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Second Place: The Trampoline

By Allison Maruska

It’s dark here under the trampoline. I clutch my knees to my chest and squeeze. The grass is making my butt wet but I don’t care. I want to stay here forever.

I wish I could change. Those jerks wouldn’t say I look like a girl if my hair wasn’t curly. Or if I wasn’t so short. Or if I had lighter skin. All pretty girls have tans. Their words play over and over in my head. I can’t make it stop. Emilio? Emily is more like it. Hey, guys! Come say ‘hi’ to Emily!

I squeeze harder. My stomach hurts.

The doggie door fwap-fwaps, and Abby comes right for me. Her cold nose tickles my neck. I stay curled in a ball but she keeps sniffing. A puff of her breath goes inside my ear.

I laugh. “Okay, you win!” I stretch out my legs and she curls up on me, pointing her nose toward my face. I scratch behind her furry ears and under her chin.

She snuggles against me and lets out a deep breath. I stroke her head. The pain in my stomach goes away as I tell her about school. We stay under the trampoline all afternoon.

I want to stay here forever.

(Second Place Winner of the 2015 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest)

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