In the Garden of Solace

Flash Fiction

Photo by George Becker via Unsplash

My father has a display of the three wise monkeys in his garden. It is his place of peace. In the garden, there is a fountain — water flows rhythmically from the fountain’s mouth. A gush of purity envelops its passersby. My father is meticulous in his efforts to instill a sense of calm and undying appreciation for nature in us — me and my siblings. We gather at his feet, adorned in the mellifluous breeze from the flowers, captured by his tales of the dark & weary.

He looks much older than his age. His wiry gray hair stands on his head. He shuffle-kick walks — his whole body shakes. A dance of convulsion springs forth. He is a quiet man. A man who doesn’t mind letting the air speak for him.

We listen. We want to become pure, like the surrounding air.

My father was a letters man — he delivered letters to widows. Letters their loves left behind but never shared. He had been their “Go-to Guy” for giving them one last moment of happiness. Thirty years of this and one day, he stopped.

He had been ordered by the City of Hernadin to cease and desist. Love was no longer in. No one could receive it. No one could give it. My father, the hopeless romantic, hard-loving man, could not grasp this concept. He continued his efforts in secret.


On a quiet, black-sky day, a hired hand attacked my father. The Mayor had enough of his deviance. They cut out my father’s tongue, cut off my father’s ears, and gouged out his eyes.

He didn’t fight back. No, he remained genteel, my father. If he had eyes, he’d cry. If he had a tongue, he’d wail. If he had ears, he’d tune in to the assailant’s actions during this stripping of himself. Instead, he’d laid alone in his own blood on the cold concrete and waited for the pain to end.

You may think how do I know all of this if my father cannot verbally tell me. He’s an artist. He sits in the solace of his garden and creates. He sketched every account — every gruesome detail and bid us utter silence. We were to never speak of it again. And I haven’t until now.

You see, my father is dying. His last request is that we bury him under the three wise monkeys, the cold of the sooty dirt piled upon his pine-boxed coffin drenching his spirit. He has written every detailed order of action and has labeled each with one of our names.


I have the spirited task of bathing his body. A ceremonial bath with the heads of tulips, roses, and lilies followed by the lighting of incense and sage is first on the list. We will sing his favorite songs and eat his favorite fruits.

My sister is tasked with praying over his body as he’s lowered into the unforgiving ground. She will chant as we throw gritty handfuls of clay onto his coffin.

My brother is tasked with singing a hymn, one of his choosing, while he plays the harp. It can be the harp only. No other music will accompany this ensemble.

When all of this is complete, we will lead the guests away from the burial site and find our way back to my father’s garden.

We will share his stories. We will cry. We will remember the man he was and be thankful for his blood.

Three weeks from his funeral, I am also tasked with lapidifying the flower garden. Per my father, “When my last breath meets the sky, I will turn flowers to stone.”

It’s the one thing I don’t want to do.

But I will. Because of my father.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

Your Body is an Ocean

Flash Fiction

Awkward Body Photo by Tremaine L. Loadholt

“Today, I will leave you.” She says this to my back. I hear her. I feel every word as they leave her lips. She caught me cheating on her, in our bed, with a man. Not another woman, but a man.

I love her. I do. It was never my intention to hurt her, to cut her deeply the way I have, but I want him. I love him too.

We met at a local café on a sunny, summer day fifteen years ago. She has ocean blue eyes.

Ocean. Blue. Eyes.

I was instantly attracted to her.

“I’ll have a grande non-fat white chocolate mocha and a blueberry muffin, please.” I say this to the Barista. He prepares my order with the finesse of a seamstress. I wait in anticipation for the hot, miracle-working liquid to touch my lips.

I spot her. A goddess trapped in an awkward body. She walks like she’s trying to pry herself from a foreign, encapsulating shell. She wants to break free. Every step of her stilettoed feet announces her presence.

“Venti caramel macchiato, light foam, extra caramel with a shot of espresso and a peach creme danish, please.”

She places her order with the Barista casually. This isn’t her first time. She’s a veteran. I placed my bet that day on her. I won. We were married within six months and now, here we are.

“I never intended to hurt . . .”

She puts her hand up in the air between us. I pause my speech. My apology isn’t necessary. She eyes my lover as he dresses frantically. His perfect body squeezes into the outfit I spent minutes removing from him hours before this moment.

