A huge thanks goes out to Amy Lindberg for coordinating the contest, and the judges who graciously volunteered their time to read and score the entries. As part of the contest, the first place entry is published in this issue.
Congratulations to Karen Deikun for taking first place in the Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction Contest with her entry, “The Clock Struck Twelve.” Karen lives in New Jersey with her husband, and has worked as a church secretary for 30 years and volunteers staff in the GriefShare Ministry.
The Clock Struck Twelve
The room smelled of their sixty years together: Herm’s Old Spice and sweaty socks, her Jergens soap and the lemon oil she used on the oak dresser. The rocker creaked beneath her as the clock chimed twelve. Outside a fire cracker exploded. She bent over her knitting.
“I told you I’d finish this scarf by New Year’s Day.” Sarah glanced at the bed. The lamplight illuminated Herm’s snow white hair. At the party where they’d met, his hair looked black as coal dust. Where had the time gone? She finished the last row of stitches and cut the blue thread. His favorite color. She patted the silky yarn. All done.
“You did it again, Herm! You managed to get out of taking your best girl to a New Year’s Eve party.” She chuckled. “This makes the 59th year in a row.” For a moment she thought his eyes fluttered open. But no. She’d imagined it. Her voice softened.
“How you manage to keep coming up with excuses, I’ll never know. Guess I won’t ever get to a New Year’s Eve party. Unless I go by myself. I just might do that next year.” She stood and carried the scarf to the bed.
“I have to say that, in spite of the New Year’s Eve parties we’ve missed, you’ve been a real good husband, Herm. I couldn’t ask for better.” She laid the scarf across his shoulders, and took a ragged breath.
“Don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” A tear spilled out of the corner of her eye and fell on his cold, still face.
If she picked up the phone, if she called, they’d take him away. She wasn’t ready. Would never be ready. It had come too soon.
Amy Lindberg has been writing for the past ten years. Her first publication appeared in Guideposts. Currently, she’s completing her first novel and involved in the Voices E-zine. During the day, she’s pursuing a doctorate in Pharmacology. She and her husband, Gregg, live in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. Visit her at www.mbtponderers.blogspot.com.