short fiction

ISSUE 19: SEPTEMBER 2018

IMG_6653Call St. Mary’s
By Lila Rabinovich

Nancy would later tell anyone who asked that she escaped the hailstorm by ducking into the first available open door, which happened to lead into a church. She’d been making her way back home slowly, switching her purse from the crook of her right arm to the crook of her left and back again as they got tired of the weight. It was just bad luck that there’d been such a massive storm, so uncharacteristic for February, on that exact day, when her purse was so heavy. She was carrying Walter’s favorite book, his glasses and hers, a thermos still half full of black tea, an empty Tupperware (she despised hospital food), her billfold, her house keys, a packet of Kleenex, a packet of mints, a small leather pouch with all her regular medication (the Lipitor and the diuretics and the aspirin), and her cell phone. It was a lot for such a small, feminine bag. (more…)

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ISSUE 18: JUNE 2018

IMG_3368The Wild Birds
By Karen Schauber

Cormorants swoop and dive-bomb into the salty water, their trajectory stealthy and deep. The ravenous dog looks on, the birds out of reach. He paces back and forth, riveted along the water’s edge. Frothy waves tickle his paws, tracing wet impressions in the sand. He is prepared to wait. His stomach growls and bends.

The dog has been on the hunt for five days, lost far from home, disoriented since the electrical storm. He is managing quite well for a purebred: cozy cave, blankie, and binky, out of sight, out of mind. Foraging comes surprisingly easy for him, as if it were a daily hustle. He’s made friends too; first ever beyond the local fenced-in dog park. His master would be impressed, no, worried, both. He does not know that his human family has been busy plastering the neighbourhood with posters, leaving bowls of premium kibble and fresh water out on the veranda. The porch-light left on 24/7, beckoning him home. He is too far away to see the beacon. (more…)

ISSUE 17: MARCH 2018

IMG_7569Something About the Romans
By Evan Massey

On the porch, the radio plays old tunes. Sometimes our heads bob. I’m on the top step. Below me, Bianca sits behind my little sister, Tia, braiding her hair. She combs out Tia’s rough hair with an orange comb, applies grease. Bianca doesn’t have rough hair, no. She has good hair. Tia doesn’t care much for Bianca because of that. It’s a girl thing, I guess.

My mama used to do Tia’s hair. She was gentler with that orange comb. She’d even cut my hair when it got too long. Boys shouldn’t have long hair, she’d say. But I loved it when she’d cut it. We’d talk about life, me becoming a man, and sometimes about my father. Her gentle hands would glide the clippers through my hair, trimming it to her liking. I would feel like a new me afterwards. But now my hair’s the longest it’s ever been. It gets longer by the day, it seems.

It’s hot out, even hotter with this long hair. Inside’s no better. The Mississippi sun tans us, sweat beads dot our black skin. I hold a cup of lemonade to my forehead, then take a swallow, ice cubes kiss my lips. It’s more sugar than lemon—Bianca’s doing. I watch her jerk Tia’s head with that orange comb again, smearing more grease. The comb works through the hair. The sweet, greasy fragrance sweeps across my nose. (more…)

ISSUE 16: JANUARY 2018

IMG_6093HIT & RUN
By Shoshauna Shy

I wondered what kind of “closure” did Jean think she was going to get?

YOU ARE FEMALE & DRIVE
A RED CAR.
YOU RAN OVER MY CAT
ON WINGRA STREET
MAY 18TH.
PLEASE CALL JEAN.
NEED HELP WITH CLOSURE

I came across this notice the week that Eric, my boyfriend-since-high-school, suddenly moved out of our apartment to follow an Edgewood College grad to Schenectady, New York. Apparently, someone’s cat darted into danger, a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What was there to explain or describe—unless apathy meant the driver didn’t brake or she actually went out of her way to hit the animal. But who would fess up to that?

