Flash Fiction–Between Duty and Devotion


Sitting with John, my mind reflects back fifty years to the day of our marriage.

A hot August day in Maryland, sweating in his Navy uniform, then a short honeymoon, duty called.

John’s breathing coming hard and erratic. Last night he held my hand tight and gave a weak smile.

This morning nothing, simply curled in a fetal position, eyes shut and that deep, hard breathing.

I hold the form to sign for relieving him of his pain allowing him to die with dignity.

Sign for devotion or sign, as he would say, for duty.

By Mary F. Twitty
Boca Raton Branch

Flash Fiction–War


Strategy is the only order in the chaos of battle. Can’t tell if we’re winning or losing.

Combat subsides with an uneasy calm. Losses are surprisingly limited; strength renewed.

Enemy approaches.
Walls fortified.
Attack fails.

Curious, then furious: “Weren’t these soldiers weak and undisciplined in war? Haven’t I been their master?”

Young soldiers watch as the enemy circles and strikes without success.
“We have been injured before, why not this time?”

His eyes light with rage. “I can’t get in! I can’t get in!”

“He can’t get in!”

One who had power through fear suddenly had none.

Elizabeth Martin
Pikes Peak Branch, CO

Flash Fiction–Breakfast


Francine poured a cup of coffee and went outside to sit beneath the hemlock. It had been a rewarding though hectic family visit. They left behind a supply of vodka, beer, used linens, wet towels and plenty of sand.
She pondered on her sons’ lives: David attempting to be father of the century to compensate for the dubious mental state and physical health of his wife. Cookie, the dog was company for Jay who was in the midst of a nasty divorce from his irrational wife.
It was 10:30 a.m. The sun was high. Francine opted for vodka over coffee.

Dayle Herstik
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Spring Break

Spring Break

He stood in the drive as we drove away.
His eyes said it all: “I wish I were going, too.”
In the car, one grandmother, two granddaughters, and one empty seat.
“Why didn’t Papa want to come?” one asked.

“Not sure,” I lied. But my silence gave me away.

The homebody changed his mind, too late.

Cheryl Johnston
Tampa Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Devotion


Saturday morning, I’m at the local bead shop. It’s like a candy store to me, filled with bins and strings of prismatic glass and crystal beads. I crave color the way some people crave food. I need my fix and fill.
I pick up a looped string of turquoise fire polished crystal beads. Each faceted face reflects a different iridescent hue, reminding me of the shimmering water of my last Caribbean vacation. I must have the entire string. It is my rosary, every bead a memory of past devotion.

Dorothy Kamm
Member at Large, FL

Flash Fiction–The Dew Fairy


The woods and wildflowers surrounding the weather-beaten boardwalk leading to the lake were wet with dewdrops when I chanced upon a magical creature sitting atop a queen-anne-lace flower. A spider web enveloped the flower and sunlight had prismed the fairy. I held my breath lest she fly away.

When I returned from my swim, only the flower and spider web remained—the dewdrops evaporated by the sun.

Years later, I returned to that boardwalk hoping to find the dew-fairy of my childhood. She has never evaporated from my memory.

by joni sack
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Entreating


“Now,” he said imploringly. “Now.”

“I don’t want to,” she answered.

“But you always want to.”



“I just don’t want to now.”

“Why? Give me one good reason.”

“Because I’m not in the mood.”

“You’ve got to be kidding. You’re not doing anything else at the moment.”

“For one thing, it’s too early. There are a few other things I want to do.”

“You don’t mean to say that you just don’t want to because it’s still daylight?”

“Well, that is the way I feel. Why don’t you watch NetFlix this time without me?”

“Later for sure then?”

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–The Wounds of a Soldier

Wounds of a Soldier

He was trained to stare into the eyes of others and watch the blood run out.
They devoted his thoughts to the historic idea of killing at any cost.

When he returned home, he was called a hero. They drained him with saluted salutations and hooked him on oxycontin, clorapan and opiates, which eventually led to heroin on the streets.
“We become wounded in the soul,” he said. “Something no drug can fix.”
He told me once that no one should ever come back alive, no one.
That the true mercy of war would be if no one came back alive.


Flash Fiction–Treasure


Shirtless all seasons, towel tucked into his pj’s waistband, leather moccasin-slippers. Poppy lifts me onto the wrought iron stool. I can reach, stir, spoon.

Saturday morning, just we two cook pancakes, green bowl. Black-handled spoon. Chuffs a rhythmic tune mixing egg, milk, flour, batter. Clicks against Corningware. Our ceremony.

“Careful! Skillet handle’s too hot to touch!” Spatula blade smoothes oil. Water-droplets hiss, we smell metal’s heat.

Silver dollar pancakes he calls them. We exhale with batter’s melting spread. We flip these coins. Saturdays, we amass treasure on oven-warmed plates.

Rachael Ikins
Central New York Branch, NY

Editor’s note: I’ve gotten so many great submissions for Flash Fiction October, I’m turning this into Flash Fiction Fall! Please continue, Pen Women, to write and send, if you haven’t contributed yet. Remember: 1 entry per Pen Woman, 100 words or fewer, your name and branch or MAL under your story, and be creative! The best 30 will be included in a chapbook. I have a story that got separated from its email titled Matthew 7:2 without a name–please let me know if it’s yours. The Poem of the Week will return in November. –Treanor Baring

Flash Fiction–Broken Vows

Broken Vows

Trevor raised his hand. “It only happened once. I promise.”

“Liar! You rat.” Olivia’s voice shook.

“Honey, calm down. We’ll work this out.”

“Don’t ‘honey’ me.” She hurled a crystal vase at his head. Missing, it shattered against the wall. “I said, ‘Get out.’”

“You can’t do this. It’s my home, too.”

Olivia hefted her waiting baseball bat. Trevor glowered, backed up, nearly tripping over the packed suitcase.

Music swelled; the scene faded.

Jane snapped off the TV, propped Howard’s golfclub against the sofa, eyed his overnight bag by the door. She was ready for her rat to come home.

Cindi Carroll
Pikes Peak Branch