Phobia, by Norman Lacotte

(F.F.F. Website Story)

Mildred cautiously peaked through the kitchen door, scanning for any creature lurking around. Their long legs, their hairy bodies and those beady eyes revolted her. Seeing no danger, Mildred scurried across the floor aiming for the cupboard. Before she could reach her destination, her nightmare entered. Mildred froze, petrified. It was all she could do not to scream. She bit her lip, paralysed with fear. The source of her phobia brushed against her. Mildred jumped on the couch and waited for the hideous beast to depart. When the monster left, Mildred, shaken by the experience, hurried back to her web.

It Pays to Listen to Advice, by Gordon Lawrie

(F.F.F. Website Story)

In the run-up to the election, the incoming President had campaigned long and hard that he would tighten up the nation’s borders. And no sooner was he elected than he scrapped the previous administration’s DACA scheme allowing children of unregistered immigrants.

Additionally, he announced that all Muslim arrivals would be “extreme-vetted”. All arrivals with long beards would be classified as Islamist militants – whatever their religion really was – and definitely refused entry.

The new President was advised to be cautious by many, but he wouldn’t listen. There would be no exceptions: all foreigners with long beards were Islamist terrorists, he insisted.

The Unseen Visitor, by Bobby Warner

(F.F.F. Website Story)

It moved through the streets by day and night. Invisible, it roamed at will with nothing to hinder it.

It veered off the lane, entered a small cottage. Roamed through dingy rooms, finally entered the bedroom, touched two of the three sleepers.

Two days later, a young boy stood at the door of his small home, crying at the loss of his parents. Someone came that morning and took them away in a cart.

The boy sensed something moving along the street, and somehow knew what it was. Terrified, he went back inside to wait for it to return for him.

The Boxing Club, by Fliss Zakaszewska

(F.F.F. Website Story)

Ruby stared at me in horror. “What on earth have you done?”

There was panic in her voice.

“What, this?” I touched the bruise under my eye, then the egg-sized bump above it. My nose had at least stopped bleeding.

“Yes! You only went to collect Charlie from boxing.”

“Yeah, I thought I’d get in the ring and have a go.”

“You’re joking!”

“Yep. Just kidding. Nasty step got my feet then my face had an argument with the pavement. Face lost. Popped in to say I won’t be at work tomorrow.” I grinned. It hurt to smile. “Bye.”

Obedience Training, by Sharon Phillips

(F.F.F. Website Story)

There are times it’s like having a dog that’s tail-wag-lick-slobber-glad when you get home; like having a dog that’s bad, a dog that pees on the carpet or barks. A dog that pushes its luck. You have to show it who’s boss, so you beat it or kick it until it whines. It slinks off to hide. But look, here’s your dog again: its tail wags, it lick-slobber-pants for a stroke then it cringes as soon as you move.

It’s her cringe that makes me kick harder. She knows that it’s all her fault.

The Songs of Life, by Jo Oldani-Osborne

It was 26 years ago when the Father-to-be left the Stevie Wonder Tour to fly home to wait out the very long last three weeks for the birth of his first child. It was a long time coming for this 34 year old man and he beamed with the anticipation. He wasn’t disappointed. Stevie dedicated “Isn’t She Lovely” to the new baby girl at that night’s show

Time flew by and before he knew it, a Wedding Band struck up Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” as his daughter beckoned her Dad to join her for the First Dance at her wedding.

She still was.

The First Step, by Russell Conover

“ARGH–I just can’t move forward with this story!”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I have a phobia of writing the wrong thing. What if my work stinks?”
“I’m sure you’re a better writer than you think.”
“Well, almost no one posts to our LinkedIn group anymore.”
“They probably haven’t heard of the C.F.D.”
“The what?”
“The Crappy First Draft. Just write stuff, and then fix it later.”
“Hmm. That’s a thought.”
“You have to start somewhere, right?”
“I do, and I do have a lot of good ideas.”
“So what are you waiting for?”
“Nothing now. Thanks for the inspiration, friend.”

The Perfect Gifts, by Ann-Louise Truschel

“Thank you for the delicious chocolates, Raymond. My favorites. You’re such thoughtful nephew!” she says into the phone.

“You’ve always been special to us, Aunt Charlotte. You never forget us at Christmas.”

They share a few more pleasantries, and then she says goodbye and hangs up.

She adds the chocolates to the two trays of cookies, the box of Turkish Delights, and the bag of peppermint-coated pretzels.

If I eat all of this I’ll weigh 400 pounds, she thinks to herself.

She gathers them up, takes them to her car, and begins driving to friends’ houses, regifting as she goes.

Missing In Guatemala, by Fliss Zakaszewska

(F.F.F. Website Story)

“Have you seen them?” called Rosa-Marià, as she joined us in the sweltering sun.

“Billy and Harry should be here by now,” countered Dorothy, glancing at her watch.

“Widen the search-area,” I instructed.

We duly fanned out and continued looking.

“Found them?” I shouted as Rosa-Maria approached.

Shaking her head, she called out to Dorothy. “Any luck?”

“No. What are we going to do? Their mobile phones are dead.”

Someone had to take charge. I stepped forward firmly.

“We’ll go to the bar by ourselves, girls. If they can’t make it on time for ‘Happy Hour’, that’s their problem.”

Payback, by Bobby Warner

(F.F.F. Website Story)

I stood looking at Sounders Lake. Yesterday Jimmy Jones called me and said, “Seen Old Morse, Mr. Thames, floating on the south side of the lake, plain as day!”

I felt a surge of joy. Last year Old Morse grabbed my dad and pulled him into the lake. I vowed to get that bastard.

That’s why I stopped in at the Army Surplus store in town and bought an illegal item from an old Marine buddy.

I slapped the water a dozen times before his ugly snout appeared. I pulled the pin, and threw the grenade down Old Morse’s throat.