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Latest Stories

June 14, 2021
General Stories Brian & Michael Turner

A Peculiar Way To Tell A Story

Maria Starflower straightened her jacket, smiled at the ocean of small faces peering apprehensively at her, and somewhat nervously proceeded to commence her first day as a teacher. "Okay, Polly." She pointed at a small girl who reciprocated with a cheerful…
June 14, 2021
Horror Stories Robb White

Stew Meat

Isidro Alvaro de Jesus Dominguez was fifteen but barely tall enough to peer through the hole in the wooden fence surrounding the soccer field. Several times a year, the strangers who descended on his village were rumored to be from Guadalajara, but no one…
June 14, 2021
Fantasy Stories Milkana N. Mingels

Mora's Inn

When I got a call from my friend Martin, who was serving overseas, I thought the worst. “What’s going on, dude? Is everything okay?” I asked anxiously. “Oh, yeah, yeah!” replied Martin. “Listen, I won’t be in Boston next week. I am still in Bulgaria, in the…
May 18, 2021
Fantasy Stories Vidal Martinez

Darrin The Elf

We meet at 8:30 p.m. at a small rundown café on Grand Avenue. The detective is in the back room, beyond the kitchen, at a private table. I sit across from him, prepared for a confrontation. “Hello dick-tective,” I say, sarcastically. “It’s good to see you in…
May 18, 2021
General Stories Phil Carter

The Man Who Lives On His Own

When it is light, I get up, when it is dark, I go to bed. I have no need of a clock or a watch; my other world was governed by time; my whole life was rushing around looking at my watch, but here there are no deadlines, places to go and people to meet in your…
May 14, 2021
Horror Stories Jesse W. Melton

Kidnapping From Hell

Two Years Ago… It is a beautiful, sunny day. The breeze is blowing very lightly. Our 6-year-old son, Sabastian, is in the front yard playing with our Golden Retriever, Rover. My wife is in the kitchen making her famous German Chocolate cake, only because her…
May 14, 2021
General Stories Dr. Saurabh Bijalwan

Felt, But Untouched

A one by one meter, two decades old window is crumbling with wood louses and moss. During monsoon in Rohtak, it is a laboring task to stand near it and stand its breath. But in spite of this, someone does. For that someone, it is a world of possibilities.…
May 03, 2021
General Stories Marco

Gardening In New South Africa

I stood at the gate, gazing up the road. As expected, it was too early for people to be out exercising. My neighbours had warned me about getting casual gardeners in. As far as they were concerned if you get a casual in, a week later you will have a “home…
May 03, 2021
Flash Fiction Sean Fitts

Loss

I found you in New York City walking on the northside of West 50th, between 8th and Broadway. You’d told me you had already eaten, refusing my invitation to join me for lunch. I was in town for a gallery opening; you were in town to stay. “Break a leg,” you’d…
April 28, 2021
General Stories Jaclyn Garing

True Or False

I was just the average high school student trying to figure out who I liked, if anyone liked me, or if I even liked myself, whoever I thought I was. Unintentionally, somewhere between recess and advanced calculus, I had tricked people into thinking I was…
April 22, 2021
Science Fiction Stories Adrian Des Champs

Rainbow World

I always wanted to escape but I didn’t know how to. Now that I have the opportunity, I feel that there are no limits. There was no achievement in it, it was me just as easily as it could have been anyone else. Since I could not give it back, I had to use it.…
April 22, 2021
General Stories Vidal Martinez

Don Poncho

“Daddy, Daddy.” My eyes crack open. “Daddy.” My bed slightly moves. “Son, what is it?” “My little sombrero man is saying bad words.” I reach over, tapping the top of his head. “Son, go back to bed.” “But—” “Be quiet, you’ll wake Mommy in the other room.”…

An oak tree stands, static and baked in the airless heat of August.  From the top of the field, Daniel stares at it.  His tears have dried on his cheeks, and he begins to walk slowly down the slope, drawn as always by the tall tree and the promise of whatever adventure there may be to be found.

 

The adventure is always the same, to climb up into the branches and sit, looking out into the Shropshire hills.  To think a little and not to fall, that is his adventure.

 

He can still hear his mother’s voice ringing around the cottage. Daniel knows he is a bad boy.  He knows it is wrong to climb the tree.  But he will anyway.

 

He reaches the old table that has stood against the trunk of the tree since his first ascent some two years ago.  He looks up through the leaves and squints at the sun, and then gives the table a shake, testing it as he always does before climbing.  It has become less stable this year, but it will still take his weight and serve its purpose, to act as a step, as a base camp on the route to the summit.  From there he can reach the low branches, and there will be a scuffle as his trainers scrape the bark and he pulls himself into the tree proper.  He unbuttons his blue shirt, swings it over his shoulder, and begins to climb...

 

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Now Daniel is sitting next to his mother in the waiting room.  His legs swing to and fro, not quite reaching the floor, and he shivers because it is quite cold.  He looks about for his blue shirt, sure somehow that they had bought it with them, but it is not to be seen.  His mother stares ahead, ignoring him, and fiddles with the strap of her handbag, making it squeak.  There is one other person waiting, an old lady who sits across from them, slumped in her chair, and apparently dozing.  Daniel watches the slow descent of her chin as it moves down towards her chest, momentarily pausing with every slow breath.  Her eyes are slits, maybe shut, maybe not.

 

The door opens suddenly making his mother start.  She is frightened a lot these days, not herself, and he wishes he could make her better.  She will be better soon though, she will see that he is really a good boy.  That’s why they are here.

