WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 13








 We continue with the last nine bouts that make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  The submissions will be posted here 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 is 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 preliminary 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. 4th) to vote.  . 

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....?I Am Not Shakespeare.


I should have cried but I didn’t. I think I was more concerned with what my father was going to do once he got home and realized my mother had not only left him, but also forgot to take me with. That night my father walked through the door unaware that a colossal change had happened. He walked right by the kitchen, to his room. I silently counted, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four…. I’d almost made it to the fourth Mississippi before he realized most of my mother’s clothing was missing.

“What the hell is going on Julie? Where are all your dresses?" He was going to figure it out soon enough. When he didn’t get any response he thundered down the steps, stopping short of the kitchen. His eyes bore into me like I’d just committed a crime, and in a way, I felt like I had. In my mind, I didn’t fight hard enough to keep my mother there.

“Where’s your mother at?”

“I don’t know.” I shrugged as convincingly as I could and shoved another scoop of Spaghetti O’s into my mouth.

“What do you mean you don’t know? Did she go to the grocery store?” I didn’t know where she was half the time as it was, and it was true this time, I really didn’t know where she was.

“No, I don’t think she’s at the grocery store. She had her red dress in a suitcase and said she had to go somewhere for a bit.” The minute he put together that she was in possession of both her favorite red dress and the suitcase it must have hit him what was going on. His face turned the color of the sauce in my bowl, a muddled, reddish color and he started to shake. His eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. This was what I’d been waiting for, the aftermath.

“I knew she would do something like this to me one day. I tried to give her everything she ever wanted and it still wasn’t good enough. Then she decides to just leave you here. What the hell am I supposed to do with you now?” His fury was palpable and his disgust was evident, he didn’t want me either. He seemed more upset that she’d left me there for him to take care of than her actual leaving. I avoided meeting his eyes because then he would see the tears that were finally starting to build. The sound of his boots, heavy and loud on the vinyl floor, stomped back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, back to the kitchen and then he stormed out the back door, started up his truck and again I heard the metal garage door closing and I released the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.



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And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Dinah Annella.



Kat leaned her head against the bus window and watched the lights along the edge of the highway flash by like strobes: dark, then light, then dark again.

How was it possible that her father was dead? It didn’t feel real, even after all the scares and false alarms. The bus hit some rough pavement and her head bumped hard against the glass. She slipped her hand between her temple and the window and closed her eyes. She missed him so much, right here in her stomach and her throat.

She remembered going downstairs to talk to her father one night when she was around fourteen, after she’d finished her homework. Her brother had gone into the Army, and the evenings upstairs with her mother were so quiet. Her father was working in his rubber apron, softly humming to himself.

He looked up and smiled when he heard the door open. “Hey, honey.”

“Can I come in?”

“Sure.”

She sat on a high stool over by the desk where he did his state paperwork. She looked at the partially filled-out form in front of her. “Margaret Blackmun.”

“Yes. I was just wondering if she was a Maggie or a Peggy,” he said as he coiled up a long plastic tube and hung it on a hook on the wall.

“Peggy when she was little,” Kat decided. “Marge when she was grown up.”

“I hope she was the Peg o’ someone’s heart. I hope she was happy and loved.” He gazed for a moment at the woman’s still face. “I like to think that what I do is love, Kat. You know, this is the last kindness anyone will do for her. It’s an honor, really. I hope someone takes good care of me when it’s my turn.”

Kat left the stool and walked over to the table where her father was gently washing Margaret’s arms and hands. She looked at the face above the sheet, pinked up and a little puffy now with dad’s chemicals in her veins. “She looks so old.

“Yes, well, she was 87. But to me, she looks young, too. I can see the little girl she was, the teenager, the young mother. It’s all there.” He smoothed her thin white hair. “Peggy.”

“I can’t imagine ever being that old, dad,” Kat said.

“None of us can.” He washed Margaret’s face, then reached for the thread and curved needle to close up her mouth. Kat couldn’t stand to watch this part--she could almost feel the stitches in her own lips--so she went back upstairs, letting her father finish with the prepping and dressing. The next morning the hairdresser and beautician came by to get Margaret ready for the open casket, and later that afternoon, Kat watched out her window as the few old friends still alive came by to look and touch one last time, to say goodbye and to tell her children and grandchildren what she meant to them.


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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!



 


WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 10


We'll start the second week of Round 1 bouts by announcing the winners of the first weeks bouts. 

Bout 1 - Alondra Larkin
Bout 2 - Snivvy Crank
Bout 3 - Ravenclaw
Bout 4 - Sedney of the Castonod
Bout 5 - Rattle Yerdags
Bout 6 - Word Whittler
Bout 7 - Eleven
Bout 8 - Not Loretta Lynn
Bout 9 - Peanut Buttercup

Congratulations to the winning contestants.  In preparation for the second round of play-offs that begin next week you all should send in a revised version of your submission. How revised you ask?  That is totally up to you.  You can change as little as a single word, or you can choose to heed some of the critiques you received in the preliminary rounds, but this is your chance to fine tune your work. DL will need all of the revised submissions from the round one winners by 6 PM Sunday (Nov. 4th).

