Sep 19, 2013

WRiTE CLUB 2013 Playoffs / Round One - Bout 9

Today I bring you the final bout of the first round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs.  Remember, the voting for ALL play-off bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, September 22nd. 

Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  Whether you've been following along from the beginning and have a familiarity with each of them, or this is your first time's just a matter of choosing the one you feel deserves to move forward. If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, please offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this LinkyList) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  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. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2. 

The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on September 22nd and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

In this corner welcome back to the ring for a second time.....N.U. Endo.

“Hey, Luana, how much farther?”

“Few days, Boy. Oh, wipe that look off your face. It's just a bit of rain and wind. Get back to it. Secure the galley and hunker down, you hear me? Don't come up on deck until Hallox returns with the okay.” Luana smiles but it doesn't clear the worry in her eyes.

I do as I'm told, mostly. About the time I've finished strapping down the last of it, water floods in. At first, there’s not much, but soon it’s ankle deep. I'm not loving the idea of drowning down here. I stumble out of the galley toward the stairs. As I slosh through the cold water, I tell myself I’ll just take a quick look. When I get in the doorway at the top of the stairs, I freeze.

Crew are tied to the masts and railing. Lightning flashes, illuminating their faces. Massive waves pound the deck. The wind rips at the ropes holding the sails. One comes free as I cling to the door frame, fighting to stay upright. A figure darts across the deck. People yell, but the ocean is too loud, the wind too demanding and their words get lost in the void.

The sail snaps back and forth, the mast swaying and groaning against the chaotic movements of the fabric. Lightning flashes again revealing the figure. Luana runs for the loose rope.

The ship pitches sideways, a wave splashing across the deck. Luana’s feet are swept out from under her. Her hands barely catch hold of the rope. She dangles in mid-air for a second. When the ship crashes back down, her knees hit the deck. She scrambles to her feet and frantically reigns in the wild sail, securing it to its post.

I breathe out the air I'd been holding for her. It's such an amazing sight, I want to applaud. She clings to the mast, the ship rocking while rain pounds us. She doesn't know where to go. She eyes the direction she came from but doesn't move. I follow her eyes and see why. A gigantic wave barrels down on us like a wall of death.

I shout at her but my is voice lost in the roar. Lightning splits the sky again and again. I gesture wildly to her. Finally, she turns toward me. If she can get across the deck and down below, she'll be fine.

She spares one last glance at the wave and bolts my direction. Hope fills my chest. I reach for her with my free hand, the other in a death grip with the frame.

Her strong, calloused fingers close around mine just as the wave slams into us. The ship tips violently.­ I bash against the wall and stagger back as a flood pushes me down. Water fills my nose. The last I see of the deck is nothing but ocean. Luana's hand slips away from mine as I tumble backwards down the stairs.


And taking the spot on the other side of the ring for their second go-around...Gordon Holmes.

I ran. Faster than I ever thought possible. The one season I ran track in eighth grade I took every first place medal there was, and in the State Competition I took home several trophies. My top speed was a mile in 4.35.

I thundered past dead aliens and humans. I didn’t look down to see how much blood, brains, and guts I splashed through, or what color it was. I’d count the victims by the splotches of red vs orange on my shoes when I cleaned them later. This was the last pair of running shoes my mom bought me before the invasion two years ago, and as luck would have it, I didn’t outgrow them before she got her eighty bucks worth of wear and tear as she feared.

I own the road between Titus High and Check Point 12. No scouts have ever caught me, motion sensors are useless against my speed – and a home built EMP - and if all that fails I have a fully charged disrupter stolen from one of the alien generals about a year ago.

Some call it luck I survived as relay this long. But I’m Gordon fucking Holmes. Flash Gordon to my long lost coaches; Homey to my new gang of resistance misfits; JohnSon to the only girl that mattered to me before, and now. Inside joke, never mind.

I dash past Indiana mile marker 42 and the thrown together edifice of check point 12 looms ahead. “Titus 12, Titus 12,” I scream as I break into the perimeter.

Fifty yards in an no shots are fired. Relays are expected, and each outpost has its unique signature. Not original you think? Trust me, the aliens haven’t figured out something so simple yet.

The metal door rolls up and I throw myself spread eagle against the sensor wall. I don’t even want to know how the military obtained that bit of technology. It identifies my disrupter and in seconds I’m prodded by a similar disrupter to give it up.

I turn to face my captors, and they shake their masked heads and motion with heavily gloved hands to an entrance on my left. They know me by sight, the wall has confirmed my identity.

General Guff always meets runners in the same storage room. I give my report as I load up my backpack with as much canned and boxed goods as I can carry. We’ve a bit of a garden in the quad, and a pig and lamb housed in the former gym, so I only take what we can’t grow. The rule is you only cart out what fits in the backpack, but my eyes consistently roam to the three natty army blankets next to the salt packets.

At last the General is satisfied, and he leaves with all the guards. I snatch the blankets, tuck them protectively against my chest, and start my run back to Titus High. I’m Gordon fucking Holmes, and I always deliver.

Leave your vote and come back Sunday to see who will be moving onto Round 2!

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


  1. Gordon Holmes. I LOVE the voice in this piece. I would read more from Gordon.

    As for the other one, I love a historical. But as I mentioned the last time this piece appeared, I think it needs to develop a more historical voice to go along with the setting and the action, to give us a better sense of time and place.

  2. I have to confess that I don't believe I voted for either of these in the first round. But between the two, I'll give the edge to N.U. Endo. I just find it too hard to suspend disbelief with Gordon (the kid must have magic sneakers if he can outrun alien technology sophisticated enough to overpower global defenses and invade Earth).

  3. Both excellent today. But NU Endo just edges it for me, due to being very vivid using quite simple descriptions. Gordon's was very involving, but that was slightly detracted from by the bits of backstory which seemed crammed among the action.

  4. I vote Gordon Holms. I like the N.U.Endo's story better, but Gordon's writing drew me in more.

  5. N.U. Endo gets my vote for having lush details that captured my senses and pulled me into the scene. Gordon's voice is great, but N.U. Endo stole the day.

  6. N.U. Endo for me. I love the imagery depicted in the story. It's full of suspense and keeps me at the edge of my seat. This was a great piece to select for the competition. It also flowed better for me than Gordon's. There was some grammar/editing issues that took me out of Gordon's story, and while it seems kind of cool, I'm with the poster above that said it's hard to believe he'd be faster than the aliens. I also don't get the sense of urgency he's trying to convey, maybe because no one is trying to get him. That being said, it still looks interesting. But my vote goes to N.U.Endo.

    1. ^ Agreed on all points - Gordon F. Holmes is plenty interesting to me as a character, but the polish and intensity of N.U. Endo puts it over the top.

  7. N u endo. For sure. It isn't even a question in my mind, the story draws you in and the writing makes the story clear. Gordon has grammar and editing issues and I can't suspend my disbelief while reading it.

  8. Both are well written, but my vote goes to N.U.Endo. It pulls me in and I feel like I'm right there are on the boat in the middle of the turmoil. Love it!

  9. Gordon effing Holmes. Almost lost me at the beginning, just because of gore (I'm a bit of a Nancy) but won me back and then some with the rest.

  10. P.S. Now I feel a little sad that I didn't get to vote for N.U. ...but no, I stick with GH. This is hard. :/

  11. I like both but I have to vote N.U. Endo.

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