An Essay Contest

There is something undeniably fanciful about a contest whose winner will inherit an historic Maine Inn, yet I couldn’t help but sit with the idea for awhile. Since, in the end, I landed firmly in the camp of preferring to weave the challenge into a story over actually being responsible for such an endeavor, the following bit of fiction, at exactly 200 words (as a nod to the contest rules), was born. Who knows? Perhaps a longer story will come of it…

The envelope left her tongue sticky with blood and glue. Eleanor had been in a rush, and forgotten to mind the sharp edge. Maybe the blood would act as a good luck talisman.

A wish and a prayer.

The wish cracked her open. Oh, the enormity of hope, sometimes. “Please, God, touch the heart of lady Sage and let her see my passion through my words.”

The remnants of Galway colored her inflection.

Her thin, cracked hands gently smoothed down the envelope’s edge. The Cantaloupe “Summer Harvest ‘forever’” stamp burned, even though she’d pooled some saliva over the cut to moisten it.


Eleanor imagined the essay in Sage’s hands. Envisioned an energetic spark – a wisdom imparted through 200 words that couldn’t possibly be conveyed through words alone.

“I know the work of a business. I’ve run the good sir’s for a decade, and damn if I couldn’t make it on my own and thrive. I can do better than a studio and paltry savings that’ll never make a life.” A fierce whisper, released.

She stood, determined, fire in her eyes, and pushed through the screen door to hike to the mailbox.

The thrill of possibility was enough for today.

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