Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Dec 1, 2008.
  1. garmar69 - Emily's secret

    1 vote(s)
  2. Jonesy - Regret

    3 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest (33) - A Regretted Lie

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Nov 26, 2008.

    Voting Short Story Contest (33) Theme: A Regretted Lie

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned.

    Voting will end 1st December 2008 to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not strictly in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    garmar69 - Emily's Secret

    Kate turned on the TV, hearing the reporter in mid-sentence…

    “…convicted murderer Jason Walker was released from death row,” cries of protesters in the background grew louder as a tall man in a tweed suit strode down the courthouse steps. “And here now is Chief prosecutor Ben Cassell. Mr. Cassell, can you comment on the Walker conviction being overturned this afternoon?”

    “No comment.”

    “Mr. Cassell, this is the second exoneration of a convicted murderer this year. How is this going to effect the scheduled executions from the others who have filed for protection under the Innocence Project?”

    The prosecutor ignored the question, slipping into his waiting car before it sped off.

    “Well there you have it, more silence from the DA’s office.”

    Kate turned the TV off, and sat down hard on the floor. The remote thumped on the carpet beside her. Breathing heavily, she picked her phone up off the coffee table. She dialed, impatient, getting it wrong the first time. “Damn it!” Dialed again then waited, drumming her fingers against her jeans. “Come on, pick up sis.”

    Her sister Emily finally picked up on the fifth ring. “Hello. I guess you saw the news?”

    “Can you believe this ****?” Kate demanded, pacing into the kitchen.

    “I can’t believe they let him go.” A pause. “What are you going to do?”

    “I don’t know. Kill the bastard I guess.” Kate walked back to the living room, kicking the remote on her way past the coffee table.

    “That’s not funny.”

    “Didn’t mean to be. You remember what we talked about doing if that bastard ever got out?”

    Emily paused for several seconds before answering, “You’re not seriously considering that, are you?”

    “You’re damn right I am.” Kate walked over to a closet, pulled a canvas bag from the top shelf. “And you’re gonna help me like you promised.” She walked to the kitchen, dumping the tennis shoes and racquet out of the bag on the way.

    “But we were just talking sis, we can’t do that.”

    Kate slammed the bag down on the counter. “But you saw him kill dad. You testified against him; how can you turn your back on this?”

    Another long pause. “Well I just can’t do it. You need to calm down and think rationally about this. Maybe I was wrong about that night.”

    Through clenched teeth, Kate said. “Well, I’ll talk to you later.”

    “…Ok, I love you sis.”

    “Love you too, bye.”

    Kate punched the button on the phone, and then threw it hard at the wall. She stood there for a second looking at the dent in the sheetrock, then screamed and pulled her hair. Finally collecting herself, she stood in front of the counter, staring at the canvas bag. After a few moments, she started opening drawers.


    Kate crept silently through the dark house. In the bedroom, she bent over the sleeping form and said, “Emily, wake up.”

    “How did you get in here?” She looked at the clock, “it‘s only three in the morning.”

    “I have a key, remember? You have to get up now. Jason called.”

    She sat up instantly. “You’re kidding me.”

    “No, get up.”

    “Did you call the police?” Emily yawned, wanting to go back to sleep.

    “No, I’m not going to either.”

    “Let the police take care of it.”

    “Yea, they’ll take care of it.” Kate rolled her eyes and walked out of the room. “Just get dressed.”

    Emily walked into the kitchen to find Kate banging around in the cabinets. “What are you looking for?”

    “Something to eat. Are you getting dressed, or are you going out in your underwear?”

    “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on.”

    Kate checked her watch, and then looked through the kitchen window. There was movement outside, a cat on the curb pawing at the trashcan under the streetlight. Without turning, Kate whispered, “Please come with me and not question it this time”

    “That’s going to be hard to do Kate. You haven‘t done anything stupid, have you?”

    They both turned as the clip-clap sound of slippers came from the hallway. “What’s going on in here guys?” It was Mark, Emily’s husband.

    Emily said, “Jason called Kate.”

    Mark rubbed his eyes and yawned. “Well, did you call the police?”

    “No, Kate woke me up instead. Like I can do something about it.”

    “Mark, I need to get out of here and talk to my sister for awhile. To help clear my head. This business with Jason is really messing me up. You don’t mind if I steal her for awhile, do you?”

