FRUITCAKE • by D. A. D’Amico

“That’s odd,” Ann set her phone on the counter, and turned to her husband.


“It’s Mom,” she said as she slid the three-year-old tin closer, wrapping her hands around the colorfully painted Christmas elves on its side. “I joked we were finally going to try her fruitcake, and she went crazy. Yelled at me to leave it alone.”

James set two steaming cups of cocoa on the counter, pushing one towards Ann. “Maybe we shouldn’t, then.”

“You think she’s getting… she’s reliving the past?” Ann stared out the window at the gently falling snow. It was like this the day her father had run out on them.

“Mom made this that same year, didn’t she?” James tapped the tin.

Ann nodded. She pulled the lid up, and inspected the brown lump wrapped in wax paper, resisting the urge to cry.

“Mom threw herself into baking that weekend, locked herself in the kitchen and wouldn’t let anyone in.”

“Grief,” he offered.

“Or guilt,” Ann said with a frown, remembering her father, his strong hands, and the simple golden wedding ring he wore. “I blamed her for a long time for pushing him away.”

She pulled the wheel of cake from the tin and cut a small wedge that she popped quickly in her mouth.

“Maybe you should wait,” James said.

“Nonsense,” Ann replied between sticky-sweet bites. “Mom’s just being ridiculous…”

Her teeth scraped something hard.

She spit out the cake, and in her hand shone the edge of a simple golden ring.

D. A. D’Amico has appeared in nearly 100 publications in the last decade in venues such as Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Shock Totem… among others. He’s a winner of L. Ron Hubbard’s prestigious Writers of the Future award, volume XXVII, as well as the 2017 Write Well award. Collections of his work, links to anthologies and magazines he’s be in can be found on Amazon at:

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