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.
Two stories from Brilliant Flash Fiction’s anthology, Branching Out: International Tales of Brilliant Flash Fiction, will be included in the 2022 Best of Small Fictions collection.
Congratulations to authors Karen Rigby (Hikikomori) and Roberta Beary (The Collector), and many thanks to Charles Rammelkamp (BSF General Advisory Board) for nominating these Branching Out stories.
Best Small Fictions is the first-ever contemporary anthology solely dedicated to anthologizing the best internationally published short hybrid fiction in a given calendar year. Now in its sixth year of existence, Best Small Fictions features the best micro fiction, flash fiction, haibun stories and prose poetry from around the world. Founded by Tara L. Masih, Best Small Fictions is now steered by series editor Nathan Leslie.
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.
Our second print anthology, Branching Out: International Tales of Brilliant Flash Fiction is ready to ship. The brilliant stories in this collection—all 300 words or less—are an eclectic selection of gems that will inspire flash fiction writers everywhere.
Branching Out features the work of 67 authors from Australia, Canada, England, India, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Scotland, and the United States.
Selected from 350 international submissions, these unique tales will entertain you and inspire your own writing.
To order your copy, please donate $12 on our website Home Page by clicking the Donate button on the right hand side. If you have questions, or would like to confirm your order, please contact Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please note that all book orders outside the USA will be subject to extra shipping charges.)
If you’d like a double dose of quality flash fiction, for a donation of $20 we’ll send you Branching Out and also a copy of our first print anthology, Hunger: The Best of Brilliant Flash Fiction, 2014-2019.
Your donations finance our nonprofit operations, and we deeply appreciate your financial support.
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
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. Continue reading “ISSUE 15: SEPTEMBER 2017”→
Congratulations to Charles Rafferty, winner of a 2017 Write Well Award for his story, The Silver Smile of the Hatchet, originally published in the March 2016 issue of Brilliant Flash Fiction. For details, check out writewellaward.com.
The Silver Smile of the Hatchet
By Charles Rafferty
Magda was too tiny to kill a cow but her mother needed help with the weed-like tenacity of her daily chores. The chickens were put on Magda’s list. The worst one could do, her mother concluded, was to run headless around its pen.
Magda surprised her mother. With a succession of little kisses, she would persuade the chicken to her side. She let it peck the seed from her palm as it had done on a daily basis since the first time it left the henhouse. Then she scooped it up and took it behind the barn. Continue reading “BFF WRITER WINS WRITE WELL AWARD”→