Visions of this moment always included bereaved loved ones wringing hands and forcing fake smiles to accompany their glistening, sad eyes. Instead, encounters consist only of brief interactions with complete strangers, overly tired and often forgetting to smile as they robotically work to complete their third 12-hour shift this week.
.Randal A. Burd Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.
“When will I see mommy?” Clare would ask everyday.
“Before you head to bed, honey” Auntie would reply.
Those words echoed in her ear as her eyes pleaded to be closed.
This time,her mother made it. Just before the monitor flat-lined.
Melancholy spread as Clare finally slept with a smile.
This poem was selected as the runner up of the Commaful.com 50WS Contest! Read the original post here.
The cat walks away, padding across the floor, its rough tongue sanding the red around its chops. Behind it, the pigeon lies in a carpet of feathers, waiting for the cleaning lady to sweep her lifeless body into the big blue dustbin. In a nest, two eggs wait for warmth.
Rhema Suresh lives in Kerala, India. After being a student her entire life, she is currently on a break. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Hyderabad.
The girl stood when Death walked in. Her coat was on, her bag was packed, and despite her tears, she wore a look of determination.
Death shook his head, understanding mingling with regret.
“Girl, wait until you’re older,” he said gently, and dodged around her to take her father’s hand.
Maria attends college in the midwest, and is becoming a proficient juggler of class, club, and those silly customs we call adulthood.
On the day the old woman died, her clock stopped. It couldn’t be fixed, but Kate, her granddaughter, kept it for its sentimental value.
When Kate married, the clock had pride of place in her apartment.
One day, Kate came home with some news: “Darling, I’m pregnant.”
Tick. tick, tick.
Judy Upton wrote this story.
Death heard the newborn’s cry and began his inevitable journey.
Sometimes he can save them early, but too often the path is arduous and slow. He weeps when he reaches them in old age: by then they have suffered a life too long, in all its illusion and false hope.
Tom O’Brien is an Irishman living in London. He’s been published in numerous places across the web and has been anthologised in Blood & Bourbon, Blink-Ink, DEFY! and twice in the Uncommon print collections. He’s on Twitter at @tomwrote and his website is tomobrien.co.uk.
He hadn’t planned it,
at least not consciously.
They were twins, after all,
each incomplete without the other.
He could not be a failure
without his brother’s disproportionate success.
It was a wild night of shared mayhem,
to the perfect finale:
matching death dates.
Twins to the end.
Jackie reads 50-Word Stories and writes religiously. She has never submitted her work, save to this site.
“Daddy loves you,” I say, placing my daughter in her crib with a fresh diaper.
I notice the crease in each elbow as she shakes her toy at me and laughs.
If I don’t survive the surgery tomorrow, I pray that I can take this memory with me.
Seth Pilevsky lives in New York with his wife and five kids, trying to tuck away those precious moments for a rainy day. His work has been published in the Long Island Literary Journal, Literally Stories, Memoir Magazine, Stinkwave’s Magazine and in the YA anthology What Doesn’t Kill You. Sign up for blog updates at spilevsky.com.
“Dr. Mettels, as my great-great-grandfather told you when he was the chair of this committee, you have not discovered the cure for death!” said the current chair of the International Science Verification Committee.
Dr. Mettels sighed. It would probably take another 85 years to convince the world that she had.
G.D. Konstantine is a Toronto design engineer, maker, and writer.
As Granny evanesced,
she left a whisper,
words which echo
“From magic we come
and to magic we return.
I am reeds bending in the wind,
the brush of soft willows,
birdsong before the dawn.
I am not gone from this world,
but with you
Matthew Coward is a habitual daydreamer, occasional writer and proud night-owl. He writes fantasy inspired flash fiction, short stories and poetry.