The rules were simple—write a story featuring the image we provided. The catch—the story must be told in exactly 200 words.
As always, we received a mountain of entries. And, each story we received was a nicely-told tale. But there could be only one winner.
So, without further ado, let’s bring Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys to center stage to announce the winner of the 2013 Golden Donut Short Story Contest.
by Nancy Sweetland
I told my psychiatrist I was coming back here to banish my demons, stop the bad dreams.
He said he’d come along.
I wondered why he cared.
Mama’s long dead, an unsolved homicide. But if I remember anything to identify her killer even after all these years, I know I’ll end my misery.
Inside the rusted, screechy gate, my psychiatrist says, “There’s nothing here to help you remember.”
But he’s wrong! I catch my breath. In this dingy, unkempt area behind the abandoned building the haunting memory of a deep, coaxing voice echoes off the stark cement walls.
“Look under the stairs,” I say. Someone huddles there, shaking, tears rivering down his face.
Six years old.
Hiding from the man that hit my mama, bloodied her face, twisted her arm, made her scream. I hear the echo of his voice, wheedling, “Come on out, Kid. I won’t hurt you.”
I know that voice, so familiar to me now. Fury boiling up from years of lies, I step toward my psychiatrist.
I know now why he cares about my memories.
Know who he is.
Know how I can banish my demons, make the bad dreams stop.
* * *
Rounding out the top ten were (in no particular order):
That Little Voice by Dave Swords
Snapped by Rick McMahan
Agony by Lynette Eason
Perfect by Rabbi Irene Schneider
The Elephant Trap by Kathy Kingston
Reunion by Ann Kellett
Number Four by Andrew Italia
Only A Dream by Lynette Eason
Closure by Gary Kassay
Congratulations to each of you!
*The Golden Donut contest is judged blindly, meaning each story is assigned a number and then presented to the judges without any other identifying marker(s). At no time do judges know the identity of the authors.