The mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie made for a sleepy weekend and churned up some introspective stories! Thank you to everyone who wrote, commented, and tweeted!
Second Place | Underboss | @billmelaterplea
Cara Says: Another intriguing outing with John and Woody. I particularly like that Ace is having to own up to some much darker knowledge about what may have contributed to Hazel’s disappearance.
Ruth Says: Chock full of surprising details and images, this story trail always leads us somewhere new, somewhere unexpected. With phrases like “… expressions of sorrow skimmed over the small crowd like a surge of sour wind” this installment had me smiling out loud. (That’s a thing, right?! 😀 )
Winner | Boss | Josh Sczykutowicz | @jsczykutowicz1
Cara Says: There are storms aplenty in this tale, and it’s this mix of Mother Nature, past and present troubles, upheavals, and metaphorical and literal drownings… sheesh. So much to take in and process. A wicked interesting read.
Ruth Says: Rife with reflection and memory, this piece kicked me in the shins and didn’t stop. Evocative and beautifully written.
The Winning Story: Hurricanes by Josh Sczykutowicz | @jsczykutowicz1
It doesn’t take long for the cloud to become a storm and the storm to bring more rain, but there just never seems to be enough here, anyway. Standing beneath the overhang, cigarette between my lips, gripped loose in shaking fingers, I don’t even know what to say to her anymore.
“Did you really do it?”
“Can’t you just go look for yourself?”
When I was seven, I watched a bug drown in the rain by the windowsill in my bedroom, dressed in socks and shirt and shorts. The beetle was caught up in the roots of a plant as the pot began to fill, not enough soil packed in. Mom never did know how to let the seeds she planted sprout correctly. I was no exception.
I watched it struggle; I watched it flip; I watched it tremble and I watched it sink before floating back up to the top, only movement caused by the miniature, oceanic waves created by every falling drop of the hurricane about to take out the tree I’d climbed for years that had sat, planted, down in the dirt of the front lawn for so very long.
I had no way of knowing my sister was about to become the beetle; I had no way of knowing the plant would soon just be like so many trees. It happened later, on the rooftop, mom’s torn jacket made into a flag to signal helicopters that came through not long after, clinging to pieces of the carport and wondering why the rain couldn’t seem to wash her tears away. I realized, in some poetic, cosmic way, I’d already seen this happen – I’d already known before.
And now I stand here, still knowing the skies don’t have enough rain to wash the blood away from where the twisted metal caught into my mother’s veins as she climbed, ripped herself open to set herself free. And I wonder if what’s on the floor of Karen’s apartment is just another drowning beetle, the blood clinging to my fingertips just another cup of rain. Things that don’t go together are connecting, snapping straight into my brain. Dead ends and pathways snake around the cerebellum.
I stood there in the rubble, three months after the rain, and wondered if I’d find my sister someplace else, some other day. I wondered if life does anything after the drowning, or if we all just flicker out, the sound of our own lungs breathing water and hands banging against the ceiling as the pressure jets us up to our crushing, flooding death becoming the last thing that we ever know.
You watch it all disintegrate, and you know nothing can truly stay permanent, not even smoke that coats your lungs. Her husband didn’t love her, anyway.
“I’m thinking we should leave,” I say, cigarette burnt away, another lighting itself.
“I’m thinking you’re right,” she says, and the cab can’t come fast enough to get us both away.