Find Yourself by Kelly Kiehl
Associate fiction editor Ethan Brightbill on today's bonus story: Flash fiction frequently leaves plot by the wayside to focus on other aspects of storytelling, but “Find Yourself” miniaturizes it to great effect. This dark and destructive journey may be specific to female gamers, but the pain and betrayal in the story can be felt by any reader. It will force you to see through the eyes of someone usually unseen; it will break your heart.
Girl, find some other way to be reborn. Find yourself in the midst of a good-versus-evil battle and find yourself with something to bargain with, doesn't matter which side you're on. Christen yourself something androgynous, like ImmediateWaffle, so they'll never know, never guess. Coat yourself in a suit of armor with a codpiece bigger than anyone else's because of all the trolls you've beheaded. See how everyone is jealous of the size of your codpiece. Open up your FarFarAway messages to a personal invitation from ElfKing6969, WomanSlayer42, and pussycatmeow, and join their trio, but agree to kick pussycatmeow out of the group once WomanSlayer42 has finished with her in the Castle of the Round Tables.
Girl, choose long-lasting firebreath over the invisibility shield every single time, just because you can. Find yourself in a place where you are no longer afraid to walk alone at night, where you're an arrogant son of a bitch, where you can settle any disagreement with a good punch. Win the kingdom of FarFarAway, ride any dragon you want, move your things into the palace, take all that is yours. Watch the screen dissolve in front of you in congratulatory pixelated confetti, and find yourself wishing for a joystick in its darkness.
Kelly Kiehl is currently pursuing her MFA at Bowling Green State University. Her fiction has recently been in TINGE Magazine, The Butter, and decomP magazinE, among others.