Apparition:Ward 6, by Guy Fletcher

I wander through corridors of pain in the stifling hospital heat, sympathetic to the sick person I’ve come from, yet gasping for fresh air.

Then I see her, clad in dressing-gown, sensual attire long since discarded, caught in the raw: beyond make-up, lost in a melancholy world of her own.

Our eyes meet, the remnants of a beauty I knew before who once used to rule my moods. How shallow I am!

“Hello, Guy … look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Her voice is weak, agony-filled.

​”I have,” I feel like replying but smile, kiss her cheek instead.

The Discovery, by Russell Conover

(Originally posted to LinkedIn.)

“Honey, I think I threw out my necklace! Will you check the dumpster for me?”

Samuel sighed inwardly. “Yes, dear.” He walked outside, thinking, “The things I do for my wife.”

He started pawing through the dumpster, and found the necklace almost instantly. He started to return home, when something caught his eye.

Looking more closely, his jaw dropped when he identified the valuable 1964 Ferrari GTO model his collection lacked. Looking around quickly, he grabbed his discovery and stuffed it into his jacket pocket, grinning like a maniac.

“MYYYY precious,” he hissed gleefully. “And no one has to know.”

Somewhere Oklahoma, 1932, by James Blevins

Hannah’s older brother, Samson, took their mother’s death the hardest.

He ran away from home, further breaking their father’s heart.

If Hannah had ever wished at any point that she could have been older than her eight years, it was then. She reasoned if she was older, she’d know what to say to her father and make him better. If she was older, she would find Samson, bring him home safe.

If she was older, she would gather all the broken pieces of her young life, press them warm against her still-beating heart, and make her shattered family whole again.

Once More With Feeling, by Ann-Louise Truschel

(Originally posted to LinkedIn.)

“I understand Leo’s back. Again.”

“Don’t say it that way, Eileen.”

“Helen, how many times has your errant husband come back ‘for good’?”

“It’s different this time. Leo’s terminally ill.”

“Really? I give him three days before he runs out on you again.”

Eileen leaves, shaking her head.

Helen dials a number. “Leo, I need my car. When are you coming back?”

“Can’t breathe! I’m going … hospital.”

The phone goes dead.

Helen frantically calls a cab and rushes to the hospital only to discover that she cannot pay the fare; her wallet is empty of cash and credit cards.

A Boy And His Cat, by Maria DePaul

A toddler’s father brought home a kitten one Saturday, but they were a little too young for each other. The toddler wanted to grab the kitten like a stuffed animal. The kitten wanted to flee. Every day, the toddler was heartbroken by rejection. He didn’t know that the kitten cuddled up next to the boy after he fell to sleep each night. As they grew, the boy learned not to grab, and the cat came to sit next to him, but never on his lap. They found a way to compromise and become friends.

The Invisible Man, by Gordon Lawrie

Once it became clear that no one read his books, followed his blogs, and that his social media following was zero, Jake realised that, in the eyes of the world, he truly did not exist. At first he was despondent, then soon, as he passed unnoticed through crowds, he realised that invisibility brought great powers.

It took courage at first to stand in public places holding a sign that said, “Hit me.” But no one saw him. Stealing Rolex watches also went unobserved.

Eventually the time came to try carrying a gun and firing it randomly. They noticed him then.

Party Animal, by Diana Keschner Henning

Nina is sleek and trim, with orange flashes in her hair. By day she sleeps close to the heater, snoring gently, swatting at the air sometimes as vivid images overwhelm her. At night she parties, creeps silently through the open window, and flows seamlessly into the untamed night. We worry constantly about her, this daughter of ours, unable to contact her. It is only in the early hours of the morning that she slides back inside and comes to join us on our bed. Smelling strongly of cigarettes and perfume, our feisty pussycat lies stretched out, purring contentedly.