Coming Out of His Shell

Matilda found her son in the backyard, hands on hips and head thrown back in laughter.

He’d turned sullen and withdrawn shortly after entering the second grade. She’d talked with his teacher and a children’s counselor, but neither could say for certain what caused this change. Now, seeing him happy, it took everything she had to not hug him and celebrate the return of her sweet little boy.

She limited herself to placing one hand on his shoulder, but quickly pulled it away when she saw four snails on the sidewalk, each imprisoned within a tiny cell of poured salt.


Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers. Read more stories here.


“She’s just a lonely old lady,” his mother said. “The least you can do is say hello.”

Owl mumbled something. Then, after his mother left the kitchen, his sister leaned across the table, until her chin was almost touching it. He did the same.

“There’s more to it than that,” she whispered. “And you know it.”

“She’s a witch,” he said.

“Nope, an oracle, she can see the future,” his sister said. “And the reason you feel this dread when you see her is because you are absolutely terrified of what you’ll become when you finally manage to grow up.”

Pushing Against the Wind

“I am dressed,” he said, sprawling out on the couch.

“We have the party,” she said, making an exaggerated show of looking at her watch.

“Nah,” he said.


“Nah, I’m not going, it was something today,” Crow said,

“This has been planned for weeks.”

“I don’t have the energy to meet new people. I can’t pretend I’d care about the words coming out of their mouths, and I know whatever I said would be trite and boring, and we’d all know we’re putting on an act while the wives enjoyed themselves.”

“I just can’t get through the pantomime tonight.”


Cupping her hands under the faucet, Parrot tried to wash away the chalky aftertaste. Then, without looking at herself in the mirror, she put the pills back in the medicine cabinet and lowered herself slowly to the floor.

She leaned against the tub and drew her knees close to her chest.

The yelling was so loud she felt the entire house shaking with each muffled cry of shame, contempt, outrage and hate. Their voices rose and mixed with the roar of blood in Parrot’s ears.

She rocked, tears escaping from the corners of her closed eyes, until everything went quiet.

Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers. Read more stories here.

Stable Condition

Horse sat on the hard plastic chair and waited.

A few minutes ago, just a few fucking minutes, everything was fine. We were talking and laughing, really talking, for the first time in years. No that couldn’t be right. Years. Shit. It’s my fault. I never should have taken that job. Halfway across the country. Need to be free. On my own. Out from his shadow and he had a big one. Has. Has. Can’t think that way. They said this kind of thing happens. Routine. They’d know. They’re professionals.

He looked up and saw the doctor approaching with reluctance.


Broken Hearts Crusade

The way he had it all laid out in his head was romantic.

She wasn’t breaking up with him, he was being called forth, to seek out his destiny, to walk, head high against the brash winds of fate. He knew this was just a test, a challenge to overcome, and adventure to be had, and at the end of his path was a dragon, a metaphorical one, but a dragon all the same, and if he slayed this terrible beast, he knew that she would be waiting for him, arms open and heart ready to forgive and accept him.


Prompt courtesy of Velvet Verbosity.

Part of a Healthy Breakfast

Squirrel set the cereal boxes in an ordered line. He could do it without thinking, but often found his mind wandering to other, more profound thoughts. Today, he imaged a group of people living at the bottom of a deep well. Every now and then, a giant eye would stare down into the hole, blocking out what little light they received. Some threw themselves to their knees and pleaded to be saved from this pit. Others would curse the sudden darkness.

There was a tap on his shoulder, he turned and saw a woman asking she could find the oatmeal.