    Mark looked at Emily and shrugged his shoulders. “Why don’t you just go before the kids wake up.”

    Emily’s shoulders dropped a little. She glanced at her sister then back at Mark. “Okay, I’ll go get dressed.”


    “Alright, you’ve got me out of bed, what’s the big secret this time?”

    Kate was fiddling with the radio, hunched forward against the steering wheel. The thump-thump, thump-thump of the tires on the road could be felt, more than heard, over the volume of the radio.

    “Are you ignoring me? You said you wanted to talk.”

    Kate looked over; her eyes were shining.

    “Why are you crying sis?”

    Kate smiled, “we’re gonna make that bastard pay for what he did to Dad.”

    “What do you mean? I thought we had this all hashed out already. The skin under Jason’s fingernails wasn‘t dad's. You know Jason was always getting into fights. I must have been mistaken that night.”

    Kate stared at her sister. “How could you be mistaken, and why are you defending him?”

    A passing driver swerved, his horn blaring as he passed.

    Emily stomped her right foot down, as if she had a brake on the passenger side. “Jesus Kate, quit screwing with the radio before you get us killed!”

    Kate glared at Emily and shut off the radio. The thumping of the tires on the rumble strip loud, then fading away as she pulled back into her lane. Kate started rummaging around behind the drivers seat, apparently found what she was looking for and nodded.

    “What are you looking for now, Kate?


    “It’s not healthy for you to keep obsessing over this. Dad is dead, ruining your own life isn’t going to bring him back.”

    “That’s easy for you to say, Dad always loved you more. He died before I could ever make it right.” Tears welled up in her eyes. “You were always little miss perfect daughter when we were growing up.”

    “That’s not fair. What do you think it was like for me, watching you devastate our parents over and over? You can’t believe I was just trying to gain favor with Mom and Dad.” Emily raised her shirt and wiped her eyes. “You did a great job of alienating yourself without my help.”

    Kate slammed on the brakes; throwing Emily hard against the seatbelt, knocking the breath out of her. She reversed until a gravel driveway appeared in the headlights, turned, and then drove up to a run-down farmhouse. Emily was still clutching the door handle.

    “Why are we here; isn’t this where Jason is staying?”

    Kate turned around in the small driveway, and then backed up to the rotting front steps.

    “Is Jason here?” Emily asked, eyeing the dark farmhouse.

    Ignoring her sister, Kate got out of the car, pulled the seat forward, and picked up the canvas bag. Kate was already up the stairs and unlocking the front door when Emily opened her car door and stepped out, looking around the dark yard. The place seemed deserted.

    Emily walked up the steps to the front door, wishing she had eyes in the back of her head. Emily walked through the foyer in the dark. Kate was already inside lighting a kerosene lantern. She gasped when the light revealed the mangled mess tied to a stout oak chair. The left side of Jason’s face looked like a drunken sculptor had been working it over. Three teeth, one with a gold filling still glinting on it, lay on his chest and lap. A bloody bat lay at the man’s feet.

    “Oh my god Kate is that…” She couldn’t finish, too busy vomiting on the scratched wood floor.

    “You’re going to help me bury him. I couldn’t carry him out, that’s why I got this.” She pulled a cleaver from the canvas bag. The glow from the lantern reflected amber light across its surface. “In case you wouldn’t come.”

    Emily, still dry heaving, stared at her sister. She realized she had never really seen her before. Kate had always been a burden. Pregnant at 16. Missing for days at a time, then showing up strung out on drugs. Always some drama that needed attention; but this, this she never could have dreamed.

    Kate set the cleaver down, and then pulled a piece of plastic from the bag. After unrolling it, she spread it out beside the chair. “Come on, help me cut him loose.” Kate pointed at another knife in the bag, picked up the cleaver, and then started cutting at the rope wrapped around Jason’s huge frame.

    Emily took a step back. Jason was a very strong, violent man. The fact that Kate could overcome him was hard to believe.

    “How did this happen?”

    “He called me after they released him yesterday. I agreed to meet him here. I let him think I believed his bull**** long enough to use that. Kate pointed at a taser on the side table. “Can you believe how stupid he is?” Her eyes gleamed as she smiled and resumed hacking away at the rope. “Didn’t I do good sis?”

    “When we talked about this, it was just talk. I didn’t think he would ever get out. Or you would be serious about this. We have to call the police Kate.”

