The 2022 Flash Fiction Contest, co-sponsored Half–Price Books, Erik’s DeliCafe and Nothing Bundt Cakes was held on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at Half Price Books, 39152 Fremont Hub, Fremont, CA. Cash and Half-Price Books gift cards were awarded to the 1st – 5th place winners, with a special cake tower from Nothing Bundt Cakes for President Emeritus Award. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to all who entered.
- 1st – “The Magic Word” by Patricia Doyne
- 2nd – “Butterflies” by mp smith
- 3rd – “The Leprechaun’s Pot” by Richard Lau
- 4th – “The Witch Who Flew Upside Down” by Sarah Jensen
- 5th – “My Super Sibling” by Karina Sapkota
- President Emeritus Award – “Magical Meals” by Nitika Sathiya
Here are some of the winning entries:
“The Magic Word” by Patricia Doyne (1st place)
Once there was a silver cow that gave sweet milk. But not just milk. If you said, “please,” she’d give chocolate milk, root beer, herbal tea, even caramel latte.
Silver lived with an old woman named Mehitabel. The cow slept on a mattress in the family room. When Mehitabel cooked, she fixed two plates. “Silver’s my best friend,” said Mehitabel. A neighbor named Snap was outraged. “My cows sleep in barns, if they’re lucky,” he said. “They eat grass. When they get old, I butcher them for stews and steaks.”
Snap spied through Mehitabel’s window. In the morning he heard her say, “Please, Silver, some café au lait this morning.” At noon, she said, “Please, Silver, some spiced chai for my lunch.” And after dinner, she said, “Please, Silver, some ice cream for dessert.” Each time she milked the cow, and took away a mug of something wonderful.
The next day, Snap rushed up to Mehitabel’s door. “A forest fire is headed this way,” he shouted. “We need all hands to dig a trench to stop it.” Mehitabel rushed out with gloves and a shovel. Snap ran inside and led the silver cow down the road to his ramshackle barn. “Okay, stupid cow,” cried Snap, “Give me strong ale.”
Silver just looked at him. “Right now!” demanded Snap. He tried milking the cow. Nothing. “Give me strong ale or you’re hamburger!” Snap snarled. He ran to get an axe. “I’ll give you one more chance,” said Snap. He grabbed the cow—but his hand turned to vanilla ice cream, his tongue turned to yogurt, and his axe turned to cheddar cheese. Snap blinked three times, then dissolved into a puddle of melted butter.
“You forgot the magic word,” said Silver. She sauntered slowly back to Mehitabel’s house.
“Butterflies” by mp smith (2nd place)
“Where do butterflies go at night, Grandpa?” asked Emily.
“They hide in the low-lying hills near the forest and warm their wings in the morning sun.”
“What do they do all day?” she asked.
“They ride down the rainbows, gathering colors for their jeweled wings. They dance among the flowers,” he answered.
“I would like to be a butterfly,” Emily sighed.
“Oh, no. Butterflies need little girls to enjoy their dance. You are the reason they put on a pretty show.”
“They do a good job,” she said.
“Goodnight, dear Emily,” Grandpa said. He kissed her forehead and went downstairs.
The comforting night sounds soothed Emily to sleep. That night, she dreamed of yellow butterflies is a sky so blue dancing with black tap shoes and pink lipstick smiles. The butterflies floated as if on strings.
But the rains came that night, a storm so strong that the animals were frightened and grandpa had to bend against the wind to bring the horses their breakfast. When he came inside, he stamped his feet and shook his coat to let the raindrops fly, and still the rain fell.
Emily told him of her dream and he looked sad. “I’m afraid this storm will not be good for butterflies.” She worried and looked out the window, hoping the butterflies had found shelter. That night when Grandpa put her to bed, Emily told him she was worried about the butterflies.
“We’ll see in the morning,” he said.
“Emily, Grandpa called. “Come quickly.”
She bounded out of bed and ran out to the front porch. “What is it?” The rain had ended and a double rainbow flew across the sky. Grandpa stood on the front porch, surrounded by a multicolored cloud of flitting butterflies.
“They’re back. They’re dancing to make you smile.”
“The Leprechaun’s Pot” by Richard Lau (3rd place)
Everyone’s heard that at the other end of the rainbow lives a leprechaun with a cauldron of gold. Once in a great while, someone manages to drift over the prismatic bridge, expecting to be rewarded with a potful of gold.
A witch darkened the leprechaun’s domain, leaving sooty footsteps across the bands of color, for she was a bad witch not a good one. Her spells were curses, and she maimed many toads collecting ingredients for her toxic potions. But when she looked into the pot, instead of gold, all she found were snakes, spiders, and the aforementioned toads trying to escape!
“What trickery is this?” the witch screamed.
The leprechaun explained, “My pot reflects what is in your heart. Your heart is so filled with venom that the pot is struggling to contain it all!” Disappointed, the witch left.
Years later, a miserly tycoon landed his plane in the leprechaun’s domain. The tycoon ran to the pot, but it appeared to be empty! To be certain, he stuck in his arm. He felt a tug on his arm, and when he withdrew it, his Rolex watch was gone! He put his other hand in to search for the watch, but when he pulled his hand out, his diamond ring was missing, too!
The leprechaun explained, “Your heart has a hole that only money can fill, yet money cannot fill it. For you, my pot contains your heart’s insatiable greed.”
Eventually, the leprechaun had a visit from a girl who was kind, generous, and never had a cross thing to say about anyone or anything. She displayed her heart of gold by saying, “I don’t care about the pot. I came here to visit you, for you must be very lonely.”
The Leprechaun’s pot overflowed with gold.