Small Thoughts: Short Story Review

Sparkle and Shine

By Tonia Laird
Speculative City, Volume Five: Occult

Speculative City is a small, but quality speculative fiction magazine, only published online. They run a Patreon here, but it’s mostly to supplement/offset the money the editors spend (out of pocket) in order to produce the mag.

Sparkle and Shine by Tonia Laird is a flash fiction piece that focuses on the occult dealings of humans with demons. Goes with the territory I suppose.

Flash fiction works in some pretty confined ways, and with this piece just under 700 words, you can see why. The premise is built quickly. A husband and wife have arrived home. Everything from the syntax to the word choice feels gloomy. Whatever the reason for their late arrival can’t be good.

Then the information of the plot, which is also backstory comes to life.

This is common in flash fic. The form often deals more with the consequences of what has already happened than the events themselves, simply because there aren’t enough words to go, step by step, through the whole plot. The plot is implied and the consequences of it are now becoming clear.

For me, Sparkle and Shine does this well. It establishes plot, mystery, setting, and then turns the circumstances back on those who created them.

A quick and satisfying read over a morning coffee.

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