We've narrowed the field down to eighteen and now move into the second round. In this round the contestants were allowed to edit/revise their submissions before being pitted against an opponent, but unfortunately not everyone chose to do so. Regardless, the eighteen remaining writers have been matched off once again and like the first round, the nine bouts will be posted on Mon-Wed-Fri, on this and two other blogs. Here are the links to the blogs where the other bouts can be found.
DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
Julie Dao @ Silver Lining
Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most. If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, 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. You will have until noon on Sunday (Nov. 11th) to vote on these nine bouts. Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to. Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you.
In round two...every vote counts. This is because 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 3.
The nine winners will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 11th and round 3 will kick off the following Monday with all new 500 word submissions.
Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!
They called her the pig-woman. No one said it to her face of course—that would be suicide—but they all thought it just the same. She had a great meaty head, a face like a grapefruit gone bad, and a vast, swollen body that left the meat traders desperately trying to get the words “price per pound” out of their heads.
And she had a terrible temper.
She thundered down the dirt path, a trail of squashed daisies and buttercups in her wake. The air was ripe for a mid-summer downpour; low thunderheads belched their hot breath across the length of the plateau home of the Blacksmithing clan. Wind billowed the pig-woman’s dress about her, teasing a ridiculous doily off her head until she was forced to hold the thing down with her enormous hand. She paused in her march to huff and heave and blow spittle into the wind.
“Curse them!” she panted, leaning upon her knees and feeling the sweat soak through her pantaloons. Her legs felt as though they were on fire—slow roasting with perspiration. She wiped her brow with the wretched doily before returning it to the top of her head.
“Wootz! Stop dawdling, you louse, and get over here!” she yelled. The hand not busy with the doily pulled at a short length of braided rope—a leash of sorts. She gave it another jerk. “I said, come here, you stuttering jackass!” She gave the rope one more vicious tug and a small wheezy voice stuttered from somewhere behind the pig-woman.
“Y-y-y-es, W-w-wini-f-fred, d-d-dear….”
The voice belonged to a sad little man who happened to be the pig-woman’s husband, Master Wootz. Everything about the man’s face was saggy, cheerless, and wrinkled—like a pair of oversized trousers—and his neck was permanently stooped from the pig-woman’s incessant tugging upon the leash. Even his eyes appeared to have been drawn at a downward tilt, leaving a permanent expression of “Why me?”sketched onto his face.
The man gazed around the pig-woman’s bulk at the open cart path—the sort of longing gaze a hound might give an open field—before another jerk on the rope brought him back, cowering in the shadow of her massive behind.
“Curse them!” the pig-woman spat, her mind churning with foul thoughts. The day had been going wonderfully, just wonderfully, and then that…that thing had to happen in the garden. Winifred hated unpleasant surprises—unless she was the one doing the surprising—and the thing in the garden had been a most unpleasant surprise indeed; one moment she was merrily wringing the necks of two rabbits she’d cornered in the radishes, and the next moment her blood pressure was careening skyward as she eavesdropped on two women conversing just on the other side of the garden wall. The pig-woman’s brain rehashed the conversation as it had all morning, in a kind of anger-induced replay: “Did you hear? The Smyths are having the naming party for their baby tonight and--would you believe--they didn’t invite Wootz!”
And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Rattle Yerdags.
As he sinks into the chair across from me, he looks just like a doctor should: greying hair, a well-trimmed beard with badger-stripes framing his lips, and wire rimmed glasses his wife must have chosen because they're too tasteful for the awful polyester shirt and pants he's wearing.
"How are you feeling today, Stacy?" His voice is too loud for the muted tones of the room -- all earthy browns and soft corners. It's his office, but he's tried to make it look like a living room, complete with a coffee table squatting between us and lamps on the varnished surfaces at our sides. Too bad the external door has a combination lock. Kind of kills the good-time vibe.
He's waiting for an answer. I start to shrug, then freeze in place until the razors of pain ease. My stitches are all out now, but the hard pink lines spider webbing across most of my upper body are a pitiful excuse for healing. Underneath I am still many layers of mangled nerve endings and fractured flesh.
Doctor hears me catch my breath and his eyes snap to mine. All that beguiling disinterest is an act. He is measuring me.
"Pain?"he says, softly this time.
"Yes. But it's not bad. I just moved wrong."
It burns and crackles under my skin until I want to scream. But I won't tell him that. For him I will be untouched. Ready to face the world. Sane.
I will get out of here today.
His lips press together under his perfectly-trimmed mustache. But after a second he smiles again.
“I see you brought your bag.”
The duffel bag my mother packed when she shoved me in this place sits on the floor under the combination lock. I don’t plan on touching it again until he’s opening that door for me.
“So you’re confident about today?”
“I’m confident that I’m not crazy.”
Doctor’s smile twists up on one side. “You know we don’t use that word in here, Stacy.”
There are a lot of words they don’t use in here. See you later, for example.
I take a deep breath. Cold. Calm. Sane. “Sorry.”
Doctor meets my gaze for two full seconds. Then he plants his hands on his knees and eases to his feet, speaking as he turns to reach behind his chair.
“I’m glad you’re sure of yourself. But as the dean of this hospital, I have a responsibility to make sure it’s in your best interests to return to the rigors of daily life.
Don’t forget to visit the other two sites and vote for your favorite in those bouts as well! Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!