Let's get week two started! Today begins the last nine bouts that make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  They 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 is 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 preliminary 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. 4th) to vote.  . 

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Wren Tyler.



I don't remember leaving London.  In fact I don't remember anything, except for the letter left on Charlie's pillow.  The moment I closed his bedroom door behind me, I must have drawn into myself, away from the sights, the sounds, the memories.  I didn't want to feel; I just wanted to walk.  My legs, fat and tender from a fortnight's furlough, screamed for me to stop.  Slow down.  Find an inn and stay there.  But my brain told them to keep on going, one foot in front of the other, even as the city fell away.  I think I walked through the night, and the next night too; but as I said, I don't remember.

I only stop when my legs crumble beneath me; I land on my knees in the middle of the road, and I don't care a bit that the mud has begun to seep through my muslin gown.  Charlie never should have bought it for me; he knew all along that I'd manage to soil it.  Dirt, ink, blood--they'd all find their way onto the dress eventually.  Stupid Charlie.

No, not stupid Charlie.  Stupid me, for letting him slip into my thoughts again.  Stupid me for letting him toy with my heart in the first place; I've known for years that he's going to marry Harriett, so why was I fool enough to believe that would change?  Especially when I'm...when I'm...Well, when I'm me.

"Stop it, Pippa.  You promised yourself you'd never think of him."  I say the words out loud.  A big mistake.  Without anybody to answer, they hang heavy in the air.  So stifling I can't breathe.  Great.  Now even my own words are trying to kill me.

My own words?  Who am I kidding? It's Charlie's words that strangle me.  Or rather, their absence.

"Stop it!  Stop it!  Stop it!"  I press my palms over my ears, slam my eyes shut.  Then I take deep breaths:  in, out, in, out.  After a minute I'm almost calm, lost in a dreamy haze through which I can see my little cottage, and next to it, Father's forge--until the ground starts to rumble and I jolt to my senses.  My hand flies to the knife in my skirt; my fingers wrap around the handle, and--

And it's just a carriage.  A simple coach passing along the road.  Nothing to worry abou--

A coach! I scramble to the side and duck behind the treeline, then fall flat on my stomach without putting away my knife. Three minutes later a black carriage rolls by, lurching with every bump in the road. None of the passengers take notice of me, so once its clatter fades, I push myself from the ground. Try to, at least. My arms wobble under my weight, until finally I give in and let my face rest in the leaves. They scratch at my skin and cling to my hair, but there's something comforting about them. Their warm colors, the earthy aroma. Not at all like the silk pillows on which the Woodwards had me rest my head, but...better. I've missed sleeping in the woods.

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And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Brookside.


The mewling cry made Acacia’s heart pound and his eyes snapped open, breath coming in gasps to keep up with his pulse.

What was that?

He sat up on one elbow and crawled forward, pushing stray branches aside. The river opened up in front of him just in time to see the big man rise and stare down at the infant for long seconds.

It didn’t take long for Acacia to understand what he was seeing. The child was female, no doubt, and the father a poor man who could not afford another mouth to feed. The practice of leaving infants on riverbanks for the icy water to claim was not uncommon, but it was frowned upon, especially by the Church.

Acacia gulped. The baby’s cries had awakened his appetites, and his stomach clenched with fear when he realized the man was going to leave the infant there in the water. When the man hesitated, Acacia prayed he would reconsider and take the child back into the woods with him. When the man retreated without the baby, Acacia’s heart sank.

He lay back down on the frozen rocks, wringing his hands. He wished the water would carry the child away, out of his grasp, but the tiny, infantile cries persisted. He began to tremble. He told himself it was because of the cold, but he knew better.

One of the reasons he slept near the river, shivering most nights, was because it had the effect of cooling the passion in his blood. But this was too much. This was tempting fate too far.

He heard a loud gasp and sat up on his elbow again. A short, squat monk hurried into the river and gathered the baby into his arms. The noise of the river had masked the monk’s steps. While one part of Acacia cried out in anger at the sight, the more part of him sighed with relief. So the river had not carried the baby away, but the monk would, and Acacia would breathe easier.

The monk hurried away, probably hoping to save the infant, and Acacia sat listening until the child’s cries were swallowed up in the warbling of the river. Only then did he venture out onto the bank. He leaned over and splashed freezing water over his face and neck. It made his teeth chatter, but also cooled the passionate rhythm of his pulse that had been so unwittingly awakened. He righted his shirt, making sure the collar touched the nape of his neck in back so that his cursed tattoo was covered. If anyone saw that…

Shivering, he crawled back to his place on the cold rocks and wondered about what he’d just witnessed. If the child lived, it would be because she was meant to live; because God did not want her back yet. Acacia was not a church-going man, but he believed in God. Oh yes, that he did. That was why he slept by the river.


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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!


 

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