Category: Short Stories

The tears tasted clean after the blood. So she resisted the urge the wipe her face or control her sobs. Maybe this was nature’s way. Maybe we cried to heal ourselves, like so much sap running to seal over the gaping wound of a lost branch. She only realized the tears had stoped when she heard her own hiccuped breath breaking the silence. Cringing internally and struggling externally she tried to quiet herself.

“Take your medicine,” he’d said before it started. Maybe he’d known. Maybe he could sense the brokenness inside, and wanted to shore up the weakness one broken bone at a time.

The chill of the concrete floor was all encompassing. Tiny shuddering trimmers ran though her like lightning strikes. She was so cold without the warmth of her tears. Till his prone shape shifted upon the couch, breaking her internal focus. Smallness hadn’t been the answer an hour ago still she felt herself trying to draw inward. All of her went silent. The trembling stoped. Her breathing slowed. Time unwound itself in lazy circles.

His footsteps filled her ears till his hot breath on the curve of her shoulder drove out any other sensation.

“Ready for more?”

The question hit her harder than his hand had, and for a second despair leaked into her soul. Maybe when he pulled her upright something snapped. Maybe he either hadn’t heard or didn’t care, but the residue of his rough hand on her arm had left fire not ice. It surged through her veins causing her to flush and made her breathing ragged.

“That seems like a yes,” he jeered.

She met his eyes for a second before reacting. “It’s a no actually!” She punctuated her words with a sharp knee thrust before running for the door. Her bare feet slapped against the asphalt shredding more with each step. She only slowed down enough to throw herself into the first open door she could find.

She could feel everyone’s eyes on her judging and predatory. Maybe she’d run from the pan to the fire. Maybe it hadn’t been steal that clicked into place when he’d pulled her up to him. She walked as quickly as she could towards the bartender pulling at her clothes wishing she was better protected. His eyes moved in an up then down appraisal before his eyes went dull and cold, the smile gone from his unshaven face.


The small bells over the door rang, announcing the newest patron. She didn’t have to look to know what she’d find. Not a single pair of eyes would meet hers, and those looking her way held themselves in postures of disdain not concern. She froze like a deer in headlights as he cracked jokes at her expense while the bartender, an obvious acquaintance, laughed along.

The sound followed her into the night and haunted her every step. Each block she put between herself and the known danger seemed to put her a block closer to the unknown dangers lurking just out of sight. By the time she made it to the police office her feet throbbed in time with each side stabbing breath. Her progress was watched by the unblinking eyes of surveillance cameras and measured in dirty footprints by the age-worn police officer at the front desk. He waited for her to approach his counter never once offering assistance.

“I need to report a crime.”

He scoffed, lifted a phone, and requested assistance. Ignoring her completely he started to fill out paperwork. Each second he refused to acknowledge her and every line he scratched on to the form tore at her resolve. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe tears make you invisible, the salt slowly eroding anything of value till nothing remains.

“Jerry from The Stoop called awhile back,” he said while filling out page two of the form. “How’d you think this would play out? Drinking alone. Dressed like that. People shouldn’t be surprised when they get what they ask for.”

Frustration blazed down her spine. Shame flamed in her heart. Conviction seared through her veins. This time the tears wouldn’t sooth. These tears were gasoline, and she wasn’t going to stop till she burned the whole institution down.

Image as seen on


Dear Sirs,

Dear Sirs,

Peggie hit the carriage return bar and cranked the paper up a double space.


“Peggie!” The bellow was followed by a quick succession of taps which noticeably increased in speed.

Walking swiftly to the door on her right Peggie smoothed her skirt and cleared her throat as she entered the office “Yes Mr. Goint!”

The tapping stopped, stuttered, and then redoubled its pace. “I have very nearly forgotten you took so long.”

“It’s my lunch Sir, I…”

“That, is neither here nor there. Peggie I need the document. The one we discussed last night. Where have you hidden it?”

“I sent it out this morning Mr. Goint.”

“You what?!?” It was in this moment that Peggie knew she had his attention. His honest-to-God full attention.

“Sir, Mr. Qumonn had said it was of utmost importance that it go out today…”

“Oh is that what’s happened? Tell me would 4 o’clock have been today as well?”

Peggie’s color rose and paled so fast that if you’d have blinked you’d have missed it. “Of course Sir. I will contact the courier and see if it can be diverted back for a later pick up.”

His attention faded as the phone rang leaving Peggie with no more guidance than a dismissive wave.

