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Read "Fate," Flash Fiction Grand Prize Winner (14-18 Division)!

Last month, we challenged you to write a 300-word flash fiction story that somehow included a balloon. From over 1,100 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prize Winners and eight Honorable Mentions. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! (For more stories, check out this forum thread.)

"Fate" by Lainey T. - Grand Prize Winner (14-18 Division)

Beatrice had never seen an unopened portal before.

A translucent balloon filled with olive green vines hovered over the sidewalk in front of her. Carmine flowers decorated the greenery, stray petals scattered on the ground.

The street was empty except for Beatrice and the balloon as if it was meant only for her eyes. Which was impossible, because Beatrice wasn’t supposed to discover portals. She was supposed to do her homework and go to class. Her friend, Alexis, always found the portals and dragged Beatrice along on her adventures.

Beatrice pulled out her phone to text Alexis. She was the one who slew dragons, saved kingdoms, and who was written about in history books across countless worlds. Beatrice tagged along as emotional support.

“Do you go looking for this stuff or something?” Beatrice had asked her once when they had entered a realm populated by giant, sentient rocks.

Alexis had grinned. “Adventure finds me, I guess.”

Yet here adventure was, finding Beatrice instead.

Even in their world, she was always the sidekick. A background character in Alexis’s story. She wasn’t interesting enough to be anyone else.

But maybe fate had chosen her this time. The thought was absurd because Beatrice was ordinary. She couldn’t lead armies or fight corrupt kings. For her to want more was ridiculous. It would be best to walk away; she had a physics test to study for.

Beatrice still didn’t move. Entering the portal might be the worst decision she could make, but she didn’t care anymore. What did she have to lose?

Perhaps fate had shown up at the wrong doorstep, but it had shown up all the same.

She grabbed the balloon and dug her nails in.

A pop.

A flash of light brighter than the sun.

The street was empty.

Special guest judge Claire Kann had this to say about "Fate": "What a fun, creative, and intriguing story! Beatrice, the world she lives in, and her goals are established quickly and masterfully. Immediately after finishing, all I could think was: where is the rest? I hope I get to read about Beatrice and her adventures someday.” 

author photo

Lainey T. is a writer who loves drawing, playing the harp, singing, and petting her dogs. She is going into her junior year of high school and enjoys reading young adult fantasy, realistic fiction, and occasionally science fiction. In her free time, she loves ranting about books to whoever will listen and listening to music. Her favorite part of writing is developing characters and she loves seeing them come to life on the page. She is passionate about storytelling and hopes to someday get her work published.   

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