2019 FlashBack Fiction Microfiction Competition: Moon
First Place

by Jo Withers

I sit rigid, body taut as wooden chair. Physicians unleash freezing water against flesh, hoping to exorcise hysteria.

They blame the moon, say its phases corrupt menstrual cycles. Tighten restraints during waxing and waning, confine us to horsehair padded cells when radiance is full. They call us Luna-tics, smell delirium in the disobedience of husbands, in child-birth and menopause, frigidity and sexuality, in grief over lost children.

We never go outside. The moon is an oil lamp overhead, night and day, on and off. Eventually we forget sky and birds and trees. Eventually we become everything they said we were.

Jo Withers writes micros, flash and shorts from her home in South Australia. Recent fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Molotov Cocktail, Reflex Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and Spelk. You can follow Jo on Twitter @JoWithers2018.