Paper Crane Books wants to put together a charity anthology. 100% of the profits will go to the Red Cross in case of any sort of disaster or tragedy that occurs. After seeing the devastation of what’s happening in Nepal, we decided we should do something about it and that’s where Stories of Hope: An Anthology comes in.

With so much tragedy and devastation on the news, we want to create a feel-good anthology. That doesn’t mean you have to write a romantic comedy. It just means that despite any darkness or bleakness you write about, there needs to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. If you want to use a natural disaster as a setting/basis for your story, don’t feel like you can’t. Just remember: the end should be uplifting. The following is an example of a flash fiction I sent in for a charity anthology put together for the survivors of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

by: Sheenah Freitas
Copyright 2013

Where is he? This place doesn’t look like home. His bed is nowhere to be found. Toby gets up slowly. Broken wood slides beneath his feet and for the first time in his life he feels his old age creeping into his body.

He looks around, trying to find something that looks even a little familiar, but there’s nothing but splinters and rubble all around him.

Home. The word springs into his head. He needs to find home to get to his boy! The thought of the child alone without him forces his body into action.

He winces only once as he gets up, but there’s no time to check if he’s injured. He must find his boy!

Toby moves as swiftly as he can, sifting through the debris. He tries to stay focused on the task at hand, fearful that he’ll never see his boy again. But his mind keeps leaking images of the very last moments in his mind: the family rushing to the cellar, his boy keeping a tight grip around him . . . and the most devastating swirling wind he had ever seen above them, ripping away their house. His boy screamed. Toby felt the child’s small hand losing their hold on him . . . and then nothing. The only memory after that was of him waking up here. Wherever here was.

Anguish erupts through him. It was his duty to protect his boy, to be there when he needed him! Anguish turns to fear. What if his boy was lost forever? Left to fend for himself in this strange landscape? Toby shakes his head. No. He has to hope that he’ll find home.

What seems like hours pass by. Toby continues to wander, searching desperately for his boy. But the rubble doesn’t hide any people. Dolls, books, blankets, a jewelry box — these are the memories of the countless lives that the swirling wind has ruined.

Toby halts in his search. He had thought he just heard voices. Toby listens harder, straining his aging ears to pick up as much sound as possible. It’s faint, but . . . dare he hope? It sounded like the voice of his boy!

His heart races and he runs, staggering over the debris and shouting back.

In the far distance he can see his boy perfectly fine (with the exception of a scratch on his leg). They race towards each other, sometimes falling over a piece of wood, sometimes staggering. They meet in the middle. His boy kneels down to embrace him as Toby wags his tail, licking his master’s face of dirt and grime.

“I thought I’d never seen you again,” his boy whispers, burying his head into the ruff of Toby’s neck.

Toby whimpers his reply, resting his head on the boy’s shoulder.

He is home.

Story Requirements

All short stories must be between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Because this is a charity anthology, please ensure all stories are rated G. Not sure what that means? Watch an animated Disney movie to see how much you can get away with.

The anthology is open to any genres except erotica.

Due date for story submissions is June 30, 2015.

Please attach your story in an email as a .doc(x) file and email your story to papercranebooks [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject “Charity Submission.”

Include the following information:

Author Name
Title of Story
Word Count
Author Bio
Social Links

Please note: All stories will be read carefully for content and quality. Stories might not be accepted. If your story is accepted, it will be edited and sent back with Track Changes enabled. Because this is a charity anthology, there will be no royalties or payments given for any stories submitted. You, the author, retain all rights to the stories to do with them as you please. You are merely giving Paper Crane Books permission to publish your work in our charity anthology.

Have a question? Email me at papercranebooks [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject “Anthology Question” and I’ll do my best to answer it.