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Endgame 

A selection of final sentences from entries in our short story contest converge to create one amazing tale.

Juanito, not knowing if his mother had been shot, not knowing what he had just done, not knowing what all of the bright lights were doing around him, stood there gazing up at everyone with a numb, almost catatonic stare.

The game of life spun on. They watched the world fly past them in a blur. And then, beneath the pale moonlight, he softly took her face in his hands, and ever so gently kissed her. The ring fit perfectly.

"Happy Second Honeymoon," they both said, and then laughed a little and kissed.

She was finally blissfully, thankfully, unapologetically not alone anymore. She kissed him on the cheek, curled into the shape of his body, pulling his arm through the dip in her side, and slipped back into sleep.

But they did talk more about the dark man at the beach motel, and about an Aussie-hatted umbrella thief, and about a smuggler's trip to France, and about others of Frank's continuing attempts at poetic literature.

The red Honda left the village. With that, we turned and left the cemetery.

"Sure you did," she snickered, aware her life will soon return to normal.

Chantel lowered her head and began to cry. If only she'd taken the walk. After a few moments, when she realized that no answers were coming, she found a phone, dialed 911, and sat on the couch. On the other end of the phone, Bill answered on the third ring. Let's hope that what she heard was not just a voice in the wilderness.

She turned on the CD player to set the mood. She sat down and started from the beginning.

Her heart pounded and her breath came in shorter and shorter gasps when she read and translated the words: "To Josephine, from Napoleon, 1796, Today we will begin to live our dream." Kneeling in the wet grass, squinting at shadows, using my fingers, I could barely make out the words, "Into the Light."

Before she could stop herself, she was the old Eskimo woman she'd read about in 10th grade, a short, thin woman, wearing a nightgown and faded pink sweater standing barefoot on a chunk of ice, floating along, holding her arms at her sides, smiling into the trumpeting wind, waiting for the lovely ice to strain against its own weight and crack apart and unfasten her and sweep her away from the gravity of the world.

But little did she know the journey was just beginning. After all, you're just a river. That is WHO VINCENT IS! Not that it even matters. It's OK to be different!

Her mother leapt up and gathered the child in, rocking her, pressing Katie's face into her heavy breasts, rocking her, rocking her, as Katie sobbed. And then it was done.

"Are you OK?"

"We shall learn that God is just; that He has a willful purpose for all; it is humanity that corrupts God's purpose," Betsy replied. "Let's go get your Mom and show her!"

"I haven't really thought about it."

"Yeah, I know."

In the meantime, he had a farmyard to look after. He smiled and the three sat down to eat their dinner. No, he thought, I will not stay home tonight.

"Here, Grandma, have a Fruit Rollup and you'll be OK, too."

We finish it off in a few bites, and start on the next. We never spoke about it again.

The island winds swept their pain beyond Episkopi Bay to the sea. It was as if God's faith in me was so strong that there was no need for the griffin to take anyone else across the sea.

Now, I sometimes sit in front of the big mirror and comb out my hair, which I have started to grow very long. I light a Kool Filter and wait. I hope I don't have any more dreams. Hurricane or no hurricane, I needs me some peace. I'd buy me a camper, live in the parking lot, turn myself lily white to blend in.

I'm glad my wife talked me into taking this creative writing class after all. I am late for French, and can't help but grin as I enter the room, murmuring my apologies and trying to stifle my laughter at the absurdity of Life. S



Mark Mobley is editor in chief of Style Weekly.



Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.




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