Category Archives: Short Fiction

A postcard

Back of She Wanders, 2021, DMC #8 thread and printed postcard, by Laura Wythe

Stitching up a memento to summarize a whole year on the back of a postcard is a challenge even in the best of years. This one is for 2020.

In January 2021, the embroidery guild I belong to invited members to create a postcard to swap. The theme is “What 2020 meant to me.” It’s been a remarkably full year, where babies were born and died, teaching became a technical vocation, friends celebrated decades of life without fanfare, a grant was written, stories collected and this writer/artist learned what self-care really meant.

We are currently in another tight lock down, making the swap idea a very appealing way to connect. The postcard has a physicality that needs time to make, send, receive and savour. And perhaps bring love and a smile to someone.

The size is small, though honestly, it just means I stitch smaller! Like many, I searched through what I have at home for inspiration. There was enough left of a fat quarter with a street print, a place I’d love to walk. As well, I have a bunch of postcards for The Bones designed by Chazza. Using one seemed very appropriate as we hear of the pandemic coming and going in waves.

This postcard goes to an unknown guild member, but if you are interested in a swap, let me know.

She Wanders,
2021, floss on printed cotton, cotton fill on printed postcard, by Laura Wythe
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The Bones Illustrated 12

Drawn into Catherine’s Orbit by Laura Wythe

“His life, it was too short, so short.”  Catherine closed the file, waved it in the air, as if she could conjure him back. He wished she had that magic, to bring back lives just as she brought life back to her artifacts. “He was the dearest soul I know, and never had a chance.” She looked to Thomas, and snuffed with her emotions. Clem and Thomas curled like brackets on either side of her, handing out tissues, murmuring kind words. Under her lashes, she looked his way, and TinTin knew she wasn’t looking for comfort. Like him, she was looking for those bits of Pi that she could carry forward. His work, his life, his thoughts—curated and alive because she bothered, and knew he would too. Shit, he’d finally been drawn into Catherine’s orbit, and from the looks of it, his first job was to rescue her.

“Look,” TinTin said, “you guys are staying for the night, so let’s forget this until the morning. The project is good. I say we order in beer and Chinese food and work our way through the vintage games. Pi would like that.”

Catherine lifted her head. “Vintage games?”

“Yes.”

Thomas laughed out loud. “He means video games.”

“There are vintage video games? I love them already.”

The Bones: Crossing, Chapter 7 by Laura Wythe (available on Amazon)

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The Bones Illustrated 10

Woven into the Fabric of Chatham County by Laura Wythe

“The town hates me.”

“It would be the same if I went to live with you in Gaza. A newcomer waltzes in and they think she wants a share of the pie she hasn’t earned yet. I will spend my life fitting you into my arms, my heart, my life. But the town has to work you among the many into its fabric until you’re seamless. Only recently has Dad been that pliable, or willing to spend the time.”

“Your parents do realize that the whole area is sunk after the bicentennial.”

“Mom says there’s some kind of programming that makes her return like a spawning salmon and that’s why she won’t give it up easily.”

Clem sighed and pretended to scoop up sunlight by the handsful, let it trickle through her fingers onto the covers.

“The fabric of Catherine’s childhood is unravelling,” TinTin said, sighing, as Clem rubbed her warm hands on his arm. “This social fabric of which you are a thread, would it perhaps be another kind of Net worth studying?”

“I think it’s been studied enough. There’s never been a culture more documented and headstrong than my mother’s.”

The Bones: Crossing, Chapter 7 by Laura Wythe (available on Amazon)

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The Bones Illustrated 9

Indian Territory, 1774 by Laura Wythe

He didn’t think the town was racist. They had their way of sorting people, of keeping them honest. The Wests had Indian blood from the frontier days and the genes popped up in random generations–two in a row with his dad and his sister. It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t something the town let them forget. Even with his fair colour, he got his share of teasing. Rebecca, well, she got teased about everything and maybe the link to Tecumseh was just the last straw. The Galloways, they’d climbed the social ladder and right on up into the early government. The link to Tecumseh stuck but the family had always taken a hard line that nothing happened between old Rebekah and the Shawnee. None of their generations had come out brown-skinned like his father and his sister, so maybe it was true. In the end, Miles believed what mattered most was how people treated one another.

The Bones: The Crossing, Chapter 3 by Laura Wythe (Available on Amazon)

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The Bones Illustrated 8

Rain Whisperer by Laura Wythe

People all over the world claimed to be in touch with the rain, but Clem believed the whisperers who gathered the most media buzz were liars. Sure, small miracles did happen. Some prayers were answered, how many out of millions? The genuine survivors told how it felt like they’d died and only when they had given up all hope and struggle, only then, had the water, or the weather itself, carried them to safety. They had submitted.

Clem stopped asking for data. She surrendered to the rain.

The Bones, Wooing, Chapter 19 by Laura Wythe (available on Amazon)

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Prayer for St. Paulinus

This short story is part of a series I wrote while working in literacy settings with vulnerable people. In this one, the venerable tea-leaf reading Allegra works the system to get a new toilet for her house.

It’s been published today on a great site called Commuter Lit, out of Toronto, and it’s purpose is to entertain on the morning (or evening) commute. Read it for free!

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