Howard Johnson Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

Howard Johnson is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning entry:

 

bathers dunns river falls 1998 flash fiction writing prompt
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Paradise?
by Howard Johnson

The gypsy said it was a full day’s ride. At 73 years they knew the trip could kill them.

Believing her tale, Ricardo and Maria decided to leave early the next morning for the place the gypsy called Paradise, and legend called the Lover’s Pool. With no family left, they were ready to leave the years of blood, sweat, and many sorrows far behind. This would be their last hope for peace and joy. While their pain was incredible, the prize that awaited would make it all worthwhile.

At sunrise Ricardo readied the horses and they began. Along the way they talked about the pool’s legend; secluded, only couples in true harmony could find it, none had ever returned. The thrill of the unknown excited their aged minds.

At twilight Maria spotted the rock formation that pointed to the entrance of the pool. Staring over the cliff, the pool lay below. Reaching it seemed impossible. Finally, after an hour of sliding and crawling, they stood at the pool’s edge. It glimmered like gold as the water cascaded over the rocks and splashed into the basin.

Ricardo dipped his toe into the water. “Icy cold”, he chattered. There were no steps. They would have to jump. Holding hands they counted to three; crashing into the water they immediately sank. Moments later their heads bobbed up and they gasped for air.

Looking at each other they gasped again; no more gray, no more wrinkles, no more pain. “We are free at last.”


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