Columns > Published on June 29th, 2012

UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: June Edition

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

How This Works

We give you something. It could be a picture or an idea or a sentence. You write a flash fiction piece, using the thing we gave you as inspiration. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked, and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 250 words is the limit (you can write less, but you can't write more)
  • Any genre
  • Give it a title
  • We're not exactly shy, but stay away from senseless racism or violence
  • One entry per person
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted (though don't go crazy)
  • LitReactor employees can enter, but they can't win

All stories submitted on or before June 28 will be considered. We'll run the winner on June 29. 

This Month's Prize

Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk, featuring new material and special design elements. Oh, and it'll be a signed edition. 

Your Inspiration

And the winner is... Karl M Schirrmacher!

This was a really hard choice. There were some incredible stories here this month. But this is the one I kept coming back to, because it deviated so hard from the picture while still evoking the sense of it. Cheers, Karl.  

A Toast to Bridges Burned

The punch of smoke hit his palate first, followed by a briny earthiness as if the sea had burned and left only this essence in his glass. It eased the pain of the day and gave clarity to the moment. The glass pulled at his lip before he thoughtfully set his drink back on the bar. Raul stirred on the worn barstool and thought back on the bridges he burned today.

Management had been coercive about the signature, but Raul wouldn’t do it. Anger had gotten the better of him and hot words spat across the room, leaving burn marks on the remaining goodwill. Cleaning out his desk by flipping over furniture only served to cutoff any chance of returning. He really didn’t care—the corporate world scarred him months ago. Better to return to work he knew that gave him dirty fingernails and a father’s guidance. Back to a father that taught Raul what he loved, how to create, and when to follow God’s lanterns.

Sitting at the bar, he celebrated today’s course correction with a double pour, neat—no garnish, no regrets. And a toast that’s been passed from huddled, laughing men of the family to curious, young ears of brothers and cousins always hovering nearby. Para todo mal, mezcal.

About the author

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor. His latest novel, The Paradox Hotel, will be released on Feb. 22 by Ballantine. He also wrote The Warehouse, which sold in more than 20 languages and was optioned for film by Ron Howard. Other titles include the Ash McKenna crime series, the short story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. Find more at

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