"Exit Strategy" by Rachel Freeman — Our December 2019 Gold Medal Winner

by - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Rachel Freeman is our first place winner from the contest posted in our December, 2019 issue!

What the judges had to say:

"The detail in this story is incredibly vivid. The characters are instantly complex and I could feel myself fall in love as instantly as they did."

"A beautifully-written story. The protagonist is vivid and believable and strong...a very satisfying portrait."

"... fascinating and had me hooked til the end. Great sense of style. I like the brevity in your style of writing; only sharing enough to get the point across. it keeps things moving. Well done!!"

"Who doesn't identify with love or pain? This story reaches into the core of our own fears, anxieties, and losses. It marches over dead grass and takes us to greener pastures, metaphorically-speaking. A guttural and uplifting story, all at once horrible yet beautiful. Congratulations."

Meet Rachel:

Rachel Freeman is an aspiring author and published poet who lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband, two children, and a pair of cats. She’s an avid reader and writer who enjoys all manner of artistic expression. Creativity is a part of her every day, and if music is playing, Rachel is singing along.

The photo prompt:

Exit Strategy

an excerpt by Rachel Freeman

I sit naked on the edge of the tub as the bathroom morphs into a tropical rainforest. If I close my eyes, listen to the shower, smell my mango body wash, I can almost pretend I’m on vacation. Not that I’ve ever been on vacation.

The bruise blooming on my hip has me transfixed. The edges yellow-green, like mouldy meat; like I’m rotting from the inside. Maybe I am. I push my thumb into the grape jelly centre, finally close my eyes and sink into the dull throb the pressure creates.

Before I’m aware of it, my razor’s in my hand again, drawn sideways across my thigh. Two parallel lines bubbling beads of garnet onto my skin. I can breathe again. I run my finger over the cut, smearing blood across the speed bumps of scars, like graffiti on a brick wall. A rainbow of colour. The most beautiful I’ve ever been.

In the shower I watch the water whirlpool down the drain, washing a drop of me away from this place. I’m wistful for the rest to follow. ...

Read the rest of Rachel's story in the March 2020 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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© Alanna Rusnak Publishing est. 2016 and Blank Spaces Magazine