We never know what magnificent moment might be around the corner, what unexpected development, or devastating turn of events. Like an ephemeral sun-dog or a once-in-a-lifetime hatch, what happens in a day can last a lifetime with memories and ramifications.
Writers chased the tail of such singular days. From the deep well of human kindness to the reaches of alien portals, this collection brims with a parcel of memorable days.
The following stories are based on the July 25, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase “for one day.”
PART I (10-minute read)
Pandemic by Norah Colvin
It started slowly. First an outbreak in a school in central Australia, barely newsworthy. Then another in South America. A post on social media drew a few views but was largely ignored. When a third occurred in Western Europe, reports flooded news services. Soon, small isolated pockets erupted on every continent, and they multiplied and spread. The touch of a hand, a pat on a shoulder, the nod of a head, a brush of lips, the trace of a smile; all were infectious. The contagion was rampant. Random acts of kindness proliferated, and unbridled bursts of joy exploded everywhere.
My Darling by JulesPaige
When will it end? Can the world be still? Must it fluctuate. Is it my task to prove that even for one day, I am not crazy? Must I always fight going up the falls? Am I to be known as the Corpse Flower, and not a red rose? Must I always defend my territory as the loon, and lose my chick in the process?
spirit and soul; one
together within the skin
shakes, seeks acceptance
I am not a conformer. I am a creator. And I was lonely until I met you.
Love, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Wishful Thinking by Goldie
That night Bill laid in bed and prayed: “If she would only stop nagging. Even for one day. God, just one day. It’s all I need. One day without her nagging.”
When morning came, the sound of silence penetrated his ears. Usually, he would hear clinking dishes and what he always thought was purposeful – Angela slamming pots and pans against one another.
Bill turned to his right.
Her lips blue. Her body cold.
“Noooooo” – he screamed into the heavens with deep sorrow.
An eternity without her nagging.
An eternity without her love.
He got more than he bargained for.
Driving Home D. Avery
The billboards were his wife’s idea. So many truckers and tourists saw those signs. How many knew anything about the pictured boy?
He knew. He was one of the commuters that drove by them everyday. But if after work he took the back roads to the tavern he could miss one of the signs completely. And if he stayed late he’d not notice the others.
But always was that smaller sign. “Let’s remember Adam.” Right there at the end of the driveway. Right there.
How he wished that even for one day he could forget. He ordered another drink.
I Wish………….. by Di @ pensitivity101
Let me turn back time,
Reset the clock for One Day,
That day when I lost you.
I never said the words I should,
Never held you,
Kissed you goodbye,
Or told you I loved you.
And now it is too late.
Too late for you,
But not for others.
I am not afraid
To say what I feel,
Hold someone close,
Breathe in their essence,
Feel their heartbeat parallel to mine.
But for you,
I would not do these things.
I realised what was important.
I would dearly love
To have you back.
For one day.
For a Day by Kerry E.B. Black
A toddler plied her mother with questions at a check-out line as the mother stacked goods onto the conveyor. Another toddler sat in the next cart in line, limp-legged and watchful. “You have such a sweet baby,” the harried mother said to her line-neighbor. “Mine won’t shut up. I wish I could have silence for just one day.” She chuckled darkly and turned when the cashier asked, “Paper or plastic?” without noticing the grimace on the mother-behind-her’s face.
That mother’s child was born mute, and how she longed to hear even one word from her child. Even just one.
For One Day by Susan Zutautas
Daydreaming about my mother is something I do quite often. What was she like, how did she smell, what would it have been like to have her with me other than for just a few short years?
My mind started wandering and for one day I had her all to myself. My emotions got the best of me and through tears of joy I embraced every moment. The love I felt was like no other.
We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we never wanted the day to end.
Although this is only daydreaming, I often return to this day.
Superior D. Avery
On this day Lady Lake is calm, her waves a soothing song, a gentle caress. On this day raging storms and surging ice are as distant as the hazy horizon. On the sun warmed rocks that pave the beach, I pick seven from among the millions and millions of smooth stones to build a small cairn. The stones, the seven and the millions, indulge me, and with them I laugh at myself, at this ridiculously human endeavor. I listen for the ancient stories of these water-worn stones. My labors won’t last but this cairn might stand for a day.
