Thirty-four hours and one needle submerged in the spine later, the doctor tells her patient to push.
“Yes! Yes! More! More!” She chants and suctions.
A gurgling cry. “Look at all that hair!”
Kneading at the freshly emptied womb, she pauses.
She steels herself and calls for four units.
Joree writes professionally in her role as director of external affairs for a statewide nonprofit, but her favorite muses are her two-year-old son and her tender memories.
“I saw him!”
“Wearing a red suit?”
“Driving a sleigh?”
“A scruffy dog.”
“A round belly?”
“Sack of presents?”
“How’d you know it was him?”
“His eyes—they twinkled.”
“Hmm. Must be in disguise.”
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
Where is he?
Take a happy memory, old, rarely visited. Imagine it as a painting, oil on canvas.
See the subjects, how they laugh, smile, dance. One does not. Follow that gaze to the dark corners. Someone casts a long shadow, out of view.
There he is. The Shadow Man.
Dmitri lives among the shadows, especially when there are dishes to be washed.
Grey skies jigged upon the bus stop as dejected commuters huddled beneath. The endless stream of headlights paraded the relentless downpour.
A man checked his watch. A woman her phone. A dog ducked between.
The bus arrived.
Lucy smiled getting off and nonchalantly, through the applause of puddles, waltzed home.
Raymond lives in Ireland and has been previously published in 101 words and 101 fiction.
She often wept in mourning over a life she deemed wasted… unfulfilled.
She’d always had one singular purpose but at 43, that ship had long sailed.
Shame from decades of destruction and despair evaporated into rapture as she watched the positive result appear on the stick she’d just peed on.
Although Lisa struggled with severe mental health issues for many years, she worked tirelessly to rise above and find joy. She works part-time helping others dealing with mental illness while also soaking up the incredible joy she’s found in her beautiful, healthy 2 month old baby girl… her constant reminder that the Universe will always rise up to meet us.
It was the ghost of a smile you tried to hide behind a calloused hand. That was the first crack in your prickly facade: a secret sense of humor you tried valiantly to keep in check.
When that grand guffaw was set free, I knew you had a tenderness inside.
Candace Kubinec says: Go ahead, laugh out loud. You’ll feel better.
What seemed like an infinite amount of time passed in about three seconds. She experienced the glorious sensation of what seemed to be flying. All of her worries vanished, except that for a split second, just before she hit the tarmac, she found herself asking, “Wait, why did I jump?”
Hannah Stevens has always had a passion for reading and writing. She is fifteen years old and has a weakness for words.
Mom danced fluidly with an infectious smile. Then, some upbeat excuse, “We ran the 5K.” No reason to add downer to congestive heart failure and cancer.
After recovering, Mom smiled, bobbed to the music, and another took her hand to dance as her less vivacious contemporaries, with longer futures, watched.
J. Scott Merrick lives in Portland, Oregon and writes fiction when he is not in Portland. He has a few degrees. However, when applied to Mr. Merrick, MFA usually means Mother-F’ing Attorney. Previously, he has not published in Paris Review, Tin House, or New Yorker.
I could go on about spirituality or a higher wossname
But this marvelous feeling I have upon finally discovering Carfury Menhir
After a glorious twelve mile walk
Can be explained away in terms that are entirely scientific
All the same I believe that I’m going to have to sing again
Philip Zunzuncito Sequoia once appeared (briefly) on the popular Channel 4 quiz show 15 To 1.
Words terrify me. Their power and immediacy. Will you marry me? Changing everything. Just an articulation of speech. I do. Words transforming worlds. Like a head on collision. It’s a girl. Easier than falling from a great height. I don’t love you anymore.
So I just say nothing these days.
Shark Trager struggles with finishing his works of artistic frivolity so has taken to writing microfiction because not finishing a 50-word story is less reckless.