The winner of our Flashing the Cover competition was revealed to be Nicki Blake. Nicki’s story, Hidden Depths, was a response to the cover of Dervla McTiernan’s latest novel, The Good Turn.
Here is Nicki’s winning entry:
The last thing they did was drag the lake. In the early morning, with a local news crew filming, they hefted their equipment to the end of the private jetty where their tinnie was moored. They had diving suits and hooked poles. The husband paced the jetty, yelling directions which amplified over the misty surface. When they found nothing, he insisted they try again. When they refused, he struck out, punching one diver and knocking a reporter into the dark water. The whole scuffle was caught on camera. She watched it that night on the television in her motel room.
In making their decision, judges Laura Keenan and Linda Martin of Night Parrot Press said: We selected this story as the winning entry because it contains everything a flash story should. We love that the story begins in the middle, right at the point of crisis. The narrative is clear and concise, and the author skilfully uses the art of omission to deliver a subtle but surprising twist at the end. The story is complete, stands alone, and each word deserves its place and has the weight to carry this compelling narrative. Finally, the story beautifully conveys the mystery and intrigue of that haunting cover image of an empty jetty at first light.
Nicki Blake is an emerging poet and writer of short stories based in Perth, Western Australia. Her work has previously been published both online and in print anthologies. Nicki’s writing draws on her lived experiences of working with words – her day job is managing an English language school – as well as a heritage that is both European and South-East Asian.
Read all of the competition entries here.