Second Place, FWG Short Story Competition 2019 Jade Khutze Escape



This year, stories were "flash fiction' 300 words in length, and beginning with the starter, "you wouldn't believe"

You wouldn’t believe it was that easy. In the dead of night, I crept out of my closet-sized room, across the rickety wooden floor. Their door is left open a crack. I peep through; Mother is sleeping peacefully. Her raven hair spread over her ragged, stained pillow. The many lines that crease her face now smoothe in slumber. I hesitate; my throat tightens. The lurch of regret releasing me as my gaze shifts to the man beside her, snoring loudly in his bourbon drenched dreams. My stepfather has never raised a hand to her. He is good to my Mother; I cannot deny that. It comforts me, knowing that she has a roof over her head and someone to protect her.

John has disliked me from the minute he met me. He is jealous of Mothers affection toward me. I was just a kid when they married. After my father had died, Mother had become desperate. I remember the day that we moved into this small cockroach-infested shack. I had not known fear until that moment. He is a brute of a man. It wasn’t long before he began to taunt me with uneducated words. Followed by heavy blows with his fists. I’ve seen the pain in her eyes, she is helpless; I have endured it for her sake. I can bear it no more. I am a young man now. Seeking escape. Seeking freedom.

I turn and walk quietly to the front door. I carefully slide on my old worn boots and cross the threshold for the last time. I can see my breath in the chilly night air as I walk briskly toward the train tracks. The crescent moon casts long shadows before me. I tell myself one day I will come back for her.