First off, I want to say what an honour and (scary) privilege it is to carry out the task of judging. Second, I must apologise for the delay in posting the results. Real life got in the way as it has a nasty habit of doing. But here we are, better late than never.
I liked each one of the entries because of how they used the prompt. It's amazing how a simple line stimulates the imagination to be so creative. Thank you all.
Even after much ruminating over the stories, hence the delay in posting, I've come to this conclusion. It really was a tussle to come to the overall decision. Thanks for allowing me to do this.
Joint runner up:
Kieron Circuit - "The things we do"
I liked the description here of how Jackson was dressed and the neighbourhood with its almost sinister overtones. One thing to be aware of is where the computer allows the wrong word "knock of " and the eye doesn't see it. The build-up to the climax wasn't too drawn out and I was so intrigued to know what was in the box. Mind you, I am not sure whether I'd be that forgiving of Danielle if I'd been Jackson. Well done!
Joint runner up:
Alva Holland - "Follow the instructions"
This tale was so delightful to read. The detail of opening the box, whilst lengthy, didn't pall it drew me in further and further. I loved the ending - "cobalt blue" is such an intense colour, I knew exactly what you were describing. Alva, I'd like to see this given a couple of hundred more words as I'd like to know more about the relationship between the two people. Great stuff.
Y2, W 27 Winner:
Bill Engleson - "A Record of Events"
A very dark tale that tore at my heartstrings. The end of the world, and no medium left to record it - how awful. I loved this simply because I'm a girl who writes in pencil on paper! How would a world survive without these glorious implements? Not sure about the sentence about the "invisible entity". Maybe "he shook his head violently" would have fit and given you a few more words to play with. Doom laden and very well written. Congratulations!
A Record of the Events
“Whatever you do don’t, don’t get this wet.” With that firm directive, Sliderman passed me the precious bundle of rolls, long cached in his bunker, deplasticized by a long forgotten environmental oddity that abhorred plastic of any kind.
Once the bundle was secured in my arms, he then handed me a half dozen antiquated writing implements, wood wrapped around graphite bound with a clay mixture.
“Pencils?” I asked.
“Pencils. There may be more somewhere, but these are my last.”
“Do they make them anymore?” I asked. It had been eons since I had seen such a simple technology.
“A lost art,” re-joined Sliderman. “No call. No prophets warning us.” There was a desperate darkness to his voice, a painful lament for the old ways. For at least some of the old ways.
“We must focus. YOU must focus,” Sliderman anxiously charged. His voice was cracking, his panic rising. “This mountain is bleeding, Walter. These rains have permanently damaged the infrastructure of the hills. And the quakes, the endless quakes. They have ruptured my home, my sweet bunker. You MUST find a weatherproof chamber. The Record Keepers will need these materials. The story of these days need to be documented.”
“Surely there is more paper, somewhere?” I asked.
His head started to flap left and right as if an invisible entity was slapping him ferociously. “Don’t cling to your idiotic idealism, Walter. We may be at the end of OUR world. We must assume that we are all that remains of human memory. Find a safe place for this paper, for these pencils. And then, seek out whatever remains of the Record Keepers. Once that is done, your assignment will be over.
I looked skyward. Clouds were returning.
“Hurry, Walter. The rains are coming."
I heard the thunder crack.