“Flight of the Fading Sorrow” by Zachary Holbrook (999 words)
Veyja is a Dizadian, one of a Medusa-like people who are persecuted. As rioters pursue a fleeing Dizadian family, Veyja has to decide whether she will escape now on the boat with her lover Caleb and leave them behind. But she chooses to reveal her identity, uncovering her hair and petrifying pursuers so the last family can board and they can all escape together. Veyja is unsure how Caleb will respond, but he reaffirms his love for her as they depart from the city. Nicely set up story arc and atmosphere in the span of a flash piece. The ending isn’t surprising, but the emotions still feel genuine.