Promises by Traci Mullins

 Mama yanks the blankets back and whispers, Get in the truck, we’re running! i beg her no not again mama, Jenny and Shelby and me are playing after school tomorrow and you said you’d take us to Baskin-Robbins and get us whatever we want and you promised, mama, and she says Bug, I’ll make it up to you I promise but right now you need to get dressed and in the truck before you wake up your daddy. please mama don’t make me i promise i’ll be good, i won’t cause trouble and you and daddy can make up and he can go with us for ice cream and he won’t need to drink if i’m extra good and you look pretty like he likes and… Get up and do as I say, I mean it or you won’t get to bring Flutter and you’ll be sorry you didn’t mind me. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? daddy roars, and mama shrinks against the wall and suddenly i feel feverish and beg please daddy no i’ll be good i promise, but he shoves mama into the wall anyway and i hear the crunch of bone and daddy laughs and there is the familiar buzzing in my ears and i hold Flutter tight and stroke her silky ears while mama cries and says I told you to get in the truck and i’m sorry mama, i’m sorry

Traci Mullins, a non-fiction book editor by day, has been writingflash fiction since 2017.Her stories have been published in three anthologies, Panoply, Spelk, Fictive Dream, Bending Genres, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Boulevard, Potato Soup Journal, Cabinet of Heed, Blink-Ink, Ellipsis Zine, and many others. She was a two-time finalist in the London Independent Story Prize competition.

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