The unicorn is in the garden again, munching on the roses.
“I can’t,” I say. “I’m not ready.”
I follow him down the lane to the edge of the enchanted forest. The pine scent clears my lungs.
The unicorn slips between the trees. One day, soon, I’ll go with him.
Hannah Whiteoak writes speculative fiction to escape the real world. She is working on an animal-themed flash collection. Follow @HannahWhiteoak or visit hannahwhiteoak.me.
Editor: This story is a sequel to Side Effects.
It wasn’t the diagnosis of strangled bowel, nor the low survival chance to vital surgery that tore at his heart.
It wasn’t the palpable frailty of his hero, his mother, hooked up to machines, though these things were traumatic.
No, it was those five words: Can I come home now?
Absorbing the Donegal hills from distance only now, Perry McDaid’s creativity subsists on nature’s palette and scents. Unfortunately this sometimes involves silage.
We would watch the same series on TV every night. There was something reassuring in watching the bedraggled, anti-social detective’s steady but honourable mental decline. She’d point at the screen and joke that that was me. Since my diagnosis she doesn’t say it anymore, but then she doesn’t need to.
John Peter Kay is a primary school teacher by day, and a poet by stealth; who finds time to write during his commute to work. He irregularly reads his work with Ware Poets. After a decade abroad, John now lives with his wife and daughter near London in the South of England. His blog can by found at balloonysaintjohn.wordpress.com
You say they’re a beautiful sky blue—
that may slow your tumors.
You take the sky
into your body
with your morning tea.
I imagine you
in today’s snow, making angels
as we did when small—
____ice-crusted fringe of tree-tops,
____glint of winter sun, the dazzling
Jennifer L. Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. The above was originally published in The Worcester Review (at 57 words), but someone inspired her to see if she could trim it and send it here. The above-mentioned pills worked for about ten months. See more at jfreed.weebly.com.
I’ll calm you, I’ll keep you busy. I’ll scratch that itch. I’ll give you a reason to go outside for some fresh air. Sometimes, I’ll give you a rush. Most of the time though, I will just give you a measure of comfort.
Then, I will kill you.
Sharon Gerger has been published in the Globe and Mail and Erma Bombeck Workshop and has a story in Laugh Out Loud, an award-winning book that is for sale on Amazon.
It’s petit-mal, the doctor called my seizures. I knew enough from my French class to know that means ‘a little bit bad,’ which sounded like they weren’t taking me seriously.
It may be little, but what they call things can make a big difference. They really should think about that.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. His work can be seen in Fewer than 500, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, and Flash Frontier, among other places.
Finally, the call came, after six months of mystery liquid
dripping from her nose–
a cerebral fluid leak originating from a hole at the base of her brain.
The enemy had been unmasked after not one, not two, but three lab samples.
No time for fear; she prepared for battle.
Vernae is a wife, mother, and grandmother who is getting off the sidelines and into the art of writing for better or for worse. Vernae is currently completing three books of poetry that reflect the joys, challenges, and hope throughout the human experience.
Amy dragged her feet and luggage. The 22-hour flight was a killer. She needed food. Bad.
Bright, colorful photos lined the overhead menu.
“How much damage for Burger Meal #4?” asked Amy.
Behind the counter, the skull in a black, hooded cloak grinned. “Four years.”
Amy sighed. “Upsize it, please.”
Joey always upsizes it. He can found at joeytoey.com.
Death’s hand, which I shook reluctantly, was a plumped pillow.
“You’re safe,” he said. “For now.”
“I pictured you as a, you know—”
“Skeleton? You should’ve seen me before the Western diet.” Laughter rippled his corpulence. “Doctor’s telling me to eat better, but she thinks I’m lying about my work.”
Iain Young hasn’t forgotten the childhood nightmare in which he was chased by angry vegetables. That might explain a lot.
Tonight I celebrate a glorious sunset, the precious ending of another glorious day!
Its view is tainted through a hospital window; no problem.
Have I truly beaten death? Perhaps!
I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but for today I’ve won, and with every labored breath I celebrate life’s simple joy.
Lisa Lysen is having fun exploring her passion for words, hoping an adventure in writing may be somewhere in her future.