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Literary Fiction
Welcome to My Garden
by Barry B. Wright

“Welcome to My Garden” is multi-themed in its content. Short stories are a venue for discovery. As a writer, they provide a wonderful playground to experiment and to learn. The value of words and phrases take on a poetic significance in their brevity of deep meaning. In each ending, a seed is planted for the possibility of a novel. Photos were the medium I used to challenge and exhilarate my imagination; the grist so-to-speak, to discover the story hidden within. "Sounds interesting!"

Chapter One
The Decision

Four hours he had made her practice! Four goddamn hours! Until she defiantly screamed out: “Papa! I don’t want to be a ballerina! I will never be one! Do you hear? Never!” Stomping her foot, she crossed her arms tightly across her chest and pu...

Chapter Two
Without A Trace

God! How she had come to loathe him since she had lost her job a month ago.

Lack of money was the only thing he constantly complained about and this evening had quickly gone from bad to darn-right dangerous. She had never seen him so drunk and physically abusi...

Chapter Three
Alistair McBubble

Alistair McBubble was born to Florrie and Hugh on March 14, 2013 at precisely 9:47:15 A.M. After delivery, Doctor McAlister completed a few preliminary tests and assured them that Alistair was indeed spherical in shape.

“Ur ye sure? Florrie asked. &...

Chapter Four
Natalie's Fossil Specimen

Natalie picked up the fragment and began to examine it. With the help of her small magnifying glass she scrutinized it more closely before dropping it into her specimen satchel. She called out to the other two members of her team: “John! Mike! Anything ye...

Chapter Five
An Unlikely Hero

Virginia sat at the edge of her bed and re-read the letter from the White House. Looking up, she watched the young lieutenant through the open bedroom door, her thumb gently gliding across President Truman’s signature several times. She noticed his impatience ...

Chapter Six
Forgive Me

The Lysander made a washboard landing in the field beside an old farmhouse.

“Thank you for this, George,” Jill yelled over the drone of the plane’s engine as he brought it to a stop. She stretched over and gave him a peck on the cheek.


Chapter Seven

Christopher and Adam were deliriously giddy in October 2004 as they splashed accelerant onto the floors and walls of the main block of Hafodunos Hall—a residence in disrepair since 1993. The glint in their eyes was nothing short of evil as their lighted matche...

Chapter Eight

Sylvia stopped half way down the stairs and let the music from the piano flow through her, gently kissing the shores of her soul. Her step softened as she descended to the bottom of the stairs and glided across the floor to the living room where the piano tuner test...

Chapter Nine
It All Began One Night

It all began with a thought, a question and an ability to act.

“Damn! DAMN!” Edgar rolled over and pulled the pillow tightly over his head to block out the sounds of passing vehicles.

Their ‘country home,’ as they called it, was o...

Chapter Ten
Time Drains Through Days

In rustling of leaves

and beauty of Fall,

stands a quintessential hominess.

A classic perennial charm,

few among the things,

that touch the heart

like the white picket fence.

A simple iconic structure,

its boundary eff...

Chapter Eleven
Another Row He Goes

Crooked fingers steer ahead.

Another row he goes.

Spinal entrails trail behind,

like autumn’s earth before.

Dreams—long in tooth—

like swirling leaves scattered

in their fateful flight.

Each clouded breath&...

Chapter Twelve
The Duckling Makes A Stand

Morning programs for young children are quite enlightening. Squeals of delight from my granddaughter, Zoe, drew me willingly in like a magnet one morning, overwhelmed as I was to learn what captured her interest. Over an hour we cuddled together, a special time inde...

Chapter Thirteen
The Concert

“It’s not like them,” I said, perturbed by their tardiness. I sank into my jacket like a tortoise into its shell. “It’s so freaking cold my face feels like one huge boil.”

“Huh?” Mark replied, embracing himself a...

