Every year, New Voices holds a Flash Fiction Contest to inspire Ivy Tech students to imagine vividly and quickly. The 2020 contest challenged students to write a story--1,000 words or less--where the main character provides instruction or is given some kind of instruction. Check back on February 1, 2021, for details about the 2021 Flash Fiction Contest.
Congratulations to the 2020 Flash Fiction Contest winners!
1st place: Nigel Evans, "The Chicago Letterman"
2nd place: Tegan Scott, "Natallia"
The Chicago Letterman by Nigel Evans
I always wondered why my stepdad tripped about us going inside of their closet when they weren’t home.
As if he was hiding birthday gifts that he didn’t want us to see.
I was getting ready for school one morning trying to decide on what jacket I was going to wear. It was 6:30 am and I knew that my bus could be here any minute to pick me up for school. Although my stepdad is at least twenty plus years older than I am, we managed to wear the same size jackets, at times.
He’s a truck driver so his days get started around 4:30 am. I had the outfit planned out in my head of what I was going to wear that day, but I knew that his Chicago Bulls letterman jacket would make the outfit stand out as well. I went into the closet knowing that I shouldn’t have, but I saw no gifts or any surprises.
I knew my bus would be arriving soon, so I had to make a decision quick. I kept thinking my stepdad would arrive any second and catch me in the closet, but that was just my anxiety. I could hear my bus coming down the street, so I quickly grabbed the letterman jacket and that’s when I found out why we weren’t allowed in the closet.
The jacket was oddly heavy on one side, so I checked the pockets and there it was. A .357 magnum long nose resting beautifully in its holster, unloaded. I could see my reflection in the chrome part of the gun. I pulled the gun out of its holster and the weight of it tweaked my wrist as I checked the sighting on it. I could hear my bus coming down the street as I contemplated on if I should wear the jacket or not. I had a gut feeling that if I was to wear the jacket that my stepdad would be home earlier than he normally would. I placed the jacket back in the same position it was in, just as if no one has touched it.
By the time I got back from school, my stepdad was home and I went on as if I knew nothing about the gun. The next day I went into the closet to see if it was still inside of the jacket. The jacket hung there lifeless, but the gun was gone as if he knew someone touched it.
Natallia by Tegan Scott
“Let it go!” She cries into her hand.
“I can’t,” my voice catches in my throat. It’s happening again.
Her beautiful brown eyes pleading turns my heart. Her face is red and swollen as the tears keep coming. “I want- need to go and I need you to be okay.”
I look down at my black socks. I pick at the loose threads. “I’m okay,” I lie.
She shakes her head. “This isn’t just for me. It’s not healthy. All we do is scream and cry.”
My head bobs in a slow nod. “I know.” She is slipping away.
“You don’t!” Her sudden explosion surprises us both. “You don’t. We can’t keep doing this. It’s the same thing over and over. I’m exhausted. Do you understand? We have to part ways. I can’t-”
I stand, fists clenched at my sides. Something broke inside of me. Something terrible. “I get it! I’m not stupid! I can see what’s happening here. You want to put the blame on me, but it’s not just me! You did this too! Why couldn’t you just stay home and read until I got off of work? Why did you have to go out with friends?!”
“Yes, I do take part of the blame. I can see where I messed up! What about you? What have you done?”
“I didn’t do anything!” I can feel my face heat up with anger. I can still win her back.
“Exactly!” She lets the word hang in the air a moment. I finally realize what she’s getting at and sit back down, suddenly drained. “You didn’t do anything. It wasn’t even a relationship by then. I was just coming home to someone familiar; not a friend, not a boyfriend, just someone. Do you know how much that can tear a person down?”
I nod. I can’t think of anything to say to defend myself. I lost her forever.
She scoffs and starts grabbing her things. “You have to let me go.”
I watch as she opens the front door, hesitates, then closes it finally behind her. I blink, suddenly feeling more alone than ever. I curl up on the armchair and fall asleep.