A myriad of dots fill the screen. He clicks on one to expand it, then scrolls through as many as he can. In each image he sees only himself. He is the same but subtly different, as each universe is unique.
Somewhere, in at least one, he must be happy.
Tracy Fells lives in West Sussex, England. She has won awards for both fiction and drama. Her short fiction has been widely published in magazines, online, and in anthologies. She is the 2017 Regional Winner (Canada and Europe) for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and has been shortlisted for the Fish, Brighton, and Willesden Herald Prizes. She tweets as @theliterarypig.
At four a.m. I wake
Our hands still clasped, now sweaty
My hair across his shoulder
A crick in my neck.
When I roll over he wraps an arm around me
And pulls me back to him, relentless
To have me close.
And that’s how I knew I was happy.
Liz recently completed a novel a based on her experience as a Spanish teacher through Teach for America. Her story “Habibi” received Honorable Mention in Memphis Magazine’s 2015 Fiction Contest. She is a contributor to the blogs Bustle, TeacherPop and the Elizabethian. She wrote and produced two plays that were performed at Brandeis University.
“Eighty-six consecutive rejections. I give up.” He downed his scotch.
“Pessimist,” I scoffed.
“Just let me crawl down into my Deep Hole of Lonelitude.” His glass being already empty, he downed my scotch next.
Nearby, a withered, watery-eyed man in a wheelchair said, “Psh. Romance? Wouldn’t solve your problem, anyways.”
This story is based on a title suggested by Jeremy Quinn. It is a companion to his previous title suggestion, Unlikely Ascension.
When we finally summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the last thing we expected to see was a withered old man in an all-terrain wheelchair, surrounded by ten burly sherpas.
He looked at us with pale, watery eyes and said, “Remember, friends: money can buy you neither happiness nor salvation.”
Then he smiled.
This story is based on a title suggested by Jeremy Quinn.
“Is this what happiness is supposed to be like?” he asked himself. “Am I happy?”
He stepped out of his door. “Have I ever been happy?”
He made his way toward town.
“Oh, right. This makes me happy!” he thought, as his robot hands crushed another puny human head.
Tom Brendlinger often goes by the username of TomBrend.