Chapter Fourteen
Lunch At Zoe's

“Life’s short, eat dessert first,” my friend said to me as we perused the menu in Zoe’s Lounge at the Chateau Laurier in downtown Ottawa. Both chocoholics, our eyes had already wolfed down the lavishly decadent chocolate lava cake shown in th...

Chapter Fifteen
A Granddaughter's Visit

“That’s where the crib dock used to be,” he said, pointing at the single, well-worn cedar post that reached upwards from a rock cluster on the shore. “Your great-grandfather made it with the help of his neighbours.”

His chair face...

Chapter Sixteen
Oops! I Must Have Been Outta My Mind!

It was 4:00 A.M. Rain smashed against the bedroom window; howling winds pushed tree branches to and fro along the siding like fingernails across a chalkboard.

Too driven by daily routine to remain spooned against my wife, I carefully, so as not to disturb her,...

Chapter Seventeen
A Coming Storm

Thunder! The storm clouds gather.

A grosbeak valiantly circles overhead.

When this journey began, my hope was painted against an azure sky when the sun was high and the scent of pine and meadow flowers copiously filled the air.

Many times I have st...

Chapter Eighteen
An Indiscretion

“Where are you going?” I dared to ask as I watched her put on her boots.

“Out,” she retorted.

I glanced at the window. “Winter’s on the war path. Are you sure that’s a wise choice?” A cavalcade of chills ri...

Chapter Nineteen
View From Below An Ivory Towered Window

Yesterday changed everything.

Where do I go? What do I do?

Questions scratched on a wall before the abyss.

Once my Springs were full of scented flowers and warm gentle breezes; they flowed like honey for me.

Daily, from golden cups, I cop...

Chapter Twenty
The Witch Beneath Lake Huron

Today, I have finally returned. I thought it had only been three years since I was last here but my neighbors, John and Ruth, just told me it’s been eight. They said they had pictures to prove it.

My askance expression must have been the reason that they...

Chapter Twenty-One
How Life Can Change on the Go

My day begins in darkness and ends in darkness. The bitter damp wind off Lake Ontario makes me want to hibernate till spring. After another lousy day at work, I was looking forward to some respite on the train ride home. In the middle of quarterly reporting, my mind...

Chapter Twenty-Two
Trolling with Wordsworth

Hardly able to contain myself, I stepped down from the driver’s side and took in several heaping lung filling breaths of the sweet pine air. Memories of my childhood made me giggle in its rush.

“It feels so good to be here again. Don’t you th...

Chapter Twenty-Three
Once Upon A Morning

Black coffee is my elixir for the morning blahs. Not a morning person, I am quite happy to hermit myself away in the den to suck on my over-sized mug of coffee and to read the morning newspaper quietly. It’s not that I’m a growly bear or anything close t...

Chapter Twenty-Four
Zahra and Aagif

Aaqif rolled onto his side and reached out. The impression left by her body was filled with cool warmth and the lingering sweetness of her scent. He feigned sleep. Through the slits in his eyelids he watched her at the bedroom window.

She glanced at him. Then,...

Chapter Twenty-Five: Part One
Joan Sledge: One Spring Day

Spring had arrived early and, along with it, hopes that our home team, the Milwaukee Braves, would take the World Series again. Last year was the first time they had won the pennant since moving from Boston in 1953.

A cornucopia of scent wafted through the ope...

Chapter Twenty-Six: Part Two
Joan Sledge: Brother's Advice

There is nothing like the first love. I remember reading something about it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the book. I do wish I’d paid closer attention. Never felt feelings like these before. When I’m with her my senses are so c...

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Part Three
Joan Sledge: The Birthday Party

Damn my brother! Until our little talk, breaking up with Joan had never crossed my mind. Unfortunately for me, that possibility has managed to weasel itself into my daily thoughts. Now it’s stuck in place with Crazy glue. I thought the summer was filled with p...

