Very Short Stories

Are you up for the challenge?

By popular definition, “flash fiction” is a short story of fewer than 1,000 words. Who has time for that? We prefer the challenge presented by the editors of 100wordstory.org, who note that “the 100-word format forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste in a way that even most flash fiction doesn’t. At the same time the brevity of the form allows the writer ‘to keep a story free from explanation,’ as Walter Benjamin wrote.”

Below is an example by Current reporter Michael Turton. It comes in at 75 words (the title doesn’t count), which he thought was plenty but you may well need the full 100. Email your story to vss@highlandscurrent.org, or post it as a comment below.

Illustration by Lyle Booth

First Jump

By Michael Turton

My best friend Ted convinced me. “Linda will see you’re no wimp.”
He parachutes a lot. I’m terrified of heights.
Ted instructed me thoroughly, meticulously packed my chute.
He jumped first, shouting, “You’ll be astonished!”
I see his chute open.
Here goes.
I jump.
Jesus Christ.
Why am I here?
It’s beautiful!
It is astonishing.
I pull the cord.
Nothing.
Pull again.
Nothing.
I plunge past Ted.
See him smile.
It’s murder.
Could Linda possib…

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