Flash Fiction – Cripple Your Bait Fish

Hey book reading people,

I entered the NYC Midnight 500-word Flash Fiction contest, and though I didn’t win, I wanted to share my entries (Got through the first round and into the second round, at least!). Each one is 500 words or less, and I think they’re fairly good. Enjoy!


Why were there fishing lures coming out of the lake?  


Sadie paused, her fishing tackle in-hand, as she saw the beach littered with lures of all shapes, sizes, and colors. They lay just at the water’s edge. A deserted beach on a holiday weekend… Weird. Everyone must have left, leaving their mess of lures. 

Whatever. She climbed into her boat and motored out to the middle of the lake. She was enjoying the crisp morning air and the call of the loons. Everything would be perfect if she could only reel in some fish.

Packing it up to call the day early, she found that her motor’s battery had died. Dammit! That’s what she got for trying to save the environment by going electric. Frustrated, she looked up just as water rippled across the lake.  


Another single-occupant boat came into view and drifted out over the disturbance. Sadie watched frozen as the skiff began to dance in the boiling water. Abruptly, boat and passenger were drug under. There was no time to process what she’d seen when the ripple turned itself towards her. 


She felt ice down her back as she fumbled to locate the spare battery. Knocking the compartment off the engine, she yanked the old one out and tossed it. She looked up. The ripple was now only about fifty feet away and gaining fast. The water was churning hungrily, and she could see a dark form racing towards her. 


Sadie wanted to scream, but saw no point. With numb fingers, she jammed the battery into place. Without stopping to close the compartment, she pounded the starter button. The motor sparked to life and she spun the boat around. She held on as the boat jerked forward, the thing plowing into it. 


The shore drew closer; the boat listing wildly, splashing Sadie with lake water. She was almost there. 


Almost there. Almost there. 

 And then she was there, rocky shore grinding against the bow. She ran it aground, her body lurching forward as the boat came to a halt.  She vaulted over the side and stumbled on the rocks. Taking a few hesitant steps, she looked back. 

The rippling had stopped, and the lake was calm. She had escaped it, whatever it was. The stern of her boat rested in the lake, the front beached and scratched to hell. Sadie sighed, shaking, and turned. She took a relieved step towards her truck. 


Without warning, there was an intense stabbing in her foot. Sadie looked down. She’d stepped on a lure, its line reaching into the lake. It was a crude ancient-looking jumble of iron, striking orange algae, and a barb that resembled an angler’s fang. What- 

The realization hit Sadie as she felt the line yank her foot, slamming her to the ground. She was being pulled, reeled below the surface, scrabbling for purchase on the rocks. She found none, and cold water enveloped her as she sank deeper. 

Then the lake was still again. 


What do you think?