Solve a mermaid’s problem … Step off the edge of a roof … Dig up a grave at midnight … Take advice from a fortune cookie … Visit the last library … Meet a bridge troll … And more …
In one instant, like a bolt of lightning, a single impossible event changes a person’s life. And like the trace of lighting in the sky, each is unique and interesting.
These wildly different flash stories delight, astonish, scare, and inspire. Enjoy 64 delightfully eclectic tales. Like your flash fiction intriguing with a twist? Discover the diversity and check out “It Happened in a Flash”.
(*excited whispering* I’M the mermaid story! First story slot! *flail*)
This was put together by the writing community to which I belong, so a bunch of my buddies are in here, as well as a lot of people I’ve never read before. (I…need to actually read all the stories that made it in. This has been in the works for a while, and I have forgotten what’s there. :D )
The ebook version is currently free, and there is a print version available as well.
Aisha, freelance witch, certainly doesn’t have any work to keep her busy lately. That specter has cast a pall over her normally cheery, if unpredictable, life. The offer of a potluck and a new friend couldn’t come at a better time. Meeting Ben’s art buddy could be just the distraction she needs.
“I don’t need pity jobs. I’m a real witch for hire, not just some kid.” She could find work, someday. More work. Eventually. But most people didn’t need or want a witch to fix their printer, when all it really needed was a properly installed toner cartridge. (Josh at the local copy store got an earful, which might be a good thing, but Aisha wasn’t interested in making a career of that.)
By dessert, Aisha thinks she might make it through this with no intrusive thoughts and only minimal babbling on her part. It’s all fun and mug cakes until the microwave explodes, turning the kitchen into a battlefield.
It had only counted down two seconds when the display fizzled, scrambling the numbers into gibberish. Aisha opened her mouth to ask what it was doing. Before she could, the light within the microwave increased, becoming a hellfire glow.
Something more than packing boxes has started lurking in the corners of the apartment. Something dark just moved in the periphery of Aisha’s vision. Something plans to drive them out and steal a home for itself. And whether this is a paying gig or not, stopping it is going to keep Aisha very busy.
“Something dark,” Charmaine added in time. “I’ve seen—you know how you see something out of the corner of your eye and your caveman brain goes, ‘oh no, a predator’ until you look at it directly?”
Aisha shivered. “Yeah?”
“Only when I look at it, I can still see something moving.” Ben hissed, baring his teeth in a grimace both comical and horrified.
It’s not easy being the new witch in town. Aisha wants to make the perfect first impression by finding a neighbor in need of magical help. Too bad her familiar just came home with a stolen robotic vacuum.
The cat hopped down and spat a small black triangle onto the bed.
“Ew, Jasper, what’s that?” Aisha scuttled back as the object flopped itself over and started trundling across the bed on…little wheels? “That’s a ChurchMouse, isn’t it?”
The vacuum’s owner has bigger problems to worry about, though. With an angry appliance flooding his house, Ben’s happy for any help–be it magic or a mop–he can get.
His eyes looked wide and panicked. Aisha hurried to yank a towel out from under a protesting Jasper and toss it into the slowly shrinking puddle. With a towel under each foot, the man skidded around the laundry area, even as he asked, “Can I help you?”
Aisha has her chance to help at last. If she can’t figure out what has this washing machine so cranky, though, that chance will slip through her water-logged fingers.
The only warning was a rumbling in the pipes and a too-late yelp of alarm from Ben. A jet of water shot from inside the washer, hosing Aisha down.
“Oh, hell no.” She planted her hands on her hips. “Now it is on, buster.”
When your daily grind involves traveling to new planets and being the first human to set foot on them, it can seem like nothing in the universe will ever surprise you again. Irina, with her partner Milo, freelances as a miner of exotic, exo-solar materials. She thinks she’s seen it all. She’s about to discover how wrong she is.
Magnetic radiation streamed around us and off into open space. The normal solar wind pattern had been disrupted, though, by a thick stripe of purple out ahead of us.
“That’s weird, right?”
The adventure Irina wished for might shape up to be the wrong kind: deadly. Investigation of an anomaly in space earns her an unexpected new companion in the void…and a ship which could fail before any hope of rescue or escape.
“What’s happening?” I asked as I broke into a jog.
No shaking, shuddering mess marked whatever had gone wrong. Accidents in space came quietly. The lights faded and went out. Though I couldn’t see anything, I knew the ship’s communications had gone down with them. External sensors had almost certainly cut out as well. With a series of hollow thunks, the big mechanical systems that generated the ship’s artificial gravity came to a halt.
Malfunctioning ship. Unresponsive mining equipment. Something very large and very live in open space. Irina just stumbled into all the excitement she could hope for. Now she just has to survive it.
“It’s no good,” I said when Milo continued to demand that I return. “There’s no way I can get back before it reaches me. I’ll probably just end up spacing myself if I try. I’m gonna go with the ‘don’t make any sudden moves’ tactic.”
Yes, okay, this is going to be a thing now. Teamwork Tuesdays! Because I am a geek and I like playing this game.
So, there is once again a reason for choosing this position to fill. I’m currently going through my grandmother’s belongings after her death (nope, don’t want to talk about it, thanks) with my family and sorting out who is taking what. This is the last thing I really needed to be doing because I’m going to be moving (eventually, yes, I’ll talk about it, not now) and did not need more stuff. So full of things is my house. God. Things.
And the thing is, it’s not like I didn’t have a friggin’ ton and a half of books. I should not be volunteering to take more. But but but. Look at this thing–!
(Please click for larger images.)
It’s a family Bible from 1882 and it is the most amazing thing. It is full of these pen and ink illustrations. It has what might be the finest old book smell ever. The cover, if you can’t tell from the photos, is tooled leather and gold leaf. It is also showing its age very badly. The front cover and first few pages are loose and, as you can see, the spine is falling apart.
I need a librarian and a book restorer and maybe a miracle worker. And I know just who can do all that: my librarian teammate is the angel Aziraphale, from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. I mean, yes, Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, excellent, but I need more than just a research partner, even if his collection is lovely. I need Aziraphale around to brush a finger over even the most hopeless of old books and make them tighten up their bindings like a lady cinching up her corset laces.
Aziraphale would be particularly delighted with this volume, I think because–just, look, this is awesome.
It has this timeline of Jesus’ lineage, with Adam and the world beginning in 4004 B.C. Just like the opening pages of Good Omens, though it doesn’t mention it being October 21 at 9:00 AM. This is just the best thing ever. This is a real thing in the world. 4004 B.C., the world was created, oh, man, I can’t even.
Please, Aziraphale, you gotta help me out here. Do a part-time witch and charming sort of heathen a favor and fix this up for me.