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by Lori Cramer
A baseball in a glove lying on a green field

Years from now, she won’t remember the view from three rows behind the dugout, the organ’s crowd-rousing tunes, the furry handshake from the mascot, the ice cream served in mini batting helmets, the thrill of the come-from-behind victory—only the overwhelming sense of loss as her father drove away.

Lori Cramer’s short prose has appeared in Ellipsis Zine, Fictive Dream, Flash Boulevard, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Meadowlark Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 and nominated for Best Microfiction. Links to her writing can be found at Twitter: @LCramer29.

Clay Pit Remains

by Louise Prinjha
A mammoth skull among the undergrowth

Clay pit. Sandy lane. Aveley. I burrow into my memories. I recall the sweltering heatwave of 1976. The flies. The landfill stench. My brother and I squirming through bushes. Tunneling under high fences. Sauntering past large KEEP OUT signs. Standing at the top of a cliff created by years of excavation. Sliding down into piles of rubbish. Then, I dug into the internet. Clay pit. Sandy Lane. Aveley. I unearthed two mind-blowing facts. Our playground was the dumping ground of East London’s toxic waste. And 200,000 years prior, a steppe mammoth had died there. Leaving behind only its fossilised bones.

Louise is a medic, who has spent her career listening to and gathering stories from her patients. In 2007, she began writing her own stories in both fictional and memoir form. She studied a Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck to hone her writing skills and to become part of a vibrant writing community.

Dead Whales are Washing Up on Beaches Everywhere

by Dawn Miller
A whale swimming through the ocean

Grey, silent, its eyes as big as fists. Marine biologists cordon off the area with neon-orange pylons and sun-yellow tape. Selfie-fanatics skirt the barrier for a photo—smiling, thumbs up, laying claim.

Weeks pass. Someone steals an eye. The heart goes missing. The blowhole is plugged with stones.

Children spiral and whoop around the decaying carcass. Tourists peer inside the cage-like ribs and trail hands along the curved railroad of spine.

Across the ocean, another whale approaches, mistaking the ping of a ship, the vibration of an oil drill, for a mate. It glides through the dark, cool, water. Searching. 

Dawn Miller is a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction nominee. Her fiction and creative nonfiction is published in journals and anthologies including The Cincinnati Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Forge, Fractured Lit, and elsewhere. She lives and write in Picton, Ontario, Canada. Connect at


by Amy Barnes
A silver teaspoon of green caviar

Even when I borrow my mother’s stomach, I’m still hungry. I carry it like a fleshy purse full of other things, chewed gum, crackly crackers, keys, unwrapped hard candies. I read there are taste buds in your stomach. She pulls the stomach out of her belly and hands it to me on a silver platter like it’s pâté or caviar. Her face is paler and her legs and arms become pipe cleaner thin as she sips only gruel-thin oatmeal through a straw so I can eat a little extra like a two-stomached cow that is never quite full.

Amy Barnes is the author of three short fiction collections: "Ambrotypes" (Word West Press), “Mother Figures” (ELJ Editions) and "Child Craft" (Belle Point Press). Her words have appeared in publications including The Citron Review, JMWW Journal, Janus Lit, Flash Frog, No Contact Mag, Leon Review, Complete Sentence, The Bureau Dispatch, Nurture Lit, X-R-A-Y Lit, SmokeLong Quarterly, and many others. She’s been nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, long-listed for the Wigleaf top 50 in 2021, 2022, and 2023, and included in Best Small Fictions 2022. She’s a Fractured Lit Associate Editor, Gone Lawn co-editor, Ruby Lit assistant editor and reads for CRAFT, The MacGuffin, and Narratively.

How Far Away Is The Storm?

by Sharon Telfer
An electrical storm in a dark sky

Lightning flickers.

6 elephants
Rain crosshatches the horizon. Someone’s getting a drenching.

5 elephants
Upstairs we pause, watch the distant spectacle spark and strike.

4 elephants
Clouds bloom like bruises. We stare skywards, check apps.

3 elephants
The air thickens. The cautious fetch their washing in.

2 elephants
The light yellows. We lift palms to the heavens. Raindrops spatter.

1 elephant
// beating, sheeting downpour // unexpected, inevitable // windows shake // babies wail // alarms shriek // gutters whirlpool // headlights glare // power cuts

The storm breaks over us.
We run, for home, for whatever cover we can.

Sharon Telfer’s flash fiction has won prizes including the Bath Flash Fiction Award (twice) and the Reflex Fiction Prize. Her stories have also been selected for Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction. Her flash fiction collection, The Map Waits, is published by Reflex Press and was longlisted for the 2022 Edgehill Short Story Prize. She lives in the Yorkshire Wolds.

