Ann Zimmerman Wins Flash Fiction Popular Vote

Ann Zimmerman 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:

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

by Ann Zimmerman

At the edge of a steep embankment, Alan levels his tripod and peers through the viewfinder at golden aspen. He shakes droplets off his jacket.

Alan sighs, knowing he will not get the perfect mountain and aspen shot. Another rainy day continues to ruin his chances. The rest of the photo club has already headed for their cars.

Then he hears a bull elk’s high-pitched bugling. Alan quickly revises his plan. If he can get a shot of the rutting elk, the trip won’t be a total loss.

Alan sets the shutter to continuous mode, and waits. When he hears the animals crashing through trees and willows, he holds his breath. Soon a cow elk trots toward Alan, followed by an enormous bull. Alan presses the shutter button.

Within moments he realizes his danger. The cow has veered around him. But the bull is racing straight toward his position. When the huge animal lowers its head and aims razor-sharp antlers at the camera, Alan grabs his gear and leaps aside. He falls down the brush-covered bank, just as the bull rumbles past.

As he tries to stand, the sharp pain in Alan’s left ankle shoots up his leg. He’s going nowhere until his fellow club members come searching. Still, he can just reach his camera. Gritting his teeth, Alan opens the LED screen and smiles. A miserable, fruitless week morphs into triumph. The screen displays the massive elk charging straight toward the camera.

He got the shot.

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