Small Sounds Ricochet Through the Darkness by FC Malby

My story, Small Sounds Ricochet Through the Darkness, has been published in Idle Ink today. It was written in memory of Sarah Everard and anyone who has been affected by violence against women.

Don’t walk home alone, not at this time of night, my friends say, waving at me from a table of empty cocktail glasses, flapping like a gaggle of geese. I’ll be fine, I say, I’ll text you when I’m home. Are you sure? they ask, but it’s more a way of allaying their own fears. Yes, I’ll be fine.

I walk out of the bar, keys in hand, each one pushed between my fingers — a miniature Edward Scissorhands — EarPods in, mobile phone clutched in the other hand. I wore flats, because that’s what you do when you might need to run. It’s normal, except that it’s not. Normal is wearing what you like, not thinking about when you might need to run or who you would need to call, it’s not turning the music down in case there’s a Come over here, Love. Oi. You. I’m talking to you.

Normal is a regular heartbeat, a regular pace to your stride. It’s not hovering under a streetlight where people see you before crossing the stretch of darkness. It’s not scanning a route for places to hide, or rounding a corner and sprinting like a triathlete because the footsteps behind are picking up speed.

The girls will go home later in a taxi, but I need to get back for the babysitter, pay her, get into my pyjamas and sleep, having kissed the cherubs on the forehead, checked their breathing. Every parent checks the rise and fall of their child’s torso, especially when it is still.

Like the still of the sea without wind, nights like this make me nervous, nights where I get followed or shouted at with no one around, where the air is thin, where small sounds ricochet through the darkness. These are the nights when men get too close, gaze for too long, howl like a pack of hyenas… continue reading at Idle Ink.

Competition listing and other news

A very Happy Easter to you all! One of my stories has been longlisted in the Reflex Press Quarterly international flash competition, Spring 2021.

“We received 720 entries from 39 different countries. We’ve compiled a longlist of fifty stories. Congratulations to everyone who made the longlist!” Reflex Press.

They have also asked me to be a reader for their next competition, which is a great honour. I shall relish the chance to read lots of wonderful flash fiction towards the end of summer/early autumn.

In other news, You Can Still Smell the Ashes, has just been published in Orange Blush Zine, April 2021, and my poem, Cheap Cider, is now published on the the podcast, March 2021.

Listen and enjoy

Non Poetry Publication of the Year nomination with Spillwords Press Awards 2021

I am thrilled to announce that my short story, You Bruise Easily, first nominated for Publication of the Month in July 2020 in Spillwords Press, has gone on to be nominated for Non Poetry Publication of the Year in the Spillwords Press 2021 Awards.


  “Join us in congratulating the writers whose publications have been nominated for Non-Poetic Publication of The Year 2020!”


If you would like to vote, follow the link to the Spillwords voting page


I’m just going to go and let this sink in.