UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: The Holidays (Post Alien Invasion) Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess.

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or prompt. You write a flash fiction piece using the inspiration we gave you. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 25 words. It can be less, but not more. 
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words.
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence.
  • One entry per person.
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before December 30th will be considered. We'll run the winner on December 31st.

This Month's Prize

Wonder what Earth would be like after the Aliens take it over? Winner gets a copy of Occupied Earth: Stories of Aliens, Resistance and Survival at all Costsan anthology of stories edited by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips with stories from some of your favorite sci-fi and mystery authors—including our own Rob Hart. 


For years, writers and filmmakers have speculated about the possibility of the Earth being invaded by aliens from another planet. But what if the aliens have been watching us, infiltrating us via human collaborators, or even surgically altering themselves to look human?

Occupied Earth is a groundbreaking anthology that explores the idea of what the world would look like years after its conquest. 20 years after a successful invasion by the Makh-Ra, humanity still exists, only it has become subservient to a race of occupiers who govern the devastated planet. But, as much at things continue with some sense of normalcy, something has happened in the Mahk-Ra’s empire. Earth, once considered a strategic beachhead of major importance to the Empire, has been downgraded in its value. Things are starting to degrade. Our planet is the last place any self-respecting Mahk-Ra officer wants to be assigned. Yet, despite everything, life continues.

These stories bring us face to face with annihilation — and show how we can pull ourselves back from the brink. Featuring Rachel Howzell Hall, Lisa Morton, Matthew V. Clemens, Howard Hendrix, Nathan Walpow and more, OCCUPIED EARTH is coming. Stay safe. Stay strong. Survive at all costs.

Your Inspiration

Well, shit. Despite all our efforts to appear as unattractive as possible to any passing extraterrestrial marauders, Earth has been conquered by aliens. It's been a pretty shitty 20 years of invasions and infighting and anal probing. But, look on the bright side: a few of us are still here, and it's the holiday season. 

Write a holiday-themed flash fiction (25 words) that imagines what Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or St. Lucia Day, or Solstice, or Boxing Day, or New Year's, etc. would be like after 20 years of alien occupation. Are there still lights, trees, songs, candles, feasting, gifting, stressing, sappy movies, etc? Are there new alien-approved holidays or holiday activities going on? What are they?

Have fun with this! I can't wait to read the entries!

And the Winner Is...Christopher Peterson

Well another solid showing! I had to pick this one because I love the title. Merry Happy New Everything, you al!!!

"Every Time an Alarm Rings, an Alien Gets His Antennae."

They came hopefully after watching Capra's classic in syndication for decades. When they realized it wasn’t real, the invasion began. Merry Christmas, Planet Bedford Falls.

Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.


L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami December 1, 2015 - 2:28pm


Jingle bells, rotten eggs. Bugs eat the dregs. Blood all over pavement, the endless abyss. Nightfall.

Nayab Khalid's picture
Nayab Khalid December 2, 2015 - 1:37am

Roach Anthropology

They still look like giant roaches to me. Hearing them awkwardly sing Christmas carols is hilariously repulsive. Experiencing culture, humans would call it.

Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... December 2, 2015 - 12:33pm
"Every Time an Alarm Rings, an Alien Gets His Antennae."

They came hopefully after watching Capra's classic in syndication for decades. When they realized it wasn’t real, the invasion began. Merry Christmas, Planet Bedford Falls.

Mathew Snyder's picture
Mathew Snyder from Johnston, Iowa is reading 16 books this year December 2, 2015 - 12:49pm


Since war's end, we line up. Little children in a world without sky. Integration, the invaders say, helps everyone. We don't tell them it's fruitcake.

C Patrick Neagle's picture
C Patrick Neagle from Portland, Oregon is reading words, words, words December 3, 2015 - 2:54am

Thanksgiving Eve -- Mike's House, SE Hawthorne, Alien-Occupied Portland

Blah blah blah ... "How to Serve Man" is a cookbook ... blah blah blah. Wait, what?

arfisk's picture
arfisk from Melbourne is reading The Eternal Flame (Orthogonal book 2: Greg Egan) December 4, 2015 - 11:34pm


The Uberlordi adapted to our customs well.
The fir trees were delicious.
The ritual exchange of little boxes delighted them.
Here, Humanity found purpose.

midnighttyper's picture
midnighttyper from England, South Yorkshire is reading The picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde December 6, 2015 - 8:46pm

Must have been on the naughty list

We still smiled when christmas came around in the labour camp.

The festive weaponised traps they set for Santa would always be funny to us.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday December 8, 2015 - 7:53am

Our Festive Overlord


His second coming wasn't what we expected.

Twenty years after the invasion his birthday celebration was still mandatory.

At least the fruitcake was heavenly.

The Dark Lord's picture
The Dark Lord from The Void is reading The Book of the Dead December 8, 2015 - 7:48pm

You're Jewing it Wrong

"Think they celebrate Christmas like us?" Jake whispered. 

"I celebrate Hanukkah," Deanna responded, adjusting the sights on her rifle. "But their blood is festive, nonetheless." 

BarryG's picture
BarryG December 11, 2015 - 8:38am

Peace on Earth

‘Twas the night before Xmas…

When all through the earth and skies,

Not a creature was stirring

Everyone was filling for the aliens’ mince pies

whiteliz's picture
whiteliz from Sarasota, FL is reading Paw Patrol books to her two- and four-year olds December 14, 2015 - 10:12am

Holiday Office Party, Business as Usual

Colleagues gather to open the first white-elephant.

"Baby meat!" Canned human, of course.

"Yum! I'm going for that one." The alien-secretary whispers aside.

Cams316's picture
Cams316 from Wichita,KS is reading The Dead Hearts series December 20, 2015 - 10:22pm

Harmless Aliens Don't Create Headlines

They just needed a place to crash until they could get back home.  

They set their phasers to JOY! PEACE! MERRY!

We were all stunned! 

Joe Golden's picture
Joe Golden from Clarksburg, WV is reading The Big Sleep December 21, 2015 - 11:32am

At Least It’s Something . . .

I try not to touch the walls of my tiny metal living quarters, as my VR set initiates program 0235: Pre-invasion Christmas.

BarryG's picture
BarryG December 25, 2015 - 9:32am

Independence Day on 25 December

Christmas 2035: Santa-suited rebels spiked the drinking water with eggnog, the only substance lethal to our alien overlords. Peace, goodwill and victory to all men!

benjamin.a.oetken's picture
benjamin.a.oetken December 28, 2015 - 6:18am

Hidden Christmas

In a cave, we have drawn a tree. I traded for a few oranges and chocolates.  Oranges for the children and chocolates for the wife.