Twin trees grow side by side, sap pulsing to the same rhythm, roots entwined; they are more one than two.
Then the wind… Furious storm engulfs them, ripping, tearing, rending-
The survivor slowly gathers up shredded roots and cradles them as the dregs of life drain away.
Maria wrote this in remembrance of all the trees that were destroyed in this year’s derecho. These two trees are real, and the one that made it still looks lonely.
Today’s DM on Instagram starts the same as so many others. ‘Hello, beautiful,’ it says.
Except this message is from my father.
I wonder if he even knows it’s me. Twenty years can change a person.
I don’t hesitate to end it the same as the others: delete, block, forget.
Laura Besley writes short fiction and squeezes her writing into the bookends of her day. She has lived in Holland, Germany, and Hong Kong, but now lives in land-locked central England and misses the sea. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets at @laurabesley.
Packing his case, your son gives you a cursory look, and “Delhi” by way of alms.
You hurry to the kitchen, pack a lunchbox with heart-shaped cookies.
Afterwards, you picture him munching, smiling, thinking of you.
When he doesn’t answer your calls you’re sad, but sure he’s just busy working.
Mandira Pattnaik writes flash and poetry and has been published in Passages North, Amsterdam Quarterly, and 50WS, among other places. Follow @MandiraPattnaik
The librarian hands him a slip of paper with a number on it and directs him to the far end of the reading room.
An empty shelf, save for one slim volume. ‘My Life.’
He stares at the author’s name. Picks it up. Opens.
Every page he turns is blank.
Thomas Malloch lives in the south-west of Scotland. After retirement, he thought he’d try his hand at writing and some of his work has even made it into print in Reflex Fiction, Bath Flash Fiction, Gutter, and the Barcelona Review.
The hemp rope used to hang Joseph Samuel, found guilty of murder in Australia, failed three times. The Almighty had obviously intervened. Samuel’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and it was during his daring prison escape by boat on a stormy night the Almighty saw fit to drown him.
James Gallant’s story collection, La Leona, and Other Guitar stories, winner of the 2019 Schaffner Press prize for music-in-literature, is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Learn more at jamesgallantwriter.com.
She was always immaculately put together—linen suits, manicured nails, hair colour every six weeks—but a heart attack has you in her apartment discovering her unwashed undergarments and a cache of diet pills in a bathroom cabinet.
You can’t just shut that cabinet and walk away now, my friend.
Larissa Thomson is from British Columbia, Canada. She loves to write flash fiction and short stories, but this is her first foray into micro fiction. She is raising two humans and hopefully teaching them the importance of looking beyond the superficial.
Wistful, she sketched long-limbed, elegant ballerinas. Twelve was too old to start dancing.
She learned otherwise at thirty, hand on the barre, feet turned out. Age thirty-two, peachy-pink satin pointe shoes, bloody blisters, bruised toenails, no talent. Rare moments of effortless double pirouettes or soaring leaps were worth the wait.
Mary Kuna lives in Saint John, New Brunswick. Her flash fiction has received second prize in Brilliant Flash Fiction’s Librarians’ Choice Writing Contest and an honorable mention in Queer Sci Fi’s Innovation contest and anthology. She tweets sporadically at @MaryKuna.
Juicy at the core,
Thick fleshy limbs,
Like he liked,
Full of liquid life,
Until the cut,
When he watched it sap away.
Sticky in the gathering earth,
Surrounding her return to roots,
In death buried to be born again.
Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, pursues stories conversational, literary and performed. Words in Jellyfish Review, EllipsisZine, Fish, Mslexia, The London Reader and other lovely places and can be found on Twitter at @quotes_52 and 52Quotes.blogspot.com.
It’s celebratory and devoid of any guidance on how hard it’s going to be. Life anew. They beam, hand you a baby. Everyone back slaps you. Hugs. Gifts. They never tell you how it will feel to find her on the bedroom floor with a needle jammed in her arm.
Hayden Kamide lives in New York. Probably not the hip part you’re thinking about, but the other part. He believes in the importance of kindness, yet recognizes his own hypocrisy, especially when he sometimes swears at people who cut him off in traffic. But, when it happens, he does feel bad about it… later. Much, much later.
The water’s rising; it’s washed away the righteous and the sinners. I’m still here. I’ve bailed, prayed, bailed again. Ahead, there’s a girl huddled on a rooftop. I navigate toward her, lift her into the hissing raft.
It sighs, loudly.
I wave goodbye, clambering onto the slates.
The water’s rising—
Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, diplomat, and homesick Wisconsinite. Her short stories and the occasional poem have appeared in over seventy literary magazines.