Tag Archives: 500 words or less

Garden Victory – A Flash Fiction Story in 422 Words


Stella stood among the sunflowers, daisies, peonies, hydrangeas, and roses.  The tears that rolled down her face hit the ground.  She looked around to see if her sorrow had been absorbed into their roots.  But the flowers didn’t wither and die.  Instead, they stood tall and luscious; the sun showering them with vibrancy and life.

“Traitors,” Stella muttered. “It’s like you don’t even care that he’s gone.”  Stella reached down and pulled her gardening apron to her, wiping the remaining tears from her eyes.  As she did a pair of shears fell out of the pocket.  She knelt down to pick them up, but stayed on the ground paralyzed by the flowers towering over her.  Were they really as callous as they seemed?

Stella turned the shears over and over in her hands.  The ground felt hard underneath her, but somehow that did not encourage Stella to get up.  What would Matthew say about her sitting in the garden, she wondered.  Would he behave in typical Matthew fashion and call her silly, laughing as he pulled her up? Give her a hug and a kiss on her forehead?

Well I’ll never know, Stella thought.  Matthew is dead and I’ll never know what he would think about this.  I’ll never know what he would think about anything again. 

Stella continued turning the gardening shears in her hands.  As she did, the words, Matthew is dead, turned over in her mind.  The words and movement both seemed involuntary and she didn’t know how to stop either.  She started squeezing the shears together, just for something different to do.  Then, as another torrent of tears was unleashed, Stella began hacking the flowers closest to her.  Down came the roses.

“Bravo,” they seemed to shout, taunting her with every snip of her shears.  “Now you’re getting somewhere.”  So, she kept going.  Down came the hydrangeas, then the peonies, and the daisies.  Last, came the sunflowers.  She did not stop until every flower laid on the ground, their remaining foliage and stems at half-mast of where they had once been.

Stella looked at her work.  “There,” she cried, sobbing into her hands.  “Now you’re dead, too.”  Stella wasn’t sure if she meant the garden or herself.  She sank to her knees again, but this time the ground wasn’t so hard.  The flowers cushioned her like a bed, soft and welcoming.  Stella laid down.    Maybe if she lay there long enough, the summer sun would somehow bring her back to life.  So she closed her eyes and waited.

Flash Fiction Friday

Love and Grace

Unlike many girls, Ally never dreamed about her wedding.   She didn’t picture the white dress, the father-daughter dance, the groom.  Ally hated wearing dresses, her father had long since left, and she didn’t like boys.  Or, they didn’t like her.  Either way, she hated going to school because of how they teased her.

It started on her first day of first grade.  Her grandmother had packed her a nice lunch of sausage biscuits with gravy.  It seemed more like breakfast than lunch, but Gran liked mixing it up.  Ally pulled the food out of her lunch box and her napkin fell to the floor.  Just as she bent over to pick it up, one of the boys pointed.  “Look at that biscuit butt,” he laughed.  From that day on, Ally was more often called biscuit butt than Ally.

Ally had already been a plump girl, but with the incessant teasing she started eating more as if somehow that would show the boys she didn’t care.  Soon, she ballooned up to being the biggest kid in her grade, then the entire school.

By the time she reached high school, Ally wore the same thing to school every day – an XXXL button-down shirt over a t-shirt and shorts. Ally would look at herself in the mirror and press her clothes, if necessary.  But she did it for herself and no one else.  Ally believed that there was no one out there who would love her for who she was, that her size prevented anyone from seeing the real Ally.

It wasn’t until college that Ally began to wonder if maybe she was wrong.  Grace sat next to Ally in an American literature class.  They had long discussions about their favorite authors and books.  They both loved Harper Lee and regretted how her legacy seemed ruined with that unfortunate sequel.  Then one day Grace asked Ally if she wanted to go to the Varsity Theater on Hamilton Street.  They were having a special showing of To Kill A Mockingbird.  Grace thought it would be fun to go together.

The day of the movie, Ally looked into her closest deciding what to wear.  She still hated dresses, but wanted to look nice.  Then it occurred to Ally – Grace had never seen her in a dress, so why should she expect her to wear one now.  Ally wore what she always did and the smile Grace gave her confirmed that Ally had been right.

After the movie, they headed to the park.  Grace pulled out a blanket and sat down with a book.  She patted the blanket next to her and Ally joined her there.  Ally suddenly realized it wasn’t her size that kept her from love, but how she had closed herself off because of the taunts and teasing.  But Grace wasn’t like that, so Ally leaned in with her whole heart.