Flash! Friday # 36

CLOSED! Thanks to everyone for sharing in the mischief-making. Our brave judge will have results on Sunday (note the new results day).

Thirty-six weeks today. THIRTY-SIX! Count ’em! That’s a whole lotta weeks –  right about NINE months’ worth, if my math’s right. And NINE months makes a person think of babies, and babies make a person think of mischief… and now you know how we wound up with this marvelously grinning prompt for today. 

(Need the contest rules?)

This week’s contest is judged by SVW member Beth Peterson whose own marvelous grin is probably Hiding Something. Be sure to check out her judge page to find out what she looks for in a winning entry. Short version: she loves stories that “push past the ordinary.” And she has a rather worrisome obsession with properly placed commas. 

And now:

Word limit: 99 word story (no leeway–it’s all about NINES!) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (99 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post SUNDAY (note new posting date)

Prize: A youthful e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a personalized and puerile page here at FF, a juvenile 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME engraved on silver spoons in nurseries everywhere (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon baby feeding schedules.  And now for your prompt:

Nurse with babies. Photo from Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13429 / CC-BY-SA.

Nurse with babies. Photo from Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13429 / CC-BY-SA.

250 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 36

  1. @StephenWilds
    “Spicing Things Up” – 99 words

    “What do you mean she stole the babies?”
    “I mean she stole them,” Alex explained to his wife, “at least, that was how the legend goes. Nine babies all taken on September 9th 1959. They tracked her to this old orphanage where she smothered each of them and then killed herself, with a knife I think.”
    “Why? That’s horrible. Who let her be a nurse at that hospital?”
    “I don’t know. That’s just what I read on Wikipedia.”
    “And you want us to spend the night in the place that happened, all for your ghost hunting hobby?”
    “Yes, honey.”


  2. Never again – 99 words

    “Smile for the camera” my husband says. If I wasn’t so tired I’d yell at him. He did this, it’s all his fault. It was his idea to have ‘a baby’. You think he would have mentioned bloody triplets run in his family!

    One of the babies just crapped themselves. Between the three of them there’s a constant stream of poop.

    I swear this baskets getting heavier. I just have to hold on for a few more seconds.

    I grit my teeth into a smile. Hubby smiles back. If only he knew I’m never having sex with him again!


  3. @UndeadNether
    Nurse Blucher Banned from Nursery
    99 Words

    “Nurse Blucher, where are you going with those babies?” Dr. Schitz demanded.
    “Vell, Dr. Schitz, I vas chust about to make a snack of zem…I mean, make a snack for zem.”
    “There is a good reason why I assigned you to work in the morgue, you bloody ghoul. Now get back to your post before I fire you, and don’t let me catch you in the nursery again.”
    “You are a terrible boss, you sullen Swede! Nobody has any fun vhen you are in charge!”
    “Well, the patients keep all their limbs. I’d say that’s good fun.”


  4. [The author would like you to review notes regarding this story at:
    http://doctormikereddy.com/2013/08/09/flashfridayfic-ninety-nine-lives-was-blood-libel/ as it addresses sensitive issues.]

    “Ninety Nine Lives”
    by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [99 words]

    “That’s her!”

    “Yes, Father…”

    “…selling babies. See! They ate babies, you know.”

    “No they didn’t, Father. We’ve discussed this. That’s ‘Blood libel’.”

    “…ground them into flour for bread. Drank their blood like wine…!”

    “No, Father, they didn’t. It was lies. You were told these lies to… help you cope with what you were ordered to do. Your pillow comfortable?”

    “They pleaded at the end. Denied everything, of course, but orders were orders. ‘Nein! Nein!’ they would scream. It was all about the ‘Nein’s. I still hear them…”

    “You’ve said, Father. Ninety Eight lives you’re responsible for destroying.”

    “Ninety nine…”


  5. Invasion


    “Just hold that smile for a little longer!”

    “This disguise is making my face ache.”

    “I know what you mean, but we need this photo for the Captain; you know what she’s like.”

    “Are you sure that there are male nurses, and that they dress like this?”

    “Absolutely, I researched their culture thoroughly.”

    “Where did you say you got this idea?”

    “From an ancient poem called ‘Iliad’. Ok, done; let’s get these babies into the human nursery.”

