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100-Word Contest Third-Place Winner: “Water Bugs” by Sara Bowden

The math problem was hieroglyphics to Darcy. Lines drawn up, down, crisscrossing, leaning this way and that. If she stared hard enough, they began to dance and move like water bugs – like water bugs on the pond that she and Momma had walked to, searching for frogs and slapping away mosquitos. Darcy watched the water bugs dance until they started to blur into bruises, dark black on the paper’s skin, on Momma’s skin. She tried to blink away the bruises, to bring back the water bugs, but all she got was water, salty water, drip drip dripping.



—Sara Bowden grew up in New England but now lives in central Oregon with her husband and three dogs, surrounded by the beautiful Cascade mountains. She splits her time between her day job in finance, freelance writing, and creative writing. This is her first published fiction piece.