Steinbrenner High School’s 1st Annual Flash Fiction Fest!
In March, I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time chatting with Steinbrenner HS creative writing students during their 1st annual Flash Fiction Fest. I talked about creating an engaging short, short story (avoid blathering on and on) and grabbing people by their emotions and reeling them in like trout.
THEN WE HAD A CONTEST!
Since I’m a lover of all things contesty, we decided to have each student prepare their very best flash fiction piece and vote for the favorite, based on some criteria established by themselves and their writing teacher, Eric Vona.
Readers, they chose a winner and I’m delighted I get to share her flash fiction piece with all of you. This young woman’s piece is dark (just how I like it), and twisty (even more how I like it) and leaves you with some questions (MOMMA LIKEY).
So, without further ado, here is Kaitlyn B.’s flash fiction piece, “When the Clouds Clear.”
When the Clouds Clear
by Kaitlin Burkhart
Relief was the shower of rain approaching the end of its descent from the sky. It coated Mona’s body and soaked through her pores, making its way to her very core.
She had not only left an heirloom at that pawnshop, she had left a part of herself. As she took each step towards her car, the force of her footsteps causing little droplets to make parabolic paths in the air, she felt like the strongest tether was being frayed strand by strand, and as she opened the door to her Honda Accord with a few too many dents and scratches, she felt that tether snap.
Mona wished she didn’t have to dispose of the rosary. It was beautiful with its golden plate and adorning pearls, all molded into a cross. But even if it wasn’t cursed, which she hoped was the case, it had too many bad memories tied to it.
Each of those bad memories had occurred after her mother had gifted it to her on her death bed, handing her prized possession to her sole child. She had cradled its cold, metal frame, knowing the rosary was her mother’s promise to watch over her.
Mona tried for so long to appreciate the rosary and the sentiment behind it. When she crashed her car leaving the hospital, she hadn’t suspected anything. But when her fiancé ended things two weeks later because he needed “space,” she began to wonder why everything had taken a sudden turn for the worse. One awful event occurred, then another: two car accidents, being laid-off from her accounting job, and a broken engagement all happened while in possession of the rosary.
Two years later, Mona was ready to discard the only difference between her past and present: the rosary.
She found a pawn shop far away, so she would never stumble upon the formidable thing again and drove to its destination, the rosary glinting in her periphery.
She didn’t care how much they gave her, even though her mother had once claimed it was worth $10,000. The pawn shop guy settled on $200, and Mona knew her mother was cursing her name in heaven.
Sitting in her car, she put her forehead on the steering wheel and let out a sigh. Before she had been given the rosary, she had experienced joyous moments, but sitting there, she couldn’t recall ever feeling this content. She remained like that, just letting the stress exude itself from her tense shoulders and knotted joints. Glancing at her phone, she lit up in surprise as her ex fiance’s name lit up the screen, asking if she wanted to grab dinner later and “catch up.” She replied with “of course,” not wanting to seem too excited.
With that, she eagerly put the car in reverse, backed out of the parking lot, and barreled down the interstate, still slick from the rain, each mile further distancing her from the cursed object.
Mona was an hour away when she got a text.
“Hey, I can’t meet for dinner anymore. I’ve been sick all day.”
Opening her phone, she read the text a few times over, wishing he could somehow feel better. She was looking forward to seeing him.
Disappointed, she took a deep breath and looked up from her phone, deciding that she wouldn’t let this shortcoming ruin the ease she developed since disposing of the rosary.
Her eyes made contact again with the road, and she realized she was an idiot for thinking her bad luck was tied to an object. She was utterly clueless for thinking objects were cursed, for letting her guard down, and for not realizing, she was the cursed one.
A silly object didn’t dictate her fate, she did, and her carelessness was what led her to all of these tragedies.
So when she ran the red light and collided with a semi-truck, no match for her little Honda Accord, she wasn’t even mad at herself. It was deserved for her stupidity. She didn’t scream when glass shattered and her body thrashed inside the car. She didn’t pity herself when her vision faded and she was carried into death, chaos ensuing around her.
No, she was content.