Flash Contest #23: Create a piece of flash fiction written from the perspective of the first object you saw when you woke up this morning. Your narrative should be no longer than 250 words.
For our first monthly version of our regular Flash Contest we decided to request a piece of flash fiction from an unusual perspective: that of a random object. Given that we asked for the perspective of the first thing the writer saw when they woke up in the morning, we gained a lot of insight into the inner lives of lamps, pets, curtains, toys, clothing, bedding, books and magazines, desk items like pens and pencils, and many other stalwarts of the bedroom. It was so much fun to read the various lively and perceptive voices you gave to these inanimate (or non-human) objects. Many of them seem to take a very dim view of the humans they have their silent eyes on most of the day (or night), especially all the things they witness that they would rather not see . . .
We are delighted to share the work of our winners with you on this page. Congratulations to all of them, and to our Honorable Mentions.
Remember: the next monthly flash contest will be based on the first weekly prompt of October!
"The Silent Stalker" by Chloe Chan, 12, Bellevue, WA
"Worst Fear" by Scarlet He, 9, Scarsdale, NY
"Travails and Humiliations of a Cotton Shirt" by Iago Macknik-Conde, 13, Brooklyn, NY
"Wanted" by Daniel Wei, 13, Weddington, NC
"Woes of a Blanket" by Lacole Yang, 13, Irvine CA
"Story of the Bed" by Vaishali Andukuri, 10, Oakland, NJ
"Day of a Pencil Box" by Judah Davidoff, 9, Brunswick, MD
"The Proud Life of a Blanket" by Lucy Kershen, 13, Norman, OK
"The Life of a Lamp" by Chloe Mancini, 9, Glenside, PA
"New and Improved" by Sanvi Patel, 11, Midland, MI
"Morning from the Eyes of a Doll" by Joycelyn Zhang, 10, San Diego, CA
The Silent Stalker
Chloe Chan, 12
Ding ding ding! The half-awake girl below me groans loudly as she hears the alarm clock ringing maliciously in the morning. Finally, after rolling around on the bed, she wrenches the teal green blanket off and stumbles–if not sleepwalks–into the bathroom.
I see everyone and everything from a bird’s eye view. I know the secrets of everyone. There are some things I would rather not see. Just like when I saw a toddler picking his nose with his thumb. Just like when I saw a laughing mother binge-watch “Kitchen Nightmares.” Just like when I saw the girl make up an excuse to her teacher when she forgot her homework. “My dog ate my homework,” is what she mumbled.
The girl exits the bathroom and heads downstairs into the kitchen. Yes! My favorite part of the day! I hear a racket of pots and pans. I smell an assortment of berries, batter, and butter. Hmm . . . is she making pancakes for breakfast today? I look at her, hovering over a brown, spongy pancake with a spoonful of aromatic berries to go onto her pancake. Yum! Oh, how I wish I could taste this masterpiece! But I am unable to do so.
You may be wondering what I am. Well, I can’t tell you my answer or else scientists will come after me! Just thinking of this gives me a nightmare! You will just have to guess. At least, I call myself the silent stalker.
Scarlet He, 9
I peered through the tinted green tank. Big human woke up. Left room. I swam around. Plants on the bottom of my tank grew. Grew and grew . . . never-ending growing. Soon, my whole tank was filled with the long stems of plastic plants. You could no longer see the rainbow rocks at the bottom of the tank. I swam around once more, dazed. The human had not come back. Where had she gone? All I see is an ocean of green and black.
It had been at least a few hours. Human still not back. Plants overwhelming me. I closed my eyes. I drifted to the top of the tank, my belly facing up. My worst fear had overcome me, once again.
I opened my eyes. Where was the green? A big grinning face was looking through the tank. The water was clear, like clear glue, and the plants were gone. The rainbow rocks reflected off the tank, casting a shimmering glint.
Travails and Humiliations of a Cotton Shirt
Iago Macknik-Conde, 13
I am a shirt. A red cotton shirt, but fading fast. That’s because of my wearer, thirteen years old and going on six. I kid you not, the brat took me to the Y last Friday and used me as a swim-shirt. First of all, he keeps me on while he changes into his swim-trunks, and there are just some things you can’t unsee. As if that’s not humiliating enough, then I have to swallow the insults from the swim-shirt gang in the pool.
“Aye, what’re you doing here in the water, you landlubber!” The creeps talk like pirates like they think that’s cool.
“Ahoy, scallywag, try to not choke your swimmer!” The swim-shirt closest to me jabbers on, and I realize that air is trapped below my collar, turning me into a buoy. So now I’m suffocating the little moron. Finally the class ends, with the kid half dead, my body drenched, and the seadog losers laughing their hems off.
Two days ago, I get some relief at last when the cleaning lady arrives. She puts me inside the washing machine and then lays me inside the dryer for a full-body massage. Best of all, she sets me on the highest shelf of the closet, next to an unmatched sock who has been hiding here for longer than I’ve been alive. We should be good for a few years: no way the brat can reach us without a stool before college.
Daniel Wei, 13
Last night was sleepless. The giant in the bed had woken up intermittently, grabbed me off the nightstand, and flipped through my pages before falling back into slumber. Today is gonna be a long day, I think to myself, yawning.
Suddenly, the giant grabs me, tucks me under his arm, and heads outside into the gray day. Where are we going? I wonder. For a moment, my heart beats wildly. Maybe he is taking me on a fun trip? But I soon realize I am wrong. Very wrong. He drops me into a black bin, and down I go, into a stinking abyss. My heart sinks. Why doesn’t he want me anymore?
Later, the bin gets wheeled out. For a second, I breathe pure oxygen, before getting dumped into yet another heap of garbage. Why must this happen to me? I reach a large mountain of dirt and trash. What a cruel fate, I think.
But just then a gloved hand picks me up gently. “What is this feller doin’ here? Ain’t he a recyclable?” He flips through my pages. “Interesting,” the guy mumbles. I beam. It feels good to be “interesting” once more.
The nice man puts me in his backpack and carries me around for the rest of the day. I see some interesting trinkets, before getting dropped into a blue bin. I sleep well that night, and before I know it, I’m a different color, with different words, back on the giant’s nightstand once more.
Woes of a Blanket
Lacole Yang, 13
I am crumpled into myself, lying sprawled over the bed. My folds are entangled, wrapped around and trapped beneath the body. Its head suddenly jerks up, eyes squinting past me, and collapses again.
The body strikes me rapidly with its feet, pummeling me until I am unfolded and draped over it. The body is quite disgraceful, constantly beating me up like that. It would take just a few seconds to pick me up gently with its hands and smooth me out softly, but instead, every single time we interact, it throws me around carelessly. Always dirtying my pristine white surface with its disgusting sweat and dead skin, the body never shows me any respect. Sometimes I think about smothering the body beneath my pure, smooth, polyester material, but that would mean touching its repulsive features even more. It’s useless to dream about it anyway, since I am incapable of doing anything to help myself.
Each day is the same, and I must endure the body’s terrible actions. It leaves me wrinkled on the bed, the morning air blowing coldly across my soft sides, waiting there until someone picks me up and imprisons me between layers of myself. As the day stretches on, the sun slowly rising and sinking, I have no choice but to sit there until the body thumps me and crumples me again.