Outward/Inward. A piece of micro fiction by Judy Darley

The woman approaching has a sour lemon-suck pout. Her judgement tides over us; I’m glad the pram’s hooded deeply enough to shield our son. Her eyes spark unuttered jabs, berating our youth, our smiles, that we walk two abreast, that we’re eating ice creams.
Since when did snacks count as essential reasons to step outside? What kind of adults indulge in childish treats?
Our outward happiness infuriates her.
I wonder if her anger hoods fear; shields dread.
A clot of ice cream in my throat helps smother the urge to blab of weeks sealed inside with a screaming preemie.
Instead I peek into the pram and ask cheerily, “Ok in there?”
My tattooed knees wink at the sun.


Judy Darley is a British writer who can’t stop writing about the fallibilities of the human mind. Her short fiction appears in magazines and anthologies in the UK, New Zealand, India, US and Canada. Judy’s short story collection Sky Light Rain is out now from Valley Press. Find Judy here.

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