Welcome, literary enthusiasts! Today, we are thrilled to present a group of exceptionally talented writers whose craft will undoubtedly leave you captivated and hungry for more. These brilliant wordsmiths have crafted thought-provoking and engaging pieces of flash fiction, showcasing their creativity and storytelling prowess in just a few short paragraphs.
Katrina is a Welsh writer who prefers fantasy worlds to the real one. She studied scriptwriting at university, but has now turned her hand to short stories and novel writing. She loves to create stories about the weird and wonderful, particularly ones that subvert genre conventions and challenge audience expectations.
My mother was a recluse. She spent her days confined to the four walls of her own home, deprived of a social life and friends to invite her places.
My grandmother was a night owl. She slept all day in a room with blackout blinds, rising at night when the sky was dark and the burning sun finally at rest.
My great-grandmother was an artist. She filled her immense mansion with stunning self-portraits, yet covered every mirror with a heavy black sheet.
My great-great-grandmother was an atheist. She refused to go anywhere near buildings of Holiness, and flinched every time she saw a cross.
My 3rd great-grandmother was a refugee. She was chased out of her home in the dead of night by an enraged mob of villagers brandishing fire and axes and swords.
My 4th great-grandmother was a temptress. She always got what she wanted, and her neighbours whispered vague warnings not to look directly into her eyes.
My 5th great-grandmother was a pacifist. She spent her life preaching peace, until she was murdered by a man with wooden weapons and silver jewellery.
My 6th great-grandmother was a hunter. She would prowl the darkest woods alone at night, returning the next morning with her dazed prey tossed easily upon her back.
My 7th great grandmother was a killer. She was locked away in a tomb with no doors, cursed to spend the rest of her prolonged life ravenous and alone.
My 8th great grandmother was a warrior. She reigned terror down upon the battlefield, and celebrated her victories by drinking the blood of her vanquished foes.
My 9th great-grandmother was a Princess. She was christened the Lady of Darkness, the first daughter to inherit a cold throne forged from fear and suffering and endless death.
My 10th great-grandmother was a mortal girl. She sold her soul to the devil on a black, moonless night, and in return gained strength, immortality, and an insatiable thirst for blood.
My grandmothers were monsters.
Tonight, I become one too.
Sadee Bee is ever-evolving as living with mental illness is never a straight line and hopes to be a voice and advocate for those like her. She is inspired by strange dreams, magic, and creepy vibes.
Nights spent alone are never ideal for her, at least not without constant movement or distraction. It has been years since she truly sat alone with her thoughts or assessed the nature of her situation. She was always silently at war with herself. Her rules kept her safe; they were necessary for her survival in a world full of things designed to kill her. Never stray from routine, always have a plan, keep her mind occupied, and never gaze too long in the mirror. Looking at herself was to remember the pain; she did not like to remember.
Her night was meticulously planned from when she stepped in the door from work. Eat, write, paint, watch T.V., and scroll social media in between; last was shower and then bed. When she arrived home, ready for hours of repeat activity, her house felt colder than usual on a winter day. Slightly panicked, she flipped every light switch and fiddled with the thermostat, but nothing worked. There was no power. Winter outages happened occasionally; there was no use in calling anyone. Hastily she lit her small fireplace and searched for emergency candles; the night was coming soon, and she could not be alone in the dark with her thoughts. She found only one, small and broken at the bottom of a drawer. She did not know how long it would last.
Defeated, she broke her precious routine to shower before it was too dark to see. A single, small candle burned on the sink as she scrubbed her skin raw from rushing, the water frigid and uncomfortable. She stepped out of the shower, shivering, and noticed the sunset was earlier than expected. She looked at her single candle at the sink, wishing she had put it elsewhere. She tiptoed warily to grab it, gripping her towel around her, and kept her eyes on the floor. She reached for the light without looking, burning her finger, and knocking it to the ground. Suddenly surrounded by total, absolute blackness; she looked up into the mirror.
She did not recognize the face staring back at her.
Mercedes Lawry has published short fiction in several journals including, Gravel, Cleaver and Blotterature and was a semi-finalist in The Best Small Fictions 2016. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, & Prairie Schooner. She’s published three poetry chapbooks and her collection, Vestiges, was just released by Kelsay Books.
I Still Love the Sea
There’s a silver sheen on the water and down a ways you can see Myers Rock, glinting like a jewel. The wind and the waves. It’s clean here – no snipes and sneers, no cruel souls that float around all high and mighty. It doesn’t hurt like it used to, not so much. I built a suit of armor. Oh you can’t see it but I can. Strong and shiny and light, not the weight of steel but a cloud, impenetrable.
When Pop threw me out I wandered and hid, maybe terrified a kid or two before I found a way to be. Invisible, mostly. Damn him, I say every day, to the birds, to the pine trees, damn him to hell. Now he’s dying and alone and I’m supposed to care? Old Dave tells me that, when I slip into his store for coffee and bread. Does he think I’ll march over to the house now and wipe up his drool, spoon some stewed peaches into his nasty mouth? He’s your father, Old Dave says, no matter, No, I croak, not any more. Old Dave clucks and turns away. When Pop caught me and Sally he blamed it all on me, called Sally a victim — me, the abomination. Sally got married and had 5 kids and goes to church on Sundays. She is forgiven. So many years ago I can’t remember, she whispered to me on the street, run away, Cass, get out of here before you’re ground down to dust. Last she ever spoke to me. I don’t want anyone anymore – man, woman, dog. I’m in my own private orbit and the rest can go rotting in the dump.
I think Mum died because Pop was such a bastard. It was her only escape. I couldn’t be entirely sad – she was free. Of course I’ve contemplated taking myself off the earth – so far the courage has eluded me. When I get tired of skulking around, who knows, who knows? I do still love the sea. I can sit all day among the rocks and listen and drowse and feel at peace.
I don’t know if he has a will – Pop. He’s nothing but the house. I could sell it. I’d never live in it – the horrors there, the terrible things said and the violence. Cursed now, how can it not? Would I get it, I wonder, is he owing the bank? I don’t know how to find these things out. I have no one to ask. I should forget it all. The break was made long ago, let it stand. But I’m getting old too and not as well as I might be and truth be told, I worry something will happen, I’ll have no say and be shuffled off somewhere. Money might help. Dirty money but isn’t it all and doesn’t he owe me something?