Flash Fiction Freebies

The Need is Real

I waited. I waited with the impatience of a drug addict jonesing his next fix. "Come on, come on," I whispered. "Move it, already."

The problem was, no one was moving. We were all stalled, stuck in our cars in the bitter Iowa winter weather. My SUV swayed as another gust of near blizzard strength wind blew an ocean of white flakes across my windshield, blinding me from seeing even the hood of my vehicle. I cursed a blue streak but it didn’t make the wind lessen or clear the snow. My wipers were on high and my defroster was on full and focused on the windshield, a decision my icy toes bitterly complained about. I was already frozen and it wasn’t even dawn yet.

I inched forward, both hands white knuckled the steering wheel, as I kept my eye on the back lights of the car in front of me. Finally, after what felt like hours, we crept forward.

“Good morning!”

“Not yet, it isn’t. Hand it over,” I laughed.

She did, with a shake of her head.

"About damned time you got here," I muttered as I cradled the steaming hot cup of Starbucks in my cold hands.

"You really do have an addiction, you know that, right, Angi with an i?" Elizabeth, my favorite barista, handed back my card and receipt.

"Pish and Tosh," I told her. "You can consider it job security and you're welcome."


Say Goodbye

Tonight she is forced to say goodbye.

What happens tomorrow? After the funeral. After the casserole dishes stop. After friends and family return to their lives.

The sun will rise. Her heart will beat through her pain and grief. The world will continue and she will hate it for doing so.

She will wander the house, without her son yet amid his belongings. His scent will cling to his pillow. She will bury her face in it and inhale deeply, dreading the day it fades entirely. His dirty clothes litter his floor. The book he was reading remains splayed open. She will stroke the spine gently, imagining her hands touching his.

The dryer holds his wrestling uniform. She will cry when she removes it, folds it lovingly, and holds it to her cheek, wetting it with her tears. 

She will worry that he’s cold. Knowing it’s unreasonable, but unable to chase the thought from her mind. Is her baby cold? The weight of it will drive her to her knees, the grief warring with her guilt. Why didn’t she see it? Why didn’t she know? She is his mother. It was her job to know. The guilt will drive her to the brink of madness and sometimes she will consider following him to the grave.

There will be no holidays. Asking a mother who just buried her 15 yr old to celebrate is the epitome of cruel.


Her daughter will return to college, her husband to work. She will be left. Behind, broken, and alone.

Rest in Peace, TJ

The clock is running out. The wait is long and somber, the silence broken by quiet sobs. The line of people snakes up and down, back and forth, out the door. Dozens turn into hundreds, turn into thousands as the high school waits to say goodbye to a young man gone too soon. His bright, shining light forever dimmed. To know it was dimmed by his hand, his choice is unfathomable.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with our teen, protecting, sheltering between us, our hands occasionally meeting on his back as we offer comfort and love through our presence and touch. I don’t know if it helps him but I need to touch him. To feel his ribcage rise and fall with each breath, feel his heartbeat, the heat of his skin through his shirt. To lean in and whisper, “I love you” and hear it whispered back to me in his gravelly, grown up voice that sounds so much like his father, it makes my heart hurt. Hurt for the pain my son is in, hurt for the mother who will never feel her son’s chest rise and fall or hear his voice whisper back to her, “I love you, too, Mom.” Tonight, she can only whisper “I love you” to the empty shell of her boy. The child she carried, bore, and raised, loved more than her own life, gone in the blink of an eye, a rendering of the heart. Tonight she is forced to say goodbye


Stop the Clock

Childish ways
Long summer days
Bubble gum and roller blades
Halloween and Trick or Treat
Costumed kids line the street
Winter chills and Christmas thrills
Sledding down the steepest hills
Grade school gone, moving on
Jr high flies right by
Blink again it’s senior high
Graduation comes and goes
College exams and dating woes
Cap and gown, a good degree
Find a job, be all you can be
Car payments and student loans
Weekend fun and Monday groans
Find the one and fall in love
Wedding bells and turtle doves
Pink or blue, a baby is due
Crib done up in Winnie the Pooh
Breathe and push and there she is
You didn’t know you could love like this
Rolling, crawling, learning to walk
Wishing you could stop the clock
No more naps, afternoon snacks
Strapping on her first backpack
Knowing you can’t ever go back.
Enjoy her beautiful childish ways
Long summer days
Bubble gum and rollerblades


How High the Price

“It’s too late,” I pulled my legs to my chest, wrapped my arms around them tight, and rocked. “It’s too damned late.”

“No it isn’t,” Chase snarled. He sent a filthy look at Thomas. “He could do what he came to do. I can make him.”

“Try.” The single word was ripe with threat.

“Shut up, Thomas,” I scrambled away from them both. “Chase, it’s too late.”

Chase pulled me to him, his arms crushed me in a hug. “It’s not too late. It can’t be.” His voice broke. His tears fell, mingled with my own, ran down my cheeks.

His undoing was my own. I turned to Thomas. “Please.” I shook from toe to top, my words fairly vibrated with pain. “I beg you, please do it. We’ll do anything you want. Give you anything you want.”

Thomas tilted his head. “Anything?”

I nodded once. “Anything.”

Thomas narrowed his eyes to slits and stared at Chase. “You agree?”

“He does.” I grabbed my husband’s hands and answered for him. “Do it.” Fear flooded me, warred with grief. “You can, can’t you?”

Thomas didn’t bother to answer. He bent over our daughter’s broken, bloody, body. His hands skimmed her skin. Bones knitted, skin mended, blue tinge faded. She took a tiny breath, then another.

 Thomas faced Chase. “The woman is mine.”

Chase howled and lunged for me.

Thomas pulled me out of reach. “You’ll never see them again. But you’ll know they live.” He snapped is fingers and together, we vanished.


