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QR Cards at AWP

Stop by The Conium Review‘s AWP table (#2025) tomorrow for freebies like John Englehardt’s micro-chapbook, or flash fiction postcards of “The Pale Investigator” and “Marty of Karbala.” We’re excited for these physical objects (naturally, you can also buy our latest print edition at AWP), but we wanted to represent authors published on our website too. So how d0 we bring these virtual pieces to our booth? QR codes! You know, those things you can scan with your smartphone.

We have a bunch of cards at our booth with different codes on the back. Every single flash fiction from our website is represented by one of these QR codes! Pick up a card, scan the back, read a story. Or take it with you and scan it later. Pick one from blindly the pile, and it’s like story roulette.

QR Pics

“Appendix U,” by Sarah Ann Winn

Moth Sketch

Fig. 1780: Moth pinned to cork board, wings pattern of dictionary’s page, some words bolded. They say her finely inked wings are composed of scales. They say she will not fly again once you touch her, that the words are permanently changed.

Fig. 1811: A marred fallen leaf, the spectrum of apple colors. The page where small jaws gnawed a name.

About the Author:

Sarah Ann Winn’s poems have appeared or will appear in Bayou Magazine, [d]ecember, RHINO, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and many others. Her chapbook, Portage, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications this winter. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

Special Note:

This story was a semifinalist in The Conium Review‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Ashley Farmer.

Image Credit: © macrovector / Dollar Photo Club

“The Petrified Forest,” by Melody Sage

Petrified Leaf Sketch

Upon entering, you are greeted by stone trees bent over sideways, their leaves paralyzed mid-wave despite the absence of a breeze. You pass a deer frozen leaping up with an arrow lodged in its veined granite neck. Drops of its dull blood are scattered on the ground like marbles. Solidified lichen particulates crunch under your boots. Locked in the pose of lowering his bow, the hunter looks mildly dismayed, even without pupils. You run your finger across the wrinkles incised in his cheeks, his stubble gritty to the touch like fine grade sandpaper, and tap your fingernail against his hard eyeball, making a satisfying series of clicks. Everything is colored in shades of white, black, and gray, variations on shadow casting shadows, flecked with subtle flakes of mica. The scent of dust makes the inside of your nostrils feel dry. You continue walking across a stream that has turned to glass, the trout trapped inside like chunks of suspended lead. Anything you accidentally run into will cut or bruise you, so you take your time, enjoying the unusual scenery.

You are here because you have heard stories about the forest, and you had to see it for yourself, the same way you had to touch the hot stove when you were a child, even though you knew it would burn. Occasionally you hear a crow, but otherwise nothing except your own footsteps, which resonate loudly, as if you were striding across a deserted bank lobby.

You finally find her in a cave, sitting with her arthritic hands folded in her lap, as if she were waiting for a bus and forgot to bring something to read. There are no albino pythons writhing around her face like you had expected, and for a moment you are disappointed. Her face is not ugly either. Her face is not a face at all. Her face is a mirror, polished and convex, barely reflective, as muted as pewter, crackled and rubbed bare in patches with the passage of centuries. She beckons to you. You have to come close to look inside, so close your moist breath fogs her skull. And you do.

About the Author:

Melody Sage is a professional artist. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2013, Quaint Magazine, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere. She is the 2014 recipient of the Scott Imes Award and currently resides in Duluth, MN.

Special Note:

This story was a finalist in The Conium Review‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Ashley Farmer.

This story was one of The Conium Review‘s nominations for the 2016 Pushcart Prize.

Image Credit: © incomible / Dollar Photo Club