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Issue 1: July 2009

Welcome to the premiere issue of 10Flash.

10Flash is a quarterly on-line magazine dedicated to genre flash fiction — science fiction, fantasy, horror and suspense.

Each issue will offer up ten flash fiction stories written around a common theme. Each story in this issue, for example, will feature a librarian on vacation in a foreign land.

The stories were written by established and emerging authors in the flash fiction market and they were free to interpret the theme in any manner — and in any of the genres — they choose.

For those of you who are devotees of flash fiction and frequent the various online sites, you should recognize the names of the authors you are about to read.

Megan Arkenberg. Alex Burns. D. J. Barber. Kella Campbell. Gay Degani. Oonah Joslin. Erin Kinch. Jon Pinnock. Aaron Polson. Sandra Seamans.

There’s an eleventh story — A Small, Dark Room — offered as a bit of lagniappe for the premiere issue of 10Flash. Flash fiction fans should recognize the author’s name, although you may not have read his work.

Jordan Lapp is managing editor at Every Day Fiction, one of the most-read flash fiction sites online, and he was kind enough to whip up a sweet little piece of science fiction for us. It’s already got me clicking my mouse, searching for the link to Google Time.

Thanks, Jordan.

So, eleven stories that I believe are delicious fun. Read. Enjoy. Leave a comment, if you will.

And now, have at them.

K. C.

A Hell of a Holiday

fantasy by Oonah V. Joslin

Geoff worked in the bowels of the library.

Each day, he frequented places that nobody ever saw. Down there amongst the rolling shelves of old stock, accessions and archives, he spent his days un-shelving, re-shelving, stock taking, making room, and dealing with odd requests for inter-library loans. Nobody knew the shelves better.

The first time it happened, he’d been looking for travel guides – the local sort that listed public footpaths, rights of way, bridle paths and featured ancient monuments and folklore.

[Read the complete story]

A Small, Dark Room

science fiction by Jordan Lapp

Delilah surfed through the minutes of Google Time like a diner might pluck tappas from a hotel buffet.

Sampled moments flashed by on her screen: a firefighter–a frightened woman screaming in his arms–leaping out of a building to an uncertain landing; a frantic man lying flat on his belly on cracking ice, stretching himself apart to reach his desperately paddling, half-frozen border collie; a—

“Are you coming, Delly?” asked Jack. He stood in the doorway of their suite at the all-inclusive. His posture was relaxed, but his tone was forced. “The water’s so blue it might stain.”

[Read the complete story]

Borges’ Labrynith

suspense by Jonathan Pinnock

The National Library of Argentina is an ugly T-shaped concrete piece of late twentieth-century brutalism – the kind of building for which Albert would normally be the first to recommend demolition.

But he will overlook this, because he is here on a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage that has led him to spend his first jet-lagged afternoon in Buenos Aires here instead of grabbing a few hours’ sleep before tonight’s tango demonstration.

“I’m a librarian myself,” he explains to the clerk at the desk.

[Read the complete story]

Customer Service

science fiction by Kella Campbell

Karen rubbed her eyes and temples, and took a few quick gulps of her most recent cup of coffee.

She wrinkled her nose at the lukewarm stuff. It was impossible to drink while online — you couldn’t see the cup and the movements played hell with glove navigation.

Grimacing, she pulled on her sensor gloves and fitted the headset over her eyes and ears. The navigation lounge blinked into focus. She asked for recent searches and selected the next retailer on the list, sighing over the need to take a summer job at all.

A library science degree didn’t come cheap.

[Read the complete story]

Everything In Its Place

horror by Aaron Polson

The mail boxes were labeled wrong.

That was the first hint that Lucey should have canceled her reservation at El Hotel de la Trampa. She wasn’t too fond of other aspects of the lobby, either — cheap candy in gaudy foil wrappers sat in a glass fish bowl on the counter, the strange man on the sofa who kept looking at her.

“Can I help you?”

Lucey’s attention shifted to the clerk.

“Oh. Sorry … I was …” Lucey forced a smile. “I need to check in.”

[Read the complete story]

Four Liars

science fiction by Alexander Burns

Bridger Durnin adjusted his spectacles and squinted through a tangle of gears and pulleys to where the engineer pointed. Beyond the jumble of brass, steam hissed from a broken valve.

“That’s your problem, sire.” The engineer wiped greasy hands with an even dirtier rag.

“No way she’ll go above forty feet with that leak. Take us a while to get through that bloody rat’s nest, but we’ll get her fixed up. Tighten up the wings, too; they’re a bit loose.”

[Read the complete story]

In the Basement

suspense by D. J. Barber

Melrose sat in one of those sand bar huts on the beach, watching an orange sun melt into the crimson sea.

A soft breeze lifted the palm fronds, making them appear as waving hands. He polished off the remains of his drink in a single swig, ice chinking. A few young girls bolted by; their bouncing bikinis caught his eye, if for only a moment.

His dear old friend and boss, Walter Cummins, had commanded: “A week away from the toils of the library, Melrose—that’s what you need, old boy.” And Melrose took him up on it.

[Read the complete story]

The Dangers of Kafka in Cairo

fantasy by Megan Arkenberg

It was divine retribution, I decided, for recommending Atlas Shrugged to that group of middle-schoolers.

But no, that had been an honest mistake; they said they wanted a good mystery. Les Miserables for the divorcees’ book club? A bad choice, but not entirely inappropriate; it did have “miserable” in the title. But there must be some literary sin on my soul—and a damn awful one at that—to make me deserve this.

“Well?” the mummy on my suitcase said. “Are you going to help me?”

[Read the complete story]

The Last Ball at Concord House

fantasy by Erin M. Kinch

Ginny plucked at her gown with nervous fingers.

She barely recognized herself—a curvey woman draped in green silk had replaced the spinster in the brown tweed suit. Part of her wanted to run back upstairs and hide.

“Quit fidgeting!”

Mary Concord—mistress of Concord House by virtue of the fact her brother, Timothy, had yet to marry—batted Ginny’s hands away from her dress.

“Tonight you’re not a woman in a borrowed gown. You’re Virginia Dupree, a debutante from Boston in town to captivate all the beaux. Just don’t mention to anyone that you’re a librarian.”

[Read the complete story]

The Scorpion-Charmer’s Daughter

fantasy by Gay Degani

Amunet glanced up as a cold breeze filtered in from the harbor.

The reading room was dark now except for the lamp light spilling across the magic texts. Her father, the Great Library’s guardian, the Scorpion-Charmer, promised that if she studied the texts, worked hard enough, she would follow in his footsteps.

“Daugh…ter.”

Behind her, the door to the forbidden chamber opened and her father staggered out.

[Read the complete story]

Twisted Sisters

suspense by Sandra Seamans

“Easton Library, Serenity Jones speaking.”

“Hey there, Nitty.”

Serenity sighed at the sound of her sister’s voice slithering through the phone line.

“What do you want, Serena?”

[Read the complete story]

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7 Responses

  1. Great first issue. Can’t wait until October.

    • Thanks, Anton. Can I expect to see a story from you? 😉

      • Good grief no. I’m writing for S&G until I know what I’m doing. I’ll probably throw something together based on your guidelines though, but it’ll only be on my blog so no-one but Alan will ever see it.

        I fancy doing something based on librarians too.

        Reading the stories, reminded me of a time between teen age and early 20s when I used to live in libraries. If I wasn’t at the public library, reading magazines or checking out books which deeply disappointed the librarian (one day he out right told me to lay off the pulp and go get Earth Abides), then I was at the school library studying (ie playing draughts(checkers)).

  2. […] a.m. (midnight in Seattle) to make certain the premiere issue of my genre flash fiction quarterly, 10Flash, posted properly.  It did and it looks great.  It’s 4:45 p.m. here in Kansas and almost 500 […]

  3. Just finished up. The site looks great and all the stories were really good. Well done job, KC.
    Am working on something for October.

    –dj

  4. […] the October 2009 issue of 10Flash and have one more pending.  Two of the authors had stories in Issue 1 and two are brand […]

  5. I’ve been at Clarion West, so I haven’t had a chance to fully peruse the magazine, but I’m looking forward to it!

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