'Road Trip At Night' by Zach Murphy

Jared drove as the rain pounded the windshield and the wipers squeaked to ear-twitching levels. His girlfriend Tammy sat in the passenger seat. Julie and Tim sat in the back. A suitcase rested between the two. They pretty much broke up in the morning. Tim blamed Julie for everything.
       ‘You two are quiet,’ Tammy said, peaking around the seat. Julie let out a ‘Meh.’
       ‘Well, it’s all downhill from here,’ said Jared.
       ‘In the good way or the bad way?’ asked Tim.
       ‘Good, of course.’
       They were still about three hours away from Jared’s cabin up North. Tim squirmed. He couldn’t bring himself to turn his head even an inch toward Julie’s direction. The awkwardness practically fogged the windows.
       ‘You guys want some Combos?’ Tammy asked, holding out the bag.
        Tim shook his head, ‘No thanks, I’m not really a pretzel guy.’
       ‘I’ve always thought the cheese and pretzel go really well together,’ said Tammy. ‘Julie?’
       ‘Sure,’ Julie said, grabbing a small handful. She crunched into them. The noise from the chewing sounded violent to Tim.
       ‘Can you turn on the radio?’ Tim asked.
       Jared snapped on the dial. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ faded in through the speakers. Tim clenched his jaw as he glanced out the window and noticed his reflection. He was beside himself.
       ‘Wait,’ Tim proclaimed.
       ‘What?’ Jared asked.
       ‘It’s me,’ Tim answered.
       Julie turned and gave Tim a strange look. Tammy’s face popped out from behind the back of her seat, ‘What’s you?’
       Tim sat up, gesturing with his hands, ‘You know when you’re riding in a car at night, and a light glares on the window in a certain way, and you see your reflection off to the side and it feels like you’re sitting next to yourself?’
       ‘I’m not following,’ said Jared.
       ‘When it happens to me, I feel all weird and uncomfortable. Like, I don’t want to be near me. I can’t stand it,’ Tim continued.
       Julie face-palmed. Tammy and Jared looked at each other from the corner of their eyes.
       ‘I still don’t get it,’ said Jared.
       ‘Never mind,’ Tim said, slouching down.
       Just then, the light occurred again. Tim took a deep breath, unbuckled his seatbelt, opened the car door and tuck-and-rolled out into the rain, onto the pavement.
       Tim was alright—he just needed some fresh air.

Zach Murphy is a Hawaii-born, multi-faceted writer who somehow ended up in the charming but often chilly land of St. Paul, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in Haute Dish, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, WINK, and the Wayne Literary Review. He lives with his wonderful wife Kelly and loves cats and movies. You can read his film reviews at http://fadetozach.blogspot.com/.

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Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

'For What We Once Had' by Kris McGinnis

We stood at the tip of the fork where wilted bur-reed vainly clung to sloping, silt gritted banks that converged around the loose rocks and sediments of the dry riverbed.
       ‘My brother always said rivers are like the veins of the Earth…’ The old man looked down at his bare forearms where thin wires of blue fought against deep purple blotches and sallow wrinkled skin… ‘Because so much life flows through them.’
       It was the first time I’d seen it. His meekness; the mask slipping.
       My firm grip steadied him as we began walking along the uneven, jagged ground.
       ‘We used to catch Carp here. He made rods for us.’
       ‘Sounds like a nice brother.’
       The old man smiled, his teeth like a collection of the charcoal tinged stones underfoot. ‘He was…’ A somber look then washed over his face like the river that once flowed upon where we stood… ‘One day my line got snagged. He dove in to retrieve it. Never resurfaced.’
       We continued on in silence, following the parched trail as it curved around until a small cluster of trees formed at one side. He nodded towards it, my constant hold helping him to summit the inclined bank.
       Making our way through the trees, a firmness seemed to garner in his limbs, the enclosing canopy above adding an ominous presence, before we came upon a small clearing overgrown with vegetation and littered with large boulders.
       ‘This is it,’ he announced. ‘Looks different now.’
       ‘How many?’
       ‘Four.’
       ‘Point them out to me.’
       As his frail finger indicated towards various spots around us, I unclipped a radio from my belt.
       ‘Four sites confirmed. Send Forensics to the first group of trees as you round the bend.’
       He held out his bound arms towards me, handcuffs biting into the wrists.
       ‘Sorry. Not part of the deal.’
       I led him towards the nearest boulder to rest upon while we awaited the arrival of the excavation team.
       ‘At least the families will have closure now,’ I say, moreso to myself. ‘Can I ask why you chose the girls?’
       A small decrepit smile parted his lips as thin fingers were flexed out.
       ‘First one… It was the eyes. Beautiful green. The right side of emerald… The others. Like catching Carp… I enjoyed the hunt.’
       I mused over the sinisterness of his tone, a sense of vulnerability in my isolation creeping in.
       ‘Your brother said the river gave so much life; yet you brought so much death to it,’ I said, trying to reset the balance.
       The smile departed, the aura of menace eroding like the relic of the river we had just walked down. Bowing his head, I strained to hear his response…
       ‘I didn’t want him to be alone.’

