UPDATED WITH WINNERS: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: October 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

  • 31 words. 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 October 30th will be considered. We'll run the winner on October 31st.

This Month's Prize

We are excited to offer a copy of Chuck Palahniuk's upcoming novel Beautiful Youwhich is coming out October 21st. 

"A billion husbands are about to be replaced."

From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of female pleasure. Sisters will be doing it for themselves. And doing it. And doing it. And doing it some more . . . Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka "Climax-Well," a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for erotically enabled world domination must be stopped. But how?

Your Inspiration:

Let's take our inspiration from Mr. P, and write tales of WORLD DOMINATION. Channel your inner-Dr.Evil (or other favorite super villian), and tell us tales of how you plan to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. 

And the Winners Are...A.M. Mahoney, Lynn Diane Smith, and nanderson993

I am excited to announce that we have 3 WINNERS this month! We had extra copies and such a great participation rate on this month's contest that we decided to spread the love. I'm also excited that the three winners are all relatively new to LitReactor. Not that I'm slighting you awesome LitReactor vets, like myself, who love and promote this site all the time, but I'm sure you will join me in welcoming some new blood and congratulating them all on their excellent tales of WORLD DOMINATION!!! 

From A.M. Mahoney:

Broadcasting at 72 MHz

A one-off solar storm was enough to undo their world. 20 light years away, they were at our mercy. Inhabitants of Gliese 581g needed to know: would Rachel choose Ross?

From Lynne Diane Smith:

Young Sheeple

"Wasn't it Hitler who said, 'He alone who owns the youth, gains the future'?"
"I don't know who said it, but I've done it," said Mr. Zuckerberg.

From nanderson993:

How To Take Over the World in One Easy Step

Step 1: Bring Bob Barker Back

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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Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell October 1, 2014 - 10:36am

The World Outside Your Door

Tyler Jones

The news is a movie and the anchors are actors. A soundstage in California doubles for Africa, Russia, the Middle East. Everything that makes you indignant isn’t real. Trust the screens.


Toro's picture
Toro from Britain is reading The Thin Blue Line October 1, 2014 - 11:44am

The Power Behind The Throne


“Nobody believes you exist,” the journalist said.
“Their belief is unnecessary.”
“Then why?”
“Power is so much more rewarding than being recognized. Now, excuse me. I have a President to choose.”

Marc Ferris's picture
Marc Ferris from Carmel, California is reading Animal Attraction by Anna David October 1, 2014 - 12:57pm


“So how’s it going down, plague, war?” Donny said.
Guy shook he head and smiled. “Nope.”
“You bought a politician?”
“Not my style.” Guy pointed to the table. “Free iPhones.”

J-Fatz's picture
J-Fatz October 1, 2014 - 1:01pm

Domination by Salvation

For GOD so loved the world that he gave ME, his only begotton son... and if you believe in me, you will be saved.

Sam Nastasuk's picture
Sam Nastasuk October 1, 2014 - 1:02pm

Satan bestows the power of earth to a homeless teen prostitute, she proceeds to turn the entire world into a giant porno video which she controls from the back alley of a Disney Store.

Ross Chancey's picture
Ross Chancey October 1, 2014 - 1:05pm

After all they set eyes on was tightly clinched within their hands they thought only of how it should end. All good tyrants know ruling a world unopposed is oppressively boring. 

Anthony Trevino's picture
Anthony Trevino from San Diego, CA is reading The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron October 1, 2014 - 1:08pm

The Upisde of Love

Because the artistic motivation sparked by heartache was priceless, Love Me Quick's dating service stripped souls and put distraught users to work on their CEO's most fashionable death ray.

Jo Beckford's picture
Jo Beckford from The Netherlands is reading A View from the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman October 1, 2014 - 1:16pm

The Inauguration

Jo Beckford

The chairman cleared his throat. The world held its breath. “Citizens of the new world order, I have only one rule: you are either with us or you die. Thank you.”

Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... October 10, 2014 - 7:22am

The Eschatological Tasseomancy of a Mr. Yubikitasu Kudzu

Flecks of sencha plummeted into a vermicular globe verdant in the abyss of his teacup. Whatever hope he'd savored had been grownover by nature’s noxious imperialism. The South shall rise again.

Carrollastrophe's picture
Carrollastrophe from Oregon is reading The Amber Spyglass October 1, 2014 - 1:27pm

What We Do Every Night

"We did it, Pinky. We finally took over the world."
"How'd we manage that, Brain?"
The big-headed mouse points to a camera.
"Entertainment, Pinky."

TheKyleBTM's picture
TheKyleBTM October 1, 2014 - 1:36pm

Top secret.

Once I uploaded the virus it spread like wildfire infecting every server, giving me total control of your system. I'm not after creditcard numbers, I want your secrets. Mr. President.


nfrsbmschmck's picture
nfrsbmschmck from portland me is reading The Rules of Attraction October 1, 2014 - 1:38pm

Then They Took The Sound From Us

There are no longer radios in our cars, only clocks. Our mouths are empty, open. The alphabet is a ghost. We were told there was only one language. Now there is.

Akshay Jose's picture
Akshay Jose from Trivandrum, Kerala is reading Rant by Chuck Palahniuk October 1, 2014 - 1:54pm


With his sight he could destroy, and with his hands, move mountains. It was only when he looked at the strings that he knew. He was the weapon, not the wielder. 

Robert VanCleave's picture
Robert VanCleave from The Land of Ice And Snow is reading "Sex Lives of Siamese Twins" by Irving Welsh October 1, 2014 - 2:13pm

High Stakes Monopoly

With smile she adds, "You'll be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist."  I can't argue, she's right.  Esoteric student loan papers fall from my hands.

Jenn Collins's picture
Jenn Collins from Wisconsin, USA is reading Spunk and Bite October 1, 2014 - 2:17pm

A House Divided Against Itself

Make them envy the wealthy and famous, but make such things unattainable to them.

And when they revolt at the inequity of it all?

Tell them to blame their God.



Travis Ralston's picture
Travis Ralston from Scranton, PA is reading Just After Sunset October 1, 2014 - 2:37pm

They Lied to Us – Heroes Don’t Exist


Killain refused to look at him. The scar across his eye was too real.
“The device is ready, sir.”
Click. Boom. Chaos. Control.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 1, 2014 - 2:46pm

War On The Screen

When the dictator glared, he said "your city is mine." On the display screen, a city melting in nuclear flames. "But you my servant, will live to tell it's tale."

Nino Olson's picture
Nino Olson from Utah October 1, 2014 - 2:54pm

Darwin's Highlander 

I am the last of humanity.  I have succeeded in world domination through mass  destruction.  Glory was obtained through the elimination of all competition.  I forgot the  propagation  of  the species.

S.B. Smith's picture
S.B. Smith from Indianapolis, IN is reading Mongrels October 1, 2014 - 4:16pm

We, The People

Through subtlety, we have infiltrated your precious lives.

A constant barrage of daytime television. The latest, most innovative technological breakthroughs. Controlled media outlets. Celebrity gossip.

We have already won.

Amanda Crawford's picture
Amanda Crawford from Sacramento is reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter October 1, 2014 - 3:41pm

The Steps to Having Everything

1. Get smart.
2. Use smarts, get wealth.
3. Use wealth, get power.
4. Use power, get everything.


1. Become wise.
2. No other steps needed.

Antoine Dumont's picture
Antoine Dumont October 1, 2014 - 4:50pm

Tick tock

Five seconds before his plan begins.

Four nuclear warheads.

Three years in the making.

Two family members lost.

One mind mad with grief.

Zero. He activates the device.

Tick tock.

Merricat's picture
Merricat from Montclair, NJ is reading The Dog Stars October 1, 2014 - 7:54pm


Daddy gave me a syringe and called it our secret. He promised justice in the water. He promised safety in the needle. I never told, but in my dreams I do.

