Fictional works of extreme brevity, contained to 100 words.
The Exception to the Rule
At some point every parent puts their child down and never picks them back up again. It’s a slow moment, drawn out for so long that most don’t even notice the change. Uncle Matt was the exception to the many fathers of the rule. He grew with his children. Always a foot taller. Always strong enough to fling his son over his shoulder with one arm and pick his daughter up with the other. Those children never knew the ground the way the rest of us do. They were never quite anchored to this world. Always floating a foot above.
The peach fuzz on the backs of my knees stands up. Bending at the waist, I run my fingers through the incoming golden wave—catching a few strands. Too quick to grasp, the tide fades. In the recesses of my ear echoes the sound of chain links dragging through the dirt. A parabolic turn brings golden hues running back between my legs—washing around me, around me, around. The soft thud of padded footsteps followed by dragging weight. In a final turn chains constrict around my ankles, toppling me like captured prey. Picketed, the dog will never escape high tide.
The setting sun casts deep shadows on an empty dinner plate in the backyard patio. A hunched figure deftly touches his linen napkin to the corners of his mouth. “Grandpa, do you really eat everything on your plate? Always?” asked the waxing gibbous to the crescent. He nodded. With a conspiring giggle, the child adds her remaining salad to his plate. Grandpa eats with duty. There were times when food wasn’t such a luxury, but those were times before this generation. They don’t know those barbed wire fences of unconstitutional captivity. These children are American beyond the point of questioning.