The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: flash

Flash fiction by Michael Prihoda

The Year of Looking Up Friends on Our iPhones Only to Wonder Who We Actually Met

 

Chloe read the Magna Carta backward. I’m sure of it, whether you are or not. Please tell me we are not the last people on earth. Please tell me if I open the door I will find the mail in the box, maybe a couple bills we can pay on our meager salaries. There was a guy named Peter one of us knew from somewhere, not a support group, no, I never went to that one that met down the street from the place where somebody my parents used to know lived. People started dying long before we started living.

Freddy is not worth talking about.

Oh. Raquel is another story. Well, there was this one instance, and I only heard this from Cam, who happened to be with her at the party and eventually got her home completely without taking advantage of the situation whatsoever (considering Cam this is almost unbelievable and I don’t even need to include any euphemisms for you to know what sort of activity he refrained from that I find unbelievable yet enlightening because, perhaps, humanity has some baseline goodness left and since Cam was probably five to six rum and Cokes heavier than when he started the night that this story takes place on makes it all the more improbable yet uplifting/encouraging/inspiring). Anyway, Cam tells me stuff went down and Raquel happens to be lucky in that there is nothing worth remembering (in a good or bad sense) from the night because she definitely remembered zero of what transpired in perhaps the best possible way of not remembering zilch. Continue reading

“Nest,” by Meghan Ferrari

Scabbed knees scurry down a path saturated with yellow leaves.“Hurry up!” Sam shouts at her younger sister, exasperated by her slowness.She navigates the strewn branches swiftly, jumping over their jagged edges like a well-worn hopscotch. At the foot of the path she pauses, leaning her body, newly lanky, against the large rock shaped like a jelly bean. The grey bean, swathed in green moss, once served as the perfect table-top for tea parties, and Barbie’s BBQs, but now seats Sam and her friends as they practice their fishtail braids, crossing and re-crossing freshly highlighted hair, and discuss the day’s drama, most recently Becca’s foray with Ben H. behind portable #5.Sam waits until she can see the fraying bows on her sister’s pale pink sneakers, then continues deeper into the woods. As she runs, she stretches her flannelled arms out, and with pointed index fingers, grazes the passing pines, as though leaving a line to retrace.

 

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Flash Fiction by Andi Dobek

The Procedure

by Andi Dobek

4:12 a.m.

I clambered back into bed, feeling more awake than before, and the blue-white light of my clock radio cast a glow over the walls and a portion of my bed. I groaned and turned onto my side, facing the window. My shadow, discernible only as several lumps above the mattress, was projected on the sheer blinds that kept others from peering in.

I tried to bore myself to sleep with the monotony of my shadow, calmly rising and falling, my breathing nearly synced with the ocean waves from my sound machine. I heard the clock chime the half hour.

And then my shadow wasn’t mine anymore.

Like watching a plant grow with time-lapse photography, something bulbous, followed by two long appendages, extruded themselves from near my hip.

A head. Arms.

I looked over my shoulder, but there was nothing behind me to cast such a shadow. The light burnt my eyes, and I turned back towards my window, which had clearly become a canvas for my imagination.

As I squinted so my vision could adjust, the shadow became humanoid. The arms, not so gangly now, grew more refined. It stretched, tilting to face the ceiling. The creature conjured something, then pulled it up to its face. When I saw its long fingers fiddling at the back of its head, a single word floated into my mind.

Mask.

Then gloves. Pulled on quickly, efficiently.

I swallowed. Sleep was out of the question.

The humanoid being that was behind me…yet, not…whose shadow was projected upon my window shade, continued busying itself with things unseen. Then it turned, so I might see the silhouette of its back.

If I had attempted to move before, fear and revulsion now paralyzed me.

What I could not see in profile, I now made out clearly. Below the creature’s shoulders, formed by the two primary arms, protruded two more pairs of limbs. They stuck out only slightly from the torso, with a few too many joints, and hung limply at the sides, inferior with apparent disuse. Around the head, two angular extrusions jutted out from where its temples would be. Suddenly it turned back, its head bowed close over my shadow, clutching something in its hand.

Another mask. Delicate shadows of several tubes streamed from it, and the silhouette that held it leaned over, closer to the shadow of my head on the pillow.

The sound machine breathed for me now. Slow. Steady. Rhythmic. Calm.

It fastened the mask around my head.

After what felt like minutes, but may have been seconds, the giddy chirp of a bird trilled in my ears, and I reopened my eyes.

The world outside my window was beginning to glow gently with the dawn. More birds joined the first one’s song. I looked at the shade.

