There is a first time for everything. This week, there was a tie in the voting for the best entry in the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. Congratulations to Brian Beam and Irina Serban.
The winning entries are accorded a special feature here today and a place in our collection of winners which will be published as an e-book at year end.
Congratulations to Brian and Irina, and thanks to everyone who participated – excellent entries! Now, without further ado, here are the winning entries (in alphabetical order by author last name):
by Brian Beam
Death always followed Chris as he rode the waves, his face twisted with malice.
Chris always responded with a wink and a smile as he carved his way down the watery slopes. Death was always a step behind him, and Chris liked to let him know it.
Today felt different, though. It had started with Maria’s dream. Why would she dream about the black rose that Death always held in his bone-white hands as he hovered above the water? Chris had never told her about that rose. In fact, he had never told her about the black phantom trailing him like his board’s wake.
Maria had tried to keep him ashore, but he had dismissed her concern. He loved Maria with all his heart, but, as always, the waves had been calling. The waves were his first love and had been a part of his life long before Maria.
For so many years, Death had watched over his shoulder, always waiting. But Chris was one with the waves. Death would never understand that.
Until today, that is. With Maria’s dream, Chris should have known Death had a plan. He should have known to heed her warnings. But, the waves reached out their foamy hands and drew him into their cold embrace. Chris did not fight their pull.
So, Chris crested that final wave. As that wave broke, so did his board. Right before he hit the water, for the first time, he saw Death smile.
by Irina Serban
The waves rushed frenetically up and down in a sinuous, unpredictable movement. He was riding them conscious of every slight movement that he had to do in order to keep his balance: leaning to hold tight onto the board, standing almost straight and letting the wave wear him in unconditional surrender. His heart pumped the blood at a fast rate and permeated his being with thrilling sensations of joy or fear.
Every time he surfed, the illusion of control took hold on him and became addictive as one of the worst drugs. But it was enough for a slight error, a second of distraction or an untameable wave to capsize his board and make him struggle to come out into the light for a breath of air. It was then that his illusions were scattered to the winds. It was then that the ocean reminded him a sacred thing: his life was like it—whimsical, unpredictable, pushing him on top of the world for then to release him to his unavoidable fall. He was addicted to his life and its thrills lived in joy or fear.