In the Shadow of the Hill

It had dominated their view as long as he could remember.  A huge hump of black, casting its darkness over the vale; blotting out the sun in winter. Far more present and solid and immutable to him than the chapel-god they sang hymns to on Sundays.

His mother had forbidden him from playing there, but other kids did sometimes, grimeying up their legs and hands with the taint of coal waste, and getting a spanking when they got home.

Cliff thought he’d climb it one day. Their hill.  Maybe he’d ask Siân to go with him one moonlit night…

Today it was raining again and he was skiving school.  He could see the hill from his bedroom window.  Hang on. Was it moving?  He gawped helpless, the roar like a jet as he watched the black mass slide, the slag heap engulfing the school; fear engulfing his heart.


The above is my entry in the Ad Hoc Flash Fiction Magazine for September 2017.  If you like the story please vote for it here:

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With thanks to Helen Forbes for the use of the title of her brilliant first novel.  Find it here: