Welcome to the fourth 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 involves this notion — The Planting May Be A Disappointment This Spring .
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.
There is an interesting selection of genre stories for you to peruse this issue.
Mark Souza is back with Into The Garden, a fantasy parable about ambition and curiosity. John Jasper Owens also returns with a creepy tale of love and obsession — Constance Arrives Unannounced. And Gerri Leen gives us Salt the Earth, a story that will have you wondering what’s real and what isn’t.
I’m pleased to introduce Artie “The Angel” D’Angelo, a made man from Massachusetts with a skewed sense of justice, in Fingered By A Dead Rat by Charles Thiesen. It’s a crime caper that delivers a grin. There will be more Artie stories in coming issues.
Oonah V. Joslin is back for her fourth appearance with The Head Gardener, an SF story with a decidedly anti-vegetarian message, and Shawna Reppert, A. E. Mableson and Donna Dawson make first appearances with A Knight’s Vow, Blessing and Bulbs, respectively.
Finally, we have two Janet stories — well Janet and Janett. Janet Freeman’s Progeny is a lovely story that examines the meaning of sacrifice and Janett L. Grady goes all wacky on us with Little Green Things.
All ten are great stories. So have at them.
fantasy by Shawna Reppert
The horse the girl stole from the sheriff stood in her back pasture, a hanging offense on hooves. Sir Arnaud smiled.
His own horse, standing behind him, sighed, longing to be gone. He could sympathize. The recent rain only made the pervasive odor of sheep a little more pungent.
The girl tried to act like nothing was amiss, but she was talking too fast. Her glance slipped again back to where the big chestnut stallion grazed, half-hidden behind the lean-to shelter that kept the farmstead’s firewood dry.
fantasy by A. E. Mableson
Rich hues of orange, yellow and lavender were splayed, like a huge finger painting, across the western sky.
Garn, the Wizard of Reason, pulled back on the reins, halting his steed before the doors of an immense granary. He turned and gazed at the surrounding fields.
The rich, thick aroma of fresh- plowed earth filled the air. The fields, now darkening with the setting sun, were ready for planting. This would commence tomorrow after he initiated the spring rite, the Blessing of the Seed.
suspense by Donna Dawson
“Where’s the onion bulbs?” Agnes ranted at Bentley.
He tried hard to shut out the acid tones. Her voice wasn’t that loud but it cut through the humid air like the snap of a piano string. Scrambling through the garden shed, he searched into the corners of each shelf.
Where are the onion bulbs anyway?
He was sure he had them. Nuts! He didn’t even like onions. But every year he was expected to buy them, plant them, tend them and harvest them for her. Every year he obliged. It was easier than saying ‘no’.
slipstream by John Jasper Owens
Clark was going to propose, I knew it.
Our second spring together as a couple, and he’s been dropping hints ─ house plans, ring size ─ so as we take our outdoor seats at the bistro just around the corner from our apartment, as the teens whistle by on their skateboards and the sun, warm sun, sprinkles light through the overhang of municipal trees, I wait. He looks so nervous.
The ring appears in his palm like an awkward magic trick.
crime caper by Charles Thiesen
“Vinnie talked?” Bobby “The Mouth” Benedetto says.
“Everybody talks, Bobby,” Artie “The Angel” D’Angelo says. “It’s a new tradition, like Omerta was the old tradition, ratting is the new one.”
Artie looks around. Half the drinkers in the Jockey Tap were friends of theirs, the other half, while not enemies, shouldn’t hear some of this stuff.
So Artie holds his finger to his lips.
slipstream by Mark Souza
Girah Baheer stood at the gate blocking the road and read the sign.
No one who has passed beyond this gate has ever returned.
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe the warning. He’d heard the stories and known some of the people who had disappeared. What lured Girah to squeeze between the bronze bars was the knowledge that no one would dare follow him. Whatever awaited, never again would he have to suffer another sympathetic look.
slipstream by Janett L. Grady
Okay, on the outskirts of Peoria, Illinois, little green things are growing in my sister Peg’s kitchen, and not in the back of the refrigerator where the leftovers live.
Hundreds of tiny seedlings are sprouting in peat pots set out on the counter. A plant light bathes these hopeful little curlicues of chlorophyll with hours of simulated sunlight. If you listen closely, you can hear the electric meter steadily ticking away my sister’s dollars.
Shortly after my arrival to visit with Peg, in a time drift between night and morning, I was drawn out of my room and into the kitchen by the smell of rain.
How can rain have a smell? Does the sunshine make a sound?
science fiction by Janet Freeman
“CeeCee, this is your son, Trevor.”
The man in the green coat pointed at a small boy in a metal bed. White bandages encircled his head, covering his eyes.
CeeCee peered at the boy’s pale unmoving hand atop the covers, then looked at her own yellow-skinned hand. She shook her head a little. He didn’t look familiar.
horror by Gerri Leen
They rise. All night and all day, they rise and I hunt.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep rising in the middle of my pa’s crops. He gets powerful angry every time I salt the earth behind the critters, but I told him I didn’t have a choice.
Which is worse, after all: no crops or no family?
fantasy by Oonah V. Joslin
TurksEpalie the Cateoid, head gardener to the Regent Verona Cellid, put aside his platter of meat. He was not looking forward to this meeting but what had to be done had better be done sooner than later. He took the little bottle of Castor Bean cordial and made his way to the Palatial Gourd.
“SEpalie!” greeted the guards. “He’s in a good mood. You’ll be alright.”
TurksEpalie handed them the bottle and they thanked him. The guards looked forward to his home-made liquors.
“Well, you wanted to see me?” said the Regent dismissively.
Filed under: Issue 4: Apr 2010