The Story of the Month is chosen from the Story of the Week winners announced from the past month.
The finalists for December were:
Unfinished by Carol Anne Harvey
Balloonman by Melody Leming-Wilson
Assemblage by Charlie Swailes
Holiday by Chad Bunch
Unopened by Alyce Clark
The winner of the December 2019 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…
There is great art in the ability to tell a story implicitly, as Melody does in this portrait of summer passing into autumn. The character of the balloonman is painted in vivid colour, from his relationship with the children to his awareness of the passage of time. The more I try to describe my interpretations of this story, the more it feels like I’m doing Melody a disservice: the story and its characters speak for themselves so beautifully without me getting in the way!
For sixty-five years, the writer conversed back and forth with her typewriter, its keys creating a bridge to her imagination.
When arthritis stiffened her fingers and her mind began to wander, the typewriter kept right on telling those stories, willing itself to become the voice for the two of them.
Ran Walker is an award-winning writer who teaches at Hampton University in Virginia. He is at work on a collection of 50-word stories.
The morning after was brisk, quiet as ice. Each exhalation a white cloud; each inhalation, gag-inducing. As I hurled another shovelful of manure from our frost-slicked roof, reindeer bristles visible in the pungent matter, Dad grumbled on the other side of the rooftop ridge that he kind of missed Krampus.
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Nature, Blink-Ink, and Pulp Literature. See more at hemicyon.wordpress.com.
The story of the week for December 30 to January 3 is…
Nature by Jon Fain
First winter after Mother leaves, sister Nancy and I shovel snow, hands weighed down. Flakes fly, whirling seductresses. We clear faster. Flakes cover clearness. Nature takes. Gives people wanderlust, reveals darkness beneath starched smiles. We try to make everything perfect. Keep clearing. We trip. Keep trying. Keep tripping. Don’t surrender.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree., and Ariel Chart.
The bird that pecked holes below the bedroom window was back, drawn by the vibrations from the space heater. Ed rolled to face what had been Emily’s side. The cat, who purred as soon as you made eye contact, stared back. Wide-awake, they listened to the drumming of the bird.
Jon Fain has published frequently in literary, commercial, and online publications. More of his fiction can be found in the vaults of Menda City Review, Word Riot, DiddleDog, Verbsap, and Winning Writers.
Write what you know, they say
so he writes the first draft
of the fog and gravel of Route 16
all the way to work at sunrise.
Before the sun goes down
he’s revised the revised revision
until all he really thinks he knows
is what he says he’s written.
Ron. Lavalette has been widely published in both print and pixel forms. His first chapbook, Fallen Away, is now available from Finishing Line Press, and a reasonable sample of his work can be found at Eggs Over Tokyo.
You can do this, he told himself. He repeated three times the three sentences he would recite to himself while on patrol: I am a warrior of courage. I train in the middle of the fire. I go to the places that scare me.
Then he climbed out of bed.
Donald A. Ranard’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Flash Fiction Magazine, 100 Word Story, Byliner, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere.
Stepping between moments black and sublime
He remembers the hours before the Design
How to bring this Magician back home?
How to say “Brother, your work is now done”?
Your skill unmatched we agree
But in travels so complex timeless and broad
You have never once
Been unloved or alone
Peter Li-ping sees the attraction of living outside the Law but he remembers the words of that other (somewhat romantic) master: “To live outside the law you must be honest…”
We call each place by the old names, then start building stuff − exactly as before, only nicer. And that’s most of what we have here: hope for better things.
Luckily, the locals are always super helpful. If we can just make them more like us, well, life will be perfect.
Robert Keal loves telling stories and would like to have been born in a time when sharing them around the campfire was commonplace (only, you know, without all the predatory megafauna).