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Thursday, June 16, 2022

"The Smuggler" • by Eric Fomley

Cooper lifts the sandwich from the kitchen counter. His first attempt at making one is a far cry from mom’s, but it’ll have to do.

“What are you doing Coop?”

Cooper spins and hides the sandwich behind his back. Mom is in the doorway, arms crossed.

“What do you have?”

Cooper frowns, lowers his head, and reveals the sandwich in his hands. “I’m hungry. Can I have it?”

“We’re about to eat lunch in a little bit. You should have eaten more of your breakfast.”

She crosses the room and takes the sandwich.

“Can I have a snack?” Cooper asks.

“You have to wait, Coop. Go play. I’ll call you when it’s lunch time.”

“What about something small. It can be healthy!” He tries not to make a face when he thinks of the carrots in the fridge.

Mom shakes her head. “Lunch is soon.”

Cooper sighs and plods out of the kitchen. He’s putting on his shoes to go out back when he sees the bowl of peppermints sitting on the stand. He checks to make sure Mom has her back turned, grabs a handful, and stuffs them in his pocket.

He runs to the swing set in the backyard and kneels behind the slide. He pulls back the blanket he borrowed from mom’s room and checks on the little wrinkly pink creature with the three black eyes. He hasn’t told his parents about the small silver sphere that crashed in the backyard yesterday, or what he found inside. He doesn’t want his parents to tell him he can’t keep it.

Cooper takes the candy from his pocket and lays it next to the creature. It isn’t much, but it’ll have to do, until he can get more.



Eric Fomley’s
work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Galaxy’s Edge, Flame Tree Press, and The Black Library. You can read more of his work on his website at or buy him a coffee in exchange for a story at






This month’s Pete Wood Challenge was to write a 200- to 300-word flash fiction SF/F story that plays off the idea of “Second Contact.”

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