Category: flash fiction

The Photoshoot by Ken Wetherington

Photographer: Look to the left. Okay, good. Now to the right. Fine. Now look straight at the camera. Hum … Not so good. Your profiles are best. You look more noble.

God: It’s my nose, I think. It’s more regal in profile.

Photographer: Yeah, I think you’re right.

God: I’m always right.

A Perfect Companion by Emily Harrison

From inside the dim recesses of his bedroom, the yellow light of the laptop screen soaking his skin in a sickly glow, he purchased the parts.

They arrived sporadically over a raw-bone winter. Limb by limb. Feature by feature. Ordered via the Dark Web. His hands itched as each delivery piled on his doorstep. Stomach quivered as he sliced open the boxes with the jag of a serrated kitchen knife.

Her skin was crystalline, stomach slim, hips like blown glass. Blueprints pertaining to a pristinely crafted perfection. The only blemish: crimson lips that came as adornments. He’d selected nude on the website. Allowances could be made. A first-time hiccup. The parts had taken a month to arrive and her assembly, carried out in the icy bowels of the basement, was well underway. 

A Spare Moment by Holden Zuras

“Do you have a moment?” The old man asked me.

“Well, a few,” I responded. “I have to return this book by 5 o’clock today. They charge an exorbitant late fee.” 

“One spare moment is enough. I just want you to help me mull over something that’s been consuming my thoughts.”

“Of course, but I don’t believe there is an afterlife.”

“Ha! Silly boy! I was only going to ask you if you were happy.”

Small Sounds Ricochet Through the Darkness by F.C. Malby

In memory of Sarah

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.

Lemonology by Gina Headden

My mother always said it was my nursery got me started: citrine walls like sunshine that made my future bright.

As a toddler, I played with lemons, rolled them on the floor, threw them like a ball and nibbled them, the way that toddlers do. I liked the taste, craved more. I begged Mum for lemon chicken, lemon pancakes, lemon drizzle, lemon this, lemon that, lemon, lemon, lemon and, at the sweet shop on Saturdays, saliva pooling underneath my tongue, I watched Helen weigh my lemon sherbets on a silver scale.

Ghost Light by Kate Leimer

I am the Ghost Light, the one who stands and watches the stage when the theatre is closed.

I am here for safety; you wouldn’t want to tumble down into the orchestra pit while fumbling for the light switch, would you? I watch the ghosts who come to entertain the empty seats at night; the usherette in her apron and cap, who drifts through the wall that wasn’t there when she worked here, long ago.

Russian Doll by Andrea Lynn Koohi

I never travelled as a kid but I did play “spin the globe”. It’s that game you play by yourself where you close your eyes and spin a globe, then use your index finger to stop it. When you open your eyes and see where your finger landed, that’s the next place you pretend to visit.

It seemed whenever I played this game, I landed on Russia. The largest country in the world, of course, but my 13-year old self took it as a sign. A sign I had some connection to this frigid, far-off place. And so began my Russian obsession. Mostly 19th century Russian stuff, since that’s all I could get my hands on, but I took what I could get. I borrowed books on Russian history, read all 800 pages of Anna Karenina. Ignored the strange looks of passers by as I sat on the beach with Crime and Punishment while other kids read Harry Potter. I imagined myself a Russian beauty with a pale, heart-shaped face and ever-blonde hair. I knew without a doubt I’d marry a Russian, study Russian in university. At night, Tchaikovsky blasted in my headphones while my mother and her boyfriend slurred daggers in the kitchen, diminuendos punctuated by crashing glass and the thud of bone on drywall. Sure, my pants had holes in the seams and I slept on the floor, but I burrowed in a dreamland, my own Nutcracker fairy tale, dancing the mazurka with a Russian beau.