Cover by Ross Carnes
A few months ago, Joan Upton Hall announced at our San Gabriel Writer’s League meeting that she wanted everyone to write a short piece of Flash Fiction for Hallowe’en. Flash Fiction is a very condensed story, complete with a beginning, middle, and end. The word count varies greatly for these stories. Some are as short as 6 words or as long as 1000 words. In the case of our Hallowe’en tales, 200 words was all we had to work with. To put that in context, you’ve already read 90 words – almost half the allotted amount. Writing a complete story into 200 words is very challenging and until you’ve tried it, you can’t really imagine how difficult it is. Anyone who entered a story would have it printed in our newsletter. It sounded like fun. My wife and I thought about what we would write for a bit and then thought no more about it.
At our next meeting, Joan and Sam Holland, the SGWL president, announced they planed on collecting our Flash Fiction stories and publishing them in a book. Ross Carnes, a local professional artist and a member of the SGWL, had already painted a very nice cover for the book and 11 others had submitted stories. My wife and I were very surprised and decided to get busy on our entries. I also volunteered to provided some interior art and Joan and Sam picked out 6 stories for me to illustrate. There wasn’t time for me to do more because they wanted the book finished in time for Hallowe’en. A month later, 41 stories and poems had been submitted and accepted and I had managed to finish all 6 full-page illustrations. Joan Hall edited and proofed the entries and Sam Holland laid out the book and supervised the printing. It ended up being 108 pages and came out looking very professional. I am proud to be apart of it.
“Flashes of Fear” was released on October 16th. The writer’s league held the book launch at the Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown Texas. Many of the writers, including Rebecca and I, showed up to do readings from the book and we sold some copies.
The book is now available for order on Amazon and through the SGWL website. Hallowe’en may have come and gone, however, it’s always fun to read a good, spook story. So please check out our book. All proceeds go to the writers league, so help out some local artist:
Here is a Preview…
This is my entry in the book:
It’s Not Your Fault
By Jason Temujin Minor
The cymbal monkey watches from his high shelf with the rest of the toys nobody plays with anymore. He doesn’t scare me. The teacher reads, “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.” Kids laugh, stick their tongues out, and shove. But I sit still. It’ll be different this time, long as I’m quiet, quite as a mouse. A brown-haired boy turns in my direction. I don’t move. He looks away and I sigh in relief. The room becomes suddenly cold and the teacher’s breath fogs as she talks. Confused, she gets up to check the heat. The children grow quiet.
The cymbal monkey is doing this. He enjoys these games.
“Don’t! Please, you promised!”
The monkey says nothing. Why should he? I’m his prisoner.
The boy looks at me again. This time his eyes go wide. His lip trembles. Did he hear me? Does he see what the monkey did to me? I start to cry.
“It’s alright,” I tell him. “It’s not your fault.” I touch his arm. He shrieks and wets his pants. They all see me now. Children scream, cry, and run. They can’t help me, no one can.
“It’s not your fault!”
And here is my wife, Rebecca’s story:
Of Dead and Dogs
By Rebecca D. Minor
Bells tinkled as Jacob entered the old B&B.
“Coming! I’m bringing candy!”
“Auntie Joan, it’s me, Jacob.”
“Oh, Jacob! I thought you were late trick-or-treaters. Speaking of late, you’re the last to arrive. We have to be up early for All Saints services so let’s get you settled. I only have a twin left and I’m afraid it will make for cramped sleeping.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Just be sure to keep yourself tucked in. You’ve heard tell of dead and dogs? Remember anything hanging over the edge of the bed entices the dead to come lickin’ at it…”
“…and dogs too, I know. I’m surprised Bugles didn’t greet me when I drove up.”
“He’s old and probably curled up with one of your cousins for now. Here’s your room. If you don’t want Bugles bothering you…”
“Latch your door, Smarty-pants. He knows how to open lever handles. Sweet dreams.”
“Thanks. Goodnight, Auntie Joan.”
Before morning, Jacob stirred to Bugles nudging, lapping, and gently tugging at his hand. After batting him away he soon heard the dog scratching to get out. Half asleep, Jacob unlatched the door, only to find Bugles wanting to come in.
And here are a few of my illustrations:
The Ghost of Old Man Krebbs
You're One of Us Now
There are 39 more frightening, spooky, creepy, funny, and otherwise clever stories and poems from very talented writers in the book for your enjoyment (not to mention 3 more illustrations), so I hope you’ll give it shot.