Dale Lehman 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:
Forest of Giants
by Dale Lehman
“Look!” little Samuel cried, bouncing on his toes. “Giants!”
Mom and dad gazed up into the forest canopy. Dad nodded sagely while mom, smiling, patted Samuel on his three-year-old head. “That’s right!” dad agreed. “Tallest trees in the world, redwoods. Why, some are over three hundred fifty feet tall!”
“Giants!” Samuel poked at the sky “Giants!”
Mom laughed. “Giants, and old folks, too. Some of them are over seven hundred years old.” Blue eyes twinkling, she leaned down to Samuel and whispered, “That’s even older than grandma.” She straightened and inhaled the green. “So old, yet so alive.”
Dad put an arm around mom, pulled her to his side, and kissed her cheek. Then he took Samuel’s hand and tugged him along the soft, needle-matted trail. “Come on, son.”
Samuel wanted none of that. Craning his neck, walking backwards, he pointed and wailed, “Giants!”
“Lots more giants to see up here,” dad insisted. “Let’s keep moving.”
Samuel walked backwards until they passed around the next bend, then turned and shuffled along with downcast eyes.
A rustle stirred the treetops behind as a great brown hand gently parted the branches above, as a huge green eye peered through the gap at the now-empty trail, as a great sigh stirred the leaves. Then the branches swished back into place. A Stellar’s jay cried somewhere among the trees, and the deep silence of the forest closed in.