I’ve been collecting things since I was very small. Conkers, feathers, snow globes. Then onto stamps, butterflies, coins.
It was only natural for me to progress to larger, more beautiful and precious things. Hard to find, harder to keep.
People demand their freedom in a way that stamps never did.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
The Balloonman presents the poodle, smiles and begins another. The child lifts it overhead; refracted color splashes his face.
Autumn engulfs the horizon—the carnival sags. The Balloonman squints as summer burns itself out.
The swan completed, he bows to one last girl, sighs, and turns toward evening and home.
Melody Leming-Wilson lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon. She writes mostly poetry, but is afraid the 50 word story might get in the way of that.
He stood her up on their third date.
Fifteen years and three lovers later, he finds her in Savenor’s Market. After exchanging greetings, he leaves. She studies the sirloin.
Suddenly he’s back, takes her face in his hands, passionately kisses her, and hurries away.
Stunned, she moves on to produce.
Carol Anne Harvey has been writing poetry and short stories since she was 5. Her focus now is on writing micro memoirs. “Unfinished” is her first submission to 50-Word Stories.
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.
The wasp finds itself trapped inside a water glass held up against a window. It repeatedly slams itself against the window, rebounding off the water glass. Spent, it finally surrenders.
I slide paper between window and water glass, and free the wasp outside.
Surrender is not always what it seems.
Ellen Hansen is a writer and fiddle player living in Helvetia, Oregon. She recently retired from leading international tours. Her story “Surrender” just received first place in the 2019 Oregon Writers Colony 50 word story contest.
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.
Withering from within, she huddled her hunched-over spirit through the imposing church doors.
In her closed fist was enough shiny and dull copper, grubbed from the streets, to pay.
Perhaps crumbs of kind words. Or drops of holy water from the priest’s aspergill.
Just enough sustenance to survive another week.
Una Nina Nine loves to read and write.
Her eyes scan the fruits and vegetables—oranges, apples, eggplants, peppers—neatly piled like cascading mountains. Nothing like the crowded, messy markets of home. No loud negotiations and catch-ups with familiar faces. Here, just screeches from carts.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she takes some okra and moves on.
Mariya Khan is a fiction writer from Maryland and Editorial Assistant at National Geographic. When she’s not visiting museums or exploring D.C., you can find her cooking new recipes while binge-watching crime dramas.
Crows waddle about pecking at the grass and dirt. He, in his black security guard uniform, waddles along too—arthritic knees splaying his legs. On the nearby street, tires squeal and horns honk, sending the crows skyward. He stops, turns his head, watches them, surely with a twinge of green.
Louella Lester writes in Winnipeg, Canada. Her flash writing has appeared in Spelk, Reflex Fiction, Flash Fiction North, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Fewer Than 500, and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine.
A mummy works Macy’s gift wrap counter. He told the boss he has 2,000 years in wrapping. Sometimes his hands get confused and he realizes he’s using bandages from his arm. Unspools. Starts over. Customers curse, but he isn’t bothered by curses, and he has all the time in the world.
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Nature, Blink-Ink, and Pulp Literature. See more at hemicyon.wordpress.com.