KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.


Tornado Relief Flash Fiction Challenge: IN HARM'S WAY

A week or so ago Dan O'Shea threw out a flash fiction challenge for a good cause. No doubt by now you've read about and seen the devastation in the heartland. Epic tornadoes...slashing rains...the floods. Real wrath of God stuff. Dan is a trooper. He said he'd donate five bucks to the Red Cross for every story submitted. I mean, how can you resist that? 1000 words or less is the order and the story has to involve rain. Here's mine.


-Look, you really should be going.

-I’ll go when I’m good and ready.

-You have everything, Beth. I don’t even know why you came back here.

-I came back here because these olive oils are mine. I own these olive oils. And these spices so I’m taking them too. You can keep the salt and the hot sauce.

-You’re being ridiculous.

-Am I, Jay? I bet you just want that. Me gone so you can call your little waitress, have her come over and have some kind of smoochy hurricane party to celebrate my leaving. Batten down the hatches and get off with your simpering, teenage whore.

-She's twenty-three.


-The radio said the National Guard and state police are going to close Highway 12 in two hours. I’m just thinking of your safety. A storm like this, we’re lucky we still have power. The wind is nuking out there. The rain is constant now and the barometer is dropping like a stone. Two point one millibars in just over an hour. I’m serious. Do you have you any idea what a drop like that even means? This is going to be bad. Probably the worst Hatteras has seen in years. Worse than Earl.

-Worse than Earl. Traffic is going to be a parking lot no matter when I leave. What, do you think they’re just going to make people walk off the island, pile us all into some truck and haul us off to a fire station with a bunch of Red Cross flunkies and play checkers?

-You're not listening to me. This storm is less than seven hours from landfall and it has turned. Yeah, this house has been here a long time and it’s protected by the groves and on slightly higher ground, but still. The sound is up the end of the street now and plywood and debris are like airborne missiles. They’ll start roadblocks and move up the island. I swear, if you don’t leave right now you might not even get past S-Turns. You might think you can push through the deep water with your truck and all, but your engine could stall just like that and then you’ll be screwed. You know the drill. You’ve seen it before.

-You’re goddamn right I’ve seen it before. All before and worse so why don’t you do me a favor and just layoff your fake concern for my personal safety. Like you even care if I live or die. Oh, great. Look at that. Guess you’re planning on getting drunk already. Figures.

-I’m not planning on getting drunk. It’s just a drink. Given how you’re busting my balls right now I think I deserve a medicinal belt.

-Medicinal belt my ass. You know what I hope, Jay? I hope you do get good and drunk. I hope you get so bombed out of your mind you pass out and some big, sluicing wave cuts the dunes out there and blasts you and your waitress and this crummy shack to hell.

-And here all this time I thought you were a Christian.

-I'm more than a Christian than you'll ever be, asshole.


-Oh, sure. There’s the typical response. Mister Whatever. Mister Riding Out the Hurricane. Mister Born and Raised Here So-Called Carolina Waterman. This contraption is mine too.

-Hey. Put that back.


-That was a gift.

-A gift from me, you jerk. I’m taking it.

-Terrific, so how am I supposed to make waffles now?

-I don’t care. Go to Wal-Mart. Ask your waitress whore to buy you one though I doubt she can boil water.

-Man, you're making me tired. Just up and go already, will you?

-Trying to. I'm just taking what’s rightfully--






-Wow. Guess your cheese is going to spoil now, surfer boy. Boo-hoo. Wait. Don't you dare walk away from me. Jay? Where are you going?

-I think I heard something.


-I said I think I heard something. I heard something out back. Give me a second.

-Wait, what's going on?






-Come back here.

-Shh. Be quite.

-What’re you doing back there?


-Jay, come back here and help me with these boxes.




-Jesus Christ, what’re you doing?

-I’m loading my shotgun.

-You're loading your what?

-My shotgun. There's someone out back. A van. Two guys. They just broke into Mike and Susie's place across the road. It looked like they pried off the plywood and smashed the front window. I saw them taking their TV. Looters.

-Oh my God.

-Call the cops.

-I left my cell in my car.

-Shit. Here. Try mine.





-It's ringing.

-Too late. They're coming.