Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hallowe'en 2016. Issue 13.

Welcome one and all – goblin, faerie and ghoul – to our Hallowe’en special. You have the house’s permission to enter. Cross the threshold but beware, there are scarier things than you in this lair.

We have thirteen stories to chill and thrill you, inspired in some way by that unlucky-for-some number, or that particular night of year, All Hallows’ Eve, when the veil between realms is stretched thin, when humans become other, hide inside themselves, and demons step free, cavorting amongst us unknown for a night. Do you dare remove the mask of the man dancing in front of you? What if it were not a mask at all?

We’ve got spirits, devils, demons and witches, murderers and... yoga? Yes, yoga. Dare you dally at the pumpkin parade, four twisted tales to ensure you never look at that plump orange gourd the same way again? Be warned, your winding path back to reality takes you through twisted nightmare landscapes and throws you out the other side of Allhallowtide, dishevelled and shaken, with a tribute to that great icon of horror, HP.

Check behind the sofa. Check under the bed. Check the mirror, is that you or your mask?

Get comfortable. Settle in for our Horrorful Hallowe’en special.

Read. Absorb. Be afraid.


Keep scrolling down for the stories, or the whole issue is available in one easy bookmarkable place for later perusal under the issue 13 tag.

Alternatively, we live in a mobile world, and sometimes it's nice to know you have the stories in a safe place for when you want to read them, even where there's no signal, like the subway, atop a mountain, or some nightmarish alternate dimension without 3G. We've got you covered. Download the FREE .pdf version right here, right now.


by Angela J. Maher

One night a year, the door cracks open and I can walk among you, unsuspected. I receive the admiring looks I deserve, with squeals of delight instead of fear. I can show my face without the threat of attack. I can unleash my voice and hide my truth in your lies.

One night a year, I belong. My path upon the Earth is accepted, expected. Striding free, stretching my muscles, I am a nightmare hiding in the middle of your fantasy. My treat is to trick you into thinking I am a hollow Halloween effigy. You have given me life.

Author bio: Angela is a SAHM, science graduate, bibliophile and writer. Based in Hobart (Australia), she is a member of the Tasmanian Writers Centre and the Australian Horror Writers Association, as well as Fiction Writers Group on Facebook. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and her website is

Unsuspected is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Voima Oy

This time of year when the light is sharp and the dark comes early there is a thinning of the veil between the worlds. It shimmers, a spider web caught for a moment in the porch light. A plastic bag becomes a ghost.

All their houses are dressed up for Halloween. They give candy to appease the dead.

I still keep his silver ring. If I hold it close and speak his name we will dance together tonight.

I will hear him whispering sweet words in my ear as the children shriek, "Stay away. Stay away from the witch house!"

Author bio: Voima Oy lives on the western rim of Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing can be found online at Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, 101 Fiction, Sick Lit and Unbroken Journal.  Follow her on Twitter, too – @voimaoy

Sweet is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by John Xero

“Got devils in you, don’tcha, boy?”

Only time my pa showed me anything but contempt.

I fled his fits and fists not long after, but time came I found myself back where I started, knocking on my own front door.

“Ain’t no treats here,” he snarled at my diminutive companions, “and tricks’ll only bring my belt to your backsides.”

Rheumy eyes peered at me. “I know you?”

“Truth be told, don’t think you ever did. Once said I had devils in me. Well, I got them out.”

The imps grinned as they scrambled forwards, dragging him inside, ushering me home.

Author bio: John Xero thinks everyone has devils in them, angels too. The trick is finding the balance. Face them, shake their hands, know them, own them.
Little words: @xeroverse
Bigger words:

Devils is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Devon R. Widmer


Sophie thumbed the hem of her dress awkwardly. She barely knew her great aunt Muriel, yet the woman, now on her deathbed, had insisted on a private visit.

“Come, lovely Sophie. I’ve a present for you, one passed down from old to young.”

Muriel reached back to the base of her skull and pulled. Wrinkled skin peeled easily away from the bone.

Sophie opened her mouth to scream but aged fingers held her tongue, prying her jaws open.

The funeral was the following day. While others cried, Sophie hid her smile, fingers pressed to the base of her skull.

Author bio: Devon R. Widmer, a graduate student in chemistry, hopes everyone remains vigilant for demons in human costumes this Halloween.

Skin is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Madeline Mora-Summonte 

Tonight's contest is not for children. It's from a time, a place, best not spoken of. Like Sadie herself.

The adults stare at their names carved into the tree, the marks ragged and hungry, made not by blade but bone. Sadie grins. Her voice creaks as she counts off thirteen, one for each finger.

The players run, hide while the woods whisper, disturbed.

Sadie's black wings unfurl, slashing the dark. The hump of her spine splits open, birthing teeth, tongue.

The survivors will stumble home, shaking, weeping. The rest will have only their bones sent back.

Picked clean, of course.

Author bio: Madeline Mora-Summonte is a writer, a reader, a beach-comber and a tortoise-owner. She is the author of the flash fiction collections, The People We Used to Be and Garden of Lost Souls.

