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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Tiny Shadows

Story by Maryanne Stahl (Read author interview) June 15, 2008

Art by Robinson Accola

When he got home, she was gone.

At first, he wasn’t aware of anything amiss. The dog snoozed in the yard; the mail lay on the dining room table. The furniture, which he had inherited, stood in place.

He made himself some coffee (French pressed) and carried his cup into the living room. That’s when he began to intuit something off in the air, to sniff the delicate absence of her scent.

His eye was inevitably drawn to one of his earliest prizes. The Fire Prevention Week Essay Award had tilted in its frame, so he moved to straighten it. Then he saw that the Certificate of Excellence in Punctuation lay crooked. Further, his letter of selection into Volume XXXIII of America’s Poets on Either Side of the Mississippi had fallen, and the actual tome ($19.95; $22.95 with a gilded frontispiece) had been shelved upside down!

Something was noticeably different about the light.

Then he saw the letter, propped against the photograph of him accepting his Trophy of Good Standing (luckily his misspelled name was out of focus in the shot), written in her inimitable (but somewhat larger than usual) hand:

She had had enough; she spelled it out for him: I can no longer bear to live beneath the twenty-seven tiny shadows of your accomplishments.

About the Author

Maryanne Stahl has published two novels and a bunch of other stuff. She’s a contributing editor at Ink Pot/Lit Pot. Check out her website at http://www.maryannestahl.com.

About the Artist

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-One
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A SmokeLong Summer

May 30-Aug 28!


From May 30 to August 28 2022, SmokeLong is going to host a superworkshop. We want to spend the summer with you, the flash community. Our workshops take place on a devoted website where you can create a profile, interact with the flash community, and take part in group discussions on craft, but A SmokeLong Summer will be much more.