Flash Fiction Online #54, March 2018

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Flash Fiction Online #54, March 2018

“Eyes of Wood, Heart of Stone” by Rebecca Birch
“Duck, Duck, Duck” by Samantha Murray
“Dragon Meat” by Helen French
“The Ghost in Angelica’s Room” by Maria Haskins

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

This month’s Flash Fiction Online is dedicated solely to genre fiction, with four new stories.

“Eyes of Wood, Heart of Stone” is a fantasy by Rebecca Birch, where a young boy approaches the Queen of Faery with the requests that make up the title. The reason is soon unveiled and the Queen has to make a decision about what to do with the boy. I found the story quite good and filled with the logical twists that make for good short fiction.

Samantha Murray‘s “Duck, Duck, Duck” is about a version of the old children’s game “Duck, Duck, Goose,” where the children have changed “goose” to “alien” after they have arrived. Candance is a young girl who is terrified of the game, afraid that she’ll be chosen at the end of recess and remain the alien all day. It’s mostly about the subtle side effects of an alien invasion, the ones that you cannot anticipate.

Rolly, the pet dragon of Dyna, narrator of “Dragon Meat,” has died, and there’s only one thing to do with it. There’s too much meat to just let rot, so the family sends the carcass to the butcher and Dyna has to deal with the logical but sad aspects of life. Helen French‘s story shows a different take on the death of a pet.

“The Ghost in Angelica’s Room” is Angela’s father. Maria Haskins paints the picture of a young girl who sees it, while her mother has nightmares next door. It’s not clear what happened to him, but it does look like he’s there to give some direction to her life. I found it was a little too obscure to really enjoy, a series of incidents but with no payoff.

All the stories have young characters at the center and most of them are frightened. The issue may have benefited by a greater range of stories, but overall there is some good writing about elements that often are overlooked.

Chuck Rothman’s novels Staroamer’s Fate and Syron’s Fate are available from Fantastic Books.