Flash Fiction Challenge: Another Three Sentences

The Numbers Game” — last week’s challenge — demands your eyeballs and appreciation.

At some point this week, I crossed 6000 followers on Twitter.

Which means: I’m going to send out some more terribleminds postcards, each with a piece of writing advice just for you. Penned by me. In the heartsblood of a magical white bull.

Okay, maybe not that last part.

Here’s the deal: I’m going to send out three postcards.

I will send them anywhere in the world.

In addition, the three winners will also receive one of my e-books in PDF format. (Winner’s choice.)

But you gotta work for it.

Last week’s challenge was brief — 100 words! — and this week’s is going to continue down Ole Brevity Lane and ask you to write a piece of flash fiction that is, drum roll please:

Three sentences long.

This can be in any genre. Any subject. No limitations beyond size.

Three. Sentences. Long.

Post directly in the comments below.

You have until Monday — yes, Monday, as in September 26that noon EST.

Then I shall pick.


I HAVE CHOSEN THE FIVE. I know, I said three. I’m saying five, because again you did way too many good ones.

I will send five postcards. One to:

Matthew McBride

Thomas Pluck


Julian Finn

Amy Tupper

Folks: I need your addresses. Email me at terribleminds at gmail dot com. (I’ll also need to know what e-book you want.)



  • With little time left, Clair closed her portable and stood up from her desk, tracing the well-worn path from her chair to the observation window overlooking the sterile, efficient city streets below, still humming with the evening’s traffic.

    There had been little warning and even less suspicion of the impending invasion, and she had done her best to raise all the red flags she could without tipping them off, but now she wondered if she had done the right thing.

    Subtle and low at first, the rotors of the civil defense sirens spun up in the distance, a sound you could almost ignore, wanted to ignore, until their keening became too hard to shut out, and the bombs started to fall.

  • “You can only build things going forward,” he said, staring into the sunset, “you can’t ever go back.” Doodling on the cocktail napkin, listening the the whine of the big jets on the runway pointed towards home, she thought about her father’s words. Twenty years away was going to take an awful lot of work.

  • Sunlight glittering off the colored glass baubles that hung from the old oak tree had been too enticing to wander away from, Morela, the ghost of a young woman, reflected from her cobalt prison.

    She looked about herself and while the gleaming rainbow colors were appealing, all she saw was how trapped she was, the darkness of the other spirits trapped in the other baubles around her, and how none of them seemed to crave freedom again.

    She, however, could not stand to be trapped, so at night while all the other spirits were resting in the dark warmth, she radiated all the light and energy she had pent up within herself during the day, burst her prison of glass into a hundred pieces, and was free to roam about, happily haunting the living, once more.

  • The sound of the spoon as it tapped and then scraped across the porcelain of the bowl was, for a moment, the only sound in the room. He glanced forgetfully across the table towards the empty chair. The spoon remained suspended and motionless in his hand as he remembered.

  • September 23, 2011 at 12:58 PM // Reply

    Why would her mother allow her to write to a Alec, who would later burn his house down and then gas himself? Didn’t she know this was going to happen? And why did her father not write to Alec, he was his friend, fuck.

  • Once upon a time in a reality plan far far away there lived a man who could talk to fish.
    Unfortunately, before he had the chance to meet any fish he was killed in a vicious war over his planet’s dwindling energy supply, so he never discovered his special talent.
    Even more tragically, the fish who knew the secret to cold fusion was later eaten by a hungry grizzly bear.

  • Graham was mildly surprised when he opened the 10-year-old jar of peanut butter and heard a voice from within it say, “Graham, I am your god.

    “The fate of this universe, and, indeed, all the multiverse, rests squarely in your hands.”

    After making a sandwich, he sealed the jar and returned it to the shelf, sliding it wayyy to the back.

  • It’s true – there really are fairies in the woods.

    In my more lucid moments, when I can remember what words are, I try to tell you this, over and over, until my throat feels raw from screaming, but you can’t hear me, can’t see me.

    There really are fairies in the woods: pray that you never meet one.

  • She fished her outstretched hand into the sea of bodies ahead of her, but felt unraveled by thousands of eyes at best. Tears formed, though she refused to feel them, and she retracted her hand. Desperate for connection, she never realized a fool tries again.

  • Odalay the fierce-barbarian dwarf charged the oncoming hoard of screaming shadows, Axe in hand.

    “Go back to the Abyss from which you came!!!” he yelled about to swing when suddenly… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    His narcolepsy kicked in and he ended up missing the greatest battle ever in dwarven history.


