My Half Hour Child

There it was again, the ghostly tug at my skirt. Every day at precisely half past five, it was there. I could set my watch by it—and I had before after a power outage.

“There’s a glass of milk on the counter along with a PBJ and a banana.”

The pressure relieved on my skirt and a few minutes later I heard the heavy scrape of the chair and the clatter of dishes. The sandwich raised and lowered without any bites disappearing. The milk sloshed over the edge of the glass, spilling onto the chair and dripping down to the floor each time my ghostly child tipped it back for a drink. Continue reading

Find Me Tonight

The boy watched the pink foil helium balloon hover listlessly in the moonlight. It was the last remnant from his sister’s birthday party earlier that day. During the party, it had been perky, dancing happily in the breeze. Now, enough helium had escaped that it had begun its inevitable slump toward the ground.

It had been a lovely party. Full of sunlight and laughing, presents and cake, and kids running around in the grassy field playing ball. Or tag. The boy didn’t know.

He had been distracted by something else.

Behind the park shelter was an old railroad track choked with dense trees and bushes. He’d seen a glint, though. Something shiny was calling to him from the dark undergrowth. His mom and his aunt were too busy wrangling all of the other children to notice him, so he hopped off the bench and made his way over.

When he got close enough, he heard laughter. He looked over his shoulder, to his sister and her friends chasing each other around the playground. Had one of the older kids slipped away? The boy wanted to play with the older kids rather than his sister and her friends, so he chased after the laughter in the trees.

Once he ducked through the tree line, he immediately tripped and landed hard on the old metal tracks. Tears stung his eyes as he looked at his hands, scraped on the rotting railroad ties.

“Get up, boy. Those scrapes won’t kill you.” Continue reading


It wasn’t that I didn’t like little kids, I just tended to avoid them. I didn’t really know what to do when I was around them, and I wasn’t exactly popular among a lot of the parents. So, when the little girl walked up and tugged on my leg, I was shocked.

I had gone out to the park near where I lived to meet my boyfriend, Calix Anderson. He’d texted me right after I got there, telling me he’d be late because an issue had come up at the garage and he was stuck helping his older brothers fix a problem car. I’d told him it was fine, I’d wait.

The park was mostly empty, so I walked to one of the picnic tables in the grassy area near the playground. Perching up on the table I stretched my legs out in front of me and rested my feet on the bench. It was a clear, breezeless day, and the bright sunlight was warm on my back as I sat and watched the park’s few inhabitants. Due to the unusually warm fall weather, I was wearing a heavily tie-dyed tank top and white cutoff jeans that reached halfway down my thigh. I hadn’t been willing to give up my stiletto boots however, even though the knee high brown leather made my legs hot.

Continue reading

October Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

Crunchy leaves, hot tea, pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, boots, crisp and cool days, pumpkins, apples, Halloween, ghosts, children dressing up like creepy things, children being creepy in general…

It’s October here at the Cafe! Our prompt very much lends us to the creepiness of the season, although not all of our writers embraced that for this prompt.

The October prompt is a story inspired by a situation: a little kid runs up to you, tugs on your sleeve, and says…? What does the child want or need?

Confabulators didn’t have to use this exactly, but the story had to be inspired by the prompt, so the stories will all include a child in need. It’s up to the individual authors what direction they went with that need…

Join us every Friday for a new, free story. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, October 7: “Innocence” by Isabel Nee
Friday, October 14: “Find Me Tonight” by Sara Lundberg
Friday, October 21: “My Half Hour Child” by Eliza Jaquays
Friday, October 28: “The Dragon Lore” by Anita C. Young

Not Actually Very Funny At All

Terry is a Joke. And a bad one, too. But Terry is bringing home a new roll of Certs from the Kwik Shop because he is going to help Amanda find a new job. His breath must smell better than normal so that she won’t send him away when he opens his mouth.

On his way back to his apartment building, Terry passes some real people on the street. Compulsory chuckles escape this man and that woman. Real people never find him humorous, but it strikes them as impolite not to laugh at the young man’s existence.

Oh well, Terry thinks as he dips his head to accept their recognition. Continue reading