Aha! We’re back on schedule for a winner’s post this week. As always, thanks to everyone who wrote, commented, and tweeted. 🙂
Soldier | Runner Up | Silver James | @SilverJames_
Cara Says: This scorching encounter between lovers called for a cold beverage or smoke afterward, lol. Smoking hot!
Ruth Says: Quick, pass me a cold beverage AND a smoke. Whew!
Second Place | Underboss | Jason Lefthand | @jasonlefthand
Cara Says: The passing of power from one generation to the next takes a wicked and dark spin here. It’s clear the grandfather’s dark legacy will carry on.
Ruth Says: The transition from ‘good grandson’ to ‘terrible grandson’ to the ‘warm and inviting’ assumption of position and power via the ‘coyote skin’ is intensely compelling.
Winner | Boss | Amy Wood | @jujitsuelf
Cara Says: Homecoming should be a time of welcome and peace, but it’s clear from the start that this will be anything but. To be so sternly rejected, and by his own mother… and I don’t know how a woman so cold to her child could ever be satisfied.
Ruth Says: That he returned knowing there would be no tenderness or warmth in his homecoming … that’s more pain than a body can bear.
The Winning Story: Homecoming by Amy Wood
Although many years had passed ere I walked this way, my feet found the path through the swamp with their old swiftness.
I barely knew what I did, wounded and bleeding as I was, the great gash in my side not even two days old. Fever pricked at my brow, I felt the madness building behind my eyes and swatted it away as a man shoos a fly from his food. There was no time for illness, I needed to see clearly. The lady would be there, I was sure of it. I needed her to be there.
My stumbling steps brought me to solid land and I could have fallen to my knees and kissed the very earth. So long it had been since I stood upon the island of my birth, so many lonely years. I’d changed from a frightened boy into a frightened man during those years, outwardly I’d learned of soldiering and wenching and other such manly arts yet never had my heart stopped yearning for the place of my early childhood.
The ground was fragrant, welcoming. The apple trees that lined the path to the lady’s house were blossoming and their petals brushed my face. Even the blue of the sky was softer here, not the jarring harsh blue of the real world but gentle and caressing, soothing to my aching head.
Ah, there was my goal. Standing right where I’d left it, the lady’s house. I stumbled and fell at the door, my hand sliding down the wall and leaving a great dirty red line. Was that my blood? Fancy that.
The door opened and a grey gown swished into view. She always wore grey, somehow it enhanced her beauty rather than dulling it, but perhaps that was my childish memories deceiving me, for do not all children think their mothers beautiful?
I grabbed at the gown, whimpering with pain and relief.
The fabric was twitched out of my fingers before I left stains on the pristine grey. I blinked and wondered how it was I felt my heart break all over again when it had been broken since the day I left this holy place.
“Mother,” I whispered, peering up at the dim face above me. “Help me? I am wounded and I know not how to mend the hurt.”
“You should know, for I taught you,” my mother replied. “I do not treat soldiers here. This place is not for warfare. Seek your aid elsewhere.”
“Mother,” I croaked, almost in tears. “You bade me go and cover myself with glory the last time I was here. That was over ten years ago, have I not found glory enough?”
The door closed in my face but I heard her say softly, “You found no glory, my son. You’re a lecherous coward and I want no part of you.”
Her footsteps echoed away into the stillness of the morning. I laid my head on the doorstep and wept.