Rekindling the Flash Flame: A Bite-Sized Story

Photo by Moyan Brenn
Photo by Moyan Brenn

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some new fiction on this blog. My wonderful writer-editor friend Jess West reminded me recently about how we both regularly used to make time to write flash fiction, and how we particularly enjoyed Rebekah Postupak’s Flash Friday community, sadly now discontinued (although the website is still home to an archive of wonderful stories).

In honour of those early writing days, when flash fiction played a significant role in helping me to establish a regular writing routine, and I found lots of writer friends in the flash communities, I wrote a new piece. Feel free to share your own stories in the comments. The theme is ‘waiting’ and the word count is 300-350 without title.

The Waiting Game

Evie had always been impatient to shed the skin of her innocence. Even at nine years old, she was an old soul inhabiting a young girl’s body. In the mirror, she willed full red lips to replace her thin, pale ones, imagined her breasts blooming until they strained against her t-shirt, longed for the day when her words carried the weight of an adult’s.

Photo by Jeffrey
Photo by Jeffrey

She pushed against the steady beat of time, a moth desperate to flame, until she met the man who helped her escape the confines of her childhood home. He stood against the sticky bar, beckoning her into his embrace, taking her to village dances, allowing her to taste freedom while he tasted her. A happy bargain at first, until the stench of drink swirled from his pores, his snarling face pressed up to hers, his belt came loose, and her body became his to use.

Then too, Evie waited. She waited for the winds to lift her sadness, for the swell of her pain to crash on the shore, for her heart to turn to crumbling stone, where it hurt. She curled up in a tight ball when he struck her, every muscle tensed, thinking back to the red walls of her mother’s womb where he could not reach her. She waited with the helplessness of lost gods, for a wise woman to lay out a deck of cards to show her the answer, for a rescuer who never came.

Evie hovered in that grey space between life and death, until one day, the clang of the man’s belt against her bruised skin brought not hot pain, but cold anger. She rose up, unsure of whether her imaginary or real self brought the man to his knees. Her rage was no longer an internal poison; it seeped out and became a weapon. The man’s eyes grew cold, like the fish on the market, and when the police came, Evie endured no fear. She breathed in the night air as if for the first time, and knew, for once, the peace of the present moment.


4 thoughts on “Rekindling the Flash Flame: A Bite-Sized Story

  1. Escaping the Wait

    “The teenager walked in and sat down while her mom signed her in at the window.”
    “Abby… Not everyone likes to have their lives narrated.”
    The little girl mumbled an “okay,” but she looked so disappointed.
    “It’s okay,” I said. “I don’t mind.”
    Her mom smiled. “Thank you,” she said. And to Abby, “Just keep it down.”
    “Okay! I mean—okay.”
    I pulled out my cell phone and scrolled through my timeline, liking a few statuses. Just enough to keep me in the loop.
    “The teenager checked her phone for a text message from her boyfriend.”
    My mom sat beside me and giggled. I couldn’t help but smile myself. The kid had such a great imagination. She was completely oblivious to how things really worked.
    I didn’t have a boyfriend. I had cancer. I’ve read the ‘heartwarming’ stories of sick girls with devoted boyfriends. I saw the movie. It’s bullshit.
    But we all have our ways of escaping while we wait for chemo treatments.
    Except my mom. She faces everything head-on. And she never meets a stranger. Wait for it…
    “So,” she addressed Abby’s mom, “is this your first time here?”
    She means well. But…
    “Ah, no. We’re in the pain management phase.”
    There’s the awkward.
    “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
    Wait… pain management phase? That sounds an awful lot like doctor speak for “Time to give up.”
    Abby picked at the hem of her dress.
    I cleared by throat, my face already burning with embarrassment, and looked at my phone again.
    “The teenager looked at her phone and gasped with shock. Abby the Fabulous had sent her a friend request! She immediately accepted the request and sent Abby a quick thank you message. She was trying to play it cool, but she couldn’t wait to tell her friends about the amazing storyteller.”
    I’ve never been good at telling stories, but it must not have sucked too bad. Abby grinned and took up the tale from there.
    Not only was Abby a fabulous storyteller, but that day she was also a magician, an explorer, and a nurse as well.


    I just barely got it in under 350 words. So out of practice. We should do this more often! ;)

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