Rachael Dunlop

Rachael Dunlop2Rachael is the winner of Vol 2 – 35 and Vol 3 – 17. She was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but has lived in London for most of her adult life. She considers it the best city in the world with her second home, New York, coming a damned close second. She started writing about ten years ago; since then she has had several short stories published and has won competitions for both her short and flash fiction stories. A full list of her published, winning and shortlisted stories can be found on her blog, along with links for those that can be read online.

Rachael has recently completed a first draft of a novel. Like all first drafts, it’s pretty terrible, but she is not downcast. While taking a breather before starting on a comprehensive rewrite, she discovered Flash! Friday and is now a confirmed addict.

Follow her on Twitter and at her blog.

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A Story Between Me and Thee on the Occasion of Our Shipwrecking

I have a blunderbuss on my shoulder and a dragon in my pocket. Don’t believe me? Look. What? I never said it was a real dragon. That’s just what that little firearm’s called. A dragon. As likely to breathe fire out the back as the front, and then you’re in trouble, flames licking up your arm and you searching for a pail of something cold and wet to stick it in. Not that you’ll find any such on a desert island like this.

Meanwhile, your enemy has sailed away, laughing up his own decidedly not-aflame sleeve, and you’ve one shot left. He thinks you’ll save it for yourself, for that moment when you just want off this island, fast, and if death is the quickest way, bring it on. But there’s his blunder, because there’s not a man alive with arms long enough to shoot himself with a blunderbuss. Be a shame to waste it, though.

You take aim, squinting against the whip of sand in your eyes. His eyes go wide, then he’s lowering the row boat off the side, thinking to escape. Too late. Your shot strikes his gunpowder store and all goes up. All except the row boat bobbing towards you on the incoming tide.

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Little Peg Tudor

A Peg to hang a wedding robe upon, so heavy on her sparrow-sharp shoulders she thinks her knees might buckle. She runs a finger across the brocade, stroking the slippery silk thread where it stands proud of the nubbled backing cloth.

A Peg to hang a marriage on. She brings power, he brings blood. She knows, though, there will be blood of her own to shed – in the bed, in the birthing chair, in the generations of her progeny. Only she will not think of them as progeny, they will be her children, soft in her arms, bound to her heart, her own.

A Peg to hang a crown on, to keep it from the Pretender’s head. Her priest tells her crowns are in the gift of God. She knows they are won by the mothers of sons. She drops her shoulders, stretches her neck and finds comfort, now, in the weight of the cloth on her back.

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