Peanut Buttercup becomes our sixth contestant to move onto the play-offs as the Round 6 victor, and those play-offs are scheduled to start in October! He/She will join the other five winners continuing the battle for that ultimate prize. His/Her opponent, Anya Harker, will have her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection for a future bout, and as always writers who have battled once are welcome to submit a different piece if they so wish.
Confused about who’s in and whose out, you can check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 Results page for a breakdown of all the winners, along with a list of what rounds are still open for voting with links to all the writing samples.
I wanted to point out that there’s an interview of yours truly posted on both An Honest Lie site and Eric W. Trant's blog (Jr. Editor for An Honest Lie) ahead of my short story being published this fall. Stop by and check it out if you have time. J
Ready to tear your hair out trying to pick another winner?
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 497 words, please welcome to the ring……..Penelope Clearwater.
She took another sip of hot chocolate, savoring the rich taste before letting it slide down her throat. It was almost gone. She would have to leave when it was. The waitress was already giving her dirty looks. This cup had lasted thirty five minutes. It wasn’t her record. A soda had once lasted two hours. Of course all the ice that melted had helped.
Rubbing a hand over her forehead she pulled the newspaper back towards her and perused the columns again. Everyone wanted experience. How could she get experience if she couldn’t get a job and she couldn’t get a job without experience? She folded the paper up and slipped it into her jacket. Tonight she would layer it under her thin jacket as insulation from the cold.
She took another sip. Long since room temperature it was still sweet, coating her mouth as she watched the people around her; men in suits and ties, women eating muffins and sandwiches that made her mouth salivate and her fingers twitch to grab them.
Turning her back to the room she gazed out the picture window. This wasn’t any better. Now she could see The World. The world she had longed to see only six months before. The world that now was altogether too familiar. A man hurried past, the collar of his thick jacket turned up against the wind. She fingered her jacket; even with the newspaper it would be cold tonight. And it was only October.
She followed the man in her mind. She imagined him getting on the subway, relaxing on a bench in the overheated compartment. Maybe he was going home, to a wife and children who would be happy to see him. In her mind’s eye the wife looked a little like her mother. She ached to follow him, to ask if she might stay with them, just one night. Just long enough for her to pretend she had a family again.
It wouldn’t work. Most likely he would call the cops thinking she wanted to rob them while they slept. And she couldn’t deal with the cops again.
She swallowed the last of the sludge. The waitress, Betty by her name tag, heaved a sigh of relief. Unless she bought something else, Betty could ask her to leave. And there was no money left. Wishing she had even a nickel tip, she fumbled through her pockets and pulled out her gloves. They had more holes than fabric and smelled of rotten cabbage but they were better than nothing.
She would try again tomorrow. She had heard someone was hiring over on Singer Ave. But it would be the same. No one wanted to hire someone with no phone or address. She walked towards the door, stumbling a little when the smell of fresh blueberry muffins reminded her she hadn’t eaten since yesterday. She pushed out the door and the cold pungent city air hit her like a brick.
She was home.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 489 words, let me introduce to you ……..Doug Claremont.
Hen quietly closed the Apothecary door, and thanked the Gods – old and new – the shop had still been open. Hen had traded three rabbit's legs, two apples, and a loaf of bread, her week's ration for this potion.
Now she just had to make it home before curfew, when the claxon sounded to herald the Harvesters' arrival.
Looking at the sky, she took note of the color of the clouds, and the position of the sun as it moved towards the horizon. She figured she had an hour left; plenty of time to make it back under the bridge that was "home".
Hen looked up and down the market street, and found it was clear. All of the shops had closed up, and everyone had returned to their homes.
Keeping to the wall sand shadows, as she was accustomed, Hen hurried along the market street, dodging low hanging signs, and jumping crates. The streets stank at this time of night. Sewerage and rubbish piled up; rats scuttled in every dark corner.
As she ran, the pathways became more labyrinthine, one wrong turn could send her in the opposite direction. A mistake she couldn't afford to make. The sun had set and soon the claxon would toll.
Weaving left, then right, Hen scuttled down alleyways, searching for the red door that would tell her she was on the right track. When it didn't appear, Hen knew she was lost.
In the distance the claxon knelled and Hen froze, paralysed by fear.
It wasn't until she heard the dreaded sound of giant footsteps thudding down the street, as forty tonnes of mobile machinery combed the area, that Hen sprang into action.
She turned on the spot, then ran in the opposite direction she'd come from. Hen skidded to a halt as she came to the marketplace once more. Outside the Apothecary stood a Harvester; the bronze body shined dully, as its searing search lamp swept the street.
The beacon shone in her direction, and she froze like a deer caught in the headlights. Hen had a second to scramble away before the Harvester homed in on her, and then lifting its inhuman legs, steam hissing from its valves, it trudged after her.
It was so close Hen could hear the gears turning. She was running on instinct, with no real idea where she was going. In a blur the red door passed her, and she knew she was nearly home.
Behind her, the slow, discordant sound of the Harvester's pulse ray resonated in the night. It announced death.
Hen reached the bridge, and slipped down the dirt track to the hovel that was her refuge. She hammered on the door until it sprang open, and she threw herself inside. She slammed the door shut, and fell back against it, breathing hard as the light of the searching Harvester swept through the gaps in the wood. She'd made it, she was home.
Leave your vote for the winner of round 9 in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well. The voting will remain open for this round until noon Sunday. Remember, you can throw your pen name into the hat anytime during these last nine weeks by submitting your own 500 word sample. Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!
Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!