One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told

Sally Doherty

One – A flutter of black and white feathers, a solitary caw, and I know before I check that the result will be a single line.

Two – One year on. They swoop and dance above. Two lines. I stroke my growing bump.

Three, Four – Twins.

Five – The grey-haired neighbour pops over with flowers.

Six – My blonde-headed husband reaches to take them.

Seven – The sky erupts in raucous cackling. Silver and gold. My two worlds collide. The neighbour shoots me a searching look. I know he’s wondered. Know he’s done the calculations. I shake my head but don’t meet his eyes.

This story was shortlisted in the November 2021 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Sally Doherty lives in leafy Surrey with her husband and three-legged Labrador. She dabbles in flash fiction with pieces published here and there including Reflex Fiction, Spelk Fiction and Ellipsis Zine, and she has won Retreat West’s micro fiction competition four times. She is the judge for WriteMentor’s quarterly flash competition. Sally’s debut middle grade novel, Toby and the Silver Blood Witches, was published in July 2021. You can find her on Twitter @Sally_writes.