Despite the fact that “salamander” reminds me of slander, and that the definition of “sully” falls in line with slander, I am entering the Sully Competition because I—well, who can resist entering a competition where one of the prizes is an official Sully certificate from the fabulous Mike Allegra, children’s book author, playwright, freelance writer and editor, etc, etc, etc, etc? The rules: 200 words max, ANY genre (including picture books) except poetry, plays or screenplays. And only one entry. Deadline is March 28. You, too, could win.
Here is my flash fiction entry:
By Jilanne Hoffmann
The truth lies beyond her knowledge, somewhere silent, dry, and hostile. A desert where life just mummifies.
Toenail clippings lie scattered on a table near her worn recliner. Does she still have toes?
“Peter!” she yells, although he stands behind her. “You been sitting in my chair?”
“No, Mother,” Peter says, then tries a joke. “And I haven’t been eating your porridge, either.”
“Laid these toenails here like breadcrumbs just to tease me? You gonna put me in the oven?”
“No Mother,” Peter whispers, then looks square at her face. He lifts her hand and squeezes. Tries to bring her back. “Think now, you wouldn’t fit inside the oven.”
She peers into his eyes, searching for understanding, for forgiveness, for a memory. Comes up empty.
He stoops to kiss her forehead.
“How can that be?” she says, voice narrow and suspicious. She wipes a hand across her brow to shoo away his scratch of beard.
“What about the big bad wolf?”
Peter takes a breath, prepares to lie, and falters. “The wolf? I’m scared, too, Mother. We all are.”
The doorbell rings.
“Here Mother, hold my hand. We’ll pretend that we’re not here.”