Judge: Barbara Lovrić.
Below you will find the Judge’s report as well as the names of the winner and runners up, with a link to the winning pieces. You’ll also find a list of the Highly Commended.
The next microfiction competition (winter) will be announced later in the year and will be judged by BIFFY50 Editor, Neil Campbell.
Dulces sueños by Damhnait Monaghan
Today is Pedro’s fifth birthday. He unfolds the fingers on his right hand, counting softly: uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco. He can hear Mama downstairs. He smells churros and his stomach grumbles so he wriggles a grimy thumb into his mouth. He’s too old for that now, but it’s a special occasion. Tonight, when Papi gets home they will celebrate with Pedro’s favourite cake.
Pedro keeps his eyes squeezed shut, waiting for Mama. She will come for him. She promised. He pulls the silver blanket closer, and burrows under it, pushing his back against the wall of the cage.
Then maybe she’ll wake up screaming by Eilise Norris
“Like I’m dreaming all the time. Not myself. Barely here.”
“Oh, baby. You been getting enough sleep?” Saul comes up behind her, kisses the quiver of her neck. “You’re always you to me.”
Perhaps he leaves then to go running. Her floured wedding ring is a lump of dry skin. Dough bloats on the counter. Hunger retreats. She feels like calling her sister, who’d know instantly, who’d worry instantly.
Instead she takes a glass and begins to roll, glass singing across marble. She presses harder and harder, soon to knead the shards like dough, the blood like butter.
Marriage by Roppotucha Greenberg
We met in a witch’s nightmare. I brought him ale, fed the pigs, waited. Later, his chainmail glittered on the floor. He had to leave, he said, while the moon was up. ‘It’s that wound’, he said, ‘makes me wander from place to place’. ‘Show me’. It was black with sores around it like wilting petals. ‘The pain isn’t the worst’, he said. I looked deeper: little villages, houses, tiny millers, tax-collectors, washerwomen, all cursed. He groaned and fell asleep. And I fell, into the wound, to a market square, to fool-search for a fast cure, into my whole life.
Sam’s Strategy to Get All of the Duvet by Anika Carpenter
Sam suggests Robin sleep under the bed with her dress, ‘It might help with the nightmares’. Lace, one hundred and fifty years old, forms the sleeves. Eight-year-old Lizzy had woven its delicate flowers in a candlelit basement. Robin had fashioned it into a dress on a Janome sewing machine, flanked by a glass of Malbec and a slowly filling ashtray. Robin sleeps badly. The dress washes over her like seafoam, it bubbles in the corners of her eyes, stings as it rushes up her nose. The floorboards crack, or is it her spine? She wakes blinded, her fingertips like leather.