UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash (Crime) Fiction Smackdown: November Edition

Flash (Crime) Fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity—and crime!

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or similar. 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

  • 100 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • Give it a title (not included in the word count, but keep it under 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.
  • We'll pick a winner on the last (working) day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before November 26 will be considered. We'll run the winner on November 27.

This Month's Prize

Win a copy of the Kwik Krimes anthology edited by Otto Penzler. Here's a bit about the book from Amazon.com:

Entire novels are often written about a single crime, detailing every gruesome, dark detail until the last drop of blood spatters across the page. Yet in this mystery anthology, renowned editor and author Otto Penzler weaves together to heart-stopping effect more than ninety tales of brutality, terror, and unexpected demise, with each story told in a swift one thousand words or less.

These crimes may be fast in both form and fallout, but none lack the dark impulses that too often guide human hands to ill ends. Prepare to be transported into the diabolical schemes of criminal masterminds…into robberies and pranks gone horribly awry…into closets crammed with skeletons…into families bound not by love but wickedness.

The collection includes some of our very own LitReactor staffers and instructors: Rob W. Hart, Christa Faust, and David Corbett. So, even if you don't win, it's worth checking out this book!

Your Inspiration

Let's take our inspiration from the prize itself. I'll up the word limit to 100 and take off the 2 sentence limitation (see the rules above). Submit your 100-word Flash "Krime" story by November 26 and we'll run it the next day.

Now Get Writing!


And the winner is... Jesse Toler

I like the circularity of the story telling and the connecting of elements from one sentence to the next. (Money -> measure, heart -> thing, ex-boyfriend -> him, etc.). I also like the step-by-step reveal of the relationship of the assassin to his victim and to his employer. It's succint, purposeful, and devoid of loose ends. Well done, Jesse!

Take my wife

The money was in the account.  A measure of value for eight bullets and a day spent waiting for that perfect moment between tics of a second when she was alone.  All eight of them meant for her heart.  The very thing destroyed in the chest of a dentist from the valley, her ex-boyfriend.  To him she was the one that got away.  To the assassin she was the woman he married, but he knew nothing of this until the contract posted.  A contract he gladly took.  He wondered after if anyone would pay him to kill the dentist.

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!

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Comments

Sean Stallard's picture
Sean Stallard from Tecumseh, ON is reading The Brothers Karamazov and A Lover's Discourse November 1, 2013 - 1:02pm

Dinnertime Driveby, or The Massacare at Eddy Mo Restaurant

Shattered glass lay between carpet fibers, waiting to be stepped on, like land mines. Chairs had fallen over. Drinks separated. Meals expired. Patrons and servers lied motionless on the carpet. The hostess stripped off every bit of clothing she wore. Blood on her clothing inspired the misanthrope in Julie. She cowered behind the hostess podium, waiting for the police to arrive. Screeching tires of the shooters' car echoed between her ears. Julie will forever recall, because nightmares won't let her forget, the night the restaurant was shot up.

Glyn Williams's picture
Glyn Williams November 2, 2013 - 11:36am

The Cracker

“Click, click, click!” said the wheel, as skilled fingers did their job. Between his heartbeats, his eardrum shook, detecting the move of a cog.


Clunk went the handle, his arm muscles flexed. The safe door silently opened. Inside its void were velvet lined bags, held shut with a silvery thread.


“Come to daddy” said the cracker, his crooked grin slathering at the prize.

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn November 18, 2013 - 1:16pm

A Quiet Evening

She was right, my job did make me angry. But I hated it even more when she was right. She always had something to say, something for me to "improve on." And when we fought, no argument was over unless she had the last word; it used to drive me crazy. Funny how things like that can change. It used to drive me crazy, it might have.
"Isn't that right, honey?"
I wish she would talk back now, instead she just stares back with those dead eyes. Maybe I shouldn't have kept the head...

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday November 6, 2013 - 12:00pm

A Matter of Perspective

He didn't seek out these kinds of situations.  He wasn't proud of living this way, but times were hard and any shortcut meant having a leg up on the enemy.  The icy rain came down with malicious intent, forcing itself into his trench coat and into his gloves, already wet with sweat.  Colby screwed up his courage, timed his breath and darted across the street.  Vehicles violently rushed past him as he found his target.  The cop down the street was looking the other way. 

He grinned, knowing he had gotten away with it.