Kris McGinnis is a Scottish writer of short and flash fiction with an eye for the more darker themes in life. He’s previously had flash pieces shown in the ‘Less Than 100 Words’ anthology and on Zeroflash.org

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

'The Cleaners' by Catriona Yule

He longed for this time of day. When the mattresses on the sun loungers had all been wiped down, stacked and securely fastened together to stop them scattering along the shore. He pretended to clean another bed. As he sprayed, he watched her. The way she bent over, religiously scouring away remnants of sweat, Ambre Solaire, drops of Creme de Cacoa and sea water mingled with tiny black stones from the beach. There were still two beds to clean before she would stop. Then and only then, would she stop and chat to him.
       She wasn’t pretty, not like some of the younger women he’d seen strolling along the promenade with flawless skin and glossy hair. Her hair was cropped short and she dressed plainly in black trousers and a striped cotton shirt. But there was an earthy warmth to her that manifested itself through her hands on to every surface she tended as though it was not simply a job but an important ritual. She had laughed at his bad jokes and had waited for him at the end of every shift, only putting on her jacket after he’d slipped on his.
       She was almost finished now and, at any moment, would walk back towards him and empty her pail of water into the sand. He perched on the edge of a lounger, dangling his cloth, watching her. Watching still as her jacket fell to the ground and she waded out to sea.
       

Catriona Yule works in Aberdeenshire as an English tutor. Her short story, The Sand Pit, was published in Northwords Now in October 2019. Her poetry has appeared in Southlight 23 and 26 and the Arachne Press anthology, Noon: Stories and Poems from Solstice Shorts Festival 2018.

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

‘Warning Sign’ by Rose Day

We’ve been fighting for hours and the milk is curdling. Your lips are stretching around words like bubble-gum. Your eyebrows fly up your forehead like they’re escaping the tide of your eyelashes. I move and your mouth is watching a runaway train fall off the tracks. You’re saying fist slap upwards point finger fingerspell my name. I’m saying cross palms butterfly hands fingerspell my name. When we woke up this morning, I recited your face. I read the stretch of your arms. I’ve been flicking through your pages so long I don’t remember where I put you down, but I still enjoy the way the sounds feel on my fingertips. I thought we could draw our memories in the dark until we fell asleep. We are lost in translation your movements are too fast, and I can’t reach my palms in time to tell you that middle fingers to palm cross chest fist pointed index.
       And I want to tell you that my hands are tired and I’m sure you’re the sound of car keys in my pocket rotate my hand around my chest until your hands drop. I say I’ll rotate my hand around my chest until your hands drop your lips relax and you slip your fingers between mine again. I say middle fingers to palm. I try again. Middle fingers palm cross. I asked you once if you could sign the Bible and you kissed a cross down my face. Is it wrong to think about that? You make your right hand into a fist with your thumb sticking out. Close your eyes slow. The tea is cold, and I thought I understood silence.

Rose Day is a British poet and novelist. Currently completing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Creative Writing. Research interests include contemporary fiction, eco gothicism and poetry with visual art. Find Rose on Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

The Other Gioconda by Amy B. Moreno

‘See that cloud?’ she leant on the windowsill, pointing up. ‘It looks like a crocodile with a cigarette, smoke twisting out of his jaws.’ Her hand rose of its own accord, imitating the swirl.
       ‘Nphhh.’ he grunted.
       The mists and swirls made their lazy, lustful way above her head, caressing the sky. She let her forearms bear more weight, leant further out, and fancied she felt hot puffs from the crocodile smudge her face.
       The heavy brocade drapes brushed her pale skin with maroon, and she replied by tracing their gold leafy swirls with her fingertip. Below, the waters of Venice glistened and jeered in the twilight. She felt her face reflected below, inky blue water pooling under her eyes; the seemingly solitary witness of a city drowning in its own romance.
       Echoes of ‘La Gioconda’ trilled the water, ‘The Happy Woman’ mistranslated as a ballad singer. Forever remembering her life of many loves, or loves of many lives.
       And he lay behind her in bed, wrapped in his sweltering duvet cocoon; an involved process requiring all the bed covers.
       ‘Shall we order some prosecco from room service?’ she tried, irritated at the tight, brittle hope in her voice.
       His silence echoed off the rose-coloured walls, danced along the brass bed rail, and warped the floorboards. Again, he’d missed his cue.
       Giovanni Bellini’s Agony in the Garden observed them knowingly from the back wall; both scenes at an interlude between main events.
       The flowers on the nightstand wilted with each stale breath, full of the unsaid.
       With an itch scuttling across her back, she admitted that the curtain had already closed on the honeymoon period.

