Competition Three Shortlisted: Answers by

Stirred by the wind, a tattered piece of black plastic caught in a hedge became a wise, nodding monk. Sadie watched him through the filling station window while she waited to hand over the last of her cash for a tank of petrol and a chocolate bar that would serve as breakfast. What was he doing out there? Saying his prayers? Distributing blessings? Answering pilgrims’ questions? She thought how wonderful it must be to have all the answers. What did it feel like to know, without the slightest doubt, that every decision you made was the right one?

Back outside, she ate the chocolate and checked the bags were still secure on the motorbike. All her worldly goods. Not much to show for the past ten years. She smiled to herself, vaguely remembering a song she’d once heard. How did it go? Something about the only way to travel is light?

The monk was still bobbing up and down inside his hood. Would things have turned out differently if she’d had someone like him to advise her? Probably not, but even now it was worth a try, wasn’t it? She fastened her helmet and mounted the bike. Well, what do you say all-knowing one? Which way at the crossroads? One nod for left, two nods for right, three for straight ahead.

The wind dropped. The monk sagged and crumpled. Sadie laughed as she rode away. Just as she’d suspected, the oracle was rubbish.



Linda Daunter lives in Lancashire, England where she writes short stories, flash fiction and unfinished novels. When not writing – or reading – she can usually be found taking photos, painting, drawing, gardening or enjoying countryside walks (weather and lockdowns permitting). She also spends far too much time on Twitter @LindaDaunter 

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