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April 2008 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*







We thank everyone who entered the contest. The judging was tight due to the excellent standard of all submissions. Two authors have tied for first place and will receive US$12.50 each:



Resha Caner, for Choices




Karina L. Fabian, for Innocents



Congratulations to Resha and Karina from all of us at The Muse Marquee.



Read Resha Caner's prize-winning story below. Look for Karina L. Fabian's prize-winning story in our May edition.



Anguish in the Night by Crystalwizard, received a special commendation from our judges and will be published in June. Congratulations to Crystalwizard.






by Resha Caner


Throughout the night, I heard their screams of pain. Yet why did they deserve any more attention than my own family? I wanted to spend time with my son. After one last semester at college he would be on his own. Time was short.


“More coffee?” Julie asked.


“Yes, thanks.” I looked around the Ahoy Fountain, avoiding her eyes as she filled my cup. Memorabilia lined the walls and filled shelves: a collection of toy tractors, photos of a veteran’s reunion, a letter jacket from Eldora High School.


The jacket reminded me of my big project. Alliant Energy sold a windmill to power the local school, and I helped make it work—seven hundred and fifty kilowatts. It’s where I got my idea to help people.


“Are you going back?”


“We shall see.” I forced a smile, but it didn’t take. From the corner of my eye I saw Julie nod as she left to serve another customer.


My hand dropped into my pocket, and I felt the crinkled paper of my wife’s note. Pulling it out, I read her flowing handwriting again. I didn’t need to. I had memorized it after the first dozen times. God is with you, and so are we. I will pray for Him to guide you in your decision, and no matter where you go, we will be with you.


If only she would give me an excuse to stay. I looked toward the lunch counter where a vintage soda fountain sat next to a brass cash register. Eldora meant comfort and safety. People knew my name, and they cared. I knew this town and many of the farmers who tilled the rich, black earth surrounding it for mile upon mile. The Midwestern United States was far from Turkey and Iraq.


The first time I gave a toy to a Kurdish boy, it felt good. I enjoyed delivering food to the orphanage in Dohuk. Working with Kurd leaders to set up a windmill gave them hope. I could see it in their eyes. No longer would they have to beg the Iraqis for oil rations, or hide from the Turks when soldiers chased them across the border.


But then the bomb went off.


From behind me, the bell over the café door rang, and I cringed, hoping someone other than my pastor had arrived. He had come to see me, but I didn’t want to see him.


“How’s it going?” I heard Pastor Mueller’s voice.


I looked up and watched him pull out a chair as he joined me at the table. “OK,” I said. His eyes narrowed, and I knew the tone of my voice had given me away. I looked down, spinning my cup in my hands.


“The church has the money for your project, but if you’ve changed your mind, we could send it through Lutheran World Relief,” he said.


“I still hear them screaming. I have nightmares.” Focusing on a toy tractor on a nearby shelf seemed the best way to keep from crying. The idea of a machine bringing food from the earth rather than destroying it brought comfort. “I thought all they wanted was clean water and a warm house. But after the bomb went off, the Kurds did just as much shooting as the Turks. You can’t trust anyone. I never sleep when I’m there.”


“Like I said….”


I shook my head to stop him. “Good people have given more than they can afford to buy supplies for the orphanage, to fund the school and rebuild the windmill. I know how to get that thing running again.”


Pastor Mueller gave an oddly sad smile. “I’ll be going with you this time … to help at the school.”


The shock on my face must have looked like the boy on Christmas Day who expects socks and gets a new bike. “What about your church?” I asked.


“They agree. We have to do what we can to end these nightmares.”



© Resha Caner




Resha Caner lives in the imagination, serving as the alter ego to an often frustrated writer. The seeds of creativity planted many years ago by a few special teachers occasionally bear fruit. He was recently selected as a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest and has been the editor's choice at "Bewildering Stories". His work has also appeared at "Haruah", "MindFlights", "EveryDay Fiction", "SNReview", "Constellation", "The Blotter", "Sage of Consciousness", and "Residential Aliens", with more to come at "Rose & Thorn" and "Anotherealm".






*Send Flash Fiction submissions to .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.


The Flashers page is edited by Lea Schizas and Les Stephenson.