Flash fiction is a very short story. Unlike a novel, where the reader may tolerate a few slow-paced chapters as the novel’s foundation is set, readers expect short stories to be quickly engaging. Flash fiction is even more demanding: grab the reader’s attention, hold it for a few paragraphs, and provide a payoff at the end. Does “Postmortem” below do all that? You can decide.

For an example of one of the shortest stories you will ever read, Fredric Brown’s “Knock” is hard to beat (see “Fredric Brown Quotes“). 



(c) 2011 N. E. Walker

“Where am I?”
“Ah, you’re finally awake.”
“Who are you? You have an odd accent.”
“I’m your interpreter, and also the manager for your project.”
“Yes. You are being revived, so we can study you. Like the others.”
“I don’t understand. But no matter. Let me up, now. I demand it!”
“You’re no longer in a position to give commands, and even if I wished to obey, it isn’t physically possible for you to sit up.”
“What? Why is that? What happened?”
“You will know soon; eventually your memories will fully return. When they do, we’ll be having many conversations.”
“Then I will be able to move about, be given my freedom?”
“No. Let me give you a quick summary of your situation: You died approximately one hundred years ago. Since that time, technology has increased where — using genetic samples that have been painstakingly gathered over the years — we have been able to construct a mental equivalent to what you were before you died.”
“A mental equivalent?”
“Yes, a type of, um, clone, with limited physical functionality, but full mental capacity.”
“Clone. Genetics.”
“Yes. Ironic, I think, considering that you were so obsessed with genetics.”
“Was I? I will remember all this, eventually?”
“Yes, and then we will question you, at length. We hope to obtain a better understanding of why you behaved the way you did.”
“And I will never be able to move from here?”
“That is not acceptable! It will be no better than being in hell!”
“How true, Herr Hitler. How very true.”


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