Thursday, March 14, 2024

“Summit, in Memory” • by Ian Li


In the fiery dusk, creaking joints joined a chorus of crickets on the hillside. 

His hydraulic legs whined, designed for padded floors in nursing homes, not rocky, slippery ascents.

Battery flickering as he reached the summit, he laid her wispy figure gently in the cool grass, her breath light as an autumn leaf.

“I’m glad we got to hike this together one last time,” she whispered. Glittering stars swirled in their teardrops.


Ian Li (he/him) writes speculative fiction and poetry from Toronto. Formerly an economist and consultant, he loves spreadsheets, statistical curiosities, and brain teasers. Find his writing at Radon Journal and Flame Tree Press, as well as at

His most recent appearance in our pages was “Hosting a Tempest.”


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The Pete Wood Challenge is an informal ad hoc story-writing competition. Once a month Pete Wood spots writers the idea for a story, usually in the form of a phrase or a few key words, along with some restrictions on what can be submitted, usually in terms of length. Pete then collects the resulting entries, determines who has best met the challenge, and sends the winners over to Bruce Bethke, who arranges for them to be published on the Stupefying Stories web site.

You can find all the previous winners of the Pete Wood Challenge at this link.

This time the challenge was to write a flash fiction piece playing off key word: hike.

Tomorrow, the winners!