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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of historical fiction 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!
My grandmother is very old. She was born on 1 April, 1908, and today is her ninetieth birthday. She is a cheerful happy lady of the old school who adores her family. She likes nice clothes and an occasional illicit cigarette. She is a great cook and raconteur who loves to tell funny stories and has the gift of making you feel as though you are the most important person in the world. But there are some things she will never speak about.There is a polished mahogany box that grandmother keeps on her bedside table. It l...
It rolled out from under a steamer covered in dust and other detritus found in the attic. My father Vernon Hattford had passed away a week ago in hospice, leaving me as executor of his estate. He had lived in this house since getting his Veteran Administration loan to buy it after the war in 1946. I grew up, learned to drive, got my first kiss and a whole bunch of other memories in this neighborhood before ...
I let my hand catch the wind from outside of my best friend Mallory’s VW microbus causing my flowery bell-shaped sleeves to balloon open. It’s the summer of 1969, and the radio reports that traffic on the 17B leading up to the festival is backed up for miles. State troopers attempt to move broken down cars that have overheated off of the highway. We get stuck about 3 miles from the entrance of Woodstock in bumper-to-b...
After working all night in the mansion’s nursing home Kitty was too tired to take a bath and too wound up to sleep. From the kitchen she grabbed a cup of coffee and went to the back porch that overlooked downtown Des Moines. She kicked off her nursing shoes and plopped on a wicker chair. Her soiled nursing uniform, once starched and ironed to perfection was now wrinkled and damp from perspiration. As she unhooked ...
It returned to Earth with an inelegant clatter, jarring on the small cluster of rocks among the shaded blossoms. Hinata expelled a gust of hot air and furrowed his young brow in contemplation.
This won’t do, he thought to himself as he pulled his kimono up above his mucky knees to facilitate the deep crouch over the t-shaped piece of bamboo between ...
(Note: This is a prequel to the book I made named, Passing By. I recommend reading Passing By before this, or certain parts won't make sense. It’s the story of Jonas, who we didn’t see enough of. It will show his backstory and what truly happened to him. The story starts when Jonas is 13, in Alabama, 1874. Enjoy the story.)
September 14th, 1874.
I wandered through the littered grass of t...
Ivan peers into the cafe window. In the display case, Varenyky cherry pops of red like winter berries top a fluffy star-shaped strudel, a sprig of mint on top. Syrnyky, miniature pancakes with assorted berries. The nutty smell of coffee. A waft of gasoline.
"Are you open yet? Ivan mouths against the window.
"You know we are not," shouts Natasha.
"May I join you anyway?"...
One, two, three, four. Auden pushed the steel poker into the soil with each count. He held his breath, waiting to hit a landmine, and found nothing. Exhale. He crawled forward—only a couple of feet—and breathed in. A red bird with viridian-tinted eyes perched on the tree above and watched. The breeze, colder than yesterday, shook the branches, whistling as it passed. One, two, three, four. Nothing. He exhaled. Crawling forward, a faraway soldier called out that he found one. Auden dropped his poker, ...
A Tail of Friends &nbs...
She Could Simply Walk Away
Jemma heard the sound again, a low moan coming from across the swamp.
She had previously dismissed it as the groan of a live oak branch rubbing against another in the breeze, a common enough sound in the wetlands.
Nothin' violates your rights more than the creepin' mid-day sun in mid-June, especially if you workin’ outdoors. When I woke up this mornin', Mama told me it was my birthday. She has her own way of rememberin' that kinda thing. I think the way she tracks my birthday is by the way the sun sets, or doesn’t, rather. She always tells me I was born on the longest day of the year, and the hottest accordin' to her memory, but all the pregnant ladies are always sweatin’, never complainin’ though. “Complainin' don’t do nothin’ but make you hotter ...
Reader's Warning: Themes of war, death, violence, imprisonment
Farmer Gustav Volker leaned against the thick wooden end of his shovel, the spade deeply embedded into the soil. Pausing his work, he lifted his chin toward the sky. Wiping his brow with a hand, he used the same palm to shield his eyes from the sizzling sun. Wispy virga streaks danced in the western distance, vertical rain sh...
The doomed crew drifted down Slave River in their rotten York boat. They had given up on paddling. Fatigue, strain, and hunger had ripped all layers of thought so that only the roaring of the river and the cries of the pelicans filled their heads. Most of the original crew, the rejects of the Hudson Bay Company, had died from sickness or attacks. Four of them remained, including the Husky, who was covered in dirt and had...
I used to achieve top marks in my class before coming to this university. Now, no one is perfect, but I might have been. Nearly perfect SAT scores, a GPA that was technically higher than a 4.0 and honors opportunities left and right. I likely could have applied to Ivy League schools and got in. Thinking back, I should have applied just to see if I could.
But I didn’t. I knew I wanted to come here. There was some...
(Warnings: slavery, suicide, mentions of dubious consent)
I am the Imperial Librarian. I write this as the Imperial Guards ransack my residence, confiscating what little valuables they can find while desperately searching for my figure, so that they may arrest me.
I plan to hide this record, this inconspicuous scroll, amongst the hundreds of thousands of scrolls within this library. Perha...
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