Rafael Rodriguez Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Rafael Rodriguez 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 story:


steve winwood gorge george washington august 2008
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

by Rafael Rodriguez

Jane’s father told her she would be there, somewhere in the crowd – if she looked hard enough. The last few months were a blur for Jane; the endless hours of practice all melding into a singular point: her violin recital. It was here and now, inescapable, like a tornado bearing down on her preadolescent mind. And amid her whirlwind of emotions: the anticipation, the pressure, the self-doubt and rebounding confidence, her thoughts reverted to her mother. Why couldn’t she be there? Why’d she leave them?

Her mother, an accomplished violinist taught her at first but things had changed. But never Jane’s passion. Not for music, not for her mother’s hope: that Jane follow in her wake, become a violinist. Jane’s dream was her mother’s dream. This was their bond.

The air brought a chilly touch that nipped at her and made her core tremble slightly, made her want to be at home ensconced, her mother’s embrace keeping her warm like she remembered. But in the sea of faces her father, teary eyed and proud made her feel secure. What did he mean – “if she looked hard enough?”

When Jane heard her name, she approached the stage determined; her bow and violin in hand. She played beautifully that evening, and as the crowd applauded, she looked at the stars overhead. At that moment, she understood her father’s words.

Her mother was there. She had always been there. Watching from the sky – a star – if she looked hard enough.

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