Round 31's winner won't be announced until Wednesday, so we'll be getting straight to the contest today. Remember, the voting for all four bouts must end by Sunday at noon, so you will not have a full week to make up your minds as before. A list of all 36 winners will be posted Sunday evening just ahead of the first set of play-off bouts on Monday. If you want a complete breakdown of how the play-offs will work and the format used, you can revisit last Monday’s post here.
Here are this rounds randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 463 words, please welcome to the ring……..Midnight Muse.
The hotel door has bars on it. Not a good sign. Inside, the night clerk sits at a counter behind bullet-proof glass. He’s slumped over, chin on his chest, eyes closed. He looks dead. Behind us, someone whistles from a passing car and follows it up with an obscene gesture. Cate’s fingers thread into mine and squeeze. We’re out of options. I yank open the door.
“Let me do the talking. Stay behind me.” I whisper. We can’t afford for her to be recognized, although in this part of town, I doubt anyone would notice anything but her diamond earrings. Cate nods faintly. Her eyes are glassy, her face blank. She shudders, but it isn’t from the cold. She’s cracking.
The loser behind the counter jerks up as we enter, almost falling off his stool. Close up, he looks strung out or maybe hung over. His pallid skin is damp, he’s got sweat stains under his arms, and his pants are unzipped a little. I avert my eyes to avoid his junk and spy a wrinkled Victoria’s Secret catalog on the counter. Nice.
“We need a room.” I try to look confident and eager. Not really a stretch. Despite dodging bullets an hour ago, I’m twitchy just thinking about spending the night in the same room with Cate.
Night clerk slowly closes the Victoria’s Secret catalog on the counter like it’s a copy of Scientific American and he’s Einstein. “Twenty for an hour. Forty for all night.”
That’s most of what I have on me. I toss two twenties into the metal tray set in the counter, thankful I don’t have to bargain.
Night clerk stuffs the bills in his pocket. He flips a keycard off a pegboard behind him and catches my eye. His gaze flicks from me to Cate. I watch his eyes slide over her designer clothes, linger on her earrings, and freeze on her face. I hold my breath.
“You both legal?” he asks.
I exhale. He doesn’t recognize her. I ignore the age question. “Give me the key.”I keep my voice even, commanding, like Agent Dade taught me during one of his goofy “what if” scenarios he plagued me with since Tampa. Dade’s lifeless body lingers in my head. A sick realization washes over me. Dade knew they would find us again. How?
Cate slips another twenty in the tray. “Give us the key and get back to your reading.”She does air quotes around reading like a true smartass. Her face, though still pale, is hard. Just when I think I know who she is, she surprises me. I stifle a laugh.
Night clerk is not as amused as I am. His face turns red. He leans back and the room key disappears into his sweaty armpit. Crap.
And in the near corner, weighing in at 388 words, let me introduce to you ……..Scarlet Pimpernel.
The day I turned thirteen, the Sistine Chapel got erased.
The Pieta was sucked into space.
Remember Moses with the horns? Gone.
David vanished, from those perfectly chiseled curls to his sandaled toes, and—well...everything in between.
Caused quite a rumpus, as Nona would say...not that I noticed. See, I was gone, too.
And I have it on the highest authority (Nona again) that it was hours before anybody at all noticed that.
While the world's art experts (myself excluded, of course), various insurance claims investigators, the FBI's art theft team, and a lot of angry Italians were finding the quickest flights or trains to Florence to discuss possibilities, I was hurtling along beneath the streets of New York City, staring at a wad of purple bubble-gum stuck to the metro's dirty floor.
Until it was covered by a white, kid leather boot.
Another boot, not surprisingly, stood to the left of that one. Going up from there: a skirt, red, that kind of velvet that looks like it’s been crumpled into a ball and then sat on by an elephant; a thin waist encircled by a creamy silk sash; a scarf of black yarn, wound round and round and still hanging down. After that, all I could see was the pair of prettiest eyes that ever settled into the face of a girl, probably.
For credibility's sake (because who doesn't say that about their crush's eyes, seriously?), I'm not the romantic type. In school, I sort of just focus on, well, school. Not girls. And girls definitely don't focus on me. The last time I'd talked to one who wasn't related to me was... Hmm. I don't remember, actually. Weird.
But this girl was—I guess she was really pretty, but like I said, all I could see was her eyes. They were...well, they were brown. And...sort of...almond-shaped, I guess. Yeah. They kind of sparkled, but not really, they just gave that impression. Except it was more than a sparkling impression, it was like...glowing. No. That's not right, either.
It's all kind of hard to describe, you know what I mean? Like, try to explain the eyes in any Vermeer painting to someone, and I guarantee you fail miserably. But the point is this: they were looking right at me. And that was kinda amazing in itself.
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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!