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Literary Fiction
(Fic)
Flash Fiction Collection
by Jo Hawk

Tall tales, snippets of conversations, general musing or dark thoughts from a disturbed mind, all retold in a few words. What ideas lurk in the corners of a writer's imagination? You can find out in a flash. "Sounds interesting!"

Repeating History

I took the stairs, two at a time, stuffing my gun into its holster as I tried to ignore the heavy strap digging into my shoulder. It was early, and I prayed as I approached her apartment.

“Please, be awake.”

Closing the door softly, ...





Unexpected Love

My love affair started on our honeymoon, and I can assure you it’s not what you think. His idea. I preferred sleeping until noon, finding a great espresso in a cute shop and spending the afternoon wandering through the Uffizi. Waking up at four am was not on m...





Brave Enough

Touching the scar on my arm, I let my finger trace the line.

The diner reeks of nostalgia, the linoleum is worn, but the coffee in the battered cream-colored cup is hot and strong. I sip, watching the two uniforms place their order and adjust their stools at t...





The Business of Flying

They drift, while I watch with envy. Most times I pilot, but today I lead the chase team, earthbound. Owning the business, I have a job I love. Then there are these days. 

Two ground crew personnel called in sick. Airborne, the expedition holds its own ex...





A Matter of Survival

She hadn’t planned it, it just happened.

Self-defense drove Dolce to cook. The youngest of ten children, her boarding house reach left her scavenging scraps. Being closer to the food offered her ample opportunity to “taste” and it ensured her...





Running on Empty

Daylight faded and the gas gauge’s needle dipped ever downward. I alone followed the black ribbon which wavered, shimmering as it grasped at the horizon. Flat, desolate county rolled past my windows, a study in beige monotony. The only interruption was the occ...





Holding On

The sand flew right out the window. It left me frozen, asleep for a thousand years. The one thing I craved, I never found. Solid ground. I slipped, descending the slope, my fate was sealed.

Sentenced, I watch your world from total darkness. Longing for sw...





It Starts with One

Sandy hobbled past the people milling around the pickup counter. The barista slammed her Grande Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato behind two carry out trays. Their owner was busy yelling at his phone to notice his order was complete and in the way. Her gnarled hand pushe...





Chalk Outline

The truth is lost in time. Erased by centuries of chest-pounding men. What power could a mere teenage girl lacking noble birth, hold over her betters? I’m here to tell you, women have their ways.

Fluent in Latin, an educated mind grasps diplomatic intric...





A Matter of Timing

Odette glanced at the building’s clock as she walked. Early as usual, and Derick would be late, calm, cool and bemused by her irritation. Her heart pounded, as she scanned the piazza. An old man leaning against a column, feeding the pigeons. A woman wearing a ...





Follow Me

Sasha’s quest for world domination was a slow process. Her extensive research in neuroscience and cult psychology formed the basis of her plan. Her studies confirmed the importance of preparing the subject’s mind, training and conditioning it t...





Cosmic Intervention

Darrius suspended his hand above the ancient vessel. His blood pulsed, forming a tiny pool, before he turned his palm and allowed a single drop to fall. Black liquor rose, eager, like a lover yearning to possess his beloved. As they joined, he spoke the final words....





Going Home

“Be yourself,” Maeve said then paused. “Try to look normal.”

Colton raised an eyebrow.

“Maeve, I’m Cerulean.”

“You’re the only one who can open the gateway.”

Colton had agreed and no...





Quelling the Tempest

Everyone loved Mima, although no one really knew her. Quiet and demure she floated through the village. She had the ability to quell any quarrel. With her trusty teapot, she arrived to save the day.

“Tea makes good friends,” she said.

&ldquo...





Scholarly Discussion

What do you think of the fifth precept, “I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness?” Samten asked as he leaned across the table.

Dakpa studied the coffee menu, until Samte...





Can’t Take It with You

His body lay dead and buried in the ground before Nydia met the man she had lived with for thirty-two years. He arranged his funeral, she signed the papers, and the undertaker handed her a yellow envelope bearing her carefully printed name.

An address and a k...





Revealing History

Gertrude thirsted for world knowledge. She studied ancient history, immersing herself in worlds far removed from hers. It seemed natural she found herself in Crete excavating the magnificent Minoan palace. It covered multiple square miles and reached four stories hi...





