Back in the summer of 2008, I was notified that a short story I had submitted for a west coast publication contest had won a place in their annual anthology. It was a short lived thrill for me.
A lot was happening at that time. I was scrambling for work, challenged by the mini recession, trying to locate a decent place to rent, and packing to move, again. A $25.00 fee was requested in order to publish the piece and provide me with a copy. “No way,” I thought, disappointed. I put it out of my mind.
I was knee deep in closet paper clutter last week, when I came across the 2008 letter of congratulations. Amused, I read it again and wondered if I could get my hands on my submission. It had been so long, but I considered they might have an archive slush pile. Then there was the thought that they may have gone out of business. My curiosity won out and I called.
They were still in business. The receptionist was pleasant and attentive when I asked if there was any chance they still had a copy of my original story. After a few questions she checked their files. Yes, they had the story, it was in the 2009 anthology! The price was $15.00 and there was one copy left. I felt I had won the lottery!
The book will arrive any day now. I hardly remember exactly what I wrote. The title was “Chance” and in a nutshell, it was about a skinny old piebald that had been put out to pasture. Upon approach it was easy to see how sad the horse’s circumstances were. We gradually developed a friendship. As I called to him from my walk along the road, he would look up from his grazing and slowly amble over to greet me, sniffing for carrots. I remember taking my daughter and grandkids to see him when they visited me, and Chance, as I called him, became a real favourite.
I never found out what happened to Chance after I moved some time later. I like to think that he had a gentle ending.