A.L. Kaplan 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:
by A.L. Kaplan
“Oscar! You’re doing it wrong again. Stick to the plan.”
“But this looks prettier.”
Gabby pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath.
“For the last time, tree leaves are green. Not red, or purple, or yellow. This isn’t a flower garden. Cover up this mess and make green trees like the Boss said.”
“Yes sir,” Oscar mumbled.
The tip of his brush turned a dull, grumpy green. One dab changed the entire mood of the landscape. Before he realized, dark rainclouds covered the sky. The trees began to sway. Maybe it was for the best to have the storm wash away all the colors.
A small bird fluttered into the image and began rooting under one of the colorful trees. Tears stung Oscar’s eyes. He couldn’t let the bird get drenched.
“Don’t worry little one. I’ll keep you safe, no matter what Mr. Green Only says.”
A daub of red hid the ugly green splotches. Next, he added Yellow-green leaves tipped with orange. With each stroke of color, the sky brightened to a cheerful blue. Other animals joined the bird. This was the kind of work Oscar loved to create, vivid, multihued.
“You’re being sent downstairs.”
Oscar dropped the paintbrush, throat tightening. He must have really screwed up. “To the underworld?”
Gabby smiled and shook his head. “The boss liked what you did for the animals. You’re going to earth as a human. Just try to be good to Claude and Louise Monet. They’re decent people.