I Am the Candy-Striped Stilettos You Stuck in the Back of Your Closet

by Varsha Venkatesh
A cream-coloured stiletto with stripy straps

Remember me? I came wearing a “bootylicious” promise up front, awe-struck as you stomped colossus-like over mountains of wrapping paper to point me nose first at the saleswoman who pronounced us “a perfect match”; you whispering “maybe this is as good as it gets” as we agreed to wear each other down to fit — years of squelching tears with rictus smiles ahead — because we both know how it ends when you bend to keep one “worth the pain”: never meeting, never letting go, holding on to the clickety-clack togetherness of a date we tired into believing was fate.

Varsha is a scientist / psychologist based in India. She has been previously published in the Cabinet of Heed. 

In a sprawling, frost-dusted monastery on a Himalayan mountainside, you contemplate a past life

by Eleanor Luke
Monastery perched on a cliff face

before your new father dreamed of the flock of rubythroats announcing your eighth reincarnation. In that life, there were popcorn Fridays, pillow fights with Lizzie, a NASA snowglobe with one bobbing astronaut, soft flannel pyjamas, Mama’s rose-scented kisses as the sickness took hold. This new life is sparse, dressing you in stiff saffron robes, laying you on straw-filled futons, pouring you yak butter tea for breakfast. But sometimes, when the monks think you’re praying, you set sail through the oceans of stars, take your spot on the sunken plaid couch between Mama and Lizzie, inhale the scent of unforgotten roses.

Eleanor Luke lives in Spain with her husband, one teenager, another tweenager and a small menagerie. Her stories have appeared in The Birdseed, FreeFlashFiction, FlashFlood, Retreat West. Longlist Reflex flash fiction. Top ten Oxford Flash Fiction Prize 2022. When not writing, Eleanor can be found eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Twitter @Eleanor_Luke24

My Grandmother Paati Says She Will Show These Vellaikaarans How To Do Colonisation Properly, Isn’t It?
Winner of the People's Prize

by Sumitra Singam

When we moved to foreign, we six, one flat, two bedroom, no garden. Neighbour very proud don’t say hello. Food in foreign no spice, no taste. Night-time Paati disappear coming home hands dirty like junglee. Paati winking at neighbour garden – before all weeds now okra, karela, pudina. Neighbour talking loud about CCTV. Paati pretending she never hear, but she putting invitation in neighbour mailbox – “Dinner. Seven p.m. No shoes inside (strict).” All day Paati chopping, grinding, frying. Tasty smell making my mouth water only. When neighbour come, first-first shy, then eating time very happy. Now we good friends.

Sumitra Singam is a Malaysian-Indian-Australian coconut who writes in Naarm / Melbourne. She travelled through many spaces, both beautiful and traumatic to get there and writes to make sense of her experiences. She’ll be the one in the kitchen making chai (where’s your cardamom?). She works in mental health. You can find her and her other publication credits on twitter: @pleomorphic2

It's Negro Day at the Fair
Winner of the People's Prize

by Barbara Diggs
A colourful merry-go-round

and the air smells like molasses and spit-roasted pork. I sneak in, all but drooling. Our cook Lannie’s laughing with some other ladies near the confectionary stand, holding a blue cotton candy big as my head. Lannie sometimes slips me treats behind Mama’s back. I run over–Lannie, I want some! She considers, shakes her head. Sorry baby, this is Negro cotton candy. Too bad, because we get the sweetest, best kind. The ladies snicker. I pout. Well, that ain’t fair. Lannie pops a piece into her mouth and smiles, her teeth deliriously blue. No, it ain’t, she says. Remember that.

Barbara Diggs's flash fiction has been published or is forthcoming in numerous online and print journals, including Smokelong Quarterly, FlashBack Fiction, (mac)ro(mic), and Ellipsis Zine. Her stories have also won Highly Commended awards with the Bath Flash Fiction Award and The Bridport Prize. She lives in Paris, France with her husband, two sons and a very cute turtle. Twitter: @barbaradiggswrites Bluesky:

The Ocean of Kindness

by Sarah Oakes
Sailing boats on a calm sea. In the distance are rolling hills. The water is crystal and sparkling.

When I first sailed out with my long cane, I was nervous. I’d heard tales of others who had sailed west, and met only jagged rocks. But on every shore, I have met an ocean of kindness, that washes worries away. And I’m glad. For its waves comfort me, a myriad of strangers helping my passage north, a surging tide of acceptance that calls my heart to a hundred horizons. And it gives me hope, to continue sailing with my long cane, knowing that this ocean stretches many miles.

Sarah Oakes is a visually impaired science fiction and fantasy writer who loves music, mythology, and plays the clarinet. She has had one short story, three poems and many flashes published, both in print and online. Her work can be found in The Microlit Almanac, The Failing Writers Podcast, Bubble Lit Mag, Fictionette, Voidspace Zine, Pure Slush, Wishbone Words, Sixpence Society, FromOneLine, and National Flash Fiction Day. 

