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.

Image of Invisible Monsters Remix
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Price: $25.82
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 320 pages

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Mitch Hodge's picture
Mitch Hodge from UK is reading Affluenza June 22, 2012 - 7:13am

Green-lit Script.

As the torrents of flame lick the sky, my totem falls to a flaccid state, wilting, mirroring the saplings along the forest’s edge.
Serenity washes over my turbulent mind. The starless sky above the forest adopts a red hue to match my previous fury.


And I smile.


The scene of my lost innocence plays on loop as I close my eyes, locking out the smog of my retribution. Within this maze of flame I have cured myself of past injustice. I can hear my younger self echo a message to me, from somewhere within my cells, from some particle that existed before the malignant betrayal; it tells me that I can be happy.


Let it go.


Burning it all down seemed the most logical way to clear the scene from my memory, destroying both actor and stage completes the atonement.  Welcome to the director’s cut of my sanity. 


Within the fiery chrysalis is a devourer of children, Mr. Abernathy, the corpulent and pallid usurper who stalks my dreams, Head Scout leader turned youth councillor, eternally he remains a rampant paedophile, but for the moment he has been converted to the torch of my pain and rage, burning out.


Combustion releases energy.


I catch a flake of ash on my tongue and swallow imagining his crumbling husk, the carbon joins me.
With bloodied hands I pull the pencil through the scene title etched on my script: Betrayal of Mr. A.


I turn the page for scene two.

bipolar666's picture
bipolar666 from Illinois is reading Hotels, Hospitals and Jails June 22, 2012 - 7:30am

The Caption

Jack looked at the clipping on his wall and smiled weakly. That was ten years ago. He had been in the Army at the time, college loans had created the urge for patriotic service just prior to 9-11. His recruiter had mentioned Fairbanks as the best kept secret in the Army. It was a decision that he’d live to regret. It was June then, patchy snow still on the ground. He and his buddies had left base on a four day pass joyriding with a 32-pack into the hills outside Fairbanks. They had started a small tinder fire that wasn’t much to look at and Jack decided to embellish the flame from what he could find in the back of his truck. Brake fluid, motor oil, and gasoline would have to suffice. Welling up inside Jack was the discontent of four years of road marches, subpolar field problems, and mosquitoes the size of birds and thick as ants. The sun would not shine for more than two hours a day for nine months out of the year and he’d developed quite a drinking habit as a result. His longtime girlfriend had broken off the long distance relationship citing that “he had changed,” and he had. He was miserable now. “This state must burn,” he thought to himself and trudged back up the hill. Jack blinked and glanced back at the clipping and read the caption, “Fairbanks wildfire gets out of control, burns 400,000 acres.”

Jeff Kyle Jr's picture
Jeff Kyle Jr June 22, 2012 - 7:46am

Filth

“Emma-Rae! Come on!” Brad shouted, pounding the hood of his pickup. His wife just stared at the hillside, her hands clasped over her mouth in horror.

The fire worked its way down through the forest a bit faster than a man could walk. Its advance was slow but undeniable. Irreversible. Every so often the line would skip forward a bit when a tree fell, screaming, towards the cul-de-sac. Flames would crawl forward a bit faster, urged on by the gesture.

The fire didn’t threaten the circle of homes at the bottom of the hill. A threat implies a chance of escape. These flames promised.

Emma-Rae Barry stood in the center of a road that would soon be so much molten tar among houses that would be nothing but charcoal and ignored her husband. She wasn’t looking at the fire. She was looking through it. Her mind’s eye went past the columns of burning trees that cracked and exploded in the heat. It moved further, barely noticing the wasteland of ash and smoke. Finally it came to rest in a now charred clearing where she and the others had gathered in a circle that evening. Like pagans, she’d thought with a thrill. Scott had brought the gasoline. Julie brought those filthy books. Emma-Rae tossed the match.

As the fire crept downward she felt its heat and smelled its stench. But the sound! Beneath the crackling roar was a hiss of breath. As it came, Emma-Rae heard.