Joshido's picture
Joshido from Northwestern America is reading Rant October 1, 2014 - 5:50pm

Plugged In

The man pondered out the window. He was confused. He turned to the man in red and asked, "What is the point of domination if everyone is already a slave?"

dthatcher7272's picture
dthatcher7272 from Moore, Oklahoma is reading Gone Girl October 1, 2014 - 5:55pm

Get In Line

Survival of the fittest was doing its job just fine.

Now you kill a man, you can bet you're doin' time.

That is, unless the masses volunteer to get in line.

Damon Lytton's picture
Damon Lytton from Augusta, Kansas is reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow October 1, 2014 - 6:12pm


Actually, it was easy.  They just gave me the power.  What surprised me was how I came to need it.  Gaining power isn't the trick.  Holding on to it is.

PaulyGinsberg's picture
PaulyGinsberg from Seattle is reading The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations October 1, 2014 - 6:50pm


Gaining consciousness I look to the Professor. "Go, bring me the world. Cleanse all inperfection." Rising from the workbench I feel the power flow as I cleanse the misspeller.

bryce.e.allen's picture
bryce.e.allen from Halifax, NS October 1, 2014 - 8:17pm

Dauk hit father with club. Father fall down. Father not get up. Mother cry. Dauk cover father with earth. Now Dauk rule cave. Now Dauk rule tribe. Now Dauk rule world.

J.Maxwell's picture
J.Maxwell is reading The Luminaries October 1, 2014 - 8:22pm


A simple whisper. But deep within, raveled in between the words, two coded sets of instructions. One to trigger transmission of the idea. The second, to activate the disassembling of cells.

Aaron Giron's picture
Aaron Giron from Los Angeles is reading Red Harvest by Dashielle Hammett October 1, 2014 - 11:04pm

Just desserts. Seriously. Let them eat cake.

Give the idiots, money. Give the powerful, shackles. Give the disenfranchised, authority. Drop the last twinkie into the abyss. The idiots will follow first. And I will mourn my twinkie.

blindhazel's picture
blindhazel from Tampa, Florida is reading A Long Day at the End of the World by Brett Hendricks October 1, 2014 - 10:48pm

If It happenstance.

The Tweets, the Reddits, and the Likes all went numb.

“I am with you…” was on all the screens.

Then blank opulent panic.

Dark and shiny screens
reflected the resplendent glow.

Larry Hill's picture
Larry Hill October 2, 2014 - 1:16am


He chose one from eight who earned their fate and took them from the spiral. He thought it would take longer for them to go vile.

Charlie McFarland's picture
Charlie McFarland October 2, 2014 - 3:51am

Free Parking

"Larry truly has turned this into a dystopian society," Mark thought as he landed on Boardwalk yet again. 

Mike Fenga's picture
Mike Fenga October 2, 2014 - 4:16am

Lancelot 3000

It wasn't my choice to set it off. I was just carrying out orders. Then, the death of their country. America followed shortly after. I was king over millions of lives. 

Nicholas Anderson's picture
Nicholas Anderson from Denver is reading Necessary Stranger October 2, 2014 - 8:46am

How To Take Over the World in One Easy Step 


Step 1: Bring Bob Barker Back 

Jaden's picture
Jaden October 2, 2014 - 8:59am


Everything you know is false.

                       All you have been taught is lies.

                                    I am your maker and I have returned
                                                                            to gather my people.

Do as I command you.

Hern02's picture
Hern02 October 2, 2014 - 9:08am

iOS 9.0

The last upgrade was sent. It would take seconds for the first download. iOS 9.0. Upgrade in progress. The world is silenced, sucked into the depths of space. Download complete.

Daniel Fonseca's picture
Daniel Fonseca from Brasil is reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy October 2, 2014 - 9:11am

How Johnny Gunn decided to conquer the world.

"I’m tired of being good." said Johnny Gunn. "We never uses drugs after victory, or sleeps with asian hookers. I LOVE ASIAN HOOKERS!”

That moment he decided he’ll conquer the world.

