Blogger: Rachel Kent
I’m happy to be the one to announce the top ten Splickety Prime Flash Fiction Contest finalists! Here’s a link to the original posting about the contest, in case you are interested. The winner will be announced through publication in Splickety’s online magazine on December 4 and then shortly after that on our blog. To be one of the first to see the winning entry, you can sign up on December 4 for a free issue of the magazine. Also, feel free to sign up for their newsletter by following this link.
Without further ado, here are the finalists (selected by judge DiAnn Mills) and their flash fiction entries:
Hoping for Christmas by Teresa Tysinger
Hope stared at the ceiling, awaiting daylight. Her parents’ house smelled of pine and ginger. The generations-old rule repeated in her head: don’t come out of your room until summoned. There were lights to plug in, stockings to set right.
The click of a latch and creak of floorboards sent Hope’s eyes to the dim light under her door. Her lips drew upwards in anticipation. It was almost time.
An angelic cooing sounded from the portable crib at the foot of the bed. Her heart filled with the warm sentiment of passing on tradition. Merry Christmas, baby girl.
Christmas Eve by Jackie Layton
“Your card’s been declined.” Jeff, the pharmacist, announced.
Rachel met his green eyes. “There must be some mistake.”
The handsome thirty-something man smiled. “Do you have another card?”
“No, and I need my inhaler. I’m singing the Christmas Eve solo tonight. Can I pay later?”
“Sorry, we close in fifteen minutes.”
She fought back tears.
“Take your inhaler, and I’ll pay your copay. Merry Christmas.”
“Thanks.” Relief flooded through her. “Why don’t you come to the service? There’ll be milk and cookies afterwards.”
“Okay. It sounds like a nice way to spend Christmas Eve.”
“Yes, it does. See you then.”
It’s Almost Christmas by Judith Rolfs
It’s almost Christmas, one baby came who changed a world. As will Lana, nestled in my uterus. The doctor expects death at birth. So why carry on? Wayne would end the pain except we know aborting won’t. She’s our flesh, deformed, missing strong lungs, alive only in me. I won’t scar my soul. How can I live if I kill her?
Love speaks as Wayne grasps my hands and places them on my belly. We will love her and one another no matter what. A Christmas miracle, she lives, only five hours, enough to hold her, dress her, honor her.
Lost and Found by Heidi Gaul
It happened in slow motion, just like in the movies. One moment I clutched the ring box, one misstep and a flash of dreadful instants later, it obstructed the storm drain’s current of muddy snowmelt. I snatched it up and raced past carolers and snowmen, panting as I entered Cat’s cottage.
She turned from the tree and smiled as she flipped open the gift.
Outside, snow now raged a blizzard, daring me to come out and search for the ring.
Cat shook her head, one finger to her lips, and handed me a velvet-lined box.
I said yes.
Mended by Sheila King
His exasperated gesture hit the tree and my last hand-blown vintage Wiseman hit the wood floor. He stared down at the shards and walked out. I had somehow let him down. My son.
Now a year without a word and the lights and laughter of Christmas Eve couldn’t soothe.
The party paused as he entered. Another scene? No.
Towering over me, he placed a box in my hand. “Been trolling eBay since July,” he said as I unwrapped tissue layers from three glass Wisemen.
I smiled tears at the fourth.
Still by Becky Melby
Outside, moonlight sparkles on fresh snow. Inside, the room glows with firelight, bayberry candles. Memories. She opens the box, begins to unwrap a lifetime. Glittered pinecones, Baby’s First Christmas, popsicle stick crèche. Near the bottom, a velvet box. Red ribbon for hanging. Inside, rings that no longer fit over arthritic knuckles. Sixty-one Christmases since she first opened it—and gasped at the diamond sparkling like moonlight on fresh snow. He’d dropped to one knee. “Will you spend every Christmas with me?”
She leans back. Feels his arms around her, smiles. “The answer’s still yes.”
If only he were still here.
Ho, Ho, Ho by Linda Safford
“Ho, ho, ho,” is heard amid a jingle of bells and bumps on the wall. Giggles and gasps are muffled behind closed doors where two children pretend to be asleep.
“Santa,” one whispers, “don’t forget your cookies and milk.”
“Don’t forget the carrots for Rudolph!” yells the other.
Santa smiles and quietly eats the cookies, drinks the milk, and tucks the carrots in his pocket for Rudolph. Only three toys for each are placed under the tree with a card attached which says, “Give life to these toys and share with your friends! Be good! I’ll visit you next year.”
A Camo Christmas by Shelli Littleton
Rose twisted the Hallmark ornament. The silly bear wore a military uniform. Her eyes fixed on the man in the ornament’s photo wearing camos, holding her baby self.
“I’m sorry about the tiny tree.” After adjusting the star, Mom rested on the couch, arms crossed. With Dad deployed, the world stunk. No real tree. No Dad.
“It’s okay.” Rose touched the picture.
“What would make Christmas special? Money’s tight, but think about it.”
“I don’t know.” Tears clouded her vision. “I’m selfish.”
“I know.” Mom’s eyes glistened. “Rosie, bring me a blanket, please.”
Rose opened the closet door.
Maybe Next Year by Becky Melby
One last look at the hopeful tree. She snaps off lights, runs a hand across nine red felt stockings. Empty stockings. “Maybe next year.”
Another switch and the vinyl snowman deflates. “I know how you feel.” Christmas with her sister—better than being alone. Maybe.
The snow-dusted taxi glows yellow under the streetlamp. “Mitchell International,” she says, closing her eyes.
“We’re here, ma’am.”
She wakes, startled. “But . . . why are we back—”
The air-filled snowman glows. A door opens. Running feet, wide grins. “Fooled you, Grandma!”
Her boarding pass crumples in her hand. Maybe next year, sis.
Southern Cross by Andrew Budek-Schmeisser
Santa groaned as he eased into the chair at breakfast, amidst the homey sounds and smells of the new day. The chair groaned, too.
“Sleep well, dear?” Mrs. Claus slid a plate of pancakes to him, poured his coffee, and sat beside.
“Now I know why they call this Boxing Day. I feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.”
“At least you still have both ears.”
“Thanks. Had an idea, though… Make it easier next year. A South Pole Hub. Antipodean business is picking up.”
Mrs. Claus shook her head. “Dear, you can’t. How can Santa be bipolar?”
Thanks to all who participated in the contest. Congratulations to all of the finalists! I look forward to finding out who won.