Amy B. Moreno is an experienced interpreter and translator, with a parallel career in working with vulnerable children and young people.  She now writes poetry and prose for both adult and child readers. She has been published by The Glasgow Women’s Library blog and The Scottish Book Trust, plus several websites and literary blogs.  She is currently based on the eastern coast of Scotland. You can connect with her on Twitter: @Amy_B_Moreno

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

North Star by Tammy Breitweiser

Demons are not effective unless they can be cryptic with their daily abuse. Purple stars appear as body constellations. She battles with rage and angst. Do not utter the words that squirm just under the skin. Her only recourse is band aids of medication named Jack and Patron who yield fewer calories than other numbing liquids.

Star’s excuse is buying a doll for a friend to add to her collection. She fills her glass with more tequila from the decanter on the table. It is smooth but does not cover the bruises. Those are harder to mask. A glance at the clock shows just enough time to make it.

Every second she is afraid the emergency broadcast system will announce her escape to him. A conspiracy to rat her out. But she remembers it is only winter and he doesn’t have that much power. She is dramatic and dares a smile in the rearview mirror.

Her car starts over the bridge. The Prius slides past the ICE ON BRIDGE sign and twists. The passenger side is leading the way forward until it hits the barrier. The water is frozen.

She is going to die.

A sigh of relief comes as the purple star ornament leans from its perch. The physical manifestation to remind her to keep focus. As the frozen water slams into her cheekbone her flavorless gum flies out of her mouth as the passenger door comes toward her with the next wave. Freedom.


Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature; accidental inspirationalist; keeper of the little red doors, and conjurer of everyday magic who is busy writing short stories. Her poetry has been published in The Storyteller Magazine and her flash fiction in The Ninja Writers Monthly. Her essay is published in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology. Connect with Tammy through Twitter @TLBREIT or Instagram @runnertammyz

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.

That’s Nice by Emily F S Walker

I told you about my dream and you said, “That’s nice.” Clearly, you had not listened to me. You used your fork to pick at the peas and ignored the casserole I had made. Eyes glued to your phone which sat next to your plate, in-between the salt and pepper, your hand hovered over the beer bottle to your right. Occasionally, a drop of condensation licked your finger, lovingly. You couldn’t bear to be unloved.
       Scraping the remaining food into the bin, I inhaled deeply at the smell of rotting food below me – yesterday’s dinner and remnants from the kids’ lunchboxes. I gagged and inhaled again. Then I started to climb in. Brown juice seeping through my jeans, my leg plunged deeper into the sludge, cracking chicken bones as it reached the bottom. I balanced myself, then began to press my other foot in. Banana peel curled around my ankle, a spider monkey clinging to an unrotten branch. Wrappers sizzled as I pushed deeper. I eventually lost my balance. I fell to the floor, the contents of the bin escaping with me.
       You finally turned to look at me, yelling expletives. Then you asked me why. So I told you my dream again and then you listened.
       “I had a dream that I was in a different house with the kids, but it was a funeral. They eventually brought out the coffin. Everyone was crying. No one told me who was inside. I was screaming at the other guests to tell me. Then I noticed you sat on a bench, slightly out of view. You were on the phone laughing hysterically. So I opened the coffin and tried to climb in. I didn’t look to see what else was inside.”
       Without saying a word, you helped me up and we cleaned the floor together.

Emily F S Walker is an emerging writer from York, UK, who has been recently published in Ellipsis Zine literary magazine. She will be starting a Creative Writing Masters next September and frequently contributes to her blog. She can also be found on Twitter at @EmFrances11

Let’s stay in touch…

Clover & White publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry every Sunday. If you like what we do, share the love and let others know about us. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter, and join our Mailing list!

Have a short story, flash fiction or poem to submit? Awesome! We would love to hear from you. Visit our submissions page for all the details.