The contest was to write a short story (no more than 600 words if memory serves), using only single sylable words - according to Hemmingway's advice on writing.
Jen heaved her feet out of the Ford. Rocks poked at the soles of her feet through her flip flops. Dust made a home on her bare legs. It was no mind.
"Mom, come on." She urged.
"No. It's too hard."
But Jen's eye was caught up by the flat world they had spent a day and a half on the road to find. Flat but, in the heat of the sun, on fire with life. Gold's, browns, greens and all the warm tones of a wheat field in June. Clouds of bugs to slap at.
The fields stretched to the long edge of a strip of pine. Through that was the patch of ground where her mom's friend lay. Just one more trip to talk of old times, and then Zeek (a name her mom's mom used to call her), would wrap up the miles behind her back, and tuck them in to the box of her mind. Stored. Neat. Locked with the key of her heart.
Ten hours on the road and a stiff sleep on a hard bed of springs. An Inn that smelled of must and cheap. But it did the job. They were here for an hour or two, then home to things they both knew well, and to those who still walked and talked.
"Mom?" Her mom had not moved from the small car. When she drew near, Jen saw well the slack jaw, the white skin, the closed eyes, and knew her mom had died.
She knelt down on the rocks which cut her knees and drew blood. "Oh, mom..."
But her mom had been brought home like she had asked.
Zeek, her mom. Zeek, the small girl in boy's pants, a pail filled to the brim with wild fruit. For her own mom. Enough for ten jars of jam.
"I used to walk for miles to pick them. I'd get lost a few times and Blanche,...let's see now, Blanche Shlea, she would drive me home. She was my mom's best friend. She had TEN kids."
Jen knew the tales her mom had told her. Life here on the farm. The walk to the grave yard through the trees, and the creek than ran by the house. The fire in which her mom's twin boys died. The year an old car, holed with rust, drove up and a man begged for food. The large sack of raw stuffs her mom had put in the back seat, and a sack of corn for their caged fowl that squawked and shed white plumes like snow.
The bee's the old man down the way had kept and fed. The sweet goo from the hive he gave them all to eat when they were good. All of these things her mom had told her. All of these folks Zeek had spun for her mind, full of the strength of a hard life.
A life time ago. Years and years. Time went fast, so fast.
"Home at last."