A.L. Kaplan Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

A.L. Kaplan is the readers’ choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.

The winning entry is rewarded with a special feature here today and a place in our collection of winners which will be published as an e-book at year end.

Without further ado, here’s the winning entry:


River in Winter Writing Prompt
River in Winter
Photo by K.S. Brooks

Claim Jumper
by A.L. Kaplan

Three months, wasted. DeBurgh was probably already at the Yellow Jack surveyor’s office filing his claim. All the gold I’d worked so hard to find would be his. I kicked a snow drift. Icy powder blew into my face. Damned the wind and damned the half-frozen river blocking my path. DeBurgh must have had a raft. How else could he have crossed the rushing water?

I slumped onto a snow covered bolder by the water’s edge and pulled out the other tiny nugget I’d coaxed to the surface. My way didn’t disturb the mountain’s balance like other miners. DeBurgh planned to rip the mountain down, destroy every living creature. That monster left me to die, hog-tied deep in a cave. He took off with my prized nugget. I shoved its smaller cousin deep into my pocket. The mountain rescued me.

As I stepped away my foot caught on something. I landed in a snowy heap. A few choice words left my lips before I saw what I’d tangled with. My mouth went dry. Vines tightly bound a familiar pair of boots and hands. DeBurgh’s ring gleamed on a blackish finger. My hands shook as I dusted off my ‘boulder.’ More vines twined around his body like a cocoon. Stuffed in his mouth, like an apple in a roast pig, sat the orange sized nugget I’d sung from the earth. My gold. I glanced side to side, just barely catching the mountain’s eyes watching me. No, not mine, ours.

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