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.