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He’d turned sullen and withdrawn shortly after entering the second grade.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.


17 thoughts on “Coming Out of His Shell

  1. Oh dear. After salting a slug as a kid I was horrified and vowed never to do it again! Matilda’s son has issues!

  2. Dear Craig,

    I end up saying this a lot with you, but so be it, you deserve it. This was one of your best. A solid punch to the gut. Shaking my head here at your skill, which is exhibited perfectly in your story’s last line and how you arranged for it to be there. Well done.



  3. Oh I do so hope it’s just scientific discovery and not a symptom of a future serial killer. Yikes!

  4. Great story, I hope mum gets him some help. I can only imagine how she felt after her joy at seeing him laughing again, to see the reason for it.

  5. I remember when the kids were told to try this at home on snails for science class. Well, I don’t like the oozy snails, but they left a gross mess on the sidewalk and I almost got sick. Well, your story was good and if my boys did that I would be worried about them for sure! Tell-tale sign of a disturbed kid. Good story and now his mother has to worry. Nan :)

  6. I like how you’ve used the physical here: his hands on hips, head thrown back. And Matilda’s hand reaching out for her little boy – powerful images.

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