Stranger Things Have Happened (Flash Fiction)

"Stranger Things Have Happened" (Flash Fiction by Brenna Pierson) |

Will’s dad never allowed him at the bar, never brought him there—after all, he was only 6 years old. This, however, was New Year’s Eve. And this year was different. Will did not understand why, but his dad decided to not open the bar that night—though New Year’s Eve, he remembered from his past few young years, was one of the busiest nights of the year.

This time, Will sat at one of the old-looking wooden tables on a chair made for adults—much too big for him. He watched his dad pour some kind of drink bottles (the kind he wasn’t allowed to drink from at home) behind a big bar counter. The bar was full of empty tables, empty tall seats at the counter. The entire place was quiet—except for the t.v. images projected on the wall. Will looked back at the digital projector, sending its beam to the only bare spot on the wall with no crazy pictures of dogs playing poker, and felt more at home. The projector reminded him of the same model they had in their living room.

Will’s dad brought over two glass cups, one with his drink and one with Will’s, and set them both down on the table as he sat himself down with Will. “Here’s your soda, kid,” he said.

The t.v. projections showed flashes of images that Will remembered to be called “important,” though half of them were unfamiliar to him. His dad glanced at the huge touch screen clock hanging front and center behind the counter: 11:45 p.m.

“Yep,” he said, “glad I didn’t open tonight—this New Year’s Eve’s gonna be a wild one.”

Then he turned back to the t.v. show again, showing “2016.” It started saying something about, “Retrospect countdown to 2020 continues….2016 was one of the weirdest….Some later called it ‘The Year of Death.'”

Then it showed a bunch of t.v. and music people—some he had heard of, some he hadn’t—who seemed to have passed away the year they were talking about. There seemed to be a lot of people from what they called “the ’70s” and “the ’80s.'” Will didn’t know those numbers.

His dad, however, chimed in, “Yeah, you were only 2 at the time.” Will kind of felt better hearing his age. He was younger then, so that’s why he didn’t know what was going on.

Then they started talking about “surprise election results” and “stunned the country,” ending with “stranger things have happened.”

He then turned to Will. “You know,” he said with a sigh, “you’ll be happier if you stay 6 years old all your life…or wait.” He swished his drink around while he thought. “Maybe 10 or 11. Just stay 11 forever, and you’ll be the happiest guy on earth—especially in the ’80s, like they were talkin’ about. Take it from an old bartender.”

At that, Will smiled.

Stay 11 forever, and you’ll be the happiest guy on earth—especially in the ’80s.


Gingerbread Wisdom (Flash Fiction)

"Gingerbread Wisdom" (flash fiction by Brenna Pierson) |

Lilly had never seen a gingerbread house with Christmas lights on it before. That did seem strange—that and the fact that it was the size of a real house. Otherwise, the candied, iced exterior, with its adobe-colored walls made of gingerbread cookies, were completely what she would have expected.

She could only see the very front of it; the sides and yard area were a haze. Getting closer to the porch, she saw the door, made completely of icing, was open just a tiny bit…just a few inches. It had no knob, so she pushed it open gently, though she had never been there before.

The smell of pastries and cookies and frosting and chocolate and candy swirled around her, it seemed—but the smells simply came from the home itself. A strangely decadent interior for a candied house, the inside boasted crown molding made of frosting, tables built from sugar cookies, a couch made of chocolate cake. Gumdrops hung suspended from the ceiling by candy that looked like licorice, and the gumdrops dazzled with their sugar coating, which lit the entire room.

Then she spotted what looked like a mirror in a candy cane frame. The “glass” seemed to be a spun sugar so shiny that it reflected her image gazing within it—and she realized she was out of place in the festive home. Her hair was barely brushed, and bags pulled at the skin beneath her eyes. As soon as she glanced at herself, she felt instantly tired—even within the wake of all the holiday beauty.

To the side, she saw a doorway carved into the gingerbread wall and walked right on through. She had reached the kitchen, which oddly appeared to be a regular kitchen—except that a gingerbread woman stood at it, stirring a pot. Two gingerbread children stood by her, looking up at her eagerly.

“Then you can read us a Christmas story?” came the words from one of the children’s “o”-shaped mouths—though the mouth itself didn’t move.

