June 24th is National Flash Fiction Day, a day to “celebrate the form in its many different guises and spread the word about flash-fiction and its many great creators.” Back in April, we asked to submit your best flash fiction of 100 words or less, on the theme for this year, ‘life as you know it‘. Below, we present new work from seven authors to help mark the small beauty that is flash fiction.
DEATH by Leah Mueller
He walked backwards into the room, then fainted.
The others gathered around him in a tight, worried circle. One of the men slapped him in the face, but he did not stir. The crowd rustled nervously, and a woman asked “Now what?”
He lay on his back, dreaming. The bodies were far away, and he had no interest in mustering up the energy it would take to get to them. He smiled inwardly, and for a moment, allowed himself the luxury of pity for their useless concern.
It was better to be unconscious, and he intended to remain so forever.
Leah Mueller is the author of chapbooks “Queen of Dorksville” and “Political Apnea”, and book, “Allergic to Everything” and “The Underside of the Snake”. Her work has been published in Blunderbuss, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review and many others.
BRAZILIAN NIGHTS by Sandra Arnold
The heat has hastened the decomposition of whatever lies in the drain and the stench coats my throat with a thick sickly layer. I open the gate and see my friends waiting on the veranda with a bottle of wine. The little boy waits outside by the drain. He isn’t wearing the new blue t-shirt I gave him yesterday.
When his big brother arrives with his horse and cart he yanks the boy up behind him. His brother is wearing the t-shirt.
A firefly darts across the garden flashing its light like a bright eye winking in the darkness.
Sandra Arnold is an award-winning writer who lives in New Zealand. Her flash fiction will be included in the 2017 NFFD anthology Sleep is a Beautiful Colour.
HER OWN TIME by Lorraine Carey
Gran walked in, clutching her handbag, her awkwardness embedded in her tight curls. She took a seat and the offer of a cup of tea reluctantly and fidgeted with the handles. Her heel tapping away. I knew she was dying to get home, to a salmon on the sink, wrapped in Friday’s Derry Journal. She brushed off imaginary crumbs from the scone she declined and hurried with smug satisfaction as she waved goodbye. Those hands relishing the squelchy, rubied, slipperiness of the fish’s innards, sliced open adeptly, after that she’d make tea in her own space, in her own time.
Lorraine Carey’s poetry has been published in The Honest Ulsterman, Poethead, Proletarian, ROPES and Vine Leaves among others. Her first collection is published this month. She now lives in Kerry.
THE VISITATION by Simon Kearns
Everyone there would remember the moment for the rest of their lives. That she had left the river and braved the morning rush hour was peculiar enough. She walked, unperturbed, into the middle of the road; traffic stopped completely. We watched in common wonder and with our phones filming, as she raised her masked eyes and watched back. A man saw his ballet-lessoned daughter in the swan’s natural poise. One woman saw Audrey Hepburn, coy, cool, detached; another recalled the cloud-sailed ship of a forgotten dream. I saw the swans at Corbet Lough, gliding on an evening sky of water.
Simon Kearns grew up in the North of Ireland and currently lives in the South of France. His debut novel, Virtual Assassin (Revenge Ink, 2010), explores personal responsibility in a corrupt society. Dark Waves (Blood Bound Books, 2014), is about a powerful haunting and the rationalist determined to debunk it.
A CHANGE OF IMAGE by Pat J Mullan
She had thought that purple might give her a lift. It was then that the whispers started at the choir practice in the parish hall. Purple really was out of character for a traditional housewife and mother like her. Dingo, startled with the new hair, pawed his ears and whimpered.
Two tough years – losing her husband, her daughter married off in Australia and then the diagnosis, chemo, surgery, and radiation. The relapse last week.
Whispering as if she didn’t exist. It was time to give them something to whisper about.
The note, the chair and the rope were ready.
Originally from North Derry, Pat J Mullan now lives in Co Kildare. His short stories have been published in Spontaneity, The Galway Review, Paper Swans, The Incubator, Deep Water Literary Review, Shift Magazine, Honest Ulsterman and Word Bohemia. He also writes the occasional poem.
HOW WE SPEND OUR TIME by Jacqueline O’Neill
I’m lying on my sofa, jangling my keys, and I don’t even have a baby or a dog to distract. It’s a pleasant sound however, just two keys on a nondescript metal ring.
There are only so many words you can read in one day before your brain packs in, or only so much awful television you can watch before your despair for humanity borders on suicidal thoughts.
Perhaps the majority of what we do is only to fill up the vacuum of time that existence creates. Sometimes it is a pure joy to allow yourself to do absolutely nothing.
Jacqueline O’Neill is from Northern Ireland. She is a shy girl living with the weight of words and disability, but also a ferocious fighter. ‘Fahrenhate’, her first chapbook, was released by locofo chaps earlier this year.
CLICK! by Linda O’Connell
Awakened suddenly by our flooded car engine repeatedly cranking, I trailed Dad, crazy with rage, outside into the pitch darkness. As he shouted and banged on his own driver’s window, I screamed, begged him to stop. The car thief’s face was indistinguishable, but his booze breath mortified when he rolled down the window and pointed the gun muzzle at our faces. I yanked Dad away from his rotten stench and bad aim as hard as a thirteen year old girl could. The gun misfired, CLICK! That sound is still louder and more terrifying than the perp’s next wild pot shot.
Linda O’Connell is a two time recipient of Metro Arts in Transit (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) poetry award. Each poem was posted on buses and Metro Link cars for one year. Her work appears in Mid River’s Review, Mochila Review, Grist Literary Journal, Flashquake, New Verse News, Well Versed, Lucidity Poetry Journal, Lavenderia, St. Louis Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Silver Birch Press, Storm Country, and more. Linda will write for dark chocolate.