Sunday, March 30

One day left

24 hours remain to submit a 250 word tale for the March Challenge :o)
The prize has been bought...

Thursday, March 27

Hawking - Master of the Universe

by Avis Hickman-Gibb

He is soaring above with Angels; consorting with quasars; riding the solar winds from Antares, Aldebaran, Rigel; Andromeda.

Deep in the core of a blackness, spectacular gravity pulls sparks down through the nuclear fire, and he dwells amidst the eddies - revelling in the pull of the strange. Then on, and passing into the perfect null of the heart lying there.

This is a consciousness so real - he could touch the fragrant rings of Saturn; leap upon the fiery skin of Betelgeuse; dance within the inner ring of the frozen rim of a galaxy’s hub.

An existence more valid than the earth-bound body giving him thought; anchoring him tightly.

Eyes closed in concentration, in inner space - he is singing magnificent trills of perfect harmony; performing a ballet of fluid movement easily executed within the shells of the simplest energy form; flashing glorious colours through dark matter - trembling iridescence against an ink black void.

And always, seductive mathematical equations bubble through his mind – glowing in their clarity, radiant jewels of understanding rippling down to a meticulous recording of facts, theorems, hypotheses, and probabilities. The beautiful mechanics of the universe, laid bare at his feet.

Immortality is in the unravelling of a string.

Avis Hickman-Gibb is a new writer, living in rural Suffolk, England with her husband, one son and two cats. She’s had stories published in Every Day Fiction, Twisted Tongue, and Shine! and has up coming stories in Bewildering Stories and The Boston Literary Magazines. She is currently working on a book of short stories and is addicted to writing flash fiction.

Tuesday, March 25

My Boss Is Amazing

by Jenn Ashworth

I am going to follow my boss home in my car. I am going to drive past where she lives and watch her park. Then I am going to drive around the corner and park my own car somewhere secret. I will get out quietly and decorate the car with leaves and litter plucked from the hedges. Then I'll sneak into her front garden and wait behind a rhododendron until she gets tired and goes upstairs.

When that happens I'll move quietly and break in. I'm planning to get one of those tools that cut glass out of windows in perfect circles. I'll take some putty, to replace it after I'm done, of course.

So I'll get in, and spend some 'me-time' in her kitchen, mainly touching things or moving them slightly. I might get carried away and break three wine glasses. I'll have to do it safely, and silently. I think the best way would be to wrap them in a tea towel and crunch the bulb of the glass under my foot. I'll put them in the bin afterwards.

I'm hoping I'll get the chance to walk around downstairs for a while. I'm planning to pull all the leaves from her houseplants and arrange them in circles on her sitting room rug. I'll hide her car-keys at the bottom of a vase. I'm pretty sure I'll have to leave a pair of my socks inside the washing machine. If I have time, I'd like to swap all the CDs around in their cases, cut the roses out of the wall paper, open the champagne and keep the cork safe in the cistern of the downstairs loo.

Maybe, after all this time, she'll be asleep. I hope so, because there are a few other things I wanted to do and I had almost resigned myself to saving these for a second trip. If there's a hall mirror, I'll draw a Fire Risk Assessment on it with a lump of butter. I'll make her a bunch of origami flowers from this month's figures, and scatter them on the stairway. I'll fill the pockets of her coat with frozen peas, and pour Brazil nuts into her shoes to the point of over flowing.

I love my boss. I try every day to be a good employee. To demonstrate my 'commitment' and my 'leadership focus' and my 'sales index capability'. My boss is amazing.

Jenn Ashworth is a compulsive liar and a collector of cacti.

Monday, March 24

One week left!

Dear all, there is one week left for you to enter the March Challenge! Take ten minutes, jot something down, and you could win the first prize we have ever awarded. So have a go and give us a laugh - we'll be even more impressed if you manage to write something incredibly moving using the words below...

Here's a reminder of the rules:

Members of the Facebook group have kindly provided us with a selection of nouns, verbs and adjectives, without really knowing what they were signing up for. So here's the challenge - you have until 31st March to craft and send us a very short story of 250 words or fewer (!) which contains the all of the following words:

Marmot (look it up)

Any genre will do. Putting the words in the title doesn't count! Send all your submissions to and if there are a lot of good entries we'll put them all up on the page.

