#SelectedFlashFiction – February


We are thrilled to introduce a pair of exceptional pieces of flash fiction, meticulously curated by our esteemed editors, Lucy Aur and Elizabeth Kemball. With painstaking attention to detail, this exemplifies our dedication to delivering literature of the highest standard, stimulating contemplation on multiple fronts. We warmly invite you to immerse yourself in this narrative and join us in the celebration of the boundless possibilities of the written word.

Heather Haigh
Heather is a sight-impaired spoonie and emerging working-class writer from Yorkshire. Her work has been published by: Reflex Press, Pure Slush, Mono, A Coup of Owls, Free Flash Fiction and others. She has been nominated for Best of the Net. Find her at https://haigh19c.wixsite.com/heatherbooknook


Why would he leave such a pretty thing behind? He likes pretty things. 

Etta inches her forefinger along all eight inches, cold, smooth, that perfect edge calling, calling, cold, smooth, calling, while she recalls the day he left, taking not only Clara but Brumble Brown, her old bear, the shared bear, the shared father, the shared weekends, and how he took the notebook they sketched in together on a Sunday morning long ago, when she was small, and she was pretty, and she drew a house with four windows and a sun whose rays speared the page, and she imagines Clara, little Clara, Clara with her real daddy, drawing a cat with a huge toothy grin, and everyone knows cats eat fish, but Daddy, good old Daddy, loves fish. As the blade bestows a crimson smile on her fingertip, a scarlet trickle licking the back of her hand, a carnelian bracelet, she knows that this at least is hers. The handle sits solid in her grasp and as she twists it this way and that, the blade gathers glints of light which spatter the kitchen walls then dance to the ceiling then shower the floor.

Etta remembers Daddy gutting trout one afternoon, in the light of the kitchen window while Mama breastfed Clara in a rocking chair by the range. Daddy ran the back of his knife along the fish, scattering pink-silver scales, then flicked the knife over and cut off the glassy-eyed head and the frilly tail. The scales were like beautiful jewels but Daddy said they were dirty and pushed her hand away. ‘You don’t want to get all messy, Pretty Baby.’

Hungry, she asked when the fish would be ready. He told her good things come to those who wait, then he slit the largest fish along its belly. Etta watched the blood pooling over the chopping board as he thrust in his fingers and pulled out the nasty bits. Clara was making greedy, guzzly, papapapa noises and chewing and chewing as though she would swallow Mama’s flesh, while the rocking chair creaked like the door to a tomb, and it creaked and creaked and creaked, and Etta longed to touch the shiny fish and the oozing warmth and the back of Daddy’s hand as it sliced and trimmed, and as her fingers crept closer and closer, the slap came sharp and hot.

This weekend is visiting weekend, and she knows the routes to his flat now. She can go the long way down White Apron Street and call at the fishmongers on the corner. She can cook now, maybe Daddy will let her show them, maybe he’ll watch her slide that knife in, pull out those guts, clean that fish so it’s ready for their little family meal, though not so pretty any more. Maybe he’ll want to reach out and touch her hand, hold it steady, feel her warmth against the cold steel and the iced fish. Etta will take her beautiful, beautiful knife.

Abbie Doll

Abbie Doll is a writer residing in Columbus, OH, with an MFA from Lindenwood University and is a fiction editor at Identity Theory. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Door Is a Jar Magazine, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, and Ellipsis Zine, among others. Connect on socials @AbbieDollWrites.


His first wife had a love affair with greeting cards. His second wife wanted them gone.

When Henry started dating Wife #1, she demanded a card for every holiday, preferring words as gifts. It was strange at first but he grew to love her anyway; when they were wed, Henry took it one step further and started putting a new card on her nightstand every morning as he left for work. She kept every last one. Framed her favorites. Always said greeting cards were an unappreciated art form. Their marriage lasted twenty-seven years before cancer got her. 

For Henry, time kept ticking, and it was time to move on. He and Wife #2 were downsizing to a condo, and the cards remained, looming like a lane of impassable hurdles. There were thousands of them, thousands. So many in fact that he could wallpaper his new condo twice over if he wanted. Christ, how was that supposed to make Christie feel? All these paper remnants from his first marriage, physical proof of his love for another woman, all mushed together like some intimate diary on public display. He had to get rid of them. Had to. And yet, waves of indecision battered him. How could he just ditch all this love? Everything else had been packed or sorted already, but the cards were just too much to handle. They sat piled high in plastic storage tubs, glaring at him. What’re you going to do with us, Henry? Huh, huh, what’re you going to do? You know she’d never get rid of us. She’d never even consider it, not for a second. 

He sighed. Was the only way forward really trashing his own history? Life was too much. He pictured an imaginary card mocking his misfortune—“Congratulations on your second marriage, you lucky dog. We hope your new wife has room in her heart for your old one.” Baggage was no joke. Too bad he couldn’t drop these off at some shelter or museum for greeting cards that could cherish his marital memories for him; Henry and his hoarder heart needed a fresh space where the past stopped suffocating. He needed to clear this clutter in his chest.

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