Green Monsters

I screamed when Mom showed me her newest houseplant. Barely bigger than my thumb, I begged her to destroy it. She laughed.

Each time I visited; it was larger, more menacing. It developed tendrils, and under each leaf, were sharp, curved barbs. They remind...





Betrayed

“My God, Charlene… He’s barely alive.” Contempt tainted Haley's voice. 

I didn’t respond. She dug in her tool bag, grabbed a long silver instrument, then she peeled back her palm, revealing the gaping hole in his chest....





Honor Games

Theo’s palms were moist with dread, and they trembled as he rubbed them on his trousers.

“I must be crazy,” he said to himself. The god sitting across from him snickered.

“Perhaps you are…” he paused amused by Theo’...





Tree Museum

“They once grew like this?” Ro let his fingers touch the rough tree trunk.

“Not exactly. Forests were much denser. There were multiple layers, areas of undergrowth so thick you couldn’t walk. The ground wasn’t level. There were co...





Gritty Gray Hope

Walking the city streets, I choke on the summer heat as it boils the simmering stench. Gray skies descend, reflecting the hell rising all around me. Everything lays dead or dying, and the devils threaten to consume the little I have left. This is my creati...





Accidental Friends

It materialized, and I had missed her. Again. I said ‘her’ although it could be a man. My gut confirmed it was her. Why did she torment me? Why did I obsess?

Her story grew in my mind. With the consistency of each sunrise, her bicycle arrived,...





Rarefied Society

James caressed and cradled the book against his chest. It had taken months to locate. Local libraries no longer hunted and delivered your desired tomes. They were relics, dismantled by the Device and digital data proliferation. The Quest was difficult, part of the g...





Entering the Transcendental Curve

“It's not an easy story,” I shifted, uncomfortable under the weight of their eyes, I studied my shaking hands. “And you’re never going to believe me.” 

I peeked at Tenzin. His serene face mirrored the silent temple where we s...





Fountain of Youth

Christopher was an ordinary boy who lived in an otherwise ordinary neighborhood. Like most little boys he loved playing outdoors and discovering secret gardens, talking animals, and harrowing adventures. His mother indulged his interests and read him bedtime stories...





Rejecting Lies

Lilith invited the serpent to coil around her legs, encouraged his undulating form to embrace her waist and hiss secrets into her ear.

Neither angels nor demons could dissuade her from the truth in her soul.

Fierce independence was the unpopular narrativ...





Ambush

I spied Springsteen’s ears peeking over the top of the cardboard box and I knew he was hunting trouble.

His patient stalking paid off as Winston, my English Bulldog, ambled past his hiding spot.

Springsteen sprung, pouncing on poor befuddled Winsto...





The Warrior’s Path

Jeremy stopped looking for easy answers. There weren’t any. Not for him. Maybe the shaman had a point. His life would be less difficult if he didn’t fight.

“Fighting is a way,” he told him. The wise man smiled and nodded.

It is w...





The Greatest Gift

As the day approaches, my anticipation increases. Doubt wrings conviction from my heart while my head constructs lists designed to weigh each decision’s consequences.

My worry consumes me, and my mother sends me to visit the shrine. The Omikuji will pre...





The End of Summer Camp

In the main hall’s kitchen, Kitty bled the water faucet. Other than the expected bumps and bruises and a case of poison ivy, camp had gone smoothly. Nothing like last year. One final check, to perform. With the cabins locked tight, she could return the ke...





Delicate Balance

My soul cried, devoid of meaning, lacking joy. The city droned with an insistency I could no longer hear, while my failed dreams echoed through my skull.

By some miracle, I discovered the nymph clinging to a single swaying reed. My entire focus centered ...





No Respect

It’s true what they say. You can never go home again was a statement I had heard my entire life. I didn’t understand until today.

Mom said we needed to pay our respects, honor the hard work, the sacrifices, and the memories. So, the parade of...





Defying the Prophecy

Angerona’s lifeless hand slipped from Sirona’s grasp. It rested peacefully over her heart as she conjured a smile.

“I am sorry, my child. I tried to prepare you.  Know that his fate is tangled with your own.”

Sirona bent...





Promising to Never Leave

We stared at each other, motionless, neither willing to break the spell.

Time flew, the world spun, and the neglected building faded, crumbling around us.

When the structure failed, I lost you in the billowing debris, and my final thoughts were wish...