“Shhhhhh.”

idlepete's picture
idlepete June 22, 2012 - 4:29pm

Heart exploding, chest bursting, legs seizing, he made it to the top of the ridge. Crouching down behind the rocks, he took in the scene. The Rockies. The mountains bulged up towards the cold blue expanse above, snow capping the treeline. And below, the forest he knew so well, an ocean of leaves stretching away. A man could get lost in there... and survive.

Fear and hope stilled him. He slowed his breathing, listened. He couldn’t hear the dogs anymore. He gauged the drop down the steep bank. Treacherous. He’d need to be...

Recognition hit him. This was where Alex had been hiding, here behind these rocks at the top of this ridge, working up the courage to make the jump across open ground to the trees, no idea he was caught in the crosshairs when...

He spun as he heard the crack! of the rifle, felt his ankle turn under him and then the world turned into a place of bone-breaking pain as he tumbled down the bank.

He opened his eyes after who knew how long, and saw that the man was stood over him, his hands behind his back, immaculate as ever in black, implacable behind his mirrored sunglasses. Terror swelled as one pale hand reached up to remove them.

“Ready for more now?”

The glasses came away. He stared into those furious eyes as his broken body began to cook, the forest around them burst into flames, and he remembered just where the hell he was.

Tyler Brouwer's picture
Tyler Brouwer from Minneapolis, MN is reading Underworld June 22, 2012 - 7:03pm

Reasons to die

Dead.
The first thing on everyone’s mind was how dead they were. The last thing on everyone’s mind was how they were going to survive, because none of them wanted that. There was a girl with a pearl necklace that glimmered with the dancing orange flames across the valley, a boy with a tattoo on his left arm of a six-legged bug he insisted was a spider, and a man holding a handgun.


The boy with the tattoo wondered what difference the fire made, now. They were going to die already and he knew that life insurance was one of the components of the very comprehensive benefits package his new job afforded him.


But what he didn’t realize was that his benefactor was the girl, and the girl’s benefactor was the gunman, and the man had no benefactors. The money would go to the state.


The girl with the necklace cried because she knew there was no pretty way to die. She clutched the boy’s hand and wept—she always looked so pretty when she cried.


The man with the gun stared, dumbfounded, at the fire. Out of the three of them, he was the one who was supposed to survive today. He was the one who was supposed to do the killing. Now, it seemed, nature would not only do his job, but do him in as well.


He shrugged, the girl shrugged, and the boy shrugged.


Everyone shrugged in unison while the fire crossed the valley toward them.

Jason's picture
Jason from Branson is reading 1984 June 22, 2012 - 9:55pm

Smoky

 

Johnny, my half brother, looks at me all burnt and pissed like it’s my fault and says: "I’m SO telling Mom on you."


I’m all, “you were the one who brought the cigarettes and bottle rockets, you Idiot!”


And he’s all, “Yah, but you’re the one that started shooting ‘em at my face. I told you! You can’t light up with a rocket. But NO...”


“Well, it worked in Guinness. World record says nine feet.”


“Really? You’re and Asshole!”


“Dick shit!”


“Butt wipe!”


I’ve got the words “screw you,” all over my lips when Johnny’s fist makes me spit ‘em out on the dirt, along with my retainer. I’m twelve years old and I still wear a retainer...I know.


I wrench my arm up with an upper cut and both his jaw and my hand go flippity-floppity. When you’re in junior high, fights usually only last about one swing each...


Moans and groans.


He’s covering his mouth and saying, “You made me bite my tongue!”


But all I can hear is Smoky the freakin’ Bear in my head saying: “Only you can prevent forest fires.” And I’m thinking, “well screw you, Smoky. That’s the worst anti-fire campaign ever. How about: Burn a forest and enjoy life in Juvenile...Bitch.” Now I’d probably listen to that.


The forest was our only secret place to smoke. Now it’s everyones night light. Everyones personal Fourth of July.


I look at Johnny and go, “Well, at least we’ve got marshmallows.”

AmandaJ_V's picture
AmandaJ_V June 23, 2012 - 7:16am

The Fourth State

He looked over his shoulder. He could hear them now, car engines muffled by the wood, getting closer. Fingers of light probed, long shadows arcing. Darkness won’t save me now. If I could reach the river, I’d have a chance.

