WordSmitten Writing Workshop


Storycove's Award Winning Story by John Ravenscroft
Flash Fiction Judge ~ Author Michael C. White



Storycove winning flash fiction: Walking Upside Down

Walking Upside Down
by john ravenscroft
(Winner of Word Smitten's
2003 Storycove Flash Fiction Award)

In my dreams, the good ones,
Mary Iris McCormack - Mim for short - is forever doing handstands, her knees bent, her feet planted flat against the redbrick playground wall. The skirt of her school uniform hangs like a soft green bell about the half-hidden clapper of her head, and when she turns to face me I see strange, knowing, upside-down eyes peering from beneath the inverted hem. She looks away and a quick flick of blond hair sweeps a swirl of dust from the asphalt.

Dreaming, half-aware of the fact, I wonder how long it's been since that hot yellow-blue, small-town afternoon in her sister's tent. Thirty-nine years? Forty? Can that be true? Has it really been so long since she left me, moved to the city, the bright lights, London?

From the skirt-bell's apex two flawless legs rise into the air, a matched pair of flying buttresses kissing the wall to keep it in its place. Suddenly straightened, oh-so-carefully parted, they become a walking V as Mim inches towards me, poised, balanced, her hands sharp-angled on strong, supple wrists. Spectacular. V for victory.

I hear high-pitched peals of laughter coming from the bell's interior, and at the dark forbidden fork - a place my eyes have no legitimate business - I see her navy-blue knickers.

Three times in the past week I've woken at this point and looked towards the pool of light where the night-nurses sit. I know one of them well - nurse Mary O'Connor, redheaded with a lovely Irish lilt on her. Her father used to be my postman, delivering my letters, collecting my replies, bringing me dry paper and disappointment. Big city news - too big for a small town Freiston boy like me.

Oh, Mim.

When she moves in a certain way, laughs just so, Nurse Mary O'Connor
reminds me of you.

I like to imagine her standing, yawning, unhitching herself from her station and her little pool of sensible light. I like to picture her upended, walking silently through the sleeping ward on her hands, her crisp white uniform too tight to do the bell thing, but her no-nonsense cap dropping off and her red hair tumbling free.

I see her stop at my bed, grin, execute a slow turn, and head back towards her desk. Yes. Even without a bell, even without a glimpse of navy-blue underwear, that would be something worth waking for.

I close my eyes and think about you, Mim - still doing handstands in my dreams, still showing me your knickers, still getting me into trouble after all these years.



We're delighted to present this flash fiction work by John Ravenscroft, winner of the Storycove Award for Flash Fiction.
Included with publication of this wonderful story is an award of $150.00 which WordSmitten provides with the hope that it will purchase at least a few reams of paper and a pack of ink cartridges in support of Mr. Ravenscroft's writing and his homepage.

Want to see more? Read what noted author and educator, Michael C. White says about John Ravenscroft. Judging the Storycove Winner!

::WordSmitten's Annual TenTen Call for Fiction::
::the deadline to enter next year's competition is July 1::
::submission for reading and registration begins May 31 each year::
::the short story contest awards $1,010.00 to the winner::


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