Escape Plan

Filled with only the essentials, I tucked the bag under a pile of laundry in the closet’s corner. I closed the door and waited. Silence filled the apartment, and I dared to breathe. Months of planning, scheming, subterfuge, and second-guessing had br...





Choosing to Decide

Annora teetered, swaying back and forth, she walked a thin line. She heeded the lessons, listened to the morality tales, and promised to be a good girl. Yet, she questioned their version of the golden rule. 

What once was black or white, now wor...





The Emergence

Saying I was skeptical and creeped out, was an understatement. Jose promised me, I wouldn’t regret it. So, against my better judgment, I agreed. At least San Antonio offered a brief relief from Houston’s high humidity and gray skies courtesy of the ...





A Rare Find

They labeled the reports fake news, a myth concocted to defraud the susceptible. Rumors persisted and experts swore to the claim’s veracity. Video evidence showed the transformation of an ancient chrysalis discovered in the museum’s basement.

&ldqu...





Broken Promises

Jorden felt a sweet breeze touch his body. It was a sharp contrast to the stale, putrid stench inside their cell. He pushed against the big oil drum until it keeled over on its oxidized rim and he rolled it away. It took him several minutes to clear the towerin...





Less Than Expected

Teresa lived in happiness, cultivated friends and fun until her father issued his ultimatum. 

Straighten up, fly right, life is a serious business, he said. Walk the narrow path, focus on your goals, success lies in reaching your destination.

She co...





Hitting Restart

Oppressed by smoke-filled lounges, pressured by incessant demands, and depressed by his dismal gray life, he sings of halcyon days when opportunities lay before him.

He clutches a faded photo, reliving wrong turns, what could have been, and love lost alon...





The Price of Survival

It wasn’t glamorous, but desperate humans took any job to help pay for survival. Trey learned early when the day boss paid cash, he wasn’t paying you to ask questions. Today’s assignment promised a hefty bonus upon successful completion of eight ho...





Remembering My Forgotten Man

The best pieces were auctioned first. The hammer fell, the winning bidders paid, and scurried home clutching their new, old treasures. I stayed to the bitter end, bidding on lots no one else wanted. My prizes cost me a dollar, and the auctioneer tossed in other unso...





The Devil’s Playground

Friday night regulars, they met to drink, play cards and see how much of each other’s payday they could steal.

“Does it help?” Malachi asked flipping a card toward Tyrone.

Tyrone’s gnarled finger directed it to rest on top of his ...





An Event

Rachel checked the time. She was sure their text had said eleven, but the sidewalk café was deserted. Her compulsion ensured she was always early. But she expected someone would be here, setting up maybe? There were no life signs.

She sighed, digging her phon...





Hollow Victory

Ginny balanced the Louisville Slugger against her leg and sighed, realizing she had earned her fifteen minutes of fame. Her friends would slap her back. They would call her the bomb.

She had grown tired of hanging her head, ducking questions and running scare...





Choosing Action

Rosie heard the sayings, listened to the famous, sappy song, and she believed the pot of gold existed at the rainbow’s end.

It wasn’t a secret, no one contested the facts, but when a rainbow appeared, they stood motionless, staring, stuck with...





Masking Reality

Concentrate on the happy things they said.

But I don’t have happy things.

Nothing major. Something small that makes you smile. They bored me. 

Jeremy was much more pragmatic. He was still a pain in my ass, and entirely too optimis...





The Stranger Within

Tilly stood at the pool’s edge, acutely aware that she didn’t belong there. The rippling water displayed a distorted image of a familiar stranger in a wedding gown. She searched the flowing reflection, ever-changing it offered multiple perspectives.

<...





Copper Wood Estates

Where I walked wasn’t unexplored ground. There was a paved path, and it didn’t materialize from thin air. I knew better.

Somewhere a committee passed a motion, they conducted an environmental impact study, employed an engineer, and a landscape...





Groundswell

The plane’s shell curved, brushing the top of my head. I sank lower in my seat as the big man on the aisle shuffled, adjusted his jacket and rolled the magazine page back on itself. Feeling claustrophobic, I scrunched down, huddling close to the wall and stare...





Reading the Signs

The message floated as Gawyne read then turned towards Loreena.

“What does it mean?”

Loreena stepped closer, standing next to him, she contemplated the words, a thoughtful expression creased her brow.

