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.

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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.