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Part Four
Joan Sledge: New Realities


Some people are alive only because it’s illegal to kill them. In my book, Chris Brannon fell into that category. So, when I turned to face him and saw the way he looked at Joan and her at him, I couldn’t help myself. My fist slammed squarely into his mocking face. It...

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Part Five
Joan Sledge: The Mucky Duck

Ouch! It was totally unexpected. Her home form lockers should not have been anywhere near mine. Yet, there she was, five lockers down from me. I couldn’t help but think that it was going to be an ugly school year.

She smiled. I smiled back. She spoke to ...

Chapter Thirty
Each Seed that Grows

A quote by Robert Fulghum from his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten has special meaning for me:

 “Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this ...

Chapter Thirty-One

Thick grey ominous clouds floated languidly overhead.

The outstretched straw-colored fields pushed against the swollen pond whose overflow like a ribbon ran across the open land scarring its surface.

Coniferous, once center stage in a winter of white, is...

Chapter Thirty-Two
On Becoming

Hare. Hare. Please don’t stare

As you peer outside your lair.

I bring you no harm,

There’s no need for alarm.

Still as could be, his ears perked high.

And I wondered what it may imply.

A step closer I went.

His n...

Chapter Thirty-Three
Any Road'll Take You

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there.”

George Harrison, Cloud Nine

Risks are inherent to all author choices. I believe that’s what makes writing an exhilarating experience. It goes beyond t...

Chapter Thirty-Four
The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part One

The English south coastal resort of Bournemouth in 1939 had a population of 130,000. The natural beauty of its cliffs and the wide sweep of its bay embraced a magic carpet of sand while the Bourne stream—fringed with parkland and public gardens—stretched...

Chapter Thirty-Five
The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Two

Anger and disappointment blinded Joseph ‘Philly’ Morris to the tranquil beauty of the parkland and public gardens alongside the Bourne River. It was 8:15 p.m. And he needed a drink. The few pence he had in his pocket were barely enough to buy him cigaret...

Chapter Thirty-Six
The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Three

The call came through to his home at 4:00 A. M. Putting on his slippers, Collier grabbed his robe from the foot of the bed. The bedroom was still in total darkness as he made his way across the room to the door. His wife, Lila, mumbled something incoherent, but he e...

Chapter Thirty-Seven
The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Four

Entering the summer of 1939, the people of Bournemouth were too busy having a good time to worry about Hitler. Some had even strapped a sign to the boot of their vehicle which read: Half A Mo’ Hitler Let’s Have Our Holidays First. For those who lived the...

Chapter Thirty-Eight
The Murder of Arthur Brodley: Part Five

The weeks passed quickly and by Saturday, August 19, 1939, news about the murder of Arthur Brodley and related stories with respect to the capture and incarceration of his murderer, Joseph ‘Philly’ Morris, had slipped into the middle pages of the "Echo."...

Chapter Thirty-Nine
An Unexpected Gift

Two months had passed since Tom’s death and, like a leech, the numbed emptiness Sylvia felt continued to suck out purposefulness from her life; while the humdrum of her daily life had become imprisoned within a brew of forlorn desperation and debilitating remo...

Chapter Forty
Two Weeks in January: Sheila

“I just don’t get it.”

I remember thinking those very words, hours, maybe minutes, maybe even seconds after I first met her. I was engaged at the time and comfortably secure in the direction my world was heading. But, unbeknown to me, I was a...

Chapter Forty-One
Two Weeks in January: The Sandwich

I glanced at the menu pinned on the wall. Digging deep into my pant pocket I could only come up with enough change, a buck twenty-five to be exact, to order a lousy rubber cheese sandwich on white with lettuce and mayonnaise. I watched as Sheila slammed the iceberg ...

Chapter Forty-Two
Two Weeks in January: "...Ummm..."

I can accept that life has its ups and downs, but I had not expected my week to begin with the latter. If faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, then that definition still held true by the middle of the week because I had lots o...

