Tag Archives: Jennifer Worrell

Microfiction Monday – 187th Edition

Staked to the Stars

by Robert Runté

The Count’s hand caressed the dirt covering the bottom of the coffin-shaped ceramic pod.

“From your garden,” the official affirmed.

“So I stay grounded. How long to Trappist-1e?”

“153 years. But you’ll be asleep for most of that.”

“A long time.”

“Less than you’ve lived already.” The official spread his hands feigning enthusiasm. “First to the Trappist system. That’s huge.”

“Then stranded.”

“Well, yes.” The official gestured at various consoles. “But all of human music, art, literature at your disposal. First to explore a new world…!”

“And if I refuse?”

“Then it’s the Van Helsing option for you, I’m afraid.”


by Ken Poyner

I purchased my wife forty-five years ago, when wives were much simpler. I allow no upgrades, no application extensions. She has a slight hitch in one knee; the rotor in her shoulder sometimes catches. Unlike newer models, she does not have endless variations on each cache of tasks. I take comfort that in passion, housework, companionship, she has a limited repertoire, selects execution by a mathematical algorithm I have demystified. I realize eventually she will be so far behind modern demands that some random task will cause an out-of-loop experience and she will terminally shut down. But so will I.

A Tranquil Stream in the Woods

by Dave Zacker

After a long shift, “Stream Woods/Tranquil” was Katie’s favorite–the water gently splashing over the rocks…birds chirping…breezes rustling the trees–

“Good Morning!” voiced the pleasant alarm.

Katie woke-up and eyed-off her cranial glassit and rolled out of bed.

‘An actual stream!’ she always thought.

After breakfast, she suited-up and hurried out for work. A thick overcast obscured both suns today.

“Oh my!…Oh my!” she sang while trudging through a freezing drizzle across the windblown greenish dunes on her way to Terraforming Station 52, “My great-great-grandkids will be playing!…Oh my!…In real streams!…Oh my!…Oh my!…” 

Twenty Minutes to Twilight

by Jennifer Worrell

Early May 2020, Tallulah’s kibble inventory hit empty. I yanked on my favorite walking shoes, eager for fresh air. Confused why her servant never left home anymore, kitty purred a fond farewell.

I jaywalked through an intersection usually full of revving cars, squirrels scrabbling up trees, and bicyclists and pedestrians clambering between. Now, a rusting stop sign squealed in the breeze. A stale, rotting stench pressed from an unseen source.

An excavator had punched a hole in the asphalt, work long abandoned. Pebbles chased a trickle of water into soil six feet below. If I fell in, who would notice?


by David Woodward

Hatred ate into him like a gnawing beast. He watched the creature with curiosity. What would be left of him? The beast grew. He knew the end was near. He would forever hunger for something he would never be. What did he want to be? The creature, satisfied, ambled awkwardly away from the stale carcass. It had no use for the past. A distant memory remained. Then slowly faded back into flesh. The hunger returned. And the path narrowed. Darkness descended. The scent of decay followed. Forever its own. The metamorphosis complete.

Microfiction Monday – 186th Edition

Her Son’s Garden

by JD Clapp

Maria sits by the garden, easel and paints set out, her canvas blank. She watches birds. A hummer, translucent reds and greens, buzzes lemon tree blossoms. Two crows watch from the powerline, cawing. The rabbit nibbling greens doesn’t notice the hawk, death’s harbinger circling above.

Maria’s face is moist, salty, despite the cool vernal air. Her husband and daughter, now chemical ghosts, churn in a jumble of neural shards, fading images competing with the empirical.

She sees him and beams.

“Sonny! I saw a robin!”

“Ready to go in Ma?”

Smiling, he sees a splash of yellow on the canvas.

The House That Does Not Die Alone

by Melanie Mulrooney

Generations grew their foundation on my bones—from birth to death to that which comes after. I provided shelter as they ushered decay.

I was once a fresh-faced thing. Made of strong trunks from the ageless forest, my walls built by skilled and callused hands, logs chinked with mud and sweat.

For years, high-pitched squeals bounced off ceiling beams, filling my rooms. Long-suffering mothers cooked countless meals in my kitchen, and knelt on my floorboards to pray.

