KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Micro-Fiction: 297 words

Her Real Work

by Richard Holinger

From the bottom of the bathroom tub, Sheryl Blazek heard the heavens open. As the tornado snapped boards and shattered glass, the remnants pelted her back and she heard the voices. They told her to turn over. When she did, no longer holding her son Jeffrey beneath her stomach, but hugging him to her on top of it, she saw the angels floating above her. They had silver wings, golden harps, pink cheeks, and long yellow hair, exactly as she had painted them.

When one angel suggested that she “Lose the kid” in order to receive God’s blessing, she let Jeffrey go. She watched her offering fly upward, his hands and feet spread-eagled like a skydiver in reverse. Watching the black cloud include him with other debris, Sheryl understood how Abraham could agree to slaughter his son. Choice didn’t enter into the covenant; the gesture afforded sublime fulfillment. Shock turned to joy as the hideous, earth-shaking beast cracked the building’s wooden bones and threw plates, glasses, and vases willy-nilly, just like Sheryl had done when David left her.

A twinge of guilt visited her, but as the storm waned, a certainty visited her. They had wanted him, not her. They were giving Sheryl a second chance, a rebirth from the tragic mess she’d made, what with the drinking, the carousing, the tardy and absent job record, the dinner-from-a-box cooking, the TV babysitter.

The storm abated. She stayed in the tub until blue sky returned. Then, avoiding nail-exposed lumber and knife-sharp edges, she crawled away from the rented rubble responsible for blinding her to her real work.

On the first clear plot of dirt she came across, she kneeled, folded her hands, looked up, and let them know how good things were with her now.

Richard Holinger
Issue 1, Fall 2014

Lives in the Fox Valley, west of Chicago. He has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and book reviews in The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, and elsewhere.

Holinger teaches high school English, writes a bi-monthly newspaper column, and facilitates two writers workshops. He lives in Geneva, Illinois with his wife and, occasionally, his two children, recent college graduates.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Lunch on the Grass, a 476-word story about Manet and a grumbling model in Pif Magazine (1 July 2010)

Lemon and Honey, out-on-a-limb micro-fiction in Monkeybicycle (2010)

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