More From The Three-Minute Fiction Contest

We're still reading through the nearly 4,000 short stories listeners submitted during this round of our Three Minute Fiction contest. Until then, we're bringing you excerpts of stories that have caught our eye. This week, NPR's Susan Stamberg reads a passage from Nora by Jesse Padilla of Normal, Ill., and Bob Mondello reads a passage from Duck Hunting by Michael Mount of Winston-Salem, N.C.

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GUY RAZ, host:

As we continue to read through the nearly 4,000 short stories you sent us this round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, we're bringing you excerpts from some of the standouts. We'll have a winner towards the end of the month. Until then, here are two more stories.

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SUSAN STAMBERG: There is something that I wanted to tell you, something that has been bothering me for years. I broke your glass flytraps. You cursed your cat for breaking them, but it was me. You thought the traps were beautiful examples of Middle Eastern blown glass. But I would pity the fly inside.

That's the law of life, you'd say. I hated those sayings, like: See you tomorrow, if God lends us life. Lend us life? Lend me pesos. I have no money for dialysis back home. And Mexico is not America.

Now, I can cry. But I promised myself no tears, so no tears. I'll see you in God's glory, you'd say. I'll be honest with you. I don't want to see you. And I wonder if I can see without eyes. But if I can't, but you can, look for me. I'll be wearing your lipstick.

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BOB MONDELLO: I started to pass her the gun, but she said: One moment, and bent down to wipe the mud off her boots and then to wipe her hands on her pants and then to rub her pants with her hands.

Then, I ran into the meadow, arms spread out. The dirt was wet, and it pulled my feet in. But I kicked harder, running away from the gun and her. I saw the ducks spread out by the brown water. They exploded into a green firework, rising above me.

I was running into their wake and waiting, waiting for the crack of the shell to explode behind me, running with my neck down, even though I told myself I was not afraid. Then, I was past the pond, still waiting for the crack to ring behind me.

The ducks were cheering in the sky above me, and I turned around slowly. The gun was at her waist, and she was fumbling with something on the side of the barrel, jostling it against her hip. The ducks were far into the blue distance now, and their cheering was soft.

RAZ: That's NPR's Bob Mondello, reading from "Duck Hunting" by Michael Mount of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and earlier, NPR's Susan Stamberg reading a passage from "Nora" by Jesse Padilla of Normal, Illinois.

You can find the full stories, read others and learn more about Three-Minute Fiction at our website npr.org/threeminutefiction, and that's threeminutefiction all spelled out, no spaces.

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