Game is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Adam Golub

The yoga studio is empty on Hallowe’en.

There is a new instructor. She wears a red unitard and a glitter mesh top hat.

“Welcome to Bikram.”

The room feels hotter than usual.

“Do you have any pain?”

I shake my head, lying.

She begins with corpse pose.


I inhale. I’m already sweltering.

Before I can exhale, she has pinned my arms to the mat.

“Release the ghosts.”

I struggle. She presses her mouth to mine and sucks the air from my lungs until I am still.

She stands up and bows as my body sinks into the burning floor.

Author bio: Adam Golub is an American Studies professor who teaches courses on literature, childhood, popular culture, and monsters at Cal State Fullerton. His creative work has appeared in The Sirens Call and is forthcoming in The Bookends Review. His nonfiction writing has been published in Film and History, Anthropology Now, American Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is co-editor of a book of essays on teaching monsters, forthcoming from McFarland in 2017. Twitter: @adamgolub

Downward is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Natalie Prado

“Drat,” Marjorie said, as the blade from the cheap supermarket carving kit slipped and bent. She wiped her sticky hands down the front of her paisley apron, probably ruining it.

The teeth were always the problem. Marjorie was fine with slicing the top and scooping the insides out with her wooden spoon, but she had always struggled with detail work.

She sighed and, abandoning the blade, reached over to the pair of pliers instead. She clamped them down on the recalcitrant lower tooth and, with a firm grip and a grunt of effort, managed to pry it from the jawbone.

Author bio: Natalie Prado lives in Baltimore and is bad at finishing things. You can follow her at @mightbenatalie

Lantern is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Christopher Malone

“The first thing to do is to cut the top off and pull out the innards. The top is thick, so you’ll have to plunge downward with force.”

He pantomimed with his fist coming down like a hammer, stopping the blade forcefully in mid-air.

“Then, when it’s time to display your artistry, remember to be decisive. Once you make a cut, you can’t go backward. Commit – don’t hesitate. You’ll have cleaner strokes that way.”

He handed me the knife and sat me in front of the pumpkin.

“You’ll see, son,” he said. “It’s no different than carving up a man.”

Author bio: Christopher Malone is a Maryland native who teaches English and plays music, in addition to writing.  His work has been featured by 101 Fiction, The Dark City Crime and Mystery Magazine, and Cicatrix Publishing.  His poetry can be read on his blog at

Carving is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by TM Upchurch

The pumpkin stares ahead, eyes burning. ‘This is your night,’ I say, ‘so smile.’ There’s a brief flicker. I gave this one a wide mouth.

Pumpkins never last; they’re designed to rot. Tonight the eyes will succumb to the cold. Tomorrow, the skin will crumple and drop; juices will trickle through the cracks and pool where the neck might have been. The cheeks beneath the eyes are already wet and waxen. I scrape them with a knife still sticky from carving, and dry it on my leg.

I lean in, press my skin close, and whisper, ‘Try to stay pretty.’

Author bio: TM Upchurch writes fiction at and tweets as @tmupchurch

Smile is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

If you must travel the haunted woods, bring a pumpkin with you.

Stick to the path, no matter how pretty the foxfire nor how clearly you hear someone calling your name.

If you sense a presence behind you, don’t look. Don’t run. This is what prey does.

Stay calm. Carve your pumpkin.

Before the chill reaches you, strike a light.

Carry your lantern backward on your shoulder, glaring fire behind you.

The forest won’t move if it feels watched.

Once home, set the lantern by your gate to discourage followers.

The sun should rise before your sentry fades.

Good luck.

Author bio: I like to write in just about every genre, but my favourites are horror and fantasy.

My author homepage is and I can also be found on twitter @ShenoaSays

Precautions is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Becky Spence

Pencil lines. Black on white. A landscape drawing, countryside. Hills rolling, charcoal shadows, church spire and gnarled trees. This was his canvas.

He dipped the feather. Quill dripping crimson red, his red. Deft lines, shapes forming. Contorted visions, demons crying. His was a wicked smile, bone teeth grinning.

Hand gripping, bones aching. Page bleeding nightmare dreams. Wisps of darkness in the sunset. Carving through what once was peaceful. Churning up the hallowed grounds.

A still life waiting. Ready for the chaos. Ready for this fateful night.

He etched the final line. Blood gleamed, screams echoed. His artwork crawled to life.

Author bio: Stories are my passion and I love reading and writing. I'm lucky enough to have been published a few times in flash fiction and poetry anthologies. I enjoy taking part with prompts on twitter too. 


Opus is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by John Xero

On the eve before All Hallows’ Day, while false demons walked city streets, I watched the black moons rise. Thirteen malignant orbs lifting from inky waters, dragging the ocean with them.

I felt their bleak gravity tug at my soul, ethereal fingers grasping for my secret heart.

Come, they whispered, inviting me to their eternal night.

I confess I teetered, cold temptation planting kisses on my feverish brow, but I held.

