What a wonderful mix of stories you gave us. Thank you to everyone who wrote, commented, and tweeted. 🙂
SOLDIER | HONORABLE MENTION | Mary Decker | @mishmhem
Cara Says: There’s a cadence to this that made me long for music, which was enough to capture my attention throughout, as my brain tried to come up with the perfect tune.
Ruth Says: The poetic lines belie the tension and turmoil beneath the surface. The language and format make an anthem of the subtext.
UNDERBOSS | SECOND PLACE | Liz Hedgecock | @lizhedgecock
Cara Says: A killer with a highly developed sense of judgment, and an apparent knack for virus-laden malt making? The cheery creep factor of eleven really sells this piece.
Ruth Says: This is a delightful peek into the wickedly happy mind of a very selective killer. I’m ashamed to say I’d love to see more of this character! 🙂
BOSS | FIRST PLACE | Silver James | @SilverJames_
Cara Says: An offering heavy with atmosphere and detail, this latest installment with Adele and Caleb really opens up the story you’re building. I loved getting a glimpse of all the havoc this wendigo is wreaking on our protagonists, as well as the sense of scope you give the killer plot.
Ruth Says: I was holding my breath, just as terrified as Adele, until those final redeeming lines. ❤
Winning Story by Silver James (@SilverJames_)
Adele held her breath, fervently wishing she wasn’t human so she could stop breathing and her heart wouldn’t thud against the walls of her chest like fists pounding on a closed casket.
“I am the hungry wolf at the door, the boogie man in the closet, the monster under the bed. I am every nightmare haunting the dreams of humans.”
Something that might have been supernatural laughter bounced off the canyon walls sounding like echoes in the halls of the gods. Only there were no gods. Not in this world. There was only her, abject fear stripping away her humanity, leaving a brittle husk behind.
“Come out and play, little human.”
Her skin prickled, the monster’s magic crawling along her flesh like ants streaming to a picnic. Where was Caleb? Her breath caught in her chest as she remembered, choking on a sob. Gone. That thing out there had snatched him, torn him to pieces and flung the parts into the sky where the wind swept him away, beyond the horizon. She was alone. Defenseless. All she could do was remain huddled here in the back reaches of this narrow cave, the passage too small for the creature outside. Surely these ancient sandstone rocks could withstand the wendigo’s assault. Surely the creature would tire of hunting her and would wander off in search of other prey.
No. She couldn’t let it. As long as it stayed here, torturing her ears and her psyche, it wasn’t out there, unleashing its power on people far more innocent than she. Something slithered over her foot and she scrabbled backwards, hands over her mouth to stifle the scream building in her soul. Snake. Or lizard. Something else scrapped across the sandy floor, brushed against her leg, something hard and round. She reached for it, found the hard shell. A turtle?
A hard shudder rattled her very bones. The fetishes. Lizard. Snake. Turtle. Bear. Wolf. Each had been a sacrifice. And now it was her turn. Deer. Forest dweller. Coy. Or rather McCoy—son of the forest, only not a son, a daughter. All the other victims had been male. She had to stay alive. And she had to figure out a way to kill that thing out there. Or stop the magic. Accomplishing one was about as plausible as the other.
She shared this claustrophobic space with a lizard, a snake, and a turtle. There wasn’t room for the bear or the wolf and wouldn’t that be just lovely? Maybe the predators would fight over which one got to eat her. Golden eyes blinked at her in the dark between her position and the mouth of the cave. A shaggy brown wolf padded toward her, tongue lolling from the side of his mouth. Eyes far too knowledgeable watched her. Hope she didn’t dare acknowledge flared, a match in the midnight depths of this night.
“Caleb?” The wolf pressed close, snuffled her cheek. “Please tell me you have a plan.”