Judge Pamela Painter had the difficult task of choosing a winner, two finalists, and shortlist for this year’s writing contest. We received over 1,000 international entries that kept our editors busy for months. Special thanks goes out to Assistant Editor Charline Poirier for her tireless efforts and, of course, we’d like to thank every writer who submitted an entry.
FIRST PLACE: MARSH OMEN AUGURY
Judge’s Comments: “The unstable situation is introduced right off in a superb first sentence when thirty-three egrets appear as an omen and the locals call in the narrator to interpret it. The natural world of the narrator is filled with the sun, swamp flies, silky mud, reeds and tidal creeks, a keeled water snake, a gator and a hard-shelled turtle—and the egrets that s/he reads for The Truth, which the locals really do not want to hear. They are happy with a half-truth they celebrate with spaghetti dinners and swallow as easily as communion wafers. The startling ending arrives but the writer has prepared us for it well.”
Marsh Omen Augury
By L. Michelle Souleret
Thirty-three egrets flew into the salt marsh last night and lined up in a perfect row along an old, slanted pier. The locals chattered nervously at this omen and called me in.
I wade out, ankle-deep then to shinbone in the sun-warmed water, and stand all afternoon, watching. The white birds flap and preen and shuffle, but stay in formation. I wait. The sun passes overhead and swamp flies patter against my arms. My feet sink further into the silky mud. A keeled watersnake ripples past. I wait and I watch and I wait until, at last, a pattern emerges in the sinuous curves of the egrets’ necks and their awkward shifts from foot to foot. Meaning jangles into my brain with the snapping jaw-strength of a gator and the rightness of a hard-shelled turtle in the sun. I fall to my knees, choking, and cough out a glossy tangle of Truth.
Continue reading “2022 WRITING CONTEST RESULTS￼” →
By Jessika Grewe Glover
Both tires turned from bright, commercial white, to the grit of living north of Calle Ocho. Two weeks earlier, I traded my saved cash for the red and white all-terrain scooter. It seemed logical to use it on this early morning in June to get my mom a birthday present. At eight, I knew it was two blocks west, two blocks south from the house my mom, brother, and grandparents shared in a lower middle class neighborhood in Miami. The increasingly grubby white tires bumped over unmaintained sidewalks and driveways, past the Dade County library on Calle Ocho, the carniceria, Everglades Lumber, which I found much later in life had been involved in a cartel scheme, and to the train tracks. At eight, I was trepidatious around the tracks. Even then I knew that was where the prostitutes stood each night, able to continuously cross Eighth Street each time a police car pulled up. South of Calle Ocho was Dade County police, north was City of Miami. Neither had the jurisdiction over the other and as long as the women of the night tripped their heels along the tracks, wavering between the demarcation of departments, they were free.
Continue reading “MARCH 2022” →
Men I have Given a Fish
By Rachel Rodman
“What do you think?” I asked him, heart in my throat.
He gave me a wan smile. Then, leaning forward, he gave the plate that I had so carefully prepared a sniff.
“It kind of smells like fish,” he admitted.
He had enjoyed our date to the Aquarium. So, for our one-week anniversary, I wanted to go big.
Making a pilgrimage to the Sea Witch, I secured for him dominion over all the fish in the ocean.
In exchange for my soul.
As we stood on the dock, I showed him how to flutter his fingers so that, in a gesture of obeisance, a thousand fish would erupt from the water at once.
He was certainly surprised.
“Does this include the dolphins?” he asked finally.
“No,” I said.
“Oh,” he said wistfully.
Continue reading “JANUARY 2022” →
By Filip Wiltgren
When Raphael was born his mother took him to church. His father, not being inclined to such things, held the boy in his lap and read him the newspaper.
When Raphael was five, his mother took him to choir, and his father took him to play-school.
“Such voice,” said the priest.
“Such brilliance,” said the teacher.
“It is clear he has a calling,” said the priest.
“It is clear he has a gift,” said the teacher.
And Raphael’s mother and father smiled, and congratulated themselves, and basked in the radiance of their offspring.
