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 decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning entry:

 

flash fiction writing prompt leaves-on-moss-colville-101213
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Moss Carpet
by A. L. Kaplan

There’s something I’m supposed to look for. Something I need to do. A chill wind sends leaves swirling as I bite my lip, struggling to remember. The sweet, earthy scent of the green forest carpet does nothing to jog my memory or fill my emptiness.

A granite bolder peaks out from beneath the moss like a large belly wearing a fuzzy jacket. It even has a row of brown leaves to serve as buttons. On one side, a line of sprouts poke through the thick covering, serine in their quiet home. Hunger’s rumble breaks the silence and I try to sooth it with a leaf. One nibble and I spit it out. It tastes like stitching on an old shirt. Food isn’t what I seek.

I rub my eyes and look again. Memories flood back and I nearly choke in the grief. I know now what this is, what I must do. My fingers tremble as they reach for the line of tiny leaves. Into the pocket I place two hazelnuts, each painted with the likenesses of my children. A pair of silver coins join them. Tears soak the forest god’s mossy jacket where I lay my head. The first flakes fall as I drift off to sleep.

“Mama. Wake up, Mama.”

Small, warm hands caress my cheek and last fall’s despair flees. I open my eyes to a pair of faces framed by wavy red hair. They’re taller than before, stronger. Perhaps strong enough to survive winter this time.

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