• Micro Fiction Challenge: Horsehead

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 13 comments

    Horsehead NebulaLast time around G.W. Schulz won books 1-4 of the Harry Potter series by amusing us with his sorcery-based micro fiction. This week, we’re giving away another book prize to the winner–Texas favorite Rick Bass’ new novel All the Land to Hold Us, which begins:

    For months after Richard first visited Horsehead Crossing–he had been sent by his employer in Houston to explore the largely worked-over oil and gas deposits in the Permian Basin near Odessa–he would dream nightly of what he had seen: the salt-preserved skulls of thousands of horses and cows tipped up in the saline banks of the Pecos, and in the surrounding, shifting sand dunes–horse and cattle skulls trapped in the sand and silt like the pale fossils of the limestone cliffs above.

    How’s that for a grabber?

    This week’s word is “horsehead,” and you’re free to use it in a variety of ways. The dictionary tells us that a horsehead is “any of several silvery marine fishes with very flat bodies.” There’s also the Horsehead Nebula, as well as Horseheads, New York (pop. ~20,000). You can also use “horse head,” two words, in reference to, well, a horse’s head.

    Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a piece of flash fiction using the word horsehead in any of the ways mentioned above. As always, keep your story to 25 words or less, write it out in the comments section below, click “Notify” to keep abreast of your competition, and feel free to use a pseudonym if you’re shy. Your story doesn’t have to make us laugh, but as some cutesy fool once said, “Funny is money.” We’ll announce the winner in this space soon, and we’ll give a shout-out to our favorites on Facebook and Twitter.

    (And even if you don’t win, check out Rick Bass’ new book.)


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    Hendrix hated Eliot; that poet-prig could be seated in the Horsehead Nebula, adjacent to the throne of God, and he’d be fine going to hell.

    J Stevenson

    He knew that a rescue was hopeless, seeing the recently unsaddled horse head toward the cliff, disappear, falling over the abrupt edge into the felsenmeer.

    Maddie O.

    “Track’s a bit muddy,” the DJ apologized from behind his horse head mask. “Just play Misty for me,” she replied. “You know, of Chincoteague.”

    Kerri C.

    She knew it wasn’t gonna work out after he paid tribute to her love of gangster movies by leaving a horse’s head under her pillow.

    T.J. Jansen

    “The ambassador says it’s a delicacy”, Asha insisted as she took the first bite.
    “Thanks, but no horse head for me, ” I gagged.

    Maureen Gibson

    He was mezmerized by the silver horsehead that hung from a chain between her breasts. It moved with each breath.

    G.W. Schulz

    During their first meeting, she observed a taxidermied horsehead set upon an oak crest over his fireplace. “Who hunts horses?” she thought to herself.

    G.W. Schulz

    I urged my Facebook friends to “pony” up a micro-fiction submission. They came through. See below. Austin Kalman: There was a sadness, but also a sort of manic euphoria in her eyes as the horsehead plunged into the blank dark mirror of the canal. Cheryl Eddy: “I’m aliiiive!” neighed the decapitated stallion as he stitched his severed horsehead back onto his zombified body. “And I’m comin’ for YOU, Coppola! Tracey Larson: The headless horsemen removed the horsehead and placed it where his head should have been. Then he galloped to town to displayed his new crown. Frances Reade: 63 steps,… Read more »


    Frankie crumpled then dropped the betting ticket, a loser by a horse head. Ashes from his lit cigar flittered away, gone like his last paycheck.

    Jake Gordon

    At the family reunion, we tossed a game of horseheads.
    “You mean horseshoes?”
    “Is that why everyone was looking at us funny?”
    “Maybe that’s why the game didn’t go so well”

    […] in fourteen new stories, some of them creative and funny as all hell. You can read ‘em all here, but the one we like the most is from J Stevenson, who writes, “He knew that a rescue was […]

    David Duhr

    The horsehead results are in, gang: https://www.writebynight.net/micro-fiction-club/horsehead/

    Thanks for playing and stay tuned for next week’s contest.

    David Duhr

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