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Latest Stories

July 10, 2019
Romance Stories John L.Yelavich

Saccharine Smiles and Sandpaper Personalities

What is the most powerful force in the universe? Is it atomic fusion, military might, volcanoes, tsunamis or any other natural disaster? No, they are not. None of them can create havoc and paranoia in man any more than love can. Yes, love is the force that is…
July 10, 2019
Crime Stories J.B.Stevens

A Good Man

Jimmy hated feeling the delicate orbital bones splinter, but he didn’t have a choice. He needed to be free. It was unfortunate. Just the wrong place, wrong time. If he was out he could send money to Sarah. That’s what all this was all about, helping his…
July 10, 2019
Fantasy Stories Roger Ley

Turing Test

Mr Riley liked to start his day in the library. It was a short walk from his house and conveniently situated at the top of the main street in the Suffolk market town that he and his wife had retired to. When they’d first arrived, he’d joined the local writing…
July 10, 2019
Romance Stories Patric Quinn

Where or When

The front doorbell sounded its gentle Westminster Chimes and the thumping on the door started before Hazel even put her pen down on the papers she was working on intently. More curious than annoyed, she stopped writing, shrugged and started for the door.…
July 10, 2019
Flash Fiction Sheila Ash

Working Christmas Again

I always draw the short straw to a chorus of ‘Bad luck’. A reiteration of last year and the year before, and the year before that. Throughout the day, my ‘C’est la vie’ chimes on a constant playback loop. My expressionist shrugs repeat themselves as a…
March 18, 2019
Mystery Stories JD Plummer

Pseudonyms

“Gelb wants you to call him.” I looked at Frankie, opened my mouth, began to slowly shake my head. My reply delayed by the image of Gelb, monocle in eye, brow raised, lips tight, grimacing. I cringed at the thought. “I ain’t calling that prick,” I finally…
March 18, 2019
Fantasy Stories Lucia Balbuena

A Different Story

Her breathing was deep and steady when she run through the dense forest holding her grandmother’s kitchen knife in her hand. Her red cape was torn up, also her legs, hands and her face were cut by the tree brunches. Stop you are the victim, said the forest…
March 17, 2019
Crime Stories Wally Smith

Coda

Luigi Andante’s small apartment sat on the fourth floor of a block in the West Bronx at the corner of 18th and Davidson. It was adequate as a living space, but Luigi craved more than this. “A penthouse overlooking Central Park would suit me just fine”, he had…
March 17, 2019
Crime Stories Walter Giersbach

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Loser

Lorraine Vanderzanden had the thankless task being Lindstrom’s police chief. Her husband didn’t appreciate the risks she took. Her brother didn’t thank her for using her degree for something useful instead of helping on the family farm. Heck, she thought,…
March 17, 2019
Mystery Stories Jenny Webster

"Communicate with me, please."

I have been blind for so long, I didn’t even attempt to imagine what it would be like if I could see. I don’t know any different, all I know is darkness, and I base everything that I can experience mostly through sound. You see, I can’t walk either. I’m not…
March 16, 2019
Flash Fiction Michael Fredrick

Secondhand Santa

The late model sedan sputtered, coughed and dutifully careened forward on a cold December evening. Fred hit the gas pedal & ruminated as he always did, wondering again why life had dealt him this hand? Christmas Eve, foraging for returnable bottles to make…
March 16, 2019
General Stories Darrell Case

Trig's Smokin' Wheels

There were a lot of things Trig Nelson could do, many he wanted to do, and more things he couldn’t do. Trig couldn’t run, he’d never climb stairs or hills or mountains. He couldn’t play football or basketball. Being stuck in a wheelchair that would always be…

 

 

The wind swept across the island like a scythe.  Mary Greene sat in her dimly lit kitchen cradling her nine month old baby.  The boy mewed softly.  Mary knew the infant was hungry, but because of the inclement weather it had been impossible to reach the mainland and the food cupboards were becoming barer as each day passed.  She looked at the empty shelves and sighed wearily.  The boy had refused the weak, milky porridge she had provided for breakfast.  Would he refuse the same for his lunch?  She fervently hoped he would be hungry enough to eat it.

For the first time since she had come to her home on the island as wife to Henry Greene, Mary had witnessed three foot waves on the lake and had experienced a loneliness that she did not think possible.  The prospect of living on an island in a family home had seemed so romantic eighteen months ago.  She had not foreseen the toil, drudgery and difficulties she would need to endure being away from the neighbourliness of the mainland.

 

Her husband was in the barn feeding the dozen cattle they were rearing for the spring mart and he would spend the day caring for their immediate welfare.  She had come to wonder if Henry cared more for the cattle than he did for her, but then berated herself as Henry was, at heart, a good man; a solid, caring man who had married her despite opposition from his grandfather who was now living in comfort several miles away on a large farm on the mainland with his sister.  As Henry had sole responsibility for the farm and the heavy manual labour required, she was in charge of caring for their son, the upkeep of the house, the vegetable garden and the few hens that were managing to survive the unexpected Artic winter.

