Flash Fiction Competition 2013 - The Winner

Published: 1st July 2013

The judges met on 27th June 2013 to discuss the entries they had all previously read. These entries were all very good and came from a range of periods - Tudor and Stuart England, the sixteenth, eighteenth and twentieth centuries and covered such diverse topics as smuggling, the Reformation, revolution and World War.

Picking a winner was not easy but in the end the judges chose ‘The Road to Arleville' by Terence Rickson of the Richmond and Twickenham Branch. He receives an engraved Bath Aqua glass paperweight and a £30 book token.  His winning entry had all the ingredients of good Flash Fiction. It conveyed a clear sense of period, was both descriptive and vivid, had at its centre a strong character and left the reader with an intriguing question at the end.



‘The bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling

For you but not for me: ..............................'


The men were singing as they slogged along the road towards Arleville. Despite how he was feeling, David smiled to himself as the familiar words ran through his mind.

A heavy barrage was building-up, shells falling and exploding ever nearer but they were used to it. A company of Canadian gunners galloped by, their limbers rattling on the road's uneven surface; they took the first hit.

David could barely recall what happened next. An explosion so loud that turned everything into a singing black silence. He'd no idea how long he'd lain with his legs in a shell hole and head in the foul mud. Eventually, dragging himself out of the hole he stumbled along the road until he pitched forward onto it and into oblivion. A passing stretcher-party and ambulance, jolting along the road, noticing a slight movement of the body lying in the road, stopped and heaved the mud-caked form on board.

The rest was confusion. A voice said, "You're lucky to be alive." He had no recollection of answering the questions put to him.

Later, as he was being placed on a stretcher before being taken to the hospital train, he said to the medical orderly, "My name is Petersen, Lieutenant Petersen." The orderly smiled and lifting the identity disc around David's neck gently, replied, "Your disc sir, says ‘D. Templeton Lt. 18436.' North Kent Rifles, I believe, sir." Slipping again into semi-consciousness, David made no reply.

‘And the little devils how they sing-a-ling-a-ling