Flash Fiction That Will Drop Your Mouth Open

Ruth Miller creates hand-embroidered portraits from her studio on the Mississippi Gulf Coast – via @womensart1

Can I just say that the more Flash Fiction I read, the more I want to read. I love this genre so much and man are we lucky to have some really great FF writers in our world. Here are a few stories that just wowed me recently. Enjoy!

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Jennifer Toddhunter in Twin Pies Literary – Us Girls at our Boys’ Graduation

“Us girls get ready for our boys’ graduation, stick cigarettes in our push-up bras, cut the hems of our second-hand dresses just so. We talk about what it’ll be like to graduate ourselves one day, how we’ll wear longer, prettier dresses, how we won’t need our boys to get in the front door. We talk about quitting our after-school jobs, our early-morning shifts at the shitty motel. Going to university. Travelling through the jungle. Costa Rica. Malaysia. All the things our boys take for granted.”

Comment: This is the opening of Jen’s story that I couldn’t not quote because it’s so good. It, and the rest, is brimming with place, time, culture. We may not know which town or state or even region it takes place in but we sure recognize the local feel of the piece. That’s what I really, really love – a story with intimate details of place, vernacular, and subculture. Some of us girls are nodding our heads as we read because, yeah, we were those girls.

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Pat Foran in Wigleaf – “I Sang the Telephone Book to You the Day You Hung Yourself”

“You said you wanted to hear me sing the phone book, sing you, sing it when you would least expect. Sing it so you could hear my voice, hear me. You didn’t know if it would be great, my singing, you didn’t care if it would suck. You wanted to hear me sing the phone book to you. Someday.”

Comment: Pat is a master at pulling your heartstrings. When a new story of his comes out I know to have the tissues nearby. Besides that, he has an uncanny talent of putting fresh, new twists on stories of the heart (like this one) and that is so, so hard to do. I learn from him with every single story he writes.

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Cheryl Pappas in Twin Pies Literary – ““My Mother’s Rooms”

“I reached out to touch her arm, just to see if she was real, if I was. My finger traced her warm skin lightly. When she looked up from her magazine and stared out the window, I knew I wasn’t there. She gazed out like she was concentrating hard on something, the way she looked when trying to solve a problem.”

Comment: When I read this story, Tom Petty lyrics came to mind: “I woke up in between a memory and a dream”. This story is dreamy and ethereal. It takes us on a journey through fog and filtered sunlight. It’s a ghost story yet not. Wonderful!

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Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar in New World Writing – “Saffron

“Look, a Mussalman,” someone shouts. The air is turgid with hatred and dust. My shirt, soaked with sweat, clings to the skin; my legs go soft as if the bones inside them have melted.”

Comment: One can learn so much about other cultures and religions by reading work by writers of other cultures and religions. Sara infuses so much into this short piece; color, movement, emotion, and religious intolerance. It’s a reminder of how much work we all, as global citizens, still have to do.

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Melissa Bowers in Smokelong Quarterly – “Masquerade”

“We said it was a party for the kids, but we lied. It was a party for us. The adults in the kitchen with our spiked cider, extra rum to taste, fishnets and boots and wigs and wings. Someone’s spouse flirting with someone else’s, all of us touching knees and shoulders we shouldn’t.”

Comment: What could be the connection between a missing child and a costume party? You’ll want to read this skillfully and heartbreakingly written story to find out. So well done!

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K.C. Meade Brewer in Fractured Lit – “Another Morning”

“She’s been going back to the grave again. Writing your name in the dirt. Just look at the mud on the stairs.

Comment: There are so many ways that grief manifests itself. In this wonderful piece we are witness to a deeply personal and unusual ritual between mother and daughter. The layers K.C. imbues are remarkable.

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K. B. Carle in Passages North – “Bite”

We aim at those who tell us to hush. At those who tell us to be good little girls. Pretty little girls. Silent and still little girls. All at once, we fire.

Comment: Wow! The skill of this piece is amazing. K.B. says so much with so few words about the stifling of women in society. It’s a perfect example of showing instead of telling. I love this piece so much!

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Cathy Ulrich in Juked Magazine “And She Was”

The baby detective knows that this universe is like all the others, but slower, that she is like all the other girl detectives, but slower. She knows that there are long black cars and long black cars.

Comment: Cathy puts a new twist in her continuing series of The Girl Detective. I don’t even know how she is able to imagine such creative and mind-blowing prose but she never disappoints. I’m not giving any of this story away but I will say it has one of the best endings I’ve read anywhere. Bravo!

Micro

I love, love, love a good micro! I also think it is the hardest genre to write effectively. I’m not quoting from the following because they are so short but rest assured they are phenomenal.

Talia Tucker in The Citron Review – “Yellowing Dresses”

L Mari Harris in Matchbook – “Let’s”


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