    As soon as she said this, Jason began moaning and shifting against his bonds.

    “He’s not dead Kate, I’m calling 911!

    Kate took two quick steps towards Emily and snatched the cell phone from her hands. “If you call the police, we both go to jail.”

    Emily raised her hands to either side of her head, pressing there like someone suffering an extreme headache. “I have something to tell you…”

    A sickening crunch and the liquid sound of blood falling on the wood floor stopped Emily. Looking up, she saw Kate raising the cleaver up for another swing. “I hate you, you sonofabitch!”

    “Oh god, no!” Emily staggered back from her sister. Her legs going numb.

    Kate collapsed in the floor, tears tracking down her blood-spattered face. She looked up at the ceiling and cried, “I did it daddy, I finally made it right for you.”

    Emily looked at Jason, and then moved over to him, trying to stop the gush of blood from his nearly severed neck. It was too late. He was gone. She removed her bloody hands and held them up for Kate to see.

    “Oh god he’s dead.” She began shivering uncontrollably and said, “I lied about seeing Jason kill dad that night.”

    Kate’s eyes moved from Emily’s hands to her face. “What?”

    “Well, the police said he did it. After everything he did to you, I wanted to make sure he went away for good.”

    Realization dawned on Kate as Emily’s words sunk in. She stood up and slowly made her way to the front porch and sat down.

    A few moments later, Emily sat down beside her. She slid her long sleeves down over her hands and shivered with her arms crossed in front of her chest.

    The light of the new day fell on Kate’s face, her expression devoid of all thought. They sat quietly for a while, then Kate asked, “well, are you gonna help me bury him?”
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Jonesy - Regret

    Vaf stood, leaning against the balcony. A yellow glow engulfed his back from the bedroom behind. Vaf looked out towards the city lights, to all the small ants on the ground, to the pairs of lights marching down a grey path. He swallowed, the certain type of a pained man. a tear rolled slowly down his cheek. He gazed to the moon, to the stars.

    Vaf turned to his face his bedroom, back on the balcony. He looked in, saw his king single bed, his tv, his couch, all expensive. He gazed to the picture on his wall, hiding the safe. He had it all, they'd say. What'd they know - shallow creatures. No, in his mind he didn't. One regret in his life, when he chose to leave his homeland for good. Leave it all behind and get a better life.

    Vaf turned back towards the city, looking down to all the people on the streets. Their life was good. Vaf eyed a couple walking lightly down the pavement, laughing and smiling. Vaf winced and shuddered. He spun around and drooped to the floor, he hung his head between his knees, and let it out. The salty taste of tears entered his mouth.

    One moment back, one thing to change. I'd give anything for that. I'd give everything for that. Everything.


    Seven years ago, back in his hometown. The night he left. It was a cold night, with a light shower of rain to set a sombre mood. "For a better life, eh, son?" Vaf's father's toothless smile felt warming. "Never forget, for a better life." Vaf's father placed a hand on Vaf's shoulder and shook it lightly. "You'll go far, boy. You'll make us all proud. That I know." Vaf smiled, he planned to.

    "I will, father." Vaf's father started shaking, a shiny stream under his eyes reflected the moonlight. "I promise I will." The shuddering stopped. "Father, thank for raising me. Thank you for who I am."

    The two men hugged each other, a final goodbye.

    Vaf walked to the dirt runway, a vibrating hum announcing the small plane awaiting him. The dirt was mud under his boots, and water was soaking through to his feet, steps were beginning to hurt. I must go on. For my family, my village. For my people. Vaf trudged wearily towards the plane, his one bag strewn across his shoulder. He approached the pilot smoking outside the cockpit. The pilot doused his cigarette and shook hands with Vaf. Vaf chucked his bag into the seat behind the pilot's. Vaf looked back at his footsteps, a path tracing to the village. He wiped a tear with his thumb. Be strong.

    "Vaf! Wait up!" Vaf looked up in surprise, Laura was chasing down his footprints getting closer to the plane. "Stay Vaf... please." Oh god, not now. Tears were streaming down her face. She wiped those away on her roughly sewn sleeve.

    "Vaf... Do you love me?"


    His tears had long dried, but the taste remained on his tongue. All of this, it is worth nothing. Nothing. He shakily stood up and went inside, immediately heading to his bed and wrapping himself in covers to warm. The shivering did not stop, his pillow soaked from tears.

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