-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

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…

 

 

“You have any stories for me Uncle Bill?”

“Well, I just read about this pregnant lady in Poland. She was in labor for 75 days. For two months, the doctors made her lay upside down to keep her from giving birth too early.” I smiled picturing polish hospitals full of upside down patients.

“That can’t be true.” Iris shook her head.

Iris missed the point of the stories. Uncle Bill and I always looked up strange facts on the internet. I liked the stories. Even if I was old enough to know that they weren’t all necessarily true.

I was 13, old enough to be left alone with Aster. Still, while we waited for Daddy to come back home, Uncle Bill came to sit with us anyway.

Daddy was at the hospital awaiting our new baby sister, about to become the proud papa yet again. He never said it aloud, but I could tell that he was worried about how he was going to afford a new baby. Every time Mama excitedly brought home a new item for the baby, he would smile, but he would get a worried look in his eyes and his forehead would wrinkle.

Uncle Bill ordered a pizza from my favorite restaurant. We all laughed at how Iris dabbed at the slices with a napkin before eating them. I personally always thought the greasiness was the best part of the pizza. And, I loved how the slices were cut huge, each one the size of your face.

We sat up late, eating in the living room, watching The Wizard of Oz. I was picking out a piece of pepperoni buried under layers of cheese, when he got the call from the hospital. He was still on the phone when he got up and left the room. It was twenty minutes before he came back.

“Dolly, why don’t you turn the TV off? I need to talk to you girls about something important.” Nobody argued with him, not me, not Aster, not Iris. There was something in his voice. Something told us this was not the time for that. This was serious. After he sat us down, he gave us the news. Mama had started bleeding. They tried to stop it but they just couldn’t.

Growing up in Lewiston Idaho, you come to expect a certain degree of safety. You never expect to hear a loved one has died. And, no matter where you live, your mother is never supposed to die. Uncle Bill started crying and Aster hugged him. Iris had an almost expressionless look on her face. It was as if she was only still sitting there because we expected her to, as if maybe she was waiting for something. I was sure that Uncle Bill was overreacting, sure that Mama was only sick not dead and the doctors would find some way to bring her back.

When Daddy came home, he didn’t say much. Aster cooed over the baby and marveled at how tiny she was. Iris wouldn’t even look at Lily when she first came home. Me? I didn’t have any choice in my relationship to Lily. Daddy slacked a lot when it came to things like diaper changings and feedings. Uncle Bill stayed home and “watched” us, after Daddy went back to work. That meant that he was there, but I did most of what needed doing. Of course, Aster helped as best a seven year old could. Iris, however, was no help at all. She was always doing her own thing. When Daddy came home, he would take care of some things, but like a robot. As if, if he did anything more than necessary or displayed any kind of emotion it would show he didn’t miss Mama.

I guess sometimes when someone you love dies, if you aren’t careful, a piece of you just might die with her.

It could be a coincidence, but not long after Mama passed away, I decided to clean out my room and give all my toys to Aster. I had things to do that were more important. I guess after the day we lost Mama I took it on myself to make sure everyone was all right. I spent most of my time thinking about the living, worrying about my family. But, my spare time I spent thinking about Mama. I spent a lot of time on the computer, reading. In 1996, a coroner declared a woman declared dead, only to find her snoring in the morgue, a day and a half later. They called it Lazarus Syndrome. Part of me could not help wondering if Mama was still alive. Somehow, reading about these stories gave me hope, even though we had buried Mama long ago. There was a church in walking distance of house. Aster and I started going to church on Sundays. I knew that miracles could happen. It was a fact. I read about them all the time on the internet. If a miracle could happen, then there was no reason why Mama couldn’t be waiting for us when we got home? Nevertheless, even with my newfound sense of religion and no matter how hopeful I felt, a part of me inside, where no one else could see, felt angry about Mama’s death. It seemed twisted Irony that I became my baby sister’s main caregiver. I would never say this to Lily, but when she was born, I could not help feeling that a new baby was a poor replacement for a mother. I do not know if it hurt my chances of getting my prayers answered, but every time I spoke to him asking that he bring Mama back, God knew that I was willing to make a trade for her. A huge part of me wished it had been different… wished that Lily had died instead of Mama. Lily was two years old before I realized the sad and beautiful truth.Like all tragic events, my mother’s death would not have and could not have, happened any other way. It was all, as people say, meant to be.

Barbara Eastwood’s the author of the recently released book, "The Dozen

Lives of Erica Whitefield," available at all major bookstores. She’s a

resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Holding a degree in Psychology,

she spends much of her time helping at risk children and families. You

can follow Barbara on twitter @eatingtheburg.

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!