LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:
If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan in for Guy Raz.
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SULLIVAN: She closed the book, placed it on the table and finally decided to walk through the door. That's the starting sentence for more than 6,000 original short stories that we received in Round 8 of Three-Minute Fiction. That's our biggest round yet. Our readers are busy trying to get through all the stories. So let's hear a sample of their favorites so far.
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BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Why can't my heroine finally do something fabulous, or at least express an honest emotion. She closed the book, placed it quietly on the table, smoothed the cover, pressing the book flat, looked up after a moment with a hint of a smile and finally got up to walk out of the door. She placed the precious slip of paper between the pages, closed the book, placed it on the table in plain sight and finally made up her mind to walk through the door.
She slapped the book shut on the table, muttered something between gritted teeth, clenched her fists, rose slowly from her chair and stalked out the door. No, not nearly thrilling enough. Not cinematic, not action-packed, not dramatic, theatrical, heart-pumping, blood-thumping, laser-light, bass-driven, strobe-flashing, wet leather - I don't know. You know, adventurous. That's because I'm really not exciting. She's not. Mm. Damn.
SULLIVAN: That's NPR's Bob Mondello reading an excerpt of the story "Action Verbs" by Kani Martin of Kihei, Hawaii. Our next excerpt comes to us from Megan Malone of Petaluma, California.
SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: After the doctor's office, she had walked numbly to the bookstore down the street. She turned away from the parenting section with its pink and blue book spines, its cover photos of fat infants with angel wings. She scanned the children's area for books about loss. She had always found answers in books before. Now, she needed one to help tell Sophia that she wouldn't be a big sister after all.
But that was for bedtime. For now, her beautiful golden girl was running in the sun. Watch me, Sophia squealed, skidding in the wet grass fast and bold, perfect and whole. And she did, resting her hand on her stomach, rubbing back and forth, almost as if she were waving goodbye.
SULLIVAN: NPR's Susan Stamberg with the story "Heavy" by Megan Malone. You can read these stories and more at our website, npr.org/threeminutefiction. That's Three-Minute Fiction, all spelled out, no spaces. Be sure to tune in next week when our judge Luis Alberto Urrea stops by to give us his take on the contest so far.
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