Timeline: FlashBack’s Fifteenth Season

Illumination of a water clock from a French Bible moralisée, ca. 1250

Timeline: FlashBack’s Fifteenth Season

We’ve come to the end of our fifth year and fifteenth season of historical shortform writing, and what a season it has been!

Huge congratulations to our two authors whose FlashBack stories were included the 2022 Best Microfictions anthology: Isabelle B.L with Cords and Kristen Loesch with Tapeworm.  Huge congratulations also to our 2022 nominees for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions and the Pushcart Prize; we’ll be announcing these on social media tomorrow, 20 December, on Facebook and Twitter.   (You can find past nominations and success stories on our Nominations page and Awards page.)

If you’ve missed any of the brilliant pieces that we published this autumn, do treat yourself; we’ve collected links to them all below.  And of course, you can always find our entire back catalogue over at our Timeline.  Happy reading!


Season XV

1185: Samyukta by Sudha Balagopal

I’m thinking of Prithviraj the whole time: when my father, the King, places a garland laden with roses in my hands, when their nauseating fragrance wafts through my bridal veil, when I sneeze and let the garland drop to the marble floor, when Father roars and pushes the opulence into my hands, and when he wraps my diamond-ringed fingers, one at a time, around the flowery noose.

1559 -1603: Palindrome by Tracy Fells

When it was time for her confinement the women took possession of his wife. Amongst his estate workers and the village menfolk, he asked God for a son, a longed-for heir, forcefully declaring his prayers out loud in the manor’s church.

1854 – 1970: I Am Held in the Hands of God Who Is Named Walter Potter; or, from the Case of ‘The Death and Burial of Cock Robin’ by Elou Carroll

I am born again with eyes of glass. The hand of God holds a needle, and the needle pulls a fine thread. There is a tug and the thread releases. Here, I am unmade and made anew.

1887-1917: The Revolutionary’s Brother by Lita Kurth

Oh Sasha, Sasha. Your black hair. When they came to the back door and whispered that your protest hung from a noose, in the centre of the city, I said nothing and did not move. I was a cold stone with an earthquake inside.

1888: Oklahoma (1888) by Jane Hammons

Estelle wanted to know about Buena Vista. She knew other people named Redbird in her mother’s family and she’d known some named Billy when they lived with her father in Texas. But her mother was the only Buena Vista she ever knew

1895: The Wife of Michael Cleary by Marie Gethins

Coins passed from her palm into the husband’s pockets. We shook our heads. Some of us kept her name in our nightly prayers. As the husband thinned, preferring whiskey to mutton, and their field filled with rushes not oats, we watched and waited and listened.

April 1940: 54.7754° N, 31.7890° E, April of 1940 by Slawka G. Scarso

Tucked in their pockets, they feel our curves and our dents, as the train gains speed, ta-taaa, ta-taaa, ta-ta-ta-ta-taaa, leaving Kozelsk behind. We’re going home, they all think without saying it out loud, because that would bring bad luck.

Early 1970s: Evie Girl by Helen Chambers

The hole in the kitchen window is shaped the same way Daddy writes the ‘v’ in my name, Evie, like a heart. Mammy says we can’t afford to fix the window, so she’s stuck brown cardboard over it to keep the Black-Masks out.

1980s: The Myth of an Unknown Girl by Heain Joung

He rented a boat for us as soon as we arrived at the small port. Sitting in the prow, I looked out over the water that seemed to have no end. Where could it go, I wondered. I had never seen the sea before and couldn’t understand the way of the tide.

1990s: From Here to Eternity by Diane Gottlieb

So, I’m going to live forever. Living forever was never my plan but it must be God’s because I’m 98 and while I’ve lost a few teeth and my bladder control (keep that to yourself, will you?), I have every marble I came to earth with in ’24.

Illumination of a water clock from a French Bible moralisée, Paris, ca. 1250. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Bodley 270b, fol. 183v., via Wikimedia Commons.