So this was a competition I entered (no win unfortunately) hence me sharing with you today.
Competition Rules: Write a short story of between 275 to 325 words, with “A New Life” as the title, and including the following: an old chestnut tree; red nail polish; and a pathway – we’ll leave the definition of a pathway up to you.
A New Life
Swaddled in blue and haphazardly wrapped, a babe in arms was placed under an old chestnut tree; shielded only from the elements in a worn woollen blanket. The branches groaned in the breeze and leaves danced to the familiar whistle of Mother Nature’s tune.
Only the child’s face was exposed; a hint of golden hair peeked through. Its forehead was visibly marked with a cross of crimson; the shade of a cheap tarts chipped red nail polish. The colour, a sign to the Gods that this offering was the result of an unwanted pregnancy.
From above the Deity looked on as the events started to unfold. They hedged and wagered their bets waiting for the baby’s progenitor to make the choice. Only two pathways led away from the tree and ahead of her son; the first being the path of life and the second being that of death.
The wind started to pace and as day folded into dusk the decision was made. The woman looked up to the heavens and in doing so, a cerise leaf twisted and tumbled in acknowledgement. The gale quelled and a tangible silence encircled the tree.
Turning away from the bundle she’d unlovingly left; she kept her head low and took a step towards the path most travelled. Unexpectedly a single tear rolled down her cheek and marked her painted face.
The Gods looked on disheartened and as money changed hands Thanatos rolled the dice. In that instant, the boy’s fate was sealed and although the mother continued to walk down the second path, the consequences of her choosing started to creep. She no longer found herself walking but tumbling towards her new life.