Edit: Mars is alive, and she agreed with Rin's assessment beforehand (forgot to say so, though). She'll add her comments below. There was a slight miscommunication error (well, more like lack of communication) on Mars' part which probably caused Rin and Si to think she had fallen off the face of the planet. She will endeavor to not fall off the face of the planet. She apologizes profusely for the delay.
Geoff Holme's The Happiest Day of Your Life...
Rin: This one was simply fun. I liked the style of telling the events backwards in order that they happened in and ending at the bride's morning wake up was hilarious after seeing all the tragedy of the day. I could easily see these things happening and I laughed the whole way through; especially during the parts of the flaming veil, the poor guest falling into the grave, and the mourning mother in law.
Mars: Ah, another one from Geoff that makes me laugh out loud (this one was funnier than the last). It makes me a little horrified about my own wedding day (here are all teh reasons to elope, seriously). I noticed the time stamps right away and read from the bottom up the first time, then read it top to bottom. Every line was funny by itself. Really, really amusing. I also appreciated the twist on the prompt--instead of spectacularly awesome, they were spectacularly horrid. Well done.
First Runner Up
Rin: I liked how the characters feel very whole and fully formed in such a short amount of words. I also enjoyed seeing how the disabled main character was shown from a different perspective than how the disability is usually portrayed. I've tried to keep up with a deaf lady talking to me with ASL before and this was spot on about how difficult it was to keep up with her and how it can make you feel like the disabled one, even with knowing some of the signs.
Mars: I like having a peek into the deaf community, since it's not often something most writers approach (probably because the majority of writers are hearing people). I'd be the first to admit that I don't know much about the deaf culture, only that it's extremely different from hearing culture--that's kind of displayed with the SEE instead of ASL Max uses with the main character. Well done.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for--
with One Last Night
Rin: I loved the bleak tone and dystopian setting of this piece, it was unexpected and really drew me in to it. The story felt complete with nothing left off and nothing crowded in, the slower pace really complimenting the story and deepening to the feeling of it. Tragic, yet beautifully done, in both the vivid description and in the feeling of grim acceptance. I felt the ending was especially well done, giving me a mental picture of lights fading to dark at the close of a tragedy play.
Mars: Oh, the feels. The two lines at the end--'Whispered, "Goodnight." // Whispered, "Goodbye."' were like a punch to the proverbial gut. I could imagine being little Bobby, with his excitement and amazement over this wonderful, brilliant night, without knowing it was his last. I could also imagine being the father--resigned to be the last one alive, and having to pretend nothing was wrong for Bobby. The characters really came to life, is what I'm saying here. This was a very well-done dystopian piece.
The winning story!
The fireworks were spectacular. Rainbow colours scattered like confetti across velvet night. Explosions of gold glittered across the sky, casting even the brightest star into shadow.
“Why here, Dad?” asked Bobby, shivering despite the blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
“Because I wanted you to see something beautiful tonight.”
“Why couldn’t Mum come with us?”
Ray thought about Chloe lying cold and alone in the shelter. She had wanted Bobby to have this. One night of wonder and wishes. One last night.
Another explosion ripped through the darkness, timed to synchronise with the display so that Bobby wouldn’t notice.
Ray glanced at his watch. The detonators had gone off like clockwork. By now the compound would be ash. His wife, parents, friends, all ash. But the gas he had fed through the ventilation system had sent them to a peaceful end long before that destructive blast.
Contagion had wiped out other settlements and despite their own precautions, the plague had infiltrated the compound. When all hope was gone, the adults had voted for a quick end rather than face a long and lingering death.
Ray had volunteered to administer the last rites.
“What do you think so far?” he asked Bobby.
“Awesome, Dad. I just wish this night could last forever.”
“Saved for a special occasion. A toast,” he said. “To a night that will last forever.”
They chinked their mugs together. Ray pretending to sip, watching
Bobby, making sure he had drunk every last drop. Then, as the boy’s eyes began to droop, laid him gently down, tucked the blanket even tighter around him.
Alone, he watched as the last of the fireworks fizzled out and the world returned to stillness. Then he finished his own drink and he too slept.
Congrats to the winners and thanks again for sharing your stories with us! We hope you'll join us again on Saturday!