Mandy White 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 Mandy White
I stood at the top of the stairs, holding my breath. This was my moment, the culmination of my life thus far and the beginning of the rest from this point forward. The crowd hushed, awaiting my next move. They were waiting for ME, once an insignificant child who must be seen and not heard, but now a woman, ripe for the many suitors who waited below.
I began my graceful descent, one careful step at a time.
Then something went wrong. I fell, flailing, grasping for something to stop my fall. The pain. Oh, why did it hurt so? I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t. It was just as well. I couldn’t bear to face them in my humiliation. I was no lady, just a clumsy oaf that had fallen down the stairs on the biggest night of her life.
I heard horrified gasps from the crowd and felt hands reaching for me, trying to help, then darkness took over.
“This is the main hall of Thornwood Mansion,” the tour guide explained, “Where the tragic death of a young debutante took place. Shot by a jealous younger sister as she descended the stairs. As the story goes, she was in love with one of the young men who intended to ask for the older sister’s hand in marriage. This is a favorite site for ghost hunters, many of whom claim to have seen the spirit standing at the top of the staircase.”