Withering from within, she huddled her hunched-over spirit through the imposing church doors.
In her closed fist was enough shiny and dull copper, grubbed from the streets, to pay.
Perhaps crumbs of kind words. Or drops of holy water from the priest’s aspergill.
Just enough sustenance to survive another week.
Una Nina Nine loves to read and write.
On the slope to the river a deer leapt across their path. Barely ten feet in front. Everyone froze. A big buck. Graceful, nimble, terrifyingly quick.
Some of the boys lost their breath. They had all seen. Yet nearly half didn’t believe.
Very often the forest dreamed its own dreams.
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, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
He racked the pistol slide as the Byrds’ “Oil in My Lamp” played in the background. “Sing, oh sinner, to the King—keep me burnin’ till I burn away.”
He smiled with no hint of irony.
The crows outside the stained glass window flew dolefully away as the music faded.
Randal D. Williams is currently working on a doctoral dissertation concerning sacred and profane motifs in early hillbilly music. Mr. Williams proudly calls himself a hillbilly scholar and a scholar of all things existentially hillbilly.
She was scheduled for bilateral mastectomies.
I lifted her gown to listen to her chest, and was startled to read the words she had carefully inked across her breasts:
On the right: The Lord giveth.
On the left: The Lord taketh away.
And across her abdomen: Blessed be the Lord.
Margie Nairn is a retired nurse and emerging writer in Corvallis, Oregon, where she writes memoir, poetry, and silly limericks for her daughter.
The hospice nurse used an eyedropper to slip more morphine beneath his tongue. The whole problem was God. God’s absence throughout. That summed it up. God at the beginning, pressing dimples into your chin. God at the end, sliding his hand over your eyelids, saying, Shush. That’s enough for now.
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
To Church on a wet and stormy day in November. Father and daughter together.
On the way there, an oncoming truck rushes madly around a sharp curve – hydroplaning.
Head on crash. Trapped for hours.
Days later, the daughter wakes. “Where’s my Daddy?”
Alone, the girl wonders, “What of God?”
Kimberly Hausbeck wrote this story.
I saw the child in the church where he’d taken refuge. An atheist myself, I wondered at his old-fashioned notion of sanctuary.
He pretended not to see me, but I knew he could. I waited for the boy to show himself. At last he came weeping to me, another unbeliever.
Paul Jenkins is director of library services at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati Ohio.
You tell me that I’ve changed,
My priorities rearranged.
Did you ever really know me
It’s been a long time
Since you swept me off my feet.
But I won’t admit defeat.
I have faith enough for both of us.
That’s the one thing that’s never changed
J Dianne Waye found a link to Fifty-Word Stories on Kelley Armstrong’s writing forum. She isn’t the first to submit a story because of that link, and hopefully she won’t be the last!