Saturday, March 5, 2016

Flash Fiction by A.J. Huffman

Gilda, Guardian of the Green

Gilda, a 13-foot alligator, practically filled the stagnant pond just past the children’s park.  No one knew where she came from, or even how she got her name, but they all knew her toothy smile.

Gilda liked children.  She had little desire to eat them as her pond was well-stocked with frogs and other random reptiles.  She just liked to watch them.  She would sit on a log or some rocks after her morning patrol of the waters.  As the algae baked into her scales, she would watch the children play on the swings and slide, made mud pies, dug in the sand.  She never left the confines of the tall grass that acted as a fence between the two worlds, until last summer. 

The drought had been rough.  Almost two full months without rain, and the heat had turned almost everything that was green a straw-like tan.  The kids actually crunched across what no longer could be called a lawn to play.  Dehydrated brush had been sparking into fires for about a week, dislocating the local wildlife.

It was almost noon when the bobcat crept from the wooded perimeter of the park.  Parents, unused to such dangerous felines, never bothered to look up from their cell phones and paperbacks.  The bobcat was just a few yards from the playground when Gilda erupted from grass.  Jaws slammed, claws slashed, a horrible screeching echoed through stunned silence.  As Gilda dragged the carcass of the dead bobcat back to her log, mothers and fathers gathered their children, headed to the safety of air-conditioned rec rooms for the rest of the afternoon.  

There was never an official acknowledgement of Gilda’s heroism, but from that day on, an anonymous chicken or two arrived monthly on top of her log.

A.J. Huffman has published twelve full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses.  Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers.  She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Flash Fiction by Denny E. Marshall

River of Time

Sean is lost somewhere in the wilderness.  He always wanted to visit a national park but getting lost wasn't on the agenda.  It is his sixth day lost in the woods.  Sean was smart enough to pack extra water and food and had some of both left.

Out in a clearing he can see a river.  Upon closer inspection the river is shiny, the water crystal clear and clean.  No wildlife is present in the river in Sean's location.

Sean looks up and sees a man walking up the bank towards him.  The man is old, tall, and has on a long green robe.  He is wearing brown shirt, pants and shoes.

Once the man reaches him Sean said, "Boy, am I glad to see you.  I am lost and need your help."  The old man looks at Sean and said, "My name is Yaq, and I am the sentry of the River of Time.  I can't help you.  The only thing I can do for you is present the River of Time.  If you go upstream you will be in the future, downstream you go into the past.  Remember time travel is not what you think.  The river will show you.  Yaq walks on the water, turns into water droplets and is gone.

Sean walks in to the shallow waters of the river and heads upstream.  The river current is fast, so the going is tough.  Sean stumbles and falls, the swift current sweeps him downstream quickly.  Sean can tell his body is that of a teenage boy now, he is getting younger.  Soon he is a young boy.  Sean fights the current and is finally able to stand back up and travel upstream.  Sean is afraid if he goes to far downstream he will not be born.  Is that what Yaq meant in his message.

Once Sean reaches the spot where he started, he stops and ponders his next move.  Well, getting older did not appeal to Sean so he did not go upstream, although seeing the future would have been nice.  Going too far upstream, he might die since he did not know the date of his death.

Maybe Yaq was trying to tell him you couldn't go past your own time, at least in this river anyway.  Or maybe something as simple as the River of Time was built to help the lost hiker.

Sean walks downstream very slowly until he reaches the time right before he got lost.

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published.  Some recently.  See more at