Eliana’s Crossing

I’m excited to share my good news that my story Coming up Roses has won the Newcastle Herald Summer Short Story Prize. I am thrilled with this achievement, and really haven’t come back down to earth yet. I’ll be receiving fifty new release books as my prize, the prospect of which has me drooling, plus a subscription to the Herald. Congratulations to all the finalists, whose stories were published in the Herald during January.

The competition required a response to a photo prompt, so I’m sure that my Friday Fiction involvement has helped me to remember “it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”. Thank you, Rochelle, and  Friday Fictioneers for your wonderful examples and helpful feedback each week.

My story for FriFic this week follows, and it isn’t at all what I thought I’d write when I learned of my success. I was all ready to lead off here into a 100 worder about winning a prize, and that would be such a nice connection, but this week’s prompt led me off in a different direction. Here it is, and here’s where you can read the other stories for this week.

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Eliana’s Crossing

leary2

Copyright – Erin Leary

Eliana was a dreamer, the youngest and prettiest of five sisters.

One day, her sisters whispered of a shy admirer across the channel. Their tales of the magic that follows a girl’s first kiss set her heart a-flutter.

At dusk, they rowed her to Marsh Island, exhorting her: “Search carefully. He wants to be found.”

In gathering darkness, Eliana swirled and splashed, confused. Which one? Which lily pad concealed her prince?

The sisters laughed so much they nearly overturned their boat, as the marsh erupted with the frogs’ throaty guffaws, and the seabirds’ echoing caw-caw filled the sky.

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Here’s a happier ending, if you’re feeling cheated. Maybe this will suffice for my nod to Valentine’s Day, coming up soon. In addition, my husband and I are about to celebrate a BIG wedding anniversary (5th Feb), and I’m certainly glad I found him under a lily pad somewhere once upon a time, long, long ago.

Damsel daze

Copyright - Bjorn B. Rudberg

Copyright – Bjorn B. Rudberg

Ralph woke up on the grass, fuzzy-headed. He recalled the old guy and his weird tale: a crazy dame, his missing kid – a babe-in-arms with sandy curls. He’d searched for years. Ralph had taken on the case.

Now Ralph found himself beside an overgrown tower – a ruin, like his memory. How had he come here?

He’d heard singing – a sad, slow song. Next thing, there beside him hung a heavy braid laced with green ribbon, just begging to be climbed, so he’d climbed it, right to the top. Then he’d blanked.

Ralph gazed up the mossy tower steps, and wondered.

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This is Ralph’s second case. He’s taken up residence in my imagination, it seems, and I believe he might be finding himself tangled up in more impenetrable mysteries than he bargained for when he first hung out his shingle in the Friday Fictioneers office block. His first case nearly finished him, but he’s a tough one.

Here’s what happened to the original damsel in distress, in the original tower – which, incidentally, didn’t have steps. Maybe Ralph’s damsel has an altogether different agenda.

This piece of short fiction is for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers, where this week’s picture prompt is staying active for a fortnight, to allow for a more leisurely creative process over the holiday season. For a change, my creative processes have gone into overdrive, so I’m posting two stories for the wonderful prompt supplied by Bjorn.