KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Flash Fiction: 523 words


by Laurette Folk

A javelin pierced him right through the chest. He was in a hallway of some prestigious hotel up north when it happened. He had taken his family away for the weekend to go skiing, enjoy the snow, because there had been so little snow where they lived.

They don’t know who threw the javelin, his stepmother told me. But as he was dying, gasping for breath, he told his wife he wanted none of this to appear on social media. Not the javelin, him dying, the stain on the wall, etc. His stepmother did not say whether the children witnessed the death, but his wife was there, and he died in her arms.

When she told me this, I could feel a restriction in my chest. I struggled to breathe. I had loved him deeply, deeply and now that he was gone, it was final. I did my best not to disclose my reaction to his stepmother, who now cleared the tea things from the table. She opened the curtain to let in the day’s last light.

The stepmother sat down heavily in front of me. She was a large, broad woman with blond hair that was braided around her head like a Swede. She was judgmental but kind and often we had things to talk about—her garden, my kids, the news. Outside the crows were gathering high in the naked trees. She looked at them pensively.

He was always shooting his mouth off, saying things he shouldn’t, she said. This is what got him in trouble.

This may or may not have been true. From what I remember of him, he was confrontational. He liked to have control. He wanted me to stop seeing a therapist, because he said he knew what was right for me. My therapist at the time cautioned my actions. He was jealous of the gynecologist who knew my body better than he did. I dismissed this as frivolity. We were both just kids. But he sat with me on the floor of his bedroom until I fell asleep in his arms. He had suffered, as I had suffered. He had sought out the ecstasies of life, and I followed suit.

We sat for a while in silence and this seemed to quell his stepmother’s bitterness. I then asked for the address. I told his stepmother that I would send his wife a sympathy card. I wrote the address down on the back of my checkbook.

I left when the sun had gone down. The crows were still perched in the trees beneath the blush in the sky, waiting for the darkness. I thought of driving there. Who would stop me? I thought of how I would get out of the car, walk to the door, ring the bell. I thought of the pictures of him and his family throughout the house, the life as he left it. I thought of his wife, how perhaps, if I sat at a table with her when the sun turned the sky to blush and the crows gathered silently in the trees, I could take her hand in mine.

Laurette Folk’s
Issue 12, Summer 2019

fiction, essays, and poems have been published in upstreet, Waxwing, Gravel, Flash Fiction Magazine, Mom Egg Review, pacificREVIEW, and Boston Globe Magazine, with work forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions 2019. Her novel, A Portal to Vibrancy, was published by Big Table in June 2014 and won the Independent Press Award for New Adult Fiction. Totem Beasts, her collection of poetry and flash fiction, was published by Big Table in May 2017. She is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing program.

Author’s website:

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