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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of american short stories? Every week thousands of writers submit stories to our writing contest.
Coming of Age
People of Color
Teens & Young Adult
We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!
Two old women are sitting on their roof looking out over the neighborhood, smoking cigarettes and drinking rum. Normally they reminisce about the past, because that’s what you do when you’re old and you only have a few years left. Anytime a new memory pops up in their minds, they pounce on it. They clap their hands together and open their eyes wide and douse themselves in honey to better stick themselves to that memory ...
April 16, 1986
It was abnormally dark on the night Allis Cleary came into this world. The full moon could not be seen through the storm clouds that formed overhead. Even before the clouds appeared, Elisa Cleary sensed the storm that would ravage the small town of Salmon, CA where she lived. Elisa’s labor cries could be heard outside the hospital room and even two rooms over. She refused anything for the pain, ev...
An innocent invention gone right, or a step toward a one-world currency? That's the question many ask as bitcoin floods every country's market, enticing people to invest in digital currency. Who created bitcoin? What was their intention, and why did they suddenly disappear? I asked those questions as I opened the investigation into bitcoin and Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knew who this person was, but I was sure I would find...
Dr. Layla Ahmadi has spent years imagining that day, although in her motivational visions she had not accounted for the effect of the July humidity in Tampa on her curly dark hair. No matter though, her frizz would be covered up by a light blue bouffant scrub cap in a minute, then further smashed down by the MelVis headlamp. The MelVis looked like the light-weight LED headlamps she had worn for complex abdominal cases a...
The hydrangea plants flourished a healthy bundle of pink on their stems while fluttering softly in the gentle breeze. Tuesday morning, middle of June. I sat on my porch wearing a basic white tee and dirty red Converses, hiding just the slightest bit from the fabric of my flimsy jeans. “Will!” Mom shouted from behind.“I’m on the porch! Can you bring Bobby?!” I screamed back.Mom came a minute later, and I saw a red mark around her lightly-freckled arm from carrying her heavy tote ba...
“Another gift basket from the company?” My brother asked me, his tone disapproving. He refused to call the company I worked for by name.
I didn’t have to respond; he could see it was true from my shame-flushed cheeks.
“James,” he continued, his condescension barreling toward me like a 10-foot wave. “What are they trying to cover up now? They can’t keep ...
The goal is to get the human to put as many items in the shopping cart as possible. You don’t tell him or her this is the goal, obviously, because they’d know their will isn’t quite as free as they’d like to believe. So you make them think it was their idea. When shopping carts were first introduced to the market, actors were paid to pretend they were shopping. Monkey see, monkey do (we’ll get in...
Please don’t do it.Don’t do it because I am your father, and I am supposed to protect you. When mom told me she was pregnant, I quit smoking, that day. I had to live a long life. I had to work to provide a home in which you would live and clothes you would wear and food you would eat. I needed to be there to teach you to throw a baseball and to fish and to shave. I needed to be there to listen and to advise and to hug. Don’t do it because I have so much more love to give, so many more stories ...
Janet flipped the switch on the alarm clock, for the dozenth time in the past few months she would not be here to turn it off. She wound her long golden braid up and pinned it in place and then carefully placed her hat there, it was usually a balancing act but she had almost perfected it. Checking one more time she stared at her reflection, if she ...
“Look,” Clive reiterated to his frazzled son and daughter-in-law, “he just needs a little discipline. All he ever does is play those video games. It’s no wonder he’s disobeying. He has no real-life structure. Let me take him to this conference this weekend and open his eyes a little. It can’t hurt. And it may turn his filthy attitude around.”
Twelve-year-old Ramsey’s parents frowned, wobbled their weary heads, b...
Please, don’t do it. Despite imagining that his cell phone begs him for mercy, Foley Gaspers wants to mercilessly drown it.Foley wonders why the bathroom he uses in his mother’s house has not one, but two sinks. Two large, rectangular porcelain washbasins. The only sinks he used for the ten years before moving back in with his mom were part of the same stainless-steel unit as a prison cell toilet. When there were disciplinary issues, he’d be released from his quarters once a day ...
Recipe for Disaster “Recipes are just algorithms — right?”“Uh… yeah, in a way.”“So, do it. I dare you!”You don’t dare me when it comes to food preparation. Usually. Because I’ll take the challenge!I’m a competent cook — not a five-star Michelin chef, by any means. Who would want to be? Imagine the stress… it would take all the fun out of cooking!Which brings the side point: is cookin...
With the swift flick of my calloused finger gliding across the screen, I push away one half-watched video and pull the next into view. Hours pass, bringing fun facts— Did you know that Australia is wider than the moon?— and convoluted jokes that would take far too much explaining. I watch my “mutuals,” (accounts that I follow that follow me as well) dancing and acting to the voices of others. I don’t know what ...
“Please don’t do it.”
Meagan whispered the words, but as she was alone behind the wheel of her parked, twelve-year-old station wagon, no one else would hear even if she had shouted. The low car felt like it was crouching behind the hedge as she watched her husband standing on the deck of their town’s best hotel, a modern monstrosity that perched on the lake’s edge, its outside adorned with colorful wooden chai...
A long time ago, our country was at a loss. The fight for equality and identity became so bad that it threatened our existence in the world. Everyone viewed us as a joke and wanted to wage war with us at our weakest point. So, a group of people who had been running the country behind the scenes stepped in and took the control they wanted. No one knew of their existence and those who speculated it were labeled conspiracy ...
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