Category: flash fiction

A Return to Dancing by Shauna Smullen

In the middle of nowhere, a room bursts into existence. Four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. A perfect square in a void. The room is bursting with noise. The sound of feet on wood. Of jazz singing from a speaker. The room moves to the noise. Around and around.

Inside the four walls, there are people and they are dancing. Arm in arm with a partner, they swing each other around. Almost colliding with the people around them but never quite touching. Their feet doing quick exchanges of balance. One hand balled in a fist, the other waving as they sweep. The partners stare at each other as they dance. Their faces vacant, like they are somewhere else.

In the Midst by Susan Wardlaw

The air is frigid and still, unable to absorb the bluish grey swirls of smoke floating outwards, and forced to let them slowly fade into nothingness at their own pace. There is no edge to the darkness, just vast blackness interrupted by the intrusive orange flames of street lights. The silence is undercut by the low, constant hum of energy flowing around the structure behind him.

The thin, black hoodie does nothing to counteract the chill, and he idly wonders if the jagged frost-covered wall he is leaning against will stitch itself to him and claimed him as part of the building. The nurse who unlocked the door had warned him not to stay outside for long, but three cigarettes later he was contemplating how long he could extend his escape before someone came to drag him back inside to the real darkness. He pushed his free hand further into his pocket and shuffled his weight from one numb foot to the other.

A Good Couple by M.C. Tuggle

I turned into the entrance of the Charlotte Metro Nature Preserve and followed the twisting gravel road toward Copperhead Cove. The wedding I would conduct on the banks of Lake Wylie was two hours off, so I had plenty of time to prepare. Maybe take a quick nap. Maybe even forget my anger.

At a sharp bend in the road, I passed a man and woman nestled in cheap folding chairs, both illuminated in a shaft of silver-white sunlight that pierced the oak canopy. Homeless, judging by the looks of them, with their possessions piled nearby in black plastic bags. The man lay twisted on his side, his head in the woman’s lap. Ragged flannel hung from the woman’s thin arms, which were wrapped around the man. Despite the warmth of early September, both wore long-sleeved shirts and blue jeans.

Hubble, Bubble, Toilet Trouble by Michael Bloor

The allotments are a sociable place, especially for me because my plot is right next to the entrance. So I get to greet, and chat to, everyone coming through the gates. The conversations are kindly and cheerful, except when the subject is pigeons or cabbage root fly. So, when I greeted Billy Epps on his return from his holidays (Morecombe – two weeks), I was utterly unprepared for his bitter response:

‘Eh? How am I? How am I?? I’ll tell you how I am: I haven’t had a crap for four days!’

The Glorious Revolution of the Taco Classes by Tain Leonard-Peck

It was the best of times; and it was the worst of tacos. An endless cycle; ebb and flow, wax and wane. Beans and cheese. Sour cream and salsa. Double and dip.

Again and again, we all had naught to do but watch as our joys came to us, then inevitably slipped away.

In this, we are all lamenters; grievers; mourners. We all wail and gnash at the bitter draught we must drink. The loss of the seasonal specials.

Across the Threshold by Sumbul Shahin

The door was locked. Of course, it was. It would have been a disappointment if we could waltz right in. After all, we had spent centuries on our quest for this door. Our entire conscious lives dedicated to this very moment.

We stood spellbound for a few moments, watching the fluid motion of the carvings on the ancient steel door. The serpent dancing around the lock shimmered its warning. The carvings of men and women in love and in combat glittered and shone. They were enacting stories as old as time. They were also offering hints to the combination of pictograms which would open the door. Adam and I turned to look at each other. Now that we were so close, all our doubts had resurfaced.

Friend Templates by Andrey Pissantchev

Picture this.

Friend A is from Poland. You met when he briefly studied in your university. He has blond hair, too long to be due to negligence, too short to be tied back. He is relaxed and has a kind of vulnerability to him that he is happy to expose. This makes him extremely easy to be around. You are always quick to let your guard down around him, and that has been the basis of your friendship.