UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: August Edition


Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess.

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or prompt. You write a flash fiction piece using the inspiration we gave you. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 25 words, tops. No more. 
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words.
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence.
  • One entry per person.
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before August 28th will be considered. We'll run the winner on August 31st.

This Month's Prize

This month, we give away a copy of Gayle Towell's novel Broken Parts. Gayle is a LitReactor homeskillet, so we know her book is amazing. Here's a little taste to wet your whistle:

Jake Smith, a book smart loner hiding in a dead-end welding job, is thrown for a loop when his fifteen-year-old brother Ben shows up on his doorstep after outing their father for molestation. During Dad's trial it comes to light that not only was Jake also abused, but he turned a blind eye for years as it happened to his brother. But with Dad in jail and Mom insistent that Ben is lying, Ben is forced to rely on Jake even if he can't forgive him, and Jake is forced to step up and care for his brother despite struggling with his own trauma and brutal flashbacks. Broken Parts is the first full novel in a series exploring how these brothers evolve socially and emotionally in the aftermath of their father's abuse and in the face of life's never-ending ordeals. Jake and Ben fight like siblings despite their growing dependence on each other in this dark, emotional tale full of grit, humor, and the spark of survival.

Your Inspiration:

This month, give us 25 words on space, stars, constellations, myths, etc. August is the month of the Perseid meteor shower.The annual event  is named for the Perseus constellation where the meteor shower appears to originate. The constellation is named for the mythological Perseus, a half-god who killed many monsters, including the snake-headed Medusa. 

And the Winner is...Cams316

What's up, Wichita! You guys really showed up for this month's contest! It's no wonder one of you Wichitonians won! Please say congrats to Cams316. 

Don't Look Don't Look Don't Look!

I control my destiny! Not the god damn stars and planets.

I look.

Gemini: you're gonna have a shitty day.

Damn it.

Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

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Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... August 3, 2015 - 10:11am


Behold the Patricide.
Tossing limbs upon limbs, ash from Ash.
Sparks showering upward into the Rainmaker.
The sons of the Gorgon Slayer, fleeing,

mwtevis's picture
mwtevis from Reading, PA is reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor August 24, 2015 - 12:01pm

Apparent Motion

     Smoking outside the hospital, I saw Cancer low in the sky. Outside again after my mother’s passing,I noticed it had risen triumphantly to mid-sky.


Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday August 3, 2015 - 11:51am

Wormwood's Big Day 

"That's like da Vinci shitting on the Mona Lisa!"

"You overestimate the value of this planet, my son."

"Should I start praying?"

"Nah. Fuck it."

Mikeydee's picture
Mikeydee August 3, 2015 - 8:10pm

Missed the Moon, though


Well, Saturn returned. I'm no astrologist, philosopher, or NASA nerd. But whatever they had originally meant-- condescending shits, all-- teeth were never mentioned. Amateurs. 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK August 4, 2015 - 7:01am


Further than beyond, deep in the black, we linger. We shine upon your world, in shapes, waiting for you to see us. Look up.

mehrad's picture
mehrad from Tehran, Iran is reading Shatter Me August 24, 2015 - 11:15am

His Eyes

The world was on his eyes. He blinked, The whole world was destroyed.

The Dark Lord's picture
The Dark Lord from The Void is reading The Book of the Dead August 4, 2015 - 2:06pm

Birth of a Hero

As waves of silver starlight licked the sides of his drifting wooden womb, Perseus defiantly gazed into the endless abyss above and bemused a god. 

PA Shapiro's picture
PA Shapiro August 4, 2015 - 3:41pm

The Awakening of Kirk

Captains Log; Stardate 8129.2: Warm, working hands belie his cold, logical mind. Pinched nerves arrest my heart. Passions burn hot as Vulcan until sweet release.

Kenneth Jobe's picture
Kenneth Jobe from Wichita is reading American Gods August 5, 2015 - 11:57am

Upon A Star

"Look, a shooting star," Jerry said. "I should make a wish."

Frank cocked the pistol and put it to Jerry's head. "Better hurry."

Marša's picture
Marša from Wrocław (Poland) August 6, 2015 - 12:12am

Everybody needs to hug someone

"It's falling."
"It’s flying through emptiness of universe. It’s lonely."
"And it wants to hug as to death?"
"It's an asteroid. What did you expect?!"

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn August 31, 2015 - 8:12am

On My Way

I closed my eyes, it was too much to take in. The pulsing chair, the intense acceleration, the metallic air. Abduction was a trip.

BarryG's picture
BarryG August 11, 2015 - 2:44am
Punishment from the gods

Clashes with many a titan,

Did Perseus bravely win,

But punished he was for this great sin,

With portrayals in bad movies featuring Harry Hamlin.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 11, 2015 - 11:23am

Greek Dudes

"What happened with Medusa?"

"Turned out she's super hot. Turns men to stone... down there."

"Still slayed her right?"

"Yeah, bitch was crazy."

Cams316's picture
Cams316 from Wichita,KS is reading The Dead Hearts series August 18, 2015 - 9:08pm

Don't Look Don't Look Don't Look!

I control my destiny! Not the god damn stars and planets. 

I look. 

Gemini: you're gonna have a shitty day. 

Damn it.

Ben Amberg's picture
Ben Amberg August 19, 2015 - 10:00pm


Drifting away, soon to be trapped among the stars. Every minute put salvation farther from his grasp. The ship shot towards earth. He was lost.

ZepNess's picture
ZepNess is reading The Power Broker, The Alienist August 25, 2015 - 5:05pm

I'm Not Your Stellar Sage

To Whom It May Concern:

I did not tell nor show you anything to make you go to yoga more often.


   The Universe


Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! August 21, 2015 - 2:54pm

Angels fall from heaven, white hot light streaking through the abyss. The ground trembles as they touch the earth. A new day is dawning.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works August 22, 2015 - 10:07pm

The Zodiac Watches

Water rot away titans, suns blister and buckle, 

Angels grow raven feathers.

I am sky, inside me

Dreams churn

Wishes burn

And you're all born.

Joe Golden's picture
Joe Golden from Clarksburg, WV is reading The Big Sleep August 27, 2015 - 10:14am

The Sparkle in the Eyes of an Unknown God

From beyond a gulf, dark and unfathomable, born of myth and named by science, we watch the children of Perseus rain down upon us.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday September 2, 2015 - 10:29am

Good job, Cams!