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art by Jonathan Westbrook

You Can't Come Here Any More

Luc Reid is a writer and speaker, the founder of the Codex writing group, a former radio commentator, an occasional musician, a small-time playwright, a 2nd dan black belt in Taekwondo, and a 5th-generation Vermonter. His publications include the 2006 book Talk the Talk: The Slang of 65 American Subcultures and articles and stories for venues including Nature, Daily Science Fiction, two Writers of the Future anthologies, Clarkesworld, The Writer Magazine, and others. He writes and speaks on the psychology of habits, writing, and self-motivation techniques and has posted hundreds of articles on those topics at lucreid.com.

Turning away my sister feels like stomping barefoot on a nail. When I was nineteen and the car she warned me about gave out near Denver, Alice drove out to get me and never said I told you. Alice was the one who hijacked me from my own bachelor party and made me promise not to marry the girl who later got arrested for throwing a brick at a two-year-old. Alice is the one who always looked out for me, but I can't return the favor. I can't. It's too much to ask.
When I turn her away, Alice staggers back toward the graveyard. She has nowhere else to go.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Author Comments

I've written literally hundreds of flash fiction stories (a collection of some of my best is available for the Kindle), but few that are this brief. The challenge I was trying to meet was finding a true, meaningful emotional note in a tiny space. The idea of the story evolved out of wanting to find a situation that would make even a person who was truly and deeply grateful for many kindnesses turn a benefactor away. While I'm sure that this could feel larger and deeper in a longer story, I think there's something to be said for small things, I was pleased to be able to grapple with big issues in such a short stretch of words.

- Luc Reid
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