Chapter Forty-Three: Two Weeks in January
Indelible Memories

Since my arrival, I had entered the restaurant several times to check for her presence. We had agreed to meet at the Hard Rock Café at 5 p.m. Had I got it wrong? I peered at my watch. It was already five-thirty. We did talk about the Uptown, I rec...

Chapter Forty-Four: Two Weeks in January

A hint of earthiness filled the morning air as each new day transitioned to a colder and dimmer venue. Most evenings fulfilled their threat of rain, giving a whole new meaning to the city’s name, Waterloo. At the end of September, trees for the most part remai...

Chapter Forty-Five
Life's Like That

I’ve heard that bad things come in groups of three. To me that was nothing more than a bunch of malarkey. Sure, I accepted the adage that life is ‘what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ But, neatly packed up and delivered ...

Chapter Forty-Six
My Mind's Eye

A picture says a thousand words but what if I were blind?

Would the photo framed and hanging there keep its words confined?

If I were born that way, how would each image be assigned?

Images formed in my mind must certainly be redesigned.


Chapter Forty-Seven
"Grace to Glory"

 The azure sky and the heat from the blistering sun at his back was a welcome blessing and felt good. He stretched every part of his body that he could while he examined the hull of the Nervana. His schooner was forced out of necessity to dock at this small port of West Bay, Nova Scotia. He ...

Chapter Forty-Eight
Piano Man

James W. Howell glanced up at the tall building. At one time he had occupied one of the corner offices at the top. He pulled up the collar of his well-worn overcoat to ward off the chill in the air. People brushed by him as if he did not exist. For the twenty years ...

Chapter Forty-Nine
Sid: Part One

He showed up at my back door looking for food about eight years ago. His demeanour was quite pleasant, and his eyes had a magnetic playfulness about them. Briefly, I listened to his woeful account of tough times, though I must admit, I did not understand a word that...

Chapter Fifty
Aidan: Part One: Through the Mist

It is I who is to blame. AYOH, the land of my ancestors, burns. Screams of my subjects still assail my ears. Their ghosts continue to ride the late night air. I am haunted by their unyielding reach. 

I can see the fear in Ennea’s face through my tea...

Chapter Fifty-One
Aidan: Part Two: The Revelation

Lightheaded and confused, I steadied myself. My hand was wet against the mountain’s surface. I refreshed my palate from the cool rivulets of sweetly welcomed tears that flowed down the craggy mountain face and encouraged Ennea and Eoz to quench their thirst to...

Chapter Fifty-Two
Aidan: Part Three: Unfolding New World

“Don’t touch that!” shouted Htebazile.

Crouched, Ennea jerked her hand back. “How dare you speak to me like that! I am queen of AYOH!” Flush with pent up emotion, she bestowed a scorching stare upon Htebazile. She was not acc...

Chapter Fifty-Thress
Barn Boards

The day is sunless,

only grey paints the sky.

The wind has picked up

a chilling edge to its knife.

Clothed in an insulated woollen jacket,

and jeans worn through at the knee,

Joseph Tiller heads to the barn

with a ladder in ...

Chapter Fifty-Four
A Trip: A Short Story Without "E's"

Similar to shadows of a dirty shirt, black cumulus clouds, abounding with rain, hangs fat across land and final hours of this train trip. An old match with a long history is playing out.

Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-...

Chapter Fifty-Five
Island Born: A Poem without "E's"


Words unfold upon aboard,

Spools unspool within labyrinths hiding in our minds’ dashboards.

Arbors’ ash with nothing but unclad wood

Void of spring’s furnishings sits within snow’s mounting snood.

Polar air---Oh what a bully!---digs at...

Chapter Fifty-Six
Ramblings During the Pandemic

The sky was a thick cloud of grey, not a hint of blue to be found. Conifers poked at the heavens while grasses emerald green and golden-brown shone; barren deciduous trees reached tall, stretching their spindly tentacles to scratch open a window to the azure found b...

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