Now back to the matter at hand. This week I'm doing a skirmish today instead of Friday because I'm taking part in the BACK TO THE FUTURE blogfest on March 1. :)
Continuing with the anonymous writing samples of contestants not lucky enough to be chosen for WRiTE CLUB 2012, despite the absence of prizes, or further advancement beyond this one bout, there is still plenty to be gained…and learned from all of you.
This week it's Ima Lil Ryder turn in the ring. Here is their 497 word submission.
“All right, then, Jake … the girls and I are getting out of here. Slim says he wants to stay. Why that is, I sure don’t know. YOU should be lying down, taking it easy, after what happened last night. I just can’t watch this. You are driving my blood pressure through the roof!” Roz Billings heaved herself up into the old Ford Falcon bus, slammed the door and gunned the engine. Jake watched as she and the girls bounced down the lane in a cloud of red dirt, heading to the main road.
Jake Billings was digging a hole in the back yard of his cottage on the north shore of the Island. He was keeping time to the throbbing behind his eyes, trying to ignore his horribly queasy stomach and the stench of his sweat. He could not believe the magnitude of this hangover. His head felt as though any bit of healthy brain tissue had been replaced by grimy cotton wadding and what should have been a pulse delivering blood to all the structures housed in his cranium had become an internal kettle drum. It didn’t help that he was also diabetic. The previous night’s revelries had almost killed him, he knew Roz had stayed awake after the guests left to make sure he did not lapse into a coma. Roz was not a drinker and Jake still wondered how on earth she ended up marrying into his big, loud, alcoholic family—but he was grateful for her life-saving ministrations over the years. It was a pity she was so anxious all the time. She wasn’t wearing it too well, either. It was pretty damn alarming how that kind of thing could ruin a woman’s looks. Then he felt his upper lip flap against his gums where his dentures should have been, and his black mood darkened considerably.
The evening before had been filled with the promise of the best party of the summer. Jake had just bottled his last batch of malt beer and the brown frosty bottles were sitting in washtubs, packed in ice sent up from the docks. Roz spent the day working her magic with the blueberries the kids had picked. Two beautiful pies and a huge blueberry buckle sat on the oilskin tablecloth. Roz was cheerful, and Jake looked at her relaxed face and remembered the dark beauty she had been. Extending hospitality made her happy. In addition to the blueberry concoctions, Jake and the kids had gone clamming across the Island earlier in the day when the tide on the south side was at dead low. The steamers they brought back were now in the big, black speckled steaming pot on the stove, waiting for the heat. The furniture was out on the lawn, with the exception of a couple of benches and straight back chairs, so tired dancers could set a bit. They were ready for the guests to arrive.
And in the other corner, checking in with 495 words, is Captain Chicken Liver.
Lara clenched her hands in the thin blanket beneath her as the Potentate appeared behind the slave. She fought to suppress her emotions as he scanned each child with a smile on his handsome face. The tension, thick enough to suffocate, increased as the evil one’s steps echoed among the stones of the room. The Potentate searched each child as if looking for something specific, passing by the girls, but stopping to inspect each boy with interest. His gaze fell on her brother’s dark head and Lara’s gut clenched.
“How old are you, my son?”
Her brother swallowed. “Twelve.”
The Potentate’s eyes darkened in satisfaction. “Perfect.”
A keening sound filled the room as the mute moved to place the chains around her brother’s ankles and wrists. Lara realized it came from her as the Potentate’s gaze landed on her.
In a voice as warm as maple syrup on freshly made sweet cakes. “Your resemblance to my chosen one says that you must be siblings. Do not let my choice sadden you.” His eyes abandoned her to feast on the handsome face of her brother. “If he satisfies me, I’ll skip this room for the next, allowing those here a reprieve.” The dark one lifted an eyebrow at her brother. “You will satisfy me, will you not?”
She shook her head as her brother glanced at her. Her voice burst out in a ragged whisper. “No!”
Her brother, unblinking, nodded. “Remember who you are, sister.” He returned his gaze to the smiling Potentate. “If you’ll leave this room for last, I will do my best to satisfy you.”
The dark one’s smile stretched wider across his face as he turned and disappeared through the door. Lara longed to reach out and wrap herself around her brother, but he pinned her to her bed with a hard look. “Remember who you are. Let my sacrifice count for something. Never lose hope. Never.”
Lara nodded as silent tears dripped off her chin into her lap. The mute pulled her brother out of the room. Before the mute pulled the door closed, she locked her eyes with her brother’s, pulled her shoulders back, and lifted her chin. She formed the symbol of her house with her right hand, kissed it, and placed it over her heart. Her brother nodded as the mute closed the door, taking him forever from her sight.
Lara stared at the door without blinking until her eyes began to burn. Her brother’s words circled around in her head until she stood and moved to the door. The others glanced at each other as she used her fingernail to make a notch in the wood across the day’s mark. She turned to face the room, meeting each set of eyes that watched her, then once again walked from one end of the room to the other. Her brother’s sacrifice would not be a waste. She was Lady Lara Wann and a Wannn ever gave up. Never.
See you back here at the ring again next week!