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Where They Went

Joseph Halden is a wizard in search of magic, an astronaut in need of space, and a hopeless enthusiast of frivolity. He's shot things with giant lasers, worn an astronaut costume for over 100 days to try and get into space, and made his own soap. A graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, he writes science fiction and fantasy in the Canadian prairies.
No one knew where they went.
They could have gone into the river, perhaps, to cascade among banks that never charged interest.
Maybe they went to another world, to float free and feel the morning dew from methane clouds.
Perhaps they became dark matter, flipping and flopping over their fins as they, too, vanished.
Or maybe they gathered together in a massive coliseum where the whole world spun for their entertainment, where the stars, the sun, and the moon all centered on them, and in the deepest twilight they could see their ancestors journeying across the ebony blanket of the universe.
It was possible.
I couldn't see far enough to know for sure.
As I poured another goldfish into the toilet and pressed the handle, I held onto enough hope for both of us.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 30th, 2020


I love whimsy, and stories that combine the intimately human with the grandly cosmic. I tried to include all three traits in this story, and had the pleasure of beta-testing it through submission at a live slush reading. With humor, and especially with flash humor, you can really tell if it works by the audience's response, and I was pleased to see the punchline land. I enjoyed taking a new angle on this childhood curiosity, and hope it brings a smile to readers.

- Joseph Halden
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