Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cynthia Dunham came across as a kind and generous woman. It wasn’t her appearance or her stature. She was taller and broader than most women and poorer than most too. And her struggle with hirsutism made her comparable to a werewolf who didn’t need a full moon to reveal its shaggy features.

But behind that extra facial hair, somewhere in those deep-set brown eyes lay an oasis of warmth. One look and it felt like home could be no other place but Cynthia’s tender gaze. And when the woman introduced herself, she only had one humble request.

‘Please call me, Cyn. It would mean the world to me.’

And who could be so indignant to oppose those beseeching eyes. That’s when Cynthia aka Cyn felt her homophonic namesake tingling within her.


She was ready to commit it.

Cynthia was a professional caregiver who had four hungry mouths of her own to feed. An absent drunk husband didn’t help the grim situation. So when she landed her next job, caring for an ageing couple suffering from dementia, she thanked the lord and asked him for forgiveness.

Cyn wasn’t without morals, but poverty made her struggle to uphold them.

The man still had some sense left in him. But the woman lay on the bed stiff as a vegetable, her digestive and excretory systems identifying her as something that was once human. So Cyn put her bets on the man. He was easily persuaded with spoons of honey and custard jelly tarts.

Probably bad for him, but not worse than dementia.

And he handed over his wallet and note pad with scribbled passwords. Cynthia ensured she made one transaction a week, the amounts never too noticeable. Her children began eating better, their gaunt faces gradually filling out at the cheeks.

Cyn bought herself a new pair of sneakers that didn’t bite and scrunch up her long toes. She walked with a new spring in her step, carefree and lighter.

But trouble soon arrived in the form of the old man’s younger brother. His words may have been wrong, but the bank statement in his hand didn’t lie. Cynthia was taken into custody, her offspring sent to a foster home.

She awaits trial. They dug out more dirt on her. Maybe her impeccable services and caring nature will save her. She still insists on being called Cyn, simply guilty of small sins.

Noorie and Steve Forever. That’s what she always wanted. So she made sure her darling stayed with her.

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24 Comments on “Simply Guilty of Small Sins – Flash Fiction Story

  1. Jeez Cyn you had me racing to Google to understand fully your homophonic tick…,.you got problems

    You drew me in nicely Terveen…..

  2. Now, who’s the one “building up a story with so much intrigue that one can’t help to know what happens after the ending?”

    Cyn (Sin) is a character that deserves a lot more attention than she received in this tale, as well as a proper resolution. Shame on you for keeping us on tenterhooks like that!

    A tip of the hat to a masterful wordsmith!

    • Thanks so much, Rhyan!
      Cyn will have to reappear then. Can’t leave her languishing. Maybe a story within a story, a special dedication to a powerful writer I admire. 🙂

  3. This is a great story of morale struggles. The Cyn character is vivid. I am moved by it. Thank you for writing such story!

    • Thanks so much, Cassa. Poverty and helplessness often lead to moral struggles. Something hard to ignore. 🙂

  4. Oh dear. Poverty, I think is the driving point towards sin. People sometimes go to life-threatening lengths to have some food in their bellies. Anyway, a wrong act no matter the condition doesn’t make it right. Poor Cyn and her children. I think in this story you brought out the emotions of a scared woman very well. Well done, Terveen.

    • Thanks a lot, Shobana! Poverty is desperation. And desperation leads many off the right track. It’s difficult to understand it unless one’s gone through it. But yes, it does not condone wrong actions. I agree with you. 🙂

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    • Cyn has a way with getting into the good books of people. 🙂
      Will have to bring her back.
      Thanks so much!

  6. I feel as if this story proves a theory that I have that some writers understand human nature better than most. We’re often observes and write poetry and stories that shine a light deep into the most overlooked and forgotten cracks in the human psyche. In just a few words, the extremely deep and complex character of Cyn was brought to life. A character which shows people that there isn’t always a good and a bad – sometimes good people can do bad things for good reasons and vice versa. Poverty pushed Cyn to physically embody her name – as it does to many in real life. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • It’s really tough to understand someone’s circumstances unless you’ve walked the same path in their shoes. I think judgments are the easiest things people throw at one another without realizing that they don’t know the entire picture.
      Good and bad are merely perspectives. Cyn is kind and caring but her helplessness makes her turn towards a darker path. Should she have or not is difficult to state but she finally got trapped and will have to pay some price for the sins she committed.
      I guess, poverty isn’t an excuse for theft, but hard times make people step beyond their morals and values.
      Thank you, Simone for such a wonderful analysis of the story. 🙂

  7. Wow, what a touching story. I love it. Often I read stories from the angle of the employer (the conservative and heartless author Everlyn Waugh for example) who consider all servants thieves.

    • I think an openminded approach to such sensitive subjects is always better. But then it depends on the writer and the characters involved. I think a humane side allows a story to be felt as well as understood with the heart and mind. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Thanks so much! 🙂
      She’s a mix of what we all want to see and also want to deny. Humanity is a very vague term.

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