Well, that was fun! Thanks everyone for participating! I had a blast seeing so many new faces (I'm not sure of a more appropriate phrase, seeing as I *didn't* see any of your faces at all....but 'reading so many new twitter handles' just doesn't sound right. Ah well!). If you missed any of the amazing stories, go check out the full offering here. Otherwise, let's read what the judge had to say (Thanks, Rebekah!):
In a display of dramatic historical coincidence, quite a few of you unrolled graffiti and other hilarity in your ancient documents. I loved that juxtaposition of greatness with the banal. As ever, the splendid diversity across the board in your stories was enough to delight even the pickiest of readers. Wonderful job, everybody--wonderful worlds, wonderful words. Thank you!
Special shout out to Dolled Kitten whose description of painstaking study--and I have to quote almost this whole paragraph--was so wonderfully perfect, I laughed out loud. "There was a throbbing in his temples, as if someone were drumming their thumbs against them to make unbearably painful music. He strained to read the symbols. They marched and swerved, making focusing difficult. They mocked and laughed at him because of his ignorance..." This description caused me to relive one of my way-too-many all-nighters back in college days. Awesome.
And another personal shout out to Stella for the Edith Piaf nod--I LOVE her music, and "Je ne regrette rien" is one of my favorites of hers. It's somehow fitting that such a powerful voice should be paired with such a gruesome tale.
Judge's Challenge Runner Up: JM MacF. Unless you speak Greek, you had to look up how to say "eight pounds of fish and two bushels of potatoes" which, given you sandwiched the quotation in melodramatic sarcasm, is hilarious and made the whole thing totally magnificent.
Judge's Challenge Champion: Nada Adel. You included not just one line, but an entire poem in Arabic! The lovely lines were at the story's heart, with its knowing caution to "wait for the light." --And I assure all you skeptics that the final sentence, as glorious as it is, did not bias this award. :D
Grand Champion Runner Up: This goes to ImageRonin, "Lost in Translation," for his wonderful worldbuilding and depth of story, and to Amy Wood's untitled piece, for her snappy dialogue--both of whom ended their stories with very funny mundane translations and abandonment. They were both thoroughly enjoyable reading, beautifully designed and assembled.
Grand Champion: DrMagoo. Unlike many of the other stories which went in an Indiana Jones-type direction, this story gave us a contemporary woman reeling from great tragedy. I was moved by the parallelism of her physical experiences with her grief (e.g. the car accident with her memories; the pain of fiberglass and sweat in her eyes with her heartache) and by the way her parents joined the pantheon of the past as she found her father's love letter, which in itself was precious, alongside her grandmother's dishes. This story is a sophisticated one of great heart, dancing in time: the protagonist is lost in today, feeling certain there can be no tomorrow--even as she holds in her hands a moment of great love and promise, thousands of tomorrows from then. Beautifully done.