The weak cries of her boy transformed into a stronger, more pitiful, keening that shredded Mary's heart.  She had to reach the mainland soon and replenish much needed supplies.   Not for one single moment had she anticipated being stranded for two whole months.  It was as if the weather had conspired against her and she silently prayed to God, the Virgin Mary and St Nicholas (the Patron Saint of children) to stop the rain, calm the wind and bring forth a ray of sunshine that would lighten her spirit and give her the much needed chance to climb into the rowboat and row to the local store where tea, sugar, flour and salt could be purchased to make much needed bread, not to mention the requirements to preserve the pig that would soon be slaughtered.  The pig, who had not been named due to its imminent fate, was the only inhabitant of the island that seemed immune to the harsh environment.  He continued to drink his fill from the river that flowed into the lake and eat his way around the farm, uprooting anything he considered edible: bulbs, fungi, roots, bark, snails, earthworms, as well as tucking into last year's vegetable patch where he had demolished the last of the onions, turnips and beetroot that Mary had so tenderly planted.  Yet slaughtering the pig would not solve Mary's immediate dilemma of sustaining her growing babe.

Suddenly, as if in response to her prayers, her thoughts of the pig, which was without doubt self sustaining, caused her heart to rally and she made a conscious decision to scour her environs in an attempt to find anything that would benefit her family but especially her son.  She wrapped herself warmly in her home knitted cardigan, hat, scarf and fingerless gloves.  She had made a cradle from heavy twine that held her son against her bosom and she encased them both in her heavy overcoat, ensuring he was as comfortable as possible, before opening the door to the house and stepping out into the frostbitten air.

The rain had ceased, but the wind was cutting, a cruel wind from the north that could chill the bones of a corpse.  Undeterred Mary made her way across the yard to what remained of her vegetable garden, dismayed to see the destruction caused by the pig but conceding its needs would soon fulfil her own.  The continuous sound of the crashing waves from the lake that were a symptom of the harsh winter filled her ears and she tried desperately to block them out as she began her search under the hedges for any sign of edible flora or fauna.  She recalled how nettles had been utilised by her forefathers as a nutrient and pondered on the truth that all of the dandelion plant was edible.  Her inner optimism searched for traces of a rabbit or a young leveret, but the ground gave no succour.  Grass gave way to unidentifiable weeds or the faint signs of plants that would offer sustenance in the spring.  Mary's mouth watered at the thought of blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries, which forced her to head to the small orchard she had planted on her arrival to the island.

The trees were still young, but her persistent care over the summer had ensured they were hardy and she noted the sturdiness of their trunks and branches, which in time would bear healthy fruit.  Once again she prayed to God, the Virgin Mary and St Nicholas for their perpetuation, adding wistfully the notion of time speeding forward to spring, which would easily solve her immediate crisis.  The thought brought an inner smile to her lips.

As if to echo her inner merriment, her son's soft cry brought her from her reverie causing her to turn her attention to the foot of one of the first apple trees she had planted.  A clump of bright, green grass caught her eye, causing her to pause and reach out to touch the damp fronds, separating each blade, only to reveal one large, brown egg; a single egg, laid by one of her chickens.

With infinite care she scooped up the precious treasure and cradled her find in her palm, admiring the delicate, untarnished, flesh brown shell.  Never had she seen such perfection, such beauty.  Guardedly she folded the egg in a handkerchief and placed it in the deep pocket of her overcoat.  Elated she hummed a wordless tune, the sound startling her son, whose cries of hunger counterpointed her happiness.

Returning jubilantly to the kitchen she judiciously broke the egg into a clean, white, porcelain bowl marvelling at the yellowness of the yolk and the transparency of the white. Prudently she whisked the egg, which obligingly doubled in size with her efforts.  With equal care she divided the yellow consistency into three equal parts. Taking just one part she mixed in a little milk and made over a low heat a scrambled egg mix which, when slightly cooled, her son ate with gusto.

The egg sustained the baby for another two days, Mary and Henry making do with the oatmeal and mutton their son could not digest.  On the third day the wind subsided, the rain ceased and Mary, Henry and their renamed son, Nicholas, rowed to the mainland to replenish the larder vowing never to be unprepared again.

 

End

 

Bio:  Amelia Chambers lives in the west of Ireland and has had numerous jobs, some of which have been long forgotten.  A fan of film, iconic TV series, books, theatre, (especially Shakespeare) and travel, writing is her passion.  Her work, set in the countryside of Ireland and England, is often based on her own travels and experiences with added dramatic flair.  The Egg is loosely based on a true story dating back to the harsh winter of 1947 on the shores of Lough Arrow.

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