Microfiction Monday – 149th Edition
Jack kept the cigarettes he stole from his dad at the bottom of his vinyl school bag underneath virgin textbooks and teenage boy detritus. We smoked them in the paddock that marked the halfway point between our houses. In an untamed hedge and using grass clippings from the paddock’s slashing we made that autumn’s cubby house where we perfected smoke rings and discussed girls. After he finished his cigarette, one name always made Jack unknowingly tie the fresh green stalk of a weed’s regrowth into a knot after making a big heart-shaped loop. I never told him that I noticed.
by G.J. Williams
As for the smoking crater at the centre of your being, it’s lost among foreign wars, localised tumours; divorces, evictions. That it still smoulders is testament enough; whatever was there must have taken some destroying. But we know, don’t we? We know what was there and how much it took to destroy it. So very little it ought to be sad. But it’s not sad, is it? Too few losses for it to be deemed sad. The cigarettes in your coat pocket were soaked, and there’s no accounting for your neighbour’s taste in music, loud and piercing as it is.
by Adam Conner
“Look,” she tells me, sitting here in a cafe we’d never been to before, in clothes that she no doubt wore the night before, thumbing her purse strap she’d yet to take off, circling the straw in her water (the only thing she ordered), checking her phone as if she received a message she’d been waiting for this entire time, still wearing her sunglasses as if she didn’t want to see me, she tells me, “We need to talk,” but we already have.
Microfiction Monday – 138th Edition
Gatesy sways in his overcoat. When he found it he could hardly do the remaining buttons up. But he has “lost weight,” as he puts it. I call it starving.
“C’mon,” I implore, “You have to eat.”
Now if you want to eat you have to show faith.
We pray, pick up bowls and under posters exhorting piousness, join the queue.
The server jokes, “What’s it going to be?”
As if there’s a choice.
After staring at Gatesy he adds more into his bowl.
Gatesy smiles as he eats.
“What’s so funny?”
“I got them where I want them”
When Tomorrow Was Perfect
by Angela Gilbert
“They’re coming!” Griff swipes his sword near Brett, blocking the villains from their assault. The forest teems with orcs only they see. “Fix your sword!” Brett’s frantic fingers tighten the fraying coils of rope connecting the wooden blade to its handle while Griff holds them off.
Their battle shields the lurking man from their notice.
Tonight will bring police. Interviews. Brett’s tearful mother asking Griff why they had walked home separately.
Tomorrow will bring posters, searches, and the beginning of a big forever without answers.
But right now laughter, sweat, and wooden swords hold the
promise of a perfect tomorrow.
Time to Move On
by Andrea Damic
All she can hear is the emptiness of rooms and corridors followed by squeaky floorboards and gushes of wind rushing through the hole in the roof. Pictures of family members displayed on tarnished walls alongside an unsteady spiral staircase whisper about the past long gone. She looks at their faces intensely attempting to remember their names but to no avail. Trying to put the puzzle together was like following a trail of disappearing bread crumbs.
For a moment she catches glimpses of her aged translucent body in a broken mirror across the hall. “Maybe it is time to move on.”
by Cheryl Snell
Before her legs gave out, she climbed into bed. Thought she could better track her body’s factories there. If she lay back and listened hard enough to the warnings–high winds rushing from ear to ear, vision blurring like raindrops on a windshield–she should have enough time to summon help. She looked at the brass bell she kept on the bedside table, a duplicate of the one her mother had used during her final illness. She’d ring the clapper dumb, never realizing the ringing in her ears was, as her friends liked to say, all in her head.
Microfiction Monday – 125th Edition
by G.J. Williams
It’s in his face: no dog and twenty old ghosts. It’s in the way he sits, his clothes shining with years of ingrained dirt. Been in those clothes so long they’d have to be surgically removed, layer by layer. A man without. Muttering into his beard. And that muttering of his can fire up and things get noisy. Many’s the scuffle he’s had with thin air. Leathered on god knows what gutrot. Been at the end of his life for years kind of bloke. Always on his tod. With a bunch of ghosts. And like I say, no dog.
Ninety-year-old bare skin is crepe, crossed with turkey’s wattle and if you lightly bump or grip too tight it bruises like an evil has been done. My mother hates that her arms, her neck, her décolletage look this way.
When I hug her I can see Mum’s scalp through the thinning, flyaway hair now worn short, as her fingers can no longer manage hair ties. Mum was always proud of her hair so she hates that too.
Worse still is the oedema, the fluid retention that merges her ankles and calves into one inflamed whole. Anyone would hate that.
EVERYTHING MUST GO
by E. O’Neill
The hands of a thousand brides carry the life’s work of Saul Bergman. Stone tokens of love everlasting, each expertly cut and polished under his watchful eye. Now, the sign in the store window announces the closeout sale. The sign’s reach goes far beyond the store’s inventory. Its message has roots and limbs. It grows like ivy and covers all.
Four rows away a lawnmower rumbles, drowning out the rabbi’s prayer. Ida grieves but doesn’t weep. She steels herself to the weather’s chill and the uncertainty of the future. She’ll move to West Islip to be closer to her sister.
The Merest Crack
by Philippa Bowe
Syl balances on the Waterloo Bridge balustrade, waits for a sign, body swaying though there’s no wind, battered by gusts of forever-anxiety, and there! the last city lights stutter and go out, snuffed by the night’s dark, time to let go, plunge into the water below, wet cold shadows enfolding her, time to sink and rest, but no, up she floats on pillowing wings of clothes and lungs, face breaking the surface, tilting up to a seeping cleft in the sky, a finger of light beckoning as a solitary star – tiny, determined – eyeballs her, and she says, Well okay then.