when my daughter finally left
that I’d be free
could go back
to my old self.
Nobody told me
my breasts would ache
for her hunger,
or that her heat, her scent,
her fierce little grip
would hold me
even after I’d given her away.
Jennifer L. Freed likes inventing characters but doesn’t have enough time to write. The narrator of this story did not exist until a prompt (“Write something on the theme of independence”) brought her to life.
I am standing on wet ground outside my childhood home, under mid-morning tropical sun. The air smells of earth and newly banished rain. Adults speak indoors; their everyday worries are abstract, distant.
I wake up to a snowy Chicago morning, work on a weekend, and infant needing to be fed.
Priya Balasubramanian is a writer and physician. She’s written a novel, and no longer wakes up to snow.
Mother Moon placed her howling baby into the calm water, a bath to sooth the tantrum.
Baby kicked with rage. The water rose up. Toy cities, filled with people, were buffeted about.
Small cars floated as roads became rivers, until the child wore itself out, falling asleep amid the ruins.
Candace Kubinec wrote this story with thoughts for Texas.
Editor: To support recovery from Hurricane Harvey, please consider donating through the Red Cross or another organization.
Mom locked grandma up after the landlord found stacks of newspapers, books and miscellaneous junk, floor to ceiling in every room. Diagnosis: Hoarder disorder.
But in truth, she was a Cat Herder, a proud breeder of kittens, and those walls were the pens, corrals and stalls of Grandma’s Kitten Ranch.
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.
My heart pounding in my chest, I watched as you lay on the white linen, still and silent. The fan’s breeze fluttered your hair and eyelashes. You looked cool, reposed, as though sleeping. I squeezed your hand and whispered for you to open your eyes, once more.
But you didn’t.
Melanie Cranenburgh lives in Western Australia and rescues wildlife in her spare time.
Tears wanted to flow but nothing came. I wanted to cry but the guilt was too strong. In one fell swoop, my entire world crumbled before me, and I could not have done anything.
In that one moment, I understood what love and friendship meant because I had betrayed both.
Armaan is a bibliophile who listens to punk and alt rock, plays APRGs and likes to get serious sometimes. He started writing because his friends told him his English was better than theirs. His strong belief in friends has made him continue writing short fictional stories after high-school even though he currently pursues a degree in business management. He has recently entered the flash writing scene.
The world went quiet when she was eleven years old. Deaf as a stone. She compensates now if you know what to look for. You can’t tell any difference unless you call to her. Same spirit, same energy, only now has to be watched out for.
Still a faithful dog.
N.T. Franklin writes after his real job hoping one day to have it be his real job. He writes cozy mystery short stories, nostalgia short stories, and Flash Fiction. When not reading or writing short stories, you might find him fishing or solving crossword puzzles.
It’s never too late, she said, strapping on her mandolin.
Time doesn’t wait, she said, studying a map of the world.
More and more, she said, before hurrying to board a train.
Is this seat saved? she asked.
For you, he answered.
Into the night, wheels turned while they sang.
Jane Hertenstein’s current obsession is flash. She is the author of over 80 published stories, a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction, and blurred genre both micro and macro. In addition she has published a YA novel, Beyond Paradise, and a non-fiction project, Orphan Girl: The Memoir of a Chicago Bag Lady, which garnered national reviews. Jane is the recipient of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, Rosebud, Word Riot, Flashquake, Fiction Fix, Frostwriting, and several themed anthologies. She can also be found blogging at memoirouswrite.blogspot.com
“Awful man,” she muttered, kicking the encroaching brambles. “Beautiful woman,” he mused, as sunlight haloed her fair hair.
Every evening he’d toil, moving snails from her delicate beans and dahlias to his indestructible thicket.
She never wondered why her allotment flourished. Or who left the gifts of glorious blackberry jam.
Tamsin doesn’t have an allotment, and she has to be her own snail shepherd. Despite best efforts, her runner beans are still being severely chewed.
She looked through her cataract cloud. Her hair, like the bathroom mirror, had silvered. Her face showed cracks like the tile. Toothbrushes… two?
Nothing looked familiar. Not the photo of children that fluttered from her purse to the cold tile floor. Not the gray-haired man who carried her to bed.
Eileen McIntyre writes to the hum of hummingbird wings and listens to critique from crows in the woods of Northern California.