Here Cometh the Horde

Here Cometh the Horde

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Catching the white Oval was a poorly made decision no matter whether the choice to live dangerously ranked highly on the coveted list.

Eyes darted worriedly.

Arm raised hopefully.

Legs charged on speedily as bruises appeared rapidly.

Yet, the Horde swarmed in relentlessly.

My likely doom approached. But wait.

A glimmer of hope as an unlikely ally bellowed alongside. Offloading the Oval wisely before the moment of impact, the recipient received it ungraciously. I shut my eyes tightly.


A peek.

The dust settled.

Both Oval and ally gone.

The Horde enthusiastically rampaged on. Could I last another 70 minutes?



Adverb writing challenge – Volume 5. (Max 100 words)

Volume 4 now available here.

Adverbially Challenged Vol. 4 – Release March 2019

The first month of 2019 has almost ended and although I haven’t written as many works of flash fiction I’d expected, especially over the holiday period, two new pieces is better than none.

If you haven’t read these, I’ve included the links to each below.

Leave No Reindeer Behind

rudolph plush toy
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on


New Horizons – Ultima Thule

yellow flag on boat
Photo by Pixabay on


January has been all go, whether it’s been at work or at home and all for the better. In addition, the latest volume of Adverbially Challenged is in production for release in March 2019, (TBC closer to the date) and as a contributing author “Golf Swing” will be joining 99 other adverb-riddled stories.  I’m thankful to the people who organise these challenges and put in the work to get the anthologies published.


Proceeds from book sales are donated to First Story, a UK charity that helps improve literacy in low-income communities.

All I receive is some exposure for submitting my flash fiction to the challenge, which will appear alongside 99 other authors whilst helping and providing awareness for First Story.

If you fancy helping to raise LOTS more for good causes, take part by submitting your stories to the challenges or buying a copy of the book, which will be available as a Kindle eBook or in a printed format.


Kindle eBook Copy

The Kindle eBook version will be available on all Amazon websites by searching for either the:

(1) Book name: Adverbially Challenged Volume 4, or

(2) Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B07P7WJVVY


Printed Copy

The books are also available in printed paperback copies available from the Amazon websites here.

The ISBN of the book is:

  • ISBN: 9781796910032

To read some of my other work, see Short Stories or Flash Fiction, and to find out more about Adverbially Challenged, check out the links on my site to guide you there. Why not submit your own short story?

My posts page can be accessed here.

New Horizons – Ultima Thule

New Horizons – Ultima Thule

by Gavin Biddlecombe


The President strode into the conference room, speaking before reaching the podium. The gathered reporters hushed. “I appreciate you all for coming in from your New Year celebrations to mark this historic occasion,” he said.

“You’re leaving?” asked one of the reporters.

The President checked his agenda. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Right. Excuse my interruption.”

The President looked around at the expectant faces before proceeding. “We’ve received news from NASA that New Horizons has sent back the first detailed images of Ultima Thule from the Kuiper Belt, the furthest object ever explored in our solar system. Whilst promising, this also comes with worrying news for future space exploration and any attempts to land on this object.”

“Mr. President,” said another reporter, standing up. “Surely NASA can manage this considering the ESA landed the Rosetta spacecraft on comet 67P.”

“Well, yes and no.”

Around the room, an unsettled murmur began.

“Please,” he urged, “let me continue. Whilst landing may be possible, it appears from our images that their immigration policy is even more stringent than ours.”


(176 Words)



News Writing Challenge – 180 Words Max

Proceeds raised from the sale of any News Writing Challenge anthologies will be donated to BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity who assist 3.4million children across the UK with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading.

Click here to learn more about the News Writing Challenge and BookTrust.

Leave No Reindeer Behind

Leave No Reindeer Behind

by Gavin Biddlecombe


Santa’s muscles tensed, fighting the freezing gale biting its way to bare skin through the holes of his heavy red jacket.

“Keep going,” he screamed. Tired hands gripped the reigns, steering what was left of his reindeer into the oncoming blizzard. He glanced over his shoulder and, seeing nothing behind, eased his grip on the reigns as they crossed over into the Arctic Circle. He took his seat for the first time in hours as Dancer, Prancer and Vixen slowed to a steady pace.