“Who are these Knights of Cyd...





Scientific Discoveries

Davinia and Leela spent years researching, digging through forgotten archives, searching for clues. Their mission was to locate priceless treasures. Their current site called White City lay at the tip of a once-massive inland basin. A Lake evaporated by the Great Ca...





Ode to Poe

It was midnight. He had left me here, in the basement, with instructions to finish the display before tomorrow’s opening. At The Mütter, my tasks were never-ending. Each piece required painstaking placement and anchoring invisible to the naked eye. I pushed m...





Accepting Fate

The letter cut my hand as if it were a honed knife. The building was a riot of odd angles, incongruent lines, and an entrance door that dared me to open it. It was newer, probably installed to replace an ancient, rotting artifact destroyed by countless floods and un...





An Unobstructed View

Holiday lights hung low over the familiar street. They made Phoebe happy and sad. She loved their historical significance, the celebrations they commemorated, and the cheery twinkle they attempted to immediate. 

Tonight, she searched in vain. A lifeless v...





A Day to Remember

Jake and I had a standing appointment. It was a college ritual, established to catch up and brag about our weekend escapades. Fate had a way of pulling us apart as we explored parties, women, and adventure. On Monday, we always met at our favorite coffee shop.





Castle Urartian

Countless legends told fantastical tales of a great castle, the king who build it, and the jealous wizard who hid it from humanity.

Finding it became Warwick’s mission and led him to hunt through ancient archives and pour over maps.

Funding many fu...





Tricks for Treats

The black iron caldron exploded when Jared tossed saltpeter onto the roiling ingredients. The piercing light gouged my eye sockets, the concussion split my eardrums, and my heart stopped beating. I felt myself falling.

I don’t know if I lost consciousnes...





Never Enough

We tread the fine line between having everything and coming up short. We prioritized Claire’s education, a private school, to challenge her and kept her out of trouble resulting from too much idle time.

Claire wanted to be Daenerys Targaryen, for her Hal...





Gales of November

November’s Northwind witch is harsh as she blows across the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.

With sixteen-foot waves crashing the wheelhouse and freezing rain slashing the decks, the fate of the lake mariners seems certain.

Superior, they say, neve...





Running into the Sun

My train rushes the setting sun, intent on outrunning the impending twilight. Sorbet clouds swirl across the sky. Blood-orange and tangerine confections engaged in a futile battle with eternal night’s black velvet fist.

Icy tendrils clutch my heart and&n...





Lunch Box

Plastic containers remind me of school. Mom insisted on packing healthy food, and ample quantities. She always included a sandwich of homemade bread and last night’s leftovers. No one else brought salmon filet BLTs, or tomato, eggplant, and mozzarell...





All Hollow’s Eve

Lilith felt the blood moon calling her. She stretched, breaking the sixth seal and the chains binding her to the underworld. 

The earth quaked and great men trembled in fear as she rose. She flung her head backward, her wild hair flying, it lassoed t...





The Boiler Room Cafe

Salinger’s heart thudded in anticipation as he entered the famous Boiler Room Cafe. Roman couldn’t have recommended the place more highly. Posing as an organic coffee bar serving farm to table tidbits by day, it morphed into a grungy, hipster gin joint a...





Homecomings

As the golden hour approached, Dillan rushed towards the shore. He breathed easier when he spied the familiar liminal creatures as they slipped between the cosmos, the sea, and the isthmus. Selkies, mermaids, and undine greeted him.

“Hi, Mom,”...





Moving Day

Stacy leaned against the kitchen sink as memories washed over her. This place had been her sanctuary, her safe space, her hideout from the traumatic events which threatened to kill her. The small, cozy apartment granted her precious healing time. Today, sh...





The Last Laugh

They laughed and said I was off my rocker.

I smiled, content to bide my time. I would win the bet, earn the last laugh and gain some cold, hard cash. Summer turned to fall, and autumn succumbed to frigid winter. I set the date to prove them wrong. 





The Beaver Moon

November calls and the Beaver Full Moon answers, lighting the frosty air for last-minute preparations, as we stockpile, and store the items which will carry us through the lean times.

Mars races across the sun, while Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn guard the evenin...





Promises

It had been years. Almost forty to be exact. Daniel left on his eighteenth birthday and swore he would never return. He kept his promise until today.