She packs her shoes, clothes, grabs the bedroom television, her jewelry box, and secures $1200.00 from the safe in our closet.

“I’ll have Devin come by tomorrow for the rest of my things. Expect to hear from Chaffey, my attorney. Pierre, you could have at least gotten a fucking room, but our bed?! The same bed we’ve shared for fifteen years?! I hate you!”

What was there for me to say? I knew she was leaving. I also knew she wasn’t coming back. I say the only thing I thought was apt to say.

“Your body is an ocean.”

“Excuse me?!”

“It’s the first thing I said to you after we made love the night of our honeymoon. Your body is an ocean.”

“‘I know every wave.’ Yes, I remember. Too bad I couldn’t keep you from exploring other bodies of water, Pierre. Fuck you!”

Every word stings. I don’t want to lose her. But, I know I will. I watch her pile her things on to a hand truck and click-clack loudly down our hallway. She is leaving. She isn’t coming back.

My lover finger-combs his hair and stands awkwardly before me. He wonders out loud if his body is an ocean too.

“No. No. Your body is my playground.”

He shoots me a look of disgust but kisses me passionately anyway before leaving.


I sit here now. Alone with my thoughts and the echoes of my home. These walls house many secrets and my lover and I create many more. But I still think of her. I still miss her. I still want her.

I know no other waves.


Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.


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The Strange, Unforgettable Little World of Tyson Liston

Flash Fiction

Photo by Jarod Lovekamp via Pexels

Tyson’s Grandpa Joe bought him a Hornby Collection Br Class 5MT 4–6–0 Era 11 Model Train and a small, unique village to accompany it for his eighth birthday. Tyson’s dad, Roger, put the old locomotive model set together for his son. They sat alongside the living room couch, sprawled out on the cool hardwood floor, creating what they believed to be art. Tyson looked on in amazement, eager to commandeer the train from his dad and shout “Vroom-Vroom” and “Choo-Choo” as loud as he could. The village had little trees, people, railroad crossings, businesses, and tiny homes cramped in five separate boxes. It also included a conductor and engineer — in their very own boxes.

When Roger finished, he stood up, signaled his son to do the same, and they each ogled the scene before them. They salivated in wait, invigorated by a deep passion and connection between father and son. Roger gave Tyson the thumb’s up, and he jumped straight into action. He stepped away from his son, satisfied with his endeavor.

Alone with his prized possession, he bid the conductor to conduct, the engineer to navigate, and looked in on his village people and their families. He was animated in his voice-overs and fancied every piece before his eyes.

“Attention all passengers, this is your conductor speaking. We have several stops ahead of us and the first will be Quantum Row. Please have your tickets ready for verification and do enjoy the ride.”

Tyson blew heavy breaths from his thin lips, giving his best impromptu steam of the engine and roared on with a deep, guttural whistle from his belly. An avid fan of The Polar Express, he pulled on the hem of his t-shirt and threw a baseball cap on his head. He tapped the bill just as a conductor would. He channeled Tom Hanks as he continued.

“Tickets, please. Tickets, please. Have your tickets ready.” Just as he was beginning to fake verify tickets, the train moved on its own. The conductor sprang to life. He looked into the homes of the village people, and they were alive as well — moving on with their days as planned.

He rubbed his eyes. He shook his head. He stood up and looked down at the toy set and all its pieces, then kneeled back down for a closer look.

“What . . . what did you say?” Tyson looked at the conductor with both fear and excitement in his eyes.

“I said, tickets, please, young man! Where is your ticket?”

He sprang up quickly as straight as an arrow and fumbled around the living room for a piece of paper. Surely, the conductor wouldn’t care about his fake ticket — he just needed to have one. He chewed the inside of his cheek, nervously bent back down to the conductor’s eye-level, and handed him a small, ripped off piece of paper.

“Thank you, young man. You may take your seat.”


Photo by Felix Mittermeier via Unsplash

He sat down, slightly overwhelmed by the actions of his toy train set and its accompanying pieces, but he was definitely curious. He peeked into the windows of the village people. A family of four — mother, father, son, and daughter, were having breakfast. His gargantuan head and pool-sized eyes frightened them as he stared at their seemingly normal life. The mother screamed and pointed directly at him. The father bolted upright from his seat and raced toward the window — shouting boisterously at Tyson.

“Hey! What are you doing there?! What in heaven’s name? What are you?!”