I looked to the stars, the distant burning swords of faithful angels standing against the great darkness, and I knew I must not fall. We are too few already.

Author bio: John Xero believes that anyone standing against the darkness is a star.  |  @xeroverse

Burning is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.


by Margaret McGoverne

Howard Phillips was a lonely seeker of the unknown, of what is, and what is in-between. Metaphysics failing him, he embraced the occult.

Beginning on Halloween, his incantations lasted until dawn, then continued as the sun sank again.

The air thickened, then rent in two. Elemental waves sundered him, and he knew no more. But consciousness returned; his body lay discarded but he was there, in the spaces between!

And he was no longer alone.

Jostling, melding, a gelatinous, transparent whole, the essence of everything that had ever lived filled the air. Vigintillions screamed as midnight struck.

All Souls’ Day.

Author bio: Margaret McGoverne is currently writing her first full length novel, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing.

Between is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.

Halloween 2016. Issue 13. Postscript.

The end is nigh. The void that consumes all is upon us. The gaping maw that is reality is closing and all we know will be swallowed in one apocalyptic gulp. Tomorrow is but a forgotten dream.

Melodramatic? Perhaps. This is but the end of another issue, our Hallowe'en special, unless you are here on October 30th, in which case you are witness to genesis, to creation itself. Every hour, on the hour, a new tiny tale will burst forth through ruptured reality (or the internet, as it likes to be called).

If you are here on Hallowe'en, or any dark day thereafter, then this is truly the end. You can pull up the whole issue here, or if you've already read it and need to sate that strange deep thirst for... more... then carry on carrying on. 101 Fiction has hundreds more hundred word stories in its dusty creaking archives.

Just want more horror? We can do that.

This is also where we say thank you. Thank you to our authors, our readers, our fans. It's true, this little 'zine wouldn't be here without you. We are eternally grateful.

join us. Do you hear the whispers?

join us. Got a story, burning to be free?

join us. Keep an eye out here,, or on our twitter, @101Fiction, for when we're next open for submissions and what the theme will be.

join us!

Keep reading. Keep writing. Stay spooky!

-John Xero

Monday, 12 September 2016

Submissions Open for Hallowe'en Issue

Submissions are now closed.

101 Fiction has always leant heavily toward horror so it seems fitting that while we re-synchronise our theme cycle to sit with the year we take the opportunity to slip a special horrorful Hallowe'en issue in between the cracks.

Pure coincidence that it will also be issue thirteen, I'm sure...

So what are we looking for? Horror, naturally. But our usual genre pillars still stand: fantasy, science fiction and surreal. (and let's face it, we definitely have a soft spot for the occasional odd little crime twister.)

A loose mix of themes: Hallowe'en or unlucky thirteen or just something dark and chilling, something befitting that special night of the year when we embrace the dwellers in the darkness, when the shadows rise and ordinary people can wear their inner demons for all to see.

It could be a treat gone horribly wrong, or a trick gone horribly right. A mask with more spirit than its partying wearer bargained for. A gambler eschewing the dress-up parties and discovering a shady backstreet den he's somehow never found before, laughing as they suggest he offer up his soul as collateral. Perhaps a galactic trader is persuaded to follow an old Earth tradition honouring the dead, as thirteen planets align and the long crates in his hold begin to rattle. Or a witch augur of the thirteenth legion seeks to know her sisters' future but can see no further than the coming All Hallow's Eve.

You don't have to use the theme words, and you don't have to make it fit all the themes; as long as the story sits somewhere under their black umbrellas that's fine by us. As always though, the story must be exactly one hundred words long and have a one word title.

The title must not be Hallowe'en, Unlucky, Lucky or Thirteen.

Submissions will close on Saturday 15th October. There's no preference or privilege granted to early entries, so please take your time, edit, and send when it's the best its going to be.

Full submission details, including how to submit, can be found here.

Think deep, write dark, have fun!

Friday, 15 July 2016


A micro-update in a hundred words (with a one word title, of course).

Normally I would be opening submissions for the September issue now... BUT... there is no September issue.

Have no fear. We’re just re-syncing 101 Fiction so our quarterly theme and issue cycle lines up with the year.

The next cycle starts in the new year, but you won’t have to wait that long for more 101 Fiction... There will be another issue this year, a one-off special. Keep your eyes here and on twitter, as usual, for what that is and when submissions open.


John Xero.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

June 2016. Issue 12.

Prep the subs, check your oxygen, take a deep breath (those of you without gills), and prepare to dive dive dive! Welcome to issue twelve, 101 Fiction’s underwater adventure.

It’s not all deep sea, but there is something distinctly damp about each of these one hundred word wonders and if they stretch the theme a little here and there then it’s because the story itself was simply too good to pass up. Every one of them is a sunken treasure just waiting to be discovered.

We do love our myths and they’re here in abundance, old and new, gods and monsters, in twisting tales to tantalise and suggest and seduce you deeper into their watery worlds. Peer through the shimmering surface and see glimpses of futures, of distant oceans and sunken towns. And never dismiss the danger of drowning... the stories may be small but they have depths, hidden currents, and tides that can turn with nary a tip off.

