Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Flash Fiction

Smoke and Mirrors

“No!”  She screamed.  “Get away from my little girl!”

She backed herself into the corner, sheltering her daughter with her body.  Grabbing her mother’s leg, Liv huddled behind Linda; her face pressed against the rough fabric, hiding the view of a world she didn’t know.

“Leave us alone!  Just, leave us alone,” Linda cried, sobbing behind her knife.

The pounding on the door ceased, but a moment later a male voice called out,

“Ma’am?  Is everything okay?”

The metallic ringing of the dropped knife sounded through the room as Linda pressed her hands to her breasts.  She slumped against the wall, sliding down to join her daughter.  Liv cradled her mother’s head in her arms, stroking her hair.  Linda muttered, clutching at her as the door opened.


When the woman didn’t reply the man stepped into the apartment.  Liv laid her mother down on the floor, the medicine finally working.

Liv looked up at the maintenance man and said,

“Mamma’s been sick.  But I’m going to take care of her.”

Steve looked over the little girl’s head at the woman spread out on the floor.  Glancing back into earnest brown eyes, Steve nodded and left.

By:  Ben Pollard

Clean Slate

“Human, your species faces extinction because of Feelings.  Learn to Think and follow the proper path,” the E’emin said stepping back from the man.

Walker, with the back of his hand, wiped blood from his mouth, “We were fine until you showed up.”

“You Leimelchs!  Homo sapiens’ downward spiral had reached its end already.  You presume to think that any of you would be left without our help.  You would not!”  The thing that looked human circled Walker, looming.

“I see your thoughts,” the E’emin laughed.  “It was not your wars, but politics that doomed you.  Your kind thought things were owed them.”  He moved to the window.

“That’s not true—,” the human objected.

“It is true enough,” the alien said, waving away his protest.  “In eliminating those who wouldn’t do for themselves, we left your species catastrophically diminished.”

Walker joined him, “How could you know?  All those people!  Why interfere?”

The creature stared out the window.  Knowing he couldn’t force him to respond, Walker watched the cataclysm.

Beyond, the Earth suffered.  The oceans he saw—even from this height—flowed over the landmasses.

“Why?”  The E’emin asked.  “We returned to find our experiment contaminated.  So we started over.”

By:  Ben Pollard


Jennifer pulled into her father’s driveway after midnight.  Leaving school nine hours ago for spring break, she hoped to surprise her Dad.  She hadn’t seen him in a year.

She let herself in using her key.  Walking down the dim hallway she headed to the kitchen.  Rounding the corner she stopped.  A woman in an over-large shirt and nothing else had beaten her to the fridge.

“Who are you?” Jennifer demanded.

The woman spun around, “Wha–?” she gasped.

An indrawn breath drew Jennifer’s attention.  She caught only a glimpse of ghostly white buttocks.

“Dad?” she asked.

Hearing a door slam galvanized her into action and she ran through the living room toward the back of the house.  A slight rustling brought her to a door, a coat closet.  Yanking the door open, she saw her father wearing an inside-out long winter coat. 

With pounding footsteps the woman ran up to them. 

Demanding simultaneously, “Who is this person?”

“Uhm, Kate, this is my daughter, Jennifer.  Jennifer, this is your, uhm, step-mother, Kate,” Dad explained.

Jennifer slammed the door shut and said, “We need to talk.”

Turning the lock on the doorknob Kate replied, “I think we do.”

By:  Ben Pollard

  1. Smoke & Mirrors and Surprise are two of my favorites of yours!

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