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55 Fiction

“The World’s Shortest Stories” yearly contest

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Ant: The Movie

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My Last Tenants

(Pre-2000)
You may see Robert Browning’s poem reflected in the opening lines, but after that this story is a study in prose.
an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

“Those’re my last tenants standing against the wall, looking as if they were alive,” my aunt remarked as she held the album open for me to view its contents. There were several color photographs on the page, so she pointed that specific one out for me. “There, standing beside the Crown of Thorns as if painted. I call that plant a wonder, now.”

Two women, not young but not old either, approaching middle-age, one with longish, the other close-cropped hair, the one dark and likely dyed the other natural and going to grey, were captured for all time in the picture, half smiles on their faces although they could just as well have been smirks. They stared at us from the stiff black cardboard page to which Kay had turned. They wore faded blue jeans and Pendleton shirts and on their hands gardening gloves. They stood against the backyard garden’s rear wall and must have just turned to face the camera because they looked as if they were not quite posed. The view of the brickwork behind their backs was so wide the shot had to have been taken from a considerable distance, at least as far away as the lip of the rear cement patio just outside the sliding glass kitchen doors.

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It was early afternoon and we were being oh, so civilized, having tea, my aunt and me.

“I really liked them at first,” Kay said with her elongated Midwestern twang. “That’s Ellie,” a parchment finger rough with age picked out and hovered over the woman on the left, “and that’s EllieSue.” The finger worked its way up, then down the height of each woman’s body in an odd little caress.

This story is 12 pages long, available in PDF format.
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