Timeline: FlashBack’s Twelfth Season

Vintage USSR nixie tubes

Timeline: FlashBack’s Twelfth Season

The end of season twelve is also the end of our fourth year of publishing historical shortform prose, something we couldn’t have predicted when the idea for our journal was birthed on Twitter. It’s been a genuine pleasure to read all your work.

We’ll be back in January 2022 with the start of our next season of historical flash and prose poetry, as well our next submission window.  We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be reading for our summer and autumn seasons from 15 January to 15 February 2022. You can find our full submission guidelines here.

Thank you to all our authors, submitters and readers; we couldn’t do anything of this without you!

In case you’ve missed out on any of the excellent work we’ve been privileged to publish recently, here are the links our latest season of historical flash, prose poetry and other shortform work. You can also find our full archives in chronological order on our Timeline.

Season XII

406 Million B.C.E. (late Ordovician Period) to early 1900s: Amber Rose by J.B. Stone

When you crawled out of your pod, slinked unto the branches: a newborn insectoid, exploring the earth eons ago, you were told you would rise into a throne of horns, inherit a royal flush of beetle-bodied knighthood.

88 B.C.: The Consort of Closed Fists by Lixin Foo

The legend of her fists spread far and wide. Until one day, an augur whispered it into the ear of the most powerful man in China. At the old Emperor’s touch, her fist fell open — revealing a jade hook left as her grandmother’s only heirloom.

Lady Gouyi, they called her then. The Consort of Closed Fists.

1315: Hunger1315  by Claire Loader

It has rained all May and June, and on into the summer months. We started to eat the seed grain, slaughtered the mule, but there was no salt to cure it. I have sent them out to find berries but even the wild plants cannot find the strength to lift themselves to their task, the bark on the trees already stripped by desperate hands.

mid to late 1800s: Cordsby Isabelle B.L

I’m a whale, a bell and a multifunctional cord.

Today, I receive something to make my waist smaller. The giver says:

“It’s made with 98 whale bones, my dear.”

1918: Granddaddy at War by Barbara Diggs

My grandfather stands straight as the rifle he won’t be allowed to touch. Trenches may be choked with corpses across the ocean, but a weapon in the hands of a black man is no less disruptive to world order. Better for him not to know the sleek feel of power, become intoxicated by its kick and heft. In the battle for democracy, he is best armed with a shovel.

6 August 1945: I Have Suffered the Atrocity of Sunsets by Morgan Quinn

Today you wake up late, but Mama doesn’t scold. She plaits the inky waterfall of your hair as you eat your breakfast, then presses an onigiri into your hand and ushers you out into the world.

18 September 1959: In the Hours Before the 1959 Auchengeich Coal Mine Disaster by Marie Hoy-Kenny

You wake, your wife Jean still serene in sleep, breathing deeply beside you. The sky is dark through the cracks between the curtains, but last night you dreamed you were at the sea watching the sunrise cast purples, pinks, and oranges across the sky and it was beautiful, beautiful, you didn’t want it to end. You rarely have those bad dreams any more, of the mine walls closing in on you like an angry clamp.

24 December, 1971: Footprints in Water by Robert Barrett

On Christmas Eve, she fell; sucked downwards through the angry, screaming wind, head first, through two miles of unencumbered sky, and no thought can take root, only the biting of the seatbelt across her stomach. A white sandal flicks from her foot, like a scrambling dove, whipped heavenward, and there is no fear and no regret in half a minute of time, only, this is happening now and this is happening now.

Photograph of vintage USSR nixie tubes via depositphoto, ID 151812008.