Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt acorn.
Akker and René
The boys crouched above the rasping, infant squirrel lying beneath the solemn oak. They blew at flies buzzing about the tiny animal. It twisted itself from the flies and the foreign-smelling breath.
“No, not like that!” instructed Akker. “Blow soft. Like when Dad starts a fire. Like this.” He exhaled against his brother’s palm.
René nodded but pretended to blow—pursed his lips, collapsed his chest—and exhaled through his nose. The squirrel twitched against Akker’s breath.
“Maybe it’s hungry. Do they eat grass? Birds eat worms and grass,” said René.
“It’s not a bird. Squirrels eat nuts ‘cause they put them in their cheek and then hide ‘em in the ground for winter.”
René nodded at his older brother’s wisdom. “I’ll get food for it to eat.” He ran back to the picnic blanket and grabbed shelled peanuts and a small carton of chocolate milk.
“Share with your brother,” his parents called out from their spot in the grass.
The squirrel was breathing rapidly when René returned. Akker had piled acorns beside its head. “Hurry. It didn’t like those.”
“I got milk, too. Babies drink milk.” René replaced the acorns with peanuts, then poured chocolate milk in front of the squirrel’s nose, spilling it across the squirrel’s head. It thrashed its inexperienced limbs.
“Stop, that’s enough!” cried Akker. The squirrel shuddered and stopped breathing, a black iris fixed on the boys.
Stunned silence overtook them. The flies danced across the small body and a cool breeze blew through the muggy air.
“I didn’t mean to,” whispered René.
Akker looked away. He chucked one of the acorns at a nearby tree. René sniffled.
“It’s ok,” whispered Akker.
Their parents called to them through the chatter of the park. The boys brushed flies away from their faces and headed home.
Johnathan F Clark, an English and Creative Writing undergraduate at Concordia University, considered writing his bio in second person because you look nice today. Who is he, really? He is an enigma, wrapped in a carpet, left in an alleyway, then upcycled as retro-enigma. He’s a ghost in meat form.
He likes you. Do you like him?
ם Yes. ם No. ם Maybe, if there was pizza involved.
For more Flash Fiction prompts and winners, visit soliloquies.ca/flash-fiction.