So happy to see the great turnout this week! As always, thank you to everyone who took the time to tweet, write, and comment! We’re so appreciative and excited to see this creative community thrive! 🙂
SOLDIER | Honorable Mention | Alicia VanNoy Call
Cara Says: There’s a huge sense of world in this story. A world I wouldn’t object to seeing explored in the future.
Ruth Says: Quite love the way this is formatted and how the story grabs the imagination. Like Cara said, this is a world I’d like to see more of. Much more! 🙂
UNDERBOSS | Second Place | Siobhan Muir
Cara Says: Another creeper of a tale! The reveal of Moira’s stalker gave me the shivers. If she needs me to take her to the shooting range, I’ll make it happen. Monday is ladies’ day, just sayin’.
Ruth Says: Terrific job of portraying the creep factor. I came away wanting a shotgun and a shower!
BOSS | First Place | A V Laidlaw
Cara Says: A siren and her prey. The elegant flow of this tale quietly drew me in, slowly revealing the true nature of the MC. It was a well-placed hook and I happily took the bait, following the story to its tragic end. For the sailors, at least. The siren’s got dinner locked down for sure!
Ruth Says: This story has a subtle ebb and flow that so effectively conveys the motion of the water, beautiful and alluring, yet also inherently dangerous and deceptive!
THE WINNING STORY: The Age of the Sea by A V Laidlaw
“I heard a story once,” she said. The water rippled across the sand to within an inch of her bare feet before it retreated back to the sea. “About a king who stood on the shore and commanded the waves to stop. He failed, of course. I imagine he got his boots wet when the tide came in.”
The sailor did not reply. He lay on his back surrounded by a few shards of driftwood from his wrecked boat, his head tilted and his arms spread either side with fingers curled as if clawing the air. They always fought for those last few moments of life. Even as the sea pulled them down, they always fought.
“You can’t fight the sea. It’s too big, too deep, too ancient. You would have been better to let it take you and spend those last few minutes in peace.”
The few rags barely covered the tattoos on his skin, some like letters she could not yet read, an eye to ward off evil for all the good it had done him. His mouth was open and his eyes stared up into the azure of the cloudless sky. Instinctively she looked up too but only saw a single gull catching the thermals above the rocks at the edge of the bay.
She slipped the silver rings from his fingers and threw them into the sea as an offering. Then she grabbed his wrists and dragged up the beach, her heels sinking into the sand. He was heavy. There was plenty of meat on him unlike the last catch who had been adrift for days and were all leathery skin and sinew. She left the dead sailor outside her cave, among the bones stripped of flesh and shattered for their marrow, and went back to collect the driftwood for the fire.
The offering of the rings had been successful. A second ship already drifted along the horizon, a black scar under a sail brilliant white in the sun. The siren sang a soft melody of rising and falling notes, the magic woven around the music calling the ship towards the island and its rocks. As the ship drew closer the sailors took to their oars and pulled hard to keep the ship off the rocks, their mouths open and their muscles straining from the effort, two climbing the mast to pull down the sail billowing in the wind and dragging them closer, the helmsman chanting the rhythm faster and faster, but there was nothing they could do. The sea was too big, too deep and too ancient.