Four authors have been chosen as winners in the writing contest. They may choose a free download of the e-book of one of my four novels from smashwords.com. I will print their stories on this blog in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
The story was to go with the photo below.
I heard my mother’s voice––urgent, as if the pigs had escaped again. The saddle felt heavy in my hands, but the smell of it, dirt and sweat and old leather, always calmed me. I wondered if I could ignore her, pretend the wind had carried her voice away, and let my feet continue on their path to the pasture where Edmond waited for me. I only had an hour or less to ride, only an hour before he’d return and life would change again.
I heard Edmond nicker a greeting. The clop of hooves against the dry, soft dirt sounded like a heartbeat. I took four more steps and sighed as my mother’s voice became shrill.
“Sonja! You get in here now! Right now!” I didn’t turn around, but I knew she was standing there, her housedress billowing behind her, sensible shoes planted like roots in the ground, hand shielding her eyes from the sun.
“Sonja . . . please.”
It was the please that stopped me. I turned towards her, saddle still heavy on my shoulder. The initials on the pommel, visible from the corner of my eye–ORJ–accused me.
“What, Mama?” I sighed, tipping my hat from my brow with my left thumb, before shifting the heavy weight from my right shoulder to the ground.
“What is it?”
She waited for me, still squinting into the sun.
“Do you . . . do you think he’ll like it?” She fingered the belt on her dress. I noticed it was new, not the same one she’d been wearing this morning for chores. This one was cornflower blue, little sprays of daisies across the sleeves.
I opened my mouth, closed it again, aware of the dirt slashes across my arms and cheeks. “Yes, ma’am. He’ll like it just fine.”
Her eyes, a welling of liquid, ready to overflow, looked away. She reached one hand towards me. “Best get ready. Your brother’ll be here soon. Ain’t every day we have a homecoming.”
I sighed. Owen, home again.
Angela Noel lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In between fiction projects, she posts inspiring stories about interesting ideas and compelling people on the You are Awesome blog. She enjoys yoga—except crow pose—and loves books, humans, wine, and chocolate (but not necessarily in that order). Connect with her on Twitter at @angiewrite or subscribe to her blog for a new post each week.