Sunday, March 30, 2014


This week's prompt words in bold.


His opaque gaze drifted to the empty armchair, the one that she’d occupied since their children’s childhood, the one she preferred to any theater seat, the one purchased at Sears and Roebuck when it still offered its large, printed catalog, the one she’d reupholstered twice, the one where she fell asleep for the last time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


by Jim Harrington
First published at MicroHorror

I zipped my backpack and set it on the floor when Mom entered the kitchen. She wore a short, terrycloth robe and her hair was wet. I was pretty sure she’d shaved her legs, too. After she poured her coffee, I told her I was sick and unable to go to school.

“Do you have a test? Do you have to read something in front of the class? Is someone bullying you?” I answered no to all of her questions. “You don’t have a fever. Your skin color is good. You’re not throwing up. Are you having your period?” The rapid fire questions were typical of Mom when she was agitated. I shook my head. “Then there’s no reason why you can’t go to school.” She threw her hands in the air, splashing coffee on her robe, and strode out of the kitchen. “Be ready in five, young lady. You don’t want to be late again,” she said from half way up the stairs.

You would think Mom would have different questions by now. I tried--unsuccessfully--staying home the first Monday of the last three months. The first Monday was when Daddy flew to Des Moines to his company’s headquarters for some stupid sales meetings. It was also one of Uncle Jack’s days off from work. He wasn’t my uncle, really. He was our neighbor, and he was having an affair with Mom. I knew this because I ran home from school one day instead of eating lunch and peeked into a window. They were naked. Mom was bent over the kitchen table. Uncle Jack was standing behind her, swaying back and forth, his wanker (that’s what my friend Sara calls it) sliding in and out of Mom. My parents didn’t think I knew about sex because I was only in eighth grade, but I’d seen pictures on the Internet. Besides, Sara and I tried it with a cucumber once. We didn’t like it at first. 

I told Mom I knew about her and Uncle Jack, that I’d seen them. She slapped my face and sent me to my room. That was two months ago. I thought if she knew I knew she’d stop. She didn’t. So today it was my turn to be the adult and end the affair. Sara said I should tell Daddy. I couldn’t do that. It would break his heart.

I opened my backpack, made sure Daddy's gun was still there, and zipped the bag shut.

“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll walk to school.”

“Are you sure, sweetie? I don’t want you to be late.”

“And I know why,” I mumbled.

“What? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I have plenty of time. See you this afternoon.”

I heard her voice, but not what she said. I was already out the door.

At the end of the driveway, I turned right and headed for school. Uncle Jack was sweeping off his porch, probably waiting for me to leave. I smiled and waved, certain Mom hadn’t told him I knew about them. “Have a nice day. See you later,” I said. He smiled and waved back.

I walked two blocks and sat on the bus stop bench. I figured twenty minutes would be enough time for me to wait. I rubbed the backpack, felt the gun. 

Daddy will be so proud of me.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

She Thinks Juan is my Gay Lover

Today's prompt words in bold.

She Thinks Juan is my Gay Lover

My aunt yells at me through a stuck window of her third floor apartment while I wait for a taxi. What a fruitcake. Or is that fruitcakette? She thinks I’m having an affair with “that yellow skinned Spanish guy.” He’s not my lover, nor Spanish. He’s the psychiatrist I’m hoping will sign her commitment papers. (55 words)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Note Made It Sound Important

This week's prompt words in bold.

Shadé reached the cliffside barrier where the anonymous note said she’d find a yellow rose. When there wasn’t one, she panicked.

Following the pebbled path to the monument and unsure of what to expect, Shadé nearly had a heart attack when she rounded a curve in the trail and her friends yelled, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” (55 words)

Friday, March 7, 2014

In the Distance

This story was written in response to Flash Jab Fiction’s recent drabble (a story of exactly 100 words) challenge.

Belinda paused to stare at the distant farm buildings, a refuge she hoped. The ad requested a nanny to take care of three young children. His wife a victim of cancer, he couldn’t run the farm and raise the kids alone.

The sounds of laughter put a smile on Belinda’s face. The smell of dormant fields and the bleats of sheep greeted her from afar. It seemed the perfect place to hide, to escape her own father. She inhaled a deep breath, let it out, and continued toward her new home, the gun in her purse adding to her confidence.