First Place | Flash Fiction Writing Contest XLVIII | 2019


Kristina Woods of ​New Canaan, Connecticut for "Getaway"

Woods will receive $1,000, a certificate to mark the success, and publication both online and in print.

This is the author’s first literary award and “Getaway” will be her first work to appear in a print publication.


By Kristina Woods

She goes every other Sunday after dinner, in the dark. She passes lopsided snowmen and gray snow banks and house after house after house after house flaunting yellow light through curtainless windows. If she’s early, she continues on, down the hill, around the bend, back on the main road and up the hill again, like she’s running laps.

She parks in the driveway behind the Chevy Suburban with the decal of a stick-figure family with two parents, two boys, two girls, two dogs and a little circle sprouting hair, drawn in purple sharpie. She removes the gum from her mouth, places it in a tissue and adds it to the collection in the side pocket of the car door. The moon hangs over the leafless trees in a perfect crescent, like a picture from a storybook.

One of the boys lets her in. She takes her place on the gray flagstones next to the coat rack. This is as far as she goes. Her salt-stained boots stand among the black cleats, lavender Ugg boots, dark blue sneakers, and tiny glittery ballet flats. A long hair, the perfect shade of blonde, clings to a black wool beret on the side of the wooden bench. She wraps her arms around her waist, holding herself in, like a swaddled baby or a schizophrenic. Her tongue searches the back of her teeth for traces of spinach left by Lean Cuisine.

He’ll come thundering partway down the stairs in a moment, wearing a shirt in a color like teal or coral, saddled with several children, two of them hers. His hair will be tousled and longer than it was. His face will be smooth, clean-shaven, even though it’s a weekend. He’ll start to say something to her but will find himself interrupted. He’ll chase someone back upstairs.

“Easy there.” The dogs jump at her, with piercing barks. “Sit. Sit. Down.” She isn’t a dog person. He never used to be a dog person either.

A boy gallops by, laughing, skidding into the white on white kitchen, where the tall woman with turned out toes waves towards the front door with only the tips of her fingers, cradling her phone screen under her chin with her other hand. “Oh, yes, five is going to be positively insane! But we’re all thrilled! Blessed! Humbled! Grateful!”

The big dog snatches one of her leather gloves with its dripping mouth, then bounds out of sight towards the room they call the family room although it has never contained all of the twisted branches of this family.

She’s in her car with the engine running, the girls buckled into the back, the little one sucking her thumb, the older one kicking the seat when the front door of the house bursts open. He jogs down the brick walkway in his thick wool socks. No shoes. She imagines him banging his fist against the car window, stealing a glance over his shoulder, then diving headfirst into the back. He’ll sprawl over the girls in a tangle of limbs and shrieks and giggles, crying “Go Go Go!”, yanking the door closed as they careen around the corner, tires etching skid marks onto the road. Like when they slipped out the side of the great white tent at Nora and Brian’s freezing waterfront reception before the cake had been cut, stumbled across the uneven lawn in the blue shadows cast by a giant moon, plucked their keys off of the hook in the valet station and sped down the gravel driveway like the police had caught scent of their trail, gasping with laughter all the way back to their tiny overpriced hotel room with the creaky king-sized bed. Ten weeks later, they beamed over a plus sign on a stick, a few years earlier than planned.

But he doesn’t bang his fist. He taps the driver’s side window, gently. She turns towards him and faces her own glazed reflection, then rolls down the window like she’s going to place her order. The cold air rushes in. He looks distracted, directing his gaze at the girls in the back seat even as he speaks to her.

“Sorry.” He hands her the mangled and soggy glove. “They said this was one of yours.”

She drives the long way home, then stops at the bottom of the driveway, facing the dark and silent windows. She turns off the engine. Wearing one glove she opens the back door and unbuckles their car seats, one by one. “I want to show you the moon,” she says.

“Why?” They ask, climbing out. “Why are we looking at the moon? Is it different tonight?”

She doesn’t say anything for a long time, until the older one tugs at her cold bare hand and asks again.

“Yes,” she tells them. The word forms its own cloud, and then disappears. “It is different. It’s different every single night.”


Kristina Woods is currently working on a novel about deception and regret in suburbia. “Getaway” is her first published story.

This is the author’s first literary award and “Getaway” will be her first work to appear in a print publication.

Getaway © 2019 Kristina Woods
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