Grief, heavy like sticky syrup poured over pancakes, filled the room.
It coated the mourners, making it hard to move. Hard to speak. Hard to breathe.
I hardly knew him, but stopped to offer my condolences.
To hug and be hugged, as we remembered the days of this stranger’s life.
John Fowler served twenty years in the US Air Force before retiring and starting a second career in the IT field. He is also a Lay Pastor serving a small church near his home in Texas. His hobbies include reading, golfing, writing, and now oil painting.
Floorboards creak as the man steals towards the sleeping girl.
Standing over her peaceful form, heart pounding against his ribs, he leans and sticks his hand under her pillow to replace the hand-stitched bag containing her incisor with a dollar. She stirs but does not wake.
“Goodnight, pumpkin,” he whispers.
Tasie E. George is a twenty-year old, as-of-yet unpublished writer, born, raised, and residing in Nigeria.
Sure, their relationship was strange: Mike sleeping each night for years in the abandoned confessional and Fr. Phil pretending not to notice, though he left a sandwich, beer, or even smokes, occasionally.
When Mike passed, Fr. Phil insisted the homeless man have a funeral mass—no matter what people said.
Tony Jasnowski teaches English at Bellevue University and writes an occasional story or poem between grading papers.
What’s the word? A syllable sits on the tip of my tongue.
A machine beeps erratically. Voices. Shouting.
“Stay,” he begs, tears streaming down an unshaven face. But his touch is alien: bereft of warmth.
The machine pauses. Sudden silence. Overpowering.
“Numb,” I whisper, as darkness falls.
Cadence Rage is a songwriter, animal rights activist, and caffeine-addicted weaver of speculative fiction. Currently working on her science-fantasy series, she also writes poetry and flash fiction at cadencerage.wordpress.com
Well heck I finally deleted you
from my phone,
from my conscious mind
and then you had the nerve to show up in a dream,
all friendly and conciliatory.
I leaned against your shoulder, into the feel of you.
Sure, we can be friends
Sweet (did you whisper back?)
Robin Lubatkin does circle time with the very young and what she calls “songhealing” with the very old.
The floor glistened with its fresh coat of lemon-scented mop water.
He entered by the kitchen, stumbling through the sliding glass door. Covered in mud and with grubby hands wrapped tightly around three grass stalks, he beamed.
And then her heart melted when he said, “Mommy, I picked you flowers!”
Jess works in fiscal, studies biology and English, and vanquishes Laundry Monsters on the weekends.
The rooms were bare and cold, but if she squinted, she could almost see the life they’d planned. The baby, yawning and sucking. Him, sprawled on the sofa, the TV on. So much love she’d felt like bursting.
Where was it now?
She turned to leave; arms empty, heart full.
Laura Pearson is a writer of blog posts, novels and flash fiction. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and two young children.
Millicent finished a bowl of hot soup and left the church cafeteria. She didn’t complain as she limped slowly toward the park. She knew she was luckier than others.
In the tunnel, she wrapped her blanket more tightly around her shoulders and gave thanks before drifting off to dreamless sleep.
Candace Kubinec wrote this story.
My memory’s broken, I’ve concluded. Storytellers return vividly to their pasts. I only remember remembering, the images grainier with each mental photocopy.
“Daddy!” the girl screams, nose crusted. She tugs my leg and flaps her arms.
I frantically shuffle though reams of fading prints. The ink smudges before it dries.
Andrew Dunn is a journalist and writer in Charlotte, N.C.
Dreams and reality sometimes ravel and blur in the longest hours of the night. That’s when I reach out and touch your arm, your back, your thigh, lightly, ever so lightly, so I don’t wake you. We’ve grown old and frail together, you and I. Now, constantly, we seek reassurance.
Alex lives in a suburb of the Big Apple.