Sunday, 3 January 2010

FRANTIC by Col Bury

This piece of flash won December's One Word Challenge comp' over at Writers News Talkback Forum...


The superstore was abuzz with shoppers. Clocking the newspaper headlines, “Local Paedophile Escapes,” Ged whisked Beth and Josh to the next aisle.

‘Right, stay close. No wandering.’

Ged became engrossed in reading the back of the supermarket’s own brand of Choco-pops. Instinctively looking down, his heart flickered.

‘Where’s Beth?’

Blasé, Josh clutched a box of Shreddies. ‘Daddy, can I…?’

‘Where’s your sister?’


Ged scanned left and right. He sprinted, stopped at each aisle.


Glancing behind, Josh wasn’t there. Panic swamped him. Torn, he back-tracked. His head pivoted back and forth like an owl on speed.

That headline! Shit. Make a decision.

Frenetic now, he ran for the exit, dodging shoppers. He bumped into a shelf-stacker. ‘Pleeease...lost my kids...Beth n Josh!’

He patrolled the exit foyer, head spinning, eyes manic. Children’s voices amplified, teasing him. Every man was a paedo’, every woman an accomplice. Lips pinched, fists clenched, teeth gritted.

The Tannoy boomed their names. Tears welled, palpitations intensified.

A security guard emerged from the crowd, Beth in one hand, Josh in the other.


Sobbing, Ged hugged his kids like never before.

A wide-eyed man in a trench-coat strolled past them, sighed then exited the store.

© Col Bury December 2009

TKnC co-editor, Col Bury is currently writing a crime novel and his ever-growing selection of short stories can be found here on TKnC, A Twist Of Noir, Six Sentences, Blink Ink and Flash Fiction Offensive. Col's story MOPPING UP won a comp' to feature in the anthology EVEN MORE TONTO STORIES (to be published May 2010). He blogs and interviews crime authors at Col Bury's New Crime Fiction.


  1. Very concise and to the point. Great stuff Col.
    Always a pleasure to read your work.

  2. A nerve-wracking and tense thriller. The ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth - really effective.

  3. Excellent piece Col. Fast and "frantic" writing that had you there with the father.

    Good to see you at it again...(Iknow you've been busy!!)

    Regards pal, David.

  4. Jim,
    Thanks for the compliment. Ditto, fella.

    Glad the judge had the same opinion as you!

    I'm always 'at it'!

    Thanks also to all those who also commented on my blog about this, where I explain the comp a bit more.

  5. First of all, congratulations. I just wonder if you have enough room on the mantle for any more accolades that are sure to come your way.

    And second, this story is heavy and haunting, with a great tag of the possible pedophile walking right past the trio.

    Really intriguing, Col.

  6. Chris,
    I'll make room!
    EVERYone needs a pat on the back, mate.
    Many thanks.

  7. Good god man that was harrowing.

    Too easy to imagine this stuff happening for real. It only takes that one second.

    The one thing I missed was when Josh went missing too, but it didn't spoil the story.

    Great read. Great write!

  8. Col, This one was tough to read. Just the thought of having my kid snatched by one of those fuckers...

  9. Chris,
    Cheers, bud. I've experienced that 'one second' of panic on several occasions as you may have gathered.

    Hi Robert,
    That's why it makes good fiction - the fact that the reality is so shockingly unthinkable. And, yeah, I agree with your description of them...and some.
    Thanks for commenting.

  10. Really flash piece of flash. Well done!