A Tail of Two Cats by Nancy Brady
Bearcat, my black cat with just a touch of white on her chest, was a few months shy of twenty-two years when she died in my arms.
Flash, our calico with an attitude, was eighteen years when finally she lapsed into a coma and passed away.
Neither of them was particularly happy to have other cats around; they both preferred to be the only cat in the house.
Bear died on April 5, 2001, and Flash was born on that same date. For one day, their lives briefly overlapped; while they never met each other, they certainly owned us.
30 by H .R. Hardman
I was twenty-nine for one day more. Tomorrow, I’d hit the big three-O. My family had planned a surprise party. I had half a mind not to turn up. I’d get on a plane, the next flight to anywhere and have a holiday alone.
But that would upset so many people and all the money and effort everyone had put in. Perhaps, I would enjoy it more then I thought? I don’t know, there is something unwanted about birthdays when you are an adult but it’s an inescapable part of life, so it might as well be enjoyed.
Sunday by TN Kerr
Rita tucked her hair behind her ears, sipped her coffee and turned ‘The Times’ to read below the fold.
“Mark,” she asked her husband, “if you could do, or be anything for one day; what would you do or be?”
“I don’t know, dear but it would probably involve sex or food. Why?”
“I’d want to be queen.”
“Queen for a day? Like that old television show?” Mark looked up at her.
“Uh huh,” she said, “and, I freed a genie from an old lava lamp at Goodson’s Antique’s yesterday. My day is Sunday.”
Consumption Function by Jo Hawk
9098195663 gaped at his screen.
“See this?” he asked.
But 2207344907 contemplated a different image.
“This is interesting,” 2207344907 murmured, ignoring 9098195663.
Her finger touched the ‘Buy Now’ button. Was it a good selection? Her days were exhausting, constant pressure, endless images, never-ending decisions.
“No, 2207344907. Look. Now,” 9098195663’s voice rose as he spoke.
“It says ‘for one day only’. I haven’t seen that.”
2207344907 peeked at his screen and navigated hers to the same image. It was true. She could not believe their luck. She and 9098195663 slammed the ‘Buy Now’ button until they bought the last one.
Invasion by Joanne Fisher
Luckily I was there in the middle of the city at the precise moment when a portal from another dimension opened up. Out came these tall creatures with tentacles and rubbery skin. They looked at me with eyes that were coldly arrogant and inhuman. As I was a sorceress I used what powers I had to push them back through the portal and then closed it shut. The entire city celebrated the victory, but our revelry only lasted for one day.
The next day more portals began opening up everywhere and these alien creatures marched out in overwhelming numbers.
Monochrome by The Dark Netizen
Monochromes. That was the name given to us.
It was more of a label than a name, because names were reserved for humans. We were just animals in a cage. The regular humans casted us out from the society and gave us our separate quarters. We were not allowed to interact with the regulars lest we steal their colours. If only they understood that we never chose to be this way. We never wished for a colourless life. It is my dream to become a regular human, even if for one day.
Just once, to live a normal day…
For One Day by Ann Edall-Robson
For one day the sun rises
Oranges, reds, greys, and black
Filtering through the trees
Peeking over the ridge
For one day the wind blows
Caressing rosy porcelain cheeks
Tousling fringes to au naturel
Rambling carelessly among leaves
For one day the creek talks
Quiet, soothing, tender words
A journey of abandoned vigour
Chattering with rocks and eddies
For one day the moon hovers
Draping light shards across water
While stars dance through indigo
Twinkling to a kindred song
For one day there will be tenderness
Propelled by devoted moments
Perhaps rapture awaits
For one day when love evolves
PART II (10-minute read)
One Spring Day (Crater Lakes Habitat) by Saifun Hassam
In spring the salt marshes and woodlands around Green and Lizard Lakes were alive with nesting birds. Jeff was excited when a flock of Canada geese arrived at Green Lake. They were rare visitors. He set up one vidcam at Green Lake and texted Carmen to set up another one at Lizard Lake.
The geese stayed for one day and with great fanfare flew away in the late afternoon. The videos showed songbirds whizzing across Green Lake. Hawks circled muddy Lizard Lake. A heron waded along the shores. Jeff saw the lakes from a new perspective, a bird sanctuary.
