Columns > Published on October 31st, 2013

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

Flash Fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity

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 is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • The whole story must only be 2 sentences. No more. No less.
  • It can be any genre.
  • 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 day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before October 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on October 31.

This Month's Prize

Win a galley copy of Anthony Quinn's Border Angels (one of The Inspector Celcius Daly Mysteries).

Here's a bit about the book—which comes out this month—from

On the Irish border, Inspector Celcius Daly investigates human trafficking and a scorched corpse.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a rugged place: cold, windswept, and dark. For the girls brought here from Eastern Europe, it may as well be a war zone. Put to work in a farmhouse brothel near Dunmore, the women are forced into a living hell. One night, a pimp takes one of them for a ride. She is just planning her escape when the car explodes. The next morning, there is nothing left but the pimp’s charred body and the woman’s footprints in the snow.

As his forensics specialists turn their attention to the burned corpse, Police Inspector Celcius Daly obsesses over the footprints. Where exactly did the woman come from, and where did she go? It is the sort of question asked only in the borderlands—between North and South, between life and death.

Your Inspiration

I hate scary movies. There, I said it. Even though many are very, very good, I just am too chicken to watch them.

But....since it's almost Halloween...

I dare you to scare me.

That's right. You get 25 words and two sentences to scare the *Bleep* out of me. Good luck!

Now Get Writing!

And the winner is…Trevor Duplessis.

Well, you folks are a bunch of scary muthaeffers. I even starred as the intended victim in two entries from previous Flash Fiction winners artistic addict and BarryG. (Nice try, guys!)

But there was one entry that creeped me out so much, I almost didn’t select it as the winner. But then I realized, I told you to scare me, and this entry truly did.

Thanks to Trevor, I will never look at those little stick-figure-family car stickers the same ever again. *shudder* So, without further ado:


He peels the sticker of the little boy from the minivan window’s decal family as he walks by. They won't need it come morning.

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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