Writing Prompt Winner: March McCarron

After a long hiatus, we’ve brought back Writing Prompt!

The farther she ran, the more distant her parents’ screaming voices became. Her nightgown blew in the damp breeze until a light began to rise from the ground. Halting before the opening in the street, she eased up to it and peered inside.

Participants are challenged to complete the prompt in 300 words or less. Check out the inspiration image on the permalink here.

The winning story by March McCarron appears below. Congrats, March!

The familiar portal shimmered beneath asphalt, an undulating, cerulean glow. Bridget glanced over her shoulder, to where her mother no longer screamed. Then she dove into the gateway, the blueness engulfing her. For several heartbeats, she spun—compressed, suffocated, and blinded—caught in the void between times.

Then her alarm clock was chirping. Bridget’s eyes opened, taking in the glow-in-the-dark stars puttied to her bedroom ceiling. She reached, sightless, for her diary. She flipped to a list scribbled twenty-nine mornings before—or yesterday. Her lime gel-pen marked her last, her final failure. Thirty chances spent, thirty portals wasted. Her gaze flicked up to the calendar on her wall—to the tomorrow she would finally meet.

She rose mechanically, slipping into a pair of cow-shaped slippers. The day to come flashed through her mind, like an oft-watched film: *Pancakes kind of morning—burnt, again!—hit the store after work—Bridget, did you feel that?—Run, run, don’t look back* She shook her mother’s scream from her mind. She could not change it; she had tried.

Bridget forced herself to move, to slump down the stairs and into the kitchen. She smiled, blinking back tears, as she watched her mother gyrate, rhythmless, to some 80s pop-song.

“Lo! She cooks,” Bridgette said, as she always did.

“It seemed like a pancakes kind of morning.” Her mother gestured with a spatula. “Blueberries or chocolate chips? Wait, stupid question. Chocolate.”

“Mom?” Bridget asked.

“Yes, Bee?”

“If you died today, what would you regret?”

Her mother, without suspicion, pretended to ponder this. “Too few pancakes.”

Bridget hid her sob in a laugh. She knew, then, what could be changed. She hauled the frying pan down, then shooed her mother away with it.

“So take-charge!”

“Drink your coffee; I’ve got it,” Bridget commanded. “You always burn them.”