Man alive, people, we’ve got some TALENT hanging around the blogosphere! When I announced that I was co-hosting the AKA Flash Fiction Contest with Anna Brittain and Kristy Colley, I had no idea how tough it would be to pick my winner from the entries. I mean, we’re talking roughly a 34 on a scale of 1 to 10. Yep, it was THAT TOUGH.
In the end, though, there was one contestant whose entry really resonated with me. Not only did she pick one of my favorite words as her title (a word my husband still doesn’t believe is really a word), but I was hooked right from the first sentence and found myself laughing and cringing at the same time when I finished.
And you know how much I enjoy a good laugh/cringe.
* * *
“Comeuppance” by Lisa Potts
Gary Lee Rudolph followed the old woman in front of him, wondering how long he’d be in this dump. He’d managed to annoy his last foster family in record time. He could still hear them on the phone with social services, screaming how no kid living under their roof was going to gallivant around town breaking into cars. They’d kicked him out within six months, impressive even for him.
He sauntered into his room, never offering to help carry his suitcase, and sat down on the twin bed. Looking around the microscopic area, with ceilings not much higher than the top of his head, he rolled his eyes.
“It’s so spacious,” he said.
Mrs. Rivers smiled. “There’s more than meets the eye.”
“Yeah, right,” he said. “When’s dinner?”
“Not for another hour. You have time to unpack and look around.”
The room held three lonely pieces of furniture, the munchkin bed he sat on, a scuffed oak dresser missing one of its four drawers, and a plastic toy chest sitting against the far wall under the only window.
He chuckled. This lady must be crazy. He would enjoy making her miserable.
She left the room and closed the door. Gary thought he heard her use a key and went over to try the knob. Locked.
“Hey,” he yelled, “This ain’t juvie. You can’t just lock me in here.” Gary knew he was wasting his time. She wore hearing aids the size of watermelons.
He walked to the window and tried it. Stuck, but not latched anywhere. He would work on it. At least he was on the ground floor. That fall off the drainpipe at the last place had nearly broken his foot.
He heard muffled ringing and looked over the room again, hoping maybe he’d missed a phone, then pinpointed the sound; it came from the toy box at his feet. He opened it, reaching through a mass of legos and broken crayons before finding the source. A cymbal-banging monkey, like he’d always been frightened of as a child, stared up at him. He grabbed for it, then pulled back when he felt a sharp prick of pain in his finger.
“Ouch,” he said seeing the blood on the tip of his thumb. “When I get this window open, you’re outta here, buddy.”
Gary slammed the lid and listened to make sure the cymbals had stopped, then crossed the room and began unpacking his measly belongings.
When he turned from the dresser, the monkey sat on his pillow. A wave of panic hit him. He banged on the door, could swear he heard the old woman laughing.
“I’m going to bust this window if you don’t let me out!”
The clanging started again, louder. Gary felt a cold sweat cover him as he looked over his shoulder. The monkey had moved again. The thing had somehow gotten under the bed.
He made a break for the window and screamed as the cymbals caught his heel and began to pull.
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I mean, Oh. My. Heavens. Is that not the most fabulously terrifying short story ever?!
Lisa’s much-deserved reward for her little tale of terror is a prize package including, but not limited to:
- An ARC of HALO by Alexandra Adornetto
- A gift card to Borders Bookstore
- As many packages of M&Ms as I can fit in the box
- HALO themed nail polish
- And anything else fun I see while out shopping!
If you didn’t win this time around, keep your eyes peeled – you never know when another contest will pop up! And don’t forget to check out Anna and Kristy‘s blogs in the next few days – I can’t wait to see who they’ve chosen as their winners!