Columns > Published on March 2nd, 2015

UPDATED WITH WINNERS - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: February 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

  • 30 words. No more. No less.
  • 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 February 26th will be considered. We'll run the winner on February 27th.

This Month's Prize

TWO winners will receive a copy of of Sharma Shields' new novel The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac. 

A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive Sasquatch he encountered in his youth

Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a Sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.

If you want to read more about this mythological tale of family pain, check out the LitReactor Bookshots review from Freddie Moore.

Your Inspiration:

I can't come up with a better prompt than SASQUATCH!!! As a 10-plus-year resident of the Pacific Northwest, stories of s'quatch sightings have become a regular part of my interactions with otherwise seemingly reasonable people. I no more believe in this mythical creature than I believe in the Easter Bunny, but I do find it amusing.

So this month, give me 30 words about a mythical creature—be it Sasquatch, Yeti, Mothman, Nessie, Chupacabra, or some other creature you've created (or seen crashing through the woods with your own two eyes!) Have fun!

And the Winners Are...PROleary and Scott Emerson

Not a big showing this month, but quality entries nonetheless! Thank you all for participating. Honorable mentions go to Josh (who can't win because he works here) for making me worry a bit about him, and Pablo Ortiz M. O', because the image of the Easter Bunny (or did you mean Sasquatch?) eating my husband was so damn funny!

Winning Entry from PROleary:


Every night I hope it returns but I never see its pale pink face. So I lope to my lonely cave, lean my furry hide against cold stone, and dream.


Winning Entry from Scott Emerson:


Halfbreed, they taunted. Mutant.

In his bedroom he takes off size 18 sneakers, studies legs matted with patchy fur and the diminutive member between them.

Nothing was crueler than irony.

About the author

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer for an engineering firm and volunteers on the planning committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education.

She holds a degree in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. In the English graduate program at Penn State, she taught college composition courses and hosted a poetry club for a group of high school writers.

While living in Seattle, Taylor started and taught a free writing class called Writer’s Cramp (see the website). She has also taught middle school Language Arts & Spanish, tutored college students, and mentored at several Seattle writing establishments such as Richard Hugo House. She’s presented on panels at Associated Writing Programs Conference and the Pennsylvania College English Conference and led writing groups in New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado for writers of all ages & abilities. She loves to read, write, teach & debate the Oxford Comma with anyone who will stand still long enough.

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