The outline of the humanoid shadow was barely discernible in the strengthening light, but before it disappeared completely, I saw it held something long and thin in one of its six hands.

Scalpel.

 

Andi Dobek (‘Andrea’ to her parents and strangers) rarely leaves the confines of her own head, finding the company there much more agreeable and easier to sway than those of the ‘real’ world. Long before she could walk, she began her writing career as soon as she could grip a pen, and hasn’t stopped mutilating innocent paper since. She holds a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois, and another in Web Design and Development. Currently she is slaving over a novel conceived over ten years ago, and her greatest dream is that it will one day see the light.

Andi lives in the Midwest and works at a credit union to fund her next endeavor: an MFA in Screenwriting through Lindenwood University. If you’re socially inclined, you can follow her on Twitter (@andreadobek) and Instagram (@The_Cicatrix).

Flash Fiction by Joan McNerney

Another Small Death

Assured his references would be fine, two week’s notice was given, severance check guaranteed.  That would give him one month total to get a life.

Freakyfour years gone just like that.   Exiting in long strides through swinging doors, Gary walked to the elevator.   This whole building, all twenty six floors, would be there when he was gone.  His work was unimportant, in a few weeks nobody would remember him.

His hands hung in a gesture of hopelessness.  His tongue covered with thick crust leaving a bad taste in his mouth.  He sat down more numb than anything else.  Shuffling his options like broken glass through his mind…if only one thought could come out straight, one sliver of truth.  But truth could be hard to handle, like shards of glass, slashing your face.  The bleary sky was streaked by blood red rays from a setting sun.  Night approached deep and dark.

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“A Brief History of the Marriage Vow” by Glen Armstrong

A Brief History of the Marriage Vow

The idea is to get the bride and groom to float toward each other, defying the layers of clothing they have rented. The idea is to obscure the idea with ritual, organ music and flowers, deifying the silence that, though brief, truly heralds their commitment. In this smallest of pauses before the ceremony, they have no idea. No lips. No history. No one breathes as a man trained in all things uncertain guides the trembling couple toward new uses for their mouths.

 

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.

 

Halloween Contest Finalist: Mureall Hébert

These flash pieces by Mureall Hébert are finalists of the Furious Gazelle’s Halloween contest. The contest’s winner will be announced Friday. View the rest of the finalists here.

The Side of the Road

I drove by without stopping as you stumbled down the side of the road because the rust-colored stains on your yellow dress alarmed me, and the way your head cracked at an angle didn’t compute, and the tormented scream on your face chilled my spine. I ignored the cries that wrenched at my car, pretending I didn’t hear you plead for help, or salvation, or revenge. I nudged the gas pedal harder when I glanced into the rear-view mirror and discovered you’d vanished, like you’d never existed. I raced faster when the temperature in the car plunged and the door locks clicked into place. And I refused to look at the passenger seat because I didn’t want to see you there or admit to the rawboned hand along my arm and the musty breath on my neck.

Why I Had To Bite You

I didn’t rip the head from the corpse,

tuck it into a bowling bag, and drop

it in your swimming pool. That was Igor.

He escaped his bell tower, got into the cider,

and was up to no good. Nor did I hang

the body-less hand from your car door

and hide in the woods to watch you scream.

That wasn’t me. My alibi swears I’m clean.

Most likely Poe or Norman Bates. I hear

they’re into that kind of thing. The face

in the mirror? The one dripping blood

from her eye-sockets? Not yours truly.

Don’t blame Bloody Mary either.

She’s in Tijuana, last I heard.

I suspect the gremlin in the basement

or maybe Tonto—I spotted a black dress in his closet.

Yes, I’ll admit, those puncture wounds on your neck

are my fault. Dracula’s converted to pacifism

and what’s Halloween without vampires?

Don’t thank me, really. The wounds will heal

and you were a night person anyway.

Call it my civic duty—

although I have to admit you tasted pretty good

even though I prefer iced tea.

Mureall’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Suddenly Lost in Words, Lunch Ticket, Crack the Spine, Stone Crowns MagazineBartleby Snopes>kill author, Short, Fast & DeadlyBacopa Literary Review, The Citron ReviewStereoOpticon, and WhidbeyAIR. Mureall is an MFA graduate from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and a former editor of Soundings Review.

Poetry by Howie Good

Two new pieces by Howie Good. “Come Evening” and “Press Enter to Continue.”

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing). His latest chapbooks are Echo’s Bones and Danger Falling Debris (Red Bird Chapbooks). He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

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