UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: July 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 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

  • 25 words (not including the words in the prompt) You can write less, but not more.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words or less.
  • 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 July 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on July 31.

This Month's Prize

An ARC of Moon over Tangier, the latest Frances Bacon Mystery from Janice Law. Amazon's description is below:

In colonial Morocco, a painter navigates a conspiracy of forgery, corruption, and murder

For Francis, life with David grows more dangerous by the day. When sober, he is charming, but when he drinks, he is violent, slashing Francis’s paintings and threatening to gut the painter, too. When David leaves London for Morocco, Francis cannot help but follow this man whom he loves but can no longer trust. In Tangier, they find a thriving community of expats who guzzle champagne while revolutionaries gather in the desert. But in Morocco’s International Zone, death does not wait for rebellion.

After Francis identifies a friend’s Picasso as a fake, the police call him in to investigate the forger’s demise. If he refuses, they will throw David in jail, where inmates and the DTs will kill him within the week. Between the bustle of the city and the emptiness of the desert, Francis finds that in Morocco, even the fakes can be worth killing for.

Your Inspiration

Let's play a game of Finish This Story! I am going to give you a sentence which you have to use somewhere in your story. You can use it as the first or last sentence, or use it somewhere in the middle. You have 25 words, NOT including the ones given in the prompt sentence.

Ok, here's your sentence:

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.


And the Winner Is....Alaninportland

I really like the way that Alaninportland mixed up the words of the prompt into different sentences to create a whole different type of story. Well done!

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty. I was sure. An eight at the worst. For such a disappointing thing to ever happen next was heartbreaking.  I flipped on my flashlight.  Her makeup was just on the wrong side of Haute Streetwalker.  All that eye shadow!

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

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK July 1, 2014 - 9:55am

Candlelight

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow. She dreaded lifting it, she didn't want to watch as the rest of her life was taken from her. Who gets married at night, anyway?

Sanbai's picture
Sanbai from the Midwest is reading The War of Art July 1, 2014 - 11:07am

...still waiting for an image, a poem, a video, a scientific article about Dean's Blue Hole, a song produced from dropping a 5 lb bucket of paper clips on a steel beam, the radio waves that make up the voice of a star. But a weak prompt from highschool lit? You guys can do better.

Leap headfirst into a subsurface sinkhole:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQITWbAaDx0&feature=youtu.be&t=50s

The voice of a star:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-MBrW0QcfM

An image of Japanese urban decay

http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/International/06_japan_hashima_island_ll_...

An article about the Poetry of Parenthood:

http://www.npr.org/2012/07/23/157071197/its-a-genre-the-overdue-poetry-o...

 

Can't we do better...?

AnthonyDailey13's picture
AnthonyDailey13 from Arkansas is reading A stack of books that I always restock. July 1, 2014 - 11:32am

Dinner 

"While it was to dark yet to tell, Jamie was prettie sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow," Eric crossed out the line with his red pen. Before adding the revision he had in mind, he smelled something burning from the stove. 

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday July 1, 2014 - 11:46am

Common Sense

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

"Not today," she said as she left the scene and headed to the bar.  She was well aware of how horror stories worked.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones July 1, 2014 - 6:32pm

REDEEMER

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

She wiped her tears, extended her delicate fingers into the void. Because fear had done nothing but lead her down the long road to nowhere.

Daniel W Broallt's picture
Daniel W Broallt from Texas is reading The Emerald Mile July 2, 2014 - 5:42am

Dad's Other House

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow. His phonelight dispersed the darkness. He gasped. Nailed to the basement wall was a single tit, dried and cracked with age, but unmistably his mother's.

Taylor's picture
Taylor from Portland, Oregon is reading 'Alexander Hamilton' by Ron Chernow July 2, 2014 - 8:00am

Worthy suggestions, Sanbai, but I have found that prompts that are open-ended provide more insteresting results. And frankly, the entrants always provide great material, no matter how lame the prompt. The first few on here are already great. Perhaps you'd like like to take a stab at it, too?

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... from I'd prefer it if you didn't know. So would you, only you don't know it. is reading whatever he makes time for this week July 2, 2014 - 1:39pm

Metametafiction

When she leaned over his shoulder to see what Bret had written, Jaime blocked the fluorescent's scant light. While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

midnighttyper's picture
midnighttyper from England, South Yorkshire is reading The picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde July 3, 2014 - 7:14am

Awoken from another nightmare. Something sticky gripped in his hand. Moonlight shows the image of a naked man holding a dripping triangle on the wall. Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

Moxlonibus Krypt's picture
Moxlonibus Krypt July 7, 2014 - 7:55am

The Foreboding Shadow of Death

 

The shadow slowly crawled up the wall, imulating the living dead that leave their grave. Jamie had a cold sweat form like early winter rain. While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

DJSuptic's picture
DJSuptic from Olathe, KS is reading Making Money July 7, 2014 - 9:53am

Crossing the Shadow

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.
Of course, a black hole is all shadow, an anomaly of physics that devours everything, even light. And, Jamie too, in a few short seconds.

M. Gregory's picture
M. Gregory from Fort Lauderdale is reading Collected Stories of Raymond Carver July 14, 2014 - 6:32pm

And Shedding a Nameless Horror Round

As the generators struggled, the lights continued flickering. Humidity and desperate cries filled the room. While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing ever to happen was just on the other side of that shadow. The doctor stood, grinning. It’s a boy, he said.

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. July 12, 2014 - 3:46pm

Home

The taste of iron filled her mouth. The candle flickered, its wax seeping across the floor in front of her fingers. While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow. Then the pressure came...

BarryG's picture
BarryG July 15, 2014 - 1:21am

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow.

Then a light-switch clicked and instinctively, Jamie fired. “Surprise, happy…” his daughter managed to say, split-seconds before the bullet ripped through her and the cake.

 

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn July 17, 2014 - 2:41pm

Imbibition of the Spirits

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow. Yet she was drawn, or more pushed by a pain that only subsided the closer she drew to the black edge. 

"Cleanse," the void whispered.

Alaninportland's picture
Alaninportland July 21, 2014 - 4:23pm

While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty. I was sure. An eight at the worst. For such a disappointing thing to ever happen next was heartbreaking.  I flipped on my flashlight.  Her makeup was just on the wrong side of Haute Streetwalker.  All that eye shadow!

WilliamGrit's picture
WilliamGrit July 26, 2014 - 12:26pm
MAC's picture
MAC July 28, 2014 - 12:36pm

Faust's Sister
While it was too dark yet to tell, Jamie was pretty sure the worst thing to ever happen was just on the other side of that shadow. "So soon?" she thought. She would go, of course. "Give me your hand Brother," she called, then stepped into the slithering darkness and was gone.