Another great month of submissions. This month we find two people either in denial or in perfect control of their lives (at least the parts they can control). The excitement of flash fiction, often, is that the reader must figure out what is happening in the story. Sure there are signs here and there, but ultimately, every reader is a part of the story. Though Sam, in “Swim at Your Own Risk,” plunges headlong into the water thinking everything will be fine, will it? Is the unnamed speaker in “The Announcement” dealing thoughtfully with his predicemant, or running away? It’s up to you to decide. Feel the power: Enjoy your role in the stories. And, as always, send submissions to [email protected]. — Lyle Rosdahl
Swim at Your Own Risk
by Kelsey Spencer
ot far from Sam’s house was a small pond that the children of Lacona used to swim in during the summer months. It wasn’t very big and somehow the water was always cold, but it was the closest thing to a swimming pool Lacona had. Someone had even built a dock that was used as a makeshift diving board. Sam had learned how to swim in this very pond when she was just 5 years old. She remembered being terrified the first time her mother brought her out there; it took almost an hour for her to work up the courage to actually get in the water. She could still hear her mother’s sweet voice in her head promising nothing would happen, that everything would be okay.
Sam would always remember the day her mother told her she was never to swim in the pond again. Thomas Wilder, the 9-year-old son of Jean and Michael Wilder, had gone missing a few days earlier. They found his body after three days of searching; his leg had gotten tangled in some weeds at the bottom of the pond and he drowned. After that, no one swam anymore. A big yellow sign that says “SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK” was put up, and that was that.
Sam could see the yellow sign screaming its message at her as she approached the muddy bank and peered into the murky water. She slipped off her shoes and took off her clothes, folded them and placed them on a nearby log. Max laid down by the log, guarding her clothes; he didn’t like to get wet. The dock that had been built years earlier was now lopsided and missing several boards, but it was still sturdy enough for Sam to stand on. She dove in head first and went all the way down, digging her hands into the mucky bottom and feeling the weeds brush against her face. She knew nothing would happen, and that everything would be OK. •
by James Christian
“So you told her? How’d she take it?”
“She cried. Even threw stuff.”
“That’s too bad. What about the wedding?”
“No way. I had to call it off.”
“What’re you gonna do now?”
“There’s a little fishing village on the Costa Brava — Tossa del Mar. Peaceful and quiet. Oughta be a good place to watch the sun set. And it’s not that far from Lourdes. Worth checking that out.”
“Why not? You never can tell. How long’d they give you?”
“Two months. Three maybe. It’s pretty aggressive.”