the kitchen feel like a greenhouse.

Now, just 10 days until Christmas, the frosty New England air seemed to penetrate every seam of the house.

Every winter, Greta grumbled that it’d been a mistake to move to Sandy Hook instead of Florida.

Today, she’d give anything to have chosen any other town in the world, even if it was in Antarctica.

She’d give anything to hear her kids bickering.

She’d buy every iteration of peanut butter from every store if it’d bring her daughter back.

Sounds of her son dumping Legos onto the floor in the next room snapped Greta back to the present.

The kids had been building a replica of the space station now that they had enough Legos—an early Christmas gift from Grandpa.

Greta slathered smooth peanut butter on one slice of bread, and then uncapped the crunchy peanut butter.

It still had yesterday’s knife indentations, the valleys coated in glistening pools of separated oil.

“Mom, where’s Chloe?”

Her son’s innocent words caught her off guard. She hadn’t heard him come in.

His small body looked blurry.

“Why are you crying?”

Didn’t he understand anything that happened yesterday?

Selfishly, Greta wanted him to understand; she didn’t want to grieve alone, and yet she prayed his callow mind was too young to understand.

After all, even her fully-fledged mind had instinctively grabbed a half-eaten jar of peanut butter she’d never need to open again.

Greta realized this was the distinction between humans and monsters—monsters are capable of committing acts that transcend human understanding.

She closed the crunchy peanut butter and put it back in the cabinet, her human mind believing: just in case.


Sometimes the title of your story can be subtle and trivial, but other times, it makes sense to make it a simple piece of wayfinding – a direct link to the core of this narrative. In this heartbreaking piece, the date in question is the day AFTER the day before. And the oft-repeated morning sandwich routine is still a muscle memory reflex for this grieving parent. Filled with a poignant summer flashback that bubbles with life, the cold winter reality of the present comes crashing back like lego bricks in this powerful story that sadly cannot avoid using children to illustrate its point. We learned in this creative challenge that a lot of powerful dates in history are tragic ones. This story hints at the pain of struggling to go on in the aftermath of the unthinkable.

FORGIVENESS by Lindsay Bamfield, VIC

I picked up a brick and fantasised about slinging it through the neighbours’ window. I imagined the satisfying smash of glass.

Instead, I laid it on the row of bricks I’d already assembled.

‘Good at this, aren’t you.’ My brother assessed my work.

‘But it’s taken me ages. And I’ve had enough of my back aching. That’s why I need your help. I want it high enough to block them out.’ Al knew I meant the neighbours and the reason why.

It’s not funny finding your hedge lying on the ground with only ragged stumps left in the earth. My grandad had planted the hedge when he bought the house in leafy north London soon after Mum was born. It was almost seventy years old and they’d destroyed it in a matter of hours, maybe minutes!

‘Will it be ready for my party?’ my daughter came to look at our work. I’d promised her she could celebrate her fifth birthday with games of chase and musical statues in the garden so long as it wasn’t raining. We had two days until her birthday on the 11th. Armistice Day. Just another thing to remind me of Grandad. He fought in the trenches, surviving the horror of Passchendaele.

The neighbours claimed it was all a mistake, that they’d told their gardener to trim the hedge and he’d misunderstood. It’d be easy to misunderstand someone telling him to get rid of that bloody hedge, wouldn’t it. I’d heard them moaning about having to cut it on their side since they moved in.

I listened to the radio as I made dinner. The news stopped me short. I switched on the TV. ‘Look!’ I called to Al. ‘The wall’s coming down.’

The Berlin Wall. We’d grown up with the spectre of the Iron Curtain. Now people were climbing on the wall and hacking pieces off. Celebrating! We saw people’s joy at being reunited.

Al and I looked at each other. ‘You know those bricks could make a good raised bed, where you want your veggies to be.’ We ran back outside in the frosty darkness. I shone the torch as he prised a brick from the barely set mortar. And another. And another. The 9th of November 1989 was a day of reunification.

Two days later I invited the neighbours to join us for a drink after the birthday party was over. Six little girls hadn’t cared whether there was a hedge, a wall or nothing at all. They just celebrated.

The birthday girl has her own little girls now. The hedge between my garden and the next thrives. Privet hedges are very forgiving. I watch as my granddaughters dig their trowels into the old raised bed where plenty of vegetables have grown. They plant their seeds. They’ve been learning about Digging for Victory and I showed them where, long before I was born, Grandad had dug for victory in this very garden. Then I told them about a dividing wall coming down.


We really loved the simple active metaphor that this small suburban story plays out – initially presenting us with a nightmare neighbour scenario that necessitates the need for drastic action. And yet, with the news that a far more famous and long standing symbol of division had that day come down, our narrator realises that the world doesn’t need any more walls going up. The line about privet hedges being very forgiving was also nice – a double meaning that links to the title. By choosing to repurpose the bricks into the raised veggie patch instead, they have provided another generation with far more joy. We had a LOT of Berlin Wall stories this month, but this one was carefully built and told.

[Sidenote: In this new age of ‘AI’ (Artificial Intelligence), do you trip when reading a character called ‘Al’ (short for Albert, Alfred etc)?]


Each month, we like to include an extra LONGLIST (approx 5-10%) of stories that stood out from the submitted hundreds and were highly considered for the showcase. Remember, all creativity is subjective, but if your name is here, enjoy a moment of satisfaction! And to ALL who submitted stories, we’d LOVE to see you again for next month’s challenge!

THIS MONTH’S LONGLIST (in no particular order):

  • DECEMBER 2019 by Jall, India
  • SAVIOR by Gale Deitch, USA
  • TRACY’S COMING by Lorena Otes, NSW
  • IN THE CLOUDS by Sarah Lamers, USA
  • THE 26TH OF JANUARY 1988 by John Walker, NSW
  • Y2K by Sasan Sedighi, WA
  • COME BACK SOON by Christina Kershaw, UK
  • BIG DAY OUT by Kimberley Ivory, NSW
  • A FAIRY TALE by Leonie Jarrett, VIC
  • THE WALL by Susan Hobson, QLD
  • NOTHING TO NUMB THE NEWS by Steve Saulsbury, USA
  • BURNING by Sue Croft, VIC
  • LITTLE GLASS CUPS by Beata Kurcz, Poland
  • JANUARY 28, 1986 by Ryan Klemek, USA
  • THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE by Eugenie Pusenjak, ACT
  • HEAD ON A COIN  by Steve Cumper, TAS
  • THE ANNIVERSARY by Sukanya Singh, India
  • BROTHERS by EB Davis, ACT
  • 9TH NOVEMBER 1989 by Immy Mohr, NSW
  • SAND CASTLES by John McParland, NSW
  • LABOUR DAY by Nina Lee, NSW
  • DEATH OF A PRINCESS by Julia Ruth Smith, Italy
  • THE IMPLOSION by Lou Harper, VIC
  • ONE MINUTE by V Petersen, NSW
  • NEW YEAR’S DAY by Abitova Prique, NSW
  • THE MAN WHO BUILDS by AJ Coatess, Canada
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