    “The babies are awfully quiet; do you think the humans will be suspicious?”

    “No, but by then it will be too late.”


    99 words


  6. Indifference

    My job was a difficult one. I worked long hours caring for children who were never cared for by their parents.
    The day this photo was taken I was looking after the Wilson kids. Just tiny creatures I carried them around in my washing basket.
    These children came each Wednesday and all day would sit in the basket watching me and rarely demanded anything other than a feed and a new nappy every few hours.
    They were the most undemanding children and I loved them. Each evening I hated returning them to the indifferent world of their parents.

    99 words


  7. Am without internet at home, so I’m painstakingly typing this on my phone. Apologies in advance if I sound faintly dyslexic!

    ‘Farmer’s Harvest’ – 99 words

    Two decades had passed since a teenage Agnes was told she’d never have kids. That was a black day. But things had turned out okay. Farm life had agreed.
    Basket in hand, Agnes crossed the freshly mown field. She bid good morning to her employees and entered the plantation. Today’s delivery was scheduled for three o’clock. There was still so much to do. Diligently, Agnes placed the stock in her basket. Her husband had been right about the new fertiliser: the quality was exceptional.
    To the squirming clone babies, she laughed and cooed. The time to harvest had come.


  8. Tradition


    Annabelle was swollen with pride and a little nervous at being chosen to present the first triplets in the village for 150 years. The excitement as she came down the steps to the cliff top lawn was electric.

    The three baby girls were dressed beautifully in satin and lace outfits made for the occasion by Mrs Whitstable, who was trying hard to contain herself. The children looked happy enough, if disinterested, as the villagers held their collective breath.

    The basket was placed beside the mayor and his wife, as tradition dictated, and on cue he lit the birch pyre.

    (99 words)


  9. Behind The Smile

    Bill stared at his old, cuffed hands. Silently, a photo was placed in front of him. Familiarity flickered in aging eyes, then pain.
    “Tell me about this photograph Bill,” the soft voice coaxed. “This is you?” He pointed to the baby where the nurse’s hand touched his ear.
    “She’s pinching my ear; smiling away . . . . . . . No one knew what she did to me. . . . . . . . For years . . . . I suffered . . . . . . with her evil.”
    “I can see behind her smile Bill. This explains your vicious attacks on nurses. You’ll get nothing but sympathy in court, I’ll make sure of it,” his lawyer smiled confidently.



  10. The Season is the Reason
    Scott L Vannatter – 99 Words

    “She had those three?”

    “That’s right. Had ‘em and raised ‘em all by herself.


    “That’s right. That’s why the strange hat.”

    “What about it?”

    “It makes sure her head is covered.”

    “Why does she need her head covered?”

    “Shes’ mostly bald.”

    “What happened?”

    “Taking care of those kids. She simply pulled her hair out.”

    “I can’t believe that! How could taking care of those three little bundles of joy make a person pull out their hair?”

    “Oh, it wasn’t those three little darlings. They are the reason she’s smiling . It was the other six that did it!”



  11. Vicissitudes

    When my father was called away to war, Mum did her best to keep the home fires burning. But it’s pictures just such as this that show me the pain, the loneliness and the overwhelming physical exhaustion so thinly concealed behind her smile.

    I, certainly, can’t place blame on Da for never returning. The beaches of Normandy drank the blood of many men, no few of them fathers I’d suppose. And if Mother’s mind…unhinged more than a bit after that, it was, I concede, something to be expected.

    Life, I learned from quite an early age, is seldom fair.

    99 words @klingorengi


  12. Babies for Sale
    By: Allison K. Garcia

    “Babies for sale!”

    “Whatcha got there?”

    “It’s a fresh new batch. These here are identical triplets. A matching set.”

    “Three’s kind of an odd number. Where’s the fourth one?”

    “Well, they’re triplets, so there’s just the three.”

    “Hmm…what else you got?”

    “Just last year’s stock. That little guy walking around.”

    “What? The toddler? I thought you said babies for sale.”

    “Some would still consider him a baby.”

    “Once they start talking and moving around it’s not the same.”

    “Pulls a bit too much on the heart.”

    “Not just that. The taste is off. I guess I’ll take the triplets.”


