So here we are again!
|I have the strangest urge to play Portal|
This time around, it is I, Mars, who is your judge! There was a nice little handful of entries this Saturday :) Thanks to all who participated!
Bill Engleson's Work Related
My parents have always told me that if I have to rationalize something to make me feel okay about doing it, I'm probably doing something wrong. I kind of get the sense this character wouldn't care to know that he was being immoral, though! I am curious as to who he works for--or, barring actually knowing who his employer is, where he gets his contracts from. (Assassins are cool.) Probably the most ... what's the word? Creepy? Demented? Ill-making? line in the piece is "When I was younger, I did." How much younger is younger? When did he get into this business? Was his old man in the business? Enquiring minds wish to know. Good job!
First Runner Up
Sara Codair's Hope
Aww, I like it when things have a happy ending. It's too bad for her that no one thought of selling her to GiYu sooner, since his people are apparently way more accepting than humans! Speaking of, I felt like her personality felt incongruous with her backstory--for someone who was a pariah for most of their life, and probably both mentally and physically tormented and abused (generally what 'experimented on' stands for, since experiments tend to not be gentle things), she felt far too talkative and adventurous. It would be more believable to me if she was more timid and had a lot more nonverbal gestures; it might have been useful to write from a more limited third-person view from GiYu, where he observes her more closely, and we hear more of his thoughts. All in all, good story premise and excellent use of the theme of hope!
So if she's a lesser species, and the cat is even lower than her, what does that make the wizard who was killed by the cat? It's impressive that within a few sentences from this wizard, I was imbued for a deep hatred for him (of course, I did just read the Locke Lamora series, so that might be having residual effects on my judgement of mages . . .). There's a little lack of context here--we can infer that she's not an illiterate girl, and she's been reading the magic books, but why was she hired by the wizard in the first place (why can't he dust-proof his books magically)? What gave her a desire to kill him (other than him being a total jerk, that is--normally, people don't kill other people just because they're jack wagons (there would be a lot less people in the world today if that were so))? What does learning magic take--just memorizing spells, or having natural talent? Probably not all of these questions could have been answered within the word limit, but a little context goes a long way!
Ah, I love characters that can bluff their way
deeper into out of a situation; it was clever of the girl to make the wizard think she was his brother--and it certainly would have taken a great deal of acting (might have helped if she knew a illusion spell that resembled his brother, come to think of it . . . I guess she didn't plan this out too thoroughly, did she? She'll do better next time)! Love the development of both characters in such a short amount of words.
“Don’t feel bad. I’m pretty hard to kill.”
The voice was inside her head, but it was the wizard’s voice nonetheless. The frog stared at her with the unmistakable prideful glare which the wizard had given her every day she had been working there. He had thought that she was just some illiterate girl who came to dust his books.
In the corner of the book-filled room the dozing cat’s ears twitched.
“You won’t kill me by just turning me into something else. I could still turn you into a fly in this form and kill you.”
“A fly of all things? Would that be a predator killing a prey or cannibalism?” she asked. She had to stall him somehow while she thought what she could do next.
“It would be a higher species killing something of no importance. And that is what you are, after all, no one of importance.”
“You are not a great wizard if you cannot look beyond a simple cloaking spell, brother,” she said. She had heard somewhere that the wizard had had a brother.
“But, but I killed you! I buried you and burned your bones just last summer!”
“You only thought they were mine!” she said without blinking.
“Then I shall kill you today!” the wizard shouted.
The cat pounced, claws extended. The girl watched in horror as the cat bit into the frog, killing it. The wizard’s death screams echoed in her mind.
The cat prodded the frog and, when it did not respond, he lost interest and padded back to his favourite sleeping place. Before the cat curled up, he looked at the girl and she swore he meant it to mean ‘Well, he did kick me sometimes’.
“And good riddance,” she said.
Congratulations, all! See you this Saturday!