A Murderer Takes a Stroll on the Black Sand Beach

Flash fiction by Gessy Alvarez

A child runs. Charging forward. Laughing, holding a red ball, running as if she’s committed a theft. Pigeons fly out of her way, short legs in motion, tips of toes touching pavement. Strangers taking a stroll along the waterfront give way. She runs straight towards me, and I want to bend down and scoop her up. Thank her for showing me pure joy. A joy where nothing else matters but the present pleasure like the first time you saw the ocean or tasted an ice cream cone. Pleasure uninterrupted by thoughts and fears. I no longer feel this unadulterated joy. I fear something will be taken from me.


fragments in waiting by Gessy Alvarez

The orchids fell off the stem after hanging on for three months.

Violet petals browned and shriveled leaving two tall stems bereft.

Succulent leaves lay open at the base, waiting or rejoicing.

Beaded water absorbed by the green arms.

Day after day the leaves, the stems luxuriate in sun.

Sitting atop the radiator cover, steam heat 

providing the tropical warmth, giving life.

A stub growing a slow centimeter at a time.

A year, six months, a long stem sprouts perpendicular.

Too small and spiritless until it blows up to violet embryos.

Until a new orchid flaps open, its center like the face of 

an insect that will never move its stare from the center of your universe.