In the beginning, life was difficult, but he couldn’t afford to fail. He wouldn't crawl back and a...





True North

Josiah’s heavy heart pounded, consuming his senses, as they lowered the ornate casket. Heated arguments regarding the family business, scarred their relationship. Now every decision rested on his shoulders.

No one would stop him from testing h...





A Skeptical View

I know it exists to protect me, that invisible, visible layer. Glass over glass, engineered to exacting standards, safeguards designed to stand between me and… I pause. From what does it save me? Certain death? Or the thrill of living on the edge?

Engineers...





Enduring Hope

She arrived in a world consumed by strife, hardships, and conflict. They anointed her in struggles, endless toil, and heartache. Deliverance from the sin that created her would be an early grave.

A faint whisper, her angel of mercy, touched her heart, telling ...





High Seas Adventure

“The ship’s bow rose as we climbed the Mount Everest size wave. We dangled atop the precipice while all around, rolling water raged. 

Gray storm clouds billowed overhead, dousing the deck with bucket loads of rainwater as our vessel groaned. S...





Pirate’s Revenge

The sloop bucked and rolled, as her new commander navigated the cumulonimbus clouds thundering along the squall line. They sailed in pursuit of the notorious Nose Bender, the pirate who had slain their beloved captain and stole their hard-won booty.

The Heart...





Defying Omens

Captain Graclynn Silver took the helm, barking orders for the crew to set sail. Doubt’s icy tendrils wheedled into her brain, clutching at her heart as the foghorn blew. Filmy sheets glazed the water’s surface, fusing with the sky to create a veil of unc...





Total Disregard

I woke disoriented.

Details flooded back. My body remembered searing agony.

“Remember to breathe.”

I peeked at my wrist. The needle, encased in Tegaderm and tape, confirmed I should be feeling no pain.

This was the price for not l...





Building on the Rock

Mael confronted the Rock, hands on his hips, legs rooted to the ground, his decision made. Here he would forge his fated destiny.

“This is where I build my castle.”

His men gasped. An incredulous murmur rose. The volume ascended, scaling...





If She Only Knew

I am repeatedly drawn to this bleak monument that commemorates my deepest regret and replays a scene I can never fix.

They say no one is to blame and tell me to live and learn.

Yet, I can still touch the whimpering monster, taste his evil spark and the ...





Observations from a Park Bench

The clock in Trellech announced his daily passage. At seven-thirty he traveled into town, his feet dragging him forward, his pack dwarfing his tiny frame. Every afternoon at precisely two-thirty, lighter steps whisked him home.

Time slipped into years. As he g...





Snow Slide Survival

Nails on a chalkboard. Awake, I scanned my cold, empty room. Green alarm clock lights displayed 3:03. Experience said there was no chance of falling into a restless sleep. A noise from the street below echoed scars from my dream and shook the night’s unusual s...





The Looking-Glass Self

I’m looking at you through the glass, terrified to try again.

You won’t accept easy answers, repeating I’d be a fool to expect a different future.

Life’s only promise is my broken heart will never mend.

No one tells you ho...





Vestiges of Forgotten Purpose

Tristao shifted the heavy pack, gnarled fingers burrowed under the frayed strap as he eased the pressure on his stooped shoulder.

Once, he bounded through town, nimbly negotiating steep steps, winding ascents, and narrow passageways like the goats that climbed...





Step Right Up

Desi wasn’t looking for a job.

No one wanted a boy who hid behind sunglasses and an attitude to camouflage a pronounced stutter.

The arcade manager, seeing Desi’s ball-handling skills, declared speaking an overrated skill, and lever...





Teatime

Demir ordered four Caykur Rize teas from the gritty street vendor. Ender arrived as the man poured strong sludge the color of muddy streets into paper cups. Ender waved away the proffered plastic lids, passing two steaming cups to Demir while he grabbed the remainin...





The Paradox of Free Will

Tabbris allowed his gaze to follow the escalator’s path upward towards the light. In the eerie stillness, tinny speakers pumped strains of show tunes that echoed in the space like tennis balls bouncing off granite canyon walls. He hesitated.

A finger sna...





Feeding My Soul

I close my eyes, allowing my shoulders to drop and feel my stress spiral outward, evaporating like the water from my pasta pot. I inhale, rekindling my dearest memories, I am transported. I see my dear Florentine friends Alighieri, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Buonarro...