As a quarterly we’re three years in, at the end of our third cycle of themes. Each issue lands with a splash and this one is no exception. Read and re-read; let the ripples spread through your mind.




Keep scrolling down down down for the stories.

You can bring up the whole issue online by clicking here.

And it's all available as a handy download-for-later .pdf file too. Every issue is. Take it with you, take it where there is no wifi, take it down below the oceans on your submarine ride to work. You can grab that right here.


by Stephanie Hutton

Something broke the natural stillness of the pond. She stirred; eyes unused to opening. Someone was there. At long, long last. The rippling surface distorted the visitor’s face. A glimmer of golden hair. A playful laugh that had never been soured by betrayal. As the water calmed, she saw almost her double – a young girl in a gingham dress, teasing the water with a willow branch. Hope tingled her fingers. She craved closeness; an ally in this cold lonely world. Reaching up her withered arm towards the surface, she beckoned: come now, come to me, join me in the water.

Author bio: Clinical Psychologist and writer in the UK

Invitation is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by John Xero

Sylvie pulled the kelp tight about herself, denying the playful tide’s tugging fingers. She’d been dallying with the squid boys again.

“Water’s mighty warm, Sylvie. Why you gotta swaddle yourself so?”

“Jus’ feel like being contained, mama. Don’t wanna dissipate into the bay.”

“Now I swear you musta got that strange thinking from your other mam.” She shook her head, golden hair drifting into a soft glowing halo. “You’re a queer sort of ‘maid, young ‘un.”

Not so young. Not too young to feel that itch, or have to hide the sucker marks those shameless squid boys liked to leave.

Author bio: John Xero almost certainly got his strange thinking from his mam.
Short thoughts: @xeroverse
Longer ponders:

Maid is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by R.S. Bohn

Toes hunted through muck, finding a sharp curve and lifting the shell to the basket slung from her neck.

No arms don't mean no work, her dad said. Clams need digging. If her eyes fell out and got ate up by fish, he'd probably say she don’t need eyes, neither.

Her toes rubbed something rough, like a cat's tongue. She jerked when it moved, wrapping around her foot. She lifted her knee.

A starfish.

Sharp pain tore up her spine, exploding from her shoulders. The starfish dropped away. She slapped at it with a perfect, coral-coloured pair of pointed arms.

Author bio: R.S. Bohn lives on one side of a moat and talks to crocodiles. Carries a trident everywhere. Drinks navy-strength rum. Has failed 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' six years running.

Regeneration is part of 101 fiction issue 12.


by Amanda Martin Sandino

Me and June, we go out to the ocean with our raw anger. Take the chaos out to sea. Not that it’s much of an ocean adventure. Even the whales want to escape it, throwing themselves onto the land as we throw ourselves into the waters.

It spits, ejaculating bile: broken bottles, hypodermic needles, the occasional missing person, bloated, nibbled, and blue.

It’s the same though: our ocean, the briny deep, Neptune’s domain.

When we get a mind to drown ourselves here, we end up back on the beach.

And still, at night our efforts dry away with children’s sandcastles.

Author bio: Amanda Martin Sandino is a Literature doctoral student at UC San Diego.

Desertification is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Shannon Bell

“Psst, hey you. Yeah that’s right, you. Fuck me, enough is enough mate. Look at this dump. A glass bowl and some sand; like, hello, boring. Some decorations would be nice.”

This can’t be real.

 “And while you’re at it, how about supplying some female company. It gets lonely in here and I have needs too you know.”

I must be hallucinating.

"Are you listening to me? Is the brain not processing what the eyes are seeing? And they call humans the most intelligent species!”

Lips pursed in annoyance, fin tapping the glass impatiently, my goldfish is talking to me.

Author bio: Shannon Bell is addicted to words. You will find him madly writing away in the spare time he has available between holding down a full-time job, being part of a dysfunctional family and looking after his attention seeking dog.

selFISH is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Voima Oy

Under the ice of Enceladus, there is an ocean. What life might live there, with no need of the sun?

We built a robot named AVI (Autonomous Visual Interface). She would go where humans could not. We thought there was no fear in AVI, or wonderment, no capacity for loneliness or love.

AVI saw things beyond our visual spectrum, as she swam in the cold and black. She sent back images of auroras, tentacled lightning, bridges not designed for us.

We saw the flickering of enormous creatures.  AVI followed them into the darkness, toward the lights of their distant cities.

Author bio: Voima Oy lives on the Western rim of Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing has appeared in Visual Verse, Paragraph Planet and Unbroken Journal.  Follow her on Twitter, too – @voimaoy.

AVI is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by John Xero

“I can’t stand it,” Carmen muttered.

Joel stroked her hair, silver since birth, only now suiting her age.

“Can’t stand what, mother?”

“You can’t feel it? Restricting us. Crushing us. We can’t be everything we ought to; we can’t be great anymore, only ordinary.”

