Baxter Talltree becomes our 24th entry into the play-off rounds. Just a reminder that now might be a good time to refresh yourself with the all of the winners by checking out my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page
I wanted to take a moment to recognize a couple of milestones that occurred over the weekend. First one was that my blog received its 100,000 page view sometime on Sunday. I'm kind of proud of that fact. When I started out in 2009 all I wanted to accomplish was to become relevant. I consider having a hundred thousand visitors stop by to at least take a look one indicator that I've achieved some measure of success in that regard. Thanks everyone.
The second milestone was that I typed THE END on my third book this weekend. It has been a MAJOR reason I've been off my regular routines lately (that and WRiTE CLUB) and I'm extremely proud of it. Of course there is a round of revisions and edits in the near future for me, but for now I'm basking in its afterglow.
How's that for a lead-in to literary brawl? :)
Here are this rounds randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 496 words, please welcome to the ring……..Raven Claw.
A dog barked next door and Cole flattened himself into the shadows along the back of the old lady's house. His breath was ragged from climbing over the rickety fence at the rear of the weed-filled yard. His lungs had been bothering him for weeks, and the stress only made things worse. He tightened a sweaty grip on his crowbar, silently cursing the dog's insistent yapping.
A door clattered open beyond the fence and a gruff voice yelled at the dog to shut the hell up and get its stupid ass inside. The dog stopped barking, the door slammed shut, and silence returned to the shabby neighborhood. Cole exhaled, gasping. He moved to the back entrance of the old broad's home, slid the crowbar into the jamb, and pried. The weathered wood gave easily and the door popped open with only a muffled crack.
He stepped inside to a tiny kitchen with appliances that might have been new when his grandfather was a boy. The room was tidy but dusty, showing little sign of use. There was a dim, flickering light coming from the next room and Cole crept towards it. There the woman lay sleeping on a sofa, curled up under a crocheted blanket. An ancient console TV flashed with the sound off.
Cole smiled. This was too easy.
He raised the crowbar and moved closer.
# # #
Kali heard the back door crack open and swore to herself. She should have moved on several days ago, after the neighbor kid said hello to her while she was on her porch. That had told her the warding spell was weakening.
But she'd been reluctant to leave. This was such a good spot. Here in the heart of the city's seediest neighborhood she could hunt at will; just an unnoticed old lady in a neglected house.
But no longer.
Now someone was stalking her.
She shifted under the blanket and pulled her sword close, feeling the heat radiating from it. The soft steps and ragged breath from the kitchen were clearly human, but her glowing blade signaled the presence of the Shu'leth. The man's heaving gasps likely meant he had the tendrils spreading within him, and might already be fully possessed.
He came next to the sofa and Kali sprang up, slashing out with the sword. A sharp sizzle of flesh was followed by a thud as the crowbar hit the floor, still clutched in the man's twitching hand. He shrieked and jumped back, grabbing the smoldering stump of his arm with his other hand.
She revoked the remnants of the warding spell and stood before the man in her natural form. She might be long removed from the childhood she'd spent in decayed neighborhoods much like this one, but it would still be many decades before she became the feeble crone she'd appeared to be. The man gaped at her.
Kali smiled. This would be a mercy.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 492 words, let me introduce to you ……..M.D. Lorde.
A massive shadow inched it’s way through the open door, consuming the wood-planked floor, the worn berber rug, and a rickety metal twin bed pushed against the wall.
Sharp angles created a isosceles triangle in the center of the room as heavy breathing hummed within its darkness.
Aidan held his breath and turned. A drop of blood splashed onto his white trainer.
A glint of light lit the half-hidden face of his father. He sucked in a raspy breath through gritted teeth as the musculature of his arm twisted a trembling hand that swirled a tumbler. Ice clinked and the amber liquid danced inside its glass prison.
“And where do you think you’re going, sonny boy?”
The words rend through Aidan like a jagged knife. An invisible drummer beat the inside walls of his chest.
Aidan planted his feet, stood tall, and stared into his father’s fathomless eyes.
“No more, Dad. It ends tonight.”
A car’s headlights blazed through the open window shining on a set of perfect, white teeth outlined by the thinest of lips. “It ends when I say it ends,” the husky voice slurred. “Remember, I own you.”
The Captain pulled up to a substantial height as muscles tensed and rippled under his Marine uniform.
He lunged. Glass shattered from the tumbler. Thick, mitt-like fingers strangled Aidan’s throat.
Sinking to the floor, his mind clouded from the smell of scotch and sweat mixed with Old Spice.
Aidan gasped and attempted to free himself from the viselike hold.
“Good night, sonny boy,” his father said, as he tightened his grip.
Aidan’s convulsing hands dropped and slammed against the floor.
As the final seconds of his life slipped away, Aidan focused his remaining energy to move his arm under the bed. Stretching his fingers, shaky nails dug into the smooth ridges of a rounded object. He slid it closer, gripped the handle, and flung his arm upward, cracking the back of his father’s head with a baseball bat.
Blood splattered against wall. The Captain howled, releasing his grip.
Aidan’s rusty 1985 Chevy pick up wheezed its way through the foothills of the Roundeli mountains. Images of his father’s bashed in head flashed through his mind. The truck jerked to the left barely missing a boulder.
“Get a grip, Aidan — but I’m — I’m a murderer,” escaped from his quivering lips. “It was self defense! That psycho tried to kill me,” he burst out.
Aidan heard his words echo back to him, but he still couldn’t erase the grisly scene from his mind.
Onward and upward the truck snaked along the silent, pitch-black mountain road. On one or two rare occasions the crescent moon peeked though the dense trees, providing a glimmer of light, a glimmer of hope.
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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!