Here are the winning stories from F-BOM’s Winter 2018 flash fiction contest, In Dreams, judged by Sharolyn G. Brown.

Did you miss the contest this quarter? Our next topic will be revealed in May, during our interview with C.A. Hartman. Follow us on Facebook for updates. Click here for submission guidelines.

First place: 

Living the Dream by Amelia Light

“You’re building castles in the air,” Marilee’s mother would say. “Enough dreaming.” Though Marilee never had any dreams of her own.

As a toddler she plucked them out of other people’s heads to entertain herself; as a teenager she learned to send them back. Learned how dreams twisted in on themselves, became terrors. People paid her well to trade their bad dreams for blissful reveries, and paid even more to bombard a rival with nightmares.

The nightmares made her rich. She used the money to build her mother a house with a maglev foundation, floating gently in the air.

Second place:

My Reality by G-SHARP

There is a world I visit, one apart from our own. I travel there every night without fail.

Sometimes it is bliss, a place chained only by my imagination. Other times, it seems like I never left at all; I remember nothing from my journey.

But there are also times when the other world is not kind to me. When my imagination depraves to my undoing and terror consumes my being.

But no matter the circumstances, whether it be my sanctuary or my hell, one thing is always clear-

It is always better than my reality.

Honorable Mentions: 

Yet I Dream by LaraKaa & Eve Jay

Dark and long. Through raw emotion, I dove into the virtuality of Dreamstate, to emerge in NerveNebula.

There he was.

“You?”

His Former Glory smiled. Neural sizzles. Nothing like the fireworks we shared. Still, they stung.

I pulled a foggy mass towards me, red bolts of lightning surging through it, solidifying. His fragment paused, before it smashed against my armor.

HFG sizzled. “I’ll always be. Here.”

I fought off his embrace, once longed for, now dreaded, and reached for a bolt…

Impaling my own cluster ejected me. My vomit: all ramen, no mercy. The fragger had played me like Tetris.

***

The Words I Now Embrace by Ashley Liza

A long time ago, you told me of your dreams to run with liberated feet on unconquered lands. You said it so boldly, I felt myself cower.

“Your hands are worth more than they want you to believe,” the countless times you repeated this, only for me to forsake it.

For in my dreams, I thought freedom was annulling history and repurposing pain- to be free meant to be the same. How foolish was I, for even in your last words did I miss your wisdom, “unshackle yourself, for in my dreams, you are free!”

***

The First Woman Pilot by Apolline Goddard

In dreams, she flies, fingers brushing against the windowsill after she’s leapt from the edge, floating gloriously above the clouds, heart in her throat. The sharp spires of the city are harmless below her now, soft moonglow kissing her skin.

She seems as delicate as starlight, but is as strong as an asteroid, hurtling straight for where she wishes, leaving flame and fire in her wake. She doesn’t fear falling, because if she crashes, she knows she’ll leave an impact thrice her size.

In dreams, she flies, and when she wakes, she knows she’ll do the same in life.

***

Everlasting Tomorrow by Manasvi Reddy

In her dreams, she ran, but it was for different reasons than when she was conscious.

Eyes shut and breathing heavy, she ran to her future, to her hopes, to the stars. She ran for herself, cheeks flushed, her nightly taste of freedom and possibilities.

And when the sun appeared on the horizon and her eyes fluttered open, she began running again, waiting for dusk to fall so that she could dry her tears and stop fleeing from the obstacles that would forever shackle her to this small town, from the everlasting tomorrow she would always have to face.

***

The Entreaty by Palak Bhatia

“Does your mother pray?”

Fog swirled inside her crystal ball.

“No.”

She shook her head. “She does,” she whispered, “for you.”

Momma was a staunch atheist.

“Do you remember a cage? Your limbs being amputated one by one?” She leaned forward. “Crowds chanting tilchhattakha at you?”

The word instantly inspired goosebumps. Memories hovered at the edge of my consciousness, their vestiges evanescing as I tried recalling them.

The buzzer sounded, indicating that our time was up. Disconcerted, I made my way to the door.

“She didn’t let it transpire.”

I turned.

“At least not outside of REM.”

 

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