It would be so easy.... 

Who is this perched above a rail yard? The shoes and posture suggest someone young. Is it a boy? A girl? Where is he coming from? Going to? What is her situation? And exactly what is it that would be so easy? In their stories, our authors offered intriguing answers to these and other questions inspired by the Contest 3 prompt.


First Place

for my grandfather

Thomas Schultz, Kansas City, Mo.

Thomas Schultz.jpg

        It would be so easy to forget his past Josh thought, but it was the past that forced him into the future. Trains were a part of his life now. Not in the normal sense of stopping for a line of freight cars at the occasional crossing and counting their number as the iron rails bowed and the blackened wheels screeched. Nor that repetitive clatter everyone knows. Rather, trains defined the end of youth. At sixteen, Josh had become an adult. Read more...


Second Place

Make believe

Daniela Pullin, San Diego, CA

D Pullin Pic.jpg

     The train horn blares as I watch it roll past and into the rail yard. There's so little between me and the rails. A quick drop; a few bare patches of grass and gravel; a short fence. It would be so easy, to climb on a train and leave.
I eye the jump down. It's not more than 10 feet; less if I hang off the edge first. I'm just gearing myself up to do it when a small voice calls from behind.
     "What're you doing, Jackie?" Read more...
   


Third Place

   sundown

           Kelly Bargabos, La Mesa, CA

Kelly Bargabos.png

      Bobby watched the sun sink a little lower. This was his favorite time. Passing the hours, trying to find something to do, pretending like he was normal, the waiting for something to change, was done, at least for another day. But he dreaded what came after the sun left. This is when he really missed them. The after-dinner hours, watching TV, eating popcorn, fighting over the remote. He missed all of it. Read more...

    
     


honorable mention

the last train to somewhere

Sue Andrews, Upland, CA

Sue Andrews.jpg

      It would be so easy to hop on one of those trains. I looked at my new knock-off Adidas. They were as phony as the rest of this place, with faux brothers and sisters and a fake mom and dad. I hated them. As much as they tried, they could never replace the mom and dad I knew on the Southside. I resented being taken away years ago, but cherished what little memory I had left of their love. I had conjured up an ideal mom and dad whenever I touched my one and only faded photograph of them. Both had gone to prison.  Read more...
   


honorable mention

the middle child

Debbie Johnson, Moreno Valley, CA

debby johnson.jpg

       For  one slippery moment, dangling over the edge of the building made me feel alive. Almost. I'm not sure when the numbness crept in, cocooning my emotions. Perhaps it was something I deserved, like every other thing that spilled into my life.
I'd sat there, willing myself to run away from the evil chasing me. "Straight to the tracks," I said, before slipping off the building, towards the railcars. Read more...
     



Past Contest winners

Contest 2. Authors took this school bus on some fascinating road trips in our second contest; some sad, some funny, and some terrifying. Read the contest winner and more below. 

Contest 2. Authors took this school bus on some fascinating road trips in our second contest; some sad, some funny, and some terrifying. Read the contest winner and more below. 

Contest 2 winner

Kelley Parsons, Milford, MA

Pantophobia

On board is the Hater of Children, the Hater of Worms as well as Scared of Snakes, Scared of Fingernails and Cooked Meat. Also; Terrified by Dogs.....

Read More

 

Contest 1. This image of the California Lunch Room inspired many wonderful stories for our first contest. Read the contest winner and more below.

Contest 1. This image of the California Lunch Room inspired many wonderful stories for our first contest. Read the contest winner and more below.

contest 1 Winner

Sonja Yoerg, Lafayette, CA

The Next BRENDALEE

Mama'd been after Daddy to paint over the letters on the house since we moved in, but he didn't seem any more inclined to do it now than he did three years ago...

Read More