The congregation gathered at the center of the large room, bathed in a dappled light streaming through the cracked and shattered windows; reflecting off the bone-white floors, the light illuminated the faces gathered to pass judgement. A tall man strode to the center of the group, cracking his knuckles and clearing his throat.
“A’right Suzie, come on up,” he said, waving his hand at the girl waiting near the doorway.
“It’s been decided, proper like. But, we all know it’s the price that’s gotta be paid. Always has. You understand?” he asked, his yellow eyes peering over the rims of his dingy glasses.
“Not really. Daddy said it ‘twas what’s right … but, then again, he ain’t here,” she said with a hint of defiance. Reverend Jones’s pointy chin jutted out in a flash of anger.
“Right, then. John, you’ve got first right, then t’others,” he said pointing to an oafish man in a pristine white hat with holes cut out for the eyes. John lifted the blessed stone, and flung it mightily into the face of Suzie Morris.
This story was first posted on Ficly.com as part of the “Guess what month it is…” challenge. It was featured on October 22, 2011 on the front page, my first one! The original post can be seen here:
The inspiration for this ficlet was heavily influenced by classic short story, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Also, the guidance for the challenge had a heavy influence:
"Honestly, I am shocked that there haven’t been any Halloween challenges yet. O.o This is only kind of a Halloween challenge. So all you have to do is write a story that takes place inside a deserted building of some sort. It doesn’t have to be scary, or Halloween-y, or spooky, or anything else
I look forwards to seeing what you guys can come up with."
I think there is a good chance I’ll come back to this one at some point and turn it into a much longer short story. Although, because it was already done so well with The Lottery, I’ll have to have a VERY different twist on it.