As always, thanks so much for showing up, writing, and commenting! It’s a joy to watch this community grow!
Soldier | Honorable Mention | Silver James | @silverjames_
Cara Says: Sade and Sinjen… le sigh. Sade is 100% behind any sacrifice she needs to make to rescue Sinjen, and damn if that isn’t sexy. In a story, at least.
Ruth Says: As ‘defining moment’s’ go, Sade’s selfless choice, made in a heartbeat of time, is the epitome of love. I have all the feels for this piece! ❤
Underboss | Second Place | Kel Heinen | @Aightball
Cara Says: I’m a sucker for happiness found. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the hope and love… This is such a sweet moment, even with that edge of Jimmy’s volatile past and uncertain future.
Ruth Says: This snapshot of family life, newly begun and freshly minted, tugged at my heart!
Boss | Winner | Eric Martell | @drmagoo
Cara Says: You took the challenge to wrap your story around a life changing moment and WOW. This brief tale hit me right in the feels. It’s angry, sad, loving, exhausted… all at once. The daughter’s understanding that all is anything but well caps the emotional gut punch.
Ruth Says: What a stunning piece. I loved the way both prompts were incorporated and the ache so deeply embedded in the character’s psyche.
The Winning Story by Eric Martell @drmagoo
I lose all control in my sleep. In the light of day, I can pretend that she is still here, that she hadn’t made the call to tell me that the tower was on fire, that she hadn’t told me how I should tell our daughter she would never see her mommy again. There is work to do. Laundry to fold. Food to cook. Stories to read. Birthdays to celebrate. Air to breathe.
Our daughter knows I’m not okay. Sixteen now, and busy with her own life, I see the worry in her eyes when we pass in the hall rushing to get ready in the morning, hear the concern in her voice as she checks in on me before she goes to bed. I’m fine, I tell her. Just tired. And I am tired. But I don’t tell her that every line of her form, every peal of laughter, every touch of her arms as she hugs me goodbye in the morning is a test for me to pass, to see if today is another day I will keep from going insane.
But my dreams betray me. Without the will to build my reality as I see fit, I lose my anchor. Allowed to forget, I am no longer consumed by grief. In my dreams I drive my daughter to her soccer games and cheer with the other parents. We go out for ice cream and celebrate a win or drown our sorrows in whipped cream and hot fudge. As my eyes dance in REM sleep, I see my wife’s beauty echoed in our daughter, but I see me, too, a combination which she carries with a grace that takes my breath away. While the moon and stars cavort overhead, I am happy.
And every morning the grief returns. The anger rises with the sun. By the time I am dressed, and shaved for work, and see my daughter loading up her backpack for school, I am in control again.
But I am not okay.