Hits of narrative, for the easily distracted – we asked for the world on a postcard: your best flash fiction, written by hand and sent through the mail. And, for a fortnight, our letterbox was full of stories. We gathered your cards and sent them to Sarah Franklin – acclaimed novelist, judge for the Costa Short Story Award and senior lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies – to choose her winners.
“A postcard dropping through your door has always brought a sliver of a whole new world into your home – it’s the most exciting form of post in that way,” Franklin told us. “How brilliant to combine the joys of micro-fiction with the perfect form for it. Every new postcard held the potential to change the way I saw things, whether for a second or for longer.”
“I’ve found myself thinking about some of them for ages, and had to resist the temptation to prop them up on the mantelpiece as you would with an actual card. Thank you, Literary Platform and Stranger Collective, for taking me on a mini-break for the brain with these inventive and moving tales.”
Read her pick of the submissions below.
Who is who?
I am a worm. I live under a fig tree. One day I die and the chemicals in my body seep into the ground. The tree draws them up and turns them into a fig. Now I am a fig. A little boy picks the fig and eats it. The chemicals in the fig become the little boy’s body. Now I am a little boy. I sit down under the fig tree and look at a worm on the ground. Who is who?
Night Falls over Cornwall
The tiny dove grey boat mauled and beat against the harbour walls. Toska, white cursive on its bow. Almost invisible in the nebulous November morning murk. The ancient mariners standing atop the granite walls, having seen it all, merely raised one eyebrow. At the bottom of the boat an amorphous bundle shift. Salt soaks and shivering. The other eyebrows now twitched. Rayne, small boyish and sturdy, rattled down the seaweed draped steps. He knew what was coming.
Sharon reaches for the sausages – and stops. She’s trying to cut down on processed food. Eggs would be better. But Steve likes sausages on a Tuesday. But the extractor fan’s still broken and sausages will set off the smoke alarm – they always do. Eggs will be better.
Later, in the basket-only queue, she sighs at the sausages. Then, suddenly, her hand flies to her mouth. And she laughs as she steps out of the line to switch the sausages for eggs.
Steve moved out last week.