“On his way to Russia, Ben fell out of the airplane directly on top of Nikita.” So begins the About page at Flash 365, a flash fiction collaboration based out of St. Petersburg, Russia. “Ben used to be a writer and Nikita used to be an artist,” the tale continues, “but the remaining number of barely workable limbs were only enough to make one body. So, Ben and Nikita sit, stitched together, paralyzed, and in agony.”
At Flash 365, the pair combines their writing, art, and imaginations, posting one story and image a day. Sample Ben and Nikita’s project with these five stories.
“This is the story that started this whole thing,” says Ben. “It is a story about when Nikita and I first met. It also shows how our work has progressed since then.”
“You know love is not always roses and poems.” He says.
“No.” he says. “Sometimes love is cheese and handcuffs.” He smirks. “That is the love you need to find.”
An American in Russia encounters a time-traveling mission gone wrong:
“Are you going to kill me?”
The man turns and gives me a frustrated look.
“Why is that always the question people always ask? What about time traveling makes people think we are all a bunch of psychopaths?”
I think about it. I shrug.
“What Happened When Frank Died” is a weekly series, and you can read the stories in any order. “Each examines a different possible afterlife by placing Frank in each one as though he only just died,” says Ben, “some based on actual religions, some just part of my imagination.”
Frank looked down at his own wrists. He noticed a few leaves growing from the wounds. He ripped them off.
“So, all of these trees are people?”
The Tree was silent. Frank reached out to break off another branch. He stopped. He walked to the tree beside it and snapped a branch. This one yelled. A deep voice emerged.
“Please stop!” it cried. “Just let me rest!”
A walk with Death in a graveyard:
I look to my left. DEATH looks up at me. Her feet dangle over the end of the bench, inches from the soft earth. I frown at her.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
She shrugs. “I like to watch people jog.”
She holds out her hand. I pass her the cigarette. She takes a drag and swings her feet back and forth.
A tale set in a bar:
I turn and try to smile, awkwardly. I hit her eyes, they are silver and full of everything I’ve ever wanted to know about poetry.
“I want to run away now and think about past girlfriends to reassure myself that women do in fact like me sometimes, Ah! Ah!”
I shut my mouth. I stare wide eyed straight ahead. I take a drink. The woman puts her hand on my shoulder. I can feel her smile in her hand, though dare not look at her face.
Explore more of Ben’s writing and Nikita’s art at Flash 365.