We talked for hours, while making lists of people to call. Halfway to morning we went to bed. We were shattered. Before we fell asleep the wind picked up, gusting snow off the trees. As the branches lightened, they scratched against the windows, like something asking to be let in.
Author’s Note: For Sarah Kate 1980-2010
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, despite severe vision loss, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Things I’ve done for money: collected cans for cash, sold chocolate, shoveled sidewalks after a snowstorm. Once I built an amusement park in the backyard and sold tickets. That was the summer Mom quit chemo.
I told jokes for a penny. She bought a hundred, and listened from her bed.
Jane Hertenstein wrote this story.
For months the space next to me had been empty. Yet tonight, it was occupied by a stranger. My husband glared at him.
“How could you do this to me?” he whispered.
“Til death do us part,” I replied.
My husband glowered. His ghostly figure slowly disappeared into the darkness.
Patricia Santillan likes climbing up chairs because she is too short to reach the top cupboard. Because self-love is important to her, she loves hugging herself. Her most recent publications can be found in Leaves of Ink and Fairy Talez.
I’ve thought of you so very often these past thirty years or more. In my head, I still hear your gentle tone and I feel the touch of your warm embrace.
Good memories last a lifetime. I’m coming to see you soon.
You never let me down.
You won’t now.
Jean lives in a village near Bath in the UK. She refuses to believe this is all there is.
The smell slaps me back to the business at hand as I avoid the onslaught of memories that serve no purpose. She left me her cashmere sweater, reeking of mothballs. I sneeze, entrapped by envious eyes.
“You were her favorite.”
“You were always so easy to torture.”
Kim Kalama is a latecomer to fiction writing. She draws upon the quirkiest dynamics of her life experiences to stir her imagination.
We gathered in small, always changing groups.
Strangers, family, and friends.
Uncounted words filled the room with copies of the same conversation.
Regrets mingled with the pebbles of ordinary life, to gave rise to our victory cry. Hand-in-hand, we proclaimed, “Life still goes on.”
Thus we denied death his victory.
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.
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.
She’d saved her wedding whiskey for a special occasion.
Not for her honeymoon.
Not for her 25th anniversary.
Not even for her 50th anniversary.
Now he was on his deathbed.
She reached into the cupboard, pulled out the bottle, and cracked it open. “To happiness,” she said, raising her glass.
Linda writes for both children and adults. She blogs at lindaschueler.com
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
“You may get several more years with immediate, aggressive treatment. Are you ready?”
Bill’s wife blubbered. He’d given her jewelry, vacations, homes, children, and a 401k from a dead-end job. Now she wept as tumors crept through his body.
“Yes, doctor!” she replied.
Finally reclaiming his life, Bill whispered, “No.”
Matt McHugh was born in suburban Pennsylvania, attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and after a few years as a Manhattanite, currently calls New Jersey home. Some of his work is available at mattmchugh.com