He sighed. This again. “Society has to be controlled. We’re so few and the balance so fine. Roles must be assigned, resources rationed.”

“Symptoms. Just Symptoms. It’s the water, Joel. Thousands of tons pressing down on the dome, on us. We need open skies, freedom.”

“They say the skies are black with poisons.”

“So they do.”

Author bio: John Xero firmly believes you shouldn’t believe everything you are told, and that everyone needs open skies if they are to ever fly.
Little white lies: @xeroverse
Big lies, aka ‘stories’:

Pressure is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Daniel Gooding

A red cloud spread across the sky, blotting out the picturesque image of the farmstead occupying the lower half of the picture. Robert plunged his hand into the tray without thinking, causing the displaced liquid to wash over the table; the rotten-egg odour was growing into something much more ominous, like the stench of dead fish.

Chemicals continued to splash out of the tray, belching out now in foul-smelling gluts of fluid. Robert stepped back as more water began to pour out through cracks in the walls and ceiling, and squid-like tentacles slopped over the edge of the developing tray...

Author bio: Daniel Gooding was born in 1984, and his flash fiction has appeared twice previously in '101 Fiction', as well as 'The Legendary' and '101 Words'.  His short story 'Crow Magnum Xix' is featured in the upcoming anthology 'Startling Sci-Fi: New Tales of the Beyond' published by New Lit Salon Press, and he occasionally blogs about books for 'The Guardian'. He currently lives in Bath, UK.

Seepier is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Margaret McGoverne

“Tunnel construction began in 1825...” The guide dripped factoids; she concentrated on her footing. The floor was wet; the curved brick walls sweated feverishly. In overalls, harness and boots she waded rather than walked.

“Sump pumps, groundwater, River Lea...”

All tributaries feed the Thames; bridged by Romans, and before them Pytheas had sailed to misty fabled Britannia, bringing who knows what disaffected gods with him...

“What’s this tunnel called?” she asked.

A gurgling, submerged reply: “Glaucus Street.“

Wasn’t Glaucus a Greek God? And what had risen up ahead, from dark, primordial waters? Fins and tail encircled her, yearning anew.


Author bio: Margaret McGoverne is currently writing her first full length novel, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing.

Glaucus is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Sara Cordair

Krikkri should’ve been excited, since it was initiation day. Still, she couldn’t suppress the sensation of minnows in her stomach. She swam harder, hoping the strain would ease the anxiety. It just got her there sooner. The others watched as she hoisted her upper-body onto the rocks, opened her mouth and sang.  A ship slammed into the island. A sailor stumbled out of the wreckage and fell prostrate before her. She grabbed him by the throat, diving into the water. He opened his mouth to scream. She released him. The other sirens shunned her. Her fins morphed into legs.

Author bio: Sara Codair writes because her brain is overcrowded with stories. If she doesn’t get them out, she fears her head will explode. When she isn’t making things up, she is either teaching college students how to write essays, digging in her garden or just enjoying the beauty of nature. Her short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Women on Writing, Foliate Oak, Centum Press, Sick Lit Magazine, and Mash Stories. You can find her online at

Maturity is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Helen Dring

Irma counts to ten before she feels the rough of Mansky's hand against her neck.

"Three minutes," he whispers, sour breath warm at her ear.

She plunges into the cold, eyes shut. The water flattens against her face, firm like clear cold plastic, like the doors she pressed her face to in her mother's house.

Each second rings in her ears, blood pumping. She counts. One, two, a bubble of a breath. Three, four, bubble.

This is meant to drown people. She remembers Mansky's harsh voice: Survive and you can be one of us.

She breathes, counts, thinks of Mansky.

Author bio: Helen Dring teaches and writes in Liverpool, UK. She likes real (scary) fairy tales and children's ghost stories. Find her on Twitter @dringhelen and at

Three is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by Christopher L. Malone

He couldn’t see her, save for the blue flashes of lightning illuminating her hugged knees, goose fleshed arms, and quivering lips.

A pop-up storm surprised them with torrents of rain and wind; rough currents threw them overboard with no life jackets to speak of. Their wet cotton clothing sucked the heat from their bones. He floundered for her body and pressed his torso against her own. He meant to warm her with the fire of his waning spirit, but the grey waters lapped over them; the cold seized their bodies before the undertow finally claimed them for a river’s grave.

Author bio: I am a Maryland native, English teacher, and aspiring writer with hopes of one day completing a novel.  You can view my poetry for free at

Hypothermia is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by D. D. Syrdal

The water rushed in when the last townspeople had gone, filling the valley, covering houses, schools, churches. Cemeteries. No longer could families tend the graves of loved ones buried there.

Not that they stayed buried.

As the water sloshed and gurgled over the graves, it lifted away the dirt, releasing the bones, letting them rise in surprise. Dancing skeletons swirled and eddied, unseen, unheard. Still dressed in their burial clothes, their bones collided and intertwined. No one to see them except the fish.

Every Sunday the bell in the not quite submerged church tower is rung by some unseen hand.

