The day before my sixth birthday I sat on mother’s knee and stared into her crystal ball. She’d flinched at shadows that screamed and slammed doors, clutched my arm so hard her nails broke the skin. Among whirling smoke she saw broken skies, suffering, the End…
I only saw you.
Guy was once declared dead by a fortune-telling fish he found in a Christmas cracker. This is his eighteenth 50-word story.
I’m always skeptical when my boyfriend says he’s a lumberjack.
There’s something about the way he cuts his hair every winter, how his checked flannel shirt hangs loose around his trunk and his thorny beard scratches my cheeks when we kiss—but I wouldn’t put roots down with anybody else.
Guy branched out into story writing to compensate for his wooden personality. This is his seventeenth 50-word story.
Three men walk into a bar.
“Ow!” cries the first man. He clutches his head and falls to the floor.
“Ugh!” cries the second man, slumping lifelessly to the ground.
“It is done,” says the third man. He passes the bloodied rod to the barman, takes his money, and leaves.
Guy worked in a bar once. This is his sixteenth 50-word story.
Grandpa was terminal. My flight was tomorrow, the tickets were booked; I had delayed telling him until now.
He looked at me, but his gaze spanned a thousand miles. Then he smiled, smoothing wrinkled cheeks and pulling ridged scars taut across his jaw.
“…Long time since I been to Texas…”
It’s been two years, three months, and nineteen days since Guy was in Texas. This is his fifteenth 50-word story.
After her diagnosis, Grandma would wake at six and scuttle to the newsagents. She’d struggle back up the hill, spread the local Guardian across the table, and scour the obituaries before breakfast.
“That’s why I get the paper,” she’d explain with a wink. “To make sure I’m not in it.”
Guy has not been in the paper yet. This is his fourteenth 50-word story.
Only when the arguments stopped did I realise I’d lost you.
Three years of stolen kisses and playful smiles faded away like fragments of a dream. I sit in your grandfather’s chair, listening to the front porch strain under the weight of summer rain, and wait for you to leave.
Guy knows the sound of summer rain like the voice of an old friend. This is his thirteenth 50-word story.
For months, Calum convinced his mother there was no problem. She ignored the signs at first, the spandex stockings, the growing pile of comics, the cape he wore around the house…
But when his mother found Wonder Woman under the bed, she realised it was time to call an intervention.
Guy is still waiting for his invitation to join the Justice League. This is his twelfth 50-word story.
Years had passed since the war, but guerrillas still controlled the city. I snuck through the ruins, hid in long shadows cast by a shy moon.
I heard rubble shift behind me, a gun muzzle pressed at my back.
“Stop,” he said. A child’s voice. Tearful. “Tell me a story.”
The closest Guy has ever been to a war zone was working in a bar on a Saturday night. This is his eleventh 50-word story.
Hank was a successful plumber, but dreamed of fronting a band. He sang whilst fixing the shower, filling the bathroom with renditions of the 60s classics he heard on his father’s records.
His work complete, he belted out the last note, turned the stopcock, and listened to the shower cheer.
Guy once started a band with a stranger, at 2am, in the frozen food section of his local 24-hour Tesco. It frustrates him that he can’t seem to pull a story from it. This is his tenth 50-word story.
“I’m telling you,” my little brother insisted, “Elvis is alive and living here in Kalamazoo!”
I sighed and finished my fries. We’d had this argument a thousand times before. I paid the bill and tipped the elderly waiter.
He took the cash and smiled. “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
Guy is growing facial hair to help conceal his secret identity. This is his ninth 50-Word story.