WRiTE CLUB 2013 - Bout 16






Congratulations to Alone for claiming the 14th play-off slot!

This is it.  The final preliminary bout before we head into the championship rounds.  After this fight you will have seen all the contestants...taken the opportunity to size them up...and I bet some of you are already picking favorites.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves and short-change these final two combatants. 

Before we get started here's something you need to be aware of.  This final round will only remain open for voting until the end of the day on Monday,  September 2nd.  The voting period is a shorter this time so that we can get the next round of the competition underway, so don't dally with your voting.

I have but one thing left to say....


Stepping into the ring is our first contestant, weighing in with 494 words of Historical Romance, welcome Lauretta Stiles!





"Will you please stop, Dianna? That pacing is driving me mad."

"Well, your stalling tactics are driving me mad."

Displaying uncustomary patience, Papa said quietly, "I am not stalling. I am reconnoitering."

That stopped her. Facing him, she waved a hand in annoyance. "We're not on the battlefield, Papa. We're in your office. In the heart of London. And writing letters is hardly reconnoitering."

"I am soliciting assistance, daughter. What do you expect me to do? Charge into Broydon Castle and put a pistol to your birth uncle's head and threaten murder unless he reveals the nature of his association with this…McGuire? For all you know, the man was asking directions of him."

"He wasn't."

"How do you know? From what you and Elizabeth told me, you only saw them together for a few seconds, before you took off like a crazed hound, causing everyone within ten miles of the place to stop and stare. I can only pray that no one who knows me recognized you."

She narrowed her gaze at him. "Do I take that to mean you are more concerned with what your friends think of you than you are in the whereabouts and welfare of your grandson?"

He threw down his pen. It bounced off a half-full tumbler of whiskey, before rolling toward the edge of the desk. Dianna caught it, handed it back to him.

"Thank you," he said stiffly. Laying it carefully aside, he massaged his face with both hands, before looking at her. "And I am concerned with finding your son, Dianna. Which is why I am writing to people in a position to help; a task better performed in silence. Why don't you go to bed? I'll dispatch these at once, but do not expect a response before late morning at the earliest." Jacketless, his shirtsleeves rolled to his elbows, his tie loose and collar unbuttoned and his usually impeccably pomade-smoothed black hair clumped untidily, fatigue etched deeply in the pale skin around his bloodshot eyes and humorless mouth, he looked as tired as she felt.

She and Lizzy had spent two fruitless hours searching almost every square inch of the Newmarket grounds. With the sun setting and security personnel threatening to forcibly remove her and Lizzy, she had been forced to concede that her uncle, like McGuire and JJ, was gone. It was almost midnight before she and Lizzy staggered into the townhome. Papa's astonishment over their arrival was only outweighed by his outrage once he discovered their subterfuge. Dianna had been forced to shout to quiet him long enough to tell him he could dole whatever punishment he believed adequate, after he helped her locate her uncle, and glean from him, the truth.

Elizabeth, blessedly, had gone to bed without argument leaving Dianna to fuss and fume while Papa scribbled. She glanced at the clock on the fireplace mantel.

Three a.m. Papa was right.

Anyone in a position to help would be fast asleep.
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And in the other corner, representing the Suspense-Spy Thriller genre with 493 words, welcome Sing Sing!





The sun dropped its load through the broken plate glass window and onto Burgundy’s eyelids.

‘Damn curtains! Ain’t worth shit!’ he grumbled as he rolled over to face the wall. Strips of peeling wallpaper and crumbs of flaking plaster tickled his nose as he breathed.

Still grumbling, and now coughing, he threw off the stained bedspread and hung his legs over the edge of the bed. He grabbed a bottle of whiskey—a rarity in times when the dole came in the form of pill-packs and alcoholic drinks almost required the donation of a kidney to pay for--from the nightstand. He unscrewed the top and swished a healthy swig around in his mouth. After swallowing, Burgundy chased the drink with three pills he sprung from a blister pack marked Breakfast.


The rats were out and about this morning, the rats being the scum who lived in the outer sections or ‘the Jungle’ of Tower City. He could hear the shouting and fighting, the sirens of the cops who sometimes ventured this far into the gated ranks of hookers, drug dealers, gangsters—basically, whoever upper society didn’t think good enough to lick the crud off their boots. This is where Burgundy had grown up. He knew its ins and outs like he knew the stress lines creasing his brow and the corners of his lips. This hellhole was home.

The motel room he’d holed up in over the last few weeks was dark and dingy. Blobs of brown stains marked the ceiling as well as the carpet. Ratty, faded blue curtains hung at the window. The bedspread wasn’t any better. The toilet almost always clogged when flushed and he hadn’t even bothered to look in the bathtub, let alone climb in for a shower. The smell emanating from the drain put him off. Still, the place was the best he could afford with the slim savings he had managed to stash away for a rainy day. It was cash only from here on out as swipe cards were out of the question.

Big Boy rested on the nightstand beside the bed. Burgundy picked it up, pointed it at the window and looked through the scope at the dilapidated building across the street. He didn’t have any friends. In Lower Tower City people had pimps and baby-mamas but no one had friends. But that’s how Burgundy liked it. People were shifty, unreliable. They lied. He narrowed his eyes. They backstabbed. He got up, walked over to where his lightpad waited for him on the dinette table, and set his gun on it. He loved the thud it made against the wood top. Big Boy, on the other hand, always did what it was supposed to: blow the shit out of anyone Burgundy pointed it at. As long as Big Boy was cleaned and oiled, it was always ready to roar. Who needed anything more than that?

Burgunday flicked the switch on his lightpad. No new messages.

Damn.
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Now it's time to go to work.  Which of these two sample resonated the most?  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of round 15 (after making sure you've registered on the WRiTE CLUB linky list found HERE), along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  Remember, the voting will remain open only until the end of the day on September 2nd.  