The one deemed the best by an uneducated mystery panel of judges will win a PRIZE worth perhaps as much as Five English Pounds. Yes, it's true. And you'll find out who won on April 1st. No foolin'. Go to it!

Sunday, March 23

Mary in the Morning

by Mel George

All the world was white and numb
Soundless, colourless, meaningless now.
A festival danced around the house
But not for her – she wondered how
Any of it had ever seemed real.

Yesterday played across her eyelids
With every blink, she saw again
Her master, healer, Lord and friend
Bleeding, choking, convulsed with pain
And felt her own. Her death in his.

That Sabbath long she fought against
The thoughts and dreams that came
Unbidden every second minute:
Lazarus rose – could not the same
Happen now? Cruel nightmares of hope.

That second night passed slow as the first
The sleepless minutes stretched and grew.
At last, before the sun she rose
And ran to the only place she knew
To him who was her meaning, her home.

She had tended him so often
And now he needed her once more.
She would help; yes, one last time.
She wouldn’t leave him, he could be sure.
Her delay had been against her will.

And now her act of love prevented –
That empty tomb, the final blow.
Stunned and crushed, when all was done
She stayed and wept; nowhere to go.
She spoke with angels and didn’t care.

The gardener was suddenly there.
She cried for him to bring her home.
Please, oh please just tell me where…
And then he spoke one word alone:
‘Mary.’ And the morning came.

Mel George lives and ponders in Oxford. Wishes you a wonderful Easter.

Friday, March 21


by Adham Smart

Adham Smart is a writer from South-East London who likes to pretend he is a foreigner in his spare time.

Wednesday, March 19


by Emily McPhillips

I bought the red shoes because they were the ones you pointed out, the ones you said would suit me. "Why the red," I asked, and you said, "Because you like red. You wear red a lot. They'll match your red coat." I was wearing my big red coat, my winter coat, the one two-sizes-too-big for me. I didn't buy the shoes that day, I went back to the store after we'd broken up and I looked through the shop window, and breathed onto the glass, and drew a heart in place of where your face should have been. I bought the shoes and put them on; I left my old shoes there, in the fresh-smelling cardboard of the shoe-box. My new red shoes matched the shade of my lipstick, and matched the colour of my winter coat, that I remember looked so nice hanging on the back of your bedroom door. I held the shoes up to my ears when I got home, and I could hear the conversation we had by the window of the shoe-store; I could hear it through the ears of a child who hears the sea in the shells they have collected. I dressed for bed, in warm pyjamas that I had left to dry on my radiator three days ago. I kept my shoes on, curling my toes into their rounded ends, looking for any part of that day that I might have missed. I fell asleep with the tinted hue from my bedside lamp glowing against my face, and how I wished that this glow was the shade of our lips finding each other in the night. When I closed my eyes more tightly a drift of red spots floated along, and I felt everything slow down; like traffic slowing for a red light.

Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She lives in Manchester. Take a look at her fanzine 'Ministering to a Lunatic' here.

Monday, March 17

Morose I am because a rose is a rose

by Daniel Hill

Morose I am because a rose is a rose,
fed up of being labelled just another one of those,
to think we’re all alike proves to me lame,
even a rose has no two thorns the same.

So, do I have to have stubble on my face,
before you go out of your way or your place,
or a car with a big bank balance to show,
before you realise how little of me you know.

Yeah I’m tipsy what else can I say,
I usually don’t write poems in this way,
but it all just hit me stanza and verse,
along with these wounds that are too deep to nurse.

So now I sit to wallow in grief,
aimed at the moment I lost self belief,
but Shakespeare I ask do you quiver asunder?
Oh I forgot, you're six feet under...

Daniel Hill is a writer from Bristol who is currently exploring the different types of writing that exist. Would probably be famous already if he weren't such a procrastinator...

Friday, March 14

Stays Up Past Midnight Raking The Drive

by Jo Horsman

Oh, for Christ’s sake - just leave her to it – she’ll get bored. Tired – hopefully!

Marilyn spends all bloody day doing unnecessary things before moving into the night.

Yes, raking the driveway. No, it didn’t have gravel before. That came yesterday.

You’re welcome to try. She’s armed with that thing.

