Walk to school,
Home from school,
Help with homework,
Make the dinner,
Run their baths,
Mop the floor,
Wake up Mother,
Bring her bottle,
Avoid eye contact,
Make no sound.
Jo Withers is author of the middle-grade science-fiction adventure 5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth. Her recent shorter fiction can be found in Spelk, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine and Flashback Fiction.
A river runs close by.
Sometimes, we go together. I paddle at the edges while you swim deftly forward. You covet its spiralling depths, embracing the undulating void as you leave the land behind.
You emerge dripping, almost drowned, but re-submerge before you’re dry.
My heart sinks as you plummet.
Jo Withers writes poetry and short stories from her home in South Australia. You can follow Jo on Twitter.
I was paid in old change. Ancient change. Gold drachmas engraved with ancient marks, no two alike.
Rubbing the coins between my fingers, the flakes of red stained my soft flesh. The stink of copper held fast as I washed away what I hoped was paint.
I can’t quit anymore.
Isaiah grew up in California and has been looking for any reason to become anything but a writer for as long as he can remember. Writing won’t pay the bills, but it sure is fun. He wishes he could name this story “Blood Money,” but his love of horror and puns probably shouldn’t mix.
Standing by the bare pantry, his wife looks at him through eyes of pain and anger.
His own eyes red, swollen, his head pounding,
He hears his children crying.
Their last dollars in hand, he walks into the grocery store,
Where he finds, on the same shelf
Bread and wine.
Carrie Backer is the author of two children’s books: Wayne’s Trip to the Moon and Mr. Jacobs and the Serving Spoon. Carrie also enjoys writing poetry and short stories and has a new-found interest in creating microfiction and flash fiction. Carrie’s books are available at backerbooks.com.
As the gates of Hell locked behind him he felt he had one more chance.
He’d lost his job, house, family, and now his soul. Unperturbed, he strode towards Satan and his entourage.
He only needed to think of one more thing to gamble with to make it all disappear.
Connell doesn’t need to gamble, as putting pen to paper is risky enough. He never knows where the words might take him.
Three hundred years from now, they still have AA meetings. After the meetings end, before the attendees take off in their flying cars or hop on airlifts to their dingy floating halfway houses, some still chew nervously at the rims of their Styrofoam coffee cups, unable to grasp the future.
Thomas Tilton is pretty sure the coffee is mud.
“It’s time to go,” she said.
“In a sec,” I called back.
“No! Right now!” she said, even louder, with more than a hint of annoyance.
“Okay, okay!” I screamed back.
The door slammed and I knew it was too late.
I turned back to level two of Panda Pops.
Gordon Lysen is enjoying his retirement, filling his days with painting, carving, writing, and the occasional game of Panda Pop.
My counselor told me “You can beat this, but you need to keep attending our sessions.”
My mother said to me, “you’re going to die if you keep this up.”
As I leave the liquor store, I hear the door chime ringing behind me. Did an angel get its wings?
Amy Elizabeth wrote this story.
You rounded the corner and stumbled across a shrine, all candles and teddy bears. Then you saw the photo posted.
It was the first boy you kissed. You had wrestled tongues before he retreated and called you ugly.
But that was 12 years ago. Your dealer waits for no one.
Christine Stoddard is a writer and artist and the founding editor of Quail Bell Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.
Editor’s Note: Bed-Stuy is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn.
When Facebook crashed for 14 hours, 911 was inundated with calls from millions of panic-stricken people. This was an emergency on an unprecedented, incomprehensible scale.
Their lives came to a complete, instant standstill. All they lived for had been taken away from them.
Thank God I am not a screenager.
Other stories by Barry O’Farrell
appear in Cyclamens & Swords, A Story In 100 Words and of course here at 50 Word Stories.