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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of contemporary 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!
The clink-a-clank of silverware broke the silence, forks and knives and spoons pinging against the best family china in an endless cacophony of cuisine. Not a voice to be heard. A sip of wine, a slice of turkey, a spoonful of mashed potatoes. The only thing not on the menu was the elephant in the room.
The strike of the grandfather clock gave Warren an opening.
“Your mother te...
Tonight was family night. No, not that family. The extended family. It was a night for tiptoeing around your aunt’s political views and pretending to like your cousins. It was a night for trying and failing to keep your kids from playing with their food. But worst of all, it was the night when Harvey would have to see his younger brother Derek. And that would have been enough.
Harvey had been t...
Jason took a deep breath as he leant on the window. The meeting room was just down the hall, but it might as well have been a million miles away. No matter how much he tried he couldn’t get his legs to work, couldn’t push himself away and turn and walk. Come on, he thought, walking is easy. Even children can do it.
Yeah, thought the knot of fear in his stomach, but children ...
I had a dog once.
I had him when he was just a very small creature, not much different from myself at the time.
It was nearing the end of a rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade conducted by Valery Gergiev of the Vienna Philharmonic. I sat there, quietly absorbed in my own thoughts amongst the other researchers in the cargo...
Marzia woke with her face pressed against the glass of the train’s window. She hadn’t planned on falling asleep during the journey home for Thanksgiving, but the slight sway from side-to-side and the clack-clack-clack of the wheels numbed her brain to the point that sleep was a foregone conclusion. Where her cheek had been a greasy mark was left behind and there was even a clear line of spit trickling down to th...
I face the two-story white clapboard house with its yellow shutters. Three hundred years and counting. Counting down to my bomb. I plan on blowing it all to smithereens.
My family beat me to our annual Thanksgiving shindig. I look in the living room window as I suck on my cigarette and the pint bottle of the family’s claim to fame, Barrens Brandy. They sit around the formal room, thirteen relatives, not a smile ...
[NEWBIE entered Official Assistants of The Band Members (OATBAM) Chat]
Rules of the chat: What is said in this chat stays in this chat. Betrayers will be shot, I mean, will have to buy the rest of us shots. Owners of overly bad spelling and grammar will be shot… by the Grammar police. *smiling face emoji*
*see no evil monkey emoji* *hear no evil monkey emoji* *speak no evil monkey emoj...
One of Xavier’s most cherished memories was of watching his grandfather, Moses, pick locks in front of the TV. The man had a string of padlocks which he kept on a bicycle U-lock and he went through them one-by-one, cradling a lock in the palm of his left hand, his index and middle fingers providing light pressure to a tension bar, and delicately set the lock’s tumblers with a pick in his right hand—click…click…click
The vase at the centre of my parent's living room is not the same as I remember. It lacks the crack that was there, that I put there. I stare at it, the red vase holding fake flowers that don't need water.The house is quiet,but I can still hear screams, and the vase at the centre of the table makes it worse, bringing back memories. "Mommy!" I push past the toys on the floor, swinging my hands and knocking off the vase at the centre of the table as I r...
His gaze, focused on the center of the table, gave away his agony. It seemed like he was looking at the saltshaker, or maybe the knife next to the salami, and wondering if it were sharp enough, but this I could not know for sure. Not because of the distance, nor the tumult of cousins, uncles and other irrelevant relatives that were among us; but because, by all accounts, my father was hi...
"Phone check," Sarah said.
"Okay, here," Said Jason.
"Who's this?" she asked.
"She's a new coworker who's been added to the group chat," he said.
"Why is she sending you so many smiley-face emojis?"
"It's a group chat; they're for everyone, not just me." Jason feels himself getting irritated, though he's trying not to. His cheeks are red and burning and he's trying with all of his...
Stephanie slinks in the chair kicking her legs in the air as You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker plays. She has been trying to get this routine down all day. All month, it seems like, but her legs seem like barely attached appendages rather than her own legs. On her back now, she points her toes and tries to do a roll all the way to the other side, but she over rolls landing on the other side and face down on the gro...
Looking up LukeThere was a sheet of paper stuck between the knob and the frame of my front door. It was damp and yellowish. I hesitated before taking it, and wanted to crumple and drop it in the waste bin without reading it.Was it a message or a threat? I had no reason to expect threats or messages from anybody. Unless it was from the kids yesterday afternoon who ran their bicycles over the front lawn. I yelled at them, and they turned their heads and flipped me the finger.I didn’t want to unfold...
I woke up at 6 AM today. It is 22nd October, the second last day of Durga Puja. The sky was overcast and there was a nip in the air. When I entered the dining hall, I saw Samar sitting there with his glass of milk and Meera halfway through her bowl of cornflakes. We were now past the awkward step siblings’ phase and since I was only a year older than them, we got along just fine. My family is not very usual, i...
Peter lies in a semi-dark room, and the quiet music coming from the speakers slowly draws him into the world of Smetana's Vltava.
Slightly bouncing water over the rocks on a quiet summer day.
Clear blue water splashes greenery all around the river.
The faint sun warms and softens every drop.
Suddenly here and there a drop of rain, but it does not bother the course of the river that sl...
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