Jo Horsman writes about people doing their own normal things. She's been published in Litro, Tales of The Decongested, Leaf Books.

Tuesday, March 11

The Pie

By Mark Perry

There's a pie in the middle of the road. It sits boldly on the dotted white line unfazed by the passing traffic. No foil dish weakling, it demands respect. This is an "Alpha" pie. Given antlers it would rut with the best of them.

Driving home from work you pass the pie. It intrigues you. You wonder how it got there: how it positioned itself so perfectly. You pull your car over to the side of the road and get out. As with all pies its contents remain hidden; imprisoned behind thick pastry walls and sealed shut with a rugged golden crust. You stand on the kerb trying to visualise what's inside. Nothing fancy, probably something traditional given its rustic good looks.

As you cross to the middle the sunlight intensifies. It reflects off the pie's glazed surface causing you to shield your eyes. You feel reverential, as if approaching a holy artefact.

You bend and try to pick up the pie but it's too heavy. Perhaps it's someone's idea of a joke: fixing it to the road. But if that was the case you should at least be able to tear the crust and sides away. You strain some more but eventually give up. Steam rises from two slits cut into the pastry top. You kneel down and inhale but the pie is odourless.

Drivers honk horns and shout obscenities at you as they speed past. You realise you're on all fours in the middle of a busy road, nose pressed against the pie crust. Embarrassed, you try to stand but can't lift your head. You're briefly aware of an astonishing gravitational force before you're sucked face first through the two small slits and into the centre of the pie. Your body is shredded. Only pink pulp remains.

The pie now has its filling. It walks to the other side of the road and waits to be picked up by a supermarket delivery van.

Mark Perry lives and works in Manchester

Sunday, March 9

The Challenge

Hello folks, and a belated welcome to March. Thanks for reading and writing and allll your wonderful submissions. There's some great flash fiction in store for the rest of March, but poets, brush off your quills and stop staring epically into the distance - we need you to write something down and send it in to us, please!

Anyway, March at The Pygmy Giant brings with it a little spring challenge... Members of the Facebook group have kindly provided us with a selection of nouns, verbs and adjectives, without really knowing what they were signing up for. So here's the challenge - you have until 31st March to craft and send us a very short story of 250 words or fewer (!) which contains the all of the following words:

Marmot (look it up)

Any genre will do. Putting the words in the title doesn't count! Send all your submissions to and if there are a lot of good entries we'll put them all up on the page.

The one deemed the best by an uneducated mystery panel of judges will win a PRIZE worth perhaps as much as Five English Pounds. Yes, it's true. And you'll find out who won on April 1st. No foolin'. Go to it!

Saturday, March 8


by Sammy Jay

Welcome to the world!

Shambling as a fresh foal
over fresh fields of Elysium.
I took breath,
gave time and smiles - fine times,
with a perfect west wind skirting the track
and the sun setting beyond barbed wires.

The sky gives a giving glow,
nudges us lightly to the brink -
night out, lights out, and I shall see

Spring has brightened my gagged spirit,
and given it voice. So as spring turns
to summer, as we foals learn to gallop the plains -
laughing out loud -
I shall sing it all - like Orpheus, leaving the dead lands.

Sammy Jay is a 1st Year English Student and is (wrongly) convinced that he is Shelley.

Thursday, March 6


by Jack

I’m finding it tough going at the moment … this keeping awake business. All I want to do is fall asleep. Every time I sit down; five minutes of watching the news and I’m off, sound asleep. Two paragraphs into a book and bang; I’m in dream land.

‘I think I need some exercise, some fresh air,’ I said to Mrs, who for three or four seconds held a fork full of chips half way to her mouth while someone in neighbours said they didn’t love such and such anymore.

‘Are you saying I’m fat?’

She looked at me with her accusing defensive manner with the fork still in limbo. I sighed, then grinned inanely.

‘Not in a facetious way, darling.’

‘Humph,’ she retorted as the chips finally made it to their penultimate destination.

‘How about, you and me go for a walk later?’ I said on my way to the kitchen carrying my empty plate. Mrs followed with hers and put it in the sink along with other dirty dishes.

‘Well?’ I said snapping the yellow marigolds on like an expert mortician.

