A hearty congrats to Sara Stark whose entry won this year’s Valentine’s Day prompt in the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.
The voter-selected story is recognized with a special feature here today and wins a place in our 2015 Flash Fiction Anthology, which will be published as an eBook when this year’s challenges are completed.
Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by Sara Stark
The hope Ursula clung to died as the store manager extinguished the lights and locked up. Today had been her last chance. Now she’d end up in the trash, because seriously, how long could he keep her around?
No one wanted her. Her fur wasn’t the sparkly pink little girls loved, nor was it the blinding white young men chose for their new loves. It was brown, bear brown.
She closed her eyes, wondered how many days she had left. Weariness from the false cheer, from the happy face she’d displayed for so long overtook her and she drifted into hibernation, free from sadness and fear.
“Wake, my sweet girl.”
Eyes blurry with sleep, Ursula didn’t recognize the face or the voice. “What? Who?”
“Artemis, silly bear.” As she leaned over the bin, the woman radiated beauty and power. And goodness. “You didn’t think you were left behind because you’re of no value, did you? I have plans for you, important plans.”
As Artemis lifted Ursula from the bargain bin, the world changed. The store dissolved. They stood amongst ancient ruins, washed white by the sun. Dark blue seas shimmered in the distance.
“Welcome to Brauron,” Artemis said. “You’re needed here. We guide girls on their path to womanhood.”
~ o ~
The next morning, when the store manager opened up, he couldn’t remember who bought that last bear. But never mind, at least he wouldn’t have to throw it in the garbage.
Time to put out the Easter bunnies.