Some of the best writing I’ve encountered lately has been in the flash fiction world. A world I swore I’d never enter, but which I have developed quite a yen for as of late. It got me thinking about the best short, short horror fic I’ve read, most of which was from before the flash fiction phenomenon began.
1.“Sweets to the Sweet,” by Robert Bloch. A problematic father-daughter relationship gets…interesting when the kid scoops up her own, homemade voodoo doll. Whole thing is maybe three pages long. (Sly literature geeks will note that the title references Gertrude’s line in Hamlet as she is throwing flowers into Ophelia’s grave.)
2. “An Early Fall,” by Yvonne Navarro. I found this charming but unsettling piece in an anthology called Horrible Beginnings. It tells of the increasingly uncomfortable feelings its urbanite characters experience when fall shows up three months earlier than expected. The story manages to unsettle despite not mentioning the terms ‘global warming,’ ‘global dimming,’ or ‘climate change.’ Three pages tops. Good stuff.
3. “Shadow—A Parable,” by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe isn’t exactly known for Henry Jamesian verbosity, but didn’t usually wrap stories up this quickly, either. “Shadow” is two and a half pages of uber-creepiness about the world of the dead, told from the perspective of one already in it. Quite a lot of hair raising for such a small box.
It may be a while before I finish any flash pieces suitable for this blog, but I’ll be sure to post them when I do. Probably in October.