  13. Blogging4work (99words)

    A “model” Child

    Jesus, just take the picture already, thought Georgina. Her cheeks were tired of smiling; her arms were aching after switching the heavily laden basket back and forth when the weight became unbearable. She couldn’t wait to hand these brats everyone else called angels back to their damn mother. I never should have taken this job, she realized. I told Gus I wouldn’t work with stinking animals and children. As soon as this is over, I’m firing that good for nothing, son of a ‘B’, drunken manager of mine. Hell, you’d think I could expect more from my own dad!


  14. Beyond
    The Elders are in ceremonial dress. They have reached XCIX. It is their time.
    Nurse L (nurses are always of The Middle Years) has cared for them since the moment their language became abstract and they progressed into nappies.
    She beams with pride in her whites. The photographs taken to mark the occasion are vital. The Youth will learn from these as they grow down.
    The basket is placed on the grass so the ninety-nine red balloons can be attached.
    The crowd cheer on release. The Elders gurgle and giggle as the helium filled sacs raise them heavenward.

    99 words


  15. Photograph (96 words)

    There she is, poor Nanny Nonkins, with Edmond, John, and Phillip tucked under the covers. The triplets. The rest of us—John, Richard, Elizabeth, Roslyn, Henry, and I—used to watch them in wonder.

    Father made such a fuss. Poor mother lay in bed, her face white as her sheets.

    Of course, that was September. They were gone by October, all of them, except for father and me. It was the flu epidemic, you see. We called it the Spanish Flu. It killed almost three percent of the world’s population, but not father.

    I did that.


  16. Fair Trade

    “You did it!” Brigid exhaled as she stared at the three infants, then looked at Finn. “Any trouble?”
    Finn shook her head, “No, the exchange went seamlessly.”

    Brigid picked up one of the tiny humans, examining his little nose and his blue eyes. The resemblance was truly uncanny, but he smelled wrong. She wrinkled her nose and placed him back in the basket.

    “Take them to the nursery and have Morag look at them. I’ll call the others.”

    As Brigid went to ring the bell, she prayed the humans wouldn’t notice the differing scent of her own changeling son.

    99 words


  17. @thorns_n_claws
    “Nine” (99 words)

    Nine is a number of threes. Nine is the multiple of trinity. Nine is the hope of such as these. Nine is the number to set you free.

    The rhyme echoed in my head as I took the last of three photos. Three sets of triplets, three baskets, three nurses. Three parts of the hope of The Order. Nine leaders of tomorrow to lead us into a new age. Nine leaders to be formed and molded until they only lead in the direction they were taught. Nine leaders who only followed dogma. How was this hope? How I wondered?


  18. ‘Cheap Labour’ – 99 words
    Mike Jackson (@mj51day)

    “Any idea where we’re going Billy?”

    “Not really mate. Pete here reckons we’re being sold off to the local mill owner, cheap labour. Says he heard the master talking to matron last night. Seems, we’ll be used as doorstops to start with, until we get a bit bigger.”

    “Could’ve been worse Billy. I heard the last basket load never even made it to the village. Fell off the back of the cart, killed them all, poor buggers. Pete’s quiet, is he alright?”

    “He’s fine just can’t take his drink. A couple of bottles and he’s out for the count.”


  19. The screen door creaked as the woman opened it, her eyes squinting at the early-morning summer sun. Her hands were red and cracked, and she rubbed them with a threadbare towel. At first, she didn’t see who’d knocked, but finally looked down and saw the girl, standing on the dusty front porch, holding a wicker basket. The basket wriggled, and the bleached-white cloth on the cover was embroidered with a bright blue “S.B.” The girl holding the basket didn’t look quite right in the head, and her smile was lopsided as she croaked “Stork Babbies with yer deliv’ry, ma’am!”

    99 words


  20. @stammily
    We Remember
    99 words

    We hated being carried around in that basket. Other babies were held by mothers, fathers, grandmothers, but not us. It was always that damn basket, like we were loaves of bread. They say we can’t possibly remember it, but we do. That sickening swaying, back and forth. And the terrible creaking of the wicker. They say we can’t possibly remember the time they dropped us, but we remember that too. Sliding down the hill, the fear overpowering our tiny bodies. They say we can’t remember, but how else could we know that we were once three instead of two?