He pushed on, eyes straining in the gloom for a hint of silver, a sliver of river through the trees. His legs burned, his heart felt too big for his chest. Sweat itched his body.

He could hear their voices now, an echo of success, shouted. They had picked up his scent. Close. Run, faster.

Fear made him careless. Dry leaves and grass crunched and cracked as he blundered through the forest. Brittle branches whipped his face, snapping into hinged pointers. He could make out different voices now. Two, maybe three. Men, a boy. I need the water.  

Through the dense brush he saw a flicker, moonlight on a moving river.  Far away, too far away. Suddenly he knew. I wont reach it in time. He stopped. Oddly calm, relieved, accepting. It’s over. 

He breathed deeply, the night heat parching his throat. He reached into his pocket for his cigarettes and matches. Hand cupped over flame, he singed a Lucky Strike, sucking hard. Can’t hurt now. Waiting.

Nicotine flooded his brain. Tossing the cigarette, he grabbed his matches.

James Dougherty's picture
James Dougherty from Liverpool, England is reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater June 23, 2012 - 11:04am

Guatemalan Blend

 

Me and Jess are out back, watching the fire slithering its way towards town. It’s the third day running now, and that wind aint changing any time soon. Young Billy next door started stuffing boxes into the back of his car this afternoon. The Van Breenens left yesterday. Carl says it’s nature’s way of balancing things out, that we’ve rode our luck out here for too long.


I can tell Jess is agitated, sitting beside me. I take a sip of coffee. Doc says I need to stop drinking it so late, but it aint killed me yet. Plus it keeps me off the beer. Jess looks scared now. I stroke her head and unhook her leash. It’s no good me keeping her here with me. She looks into my eyes. I can see how confused she is. But then she remembers the fire blazing away behind her. I tell her it’s ok, not to fret. It’s time for her to go.


The damn thing won’t move though. I yell at her, tell her to go, but she just lays down, scared. I kick her hard, although it breaks my heart. She yelps and runs out of the front yard, towards Bentley Hill. Away from the fire. Away from me. I take another sip of my coffee. Doc says I need to stop drinking it so late, but it aint killed me yet.

MissM's picture
MissM June 24, 2012 - 4:55pm

" Trophy"

The fire ablazed into our living
And we walked hand in hand
We must not separate for fools
Who are blind, young younglings
Cannot see truth.

“What happened to them, Madam?”
“They burned into trophies.”

The Madam went upstairs
Sat at her dresser table
Took off her makeup

Burnt scars of a lover
Who was saved.

M.E.Prince's picture
M.E.Prince from Georgia is reading En man som heter Ove June 25, 2012 - 12:50am

SACRIFICE

He saw her hair in the fire, and it brought him back.

“Bridget?”

Even before he noticed how the air burned in his lungs, he had a cool blue memory of her. A starry night by the lake. Her fiery hair against a black shirt. The mist from her breath. Warm lips.

He sucked in a breath. His chest was an oven. “Bridget?”

A body, cut and broken, lay on the bonfire.

“Oh.” He opened his hand to drop the dagger. It stuck to his skin a moment before falling to the dirt.

With its new life, the fire had stretched and spread until the entire world burned.

This wasn’t what he had been promised. Something had gone wrong. The old woman.

Long before the fire, he had met a woman; a hunched, depraved old thing, so twisted that he’d had a hard time imagining that she’d ever been like Bridget. She’d said he was chosen. She could tell him exactly what to do.

Life had gone hazy after that. He had set Bridget aside and let the old woman guide him down perverse roads. Blood. Cruelty. Madness. Other women had littered the path, but when the old woman had spoken of a sacrifice, he could only think of one woman he wanted to feed to the flames.

It had seemed only natural. He had always seen fire in her hair.

kester651's picture
kester651 from Dallas is reading Sugar Frosted Nutsack June 25, 2012 - 12:54pm

So It Begins

The image gazing back at Mike from the toothpaste coated mirror was a gross misrepresentation of the JPEG he uploaded to what was to be his first Men Seeking Women ad on Craigslist. 

It wasn't intentional. 

He had to travel back in time over ten years on his hard drive to locate a picture that didn't include his recently divorced spouse and estranged stepson. 

