Karen looked down at the total devastation in the lounge. How was it possible that a two-year-old could create such a mess in two hours. Lego, toy trains, dolls and that damn nesting doll were scattered everywhere. Emily had finally crashed half an hour ago, after five stories and two bottles of milk. Having a child was the hardest thing Karen had ever done. Doing it on her own, for the last year, had made it impossible. A tear escaped her eye and ran down her cheek. She wiped it away, angry at herself. Not now, she had things to do. With a sigh of exhaustion, she started to bend down and pick up all the toys, scattered on the floor. She looked down at the several different halves of the nesting dolls. God, how she hated their horrible smiling faces. All of them perfectly identical, getting smaller. As a child they had been her favourite, now she plain hated them. She would have thrown them away months ago if Emily hadn’t clung to them so much. Almost as if she realised they were the last part of her father.
Tommy lay on his bed watching the fan dancing shadows across the ceiling. The gentle thump of the blades so familiar. Today was his birthday, he was 30 years old. He stared at the fan and remembered back to another birthday when he had been 16. He was 16 when he finally learnt the secret of his existence. Ever since his father had walked out on his eighth birthday, he had known he needed the truth.
I remember receiving the box of my father’s things when I was 25. Shortly after he died I received a phone call to collect his effects from the mental hospital. They say after 15 years of incarceration, his brain finally gave in and let him pass. My family told me he hadn’t always been insane, it was a slow deterioration over many years. I don’t remember him being anything other than raving, violent and dangerous. Photos exist of us together when I was a toddler. It’s a time I don’t remember or want to. I took the box to my car, marvelling at how small it was. A small box, no bigger than a standard order from Amazon. A handful of things collected over a lifetime. I threw the box in the back of my car. I cared less about it than I did my father and that was saying something. As I pulled up to the house I left the box in the car and went in. Swinging my toddler into my arms, feeling his arms wrap around my neck. How could my father leave me at the same age?
The first the controller knew about the missing passenger on Flight 241, was the battered suitcase on the carousel. The battered brown case slid around the circular belt, like a loan surfer on the waves. The controller picked up the case and took it to his office. It always amazed him that people could get … Continue reading Homeward Bound – Short Story
Zee looked at the jar in his hand, containing his parent’s ashes. His family who he had carried with him for the last two years. Whilst he arranged the journey back to his father’s homeland. His last dying wish, to be buried at home. His mother’s ashes to go with him. Together in eternity. Zee’s parents had loved each other despite the crippling cultural differences. Zee had been born mix heritage, a factor that had haunted him all his life. The bullies at school who had mocked him. The employers who had given him the worst jobs, because of it. When he complained to his parents about it, always the same answer.
After the miscarriage, Sarah and Simon’s marriage struggles to survive Sarah sat and watched him. He had clinically laid the table a minute ago. Making sure all the knives and forks were exactly the same distance away. Placing the pot stand, exactly in the centre of the table. Simon walked over to the table, placing the pan exactly on the pot stand. Not a millimetre off the centre. Things had been tough for the last year in the Parker house. Ever since they had lost the baby the pair had been on a different page. It started with a quick niggle at each other. A few cross words had grown into a full-scale war. The arguments lasting for hours. Always resulting in one of them spending the night on the sofa. Two weeks ago they had faced the final decision. Go their separate ways or make their marriage work. It hadn’t always been like this. Before pregnancy, they had been happy. Constantly in the bedroom, only wanting to spend time with each other.
The fan moved the still air, around the bunker. Since the crash of 2025, air had become a precious commodity. The irony of the wind generator running the fan in the bunker to circulate the stale air wasn’t wasted on Harper. The problem was the air that turned the wind turbine wasn’t worth breathing. Since the world had destroyed itself, the atmosphere contained chemicals. Chemicals that even the most robust living organism couldn’t survive. Still, the filtration machine cleaned the air and the fan circulated it throughout. The air smelt stale and it was always hot, but breathing it couldn’t kill you.