Last fall I entered the NYC Midnight Microflash Fiction contest. In January, I made it through the first round, and last night I learned that I’ve made it through to the next round! Here’s the story that moved me to the finals. At the end is some of the judge’s feedback.
Assigned genre: Historical Fiction
Action that had to be included: bricklaying
Word that had to be included: step
Time to write the 250 word story: 24 hours
A WHISPERED AGITATION
by Joanne Brokaw
Martin filled his trowel with cement, slopped the mortar onto the growing barrier, and topped it with a brick. “You’ll not see that neighbor again, Emily.” More slop. “She’s an agitator.” Another brick.
Emily knew enough to remain silent when her husband was mid-tirade. His word was law, by God, and she best not forget it. But while her lips were quiet, her spirit was not.
Days earlier, that neighbor, Clara, had returned from visiting cousins in Auburn and whispered to Emily rumors of a coming women’s rights movement.
“Can you imagine?” Clara marveled. “To have the vote?”
“That’s preposterous. Surely you’re mistaken. ”
“No, Emily, there’s to be a convention next week. We will be heard.”
For days, dreams of equality girded Emily with confidence. She sewed a new dress; Martin accused her of putting on airs. Her request to see the household ledger was met with icy silence. But it was her utterance of the word “suffrage” that prompted Martin to build the wall.
“You think we don’t know what our wives are up to behind our backs?”
Emily spied Clara on her porch, her black eye and swollen lip visible even at a distance. Clara quickly turned away.
Emily decided. With Martin distracted, she slipped away, donning her bonnet as she walked determinedly to the train station. She stepped up to the ticket counter and pushed a few pilfered coins towards the agent. “One fare to Seneca Falls, please.”
The judges had some nice thing to say about the piece and gave specific, really helpful suggestions. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading “A Whispered Agitation (flash fiction)”