 

Luis Oliveira's picture
Luis Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is reading Iliad by Homer November 6, 2013 - 2:47pm

The Day After

  That morning, the grey sheets were covering the bodies. And as the holes made by my knife bled, red rose gardens started to grow and to be printed on them. The parterre’s eyes witnessed the dead victims, and now they were contemplating the beauty coming out of the belly of the beast. The detectives took note, the assistants discussed, the crying ladies asked why to God. People spent their time, speculating. I’d give them the truth, but not now. I’d rather buy bread, instead. So I feigned surprise, said I was sorry, and left the scene.

Incyde Out Boy's picture
Incyde Out Boy from Melstrand is reading This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin November 20, 2013 - 3:01pm

A Victimless Crime


     Putting the finishing touches on her “T’s”, STYLT hears a noise; too close to be coming from the busy street below. Leaving the bag of cans, she lowers herself with ninja stealth under the freeway sign, above the stampede of L.A. traffic below. She prays he just leaves with the evidence as the beam of an LAPD flashlight brushes her shoulder.
     The sound of metal scraping metal makes her tighten her grip as the cop makes a “WUH!” sound, and the whole beam shakes with the “THUD” of his body. Black shoes and dark blue trousers tumble into her peripheral vision. Then as the officer hangs by his fingertips, their eyes lock for the brief second before he plummets to the white water river of headlights rushing beneath them.

Heather Boyd's picture
Heather Boyd from California is reading The Long Goodbye November 23, 2013 - 4:18pm

Detective Benson-

I saw you on the news today, and I had to write and congratulate you. You really looked like you have this whole thing under control. I’m proud to be your adversary. I’m sure the public will sleep easier now, even with eight murders already this year, on your watch. The name I’ve been given in the press is the only clue you have, isn’t it? You must be desperate to show you know more than they do. Well, you did a great job looking confident for the camera.

Good luck. You need it.

The Piano Wire Killer

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon November 24, 2013 - 6:31am

                                                                         Dead Quiet


Last summer was oven hot. A resident left her poodle in the car and it died. We neighbor women said that’s a shame, sipping lemonade on a porch, heads shaking slow. Anne giggled. It got dead quiet until the kids squabbled over the sprinkler.


Sad coincidence, surely, when Anne’s husband died at the county fair, passed out drunk in their Fairlane all boiling afternoon while his family saw the sights.


Come winter, we neighbor women watched our kids play outside. They adorned the snowman with Anne’s dead husband’s glasses, hat, scarf. It got dead quiet when he toppled and fell.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics November 24, 2013 - 10:27am

On Break

    Bones were easier for Kornell to break than habits, especially with hedge clippers. The snap and crunch reminded him of the sound fingernails made when bitten. A sound that often birthed litters of complaints from his cubicle mate. That stuffy little man who sighed, and glared, and wore cat fur like a winter coat over every suit he owned.        

    Kornell was allergic to cats. And complainers.

    When the cops knocked on his door, he was opening the second package of lint-rolling stickers.

                                                           #    #    #

    "Why'd ya do it?" They asked at the station.

    "Ever had a habit you couldn't break?" He answered.

Laura Em's picture
Laura Em from Atlanta, GA is reading Island November 25, 2013 - 10:49am

The Pact

On three they each raised a bottle to their lips and the muffled clatter of pills on plastic repeated five times throughout the room, followed by the quiet gurgle of rum from Marco’s flask. Marco always used rum. He liked the way it complemented the sweetness of the placebo pills he bought for himself. One by one the other four melted to the floor, until Marco was the only one left standing. He waited for their ragged breathing to cease before stepping to the door, wondering if he would ever find the strength to join his ever-growing number of victims.

Twistedsage's picture
Twistedsage November 26, 2013 - 3:45am

Take my wife

The money was in the account.  A measure of value for eight bullets and a day spent waiting for that perfect moment between tics of a second when she was alone.  All eight of them meant for her heart.  The very thing destroyed in the chest of a dentist from the valley, her ex-boyfriend.  To him she was the one that got away.  To the assassin she was the woman he married, but he knew nothing of this until the contract posted.  A contract he gladly took.  He wondered after if anyone would pay him to kill the dentist.  

Jake Peterson's picture
Jake Peterson from Seattle, WA is reading Dave Eggers - The Circle November 26, 2013 - 11:43pm

 

Humping Trump

 

It will be the greatest heist in modern day American history if we somehow pull it off. I can smell the sweetness of the gold ignots as we inch closer. 

The owner of the New York City mansion is on real estate business overseas. I saw him on the news just a few hours prior, wearing a silly blonde wig and articial, smug smile.

Meanwhile, Benny, my tech guy, has the gold owner's wife out on an immoral date at a low-key NYC theatre, and he is getting ready to take her home where the deal will be sealed.

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon November 30, 2013 - 5:24am

Congrats, Jesse!