This quote from this week's judge, photographer Dave Jones, made my day!

"This was a very nice, concise little story with very believable characters and rich images that allowed me to see them clearly. It was elegant in its simplicity. I liked the twist at the end that tied it together with the beginning. It was very satisfying."


"Why aren't you changed? ” I sighed. “We don’t have time to play today, we’re already late.”
Jordyn’s huge blue eyes stared at me vacantly. 
I tamped down hard on my impatience and frustration. “Shoes, Jordyn,” I repeated clearly and slowly. “Go get your shoes.”
“Shoes,” she repeated dutifully as she toddled down the hall toward her room. “Jordyn’s shoes.” Her gait was that of a toddler, unsteady and gangly, even though she stood nearly as tall as I.
“Jordyn’s shoes,” I agreed. “That’s right.”
She danced back down the hall with one athletic shoe and one slipper. “Jordyn’s shoes, Mama!” Her grin was as huge as her eyes and pride for a job well done beamed at me, clearly awaiting my enthusiastic pleasure at her performance.
Unable to resist, I laughed and clapped. “Good job, Jordyn!”
“Jordyn did good.” She did a jig that is only hers, a little shuffle and a single spin.
“You did very well, Jordyn.” I took her hand and led her back to her room. “Would you like your tennis shoes or your slippers today?”
“Jordyn’s shoes,” she insisted. She held up the mismatched pair for my inspection.
“These shoes?” I hid my sigh. She’d certainly worn odder things to daycare. “Seriously, Jordyn?”
She gave me a very adult look and sighed heavily. “Shoes, Mama.” She plopped down in the middle of the hallway, braced herself on her hands and lifted a socked foot to me. “We don’t have time to play today, we’re already late.”


Tea for Two

Sunlight streamed through the lace curtains, dappled the living room with dancing light. Samantha curled into the corner of the beige sofa, snug under the thick, ivory throw. She took a dainty sip of tea and placed the fragile cup gently on its saucer. “There’s something you need to know about me.”
“What’s that?” Her suitor sat back, crossed one leg, and plucked until the crease of his pant was perfectly straight.
His mouth turned up slightly as he tried to impress her with his smile but she saw the sneer it really was. “I’m not what I seem.”
“Is anyone?”
Sam shrugged, “Good question. Do you mean to come across as an arrogant ass or is that who you really are?”
Jake stiffened. “How very unladylike you are, Samantha.” His eyes glittered dangerously. “I’ll soon break you of such nasty behavior.”
His battle to control his temper was evident, although she doubted he knew that. She smiled sweetly. “I’m sure you think that’s the case.”
His nostrils flared as his lips thinned in anger. “Oh I’ll enjoy breaking you.”
Her tinkling laughter shocked him and she was glad for it. “Want to try?”
Moving in concert, they leapt to their feet. Jake lifted one hand as if to strike her. The small pop perplexed him. Or perhaps it was the pain. He looked down at his chest, at the gun in her had, and fell.
Samantha dialed, paused, “I did it again. Will you come?”


Battle of Wills

“Get out of the car.” I jabbed my finger at her repeatedly. “I said, get out.” My gritted teeth and clenched jaw should have indicated the degree of anger her obstinancy incited but she gave no indication that was the case. I took a deep breath and let it out, dropped my shoulders, and tried to calm myself down.

Her big brown eyes stared. No smile. No Sound. She remained firmly in the back seat.

“Brat,” I muttered. “Look, it isn’t fun but it’s important. Like baths or tooth brushings.” I arranged my face in what I hoped was an encouraging expression. “What do you say?”

No response.

“Come on. I’ll be right beside you. Promise.” My finger made the obligatory X across my heart. 

Her eyes followed the motion and returned to mine, with a look that clearly said ‘This is a place I don’t want to go’ even as she remained silent. 

“Well, that made an impression, didn’t it?”

A passerby smiled in sympathy. “Pretend to cry. It works on Clara every time.” He tilded his head toward Clara, her long red hair fluttered in the breeze.

“Really? This is what we’re resorting to?” I sat down on the ground, covered my face, and noisily fake sobbed. Sophie exited the car, climbed in my lap, her muzzle pushing my hands away so she could lick my face. “Hey, it worked!” I snapped the leash on and hugged her. “Good girl, Sophie. Another successful trip to the vet.”


Broken Dawn

The shrill ring of the phone shattered the early morning silence. Dawn stomped toward the kitchen where her cell skittered across the counter with each vibrating ring. “It better be you,” she muttered as she snatched it up.

“Any news?” Although the cadence of her voice was upbeat, worry colored her sister’s words.

Disappointment buckled Dawn’s knees. “Hey Callie. No, nothing.” She signed heavily as she paced her cabin. “I’m freaking out.”

“Ah, babe, don’t worry. He’s pissed and blowing off steam.” A beat of silence passed. “You know he’s coming back.”

“Do I?” Her voice cracked. “We’ve never fought like this before, Cal.”
“It’s okay, Dawn. Everyone fights. Todd loves you. He’ll be back.”

“Where is he?” Dawn’s wail filled the air with her pain.

“I don’t know, babe.”

“I’m going to go. I’m going to call the hospitals again, see if anyone’s heard anything.”

“Let me know.”

Twenty minutes later, she’d spoken to every hospital within 100 miles. No one had seen her husband, now missing for 72 hours. She curled into the corner of the sofa and sobbed. Eventually, her tears subsided and exhausted, she dozed.

The soft knock at the door brought her scrambling to her feet. “Todd, is that you?” She threw the door open and stumbled to a halt.

Two sheriff deputies couldn’t meet her eyes, the truth on their faces. Todd would not be coming home again. Shattered, Dawn collapsed to the floor, screaming Todd’s name as her world collapsed around her.

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