Almost a thousand stories were produced for Flash Fiction Month this year, and that's a lot to sift through, even for a multi-headed quasi-immortal fiction entity like ourselves. That's why every year we ask the participants to send us their favorite stories, so that we may gather them together for a final feature.
All the stories below were suggested by the FFM participants (or by a Hydra), so if you weren't sure where to begin catching up with your reading, this is the place to start! We aren't omnipotent (alas), so there's bound to be a few gems that escaped our notice, but you're still welcome to suggest them to us in the comments section.
We remember when you divided and shaped us, but we forgive you. We were without form and the people had need of us.
We remember when you put us in flames, but we forgive you. We were soft and the people had need of us.
We recall the day when you sent us against swords. This we forgive. The people had need of us: we would not desert them when foes were near.
We remember when you broke us with hammers. Even this we forgive. The battle was won, and the people had no more need of us.
But though shattered, we remained on the hillside, for no people came to sweep the shards away. This too we forgive, for our eyes remained littering the ground and it allowed us to see.
We saw you crowned and we rejoiced though our own heads were shattered. We saw rings on your fingers and we applauded though our own hands were lost. We saw robes on your shoulders and we were glad, though our o
"What do you mean, 'no'? Don't you know what an ultimatum is?" I shouted down at it. "I really will do it!"
"NO," the beast said. "IS TRICK."
"I really don't have to cut you this slack," I yelled. "I really loved that cat! Not even the Prior would blame me for taking revenge!"
"WAS GOOD," the beast said.
"Was...? Wait. Did you just tell me how delicious my pet was? Did you really, in the name of cruel irony, tell me that my Mr. Snickers was delicious?"
"WAS GOOD," the beast confirmed.
"Alright, this is fucking happening," I said, getting up onto the lip of the well. I unzipped my fly.
"NO, IS TRICK," the beast said, a little uncertainly.
I whipped out my man-hose and started peeing down the well.
"NO NO NO NO NO," the beast said. The walls of the well shook as the beast writhed around.
"Nowhere to hide in a well, is there?" I called down. "I've been drinking an awful lot of water! Why, I daresay I c
Today it had caught a carrion scent on the breeze, sweetish, cloying: the smell of rot. It was a hope, and the fox was limping towards it as quickly as its meager strength would allow. Surely it could find something to scavenge from a kill so old.
But as it followed the scent, and at last slipped through a line of dense bushes into a clearing, it found not a wasting cadaver, not the remnants of some other creature's hunt, but a camp – a man's camp – with a greasy fire and a row of iron cages with thick bars. The man himself sat beside the fire, whittling from a piece of bone. His skin and tattere
Thomas put his head on one side, slapping the water out of his ear. “Sorry?”
“There’s no escape...from the island.” The heavily bearded man gave him a stare. “The same rocks that sank your vessel have defeated my every attempt at floating a raft.”
“Oh.” Thomas wasn’t sure exactly what one was supposed to say in this situation. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“There’s food enough to get by here, if you don’t mind bitter roots, insects, sour berries. That’s almost the cruellest thing.” Beneath his stitched-leaf hat, his eyes gazed out to sea. “Compared with the open ocean, this place offers a fair chance of survival. But can it really be called living? Trapped here...on the island?”
The girl would still wake each morning – her face tickled by long strands of her hair – and she would pat her empty shoulder blades in utter disappointment. She began to grow weary of these dreams of hers only being dreams.
On the hottest day of the summer, the girl walked into the shade of the forest near her home, where she came across a very tall tree. She thought she might like to climb to the top and she wiped the beads of sweat running down her face. The girl braced her hand on the bark. She paused to look up when the leaves above her head began to rustle.
A large orange bird landed on the lowest branch and carefully folded its wings.
“You have the most beautiful feathers in the world
But something isn’t right. Who is this woman? My wife hates white blouses, and her voice is all wrong. I lift my hands away, and the person beneath my fingertips staggers back and collapses, amidst a chorus of screams and the sound of someone throwing up. Doctors are everywhere. Good, I think, They can help that poor woman. There’s something terribly wrong with her face; all the skin is wrinkled fabric, her hair’s made of sterling silver, and there’s birds and clouds coming from her eyes, like they’ve become some sort of window to the sky.
Wait. I can help her, can’t I? Something clicks in my mind, and suddenly I
Johannes sits in a cage of bones, eating canned mandarins and jars of sour cherries, awaiting his death. Margarethe visits him there when the old woman is out. “I’ll save you,” she says. “I’ll find a way – somewhere we can flee to, somewhere she can’t follow. I’ll steal the key from her.” The cage is held together with steel cables and padlocks and barbed wire. There is no escaping from it.
“You know what she’s planning,” says Johannes, and Margarethe knows. Fresh meat is hard to come by. If they run, she will try to follow.
“Why is she waiting, do you think?”
“Fattening me up, probably. She keeps feeling my finger, seeing how thin it is.” He scoffs. “I always show her a bone – there are enough of them
When I was free, I assumed that was that; my world had ended, replaced by one of men who feared the unknown and an unknown that feared man.
I did not expect to find people and a place I could call home, didn’t ever imagine how attached I would become, how much I’d grow to love this odd little group of creatures. So when I watch a girl who I have thought of as a sister begin to spiral towards the dark as did my true sister, I can feel the earth begin to quake once more.
And I cannot stop it.
The survival manual recommends staying with the plane. It explains that this affords the best chance of rescue. It explains that the wreckage offers warmth and shade. It explains that seventy percent of pilots who stay are located within three days, while seventy percent of those who leave are never recovered. It does not explain what to do if the payload begins to leak.
