Category: flash fiction

Lone Bird by Beth Kanter

Her feet always showed her age more than the rest of her body. Dried blister atop dried blister, flaking skin; a bone spur adding dimension to her little toe. I cradle her foot in my hands and began to massage it starting with the toes and working my way down to the heel. Slowly and evenly I make circular motions with my thumbs, kneading the cold flesh of the woman who raised me. Everyone needs a little pampering. What you don’t get in life, you should get in death.

Good Vibrations by Andrew Newall

It is lifted away from the others and cradled. It is comfortable. One hand gently closes around its slender neck. Fingers press, politely adjusting the selected strings to the desired pitch, while the other hand strums once. It agrees. The hand strums more. An understanding begins.

Chords are chosen in the most workable sequences. These are the hands of one who will become a master.

Commitment Issues by Emily Harrison

I found her on a pale Tuesday, which is a good way to describe most Tuesdays in Scarborough. The weekend has a habit of sucking the light inside its vacuum.

The Tuesday was like any other except for random curiosity I decided to stop by the corner shop I walked past many (many) times on my way to the bakery. I’m sure it was a front for dealers. They only accepted cash and stayed open until 10pm on Sundays, selling things like joke cigarettes and cartons of milk.

They sold her too. The marionette.

Scrubland by Leela Raj-Sankar

After the funeral, Andy took me on a drive into the desert, past where the roads turned to dirt and the cookie-cutter suburban houses turned to scraggly, thorn-filled bushes. Predictably, he didn’t say anything for the whole hour, just tapped his fingers against the steering wheel rhythmlessly. Andy never talked much, even when we were kids; it’s why I liked him. But now, suffocating under the bone-dry August heat, I wished he would offer me something to hold on to, even if it was one of the meaningless platitudes I’d spent the entire afternoon fielding.

The day of Kaya’s death marked the end of an extremely anticlimactic monsoon season. Arizona had been drought-prone since before I could remember, but this summer is a different beast, Kaya had told me. I remembered, with sudden, terrible clarity, the redness on her cheekbones that never had time to turn to a full-blown sunburn. This summer is a different beast. She had been warning me the whole time. Why hadn’t I listened?

Worlds Collide – A Hero Returns by Robert Scott

ACT I

Welcome to my world. I am happy.

My den is at peak den. I have all I need, and more. After months, years, of ups and downs, I have finally arrived where I want to be. Peace, comfort, security. A room with a view. A sea of tranquillity stretches out to every point of my horizon.

But then the ground shakes. A messenger from the old world comes, unexpected, and with an unwelcome invitation.

Hitting Trains by Yash Seyedbagheri

I laugh at railroad crossing PSAs when bad actors gasp at oncoming trains, are too immersed in headphones, or think climbing on boxcars is dope. I guffaw at YIELD TO ALL TRAINS signs.

And I roar at the footage itself, the footage some railfan with cat-eye glasses caught by sheer, dark chance. No 90s quality footage and actors who could have been kidnapped from a family sitcom. Just a car, my sister’s Toyota Corolla, actually striking a train. Not being struck by a train. Striking a train. Ramming a boxcar, as though her Corolla were a Panzer rolling down the streets of some occupied European power, and not being dragged and spun around.

Middle Distance by D.B. Miller

My neighbor had a baby once. That much, I got. Just like I got the cup of coffee more or less how I wanted it. Last week, at a different café, I ordered iced coffee but was served black coffee with a sinking scoop of ice cream on top. The waitress smirked at my accent, too, which made me want to flip over her tray.

My neighbor describes the circumstances leading up to the moment she could no longer say she had a baby. It happened a while ago. I’m not sure about the rest because my class just finished Unit 8 and, judging from the syllable count, her words are sophisticated and come from Unit 20, possibly even Unit 35.  

The Auteur by Alexander B. Joy

Her co-star had been in the middle of his line, but she couldn’t help it. The instructions were to sip from her glass, right at that moment. Yet as soon as the liquid passed her lips, it burned, and by reflex she sprayed it all over the table – and the actor across from her.

“Cut! Cut!” shouted the director, in that inimitable accent of his.

“I’m really sorry,” she said, as a costumer dressed her co-star in a new shirt.

“Quite all right,” the co-star said. “Far from the worst response I’ve received.”