It happened occasionally, stray balls, wayward kites, but today was relentless.
Baubles in her birdbath, puddings thrown into petunias, tinsel in her tulips.
Angrily, she marched next door, demanded an explanation.
Guiltily, her neighbour’s boy confessed to everyone: “I hoped she’d come. She’s alone on Christmas Day. Can she stay?”
Jo Withers writes short stories and poetry from her home in South Australia. She wishes everybody a safe and happy holiday season.
She held him, squeezed him, his musk comforting but making the decision impossible. She couldn’t believe it had come to this.
The doorbell rang.
No! she lamented. Taxi’s early.
She kissed Mr. Bear, placed him on the top shelf of her closet.
You’ll always be my guy. But it’s time.
A graduate of York University, Stephen Ground now lives in his head, scraping by peddling floors and sometimes unsolicited advice. Find his work in The Esthetic Apostle, Sky Island Journal, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sunlight Press, and elsewhere.
I remember what it was like to go to sleep and just luxuriate in it, swimming in the darkness of hours and hours.
Now you’re here, with your whimpers in the night and your chubby hands clutching me as you feed. You smell like warmth, and love has replaced sleep.
Victoria Davies is a freelance music teacher and writer from London, UK. She loves writing her thoughts and feelings about motherhood after the birth of her son in November 2016, an event more life-changing than she ever expected. You can read her blog at muminmakeup.wordpress.com.
Her blue eyes looked down into his brown ones. His brown hand grabbed her peach finger.
They were complete opposites, but that didn’t matter to either of them. Perfect matches weren’t based on color: eyes, skin, hair. This was a perfect match.
“Welcome home,” said the foster mom.
Melanie Gabbard is a mother of four: one biological, three adopted from foster care. She won a short story competition with Writer’s Digest and wrote a short screenplay that was adapted for film.
The baby dolls go with her everywhere. She cuddles the pale-faced one and croons, “Wittle sweet,” then kisses the dark-faced one and sings, “Wittle deaw.”
Everyone asks me why her babies have different skins.
I shrug. “She loves babies of all kinds.”
Why, they wonder.
I ask myself, Why not?
Rachelle Dawson is a wife, mama, and writer who loved books and baby dolls as a child. Now that she has her own children, she is rediscovering the delight of children’s literature and short stories. You can find more of her work at WritingRachelle.com.
Mom’s Parkinsons was winning. Ringo, too, was near his end. Yet he stayed close, holding down her trembling foot, keeping her close, guarding her from demons.
Mom needed more help than we could offer, so I placed her. Mom settled in. Ringo, no longer needed, departed for his next assignment.
Kevin McManus wrote this story.
We sit amid butterflies and impeccably tended grass each day.
“Tea?” I pour from the cool pitcher on the tray.
She nods, demure. “Two sugars,” she says. “Why haven’t we met before?” She looks up under her lashes. The nurse behind us clucks in sympathy.
“Just bad timing, I guess.”
Delancey Stewart is a fiction writer living in Southern Maryland. When no indulging her imagination, she works for the man as a tech writer and tends two small boys who, her husband assures her, are hers. Find her at delanceystewart.wordpress.com.
The ghostly spectre silhouetted against the dark window sighed, the symptom of Death’s long-suffering passion.
Inside, cold breaths rattled through the lungs of Enid Westerhapf, 112 years old and at long last preparing to die.
Having awaited her for so long, Death finally welcomed her to stand by his side.
This story was based on a title provided by Master Gunner.
My life is like a bowl of oatmeal. It’s bland, grey, and kind of lumpy, only becoming bearable when I pile on the brown sugar.
Unlike the rest, the “brown sugar” part isn’t a metaphor. I crave the stuff constantly, by the bowlful.
Ironically, I’m kind of a bitter person.
This story is based on a title suggested by @cthomlan.
If I come back as a ladybug, you once told me, be gentle. Try not to crush me, but if by chance you should, don’t grieve. I’ll keep coming back, you promised, time and again.
Now, as you cling to me, I turn leeward to shelter you from the wind.
Alex Markovich was a magazine editor at Consumer Reports before he retired. He lives in Ardsley, a suburb of New York, with Jackie, his wife of 54 years and his fiercest critic.