Shortlist

Page 3

This week's shortlist

  The last time I cooked dolmades, you told me that for years, out of consideration for my feelings, you had avoided mentioning that dolmades were no longer your favourite dish. That you were so sick of them that it was hard to swallow even the first few mouthfuls. I …

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  Mr Davis hummed to himself as he trimmed the hedges. The lovely rose bushes that his neighbours grew along their white picket fence weren’t looking as well kept as usual. His neighbours must have agreed, because a few minutes later an elderly woman came outside armed with gardening gloves, …

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From behind the counter, Harry slides an empty cup towards Rob. “Morning. Scrambled eggs with bacon and toast?” Rob nods. “And hash browns please.” The waitress pours steaming black coffee into the cup. “You hardly ever have that.” “Need the energy to work on that new picket fence of yours, …

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With a scowl on her face, Henri’s teacher told me what had happened. ‘Your son is only thirteen, Madam. This is serious.’ ‘I apologize on his behalf. I’ll have a talk with him.’ She sighed, seemingly dissatisfied. ‘A student’s education isn’t the sole responsibility of the school. The family also …

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  I wake up. At least I think I am awake. I can feel the faintest sense of sunlight on my skin, filtering through my eyelids, gently urging me to wake up. But I can’t move. My breathing feels laboured. My heart struggles with every beat. It can’t be morning, …

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 3. Choosing a winner is never easy. In fact, it can be downright impossible. At Needle we use different judges for every award. Former winners, short listers, friends, people we meet on the street. We believe that everyone’s voice should be heard, and that doesn’t just mean for writers. Still, …

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#1 Frigging great! She’s steered me down the tampon aisle and now we’re parked, window shopping here. Like she hasn’t bought these exact same products for at least two decades already. I’ve been ditched here before, while she ran clear across the supermarket to grab a bag of grapes. Oh, …

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  #1 The Palace Bar was meant to be a refuge for all the poofs, queers, and trannies chewed up and spat out by the virulent streets of the 1980s. Meant to be. Inside, Phil smashed a bottle over the countertop. “What did you do, you motherfucker?” A young man …

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  Draft 1. The Cake. By Patrick Fisher. I first met the cake at Dino’s Diner; a smoky, dangerous bar in an unfashionable part of town. It sat at the bar alone, staring into its whiskey on the rocks. I slid onto the stool beside it, and threw my own …

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First Catch Blistering. Summer heat. The sun was high. My neck felt itchy, the result of an overdue haircut. ‘James!’ someone shouted. ‘Get the ball.’ I looked up and squinted. The ball was too high. No way I could reach it. Giving up, I let it fly across the grass …

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Katy trudged upwards dragging the sledge behind her. Her brother seemed to weigh more every time she climbed the hill. The snow was mushy now, more like cold porridge than ice crystals. The sledge sank deeper into the ruts from the last few runs until she couldn’t go any higher …

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  Draft 1 Sand. It was a merciless creature, squirming into the smallest gaps, whipping holes into robes, weighing down the men who were foolish enough to go to the marketplace during Jumu’ah. There was no clink of coins, no hustle and bustle, no children weaving through, throwing their heads …

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(Draft 1) Circumnavigating Wallace Terrace Wallace Terrace’s farmer’s market was unusually busy for the early hour that it was. For an observer, the behaviour of the civilians would also appear very peculiar. While busy public spaces usually resound with shouting, whistling and general bustle, there was none such ruckus here. …

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My phone buzzes on the kitchen counter. I know that more than three vibrations means someone is trying to call, but I don’t want to get up and check who it is—the television is on, I have a drink nearby, and it’s the first chance I’ve had to relax all …

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The Mysterious Lady The woman carefully approached the group of soldiers. Smoking their cigarettes and cracking jokes, the Germans seemed unaware of the fate that was hovering above their steel helmets. Blond Fury, as everyone knew her, signaled to one of the teenage boys hidden underneath the shrubbery across the …

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  Waking takes a little longer this morning. Your eyes open slowly to the ribbon of light sneaking into your bed through that gap in the curtains. It’s early, but you smile. You roll around for a moment in the warmth of the bed. They’re beside you, breathing heavily. You …

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  Theo sat on the edge of the bed; shoulders slouched and head bowed. He rubbed tired eyes before replacing his glasses. His wife walked over and laid comforting fingers on his shoulder. “It’ll be okay.” “I’m not ready for this.” She opened her mouth but at that moment Elsie …

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  By Manasvi Firing had stopped and thick smoke covered the sky. The sound of the planes, trucks and footfall of men in the desert around the well had died. Inside the well there were four soldiers. Two of them were dead and and the other two pointed weapons at …

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