'The Gift' by Emily Devane

Melissa smoothed her party dress and straightened the crimson bow on her head. Perfect, she thought, imagining the delighted ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of her guests. They would be here any minute.

The doorbell rang. She knew before she answered it that the figure behind the mottled glass was not a party guest. She was too hunched, too grey – too old.

‘Well, what a picture!’ Mrs Lawson said, clasping a shiny gold box. ‘Seven today. Such a grown up age.’

‘Mother is in the –’

‘Don’t trouble her, dear. I came especially to give you this.’ The old lady gave a peculiar, whisky-scented smile.

Melissa opened the parcel, avoiding her neighbour’s gaze, looking instead at the reflection of her bow in the shiny wrapping paper. She pictured Mrs Lawson’s dahlias, naked without their pompom heads. After the execution, Melissa had hidden the scissors behind her back. The blade had nicked her skin.

‘Just a little something, a token…’

Melissa tore at the paper. Another box. She counted six altogether, nestled like Russian dolls.

‘…of my appreciation.’

Inside the smallest was a hand-written note:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Snip went the scissors in Mrs Lawson’s hands.

Winner of the Haringey Literature Live Open Studios competition.

FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015. In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories? More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.


  1. Loved this story - absolutely brilliant :)

  2. Thanks, Jennifer. So glad you enjoyed it.


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