It wasn’t the diagnosis of strangled bowel, nor the low survival chance to vital surgery that tore at his heart.
It wasn’t the palpable frailty of his hero, his mother, hooked up to machines, though these things were traumatic.
No, it was those five words: Can I come home now?
Absorbing the Donegal hills from distance only now, Perry McDaid’s creativity subsists on nature’s palette and scents. Unfortunately this sometimes involves silage.
He plunged the knife into his chest, carved a circle through the muscle and bone, and withdrew his heart. He placed it in a box and neatly wrapped it.
The day before she left, he presented her the gift, to carry with her to the other end of the world.
Francisco Tutella is a public relations specialist at Penn State University. His work has appeared in Fifty-Word Stories and Wilkes magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Like him on Facebook.
He asked for me by name, they said, this man with twitching eyes and an impatient stance.
Closing the distance, he seems to shrink. He nods as I introduce myself, his lips forming words that sink my heart. He hands me a nondescript envelope containing your desire to leave me.
Lancelot is a creative writer at heart who fears rejection, and therefore keeps his stories locked away in his mind.
She told me that the cruelest part of it all, after it was over and she was finally allowed to leave the hospital and come home again, was that they had taken the crib away without even telling her.
They pretended like it had never been there to begin with.
Dave Novak works in a fairly serious office that sends him to strange and mysterious places throughout New Jersey. Whenever he feels like being more or less serious, he writes. You can check out his works and thoughts at dumbstupidfakestories.wordpress.com.
I filled sacks with too-snug jeans and sweaters; my closet was finally getting uncluttered.
A fellow donor at the charity shop drivethrough extracted a train set and scooter from her van. I helped her with a dirt bike.
“They grow up so fast,” I commented.
“Tommy had leukemia,” she replied.
Roberta tried retiring, but it didn’t work.
He watched her leave; quietly, impassively, resolutely.
She closed the car door and sighed.
She glanced over her shoulder, then glided into the traffic.
She didn’t look back.
He watched the car disappear round the corner, retreated inside, and gently pulled the door.
This is the way the world ends.
Joan is an educator in Australia.
He plopped his broken heart down on the counter and angrily demanded a refund.
“I can’t help you,” said the clerk. “Read the fine print in your contract. They all break at some point.”
“What am I supposed to do with a broken heart?”
“Be patient. It gets stronger. Eventually.”
Daniel Slaten writes short stories and poetry in small notebooks and on sticky notes.
There was never any need for words. We communicated through riddles, stole knowing glances and smiles at jokes nobody else could catch. Our connection was intimate, assured.
But as I watched her swing from the rope around her neck, I couldn’t work out what she was trying to tell me.
Guy writes to entertain, provoke thought, and silence the voices in his head. This is his fourth fifty word story.
I wonder how many hearts you have broken.
I want to show you mine. A sparrow with a broken neck. I flew into your life like a bird into a window.
You told me I should have expected it.
You exit without remorse. I have enough for both of us.
Jeff Switt is a retired advertising agency guy who loves writing flash fiction—some days to curb his angst, other days to fuel it. His words have been featured at Dogzplot, Boston Literary Review, Flash Fiction World, and Nailpolish Stories and have appeared at lots of places that take whatever you send in.
My heart felt like it was being ripped to shreds, over and over.
I could only read his lips from that distance but I knew what he was saying.
I love you, he said. Her smile said the same.
I wanted to turn it off. I couldn’t. Instead, I stared.
Katie studied screenwriting and fiction writing in college and hopes to one day pursue her MFA in creative writing. She currently guest blogs for Grads.Co.UK and runs a travel business. Her work has or will be appearing in Bewildering Stories, Down in the Dirt and Prospective Journal. She currently lives in North Carolina. You can find her blog here: http://writingandwanderlust.wordpress.com/