From the author: Five drabbles in one! These 100-word-exactly stories have been published several times over. Hope you enjoy them! TW: abuse, cannibalism, murder, bad TV programming
Her ghost lurks in every corner. The shelf dust, the molding webs, even the corner shadows. I hadn’t been home in years.
“She’s obviously been here,” Mark said, pointing to ivy, flowering plants, fresh blooms. “Who else would care for these?”
But I didn’t reply. My brother’s question hung in the silent gloom as I traced roots along the walls, thickening like fat fingers pointing to a secret.
“Do you think she’s still living in this dump?” he yelled.
Vines wound their way into a back room, where they dug into Sarah’s corpse—the best fertilizer around.
“No, I don’t.”
She was born a predator, easily catching mice and other pests. She had the skills, but spent most of her time playing, throwing them in the air and holding them in her teeth. There was a simple solution for that: starvation. Let the girl go hungry. Teach her that hunting wasn’t about fun.
Soon, our walls were mouse free. She’d even patrol the garden for squirrels. Once, she took down a groundhog.
I suppose I should’ve stopped her when neighborhood pets disappeared. Someone called the police.
The police are coming, but the blood will never wash from my daughter’s teeth.
The rapport rings out, and all else stops. It’s what they don’t tell you about getting shot: the moment the bullet leaves the barrel, you get an eternity to yourself.
Trouble is, you can’t move. Those last seconds stretch into years, and you can spend each one fighting to move, screaming, Get out of the way, asshole! Life doesn’t work like that. Death, it seems, does.
I can see the bullet coming, point-blank shot, aimed at my forehead. Trust me: focus on what matters. Your parents. Your children. Your beloved, waiting at the altar, thinking you’re just running a little—
Out of Time
Grains filed through the pinch point, running down from the top of the hourglass. I’d warned her that time was short; she hadn’t believed me. More than half the sand was gone.
“I love the symbolism,” I told her. “Sand. Ground rocks. All that’ll be left when everything—everyone—is dead.”
She didn’t reply.
“In a perfect world, the top wouldn’t empty. Sorry, darling.”
Looking down, I watched her thrash against the restraints. Her eyes were still open, blinking granules out, her nose and mouth covered by a small dune. The sand kept flowing into an hourglass with no bottom.
Mary had her hands around the grip, fingers near the trigger. Her glassy eyes didn’t see much beyond the barrel.
“Hey now,” Mike said. “Give it here. I know you don’t want to hurt me, right?”
No response. Chrome gleamed in the flickering light of the bedroom’s energy saver bulbs. Mike took a step closer. Another. Not sure if Mary saw him.
She turned, pointed, bumped the trigger. A flash broke his heart, each chamber neatly separated. Mary wailed, with no father left to comfort her. The evening news blared, “Toddler kills father. Up next: Live Coverage of Chili Cookoff!”
This story originally appeared in The Siren's Call; Trembling with Fear; my website; others.