Author bio: D. D. Syrdal grew up in a 200-year-old, allegedly haunted farmhouse in Massachusetts. She now calls Oregon home, where her daydreams and nightmares play out in stories about vampires, demons, and witches. She blogs at and can be found on Twitter @ddsyrdal

Reservoir is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.


by R.S. Bohn

For twelve hours, Celia stood underwater in the frozen veggies aisle at Kroger. That's what happens when you die during a great flood, the whole world washed away, and you didn't make it to the ship on time. Celia wouldn't have won the last-minute lottery, anyway, she tells herself as a door opens and bagged peas go floating out, two by two.

A hundred other souls haunt this place, but none seem to notice their drowned bodies. They're still shopping for soup and chips. Leaving her own body behind, tethered to its trolley, she drifts upwards into a new sea.

Author bio: R.S. Bohn lives on one side of a moat and talks to crocodiles. Carries a trident everywhere. Drinks navy-strength rum. Has failed 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' six years running.

Unlucky is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.

June 2016. Issue 12. Postscript.

Welcome to the end, or the beginning. The serpent is not eating its own tail, just unsure which end is tail and which is head.

If today is Sunday 5th June, launch day for issue twelve, then the appearance of this post signifies the opening of festivities. Stories will be going live throughout the day so keep checking back for more and more tiny submersed morsels of fiction.

If you are here on any other day then you have reached the end of the issue. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed everything you have devoured. Fear not though, if you are hungry for more, simply keep going. There are, of course, eleven issues before this, all of a different theme (and bunched in cycles of four linked themes). And even before that there are many, many more stories, all published individually and all worth the journey back through time (and this site) to find.

Thanks once again to everyone who makes 101 Fiction amazing: our readers, our authors and our supporters.

If you want to join us, keep an eye on here - - or our twitter - @101fiction - for details of the next submission period and theme.

Discussion is always welcome, here or on twitter.

Keep reading. Keep writing. Have fun!

- John Xero.

Friday, 15 April 2016

June Issue Open for Submissions

Submissions are now closed.

From April 15th to May 15th we are taking submissions for the June issue. We want your tiny but mighty one hundred and one word wonders - we want adventure and excitement, humanity and heartbreak.

This is the fourth and final issue in our third year as a quarterly 'zine, and it's been an elemental year. We've been below the earth, on fire, and in the air. There's only one place left to go: Underwater. That's your new theme, immerse yourself in it and dream.

Fathoms down in the deepest ocean, lights might flicker on as a repair cycle ends and an ancient craft powers up for the first time since it crashed millennia ago. The bright spots on a modern deep sea sub could slide across ancient wreckage, picking out a nameplate: Nautilus, or maybe something slumberous blinks at the intrusive illumination, something massive that begins to uncoil itself in the sub's wake. Perhaps it is only shallow water and the hunger that builds the urge that drives the beast with the wicked teeth towards the splashing of feet and bright bathing suits. It might be the flick of a mermaid's fin, Poseidon's grin, a school of mechanised mackerel, or the creaking crack in the great glass globe of a submerged city...

You don't have to use the word 'underwater.' It could be a river, a lake or an ocean, this planet or another, as long as the story is recognisably set underwater.

You have exactly one hundred words of story to explode our imagination and a single word title with which to light the fuse. We are more or less a genre 'zine, but impress us enough and we will take any story. (Full guidelines here - please read them!)

The title must not be 'under,' 'water' or 'underwater.'

Make it marvellous; make us marvel at your creativity, your writing and your talent.

Take the plunge, grab a pen, get writing.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

March 2016. Issue 11.

Put your tray tables in the upright and locked position; fasten your seatbelts and fix your goggles; cabin crew to launch stations... 101 Fiction is taking to the air.

Every tiny one hundred word slice of twenty-first century fiction in this issue takes place off the ground in one way or another. Whether fully airborne, struggling against gravity just enough to get off the ground, leaping from point to point, or in full-on freefall.

This in-flight entertainment is first class, atmospheric stuff, and the sky is (literally) the limit. There’s horror of course, horror is one of our support pillars (the ancient cracked onyx one that always sweats a viscous black ooze), but the issue is perhaps, appropriately, a little lighter than usual, though no less impactful. There’s gods and monsters, screaming, bombing and murder (oh my), but there’s humanity too, philosophy, hope and love.

Strap yourself in, forget parachutes and crash helmets, open your mind and prepare for lift off.

Welcome to issue 11.

Read. Absorb. Enjoy.


Keep scrolling down for the stories or pull up the whole issue here.

Issue 11 is also available as a completely free .pdf for you to download and keep. Something to save for a dark day when the internet's out, something to read with the morning cuppa, or just a little something to brighten the morning commute, maybe. Grab it here.


by Ricardo Patriarca

My mother thinks of me as a failure, unable to traverse the sky with the raging speeds she does. On mornings that we roam the heavens, I'm always miles behind.

Her talons are as sharp as diamond. Her wings wider and more stunning than any eagle's. Her jade-green eyes can see prey a thousand mountains away. She has lived many eons, yet time only makes her stronger, bolder. Age agrees with her, my mother.

