Adult Non-Native Speaker WINNER — 2021


Widow to the Court

by Cornelia KLEIN


A corpse has been buried in the middle of our courtyard.

I wonder how no one saw the murderer digging the grave, that not a single soul noticed the uprooting of the rose bushes. Our house is normally so prim and proper, a semi-detached building with well-kept flower boxes and a staircase that is swept and mopped each Saturday morning.

The three widows make sure of that. They watch the other inhabitants like hawks, ready to descend on any small failing, like putting a yoghurt cup in the recycling.

Two weeks ago, that court of widows condemned the student for having a party.

The boy proclaimed his innocence, saying he just listened to music while skyping. Though I heard footsteps on the stairs, I won’t testify against him. I’m not being kind, just aware of my age, somewhere between the student and the hags. My face is yet unwrinkled, but my back creaks like unoiled hinges. This might be the stress, though.

I work two jobs these days, both from home, which makes them no less stressful.