Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest
* 5th Place Winner *
One Last Goodbye
by Juliet Nubel
Another one that looked sad by the title – and it was. I’m not telling you anything I shouldn’t; the first lines tell you it’s sad. But it’s a very good story I think shows the talent we have here with our readers and contest entries.
Read it and see if you agree.
Juliet will receive a $10 gift card for placing 5th in our contest.
DON’T FORGET: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!
HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:
Allison Maruska, Project Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hit, Project Renovatio.
With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.
Hugh Roberts, Glimpses
28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!
Dana Wayne, Mail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart
Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!
Curtis Bausse, Perfume Island, One Green Bottle
One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!
T. A. Henry, Scripting The Truth
Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.
Joanne R Larner, Dicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet
One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.
Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Renaissance: The Nora White Story
In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!
and of course, ME
A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.
And now, the 5th place winners in Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest
* 5th Place Winner *
One Last Goodbye
“Can we say one last goodbye? Just the four of us. Please.”
The plea came from so deep within his heart that we would never have refused. Of course we didn’t want to do it. Who in their right mind would? But he deserved this proof of our love, and she deserved it even more.
The only light came from the stars and the almost full moon as we pulled up at the gates. We sat in silence for a moment. Maybe he had changed his mind. I prayed he was going to tell us we should all just go home instead. He didn’t. He was the first to push open the car door and step outside. I followed, putting one reluctant foot then the other onto the ground, feeling the weight of the darkness, and the task in hand, fall around my shoulders like a heavy blanket. The girls were unusually silent as they appeared from the back. Slamming the doors shut was not an option so we leaned against them and waited for the quiet click of the lock. When we finally forced ourselves to turn and look towards the cemetery, we saw a strange faint glow coming from within.
It came from the flickering of a sole candle, her candle, the one we had lit only twelve hours earlier. Its soft dancing brightness moved shadows gently over the pristine whiteness of the brand-new headstone.
“I’m scared, Dad. I don’t know if I can do this.” Our youngest was shivering with apprehension, her eyes bright with a fear we hadn’t known was there.
“Can you do it for Mamie? And for me. Please.” Her father’s words brought a quick, uncertain nod from Sophie’s head.
“Don’t think of it as a graveyard.” Rebecca linked her arm through her sister’s in a rare show of affection. “Try to imagine it as a garden or a park.”
“We’re with you, pet.” I tried my best to sound jolly and convinced. “Shall we go in?”
“Alright.” She gulped hard. “I’m ready.”
We grasped onto each other’s hands, like we used to do many years ago, when the two of them were young and we would swing them high in the air as we all walked together.
Then carefully we pushed open the iron gate and entered, advancing in one tight human block.
How we did it I will never really know, but we made our way along the gravel pathways, past the headstones, the crosses, the real and the plastic flowers. Past the largest vaults and the tiniest sorry mounds of earth. The single lit candle guided our steps and kept our eyes clear, focused on exactly where we were heading.
Fresh gold paint shone from the pale stone. The letters had seen but one day of sunshine. No raindrops had yet soiled their swirling grooves and gliding curves. Her name sparkled in the candlelight, almost smiling at us, like she had always done when we arrived at her doorstep. But now they were about to spend their first night outdoors, watching the stars and listening to the darkness, remembering the river of tears we’d spilled over them, only hours before.
Standing in silence at the end of the grave, we heard the same sounds they would hear – the crickets, the toads, the screeching night birds. We caught the rustling of the leaves in the breath of the gentle breeze. And once more we tasted the same salty tears, coursing shamelessly down our cheeks.
For nine long months she had waited patiently to leave the house. Waited for the chestnut tree to be lush and green and leafy enough to hide her ashes at its feet. Waited for the grass in the field to dry out and welcome her in. Nine whole months sitting with dignity above the fireplace in an ugly, undignified urn. Silently waiting until he was finally ready to let her go. Ready to place what remained of her beneath this heavy, blanched stone.
Just as we were about to leave, the breeze blew harder, and the flowers on the plant in front of the headstone bent their heads, revealing what they were there to hide – a second name carved just below hers.
This one was cut in straight, strict, capital letters. They were painted silver, not gold, and no frills or fancy sweeps softened their edges. This was the name of her husband, very much still alive and kicking. The man she had married, for better or for worse. The man who had killed her.
But this man was no ordinary assassin. He had used neither gun nor knife, nor poison nor pillow. His means were much more subtle, much more vicious, for he had killed her with his laughter, his jeering, his lack of concern. He had killed her with the sharp shake of his head, the condescending sneer upon his lips. He had killed her by not listening, by not seeing, by not wanting or accepting her distress. How could she possibly be ill? Slaves don’t fall ill. Only kings like himself were allowed to suffer and complain. So she hadn’t. Ever.
She had jumped when he screamed “Jump!”
She had gone quiet when he screamed “Be quiet!”
She had nodded in agreement when he screamed “You are fine!”
And even while she lay in hospital, for the final three months of her life, he had continued to rant at her clumsy, shaky gestures, her dribbling mouth, her feverish face.
But she must have laughed hard that morning because he was the one crying the most, his voice breaking at every word, telling us all how much he missed her, how much he had loved her, how much he had cared.
I wonder who believed him. The friends? Acquaintances? Neighbours? Surely not, for they must have heard his angry shouts too. He was never ashamed enough to hold them all in.
“Why is Papi’s name on the headstone too, Dad?” Sophie whispered into the darkness.
“Because he will be buried here as well, one day.”
“But there’s no date engraved at the end. Just a two and a zero.”
“Don’t worry, darling. We’ll have it added later.”
“Soon. Very, very soon.”
And with these words my husband bent down and touched his mother’s grave one last time. I heard him mutter something quietly under his breath.
“Rest in Peace up there in Heaven, Mum. Dad will be joining you shortly, but he will be taking the stairway straight down to Hell. That’s where he belongs and that’s where he’ll stay. Forever and ever. Amen.”
It has been my pleasure to showcase these amazing writers. Look for interviews and more on them in the upcoming weeks.
Why did it win? What spoke to me?
I know, you’re thinking sad stuff gets placed really high in Dan’s contests. Well, delivering emotion to your reader, and doing it accurately and making them feel it, is important.
Whether it’s love or fear or sadness, getting a reader there is hard work – and Juliet did it well.
I thought the entire piece had a very realistic feel to it, and I bet you did , too. That’s not easy to do.
Join me in celebrating this moment with a very talented author, Juliet Nubel.
If you liked this story, please share it on StumbleUpon and other social media so our winners can get the recognition they deserve.
Tomorrow, the first of our honorable mentions in the Word Weaver Writing Contest:
Interlock by Barbara Anne Helberg
If you would like to sponsor our October 2017 Word Weaver Writing Contest and get this kind of exposure for your product or service, please contact me.