I (Mars, your judge this week!) have excellent news! Sie is almost finished with her collegey interviews (which means we can get back to a 2-judge format again soon)!
|I hate beans. (Sie loves them.)|
Also, I'm dying of laughter from looking up "Yay gifs"
I mean, look at this one
Anywho, onward and upwards!
R Matt Lashley with The Linoleum Floor
Normally, I hate stories like this. It's depressing and nothing really happens other than reflection on the main character's parents and history. But the main character is very compelling, and the writing excellent. Using the linoleum floor as a theme to tie everything in the story together also gives the piece a very cohesive sense. I love the details dropped here and there ("Mom wouldn't let him smoke in the house."), and the way the character randomly goes off on tangents ("The giant flower pattern with its big loops reminds me of a circus clown's big, loopy bow tie.") (that reminds me of myself).
"Then mom left. I mean, she was there, but she wasn't. You get the idea," is another fabulous(ly terrible) line. This piece is filled with flowing imagery and emotion.
First Runner Up
Carin Marais with Rain From a Clear Sky
The concept of the three sisters has been done before, but I enjoy the idea (and paradox) of three sisters of time, those being Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Their personalities, too, are distinctive--Yesterday is motherly ("Listen to your sister"; you can practically hear the hands on her hips), Today is young and naive ("He will become immortal?"), and Tomorrow is the pragmatic ("Not immortal"). Dealing with the paradox of time shifting and today eventually becoming yesterday and tomorrow becoming today, one wonders at how the three sisters remain the same (or do they? Today ought to know the consequences for not weaving someone's thread in, right? Was Today Tomorrow Yesterday (that sentence!)?)
I'm curious as to why Today loved him. How long has she been observing him, and how? (We see that Tomorrow has the ability to look into the future--was Today Tomorrow and watching Ansgar?)
"But I love him," Today whispered. Tears pooled in her eyes.
"Then do right by him."
This was my favorite exchange in the piece, since we all know what's coming after it, but we wish it didn't have to be so, but we know it does. It punches the feels right in the gut.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised and pleased by the sudden happy ending (or, at least, I interpreted it as such, since "light" + "wings" indicates "Angel" to me, which is a more fitting end for someone who saved a mere mortal than to die or become a demon!). It certainly made me wonder about the type of immortals in this story, and what the deal is with demons (are they immortals), and if the Earth-bound immortals know about angelic immortals. What's the infrastructure of this world? Do mortals know about immortals (or are they just thought to be myths)? What are animals perceptions of immortals?
For some reason, I find it highly amusing the way the main character just sits among the animals, moping. I imagine s/he's sitting on a stump, dejected and all "Woe is me" (except not, because s/he has no regrets!), just waiting for death to come. The character is strong enough that the visual is painted in my eye without it having to be described!
"I'm just getting worse and worse," I say looking down at the black veins slowly creeping towards my heart.
“You shouldn’t have let the demon bite you,” replies Raquel. Her dark eyes show no sympathy.
“Was I supposed to just let it eat that kid?”
She shrugs. “The ‘kid’ is a mortal.”
“He’s only ten. He might have 90 years ahead of him.”
“Nine decades pass in the blink of an eye. We endure when we are smart. Your decision wasn’t smart. You gave up eternity to allow some mortal a few decades. For all you know, he will get hit by a bus on his way home and perish in spite of you sacrifice.”
Raquel picks of her bag and walks away.
I sit down on a tree stump, watching her body move away with serpentine grace. However, even a being as cold as she cannot hide all emotion. Her fingers quiver, and her heels dig deep into the earth.
As the sun goes down, the woods come alive. Owls hoot and hunt, competing with the bobcats and foxes for the small mice and voles scurrying across the forest floor.
The poison continues to rise in me, turning my veins black. It doesn’t hurt. In fact, I can’t really feel much at all.
“This will be a good death,” I say to the critters.
It’s not right to endure forever. Here, my body will fade back to earth, feeding the never-ending cycle of life and death. I have no regret about my decision to save the boy.
The crickets are singing by the time my chest goes numb and my heart stops beating. I’m prepared to cease when pain tears through my back. A blinding light consumes me as wings sprout from my spine.
See y'all this Saturday! :D