The Spoils of Love

by Margo Griffin
Rotten fruit hanging from a tree branch

The sweet, buttery fruit he’d neglected for weeks had rotted. As I readied to leave, he placed it in my hand, saying, “You better eat this soon, before it’s far gone.”

I dropped the spoiled fruit to the floor, hoping to observe an explosion of the rind’s facade, but its insides remained hidden and intact. Determined, I picked it up and poked my finger through its blackened, fragile skin and explored its insides for something worth saving before I walked out the door one last time. But the only solid thing left inside was a hollow pit.

Margo Griffin has worked in public education for over thirty years and is the mother of two daughters and to the best rescue dog ever, Harley. Margo's work has appeared in interesting places such as Bending Genres, HAD, MER, Twin Pies Literary, Maudlin House and Roi Fainéant Press. You can find her on Twitter @67MGriffin


by Michelle Walshe

A black star has:

An area of architectural distortion like a building with a misaligned block.

Central radiolucency like a real diamond held up to the light to discern it from a fake.

Long, thin, radiating spicules like those on a sea urchin twirling through the ocean.

Absence of a palpable lesion and macrocalcifications meaning it appears smooth.


A black star can:

Be a hiding place where danger secretes itself.

Mask a malign presence.

Attract alien bodies.


A black star is:

Invisible in the sky but visible on the x-ray.

Spiculating while I speculate – malignant or benign, malignant or benign?

Michelle Walshe is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. Her work has been broadcast on radio and published in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. She has been awarded residencies in Ireland at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Tin Jug Studio and Greywood Arts. In 2020, she won the Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award. In 2021, she was the recipient of an Emerging Artist award from Dun Laoghaire County Council and her work has received funding from Creative Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland. She is writing her first novel which was highly commended in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2022. In the same year she was awarded the Leopardi Writing Conference’s Jeannine Cooney scholarship for excellence in fiction. In Dublin, she volunteers for Roddy Doyle’s Fighting Words and the International Literature and Dalkey Book festivals. Her published work is on her website

Story Hour

by Laura Nagle
A fox cub staring at something behind the camera

The cat’s name is Maple Syrup and the fox is called Bruce, but only for today. Maple Syrup on your right hand, Bruce on the left. You must remember for one hour, then forget. Next week, they may be Whiskers and Big Red, or Patty and Sparkles. The children will decide.


Nobody expects you to remember the children’s names anymore, just the puppets’. If you start reading the book about the ducklings a second time in one session, an adult will quietly hand you the one with the frogs.


Maple Syrup. Bruce. You must remember for one hour, then forget.

Laura Nagle is a writer and a translator from French, Spanish, and Irish. Her flash fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Stanchion, SoFloPoJo, and LEON Literary Review. "Songs for the Gusle", her translation of Prosper Mérimée's notorious 1827 hoax, was published in 2023 by Frayed Edge Press.

Taking flight

by Audrey Niven
A golden eagle in flight

Before the end, they travelled to the gardens at Inverewe. When the highland rain stopped and the sun came out, they lifted their heads to find the rainbow.

Two magnificent golden eagles on the wing, fledged and still growing, claimed the open sky, circling above the rhododendrons and ancient trees, carrying with them breathless hearts.

They watched as the birds came in to land in a giant Canadian redwood and folded away their grandeur, disappearing amongst the bark and leaves.

And in the grieving days that followed, earthbound and broken though she was, those eagles, in memory, still soared.

Audrey Niven is a Scottish writer and coach based in London. Her stories are widely anthologised and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards. She runs the Propelling Pencil Flash Competition and has judged the Mslexia Flash Competition. She should be working on her novel. @NivenAudrey

The Time Pirate Who Waits Ashore

by Jenny Wong
Blue and yellow parrot in side profile in front of an empty sea

Rumors say she sips morning coffee from a gun barrel, shoots lasers from metal-colored eyes. In reality, she steals fractions of time, performs careful dissections of seconds, loots the wasted moments from those staring into the ample abyss of cellphone light. She makes black market deals. Gives samples of her plunder. An old tycoon makes one more deal. A cancer patient reaches his 16th birthday. But time isn't what the pirate wants. Her daughter's mind is still elsewhere, lost and adrift beyond hospital walls. At night, the pirate holds the small hand, a silent mooring across a white linen sea.

Jenny Wong is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. Her favorite places to wander are Tokyo alleys, Singapore hawker centers, and Parisian cemeteries. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the  Net, and Best Small Fictions and longlisted for Wigleaf's Top 50. She resides in Canada near the Rocky Mountains.

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