The short story contest was just about to start, and Evie anxiously waited for the prompt to be emailed. She just knew she would win this time! She had entered the contest every time it ran, but always came in somewhere past 5th place. There were only prizes awarded to the first five places. She had spent the entire weekend thinking of clever phrases and practicing literary devices that she was sure she could use in the story, no matter what the prompt was. The email was supposed to come out at 9:45 AM. Evie had been staring at her computer screen for the past 20 minutes, willing her email program to beep, telling her she had a new message. It was still only 9:40 AM. Five minutes to go.
She jumped when the doorbell rang. “Not now!” she groaned, pushing back her chair and edging toward the door with her eyes still on her screen. She had a whole week to write the story, but was so anxious to start, she did not want to miss a minute of that week answering the door!
When she opened the door, forced to look away from her computer screen, all thoughts of writing fled from her mind. The uniformed man at the door held out a large, flat envelope, splashed with the logo from an express delivery company. Evie saw her hand, shaking like a leaf, automatically reach for the envelope. When her fingertips touched the envelope, she jerked her hand back as if it had been burned.
“Lady,” The delivery driver sounded bored. “I need you to sign here for this envelope.”
“Um, oh, um.” Evie fumbled for the dangling stylus to sign the electronic pad the driver was holding. She hurriedly scratched something on the worn pad and, somewhat reluctantly, reached again for the envelope, without looking directly at it. “Thank-you,” she mumbled to the back of the driver as he headed for the white and green truck idling on the street, ignoring her.
Evie leaned against the door jam, staring at nothing as the envelope slipped from her hand. Her heart was beating so loud in her ears that she didn’t hear the car enter the driveway. It was only when the door slammed that she slowly turned her head toward the sound.
“Did it come?” Jeremy, Evie’s twin brother, practically leaped up the steps onto the porch and snatched up the envelope at Evie’s feet. “I told you it would be here today!” Jeremy crowed as he ripped open the envelope and took out a sheaf of paper stapled to a photo. The twins had not seen their father for years, but Jeremy had found him in an online search. The grainy photo, obviously taken from a high angle, showed their long lost father pointing a gun at their mother, two small children cowering next to her.
Evie turned wordlessly from the door and walked woodenly to her desk. On the screen, an email message flashed. She opened it and stared at the prompt for the fiction contest:
Use this as your starting sentence:
“If I could do one day over in my life, it would be….”