Winners of our monthly Flash Fiction Contest
Each month Prime Number Magazine holds a contest for flash fiction (up to 751 words) with a small entry fee of $7 (a prime number) and a first prize of $251 (also a prime number)
Please note: Beginning January 1, 2019, our Flash Fiction Contest will operate quarterly with a $353 First Prize, a $151 Second Prize, and a $53 Third Prize.
Send us your flash fiction now through Submittable
First Prize $251
Followed by Bio
While Sergio drummed the old patterns, Candita was hallucinating shadows in the outhouse. Her clothes hung from a nail in the door, which was its handle. She was naked and bent at the waist to avoid the cutting pain of straightening out her tract; her own fumes forced her to steal breaths out of her hands, where she held her lips. And the damp heat squeezed the cane juice back out of her skin.
Her fingers twitched in a muted rhythm; folded over and looking down, she thought only of her brother. I’m going to kill him when I get out of here, she mumbled, accepting that Sergio had put something into the batter. And though she knew it looked strange, she had only stepped away long enough to walk up to the cane field and listen for her father—the distant soprano swinging of the machete gave her time.
Any longer unaware of the fumes, she was looking between her knees now, at her shadow in the dirt. She could hear him playing in the bohío. And as his black and white hands spoke with the drums, she got a funny idea. As if her body had forgotten its pain, she was able to sit straight up and dress. She walked out of the outhouse, leaving the bucket, and walked the short path back to the bohío, stopping at the entrance to pick up a machete that came up past her waist.
“Sergio, te voa cortar lo brazo. Tú verá.”
Sergio, son of Ogún, could not control his laughter when he heard her threat: his little sister made the machete look like a sword. And he, son of Ogún, knew he had nothing to fear from the iron of any blade, and so was fully sobered when she cut into him.
Candita called him out into the Matanzas sun, and told him that if he held his arms out she bet she could cut them off without ever touching him. Sergio, laughing, stopped playing and walked out into the light. She was a child, and a female, and could never know the invincibility that had been ritualized in him. So it was with disbelieving laughter that he held both of his arms up over his head, saying she could not cut what she could not reach. And so what if he had put dirt in the batter?
But he froze absolutely when she began a slow, circular dance—she should not have known—crouching and swinging the machete at invisible stocks, dragging her rear foot. Flanking him, then, she shot just past him, laughing hysterically, and cut through the arm of his shadow. And into the green grass his hand dropped with a thud.
Yoán Moreno (b. 1992) is a Miami-born writer and musician of Cuban and Colombian heritage. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is a Teaching Fellow and Master of Literature student at Loyola Marymount University. He studies and experiments with Cuban percussion and form in his creative and critical writings, as well as in his musical projects, Copán and Navaja.
First Prize $251
Followed by Bio
Come Live with Me on This Shitty Island
The skywriter flew CALL YR GRANDPAP BACK
The skywriter flew HES YR FRIEND
The skywriter flew JULIAN
The skywriter flew MAYBE YR ONLY
The skywriter flew and tried to remember a time when the view from above was geometric, organized, sensible, each shape a true arrow, and holy.
The skywriter flew JULS U CAN USE HIS FUTON
The skywriter flew JULS U CAN EVEN HAVE THE JAYCO
The skywriter flew HES FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE PILLS
The skywriter flew YR PARENTS HAVE NOT
The skywriter flew BUT PAP HAS
The skywriter flew AND FORGIVENESS 2
The skywriter flew to Delaware on her lunch break and cried herself past the point of sleep.
No one knew where she was.
The skywriter flew nothing after her firing.
The skywriter flew around town in a Jetta, chasing a crotch-rocket with the license plate JULSXF8.
This, until the skywriter flew for a local fair—a banner, which took no effort at all.
The skywriter flew a useless nylon tail screaming: OCEAN CITY FAIR ~ SEP 18 to 21 ~ MUSIC RIDES BINGO ANIMALS DUNK TANKS GULL RACES ~ FUN 4 HOLE FAM !!!! trying only to not fall too far asleep.
The skywriter flew into a cloud and almost found a way to never come out.
The skywriter flew over the casinos of Atlantic City, whispering, “Julian,” even though she had never known anyone with that name, not personally, not beyond exhaust.
The skywriter cut the cords and flew question marks across the boardwalk. Something for everyone.
The skywriter flew to her old work and snuck inside and thefted an address.
The skywriter flew HOPE IS A DESTINATION, PLUS GRASPING
The skywriter flew to a big backyard in Jersey and walked half a mile to a house on a clayey hill near the water gap and found Julian’s grandpap in a pop-up camper that was tilted dangerously to one side, because he lay in the left bunk, no one in the right.
The skywriter flew, the cabin filled with her old sad passenger, and below, no arrows even still.
The skywriter flew the news, which was old—TIME TO COME HOME—though the plane rattled and begged for fuel.
Tyler Barton is a cofounder of Fear No Lit, the organization responsible for PAGE MATCH and the 2017 Submerging Writer Fellowship. He's the author of the flash fiction chapbook, The Quiet Part Loud, which won the 2017 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest and will be published this winter by Split Lip Press. His fiction is forthcoming in Subtropics, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Find him at tsbarton.com or @goftyler.
First Prize $251
Followed by Bio
Henry is fat, and we all know it. He hears more pig snorts than Hellos. Honestly, eighth grade is torture. But he goes because he has to, because Momma knows best. White shirt, clammy palms, plaid pants. Class masses are his comfort—no one insults in the house of God. Plus, Father Skonecki says Jesus loves everyone. So that gives Henry two friends: Momma and the Lord.
Henry likes blondes, and we all know it. Kathryn is his current love. She has pretzel-stick legs and sea-foam eyes. Henry likes her, and she kind of likes that he likes her. She kind of needs to feel wanted, needs to be looked at. She says, I think I put a spell on boys. We think she suffers from her own wand. But, Henry doesn’t care. He buys a Hershey rose wrapped in scarlet foil, signs Love Henry, draws a lop-sided heart, tucks it beneath her L.L.Bean lunchbox. Kathryn finds it. Henry watches. And when she tucks it right back under, Henry asks to be excused. No one wants to see a piggy-boy cry.
Henry is missing, and we all know it. He’s been absent three-point-five weeks. Mrs. Robins says It’s his momma. Then she blinks, blinks, blinks. His momma’s heart stopped working. And we all think it’s a shame. So we pray for the oinker at class mass, keep cubes of tissues in our cafeteria. Plus, Jesus is still Henry’s friend, which we all think is truly nice of His Holiness.
Henry is sick, and we all know it. He’s back in school, but very thin. He scuffs his velcro shoes. We think he doesn’t eat because he never learned to cook. He used to have bologna and ziplock bags with zipper tabs. Now he has green jello, maybe a fork. On good days, he nibbles. Not right for a hog.
Kathryn is mean, and we all know it. She likes to notice Henry now, draws purple hearts on pink Post-its, gives them faces, makes them smile. But Henry doesn’t like her anymore, won’t look her in the eye. So Kathryn tries to talk. Hello, I’m sorry about your mommy. Somehow, her Hello hurts worse than the pig snorts. Sometimes, I feel like we should tell her that. She’s bad at math and slow at words. But even a toothpick like her should understand, and we can help. Chicken, chicken, chicken legs, we’ll say. Stop it popsicle girl, Henry doesn’t like hearts anymore.
Rachael Fowler is pursuing her PhD in Fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. Her work has appeared in Apeiron Review, Ant Farm Journal, and Deep South Magazine. Currently, she is an Associate Editor for Mississippi Review.