5. Your Turn, by Marjan Sierhuis
Brad’s sleep is interrupted by strange sounds as he lies on the stretcher. He groans and pulls the hospital sheet over his head. But the noise remains, accompanied by the occasional abdominal cramp.
His memory is foggy when it all comes back to him.
“The visual examination went well, Brad,” says Dr. Smith as he walks over and touches his patient on the shoulder.
“I told him it wouldn’t be so bad,” says Brad’s wife, walking over and kissing her husband on the cheek.
Dr. Smith replies with a gleam in his eye. “I will schedule you for next week.”
4. Cannot Go Back, by Lisa Miller
Norman’s face shines with self-satisfaction and pleasure when he pulls off his wife’s birthday surprise. But her mood darkens, face red, when the same Singing Telegram from last year performs. A modest woman, pretty with golden hair … Norm teases her relentlessly, reciting the most current blonde jokes along with tired one-liners featuring sex toys and used condoms. All eyes on her, he looks for her reaction when he announces her age along with a wisecrack about antique cars. A cold silence fills the room. Her second marriage has her longing for the first. Too late for a change of heart.
3. Paradise Left, by Nicky Johnson
Old Man Jarrett wasn’t a recluse, nor was he that old. In fact, the handsome gentleman often fraternized with the locals at community events. He simply adored his vast acreage and felt no reason to travel. The majority of each day was occupied tending to a truly majestic butterfly garden while sipping coffee from a thermos.
In time, a lovely young lady rivaled the haven. Full of energy, she begged him to see the world with her. He consented. Consequently, as the plane plummeted, he prayed not for his life, but for forgiveness from his beloved butterflies.
2. Sunrise, by Don Tassone
Haiti awoke in the darkness, slipped out of her small house and headed for the beach. She would be back in less than an hour, before her daughter and husband awoke.
She followed a dirt path, the moon lighting her way. The waves softly called to her, like old friends. She took her shoes off, the sand cool on the soles of her feet, and sat down where she knew the sand was soft and dry.
Haiti closed her eyes and whispered a prayer … then opened them just in time to watch the sun rise, as she did every day.
1. His Death, by Julie Achilles
We both stood there looking down at him. Knowing he was close to death, I wanted no more of it.
Jordan was still full of anger, stored-up, revengeful, for all those years of endured abuse. I had never forgiven, yet, I knew this had to stop–now. Jordan delivered another hefty kick to his side and I watched, horrified, as he lay there. He cried out no more. He was done.
‘Please, Jordan,’ I begged. I begged for our abuser’s life.
It was too late and he was dead and Jordan stood beside me and cried.