Things We Do for Love

Abra was true to her name - mother of many. I had qualms about breeding her, but since she was the county’s best herder, every farmer wanted one of her pups.

She whelped ten, five males and five females. I named the girls after flowers and the boys after...





A Storm Named Waterloo

I cracked an eyelid to face my accuser. One o’clock. I should have been up hours ago, and yet…

The tapping at the window urged me to forsake my warm cocoon. I stumbled across the room and opened the blinds. The day mocked me. Rain splatted on the ...





Touching Divinity

Lenore dared to bend normalcy, pursuing a love the world condemned. 

She imagined perfection and drew truth from her memory like a strand of silk from the Bombycidae. Ancient powers surged from an eternal source. Devine words merged with graceful movement...





Homeward Bound

I ran, rejecting the past, I raced headlong into my future.

Twisted years manipulated iron forged values that made me a success machine. I paid a tragic price, leaving my heart on the altar. Then one morning the prodigal child woke and realize what I had beco...





Mums the Word

“Mums the word,” Calypso whispered.

Lethe stepped backward, sinking into the shadows, and pulled Calypso with her. Rivers of people surged around them. Lethe scanned their faces, searching for a clue. No one noticed two women hiding in plain view. ...





Staring in Defiance

It’s been forever, and I wonder if I still look like I should.

You pause in the doorway. Your face reveals it was always about you. Despite your madness, I believed I could walk through fire, and I wear the battle scars of hardship, pain, and ...





Rediscovering Freedom

In our family cubicle, Grandfather told stories of his time before The Glitch.

Hushed whispers painted an unbelievable alien world. He spoke of blue skies, green grass, tall trees, and wild animals who roamed across continents. He said nature’s wind care...





Creative Marketing

Mateo checked at his watch. Running his hand through his thinning hair, he surveyed his produce stall.

Minutes crept by, but still no Luca. Without the delivery, he couldn’t make money. His customers wanted choices, baskets overflowing with the freshest ...





Life Signs

He was an odd sort, friendly, mischievous, intriguing. I assumed he had forgotten me when my phone buzzed. His text served to perplex me further. Hyperlinked numbers connected to a map with a destination in the middle of nowhere. Answers to my questions lay in the p...





Ode to Clarice

Her obituary shocked me. The journalist revealed a woman I had never known. Who was this glamorous enchantress, this caster of spells and literary legend?

I caught her scribbling in her notebook either early in the morning, or sometimes late at night. She wou...





The Summons

I am not a hero, just a nerdy book worm, who discovers a message hidden in a dusty tome. Once I decipher the phrase “Suspended power,” the code breaks easily.   

The prophecy brings me to Skógafoss and the 200-foot tall frozen water...





Love’s Enduring Bond

The garden was the perfect spot for their rendezvous. Quiet, secluded, and bathed in gardenia’s fragrant scent. It was their calling card, a message without words.

Songbirds flocked to the eternal bubbling of the fountain, unconcerned with her prese...





Averting Annihilation

In the far future, Roya foresaw horrible suffering, chaos, and terror. Her lips moved, but she was unaware if she spoke the words aloud. Her hands stretched before her, grasping thin air, she fought unseen daemons, yet still searching for something beyond her grasp....





An Imperceptible Loss

You suspected a thunderbolt, exposing a grand drama. The truth wasn’t glamourous. Dull, daily life was peppered with subtle thoughts, vague feelings, and easy decisions. A tiny rival of water snaked across flat ground, growing, gaining strength and p...





Mommy Time

Steam rose from Audrey’s 1950s “First Lady Pink” bathtub as she shut the door and locked out her hectic 21st Century life. Past midnight, she was long overdue to relax, unwind and unplug. She twisted the knobs, stopping the flow of water from the f...





The Time Machine

Time travel’s first rule was validating your arrival date. I stepped through the portal and groaned.

A 1950s era diner? Was Josh joking?

Diners were ubiquitous on the timelines. I could cite countless examples over the last 200 years. This establi...





Time In A Bottle

“She calls them, what?”

I picked up an empty red-tinted bottle. Raised letters spelled “Poison.”

“She called them ‘time bottles,’” Jared corrected as he reached for my specimen and replaced it on the shelf...





Rabbit Moon

On full moon nights, Vivian lit candles, rained rice onto the altar cloth, and prayed to the moon goddess. She had never forsaken Vivian. Gossamer clouds slid like silk across the sky, obscuring the moon’s rabbit image. Tonight, her entire heart fill...





