Good evening from the towers, indeed, the spires that are A Word with You Press in downtown Moscow.
We have the stories of sic–oops!– SIX finalists to post in our First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.
I have received all entries, and will post two tonight, two tomorrow, and two on Friday. Please do your best to influence the judge by posting comments about each story, revealing your favorite.
I have opted to post these stories without the author’s name attributed, but why not indicate who you think the author is in the comment box?
Still negotiating with an impartial judge to see who the winner will be, and the winner of course gets $500.
Will the winner be contestant # 2?
Lemme know what you think? Each finalist is required to write, in 250 words or less, using the prompt: “…but by then, it was too late.”
by Contestant # 2
Over the course of several years working at a nutrition store, I have met many people and learned a tremendous amount. It was easy to form bonds with the locals, — as when one shares health issues, there is often a degree of intimacy which can naturally form. There was a small deli within the store that created a home-ie atmosphere, and filled up each afternoon with familiar chatter over bowls of steaming organic soup and pudding-like harvest muffins.
Helen was a frequent visitor. She was in her late 20’s and stunningly beautiful. Tragically, her health had been compromised by a violent car accident, leaving her in continuous pain and chronically sleep-deprived. Several surgeries, cortisone shots, and an endless string of pharmaceuticals had all been unsuccessful. She was desperate for relief. On many occasions, tears would stream down her face as she sobbed uncontrollably. My arms instinctively reached out, holding her until she could breath again, my heart aching along with hers.
Helen’s mother found her hanging body in the farmhouse where she had grown up. The medics arrived, but by then it was too late. The shocking news quickly spread to the store. We had become used to happy endings; nothing so heart-rending had ever visited us before. There was a sinking feeling of death gone awry, leaving behind a vaporous abyss of loss, that only God can heal.
To take one’s life.
To end the fight.
To sleep into the endless night…