This beach, with its smooth stones and jagged waves, was always your favourite, wasn’t it, Mum?
That’s why I’m standing here with you now, one last time, a small tin in my hand that I can’t bring myself to tip. But I know I’ll have no choice in the end.
Laura Besley squeezes writing into the beginning and end of her day, when her young son is sleeping. She has been published in several anthologies and online. She had recently moved back to the UK after ten years abroad.
I used to collect mermaid scales at the beach with my brother. They were aluminium soda can tabs, but whatever—we knew they were really mythical, wish-granting scales. We used them for snow days until my brother caught pneumonia.
I stacked hundreds on his grave.
Even then, it wasn’t enough.
Like most kids , E.O. just used shooting stars to wish for snow days. During meteor showers, about 90% of the wishes in the region were likely made for snow, with the remaining 10% being divided between money, sports cars, and those hoping that their sadistic bosses would drop dead inexplicably.
There’s a cemetery east of town. It’s small, just a fence guarding some grass.
I’m the only one who visits the cemetery and its single grave.
Dad earned his place in Arlington, but chose this simple dirt plot, saying,
“It’s like the ones in distant lands, where my brothers sleep.”
John Fowler served twenty years in the US Air Force before retiring and starting a second career in the IT field. He is also a Lay Pastor serving a small church near his home in Texas. His hobbies include reading, golfing, writing, and now oil painting.
One crisp wafer cone. Two scoops of chocolate ice cream, hastily piled. Third Sunday of June, every year.
Lonely walk across unruly grass that tickles at exposed ankles, in search of a serenity found only among abandoned tombstones.
When you arrive, a tearful, tender whisper to yourself: “Happy Father’s Day.”
Carrie is morose, taciturn, and perpetually hungry, but only one of these traits is inherited from her father.
I have watched families light the temple pyre to wish their loved ones farewell. Other people’s people; their spires of smoke.
Now I light the pyre and sprinkle rosewater on you. Your ashes will float down the river but my memories of you will hover—suspended, like a dragonfly—forever.
Mohini Malhotra was born in New York, grew up in Nepal, Thailand, India, Italy, and lives in Washington DC. She runs a social enterprise that promotes contemporary women artists from emerging markets and invests profits to better women’s and girls’ lives. She loves words and flash fiction and just had her flash story Blink published by The Writer’s Center.
We sixty-three stomped in en masse to tidy up the graves. Hundreds of Canada geese already grooming the grounds lifted as one into the air, circled, scolded.
We finished in record time, dried wreaths, wilted flowers piled by the curbs.
Eighty thousand graves freshened ’til Memorial Day. Rest in peace.
rJo Herman dreams of writing one perfect tale her grandchildren will pass down to their grandchildren. She lives with her grey-striped companion, Emil Catt, I, in the Colorado high desert.
Editor’s Note: Martin Luther King day was on January 21. I apologize for seeing this story too late to post it on that date…