AWC Furious Fiction - October 2018


  1. Your story’s title must be THE LOST HOUR (and it should relate to the content of your story in some way).

  2. Your story must include the phrase IT WAS LIGHTER – either as part of a sentence or as a sentence on its own.

  3. Your story must include a sentence with the names of at least THREE COLOURS in it.

Word Limit: 500

The Lost Hour

The soft melody danced from her sister’s porcelain throat.

‘Red and yellow and pink and green–’

Emily winced at the cascade of melancholy memories. Her mother hanging clothes on the line, tall and graceful and perfect, her angelic voice carried across the fields by the warm wind of a summer’s morning. Her mother, singing in the kitchen, the soft notes floating through the house on the tail of the rabbit stew. Her mother, face of peace and beauty, sitting on her bed, stroking her hair, nursing her to sleep. The heavy blanket of her embrace, the safety of her touch, the surety of her words.

Emily closed her eyes. She allowed herself one fleeting moment to yearn for life to go back the way it was before the madness had taken hold of everything. She let slip one salted drop from each eyelid, and the water burned a track down her ashen face. She shook her head. That’s enough, she thought. There was no use thinking of such things. There was no time for tears now.

She peered out between a slight gap in the curtains, careful not to expose herself. Her fingernails were broken and dirty and she left marks of blood and grime on the blinds.

‘–purple and orange and blue–’

The thunder had ceased. It was lighter too. The creeping, ominous black had dissipated, and crimson tendrils burst through the masses of thick grey cloud. The barn lay ruined. The fence in pieces. Trees uprooted, and fields torn apart. The animals had fled. The veil of night had long been drawn back and with it, the protective cloak of darkness.

That storm had forced them off the road. That storm had halted their escape. And worse, had cleared a path for their pursuers.

Emily turned from the window. Her little sister sat in a heap on the dusty floorboards, her Sunday dress ripped and muddy. Her hair matted and bloody and caked. The girl held her doll by the hands and let it hang with just its little black boots tickling the floor. Her voice, a whisper, a shadow of their mother’s, a lifeline holding the last veneer of connection.   

‘I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow–’

How long had they been hiding in this place? It must’ve been at least an hour. That was an hour they could ill afford to lose.

We have to move, she thought. We’ve stayed here too long already. The masters and their dogs would not have stopped to take cover from the storm. The masters, with their guns and their uniforms and their cruel faces hidden by masks and helmets and metal and badges. The masters won’t stop for anything. We have to move now, or they will find us. And God help us if they do. She did not allow herself to think what would become of her and her little sister if they were found.

‘–sing a rainbow too.’


Alexander Toums