Pockets emptied, Tim purchased the red blend. He twisted off the cap and chugged while exiting the store. The familiar heartburn, boiled cherries and artificial oak, warmed him.
Invisible to others, a shoulder bumped him. The bottle fell, his outstretched hands useless. He watched his comfort stain the concrete sidewalk.
Melanie Maggard is a flash fiction and short story writer living in Seattle.
Lots of soap. Scrub. Sing a happy song for twenty seconds. Rinse. The officials say if I wash my hands real good, I’ll help stop the virus’ spread.
But I don’t know any happy songs, and washing my hands may get rid of germs but it won’t cleanse my sins.
Marc Littman’s short stories have been published in magazines ranging from Fictive Dream and Cafe Lit to The Saturday Evening Post. He also writes novels and plays. He lives in Los Angeles.
The Story of the Month is chosen from the Story of the Week winners announced from the past month.
The finalists for May were:
Home by Jo Withers
Lessons on Electricity, or: When in Quarantine with a Husband by Laurie Kuntz
Our Good Luck by Jennifer L. Freed
Start Over by Daniel Clark
First Blossom by Casey Laine
Stop looking at your phone, waiting for the dead to call by Bob Thurber
The winner of the May 2020 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…
Our Good Luck
Back-to-back awards show the consistent quality of Jennifer’s work. Her piece in May resonated particularly with me, as I lost a grandparent earlier this year, not long before the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect. Even without the personal connection, though, this story had real power and speaks to one aspect of the challenging times we’re living in right now.
Dark henna bleeds deep beneath her skin. Vines twist around fingers; an ancient eye keeps watch over the serpent hidden among the leaves. Yet it is the phoenix, swooping down with fiery wings, who alights against memory’s pulse, clearing a path so she can once again believe in happy endings.
Kristin Tenor finds inspiration in life’s quiet details and believes in their power to illuminate the extraordinary. Her work has appeared in various literary journals including The Midwest Review, Bending Genres, Milk Candy Review, Spelk Fiction, among others. She is the Flash Fiction Editor at CRAFT Literary. Learn more at kristintenor.com or find her on Twitter at @KristinTenor.
Call from Health Department: voice claimed Eliza was exposed to COVID-19, should quarantine.
Eliza shivered, hung up. This was Anthony’s fault. They’d met behind the Nitty Gritty wearing masks, thought it’d be OK.
Her husband appeared. “Who’s calling you?”
“Lady looking for a jerk I never heard of,” said Eliza.
Shoshauna Shy finds the pandemic provides a lot of writing material. Read more about what she does at PoetryJumpsOfftheShelf.com.
Once, we called people coming to the hills visitors.
Virus spreads. They’re invaders. Carriers.
Rolling beige RVs and trucks resemble tanks.
We defend the market. Wrap ourselves in the royal we. Sterilize, stock toilet paper. We don’t see frightened families, young couples wearing naked impulse and fear.
Invasions are easier.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
It’s like the riddle. Three doors; two lead to certain death.
Door One: A mother, breath rasping, crying for her children.
Door Two: A feverish teenager, too exhausted to beg for help.
Door Three: A pensioner, grey-haired but agile, coughing continuously.
Hands shaking, you tighten your mask, open a door.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in NFFD Anthology (U.K.), Best Microfictions 2020, Reflex Fiction and Spelk.
One day, a man asked a woman, “Can you swim?”
The woman replied, “Umm, no.”
The man exclaimed, “Ha, you’re worse than a dog.”
She asked, “Well, can you swim?”
At once he retorted, “Of course I can!”
She responded, “Then what is the difference between you and a dog?”
Amy has a passion for writing and has just recently taken an interest in 50-word stories. She hopes you enjoy her first 50-word story!
At the wedding reception two middle aged women, the mothers of the bride and groom, are dancing together and alone. The vocalist is attempting Orbison’s Pretty Woman. One mother is wearing a fascinator, the feather above her head beating time to another tune.
The bride and groom are arguing again.
John Young lives in St Andrews. He likes spooky stuff and the boundary areas been “normal” and “odd” experiences.
Some things happen
before we understand
what they are
We are an army of generals
in official denial
“It won’t affect us!”
A cough is released
and converge into waves.
The news becomes
a tragic chronicle
of fallen names
On my street
houses shuttered tight
as darkness falls.
Eliza Mimski writes poems while sheltered in place in San Francisco.