Back at her desk, and on hold with the currier service Peggie looked over her shoulder at the typewriter. The apple and cola she had packed for lunch sat to the side untouched while her ham sandwich slowly went stale. She looked longingly at the meal before turning her back to it.

I find myself feeling…

“Hey Peg?”

“Yes, Mr. Qumonn.” She swiveled in her seat, arriving face forward hands folded demurely in her lap. “How can I help?”

“I’m looking over Bob’s numbers, and there is no way I’ll be able to send them to the client like that. Can you work your magic for me?”

A bright smile snapped into place. “Anything in particular, Sir?”

He was already taking the five steps necessary to reach his office door, “No Peg, they just need a little hel…” The p was lost to the closing door as Peggie was almost certain Mr. Qumonn hadn’t suggested the numbers needed a little hell.

She scanned the tables in her hand momentarily forgetting the typewriter. The sharp beep in her ear brought everything back.

Yes, the currier was back.

Yes, document could be returned.

Yes, that would cost extra.

Yes, a scheduled picked up could occur at 4pm.

Physically Peggie shrugged as she hung up the phone, mentally she scratched off two items on her to do list. While she waited on the document return Peggie reordered the columns, so that Gross came before Cost with Net rounding off the final page, and highlighted the total values.

Just then the very disgruntled overheated currier appeared and nearly threw the Manila envelope at Peggie before trotting back down the stairs. With little in the way of words both men had their pages in hand and their doors shut. Peggie exhaled deeply chewed off the corner of her sandwich and set her focus to the typewriter.

feeling in…

Buzzing from the left suggested that Mr. Qumonn had finished reviewing the tables. Instead he requested coffee service for an unscheduled meeting in the Boardroom. Peggie set each seat with a brief, a small plate of raspberry linzer cookies, a coffee cup, and a glass of water. When the door burst open filling the room cigarette smoke and baritones, she headed for the exit.

“Fellas, you can thank Peg for the special touch.” Ralph Qumonn had sounded sincere enough to make her stop backing out of the room, but no one so much as glanced in her direction as they shared his laugh. Peggie closed the door with exaggerated care.

Back at her desk, or rather on her chair, was a document so red it could have been bleeding. Peggie counted the pages and did a time check, 30 pages in 95 minutes. It would be close.

The currier came and went for the third time only promising an end of day delivery after pocketing her half dollar. Famished Peggie put the apple in her mouth as she reset her original page.

“Gone.” The statement was followed by a perfunctory cane tap.

Peggie quickly bit the apple letting it drop into her hand. The delay in her response only elicited more taps. “Yes Sir. It cost me 50 cents, but it’ll be there before end of day Mr. Goint.”

“Done at last then.” David Goint’s words echoed slightly as he made his way down the stairs flattening them out till no trace of tone could be discerned.

She shook her head.


“We’re through Peg.”

No response necessary. Peggie cleared the table straightened the chairs and called for housekeeping. Finally settled back at her desk in the now empty office.

She typed for only an instant before popping open the cola and taking a long pull. Peggie read and reread what she had typed while she finished the soda. Page in hand she stretched luxuriously, and cleared away the rest of her uneaten lunch. She set the loose leaf on her desk, and weighted it down with her cola can.

Dear Sirs,

I find myself feeling interrupted.

She hit the lights, walked to the stairs, and never looked back.


Painting by Kimber Mallett

I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I. Will. Not. Scream.

It was so quiet I could hear a shuddering breath being drawn. A hundred eyes stared, filled with a multitude of variations on worried surprise and gleeful disgust.

Damn. It hadn’t worked.

Who has the time

The slant of the light through the trees turned the hazy springtime air to gold. Everywhere you looked branches covered with new growth obscured what must have been a take-your-breath-away blue sky. The birds, which had fallen silent when I stumbled into their abode, sang sweetly. A pleasant counterpoint to my ragged breathing and pounding heart. I could get use to this I thought, as the picturesque lines blurred, but who has the time.


“I am, I’m here!”

Her rescue call sounded unsure at best.

The pilgrimage, as she had started referring to the now impossible climb, which had begun with so much hope and ambition was about to undo her. She could clearly remember herself telling others, in falsely modest tones, how rewarding this would be. Life changing, had been a phrase she used.

“Oh June, what’s next? Where are you off to now?”

“Me? I’m planning a pilgrimage [insert shy but knowing grin here]. It will help define my path. This opportunity will be life changing.”

