Very Short Stories

In January we challenged readers to write short stories of 100 words or less.

Beyond
By Isabelle Laifer

White key, black key, music hanging in the air. Sisters dance, their eyes pecked out by crows.

White key, dark heart. “Burn it.” Her mother orders. The girl in the red riding hood sets the forest alight, carrying the pelt of the wolf who crossed her as a trophy.

White key, cold streets. A little girl, matches in her hand. “Please,” she says. As she sells one, a man burns.

A man is a bonfire and two children lost in the forest sees light glinting off stolen jewels. They are not scared — they killed a witch, after all.

Opus No. XIX
By Anne Ulanov

Mia squeezed her waist against the fence, almost falling over. The giraffe walked toward her, left feet first. He paused to snag some maple leaves. Swallowed. His neck rippled.

“I drew a yellow postcard this morning from Daddy, Chad. He can’t come today. He must go under the sea.”

A middle-aged woman in a blue plaid wool jacket, hair piled up and strands hanging down, came along. “Do you think Chad understands what you’re saying?”

“I do,” Mia said. The woman nodded. “He does. Although his name is James. But I’m very sorry, dear,” and walked on along the path.

Hypno
By Maryann Syrek

My dream path took me to a home. White walls … objects trapped under the surface, shrink-wrapped tightly in place. My touch activates them, transforming them into colorful thingamajigs. People emerge into the room. They are engaging, particularly the children. I become aware that it is the dead of night. I ask why they are not in bed. They consult each other. They ask, what is a bed? They appear unaffected by the dark or the late hour. I become transfixed on this notion. Strangely, I also am not tired. I think why not? Where am I? I linger…