Another writer steps out of the ring and into the playoff rounds, and this time it's Petrichor, the winner of Bout #8. The voting for Bout #9 remains open until noon on Sunday, July 20th.
A rundown of all the past and current matches, with their respective winners, can be found right HERE.
For anyone who's dropping by for the first time, here's a summary of what's going on. Back on May 3rd we began taking submissions from WRiTER’s far and wide, spanning the globe, representing all ages and multiple styles of WRiTING. We received 167 entries in all! Those 500 word samples went under careful consideration by 11 judges and that panel narrowed the list down to 32…which are the ones that are pairing off in the ring over the course of eight weeks.
Note: The submissions can be an excerpt from a larger work...or a standalone piece of flash fiction. The only rules are that they be 500 words or less, and never previously published or posted on a blog. Although I'll never instruct someone how they should choose a winner, I would recommend considering this when doing so. It shouldn't be about how much information is contained in those 500 words, but the way a contestant goes about communicating the information that is.
These illustrious WRiTER’s are not only from all walks of life, but they also occupy various levels of the publication world. But none of that matters here, because inside this ring everybody stands as equals. You know why? Because no one uses their real name…the only identification you’ll ever see is their pen name. This is not a popularity contest. The focus here is on the writing, where it should be.
Today is the tenth of sixteen bouts, two bouts per week, with a new one posted every Monday and Thursday. The winners are decided by votes left in the comment section and anyone can vote. The voting for each fight will last for one full week, so you can vote for a Monday battle all the way until midnight on Sunday, and you can vote for a Thursday brawl up until midnight the following Wednesday. And when you do vote, please let the contestants know what you liked and disliked.
Have you got your popcorn and favorite drink? Time for the fun to begin!
Here are this bout's two randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in this corner, representing the Adult Fiction genre and weighing in at 500 words, please welcome to the ring……..Crux.
I woke to the sound of iron against iron. Then iron against skull. Yells against screams. Warrior cheers. Inmates were finally free for brawl and how sprawling the sounds of freedom were. A few hours later the prison went silent.
They left us here to rot. Arpike was the dark crevice of prison systems. Only the worst kind of men were sent here. Ultimately, we were all left behind when the prison shut down and the boats jutted off this godforsaken island. The goddamn staff left without us. It took very little time to figure that out.
It was only then the sound of the prison itself became lively. Not the bars banging, not the men screaming, but the underbelly groan of dark haunting things that finally came to life making their way to the surface for the very last time. Our deepest and darkest fears were now abundantly present and the jubilee of freedom was soon crushed by the reality of what was actually unleashed in the wake of our abandonment.
I pen this entry because what inevitably follows will be legend. The aftermath of carnage will seem mysterious. Scientific questions will be raised as to what really happened and no clear explanation is likely to surface.
Should anyone find this, I beg you share it as proof of how we died - because the twisted remains and unexplainable circumstances of our condition will perplex the world.
Groups of men have hung themselves, others drowned in toilets—many as a favor of mercy, some inexplicably torn apart at the hips, and yet others simply disappeared.
It will all seem supernatural, yet I assure you all of these incidents have an explanation.
Prisons were originally built with iron bars because spirits cannot pass beyond iron. If a man dies in prison, his soul remains behind the iron. It is a dark truth that should be examined further.
In 1946 Truman Horrorwitz was executed in the electric chair. It took 20 minutes of electrocution to finally kill him. Some say the men electrocuted after are forever under his rule.
Daemon Reddit claimed himself to be the son of the Devil. Upon his gas chamber demise he took 10 minutes of breath before letting out a deep moan that shook the penitentiary. It killed all the observers in the death box by brain aneurism.
I mention the story of these men because their myth is revered in Arpike. Their story is a portrait of the inmates here. I cannot imagine a better time for them to return, to greet the patrons who now occupy their territory with bloodshed and super-abomination.
I can feel the power station polling. I can hear men gasping. All I can smell is burning iron. At this moment I know my only reprise is this letter. By the time you read it, I will be
a part of Arpike. Tear it down. Demolish it. Set
us free. Our dues are paid.
And in the other corner, representing the Adult Fantasy genre with 495 words, let me introduce to you……….Huntress.
It started as it always did, the Call burning inside my stomach like radioactive magnets. Tugging, nagging, beckoning until my whole body buzzed with it. I threw my hair into a messy bun, tugged on my hoodie, and grabbed the essentials: my Glock 42, zip-ties, gloves and keys. By the time I started up my old Honda, I could feel a taut, invisible line connecting me with that which I sought.
I headed east out of the city, my inner GPS guiding my choice of highways. Skyscrapers were replaced with suburbs, which were replaced with intermittent slashes of farmland and woods. Time elapsed, too slow, as I tried not to white-knuckle the steering wheel. The bobble-head Yoda on my dashboard mocked me as I drummed the fingers of one hand on my thigh. My nails were already chewed down, the gunmetal paint chipped. Yeah, patience wasn’t so much my virtue. One hour passed, then two. Midafternoon slid away and the sky began a sluggish burn to night. As the temperature dropped, the heater in my car started to sound like it was having an asthma attack. The land became desolate, hilly, shadowed with thick forest. Almost there.
When I found the house, I passed it and circled up and down a few gravel roads before I spotted a good place to hide my car. My breath puffed miniature clouds into the air as I trekked back to the house. More of a cabin, really. Yellow shutters stood out against the wooden planks and plaid curtains hung in the windows. Smoke twisted lazily out of the chimney. God, it seemed like something right out of a creepy fairytale. And the Call definitely emanated from inside. That’s where I’d find the girl. I took a deep breath, ran my fingers over the hard comfort of my gun, and moved for the front door.
Which opened abruptly.
I dropped behind a bush, my heart moving into high gear with a kick like my motorcycle. The kidnapper walked to his truck, whistling as he went. The engine rumbled to life and he pulled down the driveway.
It looked as if I’d just gotten very lucky.
Seven minutes later the six-year-old girl that’d been splashed on the news all day lay safe in my car. Drugged and asleep, but out of harm’s way. However, one loose end remained: dealing with the perv who’d taken her. The hunter had become the hunted. Karma sure is a bitch, and I was happy to help dole out her cosmic justice.
I ran back through the woods and crouched down between a rusty water pump and an abandoned Volvo. The Call, faded only for a handful of minutes, flared up again as I refocused it, my own internal bloodhound. The snatcher became my target now. He wasn’t far.
Enjoying the words of two talented writers is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs. In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of Bout #10. Which one tickled your fancy? After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well. The voting for this round will remain open until noon Sunday. Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world. It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers.