-The best stories on the web-
Read or link to over 1000 stories listed under Stories to the left.
Submit your short stories for review as a Word document attached to an email to: Read@Short-Story.Me

Latest Stories

October 14, 2018
Crime Stories Julie Achilles

The Boy in a Hoodie

I am walking along the road, the road that leads to home and I see him. I do not know him but for some reason I know there is a significance. He is casually dressed and wearing a grey hoodie which is pulled up, yet, I can still see his face. I can see that he…
October 14, 2018
Fantasy Stories M.B.Manteufel

Two Heads are Better than One

He opened the jewelry box with one gloved hand, holding steady a slim flashlight with the other. He cursed under his breath. Empty. Again. Matt Sanders wasn’t used to bad luck. He had become one of the best in his profession because he refused to rely on…
October 14, 2018
General Stories Julie Harris

The Man Who Left His Wife With A Goat

The morning’s warm rain finally drizzled to a wind-blown spray before a strong sun blazed in the cloudless sky. Christine stood motionless at the kitchen sink staring beyond the teardrop stained window to where he stood watching from the summer house.…
October 14, 2018
Mystery Stories Salvatore Difalco

Vertigo

Juan rose to pee in pitch darkness, his eyes fluttering. He found the toilet, but peed all over the unraised seat, splashing his shins and toes. Catching jeweled glints of chrome and glass, his eyes oriented to the darkness. Incomprehensible, his next move—he…
September 09, 2018
Crime Stories Frankie Neptune

It's The End of The World as We Knew It

 Reggie Benangin had always been this way. He couldn’t do anything right. The following is true - Though not even Polish, he couldn’t screw in a light bulb. When growing up in Westfield, New Jersey, his father knew never to ask Reggie to cut the grass. Every…
September 09, 2018
Horror Stories Vidal Martinez

La Llorona

I almost slam my head on the dashboard when the car suddenly stops in the middle of the dirt road. “What are you doing?” He looks behind me. “Right there… those trees,” he says. “Are you serious?” I look out the passenger window, and in the dark distance is…
September 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

Curing Brian

The day started pleasantly enough, we’d met for our regular game of tennis, the old reliables, Chris, Marilyn, Malcolm and me. Then the man in the dirty suit appeared and everything changed. It was summer and the weather was warm, so we’d used the outside…
September 09, 2018
Romance Stories John L. Yelavich

Sunny Souls

I have fond recollections of my high school years roaming the hallways with my best pals and their gals. We all thought that we embodied the right stuff or whatever that mindset was. We were all proud, cocky and cool and never wanted to be labeled pretenders…
September 09, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

Snarge

What do you think we hit? Can’t say. We went through the critters pretty fast. I’ve never seen anything quite like that flock: multicolored, almost metallic-looking, circling in a protective formation. Very strange. We’ll have to wait until the techs evaluate…
August 21, 2018
Fantasy Stories Roger Ley

Making Babies

Martin Riley unlocked his front door, stepped over the threshold, and stopped dead. Everything was different: furniture, décor, layout, all changed. It didn’t look like his house anymore. A voice behind him said, “Hello Darling, I have some wonderful news.…
August 21, 2018
Science Fiction Stories R.Scott Venegas

How Far Back?

“The test subjects’ mental acuity, such as it is, and physiology are unaffected, the samples it obtained show little out of the ordinary, however it is quite agitated.” “Is it?” “Yes, seems it was spotted and chased.” “Did it do any damage during the…
August 21, 2018
Romance Stories Susan C. Nigra

A Lie is Born

Dec. 12, 2012 was a dreary uninspired winter day, and also the day I returned to relive the beginning of the lie. It was 43 years ago when I first came here at the tender age of 23 in high spirits... high on life, high on being young; and I have returned a…

 

 

Snuggled under the covers of her bed in the pre-dawn hours of that late October morning, Annie awoke to the sound of her daddy’s cry. The painful yell and loud thud of his feet as they hit the floor echoed through the long, narrow trailer. Her heart hammered. Filled with terror, she heard the unmistakable fear in her father’s words as he bellowed, “I feel like my head’s going to explode!”

Annie’s head jerked toward the shared room next to hers where her two brothers bound out of their bunk beds, stumbling over each other to get out the door. They hustled down the hallway. She followed close on their heels.

The family now gathered in her parents’ bedroom, fear clawed at her as she watched her daddy press both hands to his temples. She felt the blood drain from her face when soft whimpers escaped his throat. Her eyes darted from Daddy to Mommy’s tear-stained face then flitted over the terrified expressions of the boys; fear hung heavy in the room. The furthest thing from anyone’s mind was that this was the morning of Annie’s ninth birthday.

* * *

Her three-year-old daughter’s face lit up at the sound of the key in the lock. Annie watched Amanda run into her daddy’s arms, noticed smiles on both their faces, watched him lift the toddler into the air and press her little face to his. Heart warmed at the special bond between a father and daughter, Annie smiled.

Two years passed. Annie watched Amanda loop her arm through her daddy’s and smile up at him as if he were the love of her life. Annie’s eyes misted.

Three years later, eight-year-old Amanda enfolded her arms around her daddy’s waist, stepped on his shoes, and swayed as he danced her around the room. A distant memory stirred in Annie. Sadness enveloped her, and her eyes brimmed.

Alone that evening she yanked a notepad out of the desk drawer, face contorted with a rage that masked deep, deep hurt. Annie put pen to paper, hand energized as angry questions flowed. It didn’t matter that the questions were to a father who’d passed away five years ago, twenty years after the five the doctor predicted. What mattered was thirty years of bottled emotions spewed forth – emotions so raw that the angry words almost ripped through the page as she asked:

After you got well, why didn’t you dance with me and twirl me around the room to the records on our stereo the way you used to? Was I somehow to blame; did I cause your illness? Did I do something wrong to make you not want to be close to me anymore? Why did you keep a physical and emotional arm’s length from me during and after your illness? Did you know that your indifference made me feel unimportant, inadequate – invisible? Did you care?


Questions asked, Annie’s writing slowed as the anger and frustration ebbed. Her brow furrowed as memories surfaced, memories of how distant her father was after he came home from his long hospital stay. Memories of how anxious he became as each October rolled around. “Why?” Annie asked into the empty room.

As if she’d finally asked the right question, the answer came to her. His illness struck on her birthday, making her a constant reminder to her father of his imminent mortality. And each time her birthday rolled around, it meant he was one year closer to dying.

Her head spun at the revelation. Hot tears stung her eyes. She stared at the blurred paper as the insight gave her compassion for the man she’d grown to resent over the years. For the first time, she saw things from her father’s perspective. Annie thought about what must have gone through his mind when he’d heard the doctor’s words: did he wonder if he’d recuperate; wonder how his family would survive if he didn’t; wonder if he’d somehow let his family down?

She grabbed a tissue and dried her eyes, washed with a sense of understanding. At long last, the heart that was broken so long ago felt at peace. Her childish fear that she was to blame for her father’s illness and the misery her family endured afterward, she knew, would no longer haunt her. Instinctively, she now understood her Daddy never meant his aloofness to hurt any of them; he’d simply been afraid – afraid to leave his family alone, afraid to die. Detachment, both in the form of emotional distance and in alcohol, made it easier for him to face the inevitable.

Annie blew her nose as she pictured his face, smiling, loving – the way it looked before that fateful morning. She remembered the music from that old stereo and how she use to put her arms around his waist, step on his shoes, and sway as he danced her around the room. She remembered whispering, “I love you, Daddy” and his smiled response, “I love you, too, sweetheart.”

She wished things hadn’t changed.

0
0
0
s2sdefault

Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:

Amount:

Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!