Award-winning flash fiction!

I’m coming to you fresh from ANWA’s beautiful, fabulous, inspiring NW retreat! The past three days have been filled with so much learning and new friends and great books. The highlight of the weekend was our keynote speaker, Lisa Mangum–amazing! I’ll be sharing a few treasures I picked up from her in coming blog posts.

When we first arrived, we were given a prompt for a flash fiction contest that we had essentially 24 hours to write. Flash fiction terrifies me, guys. I can’t even do short stories because I’m too long-winded. A story in 300 words? No, thanks.

And then I woke up at 4:30 the next morning with THE STORY in my brain, and there would be no rest until it was down on paper.

And it won second place!! Which meant I got a FREE BOOK!!

So I thought I’d share it with you. It’s a quick read. Enjoy!

***

He built the footbridge in 1916. Two days later, he traded his hammer and saw for a bayonet.

She was savoring the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot when she saw him. The sight of her old playmate in uniform proved too much for her. She fled to the new footbridge with no more ear for the leaves swirling behind her, tears joining the clear stream below. He found her there and promised to return. When she refused to believe him, he sealed that promise with a kiss.

Seventy-one times she returned alone to the footbridge on the anniversary of that kiss. While she grew weathered and worn as the boards beneath her feet, her memory of him remained as tall and strong as ever.

On her seventy-second visit, she sat beside the bridge, her joints cracking and creaking louder than the old handrail. The handsome young subject of the photograph in her hands had long ago faded beyond recognition, but it didn’t matter. She could hardly see for the cataracts anyway.

“I told you I’d return.”

A smile creased her wrinkles at the long-silenced voice. His face shone like a beam of late autumn sunshine, clear and bright amid the muddled dimness of her vision. In the glow of its maker’s presence, the bridge took on its old glory. Without knowing it, so did she.

“I’m too old for you now, you know.”

“Nonsense. You’re every bit the woman I plan to marry.”

He took her hand, and she rose without creaks, without aches, without effort. The world burst into bright autumn glory, trees robed in colors she hadn’t seen for years, sunlight bouncing off the stream with crisp laughter. With her age shed behind her, she leaped into his embrace, never to be torn from it again.

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