She stalks them, device in hand, in a modern bloodless hunt. They hide near buildings, the cute light beings, and she captures them with her e-net. The one she desired most appeared; half hedgehog and half platypus.

‘Great!’ she said. She had been searching just for him. He was king of all the cute light creatures. She lined up the e-net with the furry ball, with his fringe of pink spikes.

The hedgepus pounced, all claws and teeth. He skinned and ate her, with the efficiency that only practice brings. They stalk humans, the light things, and no nets are necessary. Their hunt is not bloodless.

His cuteness returned, with only a few stains on the fur near his mouth. People would assume that he had eaten too many berries. The hedgepus is said to relish the raspberry.

A kidney marked the spot, flung out like confetti.

PS Cottier


This micro story  was highly commended in the Microfiction category of the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Awards for 2016, just announced.  (I’ve edited it a little since then.)  I also won another category, called the ‘How-Tweet-It-Is Poetry Award’.  I won’t post that one, though, as I have submitted it for publication Elsewhere.  That second award allowed me to try out a poem short enough for Twitter, without joining that foul and parasitic ‘conversation’.

I also enjoy writing the occasional wee story, like the one above, safe from the constraints of character.  And often plot… Prose poetry morphs into story quicker than seagulls wolf chips.

Very happy to be highly commended for a tiny horror story, too.

Next week, I promise fewer internal organs, and even a different image.

It’s been a good week for my fiction writing, which I generally see as a secondary function to poetry.  I sometimes sneak prose poems into story competitions, and hope that the judges will accept the lack of plot and character development!  My first small collection of ‘real’ stories, A Quiet Day, was published in 2009 by Ginninderra Press, and was just highly commended in the 2011 Society of Women Writers Awards in Sydney. The judge was Susanne Gervay, who is an established and prolific young adult and children’s fiction writer.  (Here’s a link to her blog.)  This was very gratifying for me.  Susanne told me that there was a poetic element to my stories; I didn’t mention that this element is always threatening to eat the plot!

This week I am going down to Melbourne because my flash fiction ‘A Writing Unexpected’ won the Big West Festival Competition and I’ll be reading it at one of the events.  That’s if the airport is open, as a certain President Obama is visiting Canberra this week.  The only other problem with the awards being in Melbourne is that I come back to Canberra missing that city too much.  I am still having withdrawal symptoms from Sydney last week.

My very silly story ‘Little Nell’s death scene from The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens,  ‘improved’ into a happy ending by an alien’s tool’ was recently highly commended in a humorous story competition.  You can read it here if you feel like something quite ridiculous, along with the other prize-winners.  There was a special prize for the funniest title, and I thought I would win that!

I am such a pessimist that I focus on one typo I left in the story when I read it.  Perhaps you will find it if you go there.  There is no prize, dear reader, if you are a pedant too!

Speaking of US Presidents, I just read Stephen King’s new novel about the Kennedy assassination.  There’s a real storyteller, like Mr Dickens was before him.  I have spent many night with these writers over the years, running through the hours in a readerly marathon, totally absorbed.  I just don’t have that narrative urge, but prefer the sound of words.  They left plot off my mental Swiss Army knife, and put on extra tools for wordplay.

Which is why I’m mostly a poet, who dabbles, however seriously, in fiction.  Here’s the link to my skimpy story again.

must adjust trope...