SmokeLong Quarterly

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Holy Water

Story by Rhonda Belt (Read author interview) March 15, 2004

A drop of water splashed against Benjamin’s balding head waking him. He groaned and wiped it with his sleeve, stumbled out of bed and placed a pan on his pillow. The rain had descended without interruption for the last day and a half. The thunder and lightning had dissipated by nightfall, so he’d been able to sleep a few short hours before it began again. He lit the oil lamp, discovered several more leaks, and placed pots under them.

The musty smell of clay in the front room, from which he sold his wares, beckoned him to investigate. The unfired pots he’d made this week sat in ruins, limp and lifeless, in a large puddle on the floor. It’d take another week to restock. Why did this have to happen when he was just starting to make a profit? He sulked back to his bedroom to awaken his wife.

“Rebeccah, the pottery is destroyed.”

A crack of lightning brightened the lamplit room, followed by a startling thunderclap. The rain shattered the atmosphere in a deluge. A steady gush of water streamed from under the door. By morning, the house would be uninhabitable if it continued precipitating.

He and his wife packed food, clothes, and a tent and set out to find higher ground. As they walked through large pools of water, their feet suctioned out of the mud. He wondered when the rain would stop and hoped they’d arrive at the foot of Mt. Ararat by daybreak.

About the Author

Rhonda Belt is a registered nurse in the field of adolescent behavioral health. She participates in the Internet Writing Workshop (IWW) and enjoys writing short fiction and poetry. Some of her poetry has been published in various anthologies. Rhonda lives in central Illinois where she is a wife and mother of two young sons.

This story appeared in Issue Three of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Three

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The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

Deadline November 15!

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash. The grand prize winner of The Smokey is automatically nominated for The Best Small Fictions, The Pushcart, Best of the Net, and any other prize we deem appropriate. In addition to all this love, we will also pay the grand prize winner $2500. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.