We are so excited to share the winners from the micro-fiction writing contest for the Launch Party on February 22, 2020. Congratulations to our winners who received Barnes and Noble gift cards donated by Barnes and Noble and Kim Hunt Harris. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
First Place: Laura Drake
The dog is crazy, but I'm okay with that because it's not mine. It's like with kids if they belong to you, you have a dog in the hunt (so to speak) but if they're someone else's, you're free to love them, quirks and all.
Not only crazy but ugly. Some kind of terrier fell in love with a chihuahua, and somewhere in the woodpile was a basset hound. Hey, I said, ugly, right?
I borrow him to go on walks with me. The ideal situation—exercise with no commitment. He was just living in the neighbor's backyard and looked so lonesome. One day I rang the bell and asked if he could come out to play. We've walked every day since—well, walk is a stretch, because of the wheelchair, but he makes allowances for me, so I give him extra 'water stops'.
He's watered every bush in this town at least once. My kids are consigning me to an 'old fart warehouse' across town tomorrow. I'm gonna miss that crazy dog. He'll probably miss me some, too.
The Fortune Teller
Second Place: Kristi Simpson
"Tell your fortune?" the fortuneteller called to the passing man.
"No thanks," he said politely.
"Come on; it's only five bucks."
"I don't believe in that junk," the man replied as he inched away.
"That's okay, I'll believe for you."
He laughed. "You're ridiculous, you know."
"Indeed." She smiled. "Tell you what. I'll read your palm for free, just to prove it's real."
"You're not going to give up, are you?"
"Fine, let's do this." He held his hand out.
The fortuneteller took it and peered at his palm. "You will soon meet the love of your life."
"Really? That's all you've got?"
She grinned. "It's all I need."
"Well, at least it was free." He turned to leave.
"So," she said, "Can I have your number?"
Steel on Steel
Third Place: Priya Gill
I opened the carriage door. I had made it. Traveling in the first-class compartment. The first time ever. They say the food is lovely. They say the service is special.
A young woman looked up from her book and looked down. A boy sitting next to her moved closer. She put her arm around him and pulled him tight. He must be five or six years old. Both were dressed in red shirts and jeans.
With a jerk, the train moves. Meandering out of New Delhi station. My home for so many years. The train picks up speed. The woman looks at the door. She is waiting for whom...There is fear in her eyes. She glances at me and then at the book. I sit and close my eyes. No one needs to be anxious on my account.
A sudden jerk. Screech of wheels. The train lurches to a stop. I stand up. The woman is gone. So is her child. People are gathered next to the train. What happened? I run to the door and jump off.
"Someone's dead." People are screaming.
My breath is stuck in my chest. I hope it isn't here. Not the child, please. Then I look up. I see a flash of red in the forest. She is running. The baby in her arms.
I look down. It's a man. They pull out his face, wizened by pain. Dead.
Crushed. The woman looks and then runs.
After police and questioning, we arrive in Panipat. I get off. I can't go further. I walk out of the station. She is waiting for me. We did it.
We killed her husband. We are free. I kiss her and her son. My new family.