Flash Frontier

Flash around Aotearoa: Queenstown Lakes

Interviews and Features

Flash writer and local from Queenstown Lakes, Bethany Rogers, tells us about flash in the region and shares some flash from Queenstown Lakes writers.

Flash around Queenstown Lakes


Queenstown Lakes Region, photo credit Bethany Rogers

Queenstown Lakes Region, photo credit Bethany Rogers


There’s something about the Queenstown Lakes region that pairs nicely with the flash fiction writing form. It’s hard-hitting, fun, adventurous and easy to slip into a backpack as you head into the mountains and bike trails.

In the Queenstown Lakes region, many of us are immigrants, and English isn’t always people’s first language. Flash fiction comes up frequently in our creative writing group because it is so accessible. It’s quick to write, read, and translate, and it brings us together as a group, giving us a peek into different cultures and ideas. There’s no time to get bored with flash – you either love it, or you’re on to the next adventure (and that’s true of reading it and writing it). Many writers here enjoy using the form to sharpen their skills, practising the art of extreme precision and being thrifty with their words.

Like the landscape here, the form offers so much variation, too. It’s small but with an impact. As deep as the lakes, as high as the mountains, fast-flowing, dry, icy cold, or sweet and rich like a Central Otago wine.

Bethany Rogers

The Door is Open

Jane Shearer


The door is open. I’m hungry. Our food trough is empty. This is wrong.

I survey our flock, resplendently rosy in the last rays of the sun before it dips behind the gorilla’s trees. Everyone else has their heads on their backs, one leg tucked under their body, the other in the pond. “A huh huh huh,” I cry. This dilemma must be resolved by the group.

Slowly everyone twists their heads forward. “A huh huh huh,” we chorus. We stalk towards the door. Gorillas grunt softly in their nests. Cheetahs chirp on the far side of the pond. If they are hungry … our strides lengthen.

Flock leaders extend their necks outside. “A nuh nuh nuh,” one says. “A hah hah hah,” says another. To stay, or to go. There is no choice other than together. “Nuh, hah, nuh, hah … ”. There is no food here. Beyond the door is an unknown world. Could it be good? “Nuh, hah, hah, hah, …”

In a rush of emotion and motion our calls and legs spill out the opening. … to find ourselves funnelled between tall barriers. We turn away from the cheetahs, as the air fills with calls of the hungry and scent of frightened prey. We speed forward, faster than we knew was possible. Our wings open without thought as we soar and swoop towards fading blades of light. In the far distance a large body of water is calling.

We may be going home.



Vivienne Smith


So I’m the replacement. Even though she looks fairly good from here, I can already see some bits that need attention.

To start with she’s clearly not young or fresh enough. Her skin even in this light has some sag. I probably sound bitchy but he did ask me to inspect, check her out.

In this game, appearances really do count.

It’s hard to be sure in this light, but there might even be some wrinkles. God, I hope I’m wrong, that’s really not good for his brand.

Even the ones who say they like them older, ‘more mature’ is the usual expression, don’t mean lines or furrows all over them. She could get some work done, but I don’t think he’ll pick up the bill. Not now, after all this time and given the queue to fill her shoes.

And she’s heavy. That dress looks way too tight. The colour doesn’t help to be fair, red is a hard one to carry off.

On my way back from the bar, I risk a closer look. There are stains on that dress – stains! And threads hanging down. Her hair is rammed under that hat and I bet it’s because she hasn’t bothered to wash it…

She’s slumped in her seat, probably already pissed. That empty glass is a giveaway.
People are milling about, coming in quite close, but no one’s giving her a second glance as far as I can see. You’ve got to draw a bit of attention in this game, got to stand out so at least you get a fair chance with the punters. But that day’s long gone judging by this.

Well, I wouldn’t be interested. And I certainly wouldn’t be paying for it. That’s that then.

My turn.



Sue Luus


Maudie’s metronomic vision shifts between the insect beneath the microscope and her illustration. Her deadline is tomorrow, and tonight is likely to be an all-nighter.

She records every curve and layers its scales like a master builder. Pest control specimens require meticulous recording.

She is entranced is by the laced wings of this insect. Classical music drifts through the speakers. Not so loud as to distract her but with enough volume to quell her unease about working alone at night.

Last week, she’d almost lost her nerve. The lab was quiet when she felt the hairs on her arm begin to rise. She was certain that she was being watched by a pair of eyes no bigger than pin pricks. It was nonsense she’d told herself.

She sits up and stretches. Her back aching from sitting hunched over for hours. Almost time to pack it in.

And then she feels the slightest wisp of air stirring. She turns to look behind her but her movement is restricted. Two large thorny legs wrap around her shoulders and a triangular face nestles into her hair.

She feels a sharp stab just below her ribcage and then her upper body is manoeuvred forward to rest on the work bench.

“A fine specimen,” hisses the giant mantis.


Panopticon Snow Globe 224 

B.G. Rogers


Snow falls violently outside. Before Tools Down, Quillian abruptly leaves Work Station 224 and climbs inside Bedhouse 224. I watch his shadow through the thin yellow plastic, elbows knocking the little red roof. His leg sticks out the door and knocks the pine tree that arrived this morning. It’s quaint, with moulding to make it look bushy, and white paint has been added to the branches. I wonder if they are made in another globe.

I keep working on code sequencing, slipping in errors, delicately dancing between not contributing to the Globeist cause and being reprimanded by the Globe Masters for Poor Performance. My screen suddenly switches to Tools Down mode. I don’t look at the days served or the days remaining (anymore), but I pay attention to the Weather Widget which is glitching. Yesterday: a row of red suns. Today, *UPDATING* icons; seven circles going round and round and round.

I go to the glass and rest my fingers on it, dreaming what Outside feels like. Trying to stir memories of un-airconditioned, wild air. Snow is piling on the top of Globe 224 and a clump slides down the glass in front of me giving me a clear reflection back inside, to Quillian. He’s signing:

Come. See this.

I make it casual. I pass Work Station and see Weather Widget has Updated: Snowflake, Exclamation Mark. I stretch my arms and slowly take a pair of snowsuits from the cupboard – they’re thin, made of fake silk and fake fur. In Bedhouse 224, Quillian’s smile is uncontrollable. Natural, even. He pulls me passionately to the floor. Our lips come close, but his eyes flick towards the glass, and I see it, there, behind the tree: a whisker-thin crack in Globe 224, climbing up and up and up.


Sue LuusSue Luus was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. After twenty years in Sydney, Australia, teaching and mentoring children, she settled in Arrowtown. She is relatively new to flash fiction and has found the genre an exciting and satisfying way to explore the world and its mysteries. Her stories have appeared in previous issues of Flash Frontier.


Bethany RogersB. G. Rogers is a short story writer and poet running (and swimming) wild in Queenstown (NZ). Her work has been published internationally, shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize and longlisted for the New Zealand Flash Fiction Day competition. Kaleidoscopes in the Dark (2023) is her first short story collection.


Jane ShearerJane Shearer is a life enthusiast. She loves (unordered list) gardening, landscaping, song writing, guitar, skiing, reading, mountains, science and research, house design, travelling interesting places on foot or on a bike, cycling, writing. She was excited to release her first novel ‘Broken is Beautiful’ in 2023.


Vivienne SmithVivienne Smith lives and works in Queenstown with her husband and family, two soppy Golden Retrievers and a dumpling of a cat. She has recently come home to writing again and it feels great. She says: ‘The actual process of writing is like a miracle to me and I treasure it. Sometimes the words won’t come, and that’s the frustrating part. But when it works, it’s magic.’ 

Share this:

You may also like