I am lonely. Colleagues were my friends. No meetings, no journeys. I am only a doctor when stopped by the police for speeding.
When my husband died, years ago, writing softened my loss. The notebook is still by my bed.
I pick up a pen and start to write again.
Ruth is a retired doctor who has written extensively for the profession. Since retiring she has published a memoir and three novels. She finds flash fiction very rewarding for the elderly brain.
Bobbing – I think of apples. Ups and downs.
Behaviour – Mine, yours – neither commendable.
Bitter – Adjective. I am ___. You made me ___.
Brazen – Wasn’t she?
Bayonet – Wounding instrument. Cold steel engulfing flesh.
Baby – Would you have left if it had happened? (See Barren)
Boomerang – I won’t go back.
Bruised – Imperfect, fragile, healing.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in Ellipsis Zine, Milk Candy Review and Reflex Fiction. Jo’s work was also recently chosen for inclusion in Best Microfiction 2020.
The unicorn is in the garden again, munching on the roses.
“I can’t,” I say. “I’m not ready.”
I follow him down the lane to the edge of the enchanted forest. The pine scent clears my lungs.
The unicorn slips between the trees. One day, soon, I’ll go with him.
Hannah Whiteoak writes speculative fiction to escape the real world. She is working on an animal-themed flash collection. Follow @HannahWhiteoak or visit hannahwhiteoak.me.
Editor: This story is a sequel to Side Effects.
I thought he needed my touch.
He looked empty.
My hand’s warmth could provide him respite.
But that wasn’t allowed.
I could offer only a smile and wave from across the room.
He nodded, resignation wrapped with tedium.
Latex gloves announced despair, their blue color an exclamation on our lives.
Jill has been writing since childhood. She believes well-turned phrases can connect emotions and people. She’s published academic work, but her main passion is fiction.
Maybe one day I wake up from this dream or maybe I die trapped in it. Meanwhile I will continue climbing these vines in case I can see the light at the end of this tunnel.
I may fall for the attempt, but it would be worse to stop climbing.
Marina Alfaro is a student to be a teacher.
Darkness engulfs me.
Bitterness and loneliness play freeze tag
Throughout a sleepless night.
At dawn, the pitter-patter of little feet.
Her tiny arms envelop me.
Warmth flows from her pressed cheek to mine.
“Good morning, Mommy.”
Her words linger like a melody,
As sunrise ignites hope for the new day.
Carrie Backer enjoys writing in her very little spare time. She has self-published a couple of kids books and hopes to write more soon.
The word hung in the air like a noxious gas, choking me.
Its consonants clattered and hissed, drowning out the rest of the doctor’s words. It cast a veil of freezing fog around me.
It hoisted me onto the ceiling, above my body. Just the word and me, floating.
Natalie is a Clinical Psychologist and aspiring writer in Wales, UK.
“What do we have here?” asked the detective.
“Female, single, 60-something, sleeping pills,” the coroner responded.
“An empty Cuervo bottle, a pink slip, an eviction notice. A bare cupboard; wearing a new Gucci nightgown…”
“Cause of death?”
“A lethal mix of economic strangulation, diehard aspirations, and early-onset poverty.”
Monica Perez Nevarez is a sustainability consultant by day, and an aspiring writer and social critic at any other time, researching the many everyday things that can kill you while living in a collapsing economy.
“He’s such a beautiful boy,” they all say.
“How could two people who look like you have such a good-looking kid,” they joke.
“He’s going to break a few girls’ hearts,” they suggest.
“You are so lucky,” they add.
Yes we are. Autistic. He’s going to teach us a lot.
Richard Baigent always wanted to be a freelance writer, but isn’t yet.
I could be dead.
I would be dead if I’d been born 50 years ago. God knows, I’ve thought about it. There’s been no point living this half-life.
Instead, today I wake to the loud rhythmic banging of my new heart (my new heart!).
And my life can finally begin.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. She has been widely published online, in print, and in anthologies. Her debut flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, is out in March 2020.