Mrs Kaminski hugs the purple, sequinned cushion she’s just had to buy back from the charity shop. Her interfering bus driver daughter had donated it.
She spots the 52 on its way down North Road.
In the middle of the zebra crossing she lies down, cushion positioned under her head.
Tricia is a high priestess of micro-fiction.
Nick feels shame buying TV dinners. Stroganoff. Salisbury steak.
Others buy steaks, corn. Things that connote family. Families who move about, laughing, sharing secrets, brushing past Nick.
He picks up a steak, marvels at its robustness. Drops in the cart.
Nick imagines a wife smiling across a table.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Literally Stories, 101 Words, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.
The ends of the umbrella flap irregularly in the wind like an injured bird. Stones jab my ribs and spine as the Atlantic splashes between my thighs. Mom’s been gone two years, yet I am here, on her favorite beach, surrounded by people who will never mean anything to me.
Alyssa Minaker lives in North Africa with her husband.
The young father presses his hands flat against the window. Although the mask covers half his face, the baby knows him. New game. Laughing, she reaches for the father’s hands, cool glass between them.
She lifts her arms, “Up.” Old game.
The father’s learned the new rules: he turns away.
Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University. Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017).
I was six when my father left. I remember his hands, large and coarse, letting go of mine to hurl a battered suitcase into his rusting, coughing car.
Now his hands seem small and frail, shaking with fear for his next long journey.
I cannot bring myself to clasp them.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
Officially he turns twenty next birthday.
“Not old enough to buy champagne”
Carefully removing his fading birth certificate from a plastic envelope he read:
“DOB: February 29, 1940”
Mom waited until after midnight because “He was special.”
He was her only child; she was right.
Eighty years ago.
John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.
“When she was little, my daughter and I used to cook dinner every day. Her favorite part was dessert because I would let her help out the most. Anyway, though, I feel like I know you,” she said, looking at me.
Smiling, I said: Tell me more about it, mom.
Ricardo is a 19-year-old student from Puerto Rico. He plans to write and write until he’s mastered it. A task for a lifetime.
My grandfather was odd, shell-shocked. I loved sitting on his knee, sniffing and staring as he managed to chew mints and puff a pipe in the same breath. He never spoke of the “Great War” but I wear a Poppy in honour because it is easier than remembering my son.
Dedicated to education and being a father, E. F. S. Byrne has finally found more time to devote to his writing and is currently working on everything from very short flash stories to full-length novels. Samples and links to over thirty published stories can be read at efsbyrne.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter at @efsbyrne
At dusk she roams the neighborhood, peering into windows glowing with evening activity. Careful to avoid the families during daylight, she tries to catch glimpses of the people and feel the warmth of their homes. She sees only cartoons, the news, and football games on their large, colorful flat-screen TVs.
Carol Anne Harvey enjoys the challenge of writing a story in 50 words, but also likes telling an audience the longer version.
One afternoon together, after 412 days apart. If only we could stretch these hours to days, weeks even, maybe then we’d relax enough to find the right words to talk about my war at home, his war away.
Instead we part, saying a stilted goodbye, before he boards the train.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her debut flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, will be published in 2020 by Dahlia Books. She tweets at @laurabesley.