Kathryn El-Assal Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Kathryn El-Assal is the readers’ choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.

The winning entry is rewarded with a special feature here today and a place in our collection of winners which will be published as an e-book at year end.

Without further ado, here’s the winning entry:

safflower field 081013
Safflower Field copyright K. S. Brooks

Flowers for Her
by Kathryn El-Assal

A car pulled up onto the shoulder of the road and a woman emerged wearing a flak jacket and carrying a camera. Noor watched as she adjusted the lens and took some close-up shots of the sunflowers. Then she got back in the car as Noor continued through the field.

Noor loved how the flowers followed the sun from east to west and she was fascinated by the swirling pattern of the seeds. Her teacher said it was a design favored by nature, a pattern mathematically formulated by Fibonacci. After the harvest, her mother would soak the sunflower seeds in salt water and roast them. With bird-like efficiency, Noor and her brothers would crack them open and savor their salty goodness.

Today there were clouds over the land…and not just the cottony ones in the sky.

As she hurried forward, Noor heard the sound of vehicles on the road. She was used to seeing soldiers and tanks, aid workers and ambulances. Memento mori was a concept she lived with every day.

She arrived home with her market purchases and began helping her mother with the mid-day meal. With the electricity cut off, they’d prepare the kebabs over charcoal.


The next day, she ran her errands as usual. She saw butterflies landing on the Helianthus petals and overhead she heard the buzzing of bees. Amidst the cement rubble and the stress of ongoing attacks, it seemed strange to find this oasis of peace and natural beauty.

Until the drone hit.

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13 thoughts on “Kathryn El-Assal Wins Flash Fiction Challenge”

    1. Thanks, Victoria. I clicked on your profile after seeing your photo on horseback. My friend Joan (in the post above yours) also lives on a horse farm…in nearby Tennessee. I haven’t ridden a horse lately, but I do enjoy participating in the Washington Post’s wordplay contest each spring pretending to breed Kentucky Derby contenders to come up with a name that’s basically a pun. 🙂

  1. Congratulations, Kathy! Well deserved win. Congrats to all those who submitted. I thought everyone did a great job.

    1. Thank you! It was thanks to my friend Leland that I discovered this wonderful website and group of authors!

    1. I appreciate the compliment. I must admit to writing under pressure at the last minute and running out of words if I didn’t want to go over the limit. I think constraints like that actually help my writing 😉

    1. Thank you, Christian. The kind remarks I get online make me think I might try something longer…like you have.

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