 

A smart young nurse with a clipboard enters and smiles.

 

“Mrs Chesterton?  You can go in now.  Dr Miller is waiting for you.”

 

His mother nods, but does not get up straight away; instead she takes two deep slow breaths and rolls her shoulders.   Daniel thinks he sees the spark of tears in her eyes again and he wants to hug her, wants to make it right. The nurse waits patiently, still smiling, and as his mother slowly rises to her feet, Daniel makes the small jump to the floor and follows her across the room.  As they pass the nurse he looks up at her.  The smile has slipped away and she marks her clipboard with a pen.

 

We are ticked, Daniel thinks, and remembers school.  A tick for a good picture.  A tick for spelling.  Now a tick for standing up when asked.  No more ticks today though, he is naughty.  A bad boy, and they are here to deal with that somehow.

 

It is just as cold in Dr Miller’s office, and it smells of flowers and medicine.  His mother sits in the chair opposite the Doctor’s desk.  She perches on the edge, even though the chair is comfy and made for sitting back.  Daniel stands beside her and regards the doctor. He thinks that the doctor is a young man, but that his thick glasses make him look older.

 

“Mrs Chesterton.  Please sit back and relax.  I want to have a nice long chat about Daniel.  I hope that you will be willing to talk to me today.”

 

His mother catches her breath and glances down to her side.  Her lips move but no words come out.  She slowly eases back into the chair.

 

“Can I call you Brenda?  I’m Michael.”

 

“I..” Mother starts and falters.  “Yes Doctor.  But I told the others.  I.. I can’t.. I don’t know what to say. “

 

She lifts her right hand and Daniel thinks for a minute she is going to take him and hug him.  He wants that, but the hand drops back into her lap, lifeless.   Dr Miller – Michael – Daniel reminds himself, nods and sits back.

 

“No one is going to try and force anything from you Brenda.  The situation seems impossible for you now.  But the most.........”

 

His words become a hum, and Daniel thinks about just one of them.  ‘Situation’.  He thinks he knows what a situation is.  This situation has made his mother sad and his Dad angry.  Daniel knows he is responsible but doesn’t know how to make it right.   The doctor has finished speaking.  Daniel didn’t hear what was said, but he is listening again now.

 

The doctor rests his chin on his fingertips.

“Can you tell me what you feel now about what Daniel did?”

“Oh God I went through all this mind crap with the social.  What do want me to say?  That I told him again and again not to go into the tree and he disobeyed me?  That he was ..naughty for doing it?”

 

There.  Daniel sighs and moves closer.  She used the word.  He was a naughty boy.  What can he do to be good again?  They’re so different with him now, Mom and Dad.  He fears they don’t love him anymore.

 

Doctor shakes his head.

 

“I only want you to say what you want to.  I’m not a social worker and my only concern is for you and your husband.  Just think of some words for me.  Words that express how you feel.”

“So this is therapy is it?  Do you really think it will change the way I think about my son?”

 

Daniel doesn’t understand much of this now and wanders to the window.  He has to tip toe to see over the sill, and expects at any time to be called back to his mother’s side.  The panes are dusty and he rubs to make them clean, but he can’t.  As he screws his eyes against the sun, a large cat eases from the foliage and shakes itself.  It holds his gaze for a few seconds, its fur soft, its body relaxed but its stare brittle.  Suddenly the fur rises and it arches its back, mouth open, giving a hiss he cannot hear.  It dives back into the bushes and they settle to stillness in the sun.

 

“Daniel!”

 

His mother has called and he turns to answer, but she isn’t looking at him.  She has in fact simply said his name aloud as a reaction to something the doctor has asked or said.  He wants to be included now, wants some love.  He wants them to ask him things.  He looks from one to the other.  His mother is shaking.

 

“Do I feel what about Daniel!?”

 

His mother leaps to her feet tipping the comfy chair backwards and Doctor Miller pushes his own chair back, startled.  There is a set to his mother’s jaw that he has seen before.  There is anger to come, anger and tears.

 

“Guilty?” she screams “Oh course I’m fucking guilty.  I..I told him not to go, not to climb.  I stuck my head in a cookery book but I could still hear him messing around in the next room.”

 

She places both hands on the doctor’s desk, and her voice lowers.

 

“Then I couldn’t hear him.  I called and called.   I went out to the garden and to the meadow.  I was just in time, oh yeah.  Just in time to see him fall and hear him land.  That was it Doctor.  The end of his life and the end of mine.”

 

Then the sobs come, short and shrill, as the doctor moves around the table and the door opens to admit the anxious nurse. His mother waves the doctor away.

 

“Two hours later.  Just two hours and the ambulance had gone and all I had left of my son was a blue shirt.  A blue fucking shirt...”

 

 

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Daniel feels different now, he feels less….there.  He knows they don’t want him in that room now, but he doesn’t feel at all bad about it.  He knows where his shirt is now, it’s safe, it’s somewhere his mother has put it.  Maybe he’ll go and look soon, but first he has to go somewhere else.  He knows he has to go to the tall tree and sit for a while in its branches, even though he feels that the tree is somewhere else, and that he has a new adventure.

 

 

Although previously published, Chris Donaldson is now a recreational writer resident in the UK. Most of his short stories contain spiritual/supernatural elements, but these themes tend to drive the story rather than be its subject. He tries to draw inspiration from small events in the world around that he can develop into something entertaining, rather than profound.

 

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