Flash Fiction

Dictionary definition of flash fiction: Flash fiction is a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. Identified varieties, many of them defined by word count, include the six-word story; the 280-character story; the “dribble”; the “drabble”; “sudden fiction”; “flash fiction”; and “microstory” – Courtesy of Wikipedia.

"Pattering on the Roof"

A pair of small glasses sat upon a woman’s nose.  Her tired old eyes stared passively into the fire.  Her hair was in disarray with bobby pins holding only the smallest amount of it back.  Her hands lay folded on her lap.  A wedding ring enclosed her finger, a memory of what she once had.  She rocked herself slowly in the rocking chair watching the flames dance across the floor.  The floorboards began to char, and the living room filled with smoke.  A small round table stood in the corner.  Pictures of bygone days and a thick layer of dust lay atop the old grandfather clock.  The crocheted throw blanket with many colors on the overstuffed couch began to smoke.  She continued to rock with a small smile on her face.  The porch glowed as the flames flickered in the window.  The air was tainted with a faint smell resembling that of a barbecue.  The dark clouds continued to close in, and the rain began to fall.  It hit upon the roof of the house, but its’ cleansing properties were no match for the raging fire within.

-Gabrielle Cataldi (2018)


Freeze frame. Set back from the road is a house. Overgrown grass, weeds climbing the siding, and gutters cracking with age. Vivid colors, too bright to be real. The air shifts a sweet-smelling ethereal breeze. Sitting askew, the windows and doors hang wearily from years of use. Inside only remnants of memories reverberate. Prosaic conversations. Stop-motion reflections of ghosts roaming the corridors. Years leak out of the cracks, to be forgotten by time. The picture comes out of focus and disappears to oblivion. Only white space remains. Ready for a new scene to be created, erased, and repeated.

-Gabrielle Cataldi (2023)

Grasping At Threads

You walk down a beautifully paved road, each step filled with certainty and purpose. A backpack hangs carrying dreams and aspirations, while on the one hand, you juggle finances, evidence of life’s threads seemingly coming together, and the promise of a bright future so close to being realized.

Suddenly, the smooth pavement beneath you gives way to a broken, crumbling path. Financial stability slips from your grasp as you navigate, trying to maintain your balance. Debts begin to mount, and suddenly the backpack is heavier and the next steps are a struggle. Memories flick through your mind of the farm, your home of 28 years, missing its solitude, the peace it brought. Now, it’s just another item lost along the journey.

The bridge ahead promises passage, but its boards betray you with every step. They’re weak and fragile, and as you tread carefully, the bright future, that hard-earned symbol of perseverance, falls into the void below.

Without warning, a board gives way entirely. Suddenly, you’re hanging, fingers digging into splinters, trapped in limbo. The ground below beckons menacingly, yet you resist its call. The decision isn’t clear: do you let go, hope for someone to pull you up, or muster what little strength remains to claw your way back?

And so, you hang, caught in that endless space between despair and hope.

-Gabrielle Cataldi 10/10/2023

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