Chemo Demo by Patricia Abbott

That autumn our schedules synched, and we spent Tuesday mornings together at Karamanos Cancer Center in Detroit. Tuesdays came quickly and laughs were rare. “Hey guys, I found a beauty blog online called Kara Manos. Kara calls her site the politics of pretty.” Jane’s laugh was hoarse. “We’re all about pretty, right?” Jane’s was the […]

The Architect of Dreams by Patti Abbott

I’m running and the only sounds I hear are my ragged breath and my feet hitting concrete—a painful slapping noise echoing down the—what is it this time—oh, an alley. Yes, it’s an alley. Buildings lean in making me feel trapped. It’s like an Eastern European painting, I saw once. Maybe it’s made of cardboard. Flimsy street lamps with dim bulbs throw a shadow despite the starless, moonless sky. It’s like a movie set I’ve seen on screen a million times. Or more oddly been part of a thousand times.

“Don’t you ever get bored with it?” a voice asks. “This senseless running—and from a woman with no aptitude for it. Look at the graceless way you hold your arms. You should invest in some decent running shoes. Bare feet on cement is foolish. And why are your hands splayed like that. Bend them.”

I have no idea who’s speaking or from where, but I look down at my feet. Bare, grimy, and full of cinders. The soles sting. I peer behind the ash cans, check out the dark windows above me, the rooftops. Nothing.

The Time Given You by Patti Abbott

For her first five years, the hours in Katie’s days held the correct number of minutes. So too, the days in the week, the months in the year.  And every day during that final normal autumn, Katie and her friend, Sonia, walked the seven blocks to kindergarten, napped side by side after story time, traced […]

Floes the Ice by Patti Abbott

His wife was always right. No really, she was. It was indisputable as she had warned for years that global warming would soon make the earth uninhabitable. And yes, something had to be done about the trafficking in rhino tusks, drugs, illegals, and children. The clubbing of seals—now that was a real disgrace. And using […]

Burnt the Fire by Patti Abbott

“Coming out with us tonight, Pearl?” Sam asked, poking his head inside her trailer. He caught a glimpse of her in the faint moonlight just before the gauzy curtains blew inward, obscuring her. The candle on the dressing table shivered, but she cupped it in time. Her hands looked unusually white, but then he realized […]

Waiting Her Chance by Patti Abbott

My daughter had booked a cheap flight landing at City Airport rather than Detroit Metro and her departure from O’Hare had been delayed by snow. No E.T.A had appeared on the monitor for over an hour and my pacing was beginning to wear on the security force, a tired-looking man. In fact, the only high-tech […]

The Things We Do for Love by Patti Abbott

You’ve been planning how to kill him all night. There’s not much else to do when you’re sitting on a straight-backed chair, your arms tied behind you, your legs cuffed, a gag in your mouth, tape over your eyes. He left you here without a backward glance. You listened to the door slam, the car […]

What Did Bagdad Do To Us? by Patti Abbott

US Army Specialist, Ronnie Bixby, spent 2004 in Bagdad. She’d become a member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit before her rotation began, but never fired her weapon during her entire stint in Iraq. Guarding Halliburton Trucks never drew direct fire on her watch, and she was asleep in her bunk when one of the […]