Today brings the fifth and final bout in the third round of the play-offs. This round has seen our contestants face off against different competitors using brand new writing samples. The bouts have been posted on a different day of the work week...and like the previous rounds you'll have until noon Sunday (Nov. 18) to vote on any or all of them, so please go back and vote in the previous four bouts. Read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most. If you can, offer some critique if you have time. 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 losers, will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 4.
The five winners + 1 wildcard will be posted on Sunday afternoon round four (existing writing samples against new opponents) will kick off the following Monday.
Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!
The portal was once again high in the air. A good summoner could make it easy. Mine apparently hadn't learned the right sigils to create a polite portal. I flew upwards and, unfortunately, towards Lisiki. She leapt up, her wings giving enough push to get her within reach of my leg. She gripped my calf, secreting acid into my scales.
"Get off. The portal won't be big enough."
"Come down here so I can show these imps what power is," she said.
"There's no power to stop a summoning. Mine's an amateur."
We floated higher. The acid felt like it was crawling up my leg. I kicked harder, even tried twisting, but it was no use. Lisiki flicked her wings to spin me even faster.
The portal wrapped around me and closed around her arm. Lisiki's roar of pain cut off. I could feel it in my bones. The speed of rage is faster than the speed of a closing portal. I landed on my hooves, her hand still spewing acid from the stump. I kicked the hand off, and took a step away.
I recognized my summoner, Isaac William Peterson. He had been stretched taller but had grown no thicker.
"You're getting better," I said.
He stared at me.
"Shit almighty," he said. "It worked."
A summoner who is constantly surprised by his success doesn't deserve any.
I looked around. The magic circle was bigger, almost roomy. It was better made than the last one. Several marks had been re-drawn, but there was some latent ability stirring there. Outside the circle was nicer, too. I had a sense we were underground. The windows were small and high on the walls.
"Nice digs," I said, showing off my newly gained coldworld knowledge. He didn't understand the statement. I could tell because I had learned that the jaw hanging loosely from the skull happens when the astonished coldworlder brain can't cope with keeping the mouth closed and pay attention to what the eyes are reporting at the same time.
"Pad?" I tried again. "Habitat?"
"Oh," he said. "The room. It's new."
His face reddened, making him look normal to me. "How did the revenge go?"
"It didn't. I burned my house down. I wanted to practice. You didn't tell me how to stop it."
I interlaced my claws through my horns and gave them a shake.
"There's no stopping it. It consumes the object of your hate and dissipates."
"And now you're back."
"You summoned me. What do you want?" The floor beneath me cracked. Lisiki's hand continued dripping acid. The acid ate away at the floor. Underneath the floor was a closed portal, which meant what was really beneath this floor, while the magic circle was active, was the void between worlds.
And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce....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.
That wraps up Round three. Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!