“Of course,” said the gingerbread mother. She then turned to Lilly, who did not even flinch at being found intruding into the gingerbread house.

The gingerbread mother went right up to her, and with her icing “o” mouth stuck in the same position, communicated, “You have forgotten what to do during the holidays.”

A scene seemed superimposed onto the gingerbread kitchen scene—this time, one of Lilly running around the mall in a frenzy, frustrated that she couldn’t find this or that; then one of her rushing around her own home, trying to finish seemingly 20 things in one day.

The gingerbread mother continued. “Just slow down, and you’ll actually enjoy Christmas again.”

Then the sound of candies or peanuts or something similar falling into a bowl made a deafening sound in Lilly’s head—and so did Lilly’s alarm clock.


Just slow down, and you’ll actually enjoy Christmas again.



In response to “Relax.”




The Missing Servant (flash fiction)

"The Missing Servant" (flash fiction by Brenna Pierson)
“I know one of you knows where he is!” he raged. His face started to turn red. The familiar gritting and shaking teeth stared to show themselves. He raised his whip and snapped it onto the stone floor.

The group of servants trembled and huddle together in their stone shack, gazing at each other in fear—though it was hard to tell if they trembled and huddled in fear or from the piercing cold. And it was colder yet with “The Master” in their midst.

“We swear we don’t know,” said one brave servant. His thinning gray hair and toothless mouth reflected years of enslavement, of being treated like a rotting piece of flesh from the time he was born. Yet he was the bravest, perhaps because he has such little life left at that point.

“You’ll never pull one over on me!” yelled The Master. He stopped and took one look around at the group of servants, some of whom started backing away. Meanwhile, The Master started grumbling, “My dogs are smarter than you. Dogs know how to obey.”

The Master kept roving his gaze through the small crowd, probably eyeing each servant three times over. “You!” he suddenly said, thrusting an evil finger at a young female servant. “On the floor!” she could not have been older than a teenager.

“No!” she an older woman standing nearby, who looked a reflection of the teen dressed in rags.

The Master was unrelenting. “On the floor! Now!”

Hunching over, then painstakingly crouching onto the ground, the girl stooped onto all fours. The other servants backed away against the stone wall, some closing their eyes and hiding their faces, others looking on stoically, for even the youngest ones had witnessed these scenes too many times to count.

Still, The Master raised his whip and started his flogging. The whip ripped through the girl’s dress the instant it hit her. It tore through her flesh time and time again after that. He raised the whip and cracked it on her flesh. He raised the whip and cracked it on her flesh and tissue. He raised the whip and split the tissue apart.

The mother ran forward, and The Master cracked the whip against her face. She had a face no more.


The next evening, The Master, dressed in the grandest of his furred robes, strode atop his horse in the bitter cold. He sat straight, peering around at the forest. A thick snow piled up on the trees, and he looked round at the snowy landscape. Not a single snow creature stirred; the only company he kept was that of his dogs, a fine pack of three hounds poised for their upcoming hunt.

“We shall find him,” The Master said, lowly, to the dogs. “We shall find he who dares disobey his master, and you shall tear him limb from limb. He shall be an example…this missing servant.”

Suddenly, the sound steps on snow brushed lightly into his ear. He looked around the trees and the snow, the trees and more snow, and yet saw nothing.

The dogs began to move around. The Master put his hand in the “halt” signal. The dogs immediately obeyed and sat.

“Is that you, wretched servant?” The Master yelled. “Show yourself now, and perhaps your master will show some mercy!”

In a second, snarls filled the air. A blur of tan fur and teeth mixed with dog-like snouts was all The Master could see. He screamed and yelled in agony. His robed body fell and teeth ripped his robes off. They ripped his skin off. They ripped his flesh off. They split the flesh from the bone and devoured it.

The Master’s blood soaked all over the white ground as the pack of wolves enjoyed their warm meal in the snow. Meanwhile, The Master’s dogs remained motionless, only their eyes moving as the scene unfolded. The Master was being devoured, but they had been taught to obey the command of “halt.” It was a command they were to never break.

They knew how to obey.

A casual onlooker might also believe that they knew how to smile, as well.