    (Hope you liked it) 🙂 — Steven W.

  • “A place for everything,” she croaked, lurching to her feet in a swirl of cat and hair. Brushing the crumbs from her chin and clutching the new treasure, she made her way down the narrow path, straightening the newest tower of phone books and tucking stray receipts back into bundles until she reached the bread boxes. “This is your place,” she whispered, nestling the tender crust in amongst its hard and moldy brothers.

  • If you visit my page, I’ve posted a commentary discussing the inspiration for this story.

    Wally slid his Juror disc into the game PlayCube console, cracked open a Mountain Dew, picked up his controller and waited for the countdown to hit 10:00PM.

    Minutes before Travis Sturgeon’s appointed time, a court clerk read his sentence, and, a picosecond before Sturgeon’s last breath, selected a random Juror ID among millions from around the state.

    Only God and the computer knew whose ID was called, and Wally thumbed the Delete key, hoping he was the reason Sturgeon was now twitching and defecating himself, then ordered tacos.

    Site: http://barelyok.com/speaking-of-sentences.html

  • There were so many things she didn’t understand: why she had been brought back to life at the age of ninety-eight, and not 24, why so many people carried guns, even as they went about the most ordinary aspects of their lives, like buying a coffee at the Wicked Bean. None of that would matter now – her coffee was ready, her number was called and one day after being brought back to life, the skinny young man with the goatee had shot her to prove his point to the teenage Barrista. Yes, he was serious about it: a macchiato must always be served in a pre-warmed cup.

  • I was preparing “Chubby Gus” for his open-casket funeral today.

    I had just finished crossing his arms and reached up to straighten his tie when a cold, rigid hand clasped my wrist.

    “It was the hooker’s fault, Morty,” I turned and stared into his murky eyes as his jaw flapped, “but it was one hell of a party.”

  • Buzzing into the coagulating muck, the fly regurgitated and promptly died. With a last flutter of her lashes, she watched the last twitch of its wings and smiled. She was as good as dead, but she’d taken down every last one of those damn zombies first.

  • Red washed over me in warm, sticky waves. It smoothed my skin with deep, rich velvet strokes. It screamed my mood to the mirror as it would soon scream it to the world.

  • The colossal beast limply draped across the parapet. The last dragon in the world was dead, drippling his blood down the stone. The knight knew regret.

  • As Dy’lon crouched behind a solid steel table a beam of energy, strangely resembling musical notes, punched a hole to his right.

    Taking a deep breath, he stood, spun, and aimed his glittery, antique Fender Stratocaster…sending a hard stream of musical energy at his foe.

    Just as the ancient prophesy said….it’s a long way to the top, if ya wanna rock ‘n roll.

  • Can I vote? I vote for Suzie and ChiaLynn. It’s a tie for the win, but hopefully not winners for a tie.

    (P.S. That’s my story. It’s non-fiction)

  • Sorry, but I have a bunch…Enjoy
    I discovered I had an evil twin. Oh, the things I did and blamed on her! Now I’m sweatin’ on the chain gang; turns out my twin’s fraternal.
    She was excited the divorce was finally over because she could finally date again! AND she just won a cruise! For victims of drug-resistant venereal diseases.
    What are you doing now? I miss you and need to talk to you, know you again. But this pane of glass and restraining order get in my way.
    A month ago, I’d been a dirty homeless crack addict. Now, I got 3 squares a day, medical, rehab…Damn, I shoulda killed somebody long ago!
    I carefully tie the noose, knowing it is now or never. Right now, I’m heaven-bound. But if I let you get a hold of me, I’m not so sure.

  • I don’t quite remember what I said the night before Damien disappeared, I just know it’s what fueled my search for him these past seven years. Those words isn’t enough anymore, my friend, I have a life of my own to live. You would understand.

  • Smiling, Jimmy Sticks pulled himself up off the mat, a silvery strand of spit dangling from his lip. Martinez closed in, and Jimmy swung hard, popping Martinez’s nuts like a pair of grapes dropped into a hungry lover’s mouth. They dropped to the canvas together, and Jimmy put his mouth next to Martinez’s ear and said, “The money is for you. But that, maricon, is for Maria.”

  • “We can’t let Wolfe know, that we know what happened to him.”

    Iyy snuggled up closer to TJ, hearing the rain hit the roof softly in the darkness.

    “He knows.”

  • Half of this is a true story. Guess which half…?

