300 Word Challenge #4
Forum member Teresa Edgerton is the winner of our January 300 Word Writing Challenge.
She wins a £10 voucher to spend at The Book Depository, our quarterly prize.
As usual, the challenge our members faced was to write a story of no more than 300 words, inspired by an image selected by our moderators.
For January, this was the inspiration, and Teresa’s story appears after.
AMID THE COLD OF WINTER
It was a difficult climb stumbling up the hill. Esther’s legs already ached. But the children had said, “A Christmas tree down in old Mr. Spangler’s meadow.” She’d come to humor them. Where did they even get the idea? There had been no Christmas trees, no Christmas, no celebrations of any sort since she was a child and everyone had finally realized that Earth had forgotten them.
Forgotten this ball of mud and ice circling Bettelheim’s Star. The supply ships that used to come regularly had stopped. No one knew why. War or environmental disaster, maybe. What did it matter? The colony had troubles of its own. The native vegetation was inedible and the climate was changing for the worse. Under the thin cloud cover, the crops they’d been growing in vast greenhouses were fewer and sicklier. Two years, maybe three, that was all the time they had left.
Damn it, the grade was too steep. It seemed she could hardly get enough air in her lungs, but the children had no trouble. They ran ahead, laughing and calling back to her, “Grandma, hurry.” The thought of their certain disappointment when they discovered their mistake made her heart hurt. She remembered a line from an old book, “Always winter and never Christmas.”
But she crested the hill and there it was in the meadow below: Not quite the right shape — sleeker and more slender — but silver as the tinsel trees she remembered, and glowing with lights. Tears filled her eyes; the breath caught in her throat. A door had opened at the base of it, and out stepped three figures all in glittering silver.
Three men who followed the light of a star, and came bearing gifts.
Photo credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi
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