Leigh Kimmel Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Leigh Kimmel 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 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:

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

by Leigh Kimmel

At the tender age of six I discovered Peter Pan. Captivated by the concept of a magical world one could reach from this one, I sought out more books like it: Alice in WonderlandThe Wizard of Oz, Narnia and many others, some so obscure only specialists recall them. Every time we’d move, I’d scour the library for one I hadn’t read.

And I sought a way there. Every closet and cupboard got checked for a hidden door. I’d stare into mirrors for hours, hoping they’d turn misty enough to pass through. When I talked about tornadoes, my teachers became concerned.

They didn’t understand my longing for a world where magic was real, where people could have adventures, where I could be someone significant instead of just another nobody. But they were in charge, so I learned to keep my head down and hide that longing.

And then I discovered this place, perhaps the ruins of a gazebo. A circle of concrete with stairways leading to a long-demolished floor, it looked like a teleporter from a science fiction movie.

Behind me the bar’s stereo was blaring Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” On impulse I climbed the nearest stairway and stared up at the sky until I felt silly.

As I stepped down, the air shimmered. For one glorious moment I saw a castle in the distance, a dragon flying above it. I ran back up, but already it was too late. The moment was gone, and would not return.

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