On the 10th Day of Christmas S.B. Borgersen gave to me…
This story begins at first light on Christmas morning. Fingers of silver-grey pierce the spaces between the branches of the leafless maple she watches through her bedroom window. ‘Has time stopped?’ she wonders.
There is no movement. No sound. No jingle of bells.
Arlene stretches. For the first time in her life she owns all four corners of the large bed. ‘Is this freedom?’ she wonders. ‘Is this my gift to me?’
There is no aroma of coffee brewing. She knows there will be no comforting fire rosing the kitchen when she descends into her day. She’s also certain she will not be roasting a turkey with parsnips. Nor decking her halls with foliage to make her sneeze for days.
The story moves to its middle. Between the beginning and the middle Arlene has boiled a kettle to make instant coffee. She has turned up the thermostat on the furnace. She hasn’t ventured out in the now-not-so-silver-grey day to bring in wood for the fire. She hasn’t stopped to wonder, ‘has time stopped’ or, ‘is this freedom?’ She hasn’t actually missed crackers with jokes or flickering coloured lights.
At the end of the story, Arlene returns to her bedroom with the large bed and the window looking out onto the leafless maple. She can’t see the spaces between the bare branches; it is a midnight-dark night. But she knows it is there. She dons a long red flannelette nightdress, after all, it is the season. She has a large glass of whisky. She sips this slowly. And does not wonder what will happen tomorrow, Boxing Day.
But in case you are wondering, between the middle and the end of this story, Arlene has watched It’s a Wonderful Life through new eyes. She also found a deeper meaning of Home Alone. Her freedom surfaced through a tin of Quality Street, all the purples first, followed by all the caramel swirls in their golden wrappers.
There was not a humbug in sight.
Internationally published, S.B. Borgersen writes, knits socks, and walks her smashing dogs on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. Her favoured genres are short and micro fiction, and poetry. She has fourteen draft novellas gathering dust. Sue’s collection of 150 micro fictions is to be published by Unsolicited Press in 2021. www.sueborgersen.com
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The Annihilation Radiation Short Story Competition is now open for entries.
1st Prize – £500
2nd Prize – £100
3rd Prize – £50
Closing date – 31st January 2020
Finalists will be published in ANNIHILATION RADIATION
£10 Entry Fee
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