Somehow, despite THIS distraction, we managed to judge in time. Okay, mostly Si being distracted. SPACE!
Without further ado ...
Si: I really enjoyed the evocative and descriptive writing style in this story--there's a distinct feel of regret and past mistakes that is shown very effectively in that first paragraph, before it's stated that this is what the character feels. I especially loved the line "Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had." The hints of a disastrous spell or decision--something tragic that had passed, that the main character must move on from--very well done. The memories gives me just enough hints to want to know what the story was--what had happened. Loved the way the porcelain heart is used as a focus and a metaphor for the character.
Rin: The feeling of grief and regret in this is powerful and well written. I liked the imagery of a heart as a lump of coal, but my favorite line was 'Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows.' It has a beautiful sound to it. I also liked the line of sweeping pieces of herself under a carpet and crushing them. It felt familiar, we've all had moments that we wish we'd have lived in more or paid attention to in hindsight. The spell book was a curiosity, I wondered if it were like some magical looking glass or if she had used it for some horrible thing that caused her situation. I would have liked to know more about her story, it sounds like an interesting one.
Mtdecker's For Tomorrow We Shall Surely Die
Si: Great take on the prompt, I loved the dynamic nature of the story, the argument between the characters! The Reader absolutely feels the desperation of the characters, the way that hope is nearly lost but Calia knows that they cannot stop fighting--for something worse will come. The power has to be stopped NOW. The dialogue was great for a story so short--we get so much information about the situation, but it's delivered in a way that makes us want to keep reading and find out more. I LOVED the last line of this story--absolutely masterful. "... we shall fall, but we will be the stones that start the avalanche."--Beautiful! Really wonderful image.
Rin: A great story! I could easily imagine myself walking with Calia straight into battle. I could feel the weight of the oppressive situation and the strength of determined defiance in the main character as she marches toward a battle she's likely to lose. I liked how the impossible situation was told from two points of view, her for the uprising and his for staying subservient in order to protect the village. Like Si, I loved that last line, it was fantastic!
A V Laidlaw!
Si: This story was AMAZING! I have to really congratulate you on the incredible writing that you've shown here. The tension is maintained throughout the entire tale without any slips or slow points--very well done. I loved the repetition of the character reminding herself to be small and hide. Using only brief description, the story paints a clear and living picture of the situation at hand. The reader is absolutely watching right beside the character for what the intruders will do. There are several excellent lines in this story--I especially liked "She would say a prayer, one of the prayers she heard at school, but she is afraid that God might hear her, that her guilt might call attention to herself." The ending is perfect--not drawn out, surprising, and well timed. Excellent writing!
Rin: I loved this one, it kept me reading with bated breath to see what was going to happen to her! It did a great job of including the prompt into the story and the imagery in this piece was beautiful, perfectly evocative. The setting was wonderfully spooky and I could easily 'see' the burned wallpaper, feel the heat of the wall, and smell the sulfur. The pace was smooth and natural, and the ending was awesome! I was taken off guard by her actually turning into a mouse! Wasn't expecting that. Great job!
The winning story!
A crunch from broken glass underfoot warns her.
She is not alone.
She squeezes into the corner of the room, pulls her knees up against her chest and wraps her arms around herself. The wall is hot against her back, burning through her thin cotton dress. The room is dark except for the patch of dull streetlight through the broken window.
Something flickers in the window frame. The glass crunches again under heavy boots.
Become small. Become a mouse that hides away in the darkest corners. She holds her breath.
The darkness falls silent.
She breathes out.
A torch flashes in the window. Its beam trailed across the far wall, tracing over the scorch marks and the burnt wallpaper.
She never meant that to happen. She would say a prayer, one of the prayers she heard at school, but she is afraid that God might hear her, that her guilt might call attention to herself. Her mouth is dry and she tries to gulp but the air is stuck in her throat. She closes her eyes. Her body shivers no matter how tightly she squeezes herself. Become small.
A man’s voice. “An explosion.”
A second man. “Gas or the other?”
“Smells like sulphur. Better call the Witchfinder’s Office.”
“They won’t be happy if it’s gas.”
She opens her opens, only partly, as if the distorted view means this is not really happening. The torch lies on the windowsill. Behind it, against the redness of the streetlights, a shadow looms and fills the window.
Become small so they cannot see you.
The shadow pushes through the window and takes the torch. It swings the torch light around the room, the light falling on her, blinding her.
“Nothing, a mouse.”
The mouse scurries away, into the darkest corner.
Congrats to all our winners, and we'll see you this Saturday! In the meantime go look at ALL THE AWESOME NEW HORIZONS PICS!
(Si may be excited about this)
(just a little)