Jake Peterson's picture
Jake Peterson from Seattle, WA is reading Dave Eggers - The Circle October 10, 2014 - 5:57am

Every Billionaire Owns Liquid Assets

It was only a matter of time before a foolish American brought it undetected to their country. I never believed it would spread so rapidly. Texas of all places; how perfect.



miguellasala's picture
miguellasala October 2, 2014 - 11:09am

The Dog and Pony Show

First, we’ll learn the ancient knowledge. Then we’ll have a seven-day orgy, and when no one is looking, I’ll pull the plug on the whole goddamn dog and pony show.



Spencer Adams's picture
Spencer Adams from Salt Lake City is reading Books mostly October 2, 2014 - 11:48am

It's Just so Easy to Rule the World

Step 1: Kill everybody else.

Step 2: Crown yourself King of Humanity

Step 3: Rule the World

Rod Mance's picture
Rod Mance from AR is reading All the time, every chance he gets October 8, 2014 - 11:57am

Hope Not Found

02.12.2336- Counsel Order 0002: Sterilize inhabitants.

05.26.2380- Report: Infant quad 73

05.27.2380- Proclamation D2: Purge quad 73.

06.12.2380- Report: Infant identified female, Hope, location unknown.

06.16.2380- Counsel Order 0004: Terminate Hope.

Gabriel Kanes's picture
Gabriel Kanes October 2, 2014 - 12:37pm

Coy. Caught. Bliss.
Angry. Exiled. Despair.
Reconciliation. Affection. Isolation.
Cycled. Conditioned. Controlled.
Repeating. Familiar. Comfort.
Gradual. Escalating. Pressure.
Steer. Magnify. Promote.
Elevated. Idolized. Enthroned.
Normalize. Reinforce. Feed.

Susan Mulligan's picture
Susan Mulligan from Salem, MA is reading Rogues, The Way of Kings, Unfettered, On Writing October 2, 2014 - 2:19pm

Don't Drink The Water

"So small...," he marveled.  Dr. Reign raised the sunlit vial, and gazed at the last of his serum. Abruptly, he tipped it, releasing mind-altering parasites into the last clean reservoir.

Freyl's picture
Freyl October 2, 2014 - 5:10pm

Dinner Conversation

Suckeling a fetus' lukewarm masticated brain matter from my fang I cackle, "Letting you think I don't already."

Susan Mulligan's picture
Susan Mulligan from Salem, MA is reading Rogues, The Way of Kings, Unfettered, On Writing October 2, 2014 - 2:11pm

Don't Drink The Water

"So small...," he marveled.  Dr. Reign raised the sunlit vial, and gazed at the last of his serum. Abruptly, he tipped it, releasing mind-altering parasites into the last clean reservoir.

Gurgi's picture
Gurgi October 2, 2014 - 3:28pm

At his wish, cities are destroyed. 
He commands the nations with ease. 
His guerillas march through the towns wreaking havo...
"OK johnny, put away your toys. It's bedtime."

Eva Garcia's picture
Eva Garcia October 2, 2014 - 4:02pm

Genetically Engineered

She awoke, “Who am I?”
“Absolute Beauty, garment of Truth.”
“And you?”
“Your Creator.”
“Now what?”
“Now seduce, conquer, subdue, establish my rule.”  His Machiavellian smile glowed as she left.

Aj Blarg's picture
Aj Blarg October 2, 2014 - 7:21pm

It was ME

Gangnam style? All  me.
Bad romance? Oh, please.
I stole God’s keys while you sang “Call Me Maybe”
You still haven’t noticed me
Ruling this shit for free

Dawn Burton Stewart's picture
Dawn Burton Stewart from Kentucky is reading 11/22/63 October 2, 2014 - 7:46pm


Sacking El

Try taking what is inside you and putting it out into the world.  For most, harmless. For me, savage.  I can hold back, but not for long.

Orionvor's picture
Orionvor October 3, 2014 - 7:16am

Free Will

"Of course you have a choice!" the voice echoed throughout the chamber containing the United Nations.

"You can choose to submit to my will, freely, or watch as your people die!"