Today we christen our ninth winner and ready the ring for yet another preliminary battle. Congratulations go out to Penelope Clearwater for her victory in round nine! Her opponent, Doug Claremont, will have his piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection in a future bout. Unsuccessful combatants need to remember that you are free to submit a different writing sample, if you desire to do so. Everyone can check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.
As successful as WRiTE CLUB has been so far, we still witnessed a dip in participation last week. A third of the way through the preliminary rounds a drop off in interest is to be expected. I was a little worried about this when I expanded to three bouts per week...over-saturation. The novelty has worn off, and quite frankly, this is tough duty. Having to make hard decisions, bout after bout, wears on a person and there are those who stop voting or coming back entirely because they can't take it. This is where I need your help. We need to replenish the ranks of visitors who are willing to select a piece of writing and elevate it above the other, and it shouldn't matter who the ultimate victor is. If you're enjoying WRiTE CLUB, tell your friends. Do it in whatever way best suits you. I'm sure our future contestants would appreciate it as well.
Let's get to it!
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 500 words (we’ll let that extra word slip), please welcome to the ring……..Aidlinn
They passed fish, litter, and what might have been a mermaid.
It was very dark at the bottom; even with the short man’s light it was hard to see. They looked around, seeing nothing of what they searched for. So they started walking, following a logical pattern. Before too long they came across signs of their quarry: footsteps in the sand, scuff marks on the rocks, the sense of a lost melody in the water and a hint of joy in the bubbles blown by the fishes.
The tall woman spied movement ahead, not of the fish-kind. She pointed it out to the short man, who nodded and led the way. The darkness parted before them, scared off by the light they wielded. Ahead stood the remains of a building, some kind of old shelter that had either been flooded by the lake, or else thrown into the depths. It rested there like a barnacle, clogged with weeds and littered with old cans. A fish darted in and out of the gaping doorway and on top of the shelter they saw their quarry.
The brass legs were dancing to a silent song. They pirouetted and tapped, sprang and leapt, danced a jig and then stopped.
The tall woman and short man stepped forward, their light catching the legs in its circle and making them glow brilliantly. The legs seemed to sense their presence. They remained still as the two approached. Then the legs leapt away, dancing through the water, missing a step as they hurried away.
The tall woman looked at her colleague, who nodded a silent order and stood back to watch and wait and illuminate.
The tall woman danced after the legs, her thin body agile and graceful. She matched the dance step-for-step, but kept her cool, and as such she soon began to gain on the legs. Behind them both the short man began to follow, keeping them in his sight and in the light.
Together the tall woman and the legs danced, chasing through the underwater world that few would ever see. They tapped and pranced, spun and kicked, the legs hurrying and making the odd mistake allowing the tall woman to draw ever nearer.
Through a shoal of fish they danced, scattering them like prey avoiding a predator.
Down a slope to a wreck, an old boat upturned and covered in barnacles and weeds; along a sandy floor where crabs hid and eggs lay; across jutting rocks with old carvings engraved and forever hidden from mankind; all the while the tall woman gained on the legs, until she was but a shuffle and a step away from them.
Finally, she danced as close to the legs as it was possible to get without joining with them. She reached out a hand, pushing the legs ever so slightly but enough to unbalance them.
The legs missed a step, stumbled and fell to the ground.
Immediately the tall woman threw a net over them, hauling them in.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 471 words, let me introduce to you ……..Mrs Mojo Rising
I wrap my arms around my knees, rocking slowly back and forth, allowing the movement to circulate within my body. The cold, hard floor sends a sharp pain through my lower back that I try to ignore.
Stay focused. Don’t lose it.
My body shivers from a combination of chill and fatigue. How can I be tired when I’ve done nothing? It’s weakness. My strength is dwindling, fiber by fiber, and eventually, I won’t be able to ignore it. I’ll have to give in and let a coma wash over me to save me from this madness. Maybe I should give into it now … maybe it’s better than what awaits me next. I don’t think I can take much more …
I allow my body to fall backwards onto the cold mud floor, taking deep breaths to slow my heartbeat and control the panic. Rolling to my side, I raise my legs into the fetal position and place my hands together beneath my face. Tears won’t come. My body is too dehydrated. My stomach is eating itself from the inside, growling in contempt with each bite. The cell is the same size Aunt Sandra’s walk-in closet used to be, where I’d play for hours at a time during those summers I wanted to escape the teasing. My heart sinks. That was all so trivial compared to this.
A chill shimmies down my body. These bare walls and dingy bricks keep the draft swimming around inside, not just cold air, but damp air that puts a wheeze in my breath. I twirl the ring still encircling my index finger, slowly, numbly.
Dad died this way, beneath the rubble and ash from the World Trade Center. He suffocated, most of his bones being crushed into his internal organs. What was left of him was buried away in the earth forever, marked only by a marble gravestone, the word hero inscribed into it, as if making his death worthwhile. Bull shit.
They buried a part of my soul that day, right alongside Dad. What good is being a hero if you don’t get to see your family again? If your little girl who prayed every night to send her dad back home, is left with a hole in her heart?
I didn’t want him to be a hero. I just wanted him to be home.
Anger squeezes a single tear from my left eye. It rolls across the bridge of my nose and onto the floor with the tiniest of splashes.
Out of nowhere, a burst of energy plows through my limbs, coming from some unknown reserve inside my body. I scramble to my feet, and cling to the impression in the wall that becomes a doorway upon their mercy.
By now you should know the drill, bit if your new here let me enlighten you. Anyone can vote (after registering your name on the Linky List tool the below badge points you to), so leave yours in the comments below for the WRiTER that swayed you the most, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. The voting will remain open for this round until noon next Sunday.
Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!