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Shadows crept across the wall like mourners paying their last respects. The slanted February light illuminated the garden shed as Evelyn hoisted the wide brass planters of spent Amaryllis to her potting bench. The bold red blooms had been her only holiday cheer. She had tucked the twenty fat bulbs into a fresh bed of peat moss in October, long before she was blighted by pneumonia. The visiting nurses had been kind enough to occasionally water the bulbs when they came to verify Evelyn was still breathing.

Evelyn pulled out a serrated knife and cut the long slender throat of an Amaryllis blossom, leaving an inch of gapping hollow stem, and put the plant aside. She wondered if anyone would nurse it back into bloom the next year. Would they know to let the leaves collect the power of the sun for several months then allow the bulbs rest in the peat barrel under the deck until autumn?  She ran her fingertips along the brown and orange petals, as thin and wrinkled as the back of her hand. “Not much of a Red Lion now, are you?” She dropped the dead flower in the compost bucket. Everything died. Everything faded.

(200 words)

The Challenge was:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • include the word “orange” in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

Read the entries of other Campaigners here.