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Read "The Sacrifice," Flash Fiction Grand Prize Winner (13 and Under 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.)

"The Sacrifice" by Miriam G. - Grand Prize Winner (13 and Under Division)

Red to catch the dragon’s eye, the balloon floated away from the cliff. Shana struggled against her bonds, searching for the small knife she kept hidden in her sleeve as the balloon carried her farther into the sky. Below, her former tribesmen watched her float off. A sacrifice for the dragon. Some tribemates.

The knife slipped free, and Shana twisted, taking it in her bound hands. She sawed awkwardly at the rope. Dragon’s Mountain loomed closer, its two peaks spreading like bat’s wings.

Or dragon’s wings.

A perfect place for a dragon to live.

Finally the blade bit into the rope. Shana dragged at it, cutting into the fibers. She felt one break, snapping against her wrist as it did so. Others came after, quicker.

And still the balloon floated onwards.

The last fiber cracked apart, and Shana pulled her hands free from the rope. She bent to her feet and slashed the knife across the bonds.

She glanced up and could now see the dark hole of the dragon’s lair. The winds were perfect, pushing the red balloon closer and closer. Ever closer.

At last her feet were free. Shana stood and grabbed at the ropes attaching the basket to the balloon. Could she climb to the flame that kept her aloft, and blow it out? But the fire was too sheltered. She glanced down. Burnt, barren land, dotted with rivers of lava, changed to sharp craggy rock.

Something rumbled. Shana looked up. The dragon had emerged.

Black, massive, it spread its wings and loomed up. Stained teeth glinted as it lunged.

And Shana jumped. A desperate leap for freedom. She landed hard, heard snapping, felt pain. The rock scraped her. But she stumbled up and ran despite the agony. She would not be a dragon’s lunch.

Special guest judge Claire Kann had this to say about "The Sacrifice": "The tension in this story was spectacular! I loved the sparse but effective world-building, the sharp, clean prose, and the compelling imagery. The main character, Shana, was daring, scrappy, and resourceful—my favorite kind of protagonist." 

author photo

Miriam G. loves horses, cats, and randomly starting novels that will never have more than a chapter written of them. She is guilty of Writing Way Too Much About Dragons, and nearly everything she writes must include a dragon or it usually doesn’t amount to much. Additionally, she’s diagnosed with Adding Horses for No Particular Reason. Luckily, cats have managed to escape this horrible habit, partially because she lives with the sweetest kitty in the world.

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