A simple premise; a bold promise
To present one story per day, every day—
providing exceptional authors with exposure
and avid readers with first-rate fiction.

Today's Story by Martin Brick

“I thought you were going to leave,” Jess would ask. “When?”

The Happily Ever After

Daniel wanted to prolong the story.  Mallory was a knight – a female knight – who bore the same name as his daughter.  She slew fifty goblins and then rolled the stone from the cave.  The children of the village walked free and safe.

“And then Mallory lived happily ever after?” the five year old Mallory in her pj’s asked.

“Well, no,” Daniel explained.  “The goblin king escaped and began to plan his next vile deed.  You see…”

“Can you tell it tomorrow?  I’m tired.”

“Sure,” he muttered, then kissed her and went out to the kitchen.

His wife met him there.  He wanted to pour a whiskey.  Jessica wanted to talk about money.  The credit cards.  Wanted to shout more than talk.

The night before it was what he planned to do about the leak in the roof.

The night before that it was the email she found from Elaine.  “Who’s she?”

The night before that it was that he never walked the dog anymore.

Eventually the shouting stopped.  They reached a stalemate.  After Daniel told Mallory her story and tucked her in, Jess stayed in the living room and he sat at the kitchen table.  She began going to bed earlier and earlier.  Then he was free to pour his whiskey and think about what Mallory the Knight would do the next day.

The couch became a more and more comfortable place to sleep.

“I thought you were going to leave,” Jess would ask.  “When?”

“I’m in the middle of this story with Mallory.  I have to finish it.  I think that would give a better transition.  After I’m done, I promise, I’m gone.”

Jess looked puzzled, or upset.  Hard to tell, but she let it drop.

There’s a raise coming, Daniel’s boss promised.  And he’d start walking the dog.  Really.  Honestly.

If they could weather for a month or two – if his back could survive the couch for that long – he‘d be welcomed back in his bed.

It’s a big kingdom.  Mallory will have plenty to do for sixty, maybe ninety days, before the happily ever after.


Martin Brick’s fiction has been published in many places, including The Beloit Journal of Fiction, Vestal Review, Pindeldyboz, and Sou’Wester.  He was raised in rural Wisconsin, but currently reside in Columbus, Ohio.

Read more stories by Martin Brick


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page