I hope everyone backed away from their Thanksgiving feast before the stretch marks appeared yesterday. And have those of you who partook in Black Friday this morning recovered from the experience? Whichever way you celebrated the holiday, I’m glad you found the time to drop by and make a selection in this third and final bout of Round four.
This round is where our contestants face off against different competitors using the same writing samples from the previous round. The bouts were posted on Monday, Wednesday, and today...with the deadline for voting noon Sunday (Nov. 25). Read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most. Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this Linky List) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.
Remember...every vote counts. The contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst the non-winners, will become the wildcard selection and earn the chance to advance into the semi-finals.
The three winners + wildcard will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 25th and the semi-finals will kick off with edited versions of the contestants writing samples on the following Monday.
Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!
In this corner, welcome back to the ring.....RingGirl.
Annie watched the headlights disappear, the beams flickering one last time before the trees swallowed them. Her breath hung in the air, draping the chain-link fence before her in a ghostly veil. Now that the other girls had driven off, the sounds of the night filled her ears with eerie precision: a rustling of leaves, a creaking of trees, an owl’s lonely voice.
She eyed the padlock on the other side, barely visible in the moonlight.
Gina, of course, had been the one to lock it. “Just to make sure you don’t chicken out,” she had said, tucking the key in her pocket. The others had clustered behind her, smiling at Annie from the other side of the fence, content in the knowledge that they had already earned their spot in the group.
“I won’t chicken out.” Annie had been proud of how certain her own voice had sounded. “I’ll stay here until you get me in the morning, just like you said.”
Gina had given her an approving nod. “Good girl. Happy initiation.” One flash of perfect teeth and then they were gone, the Jeep doors slamming, the engine roaring to life.
Annie turned away from the fence. The land stretched before her, a vast emptiness in which countless members of Pi Delta Epsilon had spent the blackest hours of the night, awaiting dawn and peer acceptance.
She shivered, rubbing her hands together for warmth. She decided to walk around to get her blood moving. Maybe she would find some shelter for the night, like a shed or something. She also didn’t want to be seen huddling like a coward at the fence, just in case the others crept back to spy on her.
Twigs crunched beneath her boots as she picked her way along the ground, the occasional pits making the walk tricky. She was so focused on her feet that she came to the house before she even realized it. It loomed before her, its shadowed gables and porches steeped in silence.
It was more like a mansion, really, Annie thought. The darkness had obscured it from view back at the fence, but she guessed that it would be visible in daylight. What was this place, anyway? Gina hadn’t mentioned anything about an abandoned house.
Annie had no desire to enter a creepy old house, but she approached the steps, thinking she could at least wait on the porch for morning.
But it seemed that someone had other plans, for when her foot hit the bottom stair, a light flickered on within.
“Hello?” she called. “Who’s there?”
The door creaked open, and what she saw within made her breath catch in her throat: a feast lit by pale candles, fruit and bread and a turkey with coils of steam rising from its surface. As she stared, she realized that the table had been set for one. One goblet, one plate, one set of utensils, one chair pulled back and ready.
Someone had been expecting her.
And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Eleven.
At the top of the hill rose a door, just sitting there in open air, no frame or anything, not even a door handle. It was made of shiny black stone, like obsidian. Demonic runes covered it, jagged scars in an otherwise smooth surface. Backlit by a lake of flames on the other side of the hill, it was a rather impressive sight. A sense of absolute dread descended on me when I looked at that door.
Anna had reached the door and opened it by pressing her hand against one of the runes, which glowed white briefly. On the other side lay absolute darkness. Blacker than the space above us, blacker than the tunnels we’d passed, blacker than the door itself. Without even a half moment’s hesitation, Anna stepped through, and Alexander after her. I paused. I couldn’t see a thing, not even whether there was ground on the other side, or I would plummet to my death.
“Aren’t you coming?” came Alexander’s amused voice.
I gritted my teeth and stepped through.
The darkness vanished and I stood… on a beach. My eyelids fluttered as I took it in. Milky white sand scrunched under my shoes and ocean air soothed my skin. I had forgotten how hot it’d been where we were until I stood now in the cool light of a setting sun.
Endless turquoise ocean stretched out to my left, and to my right rolling green hills covered in clover. And straight ahead sat an enormous house which bridged the two landscapes. It wasn’t quite rustic enough to be called a castle, and it wasn’t quite modern enough to be called a mansion. Made of warm, beige stone, it descended from the green cliffs down to the wave-lapped sand. Towers and turrets and parapets and walkways extended out over the sea, and I could see someone standing on one, silhouetted against the sunset.
“Please join me,” a voice whispered in my ear.
And then we were standing on the balcony next to the person I’d just seen.
He didn’t have beet-red skin or goat’s eyes or horns. He had golden hair, radiant pale skin, amethyst eyes and full pink lips. Devastatingly beautiful, so much so it almost hurt to look at him. Lucifer. The Devil.
“Zyan Star,” Lucifer said, and his words wrapped around me like honeysuckle vines, sweet and intimate. “I’ve been wanting to meet you for a long time.”
I was speechless, for once.
He smiled, and it almost seemed kind. “You’re in shock.” He laughed, and it sparkled on the air like pixie dust. “What did you expect? I am an angel, after all, not a monster.”
“Where are we?” I asked, a little breathlessly.
Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!