Dale E. Lehman Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Dale E. Lehman is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.)

Without further ado, here’s the winning story:


sonoran desert museum snake copyright KS Brooks
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

by Dale E. Lehman

Clipboard and sales brochures in hand, Mark scowled at the desert landscape. This town was nowhere near a desert, but the homeowner had transformed his front yard into a wasteland of sand, rock, and cactus, and right there near the end of the driveway a diamondback reposed, curled on top of a flat rock, ready to strike any and all unwary pedestrians.

“You’re not real, of course,” Mark told the rattler.

The rattler didn’t reply.

“It’s all fake. Cactus can’t grow here. Rattlesnakes don’t live here.”

The rattler stared at nothing, neither moving nor breathing nor flicking its tongue.

“I’m a door to door salesman, and you’re not real, and I’m walking right past you up to that door.”

Mark eyed the creature as he took one wary step, then another, then another. “There, see? You’re a fake.”

A forked tongue flickered as the snake’s eyes rolled upward.

Inside the house, hidden behind the sunlight glare on the picture window, an elderly man smiled at Mark’s sprinting prowess. Then he set down his remote control, picked up his newspaper, and settled in for a quiet afternoon.

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2 thoughts on “Dale E. Lehman Wins Flash Fiction Challenge”

    1. Thank you! I used this week’s photo as a prompt for a creative writing workshop I run. The participants all wrote stories and then shared them, except one person who said she couldn’t because she hates snakes. Any number of people have suggested she should have written about hating snakes! I “rattled” off this story in about ten minutes, after struggling for ten minutes to find an idea. It’s the shortest flash fiction story I’ve written so far.

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