The flash fiction piece I wrote last month got rejected by Apeiron Review, but came with a personal note with the rejection (first one I've gotten--everything else has been form letter "no" and the one acceptance).
Thank you for sending us your work. We appreciate the chance to read it.
Although it does not suit the needs of the magazine at this time, we
wish you luck with placing it elsewhere.
Just a note: this piece has a lot of potential, and we held onto it
for so long so that we could really get to know it. The last line, in
particular, held a lot of meaning. We hope to see more of your work in
All the best to you!
Funny thing is that they didn't hold onto it that long (a little over a month). Could this be a fake personal note? But why? They didn't try to sell me anything. The last line of my story I actually did not like--it felt to me like a borderline hogwash summary. However, I can see where they might have thought it was pregnant with meaning. I'm pretty sure this is a sincere "close, but not quite."
I'm calling it a moral victory.