It’s like the riddle. Three doors; two lead to certain death.
Door One: A mother, breath rasping, crying for her children.
Door Two: A feverish teenager, too exhausted to beg for help.
Door Three: A pensioner, grey-haired but agile, coughing continuously.
Hands shaking, you tighten your mask, open a door.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in NFFD Anthology (U.K.), Best Microfictions 2020, Reflex Fiction and Spelk.
Hillock – Lingering glances at waitress. Your phone number secretly scrawled on the bill.
Bridge – Flowers, expensive dinners. Breathless streams of fragile promises.
Church With Spire – Expected. Drunken proposals, forgotten by morning.
Mountain – Personal trainer, more than once, while I was pregnant.
Quarry – Pit. The deep, dark realisation you’d never cared.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in Reflex Fiction, NFFD Anthology and Best Microfictions 2020.
After the autumnal fogs of Mars
Have made me melancholy,
And the moon’s tranquil seas
Have melted my bitterness,
I sail to Earth
And stroll beside the snapping salty oceans,
To my cryogenic grave,
Drop petals onto empty casket,
And mourn humanity
And days when life was simple.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work has appeared in Retreat West, Milk Candy Review, Ellipsis Zine, and Best Microfictions 2020.
Bobbing – I think of apples. Ups and downs.
Behaviour – Mine, yours – neither commendable.
Bitter – Adjective. I am ___. You made me ___.
Brazen – Wasn’t she?
Bayonet – Wounding instrument. Cold steel engulfing flesh.
Baby – Would you have left if it had happened? (See Barren)
Boomerang – I won’t go back.
Bruised – Imperfect, fragile, healing.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in Ellipsis Zine, Milk Candy Review and Reflex Fiction. Jo’s work was also recently chosen for inclusion in Best Microfiction 2020.
February 9th, her birthday: deep in Winter’s bitter swell. Sledging with friends, then home to Mum’s hot chocolate and hugs.
Now grandchildren tiptoe to her door with homemade cake, footsteps wary over unforgiving frost. She pulls them indoors, warms small hands in hers.
Over seventy birthdays, she’s never felt cold.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia where February is anything but cold.
Cruelly, the mirror mocks me, shows me what I’ve wanted for so long.
A sideways glance reveals my swollen stomach,
Neatly rounded, bloated from the drugs,
Curving out as though I’m six months pregnant.
Empty, stitched and sore when all I dreamt of was a child.
Realistically, that’s impossible now.
Jo Withers writes micros, flash, and shorts from her home in South Australia. Recent fiction can be found in Milk Candy Review, Ellipsis Zine and Lunate.
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.
A child star, she’d been acting all her life. She’d played the beautiful princess, the glamorous wife, the sexy secretary.
At 35, roles disappeared.
She booked in quick: nipped, tucked, tightened.
Next audition they loved her: “Perfect cheekbones; sensual pout.” Booked her for a Hollywood blockbuster.
Playing George Clooney’s mother.
Jo Withers writes micros, shorts, and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work is featured or forthcoming in Ellipsis Zine, Molotov Cocktail, FlashBack Fiction, Milk Candy Review and Lunate. You can follow Jo on Twitter at @JoWithers2018.
Sailor’s arms beneath tobacco-scented cardigans. Milky eyes like moonlit skies, staring as though I was the finest thing on Earth.
But when he wore the hat, for memorials or military functions, he became a ghost.
I wondered what that hat had seen, to make him quiver like a frightened child.
Jo Withers writes micros, flash, and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work has featured or is forthcoming in Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Bath Flash Anthology, and Milk Candy Review.
In the event of:
1. Flood – Assemble food and first aid kit. Be ready to evacuate.
2. Fire – Leave immediately. Once out, call emergency services.
3. Earthquake – Stay indoors. Prepare for cracks to appear in foundations. Do not involve passers-by. Subsidence is inevitable.
4. Marriage – Follow procedure in step 3.
Jo Withers writes micros, flash, and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work has appeared in Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine, Flashback Fiction, Spelk, 24 Unread Messages, and Mythic Picnic.