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Winners: Louie Cliff - Toerag

We loved the tone and vibrance of the narration here, which turned a simple story into something more. Style is such a powerful storytelling tool, and can elevate writing with its presence, or drag it down with its absence. There is no one recipe for good writing, only combinations of elements in different quantities -- like baking a cake -- that produce similar, yet distinctive, and wonderful results.


Flash Fiction 500 - Shortlist


Toe Rag

Louie Cliff


You're new here aren't you?


I'm not sure that I ever told you the story of Tommy err, oh what was his last name again? It was so many years ago the mind forgets these things y'see. I remember his face though, sharp and angular - like it had been pressed against grinding wheel too long. He was a terror, but he started small. They usually do.


Sarah was the milkman back in those days, well not a man so to speak but I don't know the right word, milkmaid is it? Well anyways little Tommy used to irritate her chronic, stealing pints and hurling them against walls just for fun, I guess he like to see the white spray and the glass shatter. And one day, oh boy, did glass shatter. It was December time, and well I don't have to tell you how cold it gets around these parts. Snow had settled its bed on the grass and the roads were shimmering in frost. She tried to grab the little bastard by the ear but he pulled a rack off the back of the truck impeding her, he grabbed a couple of bottles from what I recall, the first he dropped but the second flew with such force and landed square into the Johannsons' living room. Along with the shattered remains of their window pane.


They were furious to say the least, and they stormed across the street howling like Zeppelin gunfire in search of the tyke's parents. Absent mother not father, ain't that just odd, the man though - well he was unpleasant, I can still picture him now, grease stains down a wife beater, an odour to repel pigs that frolic in shit. He did nothing to discipline his child, the boy continued his little tricks and annoyances on anyone his set his beady eyes on. Local cats went missing, I dread to imagine what might have happened to them. He even set fire to the parish used to stand on top of that little hill, yeah the one just over there. Nobody ever proved it was him but it was a truth our little town shared. Not much can escape the wagging tongues and surrounding ears of a small community.

One day he pushed things a little too far and broke into Mrs. Gladstone's house. Well she wasn't alone this night, Billy was down - just returned from the war with visions of horrors only soldiers experience fresh in his the back of his mind. He used to wake up sweating and screaming or so I've been told. He noticed Tommy sneaking in through the open dining room window that day and well I guess his battle ready training just kicked in, must of been something of a rage, the boy wasn't recognisable when they buried him.


Nothing happened to Billy and nothing should have happened. Defended his dear old granny from an intruder.


Hope you folks know how to behave, hope you got tight lips too.

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