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Flash fiction is a method of writing micro-stories- short stories with as few words as possible. The example below was written in exactly 250 words. Think you can do better than the story below? Or want to just give it a try? Write a 500 word-or-less story and submit it to our second quarter Flash Fiction Contest for a chance to win cool prizes! All submitted stories will be published on our website and monthly newsletter, and the finalists will be published in our end-of-the-year magazine. Submissions can be sent in by clicking SUBMIT on our home page or emailing our fiction editor, Daniel Imhoff, at DEADLINE: JANUARY 15TH 

A squat stone cottage seemed out of place, isolated on the sheer, steep face of a wind-swept cliff-side, where a lighthouse might’ve been.
In truth, it was rather cozy. The thick, sturdy stones kept out the wind and retained the crackling warmth of the fire that flared cheerily in it’s place. Stout, hand-carved furniture was placed endearingly, like the owner was expecting company, though he seldom did. Nevertheless, there was always an empty chair by the fire and a place set at the little table, nearest the shuttered window.

The owner, a retired sea captain, needed little to remain happy; His cat Jenny and proximity to the ocean were enough. Years ago, he used to clamber down the weathered cliff-side to the little rocky bay below and fish, but of late, his joints had begun to fail and soon the hobby had died.

Sometimes he felt lonely, bored. The need to do or act consumed him at times, leading to pacing spells across the cottage floor that could last for hours. Jenny would grow restless, and move from her spot at the fire to nuzzle his weathered face when the pain forced him to sit again. His callused hands would stroke her black fur and he calmed, but the desire to do never left. Too feeble to drive to town, no phone to call. He was alone. So he always set the table and stoked the fire, with Jenny in his lap, to await a knock that might not come.

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