My inhabitants are mostly silent now, scarce whispers from the chorus. They only ask, “What is next?”

We wait for the answer, together.

Dad’s Wallet

by Julian Cloran

When my Dad died, the hospital handed me a tray with his personal effects, including the wallet, I’d bought him as a boy. The brown leather wallet was bent to the shape of my Dad’s buttock, he always carried it in his back pocket. I remembered buying it in Bexhill with a friend I’d made from the campsite where we’d holidayed nearby. I hadn’t known what colour to choose so my friend asked what colour my Dad’s best suit was. ‘Brown,’ I lied. My Dad didn’t have a suit.

Remembering Muriel

by Carmen Farrell

It’s not possible. She died thirty years ago. But like magic, I smell her as if she’s beside me. I freeze at my desk, staring at the breezy blue summer scene of snap dragons in the window box. Pens in their cylindrical container, papers scattered around me, fingers curved above dormant computer keyboard. Paused, as if we all listen. Is there more? She smells of linen and soap. Then I hear her voice. Fresh and loving, her words fall over my head as they did in childhood. She is not gone. “Imagine that!” my grandmother would say. I am, Grandma. 

Interpretive Shift

by Jennifer Worrell

Solid-gold band, azure stone with a star in the center like a slice of the Milky Way: my dad’s ring was endlessly fascinating. He let me try it on, peer into the little supernova, imagine the planet it came from.

Decades later my parents rented a suburban apartment. Smaller. Who needs that much space? Near dad’s office, to save gas. While helping them pack, I found the ring in a plastic, 35mm film canister. Light as air, too-yellow gilt, star painted in a sky of resin: thirty years fell from the galaxies to crash in the palm of my hand.

Microfiction Monday – 185th Edition

The Magician

by Adam Conner

I first had the father I never met sawed in half. Then I had him stand against a wooden board and outlined him with daggers. Then I fed him swords on fire. For the grand finale, I stuffed him inside a wooden box and hung him in the air. The box exploded, and my father disappeared yet again. Later, when people asked how I did it, all I could tell them was, “Magic.” 

Thirtysomething Leavings

by Carmen Farrell

Give me more space to be me, maybe a baby—just not his. Waited for the right timing and changed my address and quit my job! Planned what to take. No inkling to friends or family. Weren’t we the couple that had it all? I contained everyone’s shock. Consoled their concern.  But my failings and flailings still travelled with me. Bills to pay, graduate school to finish, job to unquit. I wasn’t lonely but felt disloyal to our ‘til death do us part’. I relinquished owning porcelain china and Waterford crystal for ten. To become a single tenant of me.

Things that Evaporate in Fog

by Jennifer Worrell

The summer I turned nine, while other kids barged in and out of friends’ houses and tore around the neighborhood, I visited my grandparents in the Smoky Mountains.  No argument here.  An anxious book nerd who didn’t understand the noise of other children, I looked forward to three bully-free months.
We arrived too late and exhausted to explore.  Early next morning, I stepped off the tiny porch into the dew-kissed lawn.  The mountains scratched the edges of dawn and hoisted the sky on its hazy shoulders.  I shrunk under their immense silence, my childhood problems smaller than a June bug.


by G. Lynn Brown 

She slips under the covers. A fan sits on the floor and blows a breeze on her face.

He hates the fan. The draft chills him, the sound disturbs him, and he hates her for having it on.

She doesn’t care. She needs its white noise to drown out the midnight silence. So, she ignores his gripes and closes her eyes and thinks of someone else.

While awake, hopes abound. But slumber brings dreams. Now she’s in between, just as much awake as asleep, where hopes marry dreams, the ideal place to visit her someone else, and she dozes off.

Freedom Floats

by James Rasco

A promise of escape dangles from a nail above a white ceramic cookie jar. A keychain; a faded yellow oval of foam. Tiny fingers pick at the peeling vinyl advertisement. It smells of lake water and chemicals. The car is packed: fishing gear, food, clothes. We take everything we need, which means Father stays behind. For the weekend we can play pretend that our family is more whole than fractured. Hours later and past the gate, a key attached to a faded yellow oval of foam opens the metal door. Inside, it smells of stale air, old dust, and freedom.