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”
Footprints in Fine White Ash
By Michael Kozart
The day Darlene pulled up to Jack’s, she was facing a night in a shelter or the car. She had searched the county for an affordable room. Rents were soaring. This was the last resort.
It was a ranch home, with crumbling chimney and faded pink aluminum siding, out of place on a rural road with vineyards and mansions. Darlene knocked on the screen door. “Jack Elmer? We spoke on the phone.”
There was cursing and he appeared: sweat stains, stubbled jowls, a clump of masking-tape around the angle of his glasses. He looked her up and down.
“Is the room still open?” she asked.
Jack opened the door. Inside, there was the strong smell of cannabis and pork fat. Down a dim hall with dusky carpet, he gestured to a room. “Thousand, first of the month. Take or leave.” Continue reading “ISSUE 29: MARCH 2021”
By Ravibala Shenoy
When my baby sister was a few days old, my grandmother showed me the soft spot on her head, how we had to be careful not to hurt her there. She said, my mother was going to be busy with the baby, and I should not mind because I was four-and-a-half years old, the big sister.
My mother’s thirteen-year-old brother tormented me with stories of Ghooghooms who he said roamed my grandmother’s house and garden. When night came, he‘d put a flashlight in his mouth and cover himself with a bedsheet and he’d go thump, thump, through the house making sounds like an owl, and I’d run away shrieking. It was no use telling my mother because she lay limp in bed with the baby.
One day, when my sister was sleeping, I brought from the kitchen the brass pestle that my grandmother used to grind peppercorns. My sister lay in a winnowing basket swaddled in a blanket. Her chest rose and fell with her breath and her round face and shiny hair looked as peaceful as a lake. Just as I was about to hit with the pestle the soft spot my grandmother had told me about, she ran in breathless and grabbing the pestle from my hand, pushed me away. Continue reading “ISSUE 28: JANUARY 2021”
Write a Story in One Hour
Want a chance to have your original flash fiction published in our January 2021 issue? Invest an hour writing original flash fiction (200-1,000 words) based on a prompt given via Zoom.
Participate from anywhere in the world.
Eventbrite Registration Required. Go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-spot-writing-contest-tickets-121262313845.
This is a fundraising event. No entry fee is required, but a $10 donation to Brilliant Flash Fiction would be appreciated. Donations may be made on our website by clicking the Donate button.
Word limit: 200-1000 words, excluding title
Zoom call: 11:30 AM (Mountain Standard Time), Saturday, November 7
IAN IN GLASGOW
By Madalyn Aslan
We’re all in the little guy’s car on Belswain’s Lane when Ian tells me his dad is in Broadmoor, prison for the criminally insane. I tell him I was born a bastard and we are poor. Ian counters, “But you’re rich in looks.” And I am like, man!
So we fall in love. He’s thirteen like me and looks like an angel and is going to be a playwright when he grows up. I love his hands. In the pub he talks about books with my mother. We discuss, seriously, names to give our future children. His mother Mae is a joyful drunk, fat and sexy in a tight flower dress, always coughing and laughing. She and my mother light up cigarettes with great animal sighs. My mother says she is from Scotland. So Ian is, too. After the little guy breaks it off with Mae, that’s where she and Ian disappear back to. Continue reading “ISSUE 27: SEPTEMBER 2020”
Portrait of a Young Woman During Quarantine
By Darcy Casey
Ten at night and the woman’s stomach rumbles; sleep is impossible when her insides have so much to say. She turns under her blankets, a crocodile rolling in a kill’s final moments, but nothing dies except her resolve. She peels the ruined blankets from her body, careful not to wake her husband. From her guts rises a more insistent growl. The stomach, itself a cavernous brain, knows where she is going and is glad. She walks and, reflecting on the day, is pleased to realize she has not eaten a full meal. But wait: can this be true? She considers. It is true. Continue reading “ISSUE 26: JUNE 2020”
The Librarians’ Choice contest was held February 24-May 30, 2020, and evoked a bit of sadness that we can no longer wander the aisles of public libraries.
Contest Judges Anne Macdonald (based in the Poudre River Library District, Fort Collins, Colorado) and Molly Thompson (Front Range Community College Librarian, Larimer Campus, Fort Collins) chose a “Lost in the Library” prompt, and 192 international writers submitted a wide range of creative entries.
Brilliant Flash Fiction extends many thanks to the writers who participated, and a giant thank-you to the judges who volunteered their time to select three prizewinners. Continue reading “LIBRARIANS’ CHOICE – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”