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Latest Stories

July 28, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

The Wheel Fiddle

The melody drifted across the garden as she was picking fruit to make a summer pudding. She put down her basket, wiped the sweat from her forehead and walked around to the front of the cottage. The man stood waiting at her garden gate, he raised his cap. He…
July 28, 2018
Flash Fiction Rekha Viswanathan

Pills and Capsules

I wake up to a crisp, clear and sunny morning. The fresh coffee smell beside my bed tempts me. One long sip of the coffee and my senses kick in! I have a long day ahead. At least that's what the papers at the foot of my bed say. Glancing at the paper I see…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Stephen A Murray

Russia,Russia,Russia.

There existed in Russia a small group of intelligence operatives left over from the KGB. They are known as Sputniks. From Wikipedia: "Sputnik was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Paul Anobile

A Portrait of Slam Bang City

I was hired to paint the portrait of a billionaire who founded a small city twenty years ago in a ghost town he purchased in Arizona. Danny O’Keefe, professional wrestling promoter and executive, convinced a number of investors to build a fourteen-thousand…
July 28, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

The Deadest Generation

Sergeant Taylor always checked us thoroughly before sending us in: regulation uniform, backpacks, anti-ballistic helmets, Kevlar vests, and, of course, your gun. You couldn’t go anywhere in this place and be safe without your gun. Sergeant Taylor was strict…
July 28, 2018
General Stories J.B.Stevens

Dead Camel

The improvised explosive popped off to the convoy’s left. The armored black Suburban Neil drove muffled the sound to a dull thud. The blast seemed smaller than normal. “Anyone hurt?” the medic, Luiz, called across the radio. The team members, in four matching…
July 28, 2018
Romance Stories Jerry Hogan

He'll Ask Me To Dance Again

Jay I’m Jay, and I have never been to the My Time Dance Studio before tonight. As I entered, the interior projected a garish 1930s Art Deco motif. Greenish, glow-in-the-dark, semilucent plastic tubing wrapped around the hand railings separating one sitting…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Jim Bartlett

The Comebacker

Cornstalk stretches forward, the look almost as if he’s about to fall headfirst off the mound, saved only by the slapping of his left hand to his knee. He locks eyes with his catcher, then lets his gaze wander down just below his glove for the sign. Uncle…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Susan C. Nigra

Never Kill The Author

Oh My God! What’s happening? This has never happened before. I am cornered, trapped, boxed in with no safe way out. There has always been a way out before, miraculous last minute saves. I think back to how I got here and I remember I was assigned this case as…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Thomas Schmidt

The Streets of Camden

Saturday night was cold and wet. Mike Joseph walked cautiously down Norris Street on his way to the Whitman Park Field, a large green space inside the depressed neighborhood. Propositioned twice by street walkers, he kept moving while shifting his head from…
July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Rekha Viswanathan

The Enchanted Woods

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time. They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a…
July 13, 2018
Flash Fiction Carl Perrin

What Could go Wrong

If you plan every detail carefully, nothing can go wrong. I believed that when I was a teenager. Like the time Billy Long and I decided to make our own beer. Once in a while we used to steal a couple of Billy’s father’s beers, but we were always afraid we…

 

 

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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