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by Dan Brotzel

He smelt the perfume. Little girl’s perfume. It was cloying and synthetic, of course, and administered with great dramatic effusion, in the way of children. But it was the subtle undernotes — the end of innocence, the aspiration for dangerous things, the unwanted attractions, the places she must go where he could not go with her, the people he must blindly entrust her to, the whole panoply of first-time experiences he could only pray she was able to navigate with minimal pain or shame, or harm, the edge on which she teetered — that really made her father’s eyes water.

Dan Brotzel was runner-up in the Flash 500 short story competition 2017, and has been shortlisted in competitions run by Sunderland University/Waterstones, Wimbledon BookFest, Fish and Retreat West. He has made the shortlist of the To Hull and Back comic-writing prize twice. His first novel, #Unforgivable, is currently under consideration. His agent is Geraldine Nichol. Follow him on Twitter here.