The bulging pecs in the photo from his 30s had slowly transformed into wrinkled, off color skin covered with tufts of course grey hair cleavage extending in a wave through his top shirt button.

His punkish hairstyle remained constant through the years.   However his scalp was now almost bald, surrounded by a perimeter of highlighted spikes drenched in mousse.  The whole sticky frosted mess blazed like a micro forest fire as he finished it with a couple of puffs from a hairdryer. 

A single tear rolling down his left cheek, acknowledging the madness of the reflection.  He was briefly concerned his anticipated companion may not recognize him from the picture. 

His lips quivered, and he sang off key in a shaky voice as he continued to preen for his rendezvous. 

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty..."

Shana's picture
Shana from Born in New Orleans, residing in the Pacific Northwest is reading Chi Running, Game of Thrones, and Capitol Murder June 25, 2012 - 9:32pm

She Gets The House

"Well, I guess this is it," he said.

"Yeah, I guess so," she replied. "Do you have everything you wanted?"

He looked over his shoulder into the back of his jeep at the pile of crap - an old quilt, a set of dull knives, a birdhouse painted to look like a general store. There was nothing there that he needed or wanted, but he had been led to believe that divvying up the accumulated rubbish was the expected thing to do at the time of a break up, so he had obliged. Another rite of passage checked off the list.

She stood on the porch of the cabin, her arms wrapped around her waist, hugging herself as of she were chilled even though the heat was sweltering. 

"So, okay," she said, "I guess..."

"Yeah," he said, "I'd better get going."

She looked relieved to hear it, and raised a hand in a half-hearted wave.

He backed out of the driveway and turned the jeep around, taking one last look at the cabin that he'd once planned to retire too.

He took a deep last drag of his cigarette and headed down the road, flicking the butt out of the window into the dry brown grass.  

Lance Knight's picture
Lance Knight June 26, 2012 - 3:58pm

Burning The Bound Heart
     Darius launched back the bottle of rum he had clutched all night for one more bitter taste of consciousness. 151 filled his throat, overflowing, spilling past his lips and down to his chest. In one quick motion he ripped the bottle from his mouth and hurled it at the tree he had been standing in front of. Alcohol washed over the symbol he had carved into the pine tree years ago. A jagged heart with the letters “C+D” just off center marked the spot Darius and Candice first confessed their love for one another. Where an unbreakable childhood friendship became a love affair; where Darius found Candice’s lifeless body just four months ago in the spring.
     Since finding Candice, Darius had been a busy boy. Finding a murderer is hard, time consuming work. Trying to find the four man team that gutted the innocence of a girl and then brutally ripped away her last breath, while the useless small town police had targeted him as the primary suspect was quite the endeavor. All that didn’t matter now. Darius’s hard work and hellish summer was reaching its finale.
     Standing in the dark forest Darius removed a pack of smokes, Candice’s brand. Originally five stems were left, now only one remained. He lit the last cigarette and took a well-deserved, satisfying drag. He looked up at the four men bound to the tree, exhaled and flicked the cigarette igniting the heart on the tree and the smell of rum, pine and flesh.

Chris McCann's picture
Chris McCann June 26, 2012 - 11:28pm
                              PAGING NURSE FLAMINGO

 

The fire is blazing around me.  Smoke choking me like an angry rapist, life on the line.  Where have I come from that I've created this sinferno?  Is this another manifestation of the self-destruction that I've so often failed at before or am I just destroying something beautiful because I, in fact, am not?

The sound of the hellfire sounds like war.  The trees are exploding as if in overwhelming furious rage.  They fight back in a way that I was always afraid to.  Run!  Run!  Run!  Or is it Burn! Burn! Burn?  Should I slumber in this death bed that I've created?  Or do I flee to start another...and another...and another? 

I've destroyed so much in my life, just not quite so literally.  The peace that I've coveted for so long has become fallow.  Dirty ink covers my once white canvas of a body.  Dirty blood swims these veins as if hunting for any unsoiled humanity. 

So I run.  And then I walk.  And then as the glowing ember clouds embrace me with it's warm and seething arms...I sit.  Legs of stone and a heart at ease, I sit.  I dream.  I believe.  I burn.

