Tag Archives: flash-fiction

Flash fiction by Joan Childs – a review

I’m no expert on flash fiction, and I certainly never thought I’d ‘review’ a story only 200 words long, but this story really got to me. Not only is it like a prose Haiku – perfect and complete in a tiny package – it also bears a message of love that transcends form. Decide for yourselves:

No Costume Needed
by Joan Childs

Like you, I was born of a dying star. Like you, I was once made of star stuff. Seven billion billion billion atoms of it.

Now I exist in the space between the stars. I see you without my eyes. I touch you without my hands. I love you without my heart.

Except for tonight. All Hallows’ Eve. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium, along with a smattering of other stuff: they all bind to my soul for one night and I walk with you once again. I am part of the cosmos, but just for tonight, I am part of the cosmopolitan.

I have forgotten the formula of how to be flesh, so please bear with me. I have forgotten how to layer skin over muscle. I may have gotten it inside out. I have forgotten the placement of organs and limbs, the texture of hair. I will do my best.

Do not be afraid.

You laugh with your friends.”Trick or Treat!” But I know you feel me near. You look around and beneath your laugh you long for affection, not confections.

You see me. My eyelids are missing, I think, but I can see you. My hand is a few fingers short, but I can touch you. My bloody heart is bulging through my chest, but I love you.

You hold out your hand. With a child’s innocence you see the soul through the stuff of stars.

“Hello Grandpa. I’ve missed you.”

* * *

No Costume Required takes the tired old themes of zombies and All Hallows, and turns them inside out. Or perhaps returns them to their original intent. But purpose is not the point; love and longing are. This story literally made me cry.

The author is Joan Childs and the venue is Indies Unlimited.



Flash fiction picture prompt for Father’s Day

bowtie pic promptIn Australia, Father’s Day falls on the first Sunday of September, so we are still a long way from celebrating.

Wrong dates aside, when I saw this picture prompt over at Indies Unlimited, it reminded me of the bow ties my Dad used to love. He’d wear them with black, or sometimes white tails when he went out busking with his violin. He was something of an icon in Melbourne. 🙂

Anyway, one thought led to another, and after weeks of utilitarian thinking [mostly about work and finances], I suddenly felt a creative tickle coming on. The result is a 246 word flash fiction story about ties and Dads.

You can find the story here :


…along with other great stories by fellow Indie writers.

The Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Competition is open to everybody, so if you have a creative itch to scratch come join us. 🙂



A great brew of flash fiction

I had a look at the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction contenders for this week – and they made me smile!

The theme is sci-fi so of course I loved it, but so, apparently did a heap of very talented writers [no, I did NOT enter this one] who came up with some really interesting variations on the theme.

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit down and enjoy some great, very shot fiction. And you can vote for your favourite too. 🙂




I’m in an anthology! [Try saying that 3 times quickly]

Over the last two years, I’ve discovered that I can write short stories. That was quite a surprise as I’ve always thought I waffle too much for the short form. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that very short flash fiction was even more fun.

To me, flash fiction is almost like the prose version of haiku. You have to paint the scene, create a character[s], and weave a compelling plot – all in 250 words.

It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Yet those clever authors on Indies Unlimited seemed to pull off a miracle every single week.

After much lurking, I finally worked up enough courage to try my hand at this flash fiction thingie, and didn’t win. I can honestly say that was no surprise, but as I honed my skills, my stories improved, and then one day, I did win. I was ecstatic! However the best was yet to come. You see, Indies Unlimited takes those 52 flash fiction stories and publishes them at the end of the year.

So…tah dah! My shorty short is now part of the Indies Unlimited: 2013 Flash Fiction Anthology!

I’ve already bought my copy because I know how good the stories are. However for anyone else who may be curious, the links to the ebooks and print versions are below :
Kindle on Amazon:


B&W (Economy) Print:


Color (Deluxe) Print:




Last but not least, I have to thank all of you for voting for my story.

Great big hugs,


Flash fiction – The Forestal

I don’t often get ideas for flash fiction pieces, but the prompt on Indies Unlimited sparked something in my brain today. I think it was the combination of gruesome and extraordinary that did it. 

You can find the picture, and the prompt here :


The IU flash fiction contests are open to everyone so if the prompt inspires you, give it a whirl. Just remember, it cannot be more than 500 250 words!

For those who are interested, this is what I came up with. Enjoy.

The Forestal

James Bolger thought of himself as a Forestal. He rarely came into the burgeoning timber town at the edge of the great forest, and when he did, it was only to harangue the townspeople about the trees.

The townspeople did not listen. Why would they? To them the forest was just a resource. When the loggers marked a new tree for felling,  they saw only fine timber, nothing more.

After a while, James Bolger stopped going into town entirely, but he made his presence felt in other ways. He set traps around the marked trees. Some would swing an unwary logger high into the air, to dangle by one foot until someone cut him down. Others broke limbs. None were designed to kill.

James Bolger’s traps could not stop the tide of destruction eating away at the forest, but they certainly slowed it down, so much so that the mill owners decided something would have to be done.

When a logger had his neck broken by a hidden trap, the townspeople blamed James Bolger. It took them three months to finally catch him, but when they did their justice was swift. They dragged him to The Block, and the mill owner was given the honour of swinging the axe.

Just before the axe could fall there was an almighty crack. The tree that dropped killed the mill owner and ten of the townspeople, but not James Bolger. He escaped into the forest and was never seen again.

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