Short Stories by Roxanne Snopek

The following short stories are included here in full, as a sample of Roxanne’s work.

“Lucky” is published in Blood on the Holly, an anthology of Canadian Crime writing and won a Muse Medallion Award from the Cat Writers Association 

Blood on the Holly

The night after Harold died, I had the worst sleep I’d had in months. I won’t lie to you; I don’t miss him. But I do miss his bed.

You should know that I first slept with Harold the same night he brought me to his home. Judge me if you will, I don’t care. Harold found me – saved me – when I’d given up being saved. During the period when I was scraping my living off the streets, I’d heard that there were people who did this sort of thing, philanthropists who spent time and money to rehabilitate those of us who’d given up on humanity. I just never expected to meet one. I was so naïve.

But Harold’s bail money set me free and when the bars swung open to the prairie winter wind, I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world. Those left behind followed me with their hard eyes, some envious, some trying to warn me. Even had I paid attention, I wouldn’t have understood that all benefactors have some kind of fee. As it turned out, Harold’s was not one I was prepared to pay…

Continue reading Lucky


Two Steps Forward,” is published in Half in the Sun, an anthology of Mennonite Writing.

Half in the Sun
At four-going-on-five, he’s certainly able to sleep alone. Enough people have told me, and I know it’s true, but in the dark I am unable to convince either one of us, and his fears are so real and my need to soothe him undeniable. During the night our bodies share space easily. His firm round rump blunts my sharp edges, and sometimes I can even feel his pulse, a rhythm familiar as a long-forgotten fragrance. The jarring confusion of our day vanishes in the softness of night, where there is no need for words.

When morning comes his damp head turns into my shoulder and his small hand reaches for my breast, and he disappears into silence again, leaving me far behind. At four-going-on-five, he’s certainly able to sleep alone, but he doesn’t want to. And neither do I. I recognise something in his clenched muscles, something that, when they ease into sleep, soothes me.

Before I dropped out, I read about a psychology experiment conducted on baby monkeys. They were taken squealing from their mothers and put in bare wire cages, where their echoes bounced shrilly until the babies withdrew into the corners. On one side of each cage was a nipple, surrounded by nothing but cold metal; on the other side was a wire mother-substitute covered with a piece of soft cloth. The babies knew the milk came from the nipples, yet they clung to their wire “mothers” to the point of starvation, while white-coated scientists made notes on clipboards. What, I wondered at the time, was their earth-shattering conclusion?

That baby monkeys would rather be comforted than fed? Who decided it was an either/or proposition? Even then, long before my son was born, I wondered at the stupidity of the human need for evidence.  Then again, I merely imagined the viewpoint of the monkeys. The white-coats, I’m sure, would have chuckled and waved away my concern. No one likes to think himself cruel.

Continue reading Two Steps Forward

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