It’s amazing to see how our minds can wander in different ways; how imaginations can wander from a single picture. We recently proposed a new challenge for our readers to become the storyteller, prompted by a historical found photograph with very little information about its author, or the subject in the frame. An unknown woman is carrying six bottles of wine (naturally) and a baguette almost as tall as she is. The photograph is thought to have been taken in Paris in 1945, but this cannot be confirmed. It has possibly been miscredited to a Branson Decou, but since he died in 1941, it could also have been taken by his wife, a *Madame* Decou, who was also a photographer according to records. As for the woman in the photo, what kind of Parisian table awaits her impressive delivery? She has the suspicious eyes of a knowing messenger, but who is she?
This was an invitation to step into the writer’s seat, stretch those creative muscles, follow a few clues and imagine the rest. And now without further ado, it’s time to gather round the fireplace as we share our final selection from many wonderful submissions, of three short stories to transport us behind the mysterious camera lens…
The Boulangerie Below
The room was stifling in August of 1942 when the four girls were closed in. Not a window or door, just a single toilet, a slop sink, and the hole in the floor above the boulangerie where Martine Dubois produced the 6 foot long baguettes, easily passed up through that 6 inch hole in the ceiling. The baguettes without which Marie, Alice, Marguerite, and Gîte would certainly have starved; filled with bits of scrap meat, potato, medicine and even occasionally wilted cabbage baked right in. Four Jewish girls hiding from the Milice française, the Gestapo, the prying eyes of informers and certain death, if discovered. Their hopes of ever being free again depended entirely upon the bravery and sacrifice of the woman in the bakery below them…. Continue reading the full story by David Mayhew.
A Slice of Life at Juliette’s Bistro
If wine and bread are life, Juliette’s patrons are close to immortality.
Every morning, she rushes to the bakery that sells the gigantic baguette, now known as the “Juliette Special,” just in time to see it coming out of Antoine’s oven. She’d once told the baker, that customers could eat her weight in bread at her restaurant. Antoine, always the gentleman, didn’t dare ask her weight, so he made a baguette to her height instead… Continue reading the full story by Aimee Ortiz.
The Secret Sisters Supper Club
She suspects she’s being followed. Elyce glances across the street being careful not to turn her head in the slightest. Her arm is getting tired from carrying her case of wine but she knows that it’ll all be worth it as soon as she arrives for the long awaited evening she so desperately waits for each month.
Elyce can hear her husband’s voice in her head asking, “did you pick up the meat from the butcher?” She walks a bit faster. She hears her daughter complaining for a new pair of shoes and thinks of all of the laundry that she still needs to be done. She walks even faster … Continue reading the full story by Kristi Lassalle.