Chrysanthemums – By Kate Henry

In July, the English Department launched a Micro Writing Competition for students in Years 7 – 12 as part of the Literature Festival. The students were invited to write on a topic or theme of their choice, and the challenge was to use just 300 words to tell the story. There were lots of great entries, but the winner was decided as Kate Henry, Year 11 with the story Chrysanthemums. Read the story below.

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You match your steps with Kim’s as you’ve done every day for years. Perfectly in step, parallel down the chipped asphalt. This walk home from another unextraordinary day of school is as familiar as the back of your hand – step in step with Kim, the hard pavement under your shoes.

When you arrive home, you linger in the living room, examining a bouquet of flowers on the hardwood table. Chrysanthemums. The bouquet is beautiful, wrapped in florist’s paper and tied with a silky black ribbon. Inhaling the scent, you find it dark and herbal, earthy, like the dirt they came from. You finger the segmented blooms. They look so different, every shape in their soft petals, but they’re all connected to the same green stem until you slice one with your fingernail. It’s dead, but still attached to the stem, persisting by sheer momentum more than anything.

You slip into the back of the car with Kim and Dad. This journey is as familiar to you as the one from school, the ebb and flow of traffic like breathing as your tiny car slides down roads and into a carpark: North Shore Cemetery. You slide out and follow Kim and Dad, mesmerised by the swaying of the flowers now cradled in Kim’s arms, the severed bloom clinging on still, matching their strides as the three of you advance through an unhappy orchard, down grass between stone sepulchres. Your procession reaches a specific grave. The stone letters are worn: Beatrice Martin 2008-2021. You wander around to the unmarked back of the tombstone and trace its flat familiar coolness. Dad’s breath hitches in the crystalline air. Kim bows their head and relinquishes their load, reverently depositing the blooms on the grass.

You perch on your gravestone and graciously receive your flowers.

Kate Henry, Year 11

Another special mention to Mia Healey, Junior School for her piece. 


Read the story below: 


His breath singed my eyebrows. I had heard his roar from miles away. His scales were like glossy red apples. His spikes were as sharp as needles. His teeth were like a shark’s. I detested the malicious grin on his face.

He padded up to me and I smelt his breath, as putrid as rotten fish. The creature breathed and a gush of flames burst out of its mouth! I ducked.

Its eyes glazed over. No longer did it claw at the ground. Its tail didn’t lash in the air. It no longer flew with agility and speed. The gnashing ceased.

“Time’s up kids, put your dragons away on the Wednesday pottery rack to be fired. You can collect them next week,” Ingrid called out. I glanced one last time at him. I think he winked.

What is Micro-fiction?

A micro-fiction piece is a bit-sized story told in 300 or fewer words. Micro stories are short and fast-paced. They may be witty, insightful, or profound. Micro-fiction is often identified by the surprising twists that take place. What is not told is just as important as what is told in the story.