Flash Fiction Friday: Gift of a Lifetime

Welcome to my irregular feature, Flash Fiction Friday. Every once in a while, I dash off a short piece. It’s kind of a vacation, maybe even a recharge when I’m working on novel-length stories. I’m not going to tell you what the story prompt was this time. Guess it if you can. Even if you can’t agues it, I hope you enjoy this short piece about a gift of a lifetime. Gift of A Lifetime She sank down the wall, sat on the floor with her knees tight to her chest, and stared… at nothing. Because she had nothing left. They were supposed to have a lifetime together. But her husband died six months ago. Systemic organ failure, the doctor had said. How did a young man in the prime of his life die of organ failure? A flaw in his DNA. That’s not supposed to be possible. A century ago sure, but not today. Not to her husband. Except it had. Outside, rain fell in a steady downpour. Suited her mood, though her tears had dried weeks ago. She should get up and fix something to eat, but she had no energy. Had no desire to eat. No desire […]

All Systems Nominal

Flash fiction comes in all lengths. The very best flash fiction has character, conflict, and plot. For me, flash fiction is all about mood. I hope you enjoy “All Systems Nominal.” All Systems Nominal by Lynette M. Burrows The soft whirring sound of M.A.R.C., the best medical assistive robotic caregiver money could buy, moved closer to the bed  The bed’s occupant, a human male, age 100, didn’t respond.  M.A.R.C. extended its sensor arm precisely two inches above the human’s still form and swept the man from head to toe. Readouts of respiration, pulse, core temperature, blood pressure, and other biological measures flickered across M.A.R.C’s chest. All systems nominal. Sleep mode. A mechanical arm reached out and tucked the blanket under the old man’s chin.  M.A.R.C slid back away from the bed and into its charging station. The parameters of its programming satisfied, it wouldn’t stir again for another sixty minutes. If the patient’s implanted A.I. detected an anomaly, it would alert M.A.R.C. M.A.R.C.’s programming included responses for all medical emergencies and would summon human help if necessary. But for all systems nominal, it would wait until the next programmed time to check on his patient.  His Early Life When the man […]

Flash Fiction: For Better or Worse

Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment. But a lifetime has many challenges. That’s why the older marriage vows included the phrase “for better or worse.” This poignant story tells how a couple handles their challenges. For Better or Worse Lynette M. Burrows They came in together. Gray-haired, bent, similar in size and shape, they held hands. She laughed at his lame jokes. Her laughter lit his face with a sun-bright smile. They shuffled up to the emergency room’s front desk.  The ER nurse put him in a wheelchair and rolled him back to the triage room. She listened to their concerns, then checked his blood pressure and listened to his heart and lungs. She told them there were no rooms right now but there would be soon.  They returned to the waiting room and sat in hard plastic chairs near the interior doors marked staff only. And they waited. His jokes slowed and her laughter grew strained. The nurses at the desk seemed to pay them no mind as they dealt with the people coming into the ER in ones and twos, and whole families. And after a while, the nurse called his name. She took the old man in […]