Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!


Not a Trace to Be Found



Karina Berg Johansson




Five days later you still search, high and low

but there is not a trace to be found. Why

you wonder. There should be something.

Like in the movies where there would be

a piece of cloth ripped, stuck to a nail

waving at you like a foreign nation’s flag

A witness stepping forward to say: “A man.

Dragging. Then a car speeding away.”

Nothing is not what you expected


Five days later the tears have faded,

dried-up riverbeds lining your face

Your friends have stopped coming around

to keep the search going, or simply ask

if there’s been any progress

You wander around the empty house,

now lonely as well as stunned

into silence by the unimaginable


On the sixth day there’s a faint sound

scratching at the edge of your mind

You don’t dare to hope, keep your head

bowed low as you approach the door

A trembling hand reaching for the lock

and then the door swings open


There he is, waiting, as if he hasn’t

been gone for five days, as if he

merely went out for a morning stroll

and now he’s back, hungry and cold


You walk ahead of him into the kitchen,

the two of you purring, as you reach

for the food, pour it into his bowl





 Karina Berg Johansson is from Sweden. She shares house and life with husband, four  teenagers, an Ewok dog, and a claustrophobic cat. When not writing  short stories, she is at work with a novel length manuscript. Her  stories appear in Dark Reveries and the upcoming issue of Crimson Highway.


Usually I find the germs to my stories while out walking  the dog. A first line appears, I shape it, revise it, find my right  words, and hurry home to type them down before they vanish. Then I build from there, always equally surprised to see where this particular story wants to take me.