I am extremely pleased to announce my Flash Fiction was chosen as one of the 250 finalists, from the 35,609 stories from 149 countries, entered in the International IV Edition of the Flash Fiction Competition Museum of Words.
This is the story, found on page 208 of the Contest Winners Booklet:
The old rabbi moved on his bed.
The young man raced over. «Yes, Rebbe?»
The old rabbi opened his eyes, showing the cast of death that has almost consumed him. «Ka…» he groaned.
The young man had been told the dying
rabbi would never regain his senses. He leaned closer. «What do you want?»
The old rabbi struggled for breath.
The young man gazed at pallid features and clouded eyes. « What can I do?» He put his ear over the gaping mouth.
One last ragged breath, a hollow whisper. «Kafka died for your sins.»
This is the Prologue from the Winners Booklet:
After four Flash Fiction Competitions, from the Museum of Words organized by the César Egidose-Serrano Foundation, we can proudly say that the competition has had an undoubted effect internationally.In this year ́s edition we have received 35.609 story entries
from 149 countries.These figures prove an undoubted success of which
we feel genuinely satisfied. And not only for the number of participants or because the prize awarded is per word the highest in the world, but because the huge participation from almost the totality of all countries of our planet supposes also that we have reached the most remote corners in which to entrust the message of the César Egido Serrano Foundation that is none other than to spread the word as a tool to encourage coexistence between cultures, religions, ideologies … our aspiration is not an ingenuous fantasy.
We are aware, very aware, that we live in some potentially tragic times; one only has to view the media from day to day. Violence is a part of human nature, wars have been –and still are- a constant in the world since the beginning of humankind, in today ́s world the deadly power of technology multiplies the threat to the extent of making it a true possibility that the species could become extinct.This is a fact, we do not want to
mislead ourselves, but it is also true that people have the ability to use dialogue and with it, the power of words, so conflicts can be resolved in an effective way.Words solve problems without leaving glimmers of resentment or rancour.
An idea is not a fact, it is a desire, and by means drives it, grows, and expands. That is why our idea (utopian yes, but not ingenuous) are always linked to the contest so ideas as are spread to more people in more countries. Because if history has been rife with violent coflicts, it has also left evidence and clear examples of what we are saying is also possible. We should remember Gandhi or Mandela (leading figure of who we have dedicated this contest) who managed to prioritize dialogue and understanding and the use of words in violent times.
We will continue with eagerness, we know that if it was already a reality we would not be necessary.That is why we are here with these finalists as proof that projects like ours expand with unstoppable strength.
Willing to do anything in my damn fool endeavour to improve the state of literature in the world, I entered a beer mat contest. The prize in the contest was to have your short story printed on a beer mat. Oh, there was also money and gift coupons involved, but my main desire was to get printed on a beer mat. Alas, it did not happen. But here is the story anyway. Have a brew while you read it.
Flash Flash Flash
Green flash – nine dash – dark green in dark room, four flash – minus dash – three flash – six dash – eight then tight then eight. The operator shoves his chair back in fear, things happen too quickly to be surprised. Red left light followed by yellow left light glow beside the numbers, reflect the band of a wristwatch. Eight flash two race one plus one point – decimal moving across the board, hunting. Fingers, hand, wristwatch reach for the never used phone.
Second and third red left lights glow off the face of the Operator as his lips open before the mouthpiece.
“Get the General and the Director down here fast.”
“But they’re both asleep.” A thin voice in his ear.
“No time – no time. Hurry.”
His hand replaces the phone, but his eyes never leave the wild numbers before him, doubling and now tripling. Four two flash seven one three dash six six six pause blank plus plus racing decimal three three three three. He takes a fast look around the dim room to see yellow and red lights glimmering from every corner, and the flashing green of disappearing numbers.
His eyes return to his own board. There is a constant series of tiny clicks as the green numbers race from right to left, bottom to top. He moves a sweaty palm across his leg and gapes. Minus minus minus eight zero four three eight zero four three pause eight pause plus pause zero four three three click click click click.
Quadrupling now, simultaneous right to left and bottom to top, green numbers racing click click click click. He notices that right red and right yellow lights have come on, quickly followed by the second set. The sound of the flicking numbers makes him think of chicken claws scratching in gravel. He notices his hands shaking, and dimly remembers one lecture where the odds were given of such a thing happening, the smug humour of his instructor. Six six 44 flash two seven 55 click nine two 77 plus 333 point 2864 flash minus flash minus eight seven three three zero.
“My God, they’re in fives now.”
They were moving like green waves across a dark sea now, sextupling in a rush from the base of the screen. Seven two 2941 flash four one 3384 pause nine zero 7766 click click minus three four 0827.
“More warning lights are on now, Sir.”
“It’s the same with every terminal,” said the Director as he looks over to the General.
“I presume you activated the breaking system.”
“Yes, Sir.” The operator does not look behind him as he answers. “When the triples started. All it did was blow out the switch lights.” His face – like the others – is bathed in a confused glow of green, yellow and red.
“The last warning lights just came on.”
“We can see that!” snapped the Director.
The room has never had so much light in it, yet the green numbers do not seem subdued. Four two 8601, nine five 7350, one one 4499 plus flash four eight 1632 click click.
Green flash, red light and yellow, number after number, 472210 flash 992136 pause 886221 race pause flash green 220011 flash click click click.
“Sounds like hens scratching,” says the General.
The Director took in his breath with a groan. “They’re turning octal,” he said.
The green numbers moved constantly now, covering the whole face of the screen. Click click flash plus 12345678 flash 87654321 pause 20199465 click minus flash 22446688 race click 11335577 green 88990011 click.
“They’re grouping,” said the Operator. “They’re forming patterns.” His voice was no longer scared, but resigned.
The red and yellow warning lights began to shatter, small pops of sound followed by falling glass. Green flickers raced 11223344 slight pause 55667788 flash green wave 99001122 minus flash 33445566 click click
“It’s turning cyclical,” said the Director.
click flash green rush 77889900 pause plus click 00000000 minus flash flash click 00000000 click click 00000000