  21. The Caretaker
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    Griselda grinned, trying not to allow her glee to get the best of her. She hadn’t gotten away yet. The three babies she carried in a basket wriggled around, threatening to topple out. Stopping for just a moment to tuck them back in under the cover, she then headed out the door to the garden.

    “I’m just a nurse, caring for some sickly babies,” she murmured, projecting an air of authority. No one tried to stop her as she slipped out of the garden. No longer containing her joy, she cackled loudly. She would be eating very well tonight.

    Word Count: 99


  22. Ninety-nine words
    99 Words

    ‘Ninety-Nine words’, she thought as she looked at the image before her.

    ‘How can I even begin to tell a story in 99 words, let alone one based on this picture?’

    She stared at the black and white photo, noticing how peaceful and sweet the image was: a nurse carrying three babies in a basket. That was, of course, until you looked at the woman’s face, then you saw the look of sheer evil in the woman’s eyes.

    ‘Was it really evil or just the angle of the camera?’

    Finally, she put pen to paper and began:

    – – Ninety-Nine words…


  23. Interviews
    99 words

    “Is that the most sincere smile you can offer?” the photographer asked.
    “Three babies, each on their own feeding schedule, but always on the same diaper schedule. It is a wonder I am smiling at all” Beatrice replied.
    Nine months since giving birth to the first triplets the county had ever seen, she and her kiddos were still the headline story. The photographer would stop by once a month with a reporter, pleading for an interview. Nine months, nine interviews, nine photos.
    She told herself next month would be different. When asked to speak, she would finally say, “nein.”


  24. Oh Baby

    “Oh baby, baby, baby…” he sang. “ You are mi-iine…”

    She grimaced; his loving warbling was painful to endure. Quietly she walked up behind him. He turned to kiss her, a guaranteed way to stop the …music.

    At length he stopped, then whispered, “Oh baby”.

    “Funny that.” She rubbed his shoulders. “What do you think of babies?”

    His face was a mirror of hers when he sang.

    “I don’t. Ever. Too many kids in the world.”

    Later, she swept up her broken heart, packed a bag, and left. Her child would not be subjected to that kind of lullaby.



  25. Kim Fisch
    99 words

    Expecting the knock, I swung open the door only to discover the butcher with the meat wagon impatiently tapping his foot on my stoop. “What’ll it be today, ma’am? I’ve got lamb chops, marbled steaks. Maybe a duck or goose?”
    “A duck would be celebratory, no?”
    He nodded and handed me the still-warm limp duck as I dug in my apron for a few coins.
    While preparing tonight’s feast in the kitchen, another knock sounded on the wooden door.
    Finally! There, in the grass, stood the warden holding the comfortably displayed trio.
    “Which one d’ya like, ma’am?” she inquired.


  26. Taken

    It wasn’t easy to masquerade as a functioning adult, yet she did it every day. At night she hid in the basement, coiled up in her cold bed, twirling the threads on the blanket. Often, she would dream of a woman pushing a baby carriage with pink balloons. She suspected the woman was her mother.

    Her nervous smile never betrayed him. After all, he was the only family she had ever known. She worked diligently taking care of their babies. She cherished that time because he would take her shackles off only during the chores.

    Somewhere, her mother waited.

    99 words (Sans title)


  27. Adorable Babies -99 words
    I work for the sweetest couple you would ever want to meet. They are beautiful and have three adorable babies. They seem to be blessed with everything; money, health and looks. Nothing they do goes wrong.
    They live in a huge house on ten acres with their own woods. They love to have romantic interludes in a small clearing, taking along a perfect picnic lunch that I have packed especially for them.
    Today is such a day. I have also packed a picnic lunch for myself, three yummy children. I don’t think I will be back to work tomorrow.



    A baby rattle resounded to Lisl’s walk as she carried basket S-8 from the Kudzu Laboratory. Lisl loved her job, interacting linguistically and in all other manners with three basket babies. She cheerfully managed everything “baby,” all of which could produce anxiety and anger bordering on rage within a parent or caretaker.

    Mothers who had not taken over their parenting roles full-time observed Lisl and little ones. The lab would return the babies to their parents after final titration.

    Lisl’s basket held the proband of GMO (Genetically Modified Offspring), neurologically modified to facilitate rational nurturing by unmodified parents/caretakers.