Heather Constantinescu's picture
Heather Constan... from Indianapolis, Indiana is reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman June 27, 2012 - 5:54am

The Transfer
 

We’ve always started over, as long as we had each other. And today isn’t any different. It’s outside the window, my love. I know you can’t see, so I’ll just tell you what is there. The trees across the valley are on fire. There is smoke everywhere. The window is getting coated with ash. There’s been no rain for the longest time, and maybe some numbskull started a campfire. Who knows? So they’re going to evacuate all the patients. Don’t be scared. Okay? I’ll be right there with you at the shelter. They’re going to airlift you and your roommate Dottie to a high school gymnasium in Boulder. I’ll be taken there on the shuttle. I packed our picture albums, and your knitting, and your favorite books and CD’s. I’ll bring Lenny in his cat carrier. He’s not very happy right now, you know he likes to go outside whenever he wants. I can’t risk letting him roam around. He misses you. We’ll meet at the school and then I will stay with you until this is over. They’re going to give you some oxygen while you’re in the air. I know the smoke makes it hard to breathe.


It doesn’t matter if the fire gets our house, as long as we’re alive. Don’t be afraid. There’s nothing we can’t overcome, as long as we’re together. 
 

wavedomer's picture
wavedomer from Boise is reading Rum Punch June 27, 2012 - 2:05pm

Smokejumper

 The chute catches the air, opens, and my mind is on sewing. My chute is a map of patch countries, holding a man weighing 185 pounds with 110 pounds of equipment. 295 pounds versus a bunch of stitching.
  The Twin Otter’s engines get lost in the rushing wind above. I’m on my way to the backcountry floor. The hot air from the fire is rising, my hands start sweating. The wedding ring bites into my knuckle so I release my hand from the chute strap.

  “Can you teach me how to use that machine?”
  She looked up from her magazine to where I nodded. “What’s a big strong man like you need to use a sewing machine for anyway?”
  “I’m going to be a smokejumper.”
  “Since when?”
  “Since I just got accepted at the base in McCall, Idaho. They all know how to sew.”
  “Do they know about relationships?”
  “It’s a job. You can come up there with me.”
  “Idaho? What about the station here?”
  “I don’t want that right now. This is just for a few years and it’s seasonal.”

  The wind carries me closer to the drop zone, about 4 miles away from the blaze. It’s a long walk and will be a long fight. Relaxing, the chute cradles me. There are about thirty patches on the chute. The sunlight filters through them in soft colors. At first it’s strange to see all those patches, but after 10 years I still know how to sew.

Rubylea Demarco's picture
Rubylea Demarco from Portland, Oregon is reading every summer dies a swan, Aldous Huxley June 27, 2012 - 10:06am

Ends in Red


I thought it would get easier over time to slip from one module to the next.  A midnight swim, a change of clothes.  Different perfume.  Never the same jewelry.
You're different now, girl.
Changed. Transformed, and better.  However, what I always suspected is true: better doesn’t always mean doing well.
Not even my mind is a constant. Actually, it is constant. A constant state of confusion with only brief moments of clarity. No easy answers, no clear line dividing right and wrong, trying to explain myself but always coming up short. Unable to articulate.
They said taking of spirits will cloud the brain, but when I drink I see everything so clearly. All the boxes and compartments inside laid out in perfect synchronization making a fantastic maze in my head.  The mind modules.  The walls standing tall.  Keeping them all separate and intact is a harder and heavier task then I had bargained for.  It’s exhausting.  It’s became too much for one person to bear.
If I don't keep them apart they'll all burn. We'll all burn. But it will be fabulous for us who wanted it done right. Those who would rather burn into the night in a beautiful orange and red heaven rather then slowly decay in hellish shades of grey, spreading misery to all around them.  They won't mind that I've let go, and the others, well the others..... I just can't bring myself to care about saving them anymore.

Ritwik Deshpande's picture
Ritwik Deshpande from India is reading Breakfast of Champions June 29, 2012 - 8:47am

Trouble

You’re on a hilltop. A cigarette dangles out your mouth. Your thoughts hurt. The smoke’s a bonfire warming your throat, your consolation.

