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Swimming in the Strange

ScaryFishI remember picking up a National Geographic as a kid and seeing pictures of snaggle-toothed, bulbous-eyed, ferocious-looking deep-sea fishes; creatures so strange they looked as if they belonged on some alien world, not the world I knew. I also recognize that photos like these—proof that such things exist—left me mildly afraid of deep, dark water. Who knows what might be down there, waiting to come up and grab me by the toes?

Of course, it didn’t help that my brothers and sisters fed me with wild tales of Lake Sharks. Or that much of the dark waters I had the opportunity to swim in were often littered with drowned shrubbery and trees that you might not be able to see well, but that felt exactly like underwater sharp-toothed monsters reaching up from the depths to drag me down.

Apologies if I’m feeding your phobias.

My point is that we don’t have to go very far from home to find the fantastic. In fact, this month, you can find it right here, safe from your sofa, protected by the anonymity of the internet. Here we give you three tales of the strange and unreal—oh, and one story about chess, which, depending on your perspective, may qualify as well.

We’ll begin with two earthbound stories from Flash Fiction Online alumni, KJ Kabza and Shannon Peavey.

From Mr. Kabza, “All Souls Proceed,” a ghostly tale rich with local culture.

From Ms. Peavey, “Millepora,” a tale of change and acceptance.

And from an FFO Newbie, “This Is the Sound of the End of the World” by Matt Dovey, a ‘galaxy-far-far-away’ offering with a healthy serving of heart.

Finally, this month’s reprint story–the promised chess story–the beautifully written “Opening Move,” by Xin Rong Chua, which originally appeared at, where it won first prize in the Island of Dreams contest.

Happy swimming!

Suzanne Vincent

Suzanne Vincent is the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online. That’s what people think anyway. Actually, she’s really a pretty ordinary middle-aged woman packing a few extra pounds and a few more gray hairs than she’s comfortable with. As a writer, she leans toward the fantasy spectrum, though much of what she writes is difficult to classify. Slipstream? Isn’t that where we stick stories when we just can’t figure out where else they go? Suzanne’s first professional publication was right here at FFO, published before she joined the staff: “I Speak the Master’s Will,” — a story she’s still very proud of. While she doesn’t actually have time to blog anymore, she once did. You can still read her ancient posts on writing at The Slushpile Avalanche. Suzanne keeps a house full of kids (3), a husband (1), and pets (too many to number) in Utah, USA. Yes, she’s a Mormon. No, there isn’t another wife. Mormons haven’t actually practiced polygamy since the 1890s. Too bad. She’d love to have another woman around to wash dishes and do laundry.


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The link to "Opening Move" takes us to "Millepora".

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