  29. WHY DID SHE SMILE? – 99 words
    by @ifemmanuel

    My life story can be told with a single punctuation mark – the question mark.
    From questions whispered behind my back:
    “Why did he live on trains?”
    “Why was he perpetually sad?”
    “Did he have any family?”
    “Where did he grow up?”

    To those I asked myself:
    “Who were my parents?”
    “Where was my birthplace?”
    “Why was this picture all the earthly possession I had?”
    “Which of the three babies was I?”
    “Who was the nurse with the basket?”

    But none haunts me as this:
    “Why was she smiling?”

    For that smile was the last joyful moment of my existence?


  30. WHY DID SHE SMILE? – 99 words
    by @ifemmanuel

    My life story can be told with a single punctuation mark – the question mark.

    From questions whispered behind my back:
    “Why did he live on the trains?”
    “Why was he perpetually sad?”
    “Did he have any family?”
    “Where did he grow up?”

    To those I asked myself:
    “Who were my parents?”
    “Where was my birthplace?”
    “Why was this picture all the earthly possession I had?”
    “Which of the three babies was I?”
    “Who was the nurse with the basket?”

    But none haunts me as this:
    “Why was she smiling?”

    For that smile was the last joyful moment of my existence


  31. @alexbrightsmith 99 words

    Someone on the bus was singing to himself.
    I tried to ignore the soft, wordless crooning, but eventually I turned round in irritation. My rebuke froze on my lips when I found myself facing a small boy cradling a large box in his arms. Noting air-holes, and feeling guilty over my ill-humour, I asked what it held. Soon he was lecturing the passengers on the care and breeding of rabbits, and proudly displaying the helpless kits. It was only as he left that someone asked how his interest started.
    “I breed them to feed to my dragon,” he said.

    (This one comes with a potentially disqualifying admission – years ago I read about a snake-keeping, mouse-rearing, bus-captivating child in the letters page of a magazine, and since I couldn’t think of any other response to the prompt I’ve rather cheekily used the idea.)


  32. September’s Song (99 words)

    Marlee sings as she climbs the hill, a simple, wordless lullaby to soothe the babies.

    Behind her, the village bells ring a wake up call; parents rush to check cradles and cots, giving thanks that they have been spared this year.

    In three houses, they begin to weep, and scream, and grieve.

    But Marlee trudges onwards, to the mouth of the smoky cavern.

    She kisses the babies goodbye, lays their basket down, then turns back down the hillside.

    She sings a different song now, of a tithe and a harvest and prosperity, till the ninth month comes around again.


  33. Babies for sale! Get your babies right here!

    Just as cute as can be, all wrapped up and ready to take home! Babies!

    Only three left, get ‘em quick!

    Yep, bundles of joy. Ready to cuddle and love to your heart’s content!

    That smell? Oh that’s nothing, just a bit of the poop. A quick wipe and a change, and they’re good to go again!

    Just swing ‘em in their basket just like this, and they won’t make a peep. Just don’t stop moving, that’s the trick. Never stop. Ever.

    Warranty? Instructions? Nope, sold as-is. Satisfaction’s up to you!



  34. “I’ve got three more ready!” Hannah sang out, hauling the basket of babies across the garden from the nursery.

    “Good!” Gerty said, poking at the blankets as Hannah set the heavy basket down.

    Hannah hated when Gerty poked. So did the babies.

    One baby fussed and Hannah picked him up and rocked him. The other two immediately followed suit, looking up with hopeful eyes, wanting snuggles.

    “I’ve got them…” said Gerty, plugging a synapser into the newly healed ports on the backs of their heads.

    The trio was reduced to a solo, and with another plug, there was silence.

    99 words exactly @USNessie


  35. When I couldn’t lock the bathroom door just in case a little one needed to get in, that’s when I knew my house wasn’t mine anymore. When I couldn’t buy that purse or those shoes because I spotted the cutest onesie in the baby section, that’s when I knew my money wasn’t mine anymore. When my plans revolved around naps and diaper changes, that’s when I knew my life wasn’t mine anymore. When my eyes filled with tears of joy all because a tiny person smiled at me, that’s when I knew I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Word Count: 99


  36. Bumper Crop (99 words) Judge Entry

    When the seeds arrived I doubted they could produce anything worthwhile. I’d been hoping to create something that would be the envy of everyone in the county.