I pictured Jean barely out of her teens, just a few years younger than me, stapling laminated notices to phone poles outside of The Yellow Platter, a neighborhood café. I had started going there for breakfast so I wouldn’t have to start the day alone. I imagined her returning to an empty apartment where a catnip bunny lay under a chair, saw her reaching instinctively for fur among the bedcovers at 3 AM. I doubted that meeting the red car phantom would make 3 AM’s any easier. (more…)

ISSUE 15: SEPTEMBER 2017

Three Summer Flights
By Tim Love

As usual, Dad collected her after breakfast on Sunday and drove her to Dunstable downs. The hillside was already full of families.

“You first, Tracy.”

She held the bobbin of string while her father retreated with the kite. Then he threw it skyward. “It’s new!” she said, watching the dragon soar.

“Yes, I made it this week.” When she pulled harder, the kite spiralled and fell. “It needs a longer tail,” he said, “Oh well, let’s have an ice cream.” They sat on the grass, licking 99s. While he studied the other kites, which to her were heavy and drab, she watched the gliders taking off below. Winched up, they climbed steeply until they were higher than she was. She watched the cable fall away, as if in slow-motion. The ice cream finished, she stretched out on the grass and looked up at the kites against the bright blue sky. Without warning a glider filled her vision, flying very low and fast. She would always remember the wide wings, the silent surprise. (more…)

ISSUE 14: JUNE 2017

IMG_1554This Heady Thing Called Love
By Linda Ferguson

He calls and I say I’ll come.

I haven’t seen him in three days. Unless you count Tuesday, in the dining hall. Ah, there he was, in line with the tall ballerina with the beret tipped over her Lauren Bacall bob.

Good thing the roommate is in class right now. I wouldn’t want her watching as I stand in front of the mirror and finger the magenta streak in my hair I added the day he first kissed me. She was here last week when I was a sodden, shuddering ball on my crumpled bed, having just heard his sudden confession. She crossed her arms then and said I could do better, her voice rising to vehemence when she called him a “lousy boyfriend.” Which makes me think she might not endorse my getting all gussied up now, smoothing on China-red lipstick, pulling on black fishnets, dabbing my throat with the perfume Aunt Jeanine sent me last Christmas. No, I don’t need anyone frowning at me as I clasp a slender silver chain around my ankle or as I turn in front of the mirror again to check out the short tangerine-colored dress with the coral stitching around its hem. (more…)

Lost in Translation – Writing Contest Results

Brilliant Flash Fiction would like to thank Judge KJ Hannah Goldberg for suggesting our contest theme (the dubash), and for volunteering her time to choose the prizewinners. Thanks also to the 110 writers who entered this contest and shared their creativity with us.

KJ Hannah Goldberg

FIRST PRIZE: Stephen Lodge, AXE THE QUESTION
SECOND PRIZE (tie): Claire Lawrence, Amitay Dubash
SECOND PRIZE (tie): Faiza Bokhari, Chicken Tikka Sandwich

Judge: KJ Hannah Goldberg
Theme: the dubash

 

First Prize: AXE THE QUESTION by Stephen Lodge

Judge’s comments: I’m a sucker for a playful tale. Our literary venues are brimming with doom and gloom, with proscribing darkness as the new “sexy” in short fiction. Thankfully, this writer’s piece was perky. The bit of groaning that results from this work’s bad puns and other low brow humor, too, helps readers get through their days.

AXE THE QUESTION
By Stephen Lodge

This is a thankless job, thought Aaron Schultz, as he made his way to the Presidential Palace atop the Boulevard Of Heroes in Ringstad, the capital of the Republic Of Belzon. If only I could get out of this country. But Belzonians are not allowed passports unless granted by the President and he never travels outside Belzon for fear of a coup attempt if he left the country. So, for the foreseeable future, I am tap-dancing for idiots, translating stuff from one side of the desk to the other that no one wants to hear, which I mostly make up anyway to appease their easily bruised egos and maybe prevent a war or two. (more…)