Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Sales Start Early This Year

I had a brilliant start to my new year with the news that I had won Writing Magazine's Talkback 'One Word Challenge' for December.

The prompt word for the flash fiction competition was 'Peace', a word that conjured up so many images in my mind. I eventually went with a story about hope in an world so often lacking in hope or peace for many. What if we looked closer and saw that we were in fact surrounded by people and events that are fighting to bring us the very peace we seek? With that thought I wrote 'The Sales Start Early This Year'. I hope you enjoy the story.

The Sales Start Early This Year

He remembered the ghosts on the stone doorsteps. The shadows of the dead like permanent graffiti to remind the world. Japanese schoolchildren turned to dust on swing sets. Grandmothers now soil in the rose beds they were tending when the blast came.

He remembered waving at the trains leaving the wastelands the next morning. The commuters ignored him. Later he would hear of the boxcars in Europe rolling toward the camps like mobile coffins. He hated trains.

He rolled up the escalator and shuddered. Herds of people were rushing around the shopping mall in fancy dress. At least they were polite this year.

The boys dressed as Tommys and German soldiers kicking a football around the food court let him pass. The men dressed in NYFD uniforms removed their helmets in respect.
The shops were full of UN peace fighters. The Styrofoam igloo walls dividing the shops were being hacked down by young German students. Journalists carried Croatian children to the first aid kiosk.

A small hand took his. He looked down to see himself, young and smiling, a time before everybody he loved died of radiation cancer.

He walked toward the light department and felt the peace at last.


  1. Congratulations again on your win. I have been a runner up a few times in the OWC but last month was my first winner, therefore first time judging. It really is incredibly difficult to judge,not only because all the entries are so good but because it's hard to know if you are choosing a particular piece because it's in your own style. (I am not suggested that my writing is as good as yours, but I do know that it is how I hope mine comes across!) I am really into ghost/spiritual type stuff, but not particularly horror - which I know is one of your specialities.
    Looking forward to "the word" for this month's challenge.

  2. Congratulations, Anthony! You're a born writer!

  3. Thanks Michelle that comment means a lot to me.

    Lexia once again thanks for choosing my piece it really did make the perfect start of the year for me. I do write mainly horror stuff but not blood and guts slasher style. I try to make my work have deeper themes than just typical horror.

    It's funny you mention styles because I've entered before and thought I had a great chance and never came anywhere. With this one I thought I had no chance. It is strange the way different readers and different writers view their own work and that of others.

  4. Congrats Tony. It's a good piece of writing. The day I win the OWC remains a mystery....

  5. Congratulations on your win. This one is a very difficult competition. Well done you and a happy New Year.

  6. Thanks Pixie and Fiona. Yeah it is tough and like Pixie says I actually thought the day that I'd win would never come along.

    Cheers again and a Happy New Year to everybody.

  7. Congrats on the win, Tony!

    Once the tone of your story sunk in, it began to resonate with me. My father's mother was full Japanese, making me a quarter myself. Without getting too wordy, I'll just say I appreciate your perspective and delivery in this piece. It made me pause and meditate on the subject and the culture and, for me, that's a very good thing. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks Vincent I was moved by what you said about it making you pause and think. I can only hope, as we all do, that we can affect that emotional change through our writing. It's great to hear that a piece of mine has achieved that in some readers.


Paws: The Revenge.