And the judge has spoken!!!! Thanks for participating, everyone! If you missed the stories, you can check them out here. Otherwise, let's see what the judge had to say!
Rebekah Postupak (SC): I loved the setup of the story, and the concept drew me in immediately. I mean, how fascinating (and terrifying) to be out of sync with the world – to have all the capacity to communicate, but still not be able to. It reminded me of this news story (http://www.treehugger.com/
natural-sciences/worlds- loneliest-whale-sings-at-the- wrong-frequency.html). On the other hand, the ending felt rushed, as if it needed another hundred or so words to reveal itself with the same wonder as the rest of the story.
Jessica West: My inner pedant was startled at first, as you changed the tense of the prompt, but it was such a marvelously macabre story that I decided to ignore that. Nicely suspenseful, drawing the reader along with your protagonist to find out what had happened behind that door. It could have been anything, and then we met the monster in a child’s body, only to know no more.
Emily Karn (SC): I could tell right off that you were bringing me along on a journey to see some ancient site destroyed – Pompeii, Atlantis, something like that – and I was definitely captivated as to what kind of journey it would be. Wonderful imagery, and a well-imagined scene. There were a couple of editing mistakes that took me out of the flow of the story, however – that’s the kind of thing my teacher’s eyes fixate on sometimes.
Stella (SC): A lovely little tale of a quite devious young woman who feels trapped in a life she doesn’t like (although whether she’ll fare any better in the arms of a soldier who just killed her mother is a lesson she’ll have to learn on her own). A little on the short side – I think that using the rest of the allotted room would have helped add just a few more touches, like a hint as to why her mom would be in particular danger.
writtenbetweencovers (SC): A wonderful glimpse into history, filled with tiny touches that painted a vivid scene for the reader. Poor, brave Mansika, about to die (and likely painfully) to help Cleopatra survive. I liked this one a lot.
Amy Wood (SC): A short little tale, but filled with the atmosphere of a time and place far from our own. And when the blood’s already being spilled, what’s a little more, for someone with a knife and an inclination to spill his own self. Chilling and effective.
Karl A Russell (SC): Oh, what a wonderful Valentine’s Day tale! (was this a surplus Love Bites story in another guise?) Very nice use of language, drawing the reader into time and place – although apparently, Carol and Padraig don’t live in ordinary everyday Ireland. The lesson, as always: don’t interrupt a woman in the middle of a good book, even if you are Cupid.
JM Mac F (SC): A jaunt back to the Civil War, and the worries of a young woman on her own (well, with a bunch of servants – although given that this was in the south, I wasn’t sure if slaves were the right fit) in a time of war. Not just any young woman, but one that’s more than a little flighty, offering Valentines to men wounded in battle without proper medical care. Nice job.
Special Challenge Runner-up: Amy Wood
Special Challenge Champion: writtenbetweencovers
Runner-up: Rebekah Postupak
Grand Champion: Karl A Russell