"The Empty Page" by Kimberlee Ashby — Our September 2019 Gold Medal Winner

by - Thursday, November 14, 2019

Kimberlee Ashby is our first place winner from the contest posted in our September, 2019 issue!

What the judges had to say:

"What a great way to 'contain' the image in one's mind. This story was unique, well written, and engaging. The characters were sparse yet simultaneously profound."

"The Empty Page is a very well-crafted story. The character of Sissy evolves vividly, with small careful detail of description and reflection. The reader is brought gradually into the narrative with each beat revealing just enough information about character and setting to keep us engaged. I was hoping for a little more from the ending but it's okay to leave a few questions unanswered."

"A really engaging and unique story! I have so many questions left unanswered, but I don't mind that one bit. The voice of the girl was believable - I felt for her but laughed at times too. This was a joy to read."

Meet Kimberlee:

Kimberlee lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and daughter. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at York University in Toronto. She likes spending her free time reading, writing, playing tennis, and exploring Alberta’s Rockies.

The photo prompt:

The Empty Page

an excerpt by Kimberlee Ashby

Sissy vigorously shook the snow globe and then watched, mesmerized by how quickly something can disappear. One minute she was staring at a tiny cottage surrounded by snow, set against a backdrop of dense forest. The next minute the cottage was wiped from existence with just a few shakes of her hand.

The white cloud of snow reminded Sissy of something her mother once said: “Before the universe existed there was just empty white space, like a blanket of snow, or like an empty page.” That was during her mother’s philosophy phase, or maybe it was her poetry phase. Sissy had a hard time keeping track.

She shook the snow globe again. Each time challenging her belief that things could return to the way they were before: before snow wiped out the cottage; before the fire. Once the snow settled, Sissy studied the cottage to see if anything changed; the cedar-shingled roof, the upper floor balcony, or the ornately carved front door. But it appeared the cottage was able to endure anything.

Dr. Moore cleared his throat and grabbed a mint from the tin on his desk. Lately, Sissy was finding it difficult to ignore him. His office chair creaked with the slightest movement. The yellow-lined notepad, balancing on his knee, was always threatening to plummet to the ground. He was pretty good at waiting—Sissy would give him that. But her mother had told her to never trust a man with no lips, or eyebrows that grew together. She never told her what to do in the presence of a man who had both. Was she supposed to run? Cry for help? It was hard to say. Life was just easier if it was her and her snow globe. The plastic base was a bit charred but otherwise it worked just fine.

“Tell me about living at your grandmother’s, Sissy.” ...

Read the rest of Kimberlee's story in the December 2019 issue of Blank Spaces. 

[Read the second and third place stories]

Learn how you can participate in one of our Write-Prompt Flash Fiction Contests HERE

Order the next issue of Blank Spaces HERE

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