Inspecting his torn clothing, it was then he realized his gloves were gone and had no idea when or where they’d been lost. The how on the other hand… Maybe if he could remember where, he could return tomorrow when the chaos had settled.

As he ran a chilly hand through his hair, he jerked upright, then tapped the top of his head just to make sure.

“No, no, no.” he said, spinning round and searching the back of the sleigh. His wife had advised him against wearing it and now his favourite red hat had been lost as well. He slumped down and urged the tired reindeer on. It wouldn’t be long now. Home. The dog-house most likely.

He racked his brain. If he could handle the whole world in one night, then a Black Friday sale should’ve been a piece of cake. He tugged at the reigns and steered the reindeer back South. “We’re going back,” he said as they cast worried glances. “We’re getting everyone home.”

With renewed vigor, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen charged out of the blizzard and into the fray.



Locked Out

Locked Out

By Gavin Biddlecombe


“Come on guys, open up.” Neil stood on the platform outside of the sealed door, speaking to the inhabitants through his radio. “This isn’t funny anymore.”

“What’s the password?” said one voice, distorted by the electronic hardware.

“I’m not playing this game again. Let me in or I’m telling.”

“Ooh, scary.”

“Is this because I ate the last chocolate pudding?”


Neil stopped pounding on the door and pressed himself up against it, hearing the muffled laughter within. Leaving them to it, he climbed back down the ladder and jumped off at the last rung, the dusty ground crunching under his boots as he landed.

He moved away, ignoring the deep boot-prints left behind and sat on a nearby rock, surveying the dark, empty landscape ahead of him. Fiddling with the radio settings on his suit, he looked back at the sealed door and began his next transmission in the hope someone would hear.

“Houston,” he said, “we have a problem…”



Seasons at Play


Seasons at Play was submitted to Christopher Fielden’s latest volume of Nonsensically Challenged (Vol. 3), with a 200 word limit.



Seasons at Play

By Gavin Biddlecombe


“It doesn’t matter what happens beyond this point,” said Summer, admiring the line he had drawn across the sand. “The minute it’s crossed, that’s it.”

“That can’t be it,” replied Autumn. “I’m enjoying myself too much. What with the red and gold and—”

“And so you keep saying. Nevertheless, I’ve suffered for three months.”

“But it’s too cold to do much else.”

Summer didn’t reply. Checking the coast was clear, he nudged Autumn square in the back and looked on as Autumn, arms wind-milling like crazy, tried to regain his balance.

Autumn just about managed an I’ll-get-you-back look, before collapsing in a heap across the line. The line vanished altogether, completing the transition. As Summer stood back, Autumn raced towards him, colliding into a solid invisible barrier.

“You know what’s next?”

Autumn’s resigned look was answer enough, as a snowball splattered freezing slush down his back.

“Hey, Winter,” said Summer, indicating the shivering individual in front of him. “He’s all yours.”

“About time too,” she replied. Winter gave a whole-hearted wave, then focused her attention on Autumn, who was busy fishing melted snow out of his clothes.

“I’ve missed you,” she said, launching another snowball.


(195 words)


You can find out more about these challenges here.

You can find more short stories and flash fiction here.



Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

by Gavin Biddlecombe


“You really are the worst,” she yelled as she stormed in after Michael.

“I don’t want to hear it again,” said Michael, setting his top hat and wand on the dressing room table as he collapsed into the chair by the mirror. He loosened his bow tie as he studied his reflection.

“You said you were a magician and the best trick you’ve pulled all week is empty the auditorium.” Crossing her arms, she waited for a response. “Well?”

Michael rubbed his temples attempting to release the tension after another poor performance. He looked at her. “I’m working on…”

“Putting people to sleep,” Steph cut in, “yes, I can see. And doing an outstanding job at that.”

“As I was saying,” said Michael abruptly, “I’m working on something big. I just need to work out a few kinks.”

“It’d better be quick. The only reason we’ve stayed on this week is strong word of mouth.”

“That’s positive.”

“For the wrong reason,” she said. “No-one imagined something so awful exists that they come and see for themselves.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“What I don’t believe is I’m still here.”

“Just bear with me a little longer.”

“That depends,” she said, eyeing him with suspicion. “What’s this big thing?”