    A man was chasing a woman with his pants around his ankles outside of a methadone clinic downtown, ready to screw her right in the street. She was playing hard to get, but laughing in amusement. Suddenly, the man tripped and landed face down.

  • Crisp September days like this, high in the Jemez Mountains, were made for turning the crank on a chile roaster. He drew in the smokey, full-bodied aroma, so thick that he could almost taste it on the back of his palate. When he was done, the skins practically fell off the hands, and he strung the phalanges into a necklace.

  • What she had threatened me with during our years of shouting matches finally happened: I came home to an eerily quiet house and discovered the brief note on the kitchen table. The next day, with my body trembling, dried tear streaks on my face, and my little buddy’s die-cast cap pistol tucked in my waistband, I opened the heavy glass door of the building. My soon-to-be ex-wife always did complain that I needed help with everything, I thought as I uttered a hoarse cry and pulled out Tyler’s toy inside the police station.

  • Marty recollected, in this fleeting moment, that being bitten by a vampire – a creature hundreds of years deep and tailored in suede – would have been the beginning for him, the start of something overwhelming and entirely rewarding; immortality promised such things, did they not?

    As it stood, his recollections were lies; veils to conceal the truth created by those rose-tinted, movie-watching eyes that told him it was all glamour and lavish living, all orgies and take-what-you-want feasting on those who gave in, or did not – a victim’s wants a notion not cared for as he understood it.

    He slumped, folded in two, sliced in three, left dribbling into the street sewage line to gather with all the other wastes and used up whims of the city, and though he considered that this was not what he wanted, not by a long shot, he did finally recollect that what he wanted was completely, utterly, immaterial.

  • Since you passed away, I’ve always dreamed of you coming back to wrap your arms around me. But now you’ve shuffled up to my door I can’t quite bring myself to take you back. If cancer can’t keep you down… maybe a headshot will.

  • All right Chuck, here’s your three sentences.

    The Penmonkey wrote on, not giving two shits about his platform, but instead worrying about how he was going to try to save the world with the talents he was given. His chastising, molding, and constant humbuggery had not only shifted us lurkers, wannabes, pundits, authors and lookey-loos from the various digital feeds around the globe, but also a whole heap of social networking and most of the users of the internet away from the immensely enormous amount of bullshit that was being fed to us in lines, graphics, and engineered propaganda in a nearly constant media barrage that was meant to hide the truth. The revolution was slowly tweeted, posted, liked, plus-oned, shared, printed out, gaining velocity and increasing in passion so that the message was shouted around the globe in hundreds of languages about how just one terrible truculent mind could make the difference between freedom and slavery.

  • Henry enters her room with a belt in hand, buckle gleaming in the hallway light, screaming “How many times do I have to tell this cunt to stop using my bathroom!”

    A flash of light, the smell of smoke and the thundering sound of a gunshot later, Susan walks up to her shocked and bleeding husband.

    She points the instrument of her freedom to his head and says, “Never again.”

  • The cloud spiked up and out while the people stood and stared. Their skin came off in layers but they were blind and beyond understanding. As the last person went to his knees like a prizefighter in his final desperate round, the roaches inched through the black crust, sniffed once, and declared it a good day.

  • Once upon a time there was a storyteller who told the most wonderful tales in the world, full of hunter and hunted, of the many strange things seen while running beneath the moon, of the grand speeches of owls and the tall tales told by wolves when no one is about, and the people would come from miles and miles around just to hear him recite them in the dark, shadowed evenings over a lonely campfire far from the lights of the village.

    Then one moonlit night when everyone had gathered to hear him speak, the storyteller arrived at the expectant campfire but for once remained dreadfully silent, and all the villagers who had gathered began to ask him all the questions he had never answered in his stories – about his past, what village he came from, how he came to be a storyteller, and (shyly, by some of the young ladies) if he was married.

    And after a long time, the storyteller looked up sadly from the coarse black fur beginning to grow on his hands and arms, the razor-like talons sprouting from each finger, and growled up at the full moon around lengthening canines: “I was, once – but then one night… I grew… SO… HUNGRY!”

  • It’s 4:32 am and I can’t sleep. Looked at your picture for a while but I still don’t know what is it that I want to say about it. I think… I miss you, that’s it.

  • As the old man fixed me with his gaze, the world around us faded to a pale grey, the noise of the diner receding into nothing but a buzz. Staring deeper into his eyes, I found myself suddenly becoming aware of myriad secrets hidden in the world we walked through, realising that our minds had simply shut them out through centuries of conditioning. But then I blinked, and the old man was gone.

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