Flash fiction* – Taskforce Z


They come in the night.

They always do.

You wake, blinking against glare. Sunlight shouts off the white plastic shroud which encases your neighbours’ house.

You stand at the window, your fingers splayed on the glass like a gecko’s translucent pads. Your gaze traces the line of the temporary fencing to the front barrier, where a pale blue banner is attached to the metal mesh.

You can’t read it from your window, but you know what it says. You have seen dozens like it, scattered across the suburbs. The government insignia is white, and so are the words – Viral Response Taskforce.

First the plastic. Then the droning whine of the generator as it pumps in the decontaminants. Later, the demolition team will scrape the site bare, leaving a gap in the street like a missing tooth.

There’s no sign of the neighbours.

There never is.


*Another Tiny Treasure I wrote for Noted Festival. This one won’t have the same resonance away from Canberra, which currently has lots of houses like this – although it’s the Asbestos Response Taskforce at work, removing the houses which were insulated by “Mr Fluffy”. Creepiest name ever…

Flash fiction* – Autumn Witch


She preferred maple leaves of fiery orange and yellow, or heart’s blood red. Sometimes, she found a perfect bruised purple leaf, veined with red-gold arteries.

She placed them all on her wide, white windowsills, for the sun to dry. Their memories of moisture evaporated, and they became brittle and bitter. As they baked, she seasoned them with regret.

No more dancing in the fresh breezes of Spring. No more whispering through Summer’s lazy heat. They crinkled, arthritic and crabbed, as she crooned to them of lost vitality, and stolen joy.

By the time the trees were bare, she had an army of clawed furies, which her winds could send to do her bidding. Their desiccated hearts yearned to scratch at tender flesh, and spill the hot blood which might, she promised them, be as sweet as the sap they remembered.


*Last week I mentioned writing some flash fiction for a Tiny Treasures event at Noted Festival. I thought I’d share my pre-prepared tiny stories here, rather than have them whirled away and lost, like fallen leaves…