Jenkins shouted after me as I ran, said it was our duty to defend the aircraft. I tried to warn him about the spur of wood protrudin
That means it's both Camp NaNoWriMo and Flash Fiction Month! Huzzah! I, personally, am hoping to complete a revision on a past NaNo novel. We all have goals, and there are lots of ways to go about achieving them. But when it comes to first drafts with deadlines, there are some things you might want to consider, or remember, or just paste on a wall above your desk. Because it's HARD to keep up. There are totally points at which you want to quit, and points where you have no idea what is supposed to happen next, where you feel like you've run out of ideas. BUT. You signed up for this. And I'm holding you to it!
So. Here you go. Pinky's Top Five Survival Tips for Writing Challenges!
1. First drafts suck.
They suck a lot. All of them. Whether you're Nooby McNoobwriter or Stephen King. So give yourself permission to suck. It's okay. You can fix it later.
July is coming.
July is going to be awesome.
July is going to be better than awesome because...
Flash freaking fudging Fiction flaming Month is only here again
Are you ready?
What is Flash Fiction Month?
Remember how your mother told you never to flash your fiction in public? Well, Flash Fiction Month is different. It's a month-long challenge to write a single piece of flash fiction every day in the month of July. We can also pretty much guarantee you'll have a good time, meet new people, and learn some stuff. We'll hit you up with some
“This battle is futile,” said Order one day, after countless aeons of struggle. “We must settle our differences by some other means.”
“For once we are in agreement,” Chaos conceded. “But what do you propose?”
Ten millennia passed while Order considered its challenge.
“We should each of us set a great work upon the mortal plane. To these works shall our fa
“Aren’t you afraid carrying all those buns?” asked the naughty little boy.
“Afraid?” asked the baker. “Of course not—why would I be?”
“Why,” lied the naughty boy, “because Sicklefox likes nothing better than iced buns, and I hear he is nearby. If he finds you, he’ll cut out your tongue and eat it.”
The baker stopped. This was new to him, but all had heard tales of Sicklefox and all knew them to be true.
“Perhaps I should take half,” said
He didn’t respond. That was so like me – I don’t think I wanted a response, either, and we both knew that. I glanced down. His hand was there beside me, and when I slipped my palm into his, all the rough callouses and creases in his skin matched mine as only mirrors used to do.
“We really fucked up, didn’t we,” he murmured. I nodded, and laid my head on his shoulder.
“Neither of us knew what we were doing,” I offered, though it was far too late to do anything but accept it. Victory was measured now only by the peace we’d feel as we passed. It was hard to tell, but I had to hope we were winning.
The brilliant blue sky lit itself before us, dancing across the rings of dust and ash that encircled the planet below: remnants of two full moons in all their brilliant glory, shining all year round and for the l
He rides the subway at night, beats rhymes into the stretched skin of the drum. He is an eagle fledgling, long-haired and brown eyed. His pants are red and he sits on the ground, tapping to the chug of the engine-- the drum is the engine. The next stop is his; for the rest of the ride, the train vainly echoes his rhythms, before stumbling upon a screech and twisting the pulse to abstraction. Until tomorrow it waits for him, to unkink its music.
They could love each other easily-- as much as flame
She was Rowan’s sister.
The dragon made its home in the labyrinth beside the city. It had been a holy place once; its centre was a temple, once a shrine to old forgotten gods, now a cairn for those who had been sacrificed before. The dragon did not bother the people, much. Once in seven years it took what it was owed, and for the rest of its time it lay curled in its temple, grumbling and shifting in its sleep so that the very ground shivered.
The people remembered the dragonfire that once had scorched the marketplace and set their thatches alight. The eldest among them still bore the scars of that day. They gave up their weakest, their unwante
He was a remarkable individual, prolific, multi-talented, and inspirational to many in a multitude of different ways. And as anyone who has participated in Flash Fiction Month will know, he has proved a particular source of inspiration to FFM participants over the years in the form of our annual David Bowie Day tradition.
Over the years DBD has made us weep, and laugh, and tear our hair out, and has driven many a Flash Fiction Month participant to the brink of madness. For some it initiated you into the realm of Bowie fandom, or proved a playground for your pre-existing appreciation of his work, and for others it merely cemented the knowledge that perhaps Bowie wasn't really your thing. But in our humble opinion, whatever your outlook, DBD has also consistently resulted in some of the best work that FFM has ever produced, and that's saying something (because you g
A bell chimed, and he raised his head to w
A man was drowning as the witch watched. He wore armor, and the tabard of the crown, and he’d blundered into the marsh without knowing where to set his feet.
He would kill her in an instant, if he knew she was there.
But he was drowning, and so she forced herself past her fear, and she called down a rope of vines and hauled him onto safer ground.
They thought he was dead, until he stumbled out of the marshes a week later, alive and well.
“What happened? Did the magic spirit you away?”
He shook his head
“There’s nothing in there. I just got lost.”
They gathered their things and marched away, and
Pushing the door open revealed an empty entry way. Strange, I thought to myself. I could have sworn that everyone else had arrived already. I pulled my jade cigarette holder, an expensive pack of smokes, and a genuine jeweled lighter out of my purse. Flicking the igniter, I lit the cigarette and took a long drag. I shrugged my mink coat off my shoulders, but before I could hang it up, BANG! The sound of a gunshot startled me and I dropped it to the floor.