Tyson backed away from the window and crawled a few inches to his right. Another family seemed to settle in for the evening. A mother, a daughter, a cat, and a dog. No father. No son. Just a quiet evening for them — or what looked like it. He lingered on and noticed the mother and daughter resembled his mother and sister. He leaned in closer and gasped unexpectedly.

“Mom! Celia! What is go-in-g on . . . What’s happening?”

He searched each room of this home with darting eyes. If his mother and sister were there, surely he and his dad had to be around somewhere. But how could he be in two places at once? This place didn’t even look like their actual house. He lifted the roof of the tiny home and searched each room, growing even more curious as he scanned the area. He found a strong, stout, and handsome man clearing boxes from the family room’s floor. He also found a little boy standing next to him.

“Dad? Hey! Hey! That’s me! How is . . . What is . . .? This can’t be happening.”

Little him looked up and nodded in his direction. He moved closer and opened his mouth to speak. Tyson pulled himself together, eager to hear what this tiny version of him had to say.

“So, you can see us? Can you hear us? Can you hear me, I mean . . . Can you hear you?”

Tyson nearly fainted. He rubbed his eyes in a hurried motion, bit the inside of his cheek once more, and fell back on his bottom.

“This can’t be real. I’m asleep. I’m asleep. Wake up. Wake up, Tyson!”

“You’re not asleep, silly. This is our world. We created it. Didn’t you know this would happen when you and Dad began setting up this place?”

“But, how come Dad can’t hear me or Mom or Celia? Why only you? I mean, me. I mean . . .”

“Grandpa Joe made us. He blew magic dust behind my ears and gave me the ability to hear and see you — me. I’m the only one in our family who can.”

Grandpa Joe was a jokester, but magic dust? Talking miniature versions of him and his family? A conductor who sounded and looked like Tom Hanks?! He would have a talk with Grandpa Joe, but first things first.

“Will you always be . . . you know — um, alive,” He asked Little Tyson. He twiddled his thumbs as he waited for the answer.

“As long as you are, I will be.”

“But, I’m gonna grow up. I won’t stay eight years old forever. Will you?”

“You must ask Grandpa Joe about that. He whispered nothing to me about growing with you — me.”

Tyson could hear his dad’s footsteps coming toward them. And as quickly as the action started, it phased into nothingness. The train stopped. Families froze in place. And Little Tyson stood by the window, a clever smirk covered his face.

Tyson placed the roof back onto his family’s house. “What a strange, unforgettable little world,” he mumbled.

Roger was interested in knowing what his son thought about his birthday gift. He patted his belly lightly and brushed his left hand over his beard to smooth it before speaking.

“So buddy, whachu’think?”

With an intense interest in his eyes and a glow all about his small body, he repeated — this time, so his dad could hear, “What a strange, unforgettable little world.”


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

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Dying Pain

My flash fiction piece, “Dying Pain” has been accepted and published by Editor Kelley Farrell of the brand new, up and coming literary magazine, Pint Sized Lit. Many thanks to Kelley Farrell for hosting this piece!

By: Tremaine L. Loadholt

She sat, rubbing her leg. The ache in her thigh had gotten worse. She took out the prescribed pain medicine and looked at it.

“Oxycontin.”

She popped two pills onto her salty tongue and gulped down a glass of water.

All the pills in the world would never heal her pain. She held years of lies, secrets, and confessions in the depths of her gut.

The pain was making its rounds: head, heart, legs, etc.

Soon, she’d be gone and no one will care. 

Tremaine L. Loadholt has published three poetry books: Pinwheels and Hula Hoops, Dusting for Fingerprints, and A New Kind of Down. She’s editor and creative director for Quintessence: A Literary Magazine of Featured Medium Writers. Her artistic expressions are at A Cornered Gurl, Medium, and Twitter.

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Used

Framed photograph on a table showing a couple embracing
Art by Veronica Baranova via Mixkit.co

The picture of them laid against the wall–away from every other memorable thing in their home.

She gathered his belongings, tossed them in extra-large garbage bags, and slung the pile one by one to the edge of the curb.

Fifteen years of them shuffled around in each bag, her heart broke at the thought of it. But, he had his chance. He simply couldn’t commit. And she . . . well, she was tired of being “ringless.”

An ultimatum was given, “Marry me or leave.”

He walked out the door.