“You have got to stop enabling him,” they told me. “He has to hit bottom.”
When he fell through, they said, “It wasn’t your fault.”
This must be what they mean by “The longest distance is between the head and the heart.”
A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her child.
Traci Mullins wrote this story.
Lingering between sleep and wakefulness, she savours that moment when light starts to pierce her eyelids, before reality dawns.
The drapes, stirred by the breeze, create flickers of light and then shadow.
She listens, hearing only her own gentle, rhythmic breathing.
Disruption, when it comes, is sudden, loud, cruel: MUM!!!
Jean enjoys writing short stories now that the birds have flown and she has more time. She would welcome a return of the disruption, though!
“Check under the bed.”
“Nope. Maybe it’s in the dryer.”
“I hope not.”
“It wasn’t there. Where else could it be?”
“I don’t even know. The yard?”
My wife was right. There, playing by our curbside mailbox, sat my toddler niece, proving how woefully unprepared we were to be parents.
Scott is an author and writer living in DFW, Texas, with his wife and their two boys. In his spare time he collects antique cameras. He has never intentionally misplaced a child, for the record.
I’m not very good with words. Never have been.
So I’m writing this to let you know how much you’ve changed my life. How my every waking moment is filled with thoughts of you.
I hope one day you’ll read this.
When you grow up and learn how, of course.
Franca is a bilingual English language teacher and proud grandmother. She belongs to an international creative writing group and now lives in Italy with her husband of 40 years.
Just one more cookie, she thinks. Just one more. Life is short. May as well enjoy it. Where’s the harm? She has no way of knowing that when she’s 40 years old, her seven-year-old son will say she weighs a thousand pounds when she leans over to kiss him goodnight.
Michelle is a contributing author in the most recent Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada, and a quarterfinalist in the 2017 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay contest. Her writing has won several awards and appeared in The Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s National newspapers) and a number of local magazines and newspapers in Alliston, including The Briar Crier, Total Sports, Voice of the Farmer, Arts Talk and Focus 50 Plus. Her short story “Lightning Strikers” was made into a series in the Focus 50 +Newspaper because fans asked for more! You can find her online at commuterlit.com, FiftyWordStories.com, FeminineCollective.com, michelledinnick.com and @MichelleDinnick.
Allison didn’t recognize her at first. “…Mom?”
Her mother, impossibly young, stood at the door, a toddler on her shoulder.
“Oh, good,” said her mother. “You’ve turned out okay.” She handed Allison the toddler. “This is you, just barely two. I learned to time travel. I’ll pick her up tomorrow.”
Iain Young used to enjoy time travel, until that one unexpected layover in 1985. Losing his passport didn’t help.
In the night I am worthless. I dissolve as the darkness presses down onto me. I curl into the toxic embrace of the silent emptiness within and without.
The baby feeds on, needy and warming. A tiny golden thread of love connects us, draws me back up to the light.
Rebecca Williams loves the darker side of fiction and is currently working on a novel about two housewives on a vigilante crime spree. She also dabbles in flash and shorter fiction – you can find her work in EllipsisZine, Spelk, The Cabinet of Heed, Retreat West and more. She can be found on Twitter at @stupidgirl45
The floor glistened with its fresh coat of lemon-scented mop water.
He entered by the kitchen, stumbling through the sliding glass door. Covered in mud and with grubby hands wrapped tightly around three grass stalks, he beamed.
And then her heart melted when he said, “Mommy, I picked you flowers!”
Jess works in fiscal, studies biology and English, and vanquishes Laundry Monsters on the weekends.
Finally, after four long years, I’m free!
I can use the bathroom and take a shower without a tiny partner. I can finish a cup of coffee while it’s still hot.
Oh, the possibilities! I could even read quietly or even watch a non-animated television show.
I miss her already.
Marcus Benjamin Ray Bradley grew up in Perryville and now lives in Versailles, KY, with his wife and daughters. He wonders if his wife will feel this way in three years.
Children shrieking, she bumps open the door, backing out with a stack of dirty dishes, her fingers pinching the rims of four plastic tumblers decorated with Disney logos, the plates rattling, the cutlery clinking in one of the cups. She says breathlessly to the ceiling, Where did my life go?
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.