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Behind the Wattles

214 pages3 hours


Slowly, the hole grew deeper as he found his rhythm. Dig, swing, dump. Dig, swing, dump. His laboured breathing synchronised with the turning of his shoulders; dragon’s breath in the morning chill. He was grateful for the wattle trees enshrouding the lower garden, for they shielded him from prying eyes while he undertook this grimmest of tasks. Sunlight slanted through silver leaves and splashed upon her corpse, which was gaily wrapped in a floral curtain he’d found in the garage.
“Would she like those colours?” he wondered, without irony. He had no idea who she was, only that he’d awoken to discover her lying still and cold beside him in his bed.
— from "Behind the Wattles" by John Poole

When the rain began, they had rejoiced. The parched ground had drunk the first few inches greedily. But, like the story of Noah, the water had continued to rise, subjugating the land. It had pushed up and out, consuming everything in its path like an insatiable monster. At first, it had been fun spying the remnants of lives floating past: a tank, an old fridge and even the decaying body of an old ute. But even after the rain had stopped, the water continued to rise until it began to creep past the fence and into the yard. There were frantic phone calls, furniture lifted, power turned off. Reports came in that the bridge — the bridge that never flooded — was going under.
— from "Roadside Tragedy" by Catherine Cooper

Fifty-six flash fiction and twenty-one microfiction stories feature in this anthology of cunningly clever, award-winning stories from the Stringybark Flash and Microfiction Awards. From murder mysteries to goldfish and World War to pavlova, well-known and emerging short story writers demonstrate their skill in weaving compelling tales in fewer than one thousand words.

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