Mileva Anastasiadou 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:
by Mileva Anastasiadou
John had been the manager of Shop in Joy for ages. Certain his rather luxurious life would last forever, he used to open the store every morning, after taking a deep breath under the oak tree that stood right outside the store. The oak tree had been there before the store.
John was fired as soon as the recession came. He didn’t know how to live without managing the store. Without grazing all over during a seemingly endless summer. He fell into deep depression. Doctors told him there was a life beyond the store. A life unexplored, which he would soon find. John didn’t need to explore anything; he only wanted his old life back.
John wanted to resist, to take some action. Yet guilt held him back. He had been part of the game after all. Turning a blind eye to all that had been happening around, as long as he was safe. He bought a rope and hang himself. Under the shade of the old oak tree. The tree that stood there before it all started. Some days later the oak tree was cut down. A few months later the store went bankrupt.
And that was the end of the world for John, the Shop in Joy, the oak tree and all that went down with them: the dream to shop in joy, till the cows come home. The cows came home earlier than expected. They are now safely locked in the barn.