Each issue features a Mysterious Photograph. Readers are invited to submit a 250-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo. The person who invents the best mystery story receives a prize of $25, and the story is published in a future issue.
The Story That Won the May/June 2019 contest:
Shutterstock.com / Komela
OFF THE TRAIL
by Damon Privette
Burt fell back into camp in a cloud of dust, desperately trying to regain his feet. “Snake bite yur snake?” Dudley asked him, stirring beans, not bothering to look up from his prone position by the fire.
“Dudds, out past them weeds . . . I dunn saw me a specter,” Burt’s words rushed out between heavy breaths. “A woman ridin’ a black horse. Only they was floatin’ three feet off the ground,” he said, nervously scanning the darkness beyond their firelight. “She looked straight at me,” he finished in a high squeak.
“Hanhepi wi Winyan,” Dudley said through a grin. “The Moon Woman.”
“Just relax . . . them crazy injun’s got a story about everything. Lakota say The Moon Woman shows up on full moons to take back anything stolen from her people. Legend has it she takes a piece of the thief with her too.”
“It is a full moon, Dudds.”
“It ain’t nothin’ but native gobbledygook. Now simmer down and get some shut-eye.”
“I told you we never should’ve rode through them burial grounds . . . we never should’ve done that, Dudds. We never should’ve taken that stuff.”
Dudley responded in snores, emanating from under his wide-brimmed hat.
Burt’s screams came in the darkness just before daybreak. “MY EYES! MY EYES!”
But Dudley would have needed ears to hear them.
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