When Raphael was ten he was a soloist in the diocese choir, where the old, soberly dressed matrons cried at the sound of his voice and kissed his mother on both cheeks.
“He is blessed by the Lord,” they told her, and Raphael’s mother nodded and smiled.
Continue reading “SEPTEMBER 2021” →
By Andrew Kozma
We found the beached humpback whale still glistening from the morning fog. It breathed hard and deep and ragged, its chest an old, moth-eaten bellows. The air wheezed between its baleen. Joe’s dog Joe Jr. sniffed the whale’s mouth and whined and jigged about, eager to get inside.
But the whale wasn’t going to die. We wouldn’t let it. We looked into its liquid, almost melting eyes and whispered comforts as we dug trenches in the sand to guide the water around its flanks and ease the whale’s flatbed of a body back into the Atlantic with the rising tide.
It took a while for the sea to reclaim the whale. We watched it the entire time. It didn’t feel right to abandon it before it could abandon us. And it watched us, too, with its alien whale-face. We were gratitudeless, but we didn’t do it for the gratitude. Joe spent half the time preventing Joe Jr. from pissing into the trenches we’d dug.
Then it was gone, slid backwards into its home, a majestic re-entrance. Joe called it pathetic, but I know he meant it in terms of pathos.
We both knew we’d never see anything so strange and unnerving again.
Continue reading “ISSUE 30: JUNE 2021” →
Our second print anthology
is coming soon…
We are excited to reveal the title and cover art for our second print anthology, Branching Out: International Tales of Brilliant Flash Fiction.
Cover photo by Laurie Scavo * Cover design by Karen Morgan
A big thank you to our authors whose work has been chosen for Brilliant Flash Fiction’s second print anthology Branching Out:
Kathryn Aldridge-Morris * AllOneWord *Ugochukwu Anadị * Madeline Barrett * Joe Baumann * Roberta Beary * Paul Beckman * Liz Betz * John Brantingham * John Burns * Helen Chambers * Robert Clinton * Caleb Collier * A.K. Cotham * Charlotte Crowder * Dr. Meghashri Dalvi * Salvatore Difalco * Corina DiOrio * Matthew Duffus * Catherine Edmunds * Mel Fawcett * Gary Fincke * David Galef * Joe Giordano * H.T. Grossen * Elad Haber * Corrie Haldane * Andrew Hughes * Meagan Johanson * Stephen Johnson * Ben Johnston * Sara Jordan-Heintz * Maddie King * Jennifer Lai * Claire Lawrence * Minh-Tam Le * Amanda Lieser * Phil Lindeman * Marc Littman * Martin Lochman * Craig Loomis * Alison McBain * Linda McMullen * Erika Loughran MacNeil * Amy Marques * Kate Maxwell * Mari Maxwell * Elaine Mead * Terri Mullholland * Donna J.W. Munro * Cheryl Pappas * Adrian S. Potter * Scott Ragland * Charles Rammelkamp * Nancy Pica Renken * Karen Rigby * Terry Sanville * Connor Sassmannshausen * Robert Scott * Robert Scotellaro * Shoshauna Shy * Jaspal Kaur Singh * Lucy Smith * Dhara Son * David J. Walker * Stuart Watson * M.J. Weisen
Stay tuned for details on pre-ordering!
Virtual FUNDRAISING WORKSHOP WITH NANCY STOHLMAN
Saturday, JUNE 12, NOON MDT (Denver, CO, time)
About the workshop:
“The Wacky, Weird, and Wonderful: Dazzling Narratives and Experimental Flash Fictions”
The constraints of flash fiction have ironically created a new sort of genre freedom, and flash fiction writers are embracing contortions that wouldn’t work in other forms: a motley circus of tightrope walkers and jugglers and trapeze artists plunging against their boundaries and defying narrative in breathtaking ways. In this one-hour workshop we’ll examine, discuss, and take bold risks with experimental narratives, attempting the kinds of literary acrobatics and daredevil antics that emerge when plots are forced to bend in small spaces.
Continue reading “FLASH FICTION WORKSHOP” →