short story magazine

ISSUE 26: JUNE 2020

C5941FB4-8F9A-4B46-9387-C0F6162DAA89Portrait 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. (more…)

Librarians’ Choice Writing Contest Results

library photoThe 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. (more…)

Issue 25: March 2020

766EC72D-18EE-4A7D-9AC9-6236F2C13A0AMICHEL
By Cody Pease

Michel waters the plants in rotations. He starts with the tillandsias hanging in the copper-wire cages, then the oreganos and vanilla orchids near the south-facing window, then the begonia on the dining room table. The succulents need to be split, and the philodendrons need more sunlight. His hands are too weak to lift the watering pot; instead, he uses a wine glass like I showed him. It’s a small task to strengthen his muscles. “How are you doing?” His movements are slight and slow, but he smiles. “Well,” he says. I’m afraid to press him further. I leave him to water, then I peel the sweet potatoes for dinner. (more…)

Issue 24: January 2020

5972065B-DFD2-4915-805A-5A488BA375AFConfrontations
By David Galef

Maggie and I lived in a prim white house at the intersection of Maple Road and Main Street, and when she left to teach every morning, I’d stay home and stare out the front window because I lost my job at the bank. It’s a busy crossing, particularly when children are walking to and from Fielding Elementary School, where Maggie once taught fifth grade. The crosswalk is marked by a plastic stop sign in the middle of the road, with a capitalized warning for cars to stop for pedestrians. Yet drivers zoom by, narrowly missing people. I’d bang on the windowpane occasionally, to no effect. I don’t like that kind of response, as Maggie well knew. After enough mornings, I left the house and crossed the street, taking my time. I crossed back again. I waved my arms, getting in the motorists’ faces, forcing them to stop. (more…)

ISSUE 23: SEPTEMBER 2019

5627196B-20E4-4A95-A8A4-22BCB0209CB4Register 8
By Charles Rafferty

There’s a funny smell around Register 8 and none of the cashiers want to use it, but it’s Saturday, a couple of weeks before Christmas, and Maggie is stuck there.

Maggie is the cutest girl in Marshalls, and she worries people will think that she is the source of the smell. This is preposterous. The sight of her in the break room makes me think, unaccountably, of vanilla extract, of cakes leavening behind the little window of my grandmother’s oven.

A men’s wear price check comes over the PA, and because I’m in the pants section, I’m able to make it to the register more quickly than Adam, who is over in the dress shirts, straightening the rows. Adam has been hitting on Maggie ever since he got hired for the Christmas rush. Maggie and I are year-rounders, and the first thing I check on the schedule each week is when our times will overlap. To take a belt or a fleece jacket from her hand means the possibility of contact, of rapture. (more…)

ISSUE 22: JUNE 2019

31FBAC04-A176-41F4-8D0B-DD91BD484236Here We Are on Planet Earth
By Meg Pokrass

Today we are tanning near each other on bright red beach towels on the sand at Hendri’s beach. This time I don’t let my mind worry too much about Blythe’s exhibitionist traits. I’ve overcome my shyness, and we both have our bikini tops off. They’re lying next to us like useless rags.

Sometimes, there’s a language in her eyes that makes me freeze in my tracks, but my goal in this world is to become less uptight. We are thirteen, and happily, only one of us has an attractive face. The other one of us has an attractive body. My body has some potential but there is no way to know if things will turn out.

Driving around in Blythe’s brother’s SUV, we make weekend plans. We whisper in the back seat. Blythe calls him Jeeves and we hate his jokes. Sometimes he flips us off in the rearview mirror. (more…)

ISSUE 18: JUNE 2018

IMG_3368The Wild Birds
By Karen Schauber

Cormorants swoop and dive-bomb into the salty water, their trajectory stealthy and deep. The ravenous dog looks on, the birds out of reach. He paces back and forth, riveted along the water’s edge. Frothy waves tickle his paws, tracing wet impressions in the sand. He is prepared to wait. His stomach growls and bends.

The dog has been on the hunt for five days, lost far from home, disoriented since the electrical storm. He is managing quite well for a purebred: cozy cave, blankie, and binky, out of sight, out of mind. Foraging comes surprisingly easy for him, as if it were a daily hustle. He’s made friends too; first ever beyond the local fenced-in dog park. His master would be impressed, no, worried, both. He does not know that his human family has been busy plastering the neighbourhood with posters, leaving bowls of premium kibble and fresh water out on the veranda. The porch-light left on 24/7, beckoning him home. He is too far away to see the beacon. (more…)

ISSUE 2: JUNE 2014

IMG_7032You
By Madhumita Roy

My monologue is directed at You.

Because You sit on the other side of the desk with a smirk on your face, which makes You resemble my cat, Ludo, when she smiles. New research claims that animals can smile and, therefore, I believe both You and Ludo are capable of smiling.

On rare occasions your smirk evolves into a wide grin.

These occasions are as follows: when rain-forests burn; or tsunamis wreak havoc in Asian countries; or when two hundred girls are abducted and threatened with rape.

Your face is extremely annoying.

Although there is a halo around your enormously big head, I think it is an illusion you have masterfully created to cut an impressive figure for a credulous crowd. You are not God, Godhead, Godfather, Godly, God-like, or any goddess. (more…)

ISSUE 1: MARCH 2014

IMG_2527W E I G H T
By Dawn Lowe

I saw a Good Samaritan beside the road and stopped the car.

He held a sign: SPACE SUIT FOR SALE

He was old, thin and wasted. The space suit lay in the dust at his feet, white and shiny, a US flag on its chest.

“How much?” I asked.

“$1,500,” he said. “Cash.”

I put the space suit in the back seat of my car and the old man got in beside it. The suit, seated like a passenger, was three inches taller than the Samaritan.

“Where’d you get it?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I was an astronaut.”

“What’s your name?”

“Does it matter? Once you’re grounded, they all forget.” (more…)