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Issue 6: October 2010

Welcome to the sixth issue of 10Flash.

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

Each issue  offers up ten flash fiction stories written around a common theme. Each story in this issue is a response to this directive — Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One.

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.

Thank you all for stopping by.  There is an interesting selection of genre stories for you to peruse this issue, some by authors whose names you’ll know and other by newcomers.  I think they’re all great reads.

Milo James Fowler is here with his first story for 10Flash.  Suburban Legend is an evil little piece of flash that made me snort my diet coke when I read it.  It was all the funnier because just the day before someone had told me the urban legend Milo’s story parodies and swore that it was true.

You Mother, by Stephen Rogers, is another sly bit of humor that sneaks up on you.  Be careful when you read it.

Dale Ivan Smith is back with Skinning the Sorcerer, a sequel to his debut story, Dead Wife Waiting,  and Gerri Leen returns with Good Intentions. Oonah V. Joslin provides a seat in the audience for her sixth straight 10Flash story — No Laughing Matter. And Blythe Ayne shares a delivery gone wrong in Believe This!

Three journey stories this issue.  Jeremy Zimmerman, here with his first published story, takes us to Existentialist Heaven At the End of the Tunnel. Sean Monaghan, with tongue firmly planted in his cheek, show us The Path to Centauri.  And Jacquelyn Bartel leads us into a Frolic from Hell.

Finally, Shawna Reppert returns to 10Flash with Coyote’s Tune.  It’s a sweet piece of urban fantasy that reminds me so much of one of my favorite authors — Charles de Lint.  Nicely done, Shawna!

All ten are swell stories. So have at them.

K. C.

At the End of the Tunnel

fantasy by Jeremy Zimmerman

The Pearly Gates were closed when Josh and Lewis approached.

A vast crowd milled about before the high lectern next to the Gates. A clock face sign hanging from the lectern promised, “Will be back at:” The hands had been removed from the clock.

Lewis said, “We’re dead, right?”

Believe This!

fantasy by Blythe Ayne

“Yeah, I can believe that,” the lanky delivery guy said as he plopped a pile of cartons marked “FRAGILE” in big, red, block letters down on the floor… fragile ceramics and pottery I’d been waiting and waiting and waiting for, for weeks.

I tore my eyes away from the pile of undoubtedly shattered artifacts and looked at him.  “What?”

“Yeah,” he said, grinning.  Cute in a vapid, scruffy, self-centered way.  He put his hand to his Bluetooth to let me know he had something more important than either me or my delivery taking his attention.  “I can believe that.”

Coyote’s Tune

fantasy by Shawna Reppert

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”  Paulie giggled in anticipation of his own humor.

Kyle kept his eyes on the road.  Nothing short of homicide stopped Paulie yet.  But if Paulie told the story about the mermaid, the leprechaun, and the priest one more time, he was going to strangle the man with his own harp strings.

Frolic from Hell

fantasy by Jacquelyn Bartel

So a priest, a monk and a rabbi walk into a bar.  I know what you’re thinking.  I’m serious though.

It was last payday, and things were just picking up over at Fauna’s Festive Frolic.  The name might sound a bit fruity, but that place is a dive.  Worst sort of creeps are always in there after dark.  Even saw a couple of bridge trolls that night in the corner where the necromancers normally crash.

Good Intentions

fantasy by Gerri Leen

The night is dark, the wind blowing hard and wet.  The guy clutching his gut and staggering down the street needs help.  I’m a woman alone, in a new town, and pretty sure that this isn’t the safest neighborhood.

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one.  Nice girl, moves to the big city, tries to be a Good Samaritan for one of the natives.  Gets chopped up for it, maybe shot, probably worse happening in between her trying to help and her dying.

No Laughing Matter

fantasy by Oonah V. Joslin

“It’s tough working the Halls, especially stand-up.  Wears you out if you don’t pace yourself.”  I started in the circus, you know.”

Happy put the finishing touches to his eyebrows.

“Slap stick and fall down, but hey – that was a long time ago.”

He applied eye-liner for definition.  He didn’t mind sharing a dressing room with an up-and-coming.  He’d never topped the bill himself.

Skinning the Sorcerer

fantasy by Dale Ivan Smith

I found Richter sitting at a table near the back door in the Grand Saloon in Bandy, laughing and downing whisky with two painted ladies. Morning sunlight stabbed through the narrow windows at the front of the mostly empty saloon, and the air was not yet filled with cigar smoke and sweat.

Richter still wore the form of a bald, pudgy librarian, red faced from too much whisky. My fingers tightened on the shotgun I carried. Richter had ensorcelled my wife and left her guarding a mountain pass. I needed his Revoke to free her.

Suburban Legend

slipstream by Milo James Fowler

So my boss really didn’t want me to share this with anybody since it kind of makes him look bad. I mean, no one wants to be known for lying to little kids, right?

At the time, I thought the story was true; I’d never heard it before. Of course, if I’d checked it out on Snopes first—before spreading it around—I wouldn’t have felt like such an idiot afterward.

The Path To Centauri

science fiction by Sean Monaghan

Toby and I walked around the ninety-foot yacht in the secondhand lot.  Years ago,Mary-Lou had taken sheiks and princes to the asteroids.  The hull was sound but the interior was shot.  We got her for under half Toby’s budget.

We stripped the interior and brought the existing drive up to spec.  Keeping the stern cabin, bridge and forward lounge, we filled the remaining cavity with the jump drive’s power cells.  Toby’s drive dragged the ship rather than pushing like conventional rockets.

We had money.  Toby had become an overnight billionaire by selling his other good idea – downloadable, one-season shoes – to the guys who got out of Google just in time.

You Mother

suspense by Stephen D. Rogers

“Your brother has a Ph.D.”

“You know what that stands for, Ma?  Walk around all day with your head up your ass.  I might not have Jack’s fancy lifestyle but at least I know what’s what.”

His mother continued stirring the pot.  “However much fun you want to make of your brother, he’s managed to keep his marriage in one piece.  Not everybody can say that.”

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2 Responses

  1. […] Also this month I have my sixth consecutive story in 10FLASH – I’m so proud of that I can’t tell you!!  It’s a good one too.  You can read it here: https://10flash.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/issue-6-october-2010/ […]

  2. My favorite piece so far.

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