Just for a Day by Anita Dawes
We feed the swans at our local park.
You can walk around the pond.
In the past, we watched their eggs hatch,
today, I picked up a duck feather.
I sat twirling it between my fingers,
closed my eyes. Just for a moment,
I could see sun shining through my shell.
Does that mean I am ready to meet the world?
I pecked, broke my way out. Let me tell you,
lying inside, growing feathers
must be like humans growing teeth. Sharp, itchy.
Just for a day I felt like a duck,
as my webbed feet hit the water…
The Ugly Duckling Bites Back by Ritu Bhathal
I’ve spent my life in her shadow; the beautiful sister, tall, willowy, popular.
And me, well, I’m just me. Plain, average in every way, and described as ‘nice’.
But not today.
Today is my day.
I was the one who managed to find a lovely lad.
I was the one proposed to at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
I am the one looking at my reflection in the mirror today, unable to recognise the princess that stands here in my place.
I am the bride walking down the aisle.
For one day, all eyes will be on me.
Loony Tunes – Or the Dangers of Processed Food by Anurag Bakhshi
“You might be a loon,” I shouted at my daughter, “but could you please avoid acting loony for one day?”
“But Mommy…” my daughter started off, but I stopped her mid-sentence.
“How many times have I told you to keep away from processed foods?” I asked rhetorically.
“19,418 times,” she replied irritatingly, but accurately.
I continued my tirade, “I know they’re tasty, but they’re equally deadly.”
“But Mommy, don’t you think you could have explained this to him a bit more calmly?” she replied, pointing towards the mangled body of the human who’d just tried to feed her a bagel.
Retail Therapy by Sally Cronin
The slinky red dress in the window of the boutique caught her eye as she trudged home from work, laden with groceries and the burden of the day. There was a sign beneath the ravishingly daring and crimson outfit.
For one day only, half price. Dress as the woman you’ve always wanted to be.
In her case that would be the woman she used to be. She looked at her reflection in the window. Greying hair, dowdy clothes and weariness etched on her face. She pushed open the door to the shop taking the first step to her rejuvenation.
For One Day by tracey
Kate lies in bed listening to the quiet. The boys are off on a fishing trip. Laundry and groceries flit across her mind. And then, what if for one day she did only what she wanted to do? She breathes deep, does she dare?
In the shower she contemplates and discards options. Then the answer arrives.
She throws her journal, sketchbook and pencils in her backpack. She stops at the cute corner café she always wanted to try and requests a box lunch: “Surprise me,” she says. She heads toward the river, hiking until she finds solitude. Tranquility. Herself.
One More Day by Chelsea Owens
Smoky, slatted sunlight lay in lines across the staring face. Soon, only a muted glowing shone there as the associated hand pulled the blinds closed again. *Snap*
He’d said he’d be different; for one more day. That had been a gigantic step, vocalizing. Into the dark of night and mind he’d stood and whispered, “Tomorrow, I go out.”
A laugh escaped the lips. Whose, he did not know; but then, he did. A distant memory of non-lined sunlight views and happier company than his own filtered to recollection.
Then; he was sure he’d laughed. Then; she had, too.
I Promise by H.R.R. Gorman
The spoon is hot, sterile, bent to give me the best angle. The needle is sharp – it’s new, straight from the packaging, not something I get every day.
“You don’t have to do this.”
I shake off that inner critic, that Jiminy Cricket that always chokes me with guilt. It wasn’t my fault I had back pain in 2005 and was overprescribed. It couldn’t help my kids left as soon as they turned 18. I didn’t mean for this to happen.
I promised this was my last hit. I’d take this dose and, just for one day, everything would feel better.
Independence Day by Anne Goodwin
For one day, Britons will feel great again, commemorating deliverance from fronceys and krauts. For one day, Nelson’s peers will admire him, as he steers the procession through flag-waving crowds. For one day, security will slacken at the borders, and Rommel’s determined to defect.
“Come with me, Nelson. You’ll die at Bootcamp if you don’t.”
Rommel’s dad can’t influence the Ministry. Rommel’s dad can’t trust him to infiltrate a traitors’ ring. When Nelson learns his dad’s limitations, he’s already jeopardised his friends.
For one day, Nelson must rise above his terrors. One day, one chance to save his skin.
The Crumb’s Obituary by M J Mallon
For one day I crave silence.
Your words crush my soul making me weep. Your tongue is bitter, cruel and relentless, it pokes fun at my crawling. I must do as you please, surrendering to your every whim.
‘Look at this,’ you say, scowling.
I move towards it, this lonely crumb which sits on the kitchen surface begging for forgiveness.
‘Oops,’ I respond, trembling.
‘Dear God. You’re multiplying ant – look at the state of this place.’
I step back waiting for him to strike.
Instead, his thumb bears down on the tiny crumb and crushes it to death.
For One Day by Janice Golay
I will exist for one day. That’s it, my destiny and my biology. I awake with shy petals folded inward, hugging my center. Gradually light and warmth encourage me to unfurl, peering at what the world offers on this unique day: watercolor blue up above, soft breezes inviting me to sway in slow waltz time; a quick touch from a bumblebee, a tentative glance from a monarch.
I avoid human grasp and am saved from premature death. Just let me end my day’s life naturally, peacefully, with petals dry, stem a-droop, content to have lived fully for one day.
Fire and False Hope (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
For one day, the crew held back the advancing fire. Danni dropped onto her sleeping bag, boots still on her feet, proud that she had shoveled in a way archeologists seldom do. They worked hard and deterred the fire with their break. Sometime during the night, the wind kicked up, and a chill woke Danni. Stretching, she groggily left the tent to refill her water bottle. The skyline glowed with orange flames, trees exploded, shooting embers the wind carried across the break. For one day, they saved their community from burning in hell. Now it was time to evacuate.
Lost and Found by Tien Skye
For one day, he wished he could hear that familiar voice again.
The voice he knew so well, the deep baritone which aged into higher pitch over the years. By the time he married, his father’s voice had thinned out.
Death robbed him of his father’s voice; fire robbed him a second time as it swallowed everything.
He stood in front of what was left behind, himself and his wife included.
“Oh boy, what happened?” that laughing voice sounded out.
He thought he was seven again; his wife had saved the audio recording of his father’s voice.
For One Day by Dave M. Madden
Stan had consumed every self-help book the store he frequented often could offer.
The problem didn’t have anything to do with his actions; in fact, he sought assistance from outside resources because of the lacking action.
As an aspiring writer, he locked all the suggestions offered by others into memory: unplug from all your devices, read more, write down your goals, go for a walk, go observe some people in public, and talk with someone about what’s on your mind were some of his favorites.
He just kept waiting for one day when the advice began working.
What’s in a Name by D. Avery
“Pal, I been thinkin’.”
“Thinkin’ we gotta hep Shorty rethink this ‘flash fiction’ term. Seems the only rule she keeps is the 99 words no more no less part. But there’s BOTS an’ poetry an’ creative non-fiction. Heck, if all Shorty cares about’s them 99 words, flash (italics) fiction’s (end) a might misleadin’.”
“So what would you call it?”
“Well, if it’s a short form of literary art she’s after, (italics) shlit (end) covers it. Pepe suggests (italics) l’shart. (end)”
“Jeez, Kid! Git some class. Who’s Pepe?”
“Pepe LeGume. A real character.”
“Dang. Thought LeGume was jist for one day.”
“Nope. Legume’s a repeater.”
Call for a Totem Pole by D. Avery
“Dunno, Kid. Got a not so fresh feelin’ ‘bout this Le’Gume character. Where’s he from?”
“Be a close reader, Pal. Shorty an’ D. Avery picked him up along the way.”
“Read betwixt the lines, Kid. Pepe Le’Gume’s somethin’ they passed along the way.”
“Don’t matter. Le’Gume is fulla beans, poppin’ with ideas. Could be a handy ranch hand.”
“Don’t want him lingerin’.”
“Lighten up Pal. Jest deal with the hand ya’ve smelt.”
“So what’s one a his ideas?”
“Buckaroo Nation totem pole! Koalas, unicorns, ravens, longhorns…”
“Thet idea don’t stink. Kin he carve?”
“Reckon he kin cut a log.”