flash fiction


"…I snatch my arm away, run from him…"

Ronnie Johnson

Ronnie Johnson is a student at West Los Angeles College.  In English courses at West, he is developing his writing muscle, and here, in his first published short story, he flexes it well.

Crying For the Moon

(289 Words Without Title)

On the street, I meet John, a childhood friend. As we walk around a corner, we’re laughing and talking. He stops unexpectedly. By that time, I’m a few steps ahead of him. I look back at John, to see what’s the matter. He grabs his chest and falls to his knees, grunting. He begins sweating, and at a loss for words, I run to his side. He cries, as sweat and tears fall from his face to my shirt. I try to run for help, but his grip on my arm is inhuman; he begs me to stay. Night has fallen, and the moon is full.

John had always been sick. I lost count of the times I visited him in the hospital. He never told me what his illness is. So tonight I think to myself, “Will this be our last time together?” He looks up at the moon as if it speaks to him, his grip loosens from around my arm, but his symptoms worsen. His cries become so loud that they turn into howls; his skin darkens, his hair begins to cover his face, his nails cut into my skin, and he breathes as if every breath will be his last. Everything in me wants to run: The sight of my friend crying in agony pains me; I have no idea what to do. I tell him that I have to get help, so I snatch my arm away, run from him, promising to return. I find help. When we return, John is gone; all that remains is his clothing, in pieces.

John has been missing for a year now. Every full moon I here howls, and remember John, and how he cried for the moon.


Kellan Rhude Reads - Crying for the Moon


"It had been years since they really spoke…"

J. Alexander Kinnear

kinnearJ. Alexander Kinnear is a writer of fiction and poetry living in Los Angeles. After graduating from Los Angeles Valley College, he has moved on to the University of California, Los Angeles where he is pursing a Baccalaureate Degree in English. He wants his work to be read and re-read, time and time again.


Love Letter

(296 Words Without Title)

A red mail flag salutes passing traffic and the entire neighborhood interprets its meaning. Something arrived, but was it good news or bad news? The mailbox and the letter make the perfect couple—the mailbox needs the letter and the letter needs the mailbox. A sour note sits inside, and inside an envelope truths of the heart are written in blood. Red ink blots its appearance, evidence of postal ubiquity. The sender/receiver relationship disconnected from tradition while the stamp proved to be two for one. Her address is written large and with care, while his is rushed with a familiar hand. Careless cursive reveals a hand unfamiliar to letters requiring such finesse. Despite all the formalities, the affixed handwritten letters “RETURN TO SENDER” lend an opposite message than the one meant to be read.

It had been years since they really spoke, but he thought they had the type of connection where words could be saved for some other time like a rain check for catching up. His memory of her was becoming as faded as the old photograph of them he carried in his wallet. First, he forgot the way she smelled, then the sound of her voice. He never entirely forgot her, but feared that she couldn’t lay claim to the same. The letter read about the same each year as he was able to memorize their story. It was mailed out to be delivered on their anniversary day—where she would read their story through his eyes. Living apart can be difficult for a marriage, but he tried to understand and hoped it was only temporary. He remained optimistic throughout the years, but wanton dementia made her much more paranoid of letters from strangers, until she began to send them back altogether—unread.


Kellan Rhude Reads - Love Letter


"My love life in some way or another has always had a tragic ending."

Karla Lopez

kinnearThe youngest of five children, Karla Lopez was born in Guatemala City and came to the United States when she was five years old. Now a 31-year-old mother of two beautiful children, Karla lives in Culver City, and after 13 years and much rumination about her life, she is back in college, determined to earn a Bachelor of Arts—and perhaps even a Master’s Degree. Karla has always enjoyed reading and writing, and tells West: “I like to indulge my brain with all the imaginative stories I read.”

My Love Stories

(300 Words Without Title)

I sit here next to her hospital bed, asking myself “Why?” Selfishly saying, “How could she do this to me?” I reminisce about that wonderful summer day. When I met the woman I had longed for all my life. A week ago I found her on the floor, gasping for air. She had a paralyzing heart attack. My love life in some way or another has always had a tragic ending. I was married twice before, and have three wonderful children. My first marriage was to my high school sweetheart. It was the typical story: I was the football jock, she was the cheerleader. We were madly in love. As we grew older, we also grew apart. One day she said to me, “Don, we have a great love, but it’s not the same love we once had. Our lives are heading in different directions. You want to have more children, and I feel the two we have are enough. I love you, but I can no longer live in this existence.” That was the end of my first marriage. My second marriage was my ex-wife’s best friend. She was there for me through all the sorrow my ex-wife caused. As the days passed, we fell in love. We both knew it was a mistake—it would probably end badly. We did it anyway; it goes without saying, a year and a half after, we married and had a beautiful daughter. The marriage ended because guilt consumed her. As she lay in my bed, all she could think of was that Amy, her best friend, had once lain there, too. Now in this last tragedy of my life, I am left here thinking: Will I ever deserve to be loved? Is this just a joke God is playing on me?


Kellan Rhude Reads - My Love Stories

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