Short Fiction

Blood That Shames the Red, Red Rose

“Are you sending me home, ma’am?” he asked, coughing into the damp air, the violent movement sent a fresh flood of claret to struggle against the haphazard field dressing. “Yes, soldier, you’re going home,” I sighed in contempt, signaling to our radio man to order the medevac to grant this boy the illicit dignity of losing his final breath on American soil.

My Sugar Walls

My MFA program consists of 2 classes every semester, spread out over 2.5 years. I’m a second year. The workshop is where you bring in your own work or you critique someone else’s weekly. I’ve had a lot of success and failures when debuting work. But I’ve fine-tuned my revising and editing skills because I tend to see the bad things I do in my own writing in my classmates’ work. As they say, all feedback is autobiographical! It’s easier to see your faults in someone else’s stuff. The seminar is a specific topic every semester of your choosing. It changes every semester. So far I’ve taken “Developments of the Novel” and Humor. I chose “Evolution of the Short Story” this term as I’m studying short fiction and I haven’t taken anything short fiction specific. Depending on my professor’s whims, we have a weekly writing prompt where we write a…

Inside My Head

I found another freewriting piece. I think the prompt was to write an entire story with a clear beginning and end only on 1 page. It was an exercise in limiting yourself to a small space. It was for my humor class as well. We could choose any topic, and I chose the topic I was most comfortable with: the secret agent world. I went through the Farm like it was a candy store. Top marks. My psych evals showed great temperament. Marksmanship? No scope, bitch. I trained hard. I got sent Over There because of my gift of tongues. I was thrilled. It didn’t occur to me until later that I was leaving my family behind and I might not come back. TDY was my rote answer. They didn’t question it. It wasn’t like they had the clearance. We shut down a money laundering scheme from a certain enemy…

One Story in One Sentence

I decided to purge my notebooks and backpack in preparation for next year. There’s something really calming about removing unnecessary clutter from your life. It was probably my favorite activity growing up: that defenestration of the graded papers and detritus from your locker at the end of the year. It’s officially summer! We had a tradition at my high school on the last day of school. You’d dump all your papers from your locker in the main hall. They tried to stop it when I was preparing to graduate because it was a safety hazard to have loose papers on the floor in a hallway that everyone has to walk through. I still did it. It’s tradition! No one has ever been hurt, but I know they were being proactive. Adults. Always taking the fun out of being a kid. I found a freewriting piece from earlier in the semester…

Love Will Tell Us Where to Go

Ida felt a surge of uncertainty hit her as the weight of her decision began to grow. She had slipped out of the house, like a thief in the night, her face muddied purposefully. Her long, brown hair hiding beneath a cap she had been given by 1 of the staff to complete her look. They believed in her. They feared her father but not as much as they believed in her. One told her they believed in love. That’s why they willingly betrayed her father. That helped keep her going. The doubt that stunk her footsteps clouded the logic and the fantasy in her mind into a lethal cocktail.

She boarded the train, having secured a single one way ticket. No going back. She made no small talk with the other passengers, no one paid attention to her. She looked like any stoic young man. Amazing the freedom a mask can bring. She was thrilled at the thought that she just might pull this off.

“Where you headed?” The conductor asked, intrigued by the boyish stranger with no luggage.

“Hell on wheels.”