Whoa! What a turnout of full tilt stories this week! You made it tough to choose just three winners! Thanks to everyone who wrote, commented, and tweeted. We are so thankful for each and every one of you who show up each week and write alongside us! 🙂
Honorable Mention | Soldier | Kel Heinen | @aightball
Cara Says: I love the use of the prompt as song lyrics. Great touch there. This is another character we’ve seen a lot of, and I particularly enjoy these moments of recovery, peace, and love.
Ruth Says: Love this piece, the song being written and the writer regaining his confidence and sense of well-being.
Second Place | Underboss | Mark Ethridge | @lurchmunster
Cara Says: This brooding reflection on the past deftly shows how something—be it a person, place, moment, or a stack of books—can take on a dual nature. The MC’s lingering attachment to books that brought both joy and pain twists him up in ways that would make Gumby cry.
Ruth Says: Brooding! Cara took the word out of my mouth! What a wonderful moody brooding piece.
Winner | Boss | Siobhan Muir | @siobhanmuir
Cara Says: As we’ve watched this story develop, we’ve seen the characters grow into more complex individuals. I particularly love this week’s snippet, as Greg pulls some military strings to get the skinny on Zamora’s harasser. Stan Lords… he sounds like a creep, lol. Underlying this moment is the mostly unspoken reveal that Greg cares about Zamora. Maybe more than even he realizes yet.
Ruth Says: I like seeing Greg step up and take control of the situation without stepping on Zamora’s toes! 🙂
The Winning Story: Enemies, Both Foreign and Domestic by Siobhan Muir
“Szellem.” The smooth voice picked up on the second ring.
“Hey, Gabe, it’s Greg Killian. Got a moment?”
“Sure, what’s up, Killian?”
“I need a favor. I got a guy harassing a friend of mine, a tattoo parlor owner, and he says he’s got a past with her. I need to take a look at his background. I want to know more about him like his financial status, if he’s been in the psych ward ever, what his favorite color is, et cetera. Think you could give me a hand with that?”
“This an official investigation?” Gabe’s voice sounded more curious than censorious.
“No, sir. This one is on the QT. I need to know what I’m facing. He accosted her today in her own shop and if I hadn’t showed up when I did, it could’ve gotten bad.”
“Did you file a police report?” Before Greg could do more than take a breath, Gabe added, “I know the cops are often slow to act on harassment issues, but this is civilian jurisdiction, and they can do a better job keeping an eye on things in their daily routines.”
Greg sighed. “Yeah, I know, but she’s reluctant to talk to them. Says the cops don’t give a shit about tattoo parlors or women. Something about the bad element who comes into such places.”
“Oh, yeah, that fuckin’ stigma. As if cops are pure as the driven snow.” Greg could almost see Gabe shake his head. “You should still try to convince her to file a report. If she gets in trouble while we’re on duty, we’ll be the last to know.”
“That’s a concern, definitely.” His gut clenched as he watched black Beemer with tinted windows pull out and follow Zamora for a few blocks. “But I need to know if this guy has a history we can point to, and if we need to take more precautions than just the usual. It’ll also help me convince her to file the report.”
“I don’t know how fast I can get you the information, Killian, but I’ll see what I can dig up. What’s the guy’s name?”
“Stan Lords, don’t know if that’s his full name or just short for Stanley, but he looks like a pretty, rich boy, if you ignore the cloak of crazy he wears.”
Gabe snorted. “Yeah, he sounds like a creep. Just watch your six and go to the civilian authorities if it gets squirrely out there.”
“Copy that. Thanks, Gabe.”
Greg shot a look at the last of the sunlight creeping on the edge of the ocean then scanned the neighborhood around her cottage. All clear. For now.