Mysterious Photograph

Each issue features a Mysterious Photograph. Readers are invited to submit a 250-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo. The person who invents the best mystery story receives a prize of $25, and the story is published in a future issue.

The Story That Won the January/February 2019 contest:


Air Images /


by Charlotte Stacey

Sam shut off the alarm pulsing on his mobile phone. He slid one arm under his head and winced. He stared at the ceiling, thinking about the story he plotted last night.

He smiled. He used the party room in his condo for his New Year’s Eve setting. A conflict started with a wager, a bet that arose from too much drinking and toasting. Voices rose, tempers flared, and a space widened around the two disruptors. Fists flew, with one fellow shoved into the Christmas tree, almost knocking it down and crushing and breaking ornaments and branches.

The revelers took sides, intensifying the fight. Phones emerged from pockets and videos rolled. One frightened bystander called the police.

The door burst open and two burly officers charged towards the offenders, ordering them to separate. Both fighters were given citations for disturbing the peace along with a court date.

The party broke up and the New Year social fizzled. End of story.

Sam eased out of bed and rubbed his sore muscles. He dressed and hobbled to the party room. Adding a few more scenes would pull his story together. He gaped at the mess on the floor.

He touched his face and lips and flinched. He wiped his mouth and blood smeared on his hand. Sam grabbed a broom to sweep the mess and picked a spike, covered in dried blood, from the floor.

The first day in the New Year began fuzzy and disturbing.


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