Category Archives: Spelk Fiction

Keep It Simple. Keep It Short.

4 picsI think I’ve always liked singles more than LPs. Preferred the short, sharp burst of a 45 rpm vinyl to 33 and 1/3 rpm of a few decent tunes padded out with fillers. And maybe that’s why I was drawn to flash fiction.

I started off my crime writing ‘career’ – arf – submitting yarns to the late lamented Six Sentences website – short stories in just six sentences. Indeed, my first writing to appear in print was in the 6S volume 2 anthology.

Here’s an example of a 6S yarn:

A Cold Day in Helsinki

The January night had long since waned when Mika blasted Aki’s brains over the snow covered street, producing a more than passable Rorschach test. A murder of crows sliced through the whiteness as the purr of the passing motorcycle grew to a roar, masking the sound of the shotgun. When day eventually melted into night, the moon hung fat and gibbous, the bloodstains now black in the moonlight. Mika draped Aki’s cold, dead skin over his own pallid flesh as, shivering, he breathed in the scent of cheap aftershave, cigarettes and booze. Sour memories trampled over his thoughts with bloodstained feet. Together forever he rasped, as tears filled his bloodshot eyes.

Or:

Snap, Crackle & Pop! 

Snap went Larry’s index finger when Mo bent it back. Crackle went the cigar that Mo slammed into Larry’s face. Pop went the pistol that Mo shoved under Larry’s chin. Snap went the paparazzi when Mo was led into court. Crackle went the electric chair when Mo was sent to meet his maker. Pop went the champagne cork in Curly and Shemp’s hotel room.

And I’ve also enjoyed writing a few other forms of flash and micro fiction too, such as 6word stories a la Ernest Hemingway.

Quentin.

Blah blah. Bang bang. Ha ha.

Or there are stories limited to fifty words for magazines such as Blink Ink.

Old Town, midnight.

The moonlight oozed across the dank cobblestones like quicksilver; creeping between the cracks, crawling into the gutters. Howls sliced the silence. Lara shivered, pulling the fur close to her flesh. Each heartbeat was like the tick of a clock. As the limousine growled into view, heavy footsteps shuffled closer.

And flash fiction in 100 words, which is known as Drabble.

Swamplands

Elvis awoke in a cold, dank sweat, hungover from bourbon and bad dreams. The nightmares had consisted of him being hunted through a swamp by the murderous spectre of Jesse, his stillborn twin. His pounding heartbeat seemed to echo through the mansion. He stumbled into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face and looked in the mirror, only to be confronted by his own ashen reflection and that of his grinning doppelganger. Jesse tightly wrapped the umbilical cord around Elvis’ throat and pulled it until Elvis breathed no more. The king is dead, long live the king, he muttered.

Indeed, if you feel the urge to take the plunge into writing but just want to test the water, there are plenty of flash fiction sites online. Spelk Fiction, for example,’ limit you to 500 words and Shotgun Honey have a 700 word limit.  And it’s a great way for more experienced writers to practice disciplining their writing too.

So why not get flashing!

This post first appeared over at Debbi Mack’s blog.

#FRIDAY FLASH: THE LONG HAUL

The sirens wail in the distance and a buzzing street light flickers as I run into the darkened alley, the black rucksack with the broken strap bouncing against my dodgy back. They’ll never catch me, though. They never do but I’m getting too old for this cobblers, for sure. Almost fifty and still on the friggin’ run. My chest feels like it’s going to explode. My legs about to buckle under me. I’m sweating buckets, gasping for breath. I pause to puke. Start running again.

I’m back at my mother’s pock-marked terraced house within twenty minutes. The lights are already on.

I open the front door, pull off the balaclava and walk upstairs, still wheezing.

“A nice shower will sort you out, pet,” shouts my mother from the living room. “And a cuppa with a snifter.”

I go into the bedroom and drop the rucksack on the bed. Open it to check that the money’s still there. Flick the dirty notes. Take off my blood-stained clothes and walk into the bathroom. A short, sharp shower.

When I get out, I hear my mam singing along to The Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’ and getting the words wrong, as usual. Feel comforted.

I pull a suitcase from under the bed and stuff the rucksack into it. Put some clothes over the top.

I get dressed. Black suit and tie. Crisp white shirt. Diamond shaped cuff-links. Shoes shiny enough to see your face in. The full clobber. I slap the after shave on, Henry Cooper style. Pick up the suitcase and walk downstairs.

“Only Captain Morgan left,” says mam, as she hands me the mug of tea that is generously laced with rum.

“Should still do the trick,” I say.

I knock it back in one. Feel a glow, like one of the kids in the old porridge advert.

Mam’s dolled herself up in her new black dress. Earrings. Necklace, the lot. She finishes her drink. Puts on her coat and hat. Picks up her new handbag.

“Best get going. The stink of that petrol’s playing havoc with my chest,” she says.

I nod.

“Want to do the biz?” I say.

She frowns.

“No, you best do it. You know I can’t get the hang of them Zippo things. Not with my rheumatism.”

“See you in the car, then,” I say.

She picks up a small bag and heads out the door.

I fish in my jacket pocket for the Zippo. Set the corner of one of the cushions alight and pick up my suitcase. Walk outside as the living room starts to burn.

Mam has already started the hearse’s engine. I get in the passenger seat.

“Just like the old days,” she says. “Just the three of us.”

I put the suitcase on top of dad’s coffin. Mam stalls and then starts the car. I close my eyes.

It’s going to be a long haul.

(The Long Haul first appeared online at Spelk Fiction)

#FRIDAY FLASH: Pretty Green at Spelk Fiction.

SpelkI’m flashing at Spelk Fiction again.

‘Gareth Jones had been sober for a little over six months when the royalty cheque came, out of the blue. Just like that. He licked his lips and then sighed deeply as he prepared himself for the inevitable crash that was to come.’

Read the rest of Pretty Green here.

The Odds and the Sods at Spelk Fiction

SpelkI have a new slice of flash fiction over at Spelk Fiction.

‘Wayne leaned against his car and opened a packet of Menthol cigarettes. He lit up and stared into the distance at the pitch black lake. His thoughts drifted into memories.’

Read the rest of The Odds and the Sods here.

A Story For Sunday: Small Miracles by Liam Sweeny

SpelkLiam Sweeny is over at Spelk Fiction with Small Miracles.

‘The sun was dripping down the canvas of the pale sky, dragging dusk through the gnarled fingers of the row of dead poplars lining the hedge past the field. Roy’s rough hands were stinging from splinters in the shovel handle.’

Check it out!

Bits n Bobs: News, Updates etc

Guns_cover new preview (2)Bits n Bobs:

The Drag Noir anthology – edited by K A Laity and published by Fox Spirit – is out now and over here you can find out what inspired my yarn ‘A Bit Of A Pickle’ … My new Brit Grit Alley column is live at Out Of the Gutter Online and includes news of a HOT Crime Fiction writing course organised by Graham Smith … I’ve had a couple of yarns accepted recently. The new flash fiction site Spelk Fiction have accepted my piece The Long Haul. It should be published at the end of December. The deservedly well-respected Spinetingler Magazine have accepted my story The Postman Cometh. It should be online early next year … and my comic crime caper Guns Of Brixton (soon to be published in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing) appears to be available for pre-order from loads of places including Waterstones, Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK.