Her boys play outside with an old Nerf ball. As she leads him to the broken furnace, he sees her tiny house has a cross, but no gifts, no tree. He sympathizes; he’s had a rough year, too.
She sees him glancing and is grateful they have nothing to steal.
A note on the story
Although I tend to think of myself as a short story and novelette writer, I’ve become quite fond of writing and reading these mini-tales. They’re like the haiku of fiction, which isn’t that much of a stretch as similes go: One recent debate among writers and editors on Twitter attempted to nail down the difference between micro/flash fiction and poetry, and the best anyone seemed to up with was line breaks.
For more of my publications, see my list of creative works.