Archive for Contest Winners
WHEN ELLIOT LET GO • by Troy Farah 6 Comments
First Place Winner
Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 FOUR Contest — Spring ’12
Jacob, his ladder; Elliot, his rocket. Nearly a year, every wage Elliot made down at Thompson’s Organ Factory was put into his backyard science experiment. He used an old tire for a seat, siding from a broken wagon, metal springs and the rounded edge of a mailbox. Took up half the barn. Not six months ago, two brothers named Wright got a flying machine off the ground. Was 12 seconds.
“I’ll beat that aeroplane,” said Elliot. “I’ll be first to fly over the moon.”
At supper, Elliot claimed he’d launch the next day and our littlest brother, Bobby, started to cry. “When will you be back?”
Silence. Maybe Elliot hadn’t thought of that; just wanted to go. Somewhere without gravity.
Morning came, bitter-cold. Elliot called from the barn, said, “Get Bobby. He ain’t to miss this.”
I found Bobby by the creek, standing on a moss-covered stone, holding a jar. Inside was a mantis creature with wings rainbow and arms cast like shark teeth.
“Let it go,” I said.
“He don’t want go,” Bobby said. “He don’t even know what ‘go’ is.”
“All things want let go,” I said. “There ain’t a price on possessing yourself.”
Then, we heard an explosion, like the time we threw dynamite in a well, when we was kids. Through the sky sang a white cloud, a snake unwinding into thinner and thinner stands. Then, like something we once saw at the fair. Fireworks. Firey rain and sparks.
Bobby dropped the jar and it broke.
Troy Farah is a journalist and photographer born in the desert. His work has appeared in Phoenix New Times and Flag Live. His photos have appeared on VICE.com’s photo blog and a number of books. For fun, Troy likes to jaywalk, collect cartridge video games, binge drink …Contest Winners, Literary, Stories
PRETENDING • by A. S. Andrews 19 Comments
First Place Winner
Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 THREE Contest — Spring ’11
Darryl breaks a rule. An unwritten one, but he knows — don’t eat the goldfish. Unless you want to quarrel with the Virgin Mary herself, you have to follow her rules. Her house, her rules.
That’s what he calls her, the Virgin Mary. She says the boy ain’t his, ain’t anyone’s, just her special love kid. Well, Darryl knows about special and he knows about kids, and the boy looks like him and the boy’s dumb like him. Everyone says so.
He didn’t plan to eat the fish. They were playing zoo, Darryl and the boy. The boy playing a goat and Darryl a grizzly bear. The goat drank some milk, ate some cheese, said it was the grizzly’s turn.
Well, it was the goat or the fish. A little feeder fish, right there in a plastic cup, ’til Darryl ate it. Taught the boy a valuable lesson, he did. Eat or be eaten, something like that. Boy should have known better. Went down well with whiskey anyway. A little crackly, but hardly tasted like anything, except shrimp flakes maybe.
Now the boy’s pouting. “Where’s my fish?”
“I ate it.” Darryl burps. “All gone.”
“But it was pretend,” says the boy.
“Pretend,” says Darryl. “Like the Virgin Mary pretends you ain’t my son? Well, I’ll be dogged if I’m gonna keep that up.”
The boy’s chin starts to quiver and Darryl knows what’s next. “Aw, shit,” he says, “let’s go get you another one. Got a dime?”
A. S. Andrews enjoys writing short fiction. She lives in the Los Angeles foothills, but you can find her online at http://asandrews.com.
The String-of-10 Contest challenges writers to choose four out of ten prompt words and use them in a story of 250 or …Contest Winners, Literary, Stories
SALVATION • by Ann M. Pino 26 Comments
First Place Winner
Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 TWO – February ’10
Friday before Easter, and a raw wind blew down from the mountains. Vince huddled in his jacket and wondered by whose standards the day was known as good.
He needed her to be there, on that curb where she harangued the curious with promises of redemption. Vince wasn’t a believer; he put his faith in a gun and she put hers in the Lord. On their first meeting he challenged her belief and she assured him of damnation. But he saw past her pious ways. Her brimstone words masked forbidden yearnings he longed to satisfy.
When he arrived at her corner, he found a crowd of onlookers reading pamphlets and listening to her sermon with fascination and bemusement. Stray dogs tussled over scraps, and from some unseen place the strains of a radio show competed with her strident words.
He pushed his way toward her and she fell silent in recognition, her features a cryptic mask. She darted a nervous glance at the crowd, then spoke to him alone. “Have you repented of your ways? The survival of your eternal soul is at stake.”
Vince didn’t give a damn for eternity. He only wanted an end to his burning nights and sleepless days. Her touch would cool his fever and her soft hands would lead him by still waters.
“Save me,” he said.
She couldn’t redeem his soul, but there were other ways to be a man’s salvation.
Ann M. Pino lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband Dan, and her rabbit Cadbury. Her novel Maelstrom will be released later this year by L&L Dreamspell.
Check out Ann’s Flash Fiction Chronicles interview to learn more about her, this story, her thoughts on flash fiction and writing in general.Contest Winners, Literary, Stories
THE HAIRCUT • by Sharon E. Trotter 41 Comments
First Place Winner
Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 Contest — August ’09
The cancer made it hard to hate Della Lowery, which was a shame. I enjoyed hating her.
Twelve years ago, on my first day, she had looked at the peace sign tattoo on my foot and asked, “Do you regret that yet?”
“Don’t worry. You will.” She had put her hand to her chest, a heart of some kind pounding beneath those enormous cantaloupe breasts of hers. ”I’m so glad my Angela never fell for that fad.”
Later, partly to spite her, I got a second tattoo, a bird on my shoulder. It wasn’t just her insults or her money, it was the way she assumed that all of us looked up to her. We didn’t.
The cancer was ovarian. When Della came in, she said, “I want it off. All of it.”
I had streaked her matronly bob with highlights during President Clinton’s first term; until now, that had been her most daring request.
She picked up a tabloid magazine. The storm outside rattled the front window. ”I have lovely scarves.”
I picked up the clippers.
Della didn’t look until I finished.
“Well,” she said.
Her scalp was pale and smooth. A ridge of skin folded at the base of her neck like a marine’s.
We both pretended she wasn’t a thing to be pitied.
I almost told her she was right, that I had come to regret my tattoos. Other things, too. But I kept my mouth shut. Some things, you keep to yourself.
Sharon E. Trotter is a freelance writer. Her column, “Gen X Mama,” is featured monthly in Western Illinois Family magazine. She has won numerous awards from the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association and the Illinois Press Association.
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Camilla d’Errico: A character designer and artist who dances on the tightrope between pop surrealist art and manga inspired graphics. Explore …