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Haas insists on paying writers a tiny commission for each story, and contributors retain copyright on their stories so they can change, pull down, or republish the stories at will. The site launched on July 24 of last year, and its audience has grown with each new story. For me, genre boils down to crime, sci-fi, horror—things that, as soon as you say the word, it puts an exact type of story in mind.

Late last year, Haas struck a deal with Mulholland Books, an imprint of the venerable publisher Little, Brown and Company. Mulholland took over administration and marketing of the site, with an eye toward reaching out to contributors as possible novelists. I love writing prose and writing screenplays. I just have this compunction to get writing out. How to jump-start your novel-writing career How to translate screenwriting skills to novelist craft.


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  • Read All Stories—Flash Fiction Online.

In doorways of long-closed buildings, people slept in ammonia-reeking bundles of blankets. She moved the bags aside with her heel, revealing a hairless, dead dog. Its pulsating belly was giving birth to a greedy, white group of maggots. Marta stopped a Polish woman for directions when she doubted herself.

Marta forced a smile and walked on. A bum stopped and commented on how nice her shoes were. He introduced himself as Matchead. A little guy, overdressed in black. He smelt bad, not of the fecal-urine smell that Marta had been used to on the street — something worse.

Marta was too frightened to reply.

What exactly IS flash fiction?

Matchead guided her through the network of alleyways. Cats ate from bins, and rats, not much smaller than the cats, darted in front of her through puddles. She now understood why such a world would not let buses through or why shaky graffiti would replace road signs. After a while, Matchead stopped.

Short Story: Mr. Cotter - Popcorn Horror

He pointed to a tower block, which Marta registered as Crown Heights, standing defiant amid a cluster of demolished buildings. It reminded Marta of a single hair on a bald pate. Marta guessed it to be at least 20 stories high. There was a brown tinge to the paintwork, which Marta thought was due to pollution. To the left of the tower block, stood a large garbage dump, itself as high as the first two stories, where ravens swooped in for a free meal. Nice house, nice life — what more could you want? Matchead unbuttoned his shirt, unleashing scarred skin. She noticed the tattoo on his top-left shoulder.

But, all I wanted is to have peace when I close my eyes. There was a tiny park just outside Crown Heights, which Marta entered. The grass was well kept, with an abundance of garbage decorating the trees and swirling in the pond. A young kid, about ten, was carving some lettering on a stumpy tree. He noticed Marta, a strange creature out of her normal habitat.

Before entering the main double doors, Marta noted someone had carved Non timete quid furto. Paveatis de donum. There was no sign of anyone at the reception desk. A middle-aged woman arrived from the back room chewing on a sandwich. Marta tackled the first flight of stairs with vigor, the second less so and, by the time she reached the fourth, she coughed and spluttered. At the top of the fourth-floor stairwell, sat a man, proud as a king, whiskey bottle in hand, blocking the staircase. The man stood, allowing her entry. He attempted to suppress a burp, but still gave her a blast of whiskey fumes as she passed.

Marta turned and saw, at the far end of the corridor, the faded lettering of apartment Number Above the Number 41 was the same Latin sentence scratched into the woodwork as on the main entrance. She reached the door and knocked. She waited ten seconds and tried again, this time more boldly.

A VERY SMALL WORD COUNT

An adjacent apartment door opened. A woman, with eyes like a scared rabbit, peered at Marta through a chained doorway. Marta caught sight of an obese, grotesque creature tattooed on the left, needle-marked arm of the woman. She recognized the same creature depicted on the sign of the Grinning Man bar. Marta wanted to leave. There was an aching feeling in her legs.

There was also an urgent need to pee. She heard heavy footsteps coming closer to the other side of the door.

There was a coughing noise accompanied by the sound of fingernails scratching on hardwood. There was a small, low-pitched chuckle. At the moment, I have a visitor. She opened the top flap and stuck her hand inside. Marta felt a damp wad of paper. She heard the same heavy footsteps walk away from the door and a different, muffled voice from deep inside the apartment; it sounded like a woman.

BEYOND THE PAGE: Prose Garden Popcorn Fiction

Marta started climbing down the stairs but turned in frustration at the man. She wanted to speak, but words were wiped from her tongue. The man shrugged his shoulders. Marta noticed drops of blood on her manuscript and realized that her nose was bleeding. She pulled out an old tissue from her coat and wiped her nose. She pushed her way out of the main entrance, gasping for air.

Previous Stories

The kid was still carving on the tree in the park. There was an aching feeling in her left arm as if someone had dug a blade in her shoulder. Her legs felt weak, and she rested on a park bench, watching the kid carve his inscription. The Silver Bear came out in , Columbus followed in , and a third novel will be released later this year. Early last year, Haas started tinkering with the idea of publishing short stories that he and other screenwriters had written.

The impetus was his realization that Hollywood tends to favor short stories that have been around for decades. Haas insists on paying writers a tiny commission for each story, and contributors retain copyright on their stories so they can change, pull down, or republish the stories at will. The site launched on July 24 of last year, and its audience has grown with each new story. For me, genre boils down to crime, sci-fi, horror—things that, as soon as you say the word, it puts an exact type of story in mind. Late last year, Haas struck a deal with Mulholland Books, an imprint of the venerable publisher Little, Brown and Company.

Mulholland took over administration and marketing of the site, with an eye toward reaching out to contributors as possible novelists.