Some of you might be aware that Beachwalk Press runs a blog called, Spicin’ It Up, where they showcase the work of their writers. One of the writers, Olivia Starke, also runs a flash fiction contest every Wednesday. The rules are pretty simple: you must use the given phrase somewhere in the story and it has to be between 150 and 250 words. Everyone, from writers to readers to lurkers are welcome to compete.
Last week I entered with a piece of fiction that was 162 words (and lost to a wonderful piece by Krista Ames). My daughter, who happens to be my first reader (except pieces with explicit sex, she is fifteen, afterall 🙂 ) and biggest fan was so mad at me because she felt like I didn’t finish the story. So this week I added to the story with a piece that was 188 words and won the contest.
(I have to be honest and admit that I am aware that no one else actually entered, so I kind of won by default).
Anyway, this is what I won:
And, just for fun, here are both stories for your enjoyment:
Story 1 was to include the phrase: She couldn’t believe her eyes…..
She lay alone in a big bed that was made for two. There wasn’t a noise in the house, not even the comforting creak of the building settling after a day of intense heat. Not the movement of another human being, not even the soft pitter patter of a cat’s feet.
He should have been there beside her, his slow, easy breaths the white noise she went to sleep to each night. But he was gone, never to lie beside her again.
She rolled over, tried to forget the ache that had developed in her chest from the moment she got the news. But how could someone forget news like that? It reverberated through her mind, repeating so often it had become something like a mantra. “Your life is over,” it seemed to say. She would never forget that.
And then there was a sound, just the slightest moan, as the bedroom door began to swing inward.
She couldn’t believe her eyes…
And the winning story:
The required phrase was: He stared at the tattered shirt….
He walked through the door and approached the bed with shuffling footsteps. She stared, trying to figure out how this was possible. The things they told her, the things she had seen, words that created the mantra that had been replaying in her mind for weeks:
Your life is over.
“How are you here?”
He looked at her, a deep sadness in his eyes that made her heart melt where it stuttered in her chest. But he didn’t speak.
“They said…I saw you…”
He stared at the tattered shirt that barely covered a body that was more familiar to her than her own, confusion rushing across his face in waves that were nearly palpable. He looked up, desperation in the unasked questions in his eyes. But then his expression softened as he let his gaze move over the curves of her face, the tear stains that suddenly seemed unnecessary.
She reached out her hand and he took it, allowed her to pull him down onto that bed designed for two.
“I’ve missed you so much,” she whispered.
He answered with a kiss that stole everything from her soul.