You disappoint me child, she always says. Just like your father.

Will she be so disappointed when she feels the poison burn deep through her veins?

Author bio: Ricardo Patriarca is a writer from Manila, Philippines. His work has been published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He writes short stories and poems during his free time. He is 20 years old.

Disappointment is part of issue 11.


by Kit Hamada

Mage Hellebore spoke of birds that lay their eggs in Heaven: the younglings hatch as they plummet earthwards.

I was practising scrying in the high tower when I saw the iridescent black egg drop from the sky.

Even if it began to hatch now, it would be too late. I cast a keep-safe spell and prayed that it took. I was an apprentice still.

The egg lay at the base of the tower, miraculously intact. As I held it, it rocked and crackled; the monster began to emerge.

Too late, I remembered how the story ends: in fire and destruction.

Author bio: Part-time writer; full-time dog walking robot.

Valkyrie is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by John Xero

I drop through sheets of hazy cloud, exhilarated.

Part of me grows alarmed as I drift off-mark, but with a tweak of my fins I am on course again, happiness flowing through my circuits: reward.

Air surges by me. Do I surge through it?

I wasn’t built for semantics.

I cost considerably more than any of my antecedents. I am a scalpel to their crude club. Or am I surgeon to their caveman?

Irrelevant, I suppose. My time is brief.

I rush to meet destiny, joyous, pregnant with my lethal payload. I would sing, if I could.

Author bio: John Xero believes in the explosive power of words, and knows a small word count can carry a massive payload.
Orbital platform:
Propaganda: @xeroverse

Dive is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Margaret McGoverne

He entered the grid site at dusk; high-voltage cables whined as his shadow passed below.

He wrenched a lever; the air was alive and hungry, defying the insulators that deterred the ignorant and the desperate.

Circuit breakers cracked like thunder as power surged in mindless spasms.

Then: jump!

Lightning harnessed, arcing ropes of eternity leapt skywards, supersonic screams marking their path.

The receiver glowed, an ultraviolet orb of light and gas, suddenly alive.

He had transmitted electricity wirelessly! They had said it couldn't be done! Where were those naysayers now? Where were they, and why was the orb still screaming?

Author bio: Margaret McGoverne is currently writing her first full length novel, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing.

Wireless is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Shannon Bell

Tegan sat on the highest branch, hugged the trunk and pressed her cheek to the bark.

“I hate him.” She whispered over and over, a mantra for her broken heart. Her tears and her words seeped into the tree. Its sap pulsed with the power of her contempt.

Kyle walked along the garden path.

“Hate him.”

The tree reached down, seized him, threw him in the air.

Tegan stared at Kyle’s body, limp and lifeless in the upper branches. “Oh,” she smiled, “thank you, tree.”

The tree shuddered, its leaves shook as ridges of bark stretched into a grotesque smile.

Author bio: Shannon Bell is addicted to words. You will find him madly writing away in the spare time he has available between holding down a full-time job, being part of a dysfunctional family and looking after his attention seeking dog.

Pulped is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Daniel Gooding

Terry held on grimly to his wife as the plane continued its seemingly never-ending descent. With all the chaos around them, screaming women clinging to red-faced children and slumped men in business suits weeping incoherently into cell phones, nobody seemed to notice Terry, or his violently trembling wife.

Once the tremors ceased, he released his hands from her throat. It was a kindness really. That had always been one of her favourite refrains: “You really should try and be kinder to yourself Terry!”

Leaning back in his seat, he sighed contentedly. The last minutes of his life were his own.

Author bio: Daniel Gooding was born in 1984, and his flash fiction has appeared previously in '101 Fiction', as well as 'The Legendary' and '101 Words'.  His short story 'Crow Magnum Xix' is featured in the upcoming anthology 'Startling Sci-Fi: New Tales of the Beyond' published by New Lit Salon Press, and he occasionally blogs about books for 'The Guardian'. He currently lives in Bath, UK.

Kindness is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Ricardo Patriarca

“No more words. I’m leaving and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” Martha said, her suitcase beside her. She and her mother had been arguing for almost three hours now.

“And what are you going to do there, huh?” her mother said. “You won’t survive a day.”

“How would you know? You never tried! You let Papa lock you up here all your life! I don’t want to be like you! I’m going. Now, before he comes back.”

She slammed the front door behind her. Three steps and she was off the cloud, plummeting towards her new life.

Author bio: Ricardo Patriarca is a writer from Manila, Philippines. His work has been published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He writes short stories and poems during his free time. He is 20 years old.

Freedom is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Wendy Steele

The rain has stopped. I ruffle my rufous body and preen my black-tipped wings. Far above, my parents call.

The undulating land below me is colour-washed with golden hues as the giant orb retakes its place in the blue of eternity and I fly. Never before have I harnessed the air for my pleasure and I call my delight as I dive and climb. I laugh at the creatures in miniature below me. It's all wind to them.

