Flash Fiction: for writers, readers, editors, publishers, & fans


Flash Reprint: Bryce Emley’s TRANSFORMED


by Bryce Emley

It was a haze of smoke when he tried to pic­ture her, so one morn­ing he started mix­ing her into his day, watch­ing the gray fade slowly as he stirred and remem­ber­ing how she would mix hot cocoa for him like this when it was cold out­side. He had never drank cof­fee before this.


The poten­tial jokes didn’t escape him: I’ll take mine with cream and ashes, or You want some cof­fee with those remains? He didn’t laugh when he thought about this.


The brew stayed black and he sipped it slowly, let­ting every mouth­ful fill him with her warmth. He tried to imag­ine her swim­ming through his veins, cours­ing through his blood like the platelets form the videos he saw in sci­ence class once, clot­ting his wounds. Heal­ing.


He remem­bered learn­ing about a tribe some­where in Africa or South Amer­ica in which the mem­bers ate their dead. He thought about this after­ward.


He watched as the level low­ered week by week, the urn fill­ing slowly with its empti­ness, his body fill­ing slowly with her. He remem­bered learn­ing some­where that mat­ter can­not be cre­ated or destroyed, only trans­formed, and if the urn con­tained every bit of her in a con­cen­trated dosage, then by his con­tain­ing her she could never truly leave the world, just trans­form.


No one seemed to notice the urn grow lighter. No one seemed to notice him grow­ing larger, fill­ing to the brim with her, becom­ing some­one new.


When she was gone he would think about her some­times, her face grad­u­ally ris­ing through the sta­tic.




Note: First pub­lished by NANO Fic­tion (Issue 6.1, 2013).


Author’s Note

Maybe what’s inter­est­ing about how I wrote this is that it wasn’t very inter­est­ing. I read an issue of NANO Fic­tion and thought, I want to write sto­ries like that. So I tried. I’m more of a poetry guy, so this style is just more in my wheel­house.


bryce_emley.jpgBryce is a free­lance writer and MFA stu­dent at NC State. His work can be found in Best Amer­i­can Exper­i­men­tal Writ­ing 2015, The Nor­mal School, Mid-Amer­i­can Review, Prairie Schooner, Your Impos­si­ble Voice, etc., and he serves on staff for Raleigh Review and BULL: Men’s Fic­tion.


FF.Net Edi­tor Com­men­tary (Ran­dall Brown) 

This flash revolves around a sin­gle action: the narrator’s mix­ing of his dead lover’s ashes into his cof­fee. I love that about flash, its abil­ity to revolve around sin­gu­lar­i­ties, rather than action after failed action all lead­ing to the inevitable trans­for­ma­tion. I love the bounds of this action, how the ashes can­not last forever. That’s some­thing for me to learn from this amaz­ing flash–how dead­li­nes or fin­ish lines or inevitable end­ings add to the urgency and won­der of the action. 

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