I was six when my father left. I remember his hands, large and coarse, letting go of mine to hurl a battered suitcase into his rusting, coughing car.
Now his hands seem small and frail, shaking with fear for his next long journey.
I cannot bring myself to clasp them.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
The eyewitnesses were children. Two. An eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister.
They heard and saw more than they could comprehend.
Why was daddy so angry? Why did they have to call this new woman “mommy?”
They missed their grandmother. Why did “mommy” get to decide who they could love?
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Watching two swans glide across the farmer’s pond, Claire reflects on her life and how things didn’t work out the way she’d imagined.
She read that swans mate for life, and wonders why they hadn’t shared that secret with the young couple who once pledged undying love along this shore.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
My greasy hair is flowing upwards, blonde flames licking the stale air of the ISS. Exercise twice a day, followed by sponge baths only.
“I know, sweet pea, I know,” I whisper into the microphone. Her newborn cries inconsolably.
Twice a day I am only 220 miles away from her.
Dini Armstrong, now Scottish, has worked in journalism and psychology. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing. Her controversial style got her into trouble from age six, when, after writing a particularly enraging piece about a cat blowing up three boys, she had to promise to her stepdad never to write again. She lied.
My heart has shattered and the shards are everywhere.
Each shard a memory, each memory most precious.
Goodbyes were said, tears were shed, hugs gratefully given and received.
The end of the school year; I will never see most of these students again.
China is a long way from America.
Daniel Quillen is retired and living in China, teaching English at a Chinese university. He just wrapped up his final semester there.
The crackling campfire illuminated her birth name, carefully inscribed in large, looping cursive.
She hadn’t expected this letter. Not after the way she’d left.
A dry sob clogged her throat—or was it simply smoke from the fire?—as she dropped the envelope, unopened, into the heart of the blaze.
Devon R. Widmer is a grumpy graduate student by day, a scribbling daydreamer by night, and a sleep deprived parent full time.
Shortly after Greg woke to discover his vertebrae had permanently fused with his wife’s while they’d slept, he became curious if she had been complaining to her friends about him behind his back.
When she awoke screaming, desperate to pull away from him, he smiled, realizing it didn’t matter anymore.
Ran Walker is burrowing himself beneath a growing pile of words–and enjoying every minute of it.
When Jerry arrived home, he realized he’d left his life at the office.
This wasn’t the first time he’d realized this, but the realization was more poignant at the moment as he read the note on the refrigerator:
“Took kids with me to mother’s. See you again sometime, I imagine.”
Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in Red Eft, Ink In Thirds, Alba, Corvus, Tower Journal, Uppagus, After the Pause, Spelk, Chrome Baby, Former Cactus and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.
He plunged the knife into his chest, carved a circle through the muscle and bone, and withdrew his heart. He placed it in a box and neatly wrapped it.
The day before she left, he presented her the gift, to carry with her to the other end of the world.
Francisco Tutella is a public relations specialist at Penn State University. His work has appeared in Fifty-Word Stories and Wilkes magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Like him on Facebook.
Both our wives walked out within a week. We hadn’t spoken in years, but now all we had was each other: though divided by parents, we were united by divorce.
We fished from the harbour wall, with bated breath and baited lines, sharing tales of the one that got away.
Guy has never taken his brother fishing. This is his twenty-second 50-word story.