Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Eric Martell

OUAT flash fiction entry by Eric Martell (@drmagoo on Twitter).  

Remember, if you don’t have your own blog just email me. I will be happy to post your entry on Yearning for Wonderland. 

Prairie Wishes
There are a lot of wishes made in rest stops.
“I wish I hadn’t gone to Taco Bell for lunch.”

“I wish I could stay awake without amphetamines.”

“I wish my kids would just shut up for one goddamned mile.”

At most rest stops, all except one, the wishes are answered in the more-or-less random way wishes are answered everywhere – that is, as a matter of happenstance.

Between mile markers 197 and 198 on a non-descript highway crossing a non-descript state lies the “Heart of the Prairie” rest stop. Most people speed past it, some stop and use the restroom or take a nap or buy a terrible cup of coffee.

The custodian at the Heart of the Prairie is an older man, slow, plodding, and the one who puts up the “Restroom Closed for Cleaning” sign that suffering travelers curse. The name tag on his faded grey shirt reads “Gene” in pretend-fancy script, and he is a three-dimensional projection of a nineteen-dimensional being whose name in his own language, oddly, is Gene.

Bobby Jones was having a bad day. He’d been fired. Again. The envelope marked “Final Notice” was on the floor of his car. And his last dollar was in the motherloving candy machine, but the candy was stuck in the twisty coil. Sometimes a man is brought to the end of his rope by the smallest of things, and he could take it no longer.

Bobby fell to his knees in front of the scratched faux-wood panel keeping him from his Whatchamacallit bar and wept. He wept for all the paths his life had not taken and all the choices he had not made. But mostly he wept for that candy bar.

“I wish, just once, I could have something go right. Just one time.”

Mopping the red ceramic tile in the lobby, Gene heard Bobby’s wish. He moved the mop forward, left, and back, and heard the hollow clunk behind him as the now-free Whatchamacallit bar fell from its perch.

He finished mopping the floor, secure in the knowledge that the universe was, once again, safe.

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Cameron Lawton

Here is our first guest entry on Yearning for Wonderland for the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction Contest, by Cameron Lawton. As always, feedback is appreciated.

Remember, if you don’t have your own blog just email me. I will be happy to post your entry on Yearning for Wonderland.
Otter becomes a Bard
All her life, Otter had wanted to be a bard. She knew that being a fishmonger was a good trade,   but she wanted to be a Bard, she wanted to sing and tell stories to enchant others.
Sometimes she would hide in the reeds of the riverbank and harmonise with the birds that lived alongside – they were not the greatest of songsters, the ducks, herons, woodpeckers and jays but they sat of an evening and made music for their own entertainment.
A bard, however, must know history – so Otter sat under the trees and listened to them talking, she dived into the river and let the water talk in her ears. Rather than just swimming through the water, she let it tell her of its life, the mountain snows where it had come from and the sea where it was going.

But the wise ones, the owls, clever creatures, all hooted with laughter and told her that bards were not fishmongers.
One night, the animals gathered together for the solstice, each to their own stone, in a circle, facing the centre where the moonlight shone and the Spirit made herself known. Something moved the otter to stand on her hind legs.  She sang – sang the song of her river, the trees who had stood for hundreds of years, the stones under which she made her holt.
 As she sang, each creature joined in, until all life offered up one song – birds, insects, mammals, the stones and trees, all of creation offered up one song of Solstice to the Spirit and a ribbon of multicoloured hue rose from the earth to the sky to tie them together. And in that moment the clouds covered the face of the Moon apart from one beam that shone on the otter to make a circlet on her head – the gold of a grateful Queen to her Bard.
Standing on her hind legs, her forepaws clasped to her chest and her eyes closed, the otter swayed to the music and knew that she WAS a bard.

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Ready Set GO!

Behold our brand-new logo for our magnificent flash fiction contest. The photograph is courtesy James Lennie (@james_lennie on Twitter) and actually shows a phenomenon called Earthshine. Thanks for allowing us to use your image, James! Design by me.

So, Fictionlings, it’s time to start your engines. The OUAT Flash Fiction contest is now go! You have from today (April 4) till April 29, midnight EST.

The word length for submissions is 350 words.You can have less, but no more. Don’t forget to link your submission by the time the contest closes. Those who entered the Fairy Ring contest will recognize our link tool. Post the story on your blog along with the code (WordPress Blog users will need to contact me for alternate code). Then you click the blue button to add your link, add a thumbnail photo and PRESTO!

Remember, the theme is Unexpected Fairy Tales. You can go here to read more about OUAT writing theme.

If you are on Twitter, please follow my co-host (@sjiholliday) and myself (@ruanna3), as well as the contest hashtag (#ouatwriting) so you don’t miss a single update.

As far as prizes…well, we must have some startling surprises, mustn’t we? Suffice to say, you shall be well rewarded for your pains.

The one prize announced is that the 1st place winner will be listed on the National Flash Fiction Day website for international rockstar status!

Why are you still reading this post? GO FORTH AND WRITE!

(Below is the HTML code. Paste it into the HTML code at the bottom of your entry (WordPress users please comment with your email so I can send you that version of the code). Then just click the blue button and add your link and thumbnail photo!)