The winners room is becoming a bit crowded as we welcome yet another contestant... Dinah Annella. Our round 13 winner will be moving on to the play-off rounds and her opponent, Tangled Words, will have his/her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection for a future bout. Make sure you check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners, along with links to all of the writing samples.
Reminder: I'm changing this week's because I'm taking part in Justine Dell's book tour on Friday, so the third contest this week will go up on tomorrow instead of Friday.
This is the where I attempt to personalize the post...so they don't all run together...and today I'm going to express an opinion. I've previously made mention of submissions that were over the 500 word limit and recommended that everybody check their entry to address this. My wife has heard from several of you, but we haven't heard from the two writers in question. That makes me wonder, are the people who've submitted samples even reading this blog? More importantly, are they voting? How many of the people who have sent in submissions are actually voting? This is where my opinion comes in. If you enter a contest for the chance to have people read your work, vote for one or the other, and offer some pretty insightful opinions about your piece, then it's your obligation to vote for as many of the other contests as you can. Based upon the number of WRiTE CLUB submissions we're received...and the number of votes we've been seeing recently...I can say that is definitely not happening. That's my story...and I'm sticking to it.
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 491 words, please welcome to the ring……..Sedney of the Castonod
It’s not like the other. Well… it holds bodies. But not those fondly remembered.
It started as a single grave, after we learned barkers could die… sort of. Garret killed the first one. He’s always been quite the brute. Ma said any boy who sees barkers eat his parents would be that way.
We were beyond the wall collecting dogbane for rope when we found the barker. It must have fallen over a steep ledge. It was a bloody mess, wedged between sharp stones, legs broken. It didn’t bark when it saw us. It didn’t try to bite either. It just stared with black eyes. Never made a sound. Garret didn’t care. God, he was ruthless. He went to it with his machete. Its wide eyes held him as he hacked at it again and again. He laughed when I covered my ears and turned away.
There wasn’t much left when he finally stopped. We collected it in a sack to show off in town. We’d never seen one so still… so convincingly dead. Even now, its grimy skin wouldn’t take a flame so we buried it. Just inside the wall.
That night our blunder became obvious. It wasn’t the first time I’d awoken to screams. A trail of thick black blood connected the ruptured grave to Garret’s window. The barker must’ve remembered what he’d done to it. It left him in a similar way.
Dharman says he heard it barking just before it burst from the ground … but he crawls under the cherope tree to eat its fruit and stare, and argue with shadows.
The grave wasn’t deep enough... They say.
A mistake we made only once.
We grew angry… and bold. Regular parties now hunt barkers as they once hunted us. One grave has become hundreds. They now outnumber houses and so the cemetery creeps ever closer to my window, one silent stone at a time. I shouldn’t complain.
With each new below is one less above…
No one ventures inside the cemetery. A stone wall wouldn’t deter so effectively. Even if someone were willing to up keep the yard, it isn’t allowed.
The more between them and us, the better…
That’s why the headstones lay flat, like great, cold blankets, rather than stand tall to be sought out and gazed upon.
This morning Dharman was hysterical. He wailed and shook and wouldn’t approach the cemetery even for precious cherope.
“They all bark! We’re doomed!”
Like the others I scoffed until, drawing the shortest straw, I was sent to inspect.
I’d never been into the cemetery and now, stealing through bristly grass under gnarled stone sentinels, my hand couldn’t grip my machete’s pommel tightly enough. The stones had withered and succumbed to grey lichen and were ground away by thorny vines. I arrived at the cemetery’s heart, from whence grew a blackened, impassable tangle. I sighed, as going farther was impossible. Then I heard it. Faint at first, but now inescapable. Barking. From under each stone.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 485 words, let me introduce to you ……..Lucky McGee.
Just my luck. As someone who’d escape a group of marauding zombies only to be eaten by a wild dog, I should have expected this. Only for me would a shortcut end up in a dead end with a mugger in front of me and only a brick wall behind. Typical.
“The mobile and your money.” His voice snarled, as if he could scare me out of my belongings with the very vibrations of his growl.
The knife he held was more likely to do that.
“Okay. Hold on.” I fumbled in my bag trying to find my mobile, but my hands shook too much. I tossed aside a lipstick, comb and mirror, littering them in front of me like sweet wrappers.
“Hurry up.” He closed in, the smell of smoke and sweat making me cough. He motioned with the knife, stabbing toward my bag. At least, I hoped the aim was toward my bag and not my body.
“Trying,” I said. My throat dried, which prevented me telling him waving the knife didn’t help. The main road was too far away for anyone to hear me. A guy about my age idled on the corner, staring at his own phone as if it contained the secrets of the universe. I willed him to turn toward the alley. Instead he tucked his phone away and stared in the opposite direction, taunting me with his not looking.
“Now.” The mugger grinned, the scar on his chin stretching. Without the scar he was nondescript, with even features and dirty brown hair. The scar would eventually get him caught.
I finally drew my mobile out, trembling so much I nearly dropped it. I willed something to distract him. A comet to fall out of the sky. A rat to dart out and frighten us. The guy to turn and come to my aid.
The knife gleamed in the rays of sun glinting through the tall buildings overhead. At the same time a crash from behind the mugger made him glance away.
I darted past, jumping over the overturned garbage bin spilling its guts on the floor. I thanked whatever made the bin fall over and provide my escape. Maybe luck was on my side.
I belted toward the guy. I went to yell at him, to call out.
A stone took me down, dashing my knees and hands hard on the concrete. I let go of my mobile in the process, aware of it sailing away.
“Hey!” A new voice shouted.
I looked up in time to see the mugger make his escape. My rescuer jogged toward me, not stopping the mugger. As he neared I saw he held my phone. How on earth was that possible? He had been miles away.
“You okay?” The man asked, taking my arm to help me up. “This yours?”
“Yes.” I steadied myself against his strong grip. “’Good catch.”
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Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!