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.

The Return, by Guy Fletcher

I had returned to the rural town of my youth for the funeral of a dear old friend: a stark reminder of the transience of existence, as fleeting as morning dew.

I decided upon a stroll and in a park viewed a corpulent woman on a bench gulping wine from a bottle.

“Guy, it is you, isn’t it?” she slurred. I didn’t know this woman. Oh, yes I did!

“Hello, Julie. Lovely to see you,” I lied.

I was once enthralled by her beauty; she planned to travel the world, but it seems she only made it to the local park.

Break it to Me Gently, by Ann-Louise Truschel

(Originally posted to LinkedIn.)

“What did your beta reader say?”

“Not convincing.”

“What was ‘not convincing’? The plot? The characters?”

“Everything. She hated everything. According to her, my writing has no redeeming value. I should give it up. She said the only way to make my manuscript better was to burn it!”

“Man, that’s harsh! She really knows how to hurt a person. What are you going to do now?”

“Give it up. I’m really discouraged.”

“Why don’t you get another beta reader. Someone who’d want to help you improve. How about your mother?”

“Who do you think told me to give up writing?”

Lucky Strike, by Charles Boorman

“When are you going to fix the table?” grumbled his wife as he left. At work the caretaker started the tractor and set off across the golf course. Overhead, the sky darkened.

The hiker lifted his leg over the fence and hoped the short-cut would get him home before the thunderstorm struck.

The caretaker found the body spread-eagled on the fairway of the thirteenth hole. Before leaving his seat he stared for a moment at the scorched corpse and rucksack.

Back home, his wife liked the repair to the wobbly table. The police wondered where the deceased’s trans-tibial prosthesis had gone.