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”→
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. Continue reading “ISSUE 14: JUNE 2017”→
The gritty scrape of metal against pavement woke Ted from a way-too-short night of sleep. Due to heavy snow he and his wife, Priscilla, had arrived late last night and it was barely eight a.m. He went to the bedroom window of his wife’s childhood home to find Priss, as he affectionately called her, shoveling the front sidewalk. She wore a red cap and scarf, recently knitted by her mother, and her green eyes squinted against the winter glare and her entire face looked hurt. It’s the kind of look that made Ted’s heart cast out to her.
Ted slipped into a pair of jeans and pulled on a wool sweater and hurried downstairs. The morning air was as cold as Priss had promised it would be on the heels of such a big snowfall.
Many thanks to the 450 international writers who entered this contest—and we extend our deepest gratitude to Judge Abigail Favale for offering her time and expertise to choose the top three prizewinners.
First Prize: Erin O’Loughlin, Brother Fox Second Prize: Susan James, Home for the Holidays Third Prize: Anne Anthony, Bathroom Break
Judge: Dr. Abigail Favale
FIRST PRIZE: Brother Fox by Erin O’Loughlin
Judge’s Comments: This piece does everything a flash fiction piece should do. A benign yet beguiling beginning, zooming out to reveal a potential tragedy unfolding in real time. I read it with a slow-dawning dread that climaxes at just the right moment, the moment of the “flash.”
By Erin O’Loughlin
Imagine the fox, the only spark of color in this bright landscape. All that endless powder white, broken only by a flash of red—there—then gone again. There is more life than you know, under all these layers and layers of snow.
Imagine how he cocks his head listening (the skill is not unique to the male of the species—vixens do it also). You can see he is straining his senses, listening for the soft scrabble under the snow. Then, ears high in the air, he dives headfirst into the snow, body flailing awkwardly as the front paws find purchase under all that cold white. And he will come back up with a limp little mouse in his jaws. So far this might be an acute sense of hearing, an expert dancer’s timing. But the strange thing is that nine times out of ten, a fox that dives to the north will catch his prey. A fox that leaps and dives to the south will lose it. Somehow a fox’s body is aligned to the magnetic north. In tune with it. If his quarry lies that way, the hunt will be good. An innate geo-location, gift of the wintry gods that govern small creatures. Continue reading “AFTERMATH – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→
Ernesto left his wife and she forgot what flowers looked like. He used to buy her flowers on Sundays and she became so used to them she hardly saw them anymore. That’s why he left—she didn’t see him. She saw the workings of their life together. The way he woke up before her and the coffee was already made—a cup placed on the space between burners. Now, there was no cup, no coffee, no freedom from rolling over into the middle of the bed. The middle wasn’t a luxury anymore, a place to spread out. Now the middle was merely empty and she stayed on her side unless she was having one of those crying fits where she throttled herself onto what used to be his side hoping to catch his scent engraved in the fibers. When he left she didn’t change the sheets for 2 months. They were white and her body stained one whole side beige—his side was crisp and un-festered. Continue reading “ISSUE 11: SEPTEMBER 2016”→
We would like to thank Judge Paul Beckman for his able assistance in selecting three top stories; and we are, as always, grateful to the 287 international writers who entered this contest.
First Prize: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan Second Prize: Princess Party by Jennifer Stuart Third Prize: The Secret of the Snoring Time by Elizabeth Fisher
Judge: Paul Beckman
Theme: It Came in the Mail
FIRST PRIZE: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan
Judge’s comments: “The reason I selected this story is that at no time did the author give in and let the reader know what it was that came in the mail. It’s hard to not sprinkle clues but this author pulled it off and finished with a perfect ending. Readers’ imaginations will take them from place to place deciding what came in the mail and that makes this a fun read as well as a creative one. Congratulations.”
It Came in the Mail
By Damhnait Monaghan
It came in the mail, addressed to The Occupant. There were two of us so I waited for my flat mate to get home from work. When I heard her keys jingling, I went to the meet her at the door.
“We got mail.”
We never get proper mail; it’s all advertising circulars and find Jesus pamphlets. I’ve often wondered why people bother with post-boxes. Until today.
She followed me into the kitchen, flinging her bag on the table. I gave her the mail. She twisted it around, examining every angle.
Manon is an ingénue in life’s high drama. Love has gone, she feels alone. As though on some empty stage. Luc had ended things on the day they were to run away together, the timing as perverse as that. She’d sped to meet him through the Paris streets, seen him standing by the roadside all awkwardness and tight anxiety. A part she had never seen him play before. And she’d thought, Oh but he seems like a stranger; had a premonition of what was to happen. Since that moment she’s felt feverish; hardly able to keep still. Already one week ago now but her restless mood goes on.
It is evening. She’s been walking for hours in a circle which began in the Place Maubert then spread outwards. Eventually she arrives at the suburbs. Sees the high-rises in dull unpainted grey, the dome of a church. Now a canal, some factory complex. A gypsy encampment by a railway cutting, the wrecks of old cars. All unreal as stage sets. Her pent-up agony is unabsorbed. Continue reading “ISSUE 10: JUNE 2016”→