By Foster Trecost
99 words

The playground was always empty, like the children had been plucked away. This fear forced me to find a new route, but avoiding the playground didn’t help, so I returned to my prior course.

Soon after, I heard an early morning mother’s voice. She laughed and called her son’s name. I smiled; she took shape, standing before a swing, pushing it gently.

“You’re a bird,” she said. “You’re free!”

Then enthusiasm surrendered and she wept.

Closer, the truth became clear with the confirmation of my fear: a lonesome mother left behind by her child who wasn’t there, plucked away.

Foster Trecost began writing in Italy; he continues in Philadelphia. His stories appear or will appear at Insolent Rudder, The Linnet's Wings, Pequin, and Static Movement, among other places.

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