Annie’s six-year-old eyes brimmed with tears as she took her first reluctant step forward. The pressure, the stakes, the sheer magnitude of her surroundings threatened to consume her, like a monster with teeth ten times sharper than in any story she had heard before. Another step would put her in her worst nightmare – over a hundred of her peers staring intently at her bright red face; little Annie, alone in front of them all, with no hands to hold or parents to help her; and just one immeasurably daunting word to spell, taunting Annie with what was sure to be a number of syllables that she couldn’t even count to. So, instead of taking another step into the abyss that was the Wilson Elementary spelling bee, she turned around and scurried off to the corner of the auditorium, where she sat down facing a painted concrete wall, and wept.
Shaking and sniffling with her head clutched in the wall’s grasp, she argued with herself for what felt like an hour – “You’re embarrassing yourself, Annie.” “Be quiet, Annie!” – before an unsolicited voice of kindness interrupted her heated internal debate.
“Annie, sweetheart, you don’t have to keep going if you don’t want to, but-”
“I don’t,” she snapped.
“Well, I think you should know that if you get this word right, you win the whole spelling bee. We’ve never had a first-grader do that before.”
She spun to see the sympathetic eyes of Mrs. Smith, the librarian. “Never?” she asked.
“Never ever.”
At once, the derisive voice inside Annie’s head, which couldn’t even agree with itself moments ago, adopted a kinder tone. Emboldened, she hoisted herself up, her eyes red and hair gripping the drying tears that stained her rosy cheeks.
Mrs. Smith smiled and wiped Annie’s face with her sleeve. “Come on,” she said, gripping Annie’s hand as the two ascended the stage once more.
Patting Annie’s shoulder, Mrs. Smith wished her luck before departing. Standing alone, sniffling and damp, Annie inhaled deeply, nodded that she was ready, and received her word.
She took another deep breath, and spelled out,
“R-E-S-I-L-I-E-N-C-E.”
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Most Voted Comments

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8

Bait

It takes a real talent to tell a story in so few words. What was…


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6

Endure and Sing

Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be the protagonist in your story,…


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6

Endure and Sing

Such a sweet tale - and with a good moral to the story. I thought…


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5

Endure and Sing

Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read to little kids, the moral…


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4

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to hear your story read aloud…


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4

Endure and Sing

In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller Hans-Christian Andersen. Your sweet story…


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4

Endure and Sing

A really nice one with a wonderful story line. I can see why this was…


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4

Endure and Sing

A beautiful story! I was reminded of seeing Paul Potts and Susan Boyle on Britain's…


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4

Endure and Sing

Your story inspired me to keep going no matter how discouraging it gets. At times…


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4

Endure and Sing

Thank you so much for the feedback! I pray that the young readers will be…


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4

Endure and Sing

Thank you for taking the time to comment and convey your thoughts on the story.…


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4

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, don't we all feel like the rat in your story at times! We…


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4

Vows

I must admit it was the picture of the church, with its grave yard, under…


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3

Between Belonging and Dying

A very powerful story, Daniel. Your writing makes it easy to feel the reality of…


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3

Between Belonging and Dying

Oh my gosh, Daniel. Your story really defines the word superb. You make me experience…


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3

Between Belonging and Dying

A horrendous situation, more so because so many people find themselves going through it. A…


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3

Between Belonging and Dying

What an extremely powerful story Daniel, really well written and with an ending that had…


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3

Between Belonging and Dying

Daniel, this story is one of the best flash fiction stories I've ever read. You…


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3

In Memoriam

It's terrible to lose someone you love and accept that he is not a part…


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3

The Problem with Women

I think Carrie has said it all. We rest our collective case.  ? 


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