Animal Instinct

Hunger burns the pit of my stomach. My focus narrows and all I see is you. Imagination fuels my senses. I smell the sweat of your body and taste sweet flesh with my lips. My muscles twitch and yet I wait.

I know the moment you see me, our eyes lock in undeniab...





First Draft

The retreat center advertised a magical, bucolic setting guaranteed to unplug the writer from an over-connected world. For hours, Catherine stared at the typewriter, her fingers mindlessly caressing the black keys. She sighed, rising, she stepped outside to tre...





Family Tradition

Past generations whisper reassurances. Embroiled in uncertainty, consumed by today, legacy bolsters my future.

The continuity comforts me through trials and tribulations. Loved ones walked this land, they struggled, persevered, survived.

I am neve...





Mornings with Tweety

“Morning Tweety Bird.”

“Good morning, Tweety Bird,” I lifted the cage’s covering and peeked at my tiny companion.

Tweety ruffled his feathers and hopped towards me. I opened the wire door, and he flew into the kitchen.<...





Home Sweet Souvenir

Every penny went to pay the mortgage on my first house. Cash for furnishings was in short supply.

The family dubbed me the Keepsake Klepto when they discovered their sentimental items decorating my home.

Laughing, they let me keep their kitsch, saying i...





Feeding the Soul

Saffron sunk the measuring cup into the container. The flour poofed, and billowing white clouds dusted the counter. The scent of yeast permeated the kitchen, as she worked the tacky, gloppy mess until it formed a loose ball.

The heel of her hand pushed into th...





The Glorious Aftermath

Deckhands danced in organized chaos. Our seasoned captain barked orders above the storm’s incessant din. My stomach lurched in opposition to the bow’s rise and fall. Misty Gale surmounted rough waters as we ran from the storm, seeking safe harbor. <...





The New Morning Ritual

I never thought I would be here, really living the dream. Released from Corporate America’s draining demands, I no longer wake before the crack of a sparrow’s fart, to fight rush hour traffic, to log long stressful hours.

My day begins with a gent...





Spring’s Advent

Dismal clouds shrouded winter mountaintops. Cloaks of despair, they wept, their sorrow drenching the landscape. Parched souls, clinging to life, found solace in the mother’s healing tears.

Breathless, I waited.

Brown became gold as nomad tinkers a...





Operation: Recover Home

Heavy metal blared, drowning the crackling and buzzing, as sparks flew. The fiery shower bounced on the cement floor.

“Jason.”

Switching off the torch, he pushed his heavily gloved hand against his forehead, lifting the face shield. Except fo...





Unbelievable

Billionaires, rock stars, and those famous for being famous, envy my view. Unfathomable, inaccessible to mere mortals.

They never lift their eyes. Hypnotized, blinded gazes guide them. Lacking fortitude, unable to face brutal accusations, they deny responsibil...





A Matter of Perspective

Insanity is measured by degrees, strictly classified by definitions, interpretations, and clever disguises. A tight white coat choked the evaluator, stripping him of his humanity. If he would only release himself from his strait-laced leash, he would see. He sc...





Mining for Gold

“What are you doing?” Hannah surveyed the discarded canvas in the alley.

“I’m taking the frame,” Kurt said, brushing off the accumulated dust.

“Why?”

“It’s nice.”

“And the...





Nature’s Alchemy

Crystal jars, tinted bottles, and woven baskets crowded the shelf-lined room. Identical labels with precise black handwriting adorned each vessel. Elena inched into the space, confused by the overwhelming volume of items. Her fingers traced unfamiliar words.

...





Optimal Velocity

Miners extracted millions from Gold Mountain, but Peggy didn’t want money. She sought powder and speed. The day dawned bright and clear, as she and the longboarders climbed the 1,700-foot slope to the starting position.

Reaching the top, she strapped on ...





The Smallest Detail

Lacey flipped through Mama’s checklist. She chewed her lower lip, then dropped the Blush Pink wedding binder into the trash. Dread colored what Mama said would be the happiest day of her life. Her stomach lurched the way it always did when Mama discovered...





Pulling the Plug

Terri’s bare knee touched cold linoleum. The distinct aroma of disinfectant, liberally applied over thirty years, was strong in this corner. She fumbled with the cord and wrinkled her nose.