A generous updraught holds me in glorious suspension until a glance of my wing sends me soaring and the spiral dance begins.

Author bio: Wendy Steele lives on a hillside in Wales with her partner and cats. Following training in belly dance and writing, she has published novels and novellas in the magical realism genre and teaches ATS® Belly Dance. Renovating her Grade II listed farmhouse and reading fill the rest of her time.

Kite is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Sally Basmajian

Before we parted, she smiled and said she loved me. Bubbles of happiness began to form, filling me with intoxicating lightness. From gut to extremities I felt uplifted and joyful.

But why was I floating over the park where the two of us had embraced? Had love made me gravity-defiant? I should have panicked over my weightlessness, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her hair, her scent, her lips. And, the more I thought of her, the higher I rose.

Later, she came back to meet me. From on high, I saw her shoulders slump as I failed to appear.

Author bio: Sally Basmajian is an executive escapee from the corporate world of broadcasting. She has been writing for almost two years, dabbling mostly in fiction and memoir pieces. In 2015 she won prizes in the Rising Spirits Awards and SQ Mag’s Story Quest contest, and had stories pop up in places such as Psychology Tomorrow and the UnCommon Bodies anthology.

Buoyancy is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by Stephanie Hutton

Being such a good girl, the children had not questioned it when Amy silently took each of their balloons, wrapping them around her forearms. Before the memorial speech had finished, she floated upwards – bound for heaven, or at least the Mainland. Amy soared with a heart turned light as chocolate mousse. Kicking off her sandals, she wiggled her toes just for the feeling of it. Green turned to blue, blue, blue below. Maybe she didn’t need anyone after all?

A family of honking geese flew by, each keeping its place. Then land ahead – and the possibility of a new mummy.

Author bio: Clinical Psychologist with an interest in flash fiction and the therapeutic value of creative writing.

Onwards is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


by John Xero

Alma watches me calmly, her brown eyes so serious.

The air outside roars like a monster, a thousand monsters, barely muted by the metal cylinder we ride downwards to our dooms.

“Is this where we die?” she asks.

So unafraid.

There was chaos at first, a mad tumble settling to a somehow stable plummet. There were wings too, before that first monstrous roar.

Her calmness envelopes me.

“Yes,” I reply, “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she says. “Death is a doorway. You saved me once. Now let me save you.”

So earnest.

And when the final roar comes... so bright.

Author bio: The once and future bookseller, John Xero is, was, and will always be in the business of stories. And where would stories be without monsters... and hope?
He should update his blog more:
Or even tweet once in a while: @xeroverse

Monsters is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.

March 2016. Issue 11. Postscript.

The beginning of the end! 101 Fiction always publishes backwards to be read forwards, which makes as much sense as having only 100 words to tell a whole story, and yet this is what we do, every issue.

Big worlds, big ideas, big emotion. Tiny word count.

Is today 6th March 2016? Then issue 11 will be going live throughout the day. Refresh the site every hour for a brand new story.

If you're beyond that date, sitting among the clouds in your floating future house, being read to by your robot butler, then you've reached the end of issue 11. But there's no reason to stop here! Logic (and your robot butler) will tell you there are ten more earlier issues to enjoy. And even earlier than that are a whole slew of stories published one by one. All 100 words long, all proving that a tiny word count is no limit to scope and scale.

Thanks for reading.

And thank you to all our contributors.

If you want to be a part of this, keep an eye on and @101fiction for details of our next submissions period and theme.

Keep writing. Keep reading. And always... have fun.

- John Xero

Friday, 15 January 2016

March Issue Open for Submissions

*** now closed for submissions ***

From right now, January 15th, through to February 15th we are open for submissions! We want your teeniest tiniest tales - thrills, kills and adventure wrapped in little one hundred word bundles.

It's year three of the quarterly 101 Fiction and so far we've been underground and on fire, and for our next trick... we're taking to the air. The new theme is: in the air.

We all breathe it, but we're specifically looking for stories that take place off the ground, up there, in the air. It could be the winged sandals of Hermes launching an unsuspecting holiday-maker high above Greece. Or the fiery descent of an escape pod as its occupant discovers that far from salvation, she is bringing the alien terror back down to her homeworld with her. It might be calamitous thunder and lightning, fallout from the god-war raging in the heavens. Perhaps the revelation of the mid-air human cannonball as he realises the safety net has been sabotaged. Or the last human survivors, cursed to never again set foot on Earth, alive only until the fuel runs out and their craft plunges back down to the apocalyptic chaos wrought upon the surface.

You don't need to use the word 'air,' or the phrase 'in the air,' but the story needs to be distinctly set off the ground. Equally, characters do not need to be 'loose' in the air, they can be in a craft or container or bubble... so long as that object is in the air.

The title cannot be 'air.'

You have exactly one hundred words, and a single word for the title. We loosely hold to the four genres listed - Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Surreal - but if the story is good enough, exciting enough, bold enough... we'll take it.

For full submissions guidelines and info check the submissions page!

Get thinking. Let your imagination soar. And get writing.