Here are the winning stories from F-BOM’s Spring 2018 flash fiction contest, Someone Is Watching, judged by C.A. Hartman.

Did you miss the contest this quarter? Our next topic will be revealed in August, during our interview with Fiona J.R. TitchenellFollow us on Facebook for updates. Click here for submission guidelines.

First place:

Societal Ants by Agajem Jemima Japhet

Something is always crawling on my back. In the part of Africa where I come from, that means someone is watching you. But, I know it is not just someone watching me; the things on my back feel too many.

Eyes follow me everywhere, monitoring how I sweep, cook, talk, sit, dress…To know if I am acting how beings like me with two soft things on the chest and flat hairy something below the navel, are “supposed” to act.

The eyes want to control my being with rules, but they don’t know I let my mind roam free.

For more information, find Agajem Jemima Japhet at her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Second place:

Stony Eyes by Kate Bitters

Rain. Bloating the fibers of her patched sweater, leaking into her skin. Just a few more strides and she’ll make it to the abandoned castle.

Lightning flashes, illuminating a heavy wooden door. Twin gargoyles leer down at her, hunched and dripping. A shiver jerks through her shoulders.

The door resists, but gives way to her shove with an irritated creak. She exhales relief and stumbles forward.

Another lightning flash. Another set of gargoyles. They grin from above a fireplace mantel.

She tiptoes, soggy-footed, through the entryway, feeling stony eyes slide across her. From the darkness, a set of wings flap.

Kate Bitters is a Minneapolis-based author and freelance writer. She is the author of Elmer Left, Ten Thousand Lines, and He Found Me. One of her proudest/nerdiest moments was when Neil Gaiman read one of her short stories on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater.

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