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

WRiTE CLUB 2013 - Bout 15


Yet another VERY close contest in round 13, but Slippery Slope pulled this one out at the last second.  Congrats!!

We enter the final week of preliminary bouts with four writers vying for two remaining positions on the road forward.  I want to take a moment to thank all of the voters who have left -- what I consider -- world class critiques.  Win or lose...every contestant comes away with input that will improve their writing, and that's worth everything in our world.

So...onto the second-to-last preliminary bout for this year.


Striding boldly into the ring is our first contestant, weighing in with 493 words of Literary Fiction, welcome Dinah Annella!





He taught English 271: Themes in Shakespeare. It was a small class, and he bantered with us, often using me as an example. “If Miss Dawson were to enter the scene and, with her beauty and wit, draw Iago’s focus to her, how would this play be different?”

After class that day, the girl next to me said she thought he had a crush on me.

“He’s kind of old,” I said. But I wondered.

I began to stay to talk with him after the other students left, while he packed up his books and notes. I had questions about papers; he wanted to know my plans after graduation. I liked talking about my future, about who I could be. Who he thought I could be.

“He’s married,” I told myself. “He has a little bald spot.”

The first time he asked me to walk with him to his office, we stood just inside the door for a few minutes. The second time we talked for twenty minutes behind his closed door.

“I don’t see you in a corporate environment,” he said. “What about publishing? I see you interacting with people, being creative. You have a spark and a spirit about you, Patty. It’s irresistible.” He held my gaze, then leaned back in his chair and with a small smile, raised one eyebrow.

“Well, thanks,” I said slowly. I smiled a little awkwardly. Irresistible?

“You don’t believe me.

I shifted in my seat and leaned back. I realized that I was mirroring his body language. I looked past him, saw the beginnings of buds on the big maple outside the window.

“We can talk about it some more,” he said. “If you’d like.” He sat up and leaned toward me. “Patty, you must realize that I’ve taken quite an interest in you.” He paused. His voice dropped. “‘... speak/Of one that lov’d not wisely, but too well ...’”

“Othello,” I murmured.

He reached both arms across his desk, palms up. His wedding band gleamed. “Some evening, maybe?”

I knew what this was. I waited only a moment. I leaned forward, touched my middle finger to his index finger, slid it gently toward the tip, and in that one-half inch, leapt the chasm. “Yes. Where?”

Two nights later, I walked up a flight of stairs and down the dim hallway to his office.

“I’ve been going mad waiting for you,” he whispered. With the lights out and the door locked, there were no witnesses. Outside our door, the cleaning crew moved silently, sweeping clear the dirt of the day, scrubbing and flushing the waste.

When I emerged from his office, I found the ladies room to be spotless and fresh and shocking in its fluorescent, buzzing glare. There were no balled-up paper towels on the floor, no hairs on the sink, no smears to distort the starkness of my face in the mirror.

I had told my boyfriend I was studying with a friend.
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And in the other corner, representing the High Fantasy genre with 500 words, welcome DragonWriter!




Wenlyn froze. The dragon’s voice was unmistakably male. Strong, confident, and wise.  Not sure how to react, Wenlyn thought the first thing that came to his mind. How may I serve?

In answer, the mound reared up with a heart-stopping crack. Wenlyn toppled backward in alarm, landing on his hip and elbow. The mound twisted, raining down sharp bits of rock and dirt clods as it swung a tale-like appendage away from him.

But the Ancient Ones didn’t move! They were encased in stone! Yet, two purple eyes, each the size of a supply wagon, blinked at him from thirty feet away.

Are you afraid, Wenlyn? The voice thought at him.

Wenlyn swallowed, blinked, got shakily back up onto his knees and bowed his head. He clasped his hands in front of him to keep them from trembling.

No, he finally managed. Just startled. He looked up at the two eyes, encrusted about with generations of rock. Why have you moved?

That we may look upon you with our physical eyes, as we looked on you before, and so you may know that we have.

Looked on me before? Wenlyn thought. When?

It has been many years since we last saw you.

The only other time Wenlyn had ever been to the Valley of the Ancients was that day with Darnek. That must be what the Ancient was referring to. I didn’t know you saw me that first day. Darnek didn’t tell me that.

When we looked on you before, it was not in this place, and Darnek was not with you.

Wenlyn searched the ground, trying to remember another time the Ancient might be referring to. He couldn’t think of one. Then when?
Silence. The purple eyes blinked, and something stirred inside Wenlyn. Something strange, something familiar, something deeply unsettling.

Please, Wenlyn struggled to form cohesive thoughts. I don’t understand.

Nor will you. Not for a long time to come. But we’ve seen you, now, as you’ve seen us. The sky will soon be red, and filled with dark wings. War and pestilence will be loosed upon the Six Realms, and our ancient siblings will awaken. The time is at hand, Son of the Mountain. Go to the village. Investigate your mystery. But know that nothing is as it seems, and everything runs deeper than you think. Deep as blood. Deep as time. Deep as fate.

The mound reared farther up. The purple eyes were forty feet above Wenlyn’s head, now. Farther down, on what might have been the dragon’s chest, something was turning the black rock red, like coal in a furnace.

The rock that was once a dragon threw its head back, opened it’s great jaws, sending boulders tumbling to the earth as it did, and spat white, liquid fire.

Wenlyn threw his arm over his face but liquid hell covered him, searing his skin, lancing through his chest and blinding him. Wenlyn tried to scream but his voice box had already melted away.
He was consumed.
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Once again it’s up to you.  Which of these two sample resonated the most?  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of round 15 (after making sure you've registered on the WRiTE CLUB linky list found HERE), along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Sunday.  

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


 




 

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