A few, brief words before you scroll down to read the awesome stories we have for you this month.
These. Stories. Are. Awesome.
Now, a few more brief words.
Thank you, writers, for submitting to our inaugural flash fiction contest. You wowed us; shocked us; made us laugh (Chen, we’re looking at you); and, most of all, made us happy we decided to pursue this publishing venture.
Readers: read on. As you finish a story, please rate it (you’ll find the rating scale at the bottom of each story). These ratings will be one of the metrics we use to determine which stories will get into our quarterly flash fiction eJournal, 713. We’ll be paying those writers an extra $7.13, so, clicking is fun and, perhaps, lucrative.
So, writers, make sure to tell your friends about our site, and your story on it, so as many people as possible can rate your excellent stories.
Please: share widely. And don’t forget about our November flash fiction contest. Another 713 words. Another $7.13.
Enough editor yammering. Without further ado, the winners of October’s flash fiction contest, where we asked you to describe the origin of UVB-76′s preternatural signal:
Mikhail sweated as he turned the enormous crank. It had to be done every twenty-four hours—a half hour’s cranking and the device would continue to function. He’d been doing this every day for ten years, the responsibility having passed to him when his father died.
He left the hardware room and went back to his dacha. “Did the money come, Anna?” he asked.
His wife shook her head as she served up his borscht.
Mikhail swore. “It’s been a month they haven’t sent anything. Without money, we can’t stay here any longer. And we can’t keep sending the radio signals.”
[Continue reading Red Vacuum]
“I don’t believe you.” Ken Lawrence pointed at Dmitri Matochkin, his tipsy grin taking away any anger the gesture might have implied.
Dmitri smiled and took a sip of his bourbon. “Of course you don’t. It does sound fanciful, does it not?”
Lawrence and the elderly Matochkin had sat and drank for hours in Matochkin’s hotel room. They’d talked about the Cold War and espionage practices in the United States and the Soviet Union, the topics on which Lawrence was doing research for his dissertation.
Matochkin had emigrated to the States early in the century. Last night he spoke on a panel discussion at Lawrence’s university on the topic of US/Russian relations in the 21st Century. He had not been optimistic. After the panel had ended, Lawrence asked Matochkin if he could to have a few minutes of his time. The old man agreed and told him to come by the next evening.
[Continue reading State Secrets]
C. L. Holland
The dog wouldn’t stop barking.
Svetlana Grigorevna crunched across the snow towards it. There was no security around the radio tower, not since the voyenni gorodok was abandoned. No guards, and the gate was unlocked despite the signs on the fence that warned only military personnel were allowed. There was only the dog.
The poor thing looked half starved, although she supposed it must be fed by someone–there weren’t enough trespassers here to feed even a small one. It raised its head as she approached, and growled in its throat until she produced a handful of pelmeni. It fell on the dumplings and Svetlana investigated the buildings while it was occupied.
[Continue reading The Noise]
Just Before Sunrise
The Major always came just before sunrise. Some of the prisoners had trouble sleeping and some woke easily to light, but by those dead hours of early morning most had been spirited away towards something akin to sleep.
Unwashed for weeks and trembling with cold and hunger, Anna paced her cell, sleep blurring the edges of her vision but escaping her regardless. She tried to focus on the songs that the waking birds outside were singing but all around her thrummed the pulsing heartbeat of the radio tower.
Over the loudspeaker of the women’s barracks the signal broadcasted without end. Anna crushed her hands against her ears, rocking on her heels, drowning in the darkness, holding her breath, hoping the burning in her lungs would distract her attention.
[Continue reading Just Before Sunrise]
UVB-76 Intelligence Memorandum
Theorizing the purpose of Russia’s communication’s outpost, UVB-76
Russian Outpost of UVB-76 has been monitored by Joint Signal Intelligence (JSI) in Bainbridge Island since the early 1980s. Military interest piqued in 1992 when random beeps switched to more consistent and quicker buzzing transmissions. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials, working with National Security Administration (NSA) cryptologists, have unsuccessfully attempted decryption for nearly twenty years. A series of Russian names have occasionally infiltrated the airwaves, leading DIA and NSA to believe this facility a numbers station for spy activity.
[Continue reading UVB-76 Intelligence Memorandum]
Brad N. Phelps
September 7, 2208:
My name is Charles Xavier Daniels, and I was there for the end of the world. I was there when the UVB-76 broadcast stopped. When society as we know it stumbled and fell, never to get back up again.
Every 18 years the signal changed. For 11 of those cycle changes an underground movement grew. UVB-76 started with radio waves. In the early days of the revolution, it hit the Internet. When data-streaming reached subconscious levels, and rendered the Internet obsolete, the UVB-76 movement has spread worldwide.
[Continue reading The Signal]
Following Cold Footsteps
I thought I saw my brother the other day.
“So?” you say.
“My brother has been dead for four years, or at least I think he has,” I say. No more could have been said, no more words need be spent.
I have been traveling since, following my brother. Crazy I know, but really what choice does one have when his dead sibling comes a calling? Or….at least I think it was him.
[Continue reading Following Cold Footsteps]
When my father was alive, my life was simple. Like he said, I would grow up to be a beautiful woman and marry an officer, a soldier better than he’d ever been. And I’d be happy, as long as I made sure my soldier liked westerns. A man who understood westerns was a good man. He’d also have black market connections. I would want for nothing. And then my father died and we were civilians surrounded by military families and trees that produced nothing but frozen bark.
[Continue reading Soviet Cowboys]