The memory caused bile to rise in the back of her throat, and her more cynical side to sneer in approval of her fate. Maybe she was deserving of the lonely frigid darkness after scenes like that.

The unvoiced dare to give up hung in the air, corporeal.

The thought of abandoning the path reeked of failure and rang of waste, the giving up would be worse than never trying. As the decision slowly solidified the tears upon her cheek were both joyful and filled with sorrow.

She turned away and walked with defeat. Each sure step proof positive that she’s done something wrong as only struggle and strife could measure the true worth of an endeavor.

Her progress slowed as regret replaced defeat, but still she moved forward.

Her eyes averted she missed the flowers.

Her internal dialogue so loud she missed the bird song.

Until the path stoped short…

“I am here!”

Her roar of triumph was undeniable.

All rights to the owner who I thank for posting such a beautiful image.


It pulled at his attention constantly, and just like the itch you cannot scratch this only made things worse. Nothing seemed to help. Thinking about it, trying not to think about it, and researching it online all had the same effect…none. The twitch, it seemed, was here to stay.

Image by Travis Howell as seen on Dribble

How much longer?

I’m dying.

That’s the only explanation that makes sense. Hell, it’s the only thought my chaotic mind seems to be able to latch hold of. If I’m dying then the crushing defeat seems right. The helplessness. The desperate resignation. The hollowness just south of my heart and north of my navel.

Is it bad to want this, to smile through the tears in an attempt at grim humor? Will that smile remain once I finally give up, or slide away like so many other things I’ve lost? How long till nothing’s left?

How many drinks till none of this matters? Till the whiskey burn is all I feel. Finally warm where the nerves are shot and the dull ache throbs.

How much longer till I give in?

The spinning stops. The silence is everywhere. The cold seeps back in just as the color leeches out.

As seen on

On the 12th moon

Otis looked up, dark eyes as round as saucers, at the full moon. A quick check on his fingers confirmed it. This was the 12thmoon. Knowing that it would only cause hunger pains he walked down the street to the corner bakery anyway. Smudging the oversized windows with his grimy fingers he was unable to stop imagining how the large fluffy bites might actually taste.

He didn’t remember why he had started to keep count, tracking the moons through the years, but Otis remembered when. The snow had been nearly waist deep as he walked through the night, and the biggest full moon he had ever seen had followed his struggle. Now when he saw the full moon he felt strong and 12 in a row meant… something even if he couldn’t quite explain what it was.

Having leaned even closer to the display window the bell above the bakery door made Otis jump as it rang out. The woman who stood in the door way looked terrifying as a backlit and shadowy figure. Otis considered bolting.

“Wait…” the woman said reading the instinct in his eyes. She held out a small box in one hand still holding the door open with the other.

Otis hesitated only momentarily, fearing the trap of easily grabbable things, before snatching it and running off.

Looking for approval

Her shoulders sag slightly. The invisible weight she carries obvious only when no one is watching, she hopes. She takes a deep breath. It’s fair to say she runs on caffeine and pure determination. You can see it in the tightness around her eyes and the forward lean of her posture. She’s poised for motion, having accepted that retreat and advance are both valid options.

Always looking for approval she dons the clothes, does her hair, and applies the mask. Squared shoulders, keen eyes, and an easy smile complete the look. She tells herself she is in control willing it to be true.

I turn away from the mirror before doubt shatters the moment, confident in my lack of confidence.

No crying over broken cookies

The tension was a palpable solid thing that was slowly filling the room forcing even the oxygen out. They stood locked in place unable to look away slightly out of breath. Maybe it was ice forming between them, crystalline enough to break but too rigid to allow for shifting, she thought. A lot had cooled recently so ice made a poetic kind of sense. He shifted his weight and broke eye contact to look at the door. More specifically the shattered plate of cookies littering the floor just in front of the door.

“What do you want me to do?” He asked slowly, almost defeated.

Stop, she wanted to scream, honestly she wanted it all to stop. Even though she knew it would never happen, never could, that’s what she really wanted.

“People depend on me you know,” as he said the words she could hear his jaw tightening. “If I don’t go… well I don’t even want to think about what could happen.”

“To you or your people Chris?”

His head shot up and his mouth open and closed but no words came out. She walked over to him, eyes bright with unshed tears crunching cookies and platter as she went, and handed him a card. “I’m done Chris. I just, I just can’t do this anymore.” She paused for a moment unsure how to continue. “There’s a way to stop it.”

He looked at the card.

“There’s a clause for it.”

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