16-year-old Jess Roberts’ flash fiction story, Heartbreak Hotel, was one of the winning entries in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s annual Short Story Project in 2006. Following is an excerpt:
“We all knew never to talk to Him about the mines. Even Katie, who was only 5. We all knew how much pain it caused Him to talk about the mines. How much pain it caused us.
5 beers. 6 beers. 7 beers. 8 beers.
His words would slur as he barked at Mum to ‘get him another one’. She would fetch Him a stubby unquestioningly. Timidly. Silently.
She knew by the 10th beer He would start to get aggressive, so would quietly get us into our pyjamas. As she tucked each of us in, she would whisper that she loved us, and to go to sleep as quickly as we could.”
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