Do you know your fingers led you straight into a landmine?

Below, too many trees sway with the wind.

A landmine's the tiny mistake you make without thinking. The kind that blows up in your face.

 

At work, you were on the phone trying to sell sauna belts that melt flab. You tugged at a wire between your thumb and middle finger.

Then a monitor was headed for the floor. Smash. There's severed curcuitry everywhere. The wire you were pulling poked out the monitor’s back. Your one wrong move, now look for someone to blame.

 

Now the wind's calmed your nerves. You promise yourself you’ll pay more attention. You won’t let you let yourself down anymore. Rejuvenated, you’re on your feet.

You hold what remains of the cigarette between your middle finger and thumb and flick it into the distance. You forgot to stub it out. One end’s still lit and it’s headed straight for the forest.

It lands on a dried leaf and starts a fire that consumes it whole, then the next in the pile, then the next, then the next, then the whole thing burns orange.

You blink and the trees are embers. You blink some more and the wood is ash. Your one wrong move, now look for someone to blame.

SuziO's picture
SuziO from Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia June 27, 2012 - 5:23pm

Fire


He speaks harsh words to me. His face is a red circle of rage, marred only by the flash of white teeth and the darks of his eyes. His features contort this way and that, stretching his skin in improbable directions. He is screaming, or at least yelling very loudly. His words are harsh, designed to slice and dice. I cannot understand them, though their meaning has become familiar. The only problem is that this makes them useless, ineffective. I am not moved.

“Are you listening to me?” he demands.

“How could I not?” I reply. His expression performs another bout of acrobatic contortions; eyebrows struggle to reach his hairline, folding his forehead into deep pleats. I have never before seen anyone open their mouth that wide.

Perhaps this is not the moment to be flippant.

Bang. Whoosh.

A tree on the hillside behind him is suddenly overrun by bright orange and yellow flame. From where I stand, it looks as though his right ear has just caught fire.  I try unsuccessfully to supress a giggle. The noise erupts hysterically from some part of myself lacking in self-preservation. A second tree lights up, this time beside his left ear. I stand perfectly still so as to maintain the effect of fire coming out of his ears.  I suppose this is a step up from steam coming out of your ears.

He needs to calm down or the whole forest will catch fire. I poke my tongue out at him.

V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow January 15, 2013 - 3:14am

.

Lou's picture
Lou from AMERIKUH is reading Trainspotting June 28, 2012 - 6:45pm

Darl Is A Stupid Hick Anyways

    The oldest cousin, Darl, collects our empty beer cans. He stands them up in the dried up grass on the hill behind the house and between the old fucked up trees.
    The family spends a week here every year in this forest, and the air is juicy-full of heat. Too heavy to breathe right. The older kids take an old BB gun out behind the house and shoot at cans and furry things. We all go up the hill after to see how bad we fucked the cans up. Pick them up and rattle them to hear the BBs.
    Darl says, "Check out these ants."  There's this long, thick stripe of ants moving down towards the house from one anthill to another. Crawling over the white-dry dead grass and BBs and each others bodies, carrying their little white formless babies down with them.
    Darl says, "We don't want those fuckers near the house." I imagine them breeding in the Hostess cupcakes, stashing their babies there in the cream filling.
    Darl goes down to this old rotten shed and he comes back with a red plastic jug of gasoline. He pours it over the anthills and the ropy black trail, and I say, "You gonna light that shit?"
    "Hell no. Grass's dry as hell," he tells me.
    So I touch the matches in my pocket and wait until Darl goes back inside.

Kevin Maddox's picture
Kevin Maddox from Melstrand, Mi is reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut June 30, 2012 - 7:03am

That was an awesome story and I'm not saying he didn't deserve to win, but it's still June where I'm at, and I would have still read another submission if someone had been holding out till the final hour...

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this June 30, 2012 - 7:24am

Kevin, if you'll check the contest rules in the post, we were not at all unclear about the timing.

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

Kevin Maddox's picture
Kevin Maddox from Melstrand, Mi is reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut July 1, 2012 - 4:03pm

Haha, sorry, I don't pay much attention to rules.

 

garry91's picture
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