Just over 350 stories were submitted to the 2019 Hint Fiction Contest. From those 350-some stories, Robert set 95 aside to review again, and from that 95 Robert eventually came up with a top 15 which was sent to Roxane Gay. Here are the winners, plus two runners-up.

First Place:


The girls found her the next morning, lying on her front porch, frozen like a codfish. They found her keys after the spring melt.

Second Place:

GONE by Sahand Keshavarz Rahbar

Your body left an imprint—a question mark—on the sheets after you left my bed. My parched fingers still trace its contours for answers.

Third Place:

AFTER THE COLD SNAP by Elizabeth Beal

I took the canoe out, used an oar to break ice off the nose. On the lake I reread your letter, weeks old: “Come looking.”

Honorable Mentions:

Rx by Sydney Phlox

Tangled hair, sunken eyes, face swollen from crying.

The pharmacist’s blood curdles as the woman leaves with sleeping pills, her shirt stiff with breast milk.

SIBLING RIVALRY by Anjali Enjeti

She called out the wrong name when she came, gasped at the error. He stopped. His face went white. “My sister?” he said. “Again?”