“Well,” said Michael, rising and posturing like the greatest showman that ever lived, regaining the confidence from his early days, “it’s like this.” Steph’s eyes widened as he began describing in detail every step, each time waving and gesturing with greater enthusiasm, eyes glazed over as if performing on stage at this very moment.

“And then you disappear,” he concluded, taking a deep breath, turning and bowing to an imaginary audience. He woke from his trance by an impressive slam of the door and looked about the room. “Steph? Steph?” He called out. “Damn. The nucleus of my act and I made her disappear before we could even begin.”

The weight of the world fell on his shoulders once more as he collapsed back into the chair.



A daily prompt flash fiction – Disappear

For my website, click here.

Reading About Writing…

I get a bit of a ribbing from my wife at times that I’m a “How To” kind of person, where I have a habit of reading How To books when I try something new but then again it’s also my way of understanding and getting to know how a process works.

I mentioned in a previous page / post, I picked up a book or two to assist in writing and they are just that. Reference books I dip into every now and again when I’m unsure of something. There are lots of books, websites, blogs, etc. on how to write, when to write and so forth that can tie you up for hours. To be fair, I’ve taken note of this over the past year and a half, especially when it comes to writing. Hours spent reading about writing are hours lost not writing. Make sure the balance is right.

If you want to write, then write.

It doesn’t matter where you are and what format you’re using. Just write.




I was on a flight to the U.K. recently and the hours literally flew by. I’d normally take a work of fiction by a well known author and while the time away that way. However, this time I carried my journal with me thereby giving me the option to write instead. It was enjoyable to say the least. No editing, no stopping. I ploughed on [plowed (U.S.)] thereby letting the story develop. The only downside was the two and a half hour flight wasn’t long enough.




Time well spent and look forward to keeping it flowing.

How do you allocate your writing time?


You can view my website here.



Tritely, Nonsensically and Adverbially Anthology Release Update

I’m pleased to announce Tritely Challenged, Vol 1 and Nonsensically Challenged, Vol 2 are now available for sale on the Amazon websites.

Released on 28th April 2018, these two anthologies are each filled with 100 stories by 100 authors focusing on the challenge set out and amazingly, both follow the previous month’s release of Adverbially Challenged, Vol 3.  Hmm. There’s a saying in here somewhere… wait. Nope. It’s slipped my mind. Oh well.




Check out the links for details on each book.

Tritely Challenged, Vol 1

Nonsensically Challenged, Vol 2

Adverbially Challenged, Vol 3


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If you’re a writer of any genre and fancy being involved, check out the writing challenges page for further links and details on how to do so. I also purchase a copy I’m published in so I look forward to reading some of your work.

If you’ve been published in one of these books or submitted to current challenges, send me a comment below and if you have one, include a link to your page. Always good to hear from others.


Nonsensically Challenged Anthology Release

To complete a trilogy of latest releases, first Adverbially Challenged, Vol. 3 and Tritely Challenged, Vol.1 comes release of anthology Nonsensically Challenged, Vol. 2, which hosts 100 of the most nonsensical works of flash fiction by 100 authors.

This time, Trampoline makes an appearance in the second, of hopefully many, volumes containing witty and amusing nonsense riddled stories, and is also due for release on Saturday 28th April 2018.


(Nonsensically Challenged Volume 2 – cover artwork by David Fielden)


I don’t make any money from this book and neither does the publisher as the proceeds from book sales are donated to The Daisy Garland. You can find out more about what they do here.

All I receive is some exposure for submitting my flash fiction to the challenge, which will appear alongside 99 other authors whilst helping and providing awareness for The Daisy Garland.

If you fancy helping to raise LOTS more for good causes, take part by submitting your stories to the challenges or buying a copy of the book, which will be available as a Kindle eBook or in a printed format.


Kindle eBook Copy

The Kindle eBook version will be available on all Amazon websites by searching for either the:

(1) Book name Nonsensically Challenged, or

(2) Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B07CN6B75X


Printed Copy

The books will also available in printed paperback copies available from the Amazon websites.

The ISBNs of the book are:

  • ISBN: 1986418006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1986418003


To read some of my other work, see Short Stories or Flash Fiction, and to find out more about Nonesensically Challenged, check out the links on my site to guide you there. Why not submit your own short story?