‘It’s raining outside,’ she said while scraping something into the bin before placing another plate into the now foaming sink.

‘Oh, is it?’ I said, genuinely disappointed while twitching my nose. Why is it, every time I put rubber gloves on my nose gets itchy?

She left to watch the rest of Neighbours.

I rubbed my nose on my shoulder to stop it itching, and continued tidying up. I returned to the lounge just as the six o’clock news started, and handed Mrs her cup of tea with a Blue Ribbon. I sat back down with mine and looked at the paper’s TV section to see what was on the box later; nothing, I might have known.

‘One hundred channels, and not a thing to watch,’ I said for the umpteenth night in a row. She sighed with what sounded to me like ‘you are now boring me to tears. Will you stop bloody moaning please?’

‘We could always try some sexercize?’ I said looking at her with a hopeful twinkle.

‘On a weeknight ... you and me ... and ... sex?’ she scoffed somewhat quickly, like it was a well prepared statement.

‘I’m all for experimenting,’ I said still hopeful. ‘Having two shaves in one week won’t kill me, will it?’

‘Feel free to experiment on yourself, lover-boy.’

The Ice maiden raised her eyebrows, a false cheesy smile followed; a double whammy. Her feelings towards mid-week sex were made quite clear.

‘Bitch,’ I muttered under my breath. Not too low, I wanted her to hear what I said.

‘Away you go for a pint. And stop being so … annoying!’

She stroked the remote she had primed on the arm of the chair in readiness for the evening’s soaps.

‘I might just do that,’ I said victoriously. I disguised the inner joy, and stopped myself grinning with an apathetic yawn.

Jack, you managed that situation quite well, I thought as I closed the back door on my way out.

Jack writes about his non-existence and mundane surroundings while hoping that one day he'll find it's all been a bad dream, and he is in fact a muti-millionaire who lost his memory in a boating accident. More of Jack's pathetic life can be found here.

Tuesday, March 4

wind him up and watch him go

by Sara Crowley

He hits me. Whump. A punch in the stomach. I slap him hard across his cheek. It stings my hand. I want his face to crumple and the tears to come because that signifies the beginning of the end. It takes longer to get there these days. When he was a baby even a cross voice would cut through his tantrum and halt him. Then it was threats: you won’t go here or do that, and there’ll be no T.V., no sweets. Now he doesn’t care what he loses.

Mick and I have sent him to his room every day for a month, banned him from telly, play station and music. We’ve taken all the toys and clothes and stuff out of his room. (This after he trashed half of it, threw Chloe’s `The tiger who came to tea’ tea set against the wall, thump, smash, toppled the wardrobe. For one moment I didn’t know if he was underneath, it all went so quiet.) It makes no difference.

Dan flings one of his long legs out and in: a jerky movement that indicates the start of the storm. His arms join in, and his voice, louder and louder. He stamps, his face flushes, the tips of his ears scarlet with fury. The senior paediatrician told me to look out for that, red ears means he has lost control, and there’s nothing to do but wait it out, which sounds fine when she says it.

The psychologist said that Dan wants to be a baby again, that’s when he felt safe and cared for. We are to wrap him in his blankie and fetch him his teddy. I should whisper to him and soothe him to calmness. But he’s ten now, tall, gangly, strong with anger.

I send his sister Chloe for the quilt and Boo the bear, and I do whisper, I whisper “Shut up you fucking little shit head,” over and over through my clenched teeth.

Supermarkets are the worst, all those people staring in disbelief at this big boy, stropping his way around and whining in his baby voice. I don’t get embarrassed any more, although I do wish I had cards to hand out or something. I could get some printed: “He has special needs, all right?”

We did the reward system, stars on a chart for doing well. But a week is a long time to him, and he could never make it. We ended up just doing days, and made the tasks really simple, but even then he failed.

We tried talking things through, but he’s not very articulate. If only they made emotional Sat-Navs or something, to guide me through the tangle of his mind.

He’s my boy, my beautiful boy. When he sleeps my heart swells with love.

When I got the knife out, I thought it’d scare him into stopping, and it did. He looked terrified. Which goes to show doesn’t it? He is in control of it if he can stop just like that, eh? I just need to keep on finding ways to scare him, and then we can get some peace.

Sara Crowley blogs at A Salted.