    With great abandon, Jake erected the electric fence and lovingly plowed the nursery. Together, we planted the seeds and jealously eradicated anything and everything that threatened our young seedlings. By the light of the moon and with prejudice, we destroyed every predator that threatened our precious progeny. We obsessively nurtured the tender sprouts: watering, feeding, and weeding.

    We never dreamed that we would get a bumper crop! How do I prepare them?


  37. Catching Infants

    “Can we use this?”
    “It looks like she’s getting ready to bolt.”
    “She’s carrying ’em like puppies.”
    “We should’ve known.”
    “Do you see that shadow? Looks like a gremlin.”
    Four pairs of eyes trained on the blown-up image.
    “And does that basket say S.O.B?”
    Groans mingled with chuckles.
    “Do those babies look drugged?”
    “Maybe they had just been fed. She was actually a nurse.”
    “That smile… There’s really no way around it.”
    “We’ve gotta track ’em down.”
    “At least we know where to start. Let’s head back to the Imperial Institute.”
    Chairs scraped.
    “Can’t believe we have to reshoot.”

    (99 words; @AriaGlazki)


  38. Cold Case
    99 Words

    They tell me I’m too young to remember, but they’re wrong. I remember everything: it’s why I became a detective.

    25 years ago a nurse hired to protect the sons of a cult leader, put three of them in a laundry basket and vanished. They blamed her for his sons’ deaths, and when they found her, she plead guilty: case closed

    What they don’t understand is that her guilt isn’t over the three she took, but rather the ones she was forced to leave behind.

    25 years ago she saved my life. Now it’s my turn to save hers.


  39. Memento

    The time was running out. We had to get out of there; the town had been invaded. There was no time to say goodbye to the place that we called home. I bundled the triplets up, dropped them in the closet basket that I found, and started running. Just then, Danny pulled out his camera. A memento for the triplets, he said. I stopped, gave an awkward pose, and forced a smile. Lost precious five minutes. They will be here any minute. Run! I yelled, yanked the camera, and ran. The babies have their memento. Danny didn’t make it.

    99 words (Sans title)


  40. The Ultrasound

    I can’t say I understand this newfangled midwife trend one bit with how advanced everything is. In my day we fought over the best. Never once did we imagine bringing life into this world au naturel without the aid ‘a painkillers or machines. Hell, women begged for meds!

    When I had mine, I told everyone to get the hell out and give me the damn epidural. Mind you, they left right quick. No one challenges an angry woman in labor if they’re smart.

    My advice? Do yourself a favor: take the needle. Why? Oh, congrats dear: you’re having triplets.

    99 Words, excluding title


  41. The Named
    Lisa V. Tomecek
    99 Words

    They did not have names.

    It was pointless to name them, the boy children of the Terrans brought to Venus to work the vineyards. They would not, after all, stay long. They would go to the slavers, who would mold them into something useful and send them on to the far little moons out beyond Mars, there to work the mines until they died.

    But Vala had named these in secret. They were not hers, not of her body, but she had named them all the same. She did not care what the mistress said.

    These would not go.


    A first entry from me, folks. Feedback is most welcome.


  42. Wilbur, Winston, and William slept peacefully, lulled to sleep by the bright afternoon sun. That same sun awoke the shadow lurking in the bushes. Unfortunately, poor Dora’s shadow crossed it when posing for the photograph.

    The change was instantaneous, her face once joyful turned sinister. I somehow snapped the picture at the moment of transformation.

    She took off with the boys immediately. I gave chase. Shadows liked to do their work in secret. As long as I kept them in sight the boys were safe.

    The typically-swift shadow struggled with the burden. My unexpected thought: Thank God for triplets!

    99 words


  43. She carried her three sons in a wicker basket. It was their first time out of the house. Their first time out in the sun. Their father didn’t know she’d bundled them up. He didn’t know she wasn’t in the house. His three sons were not asleep in their cribs. She was not playing the part of his wife.

    She carried her three sons in a wicker basket. She was leaving him, never to return. She was taking her sons with her. As she walked she smiled, and laughed. She was free of him. And so were her sons.

    99 words


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