HappySad Barrel nestled closer to the center, burrowing into a crater in the paper. Green Sink just waits for the light to go down. This flash fiction business is hard. You have to take a lot of yourself and compress it into a really small place.
The racoons will crawl in one of the windows tonight, again, and claw around on the paper. They put it to some purpose, cleaning their claws. Its a strange texture. So much of the plaster and the old concrete has fallen off the ceiling you almost wonder if the raccoons have figured out some extra benefit to cleaning their claws here that they put to use in the streams surrounding this place.
Probably a lot of people died here. HappySad thinks they did. Basin Jaw assumes all the beds mean they left, because they’re empty. They’re all dead probably, just not here. But at night, Basin Jaw hears a sound, or sees a light, like a hand carrying a candle, pass through the hallway and is not quite as sure as he is during the day but still doesn’t say anything.
There’s a panic trying to write that small. Its claustrophobic at times. You can’t always stretch out your ideas, sometimes they are pressed just really tight up against you. That’s the worst sometimes, when they are just so close to you, keeping you from moving forward. Radiator and her husband, Bigger Radiator, hid from THEM years ago when all their people were taken by hiding under Warped Door, who never says anything. Warped Door knows they can’t stay here forever. Someday THEY might come back, and finally take away the Radiators, or Basin Jaw. maybe even Green Sink. If they ever come for him, Warped Door knows it will only be for the fire.
In the Nursing Home by Alan
In the nursing home, time flies in and out of the windows like a bird on fire, burned by sunlight, ageless and forever aged.
In the nursing home, the news is compiled and strewn about and in piles and all around and lost and found and lost and found.
In the nursing home, the way the paint peels reminds her of dancing during the war and how he used to sing in her ear tiny deep bells that seemed to ring forever.
He works in the nursing home every night to keep the heat on and roaches away so that his Esmeralda can play and be warm and grow up strong.
The ceiling is miles away, the sink another continent, and the radiator a hissing fish gulping for air in the summer in the nursing home.
There are no beds in the nursing home – no doors, walls, or floors. Only the ghosts that were and the ghosts that are and, occasionally, the ghosts that will be…the lucky ones.
Remains by Johanna
The mother awoke from a frightening dream, already fading into ether. She did not feel rested and her head spun with her first steps, bare feet against cold tiles. She went to look for her boy, but he was not in bed.
This boy, she sighed, always disappearing. He found the smallest nooks – between wall panels, in closet corners, inside willow tree branches, buried in old gopher holes – and there he hid with his books, while mother went mad with worry trying to find him.
She searched all the obvious spots and screamed until her voice was raw. Where was that boy? Her legs dragged beneath her like heavy stumps. She swung her arms in step, so they would not numb before she could spank him.
Returning to his room, dizzy and exhausted, she summoned her rage to keep her conscious. She pulled his precious books from his shelves as if she might find the boy concealed between the pages. She tore the books to tatters and threw them against the walls, plastering the room with a tornado of swirling white paper. Ripping apart any semblance of words, all the stories dissipated into space. The mother sat in her empty whirlwind and cried.
Watching a tear stain his mother's pale cheek, the man knelt at her deathbed, praying for a happy ending.
Nursing Home in e by Lyl
Arachnid pontification of color and form, is what I thought first; tiny chains of light and dark. But I soon caught sight of signification in ruins. My own signification too, truth told. Twists of sinus and aural canals and odd windows that saw through through old folks staring, blind though both had found worldly things baffling always baffling. Doors? Window glass? Pulp? Consummation. Constipation. Jung and his advisory about custodians and lack of living! Boys and girls and ruins. Anticipation always substandard. Pills? Yum. Full of bugs.
In Becoming Nurse by Forrest
Whoso believes not in ruin but renovation becomes nurse; and in becoming nurse, not of being a nurse, not of standing anonymous and clean, not of being accustomed to the coming ruination, the standing before mouldering files of the deceased and nearly deceased and soon-to-nearly deceased that reads blank, smudgy, inescapable numbers, numbers attached to certain predilections to weakness; and in becoming nurse there is hazard in a predilection toward tidying lives beyond the belief of becoming, those whoso sneak in anonymously where none look where they should in weakening rain; or should the nurse stand with blank countenance unbecoming to claim the ward, should the nurse predict the number of beds, should the nurse reattach faces to them, a guess must be hazarded to renovate the one whoso lives beyond the drywall mold, nearly unreadable in the file of anonymity, ceasing to believe in escape; and should the custom exist, it exists; and should in becoming nurse one becomes not a number in a tidy life but counting inescapable faces soon-to-nearly mouldering in their beliefs; and should there be hazard sneaking around unseen by weakness; and wherefore then the ruin of the number of nurses stands to cease with the number of smudgy beds escaping attention or hazarding the escape, the nurse soon believes.