“Is this no other way?” she asked.

“No,...





Memory Lane

The night’s darkness hid his destination until he arrived. He didn’t feel nostalgia, hope, or even curiosity. He’d burned those bridges years ago. The freak spring snowstorm stirred forgotten habits, guided his car to a faraway country he could no ...





Grandfather’s Legacy

We discovered the tenacious evergreen sprig on our daily walk. Grandfather pitied the seedling clinging to bare stone. A full-grown pine needed access to the earth’s nutrients, and the minuscule reserves in the stone’s clefts and crevices would stunt the...





Adrift

He lived life at a safe distance, careful to keep his demons at arm’s length, far from emotional contact.

Buried memories spoke in voices he refused to hear, a broken heart smoldered in ashes, and though the pain was real, he remained apathetic, haunted....





Why Not?

I climbed my mountain, reached the pinnacle, and discovered its peak was only a foothill.

Disillusioned, stranded by my too small dreams, time flew while I stood paralyzed, consumed with fear, and worry over “what ifs?”

At last, I realized I ...





24/7 Girl

My schedule promised a marathon. Starting strong, my trainer pushed my outer limits. The nutritionist questioned the candy bar breakfast I inhaled while consulting the laundry service and the hack who called herself a housekeeper.

The stylist sneered at my me...





Dark Encounter

I stayed too late. Perils line the path home and no guiding lights pierce the darkness to keep dangers at bay.

A rustling bush. I freeze. Frozen. Heightened awareness, my senses alerted to keep me alive.

Muscles tense, heart pounds, breath held, pupils d...





Rock ‘N Roll Band

“I’m not a fan.”

My smitten boyfriend never heard a word.

“You’re gonna love ’em,” Ken insisted before launching into the reasons this band was on a collision course with destiny.

I caved, and let Ken drag ...





Channeling Prometheus

Threats sometimes backfire.

You’d expect me to hide from a formidable opponent, but my soul is hard-wired for defiance and committed to protecting those who cannot defend themselves. Black cumulonimbus clouds rise forty thousand feet in the air to provid...





Kaidan

Twilight fell as storytellers crowded into the room. Ryu finished lighting one hundred candles. They gathered to repeat their favorite accounts of weird happenings, walking sprits, and vengeful ghosts.

They told tales of a man’s escaped from he...





La Dolce Vita

Reality’s wispy figments hung beyond her grasp. Days begun at four in the afternoon kept her translucent skin safe from the sun’s ravaging rays. Neon demons, crowded clubs, and illicit pharmaceuticals eased her into sensational poses. The paparazzi clamo...





Limited Foresight

“I’m not gonna lie. This isn’t for everyone. In fact, I try to keep it a secret. My darkest secret. Can you imagine if this went viral? There would be lines. Hordes of people. The unwashed masses clamoring to join my procession. Let’s not men...





A Room with A View

Denise tried not to draw unwanted attention as she shifted her weight. The creak of the uncomfortable yellow leather couch betrayed her. Robert glared at her as she ignored him by examining her impeccable teal manicure, a perfect match to her turquoise and silver je...





An Everyday Hero

Earl pushed the paper cap askew and wiped sweat from his forehead. The tiny kitchen was warmer than Hades.

As a kid, he dreamed of saving the world. He ran with his red cape streaming behind him. Flying in the sky, he shot lasers from his eyes and righted ever...





Silver Linings

A derelict Airstream sat on the family’s vacation property. Tyler’s grandmother peeled apart pages of a fragile photo album, each image prompting stories of grand adventures shared with friends and loved ones.

Inspired, the intrepid Tyler devised a...





Take It All Back

It should have been a simple assignment. A modest portrait of his patron’s daughter. While he didn’t like children as his subject, the commission promised to launch his budding career. 

Except, when she showed for her appointment, she wasn&rsq...





Attaining “High Flight”
and “Slipping the Surly Bonds”

“You’re full of hot air.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“You can’t.”

“You’ll never—”

 

Eyes closed, I clap my hands over my ears, hum to drown the sound of their...





Lofty Undertaking

Skyscrapers defined the canyon walls of Anders’ world. Imposing shadows modulated light and dark and framed his existence. He marched predictable paths that left him stuck in mechanized monotony. 

Searching for more, his friends convinced him to kay...






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