Sixth Form College students highly commended in the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition 2022

The City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College is delighted to have two students named and commended by the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition 2022. 

The annual competition, founded in 2013, is organised by the Department of English at the University of Chester and the International Flash Fiction Society. Students who entered the competition had to write a short story of no more than 360 words.  

This year the judges were author Michael Loveday and the editors of Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine. 

The Sixth Form College submitted students’ work, including Loki Wilson, a first year A Level English Language student and Level 3 Foundation Year student Nilo Abadi. 

Loki Wilson was one of three students nationally whose story ‘The Gunslinger’ placed Very Highly Commended. Loki found out about the opportunity to enter the competition through his English Language Teacher, Jodie Lancaster. Loki commented, “It feels good to be Very Highly Commended in a national competition and to know that the judges thought my writing is good enough to give me that placing. This experience has encouraged me to enter more competitions if I get the chance in the future” 

Nilo Abadi, who has a passion for writing short stories, also found out about the competition through her tutor. Nilo who was Highly Commended for her story entitled ‘It Haunts Me’ said, “The news has left me flabbergasted. I was not expecting my simple story to be Highly Commended! I would recommend other students enter the competition; the rules are simple, and writing short stories is enjoyable.” 

Teacher of English, Jodie Lancaster commented “Writing competitions, such as the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition 2022, allow students to explore the power of language and literature outside of their curriculum subjects. Loki and Nilo should be very proud, as they’ve both demonstrated outstanding creativity. Being placed nationally is such a huge achievement! I look forward to reading more of their work and would love for other students to be inspired by both their writing and their success”.  

The two Highly Commended stories are below: 

The Gunslinger by Loki Wilson 

Leslie O’Connor was a hard man. His eyes had a fierce gleam to them, his stance was casual but alert and a long-barreled, pearl-handled Smith and Wesson rested at his hip.   

Draped across his shoulders was a poncho leached of colour by the unrelenting sun and pitiless dust that characterised this landscape. A broad-brimmed Stetson shaded his eyes, tilted at a rakish angle, and leather boots backed with sand-caked spurs climbed up to his knees.  

 A dozen feet or so away, a similarly dressed man faced him, his Colt already in his hand.  

 “You sure about this, Ellis?” Leslie asked, and the other man snarled in reply.  

 Lifting one shoulder in a half-shrug, Leslie flicked back his poncho, baring his holstered weapon and his right arm.  

 Ellis thumbed back the hammer of his Colt, his watery blue eyes never leaving Leslie’s hard gaze. A bead of sweat trickled down his temple.   

 Leslie concentrated on his breathing. Breathe in, hold for a heartbeat, breathe out.  

 Ellis’ left eye was twitching, and his tongue darted out to wet his cracked lips.  

 Breathe in.  

 The barrel of Ellis’ gun was wavering now, and he was panting.  

 Breathe out.  

 Crying out in triumph, Ellis’ Colt suddenly swung up, aiming at Leslie’s chest, his finger slipping around the trigger…  

 The crack of the gunshot shattered the silence.  

 His grin fading, Ellis slowly fell backwards, his gun falling from nerveless fingers, a jagged wound in his chest.  

 A thin trail of smoke lazily drifted towards the sky from the barrel of Leslie’s Smith and Wesson.  

 Tilting his Stetson down to cover his eyes, Leslie walked away, hand resting on the butt of his now-holstered revolver.  

It Haunts Me by Nilo Abadi 

My heart beats faster with every step I hear coming from the hallway. It’s the thing. It’s back again. Not one night has passed that it hasn’t visited me in my room. The steps are getting closer, and I can smell my imminent death. This feeling. Repeated every night. Today, it’s the anniversary of the third year… Yes, it has been visiting me every day for the past three years. As these years have passed, I have adapted to the situation, but the idea of my death hunts my mind every second. Sweat is running down my face, as the clock’s arms signal that it’s time. I see the flower drawings on the walls trembling, as if they too were afraid of what was about to come in a few seconds. I can hear the white door creaking open, it arrived! I close my eyes tightly and pull my bed cover up to my nose, leaving the top of my head uncovered so I can peek at it. It enters the room. Approaches my bed and begins to slowly drag my cover away, and the cold slaps my emaciated body. I open my mouth to scream but fell silent as I feel something strange landing on my lips again. Just like every other night. It shuts me up so I can’t save myself, as if there is no life for whomever you call. 

“Calm down, don’t move, I’m here to help you.” I hear its gruff voice speaking. 

I shook my head violently, trying to brush off the figure from my mouth, but it was no use. Its great strength was incomparable to the frailty of my skinny physique. I feel the similar stinging pain on my arm that I’ve been experiencing for three years. I’m so sick of this, I must find a way out of this nightmare. After it left, I start to think of a plan to free myself from it, but before I began all that, my eyelids begin to close, and my slender body surrenders… And I enter the world of dreams. 

Congratulations and well done, to find out more results from the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition click here.