Ophelia Leong's Neighborly Duties
Rin: This was a fun one. I liked how Matthew wasn't really all that interested, a nice twist on the typical vampire/human scenario. My favorite line was "Superglue dripped onto the floor like sap and Elena hid the paintbrush in the trashcan," because that bit of description puts a vivid picture in my head of how it would squish under the feet when he stood up. Nice job.
Mars: This felt both done and not done--I like to imagine Matthew suddenly jumping out of his shoes and driving a hidden stake through Elena's heart (I also wonder where she got that superglue that doesn't dry for five minutes? I'd like some)--but it did make a nice little story arc for a flash. Matthew's obvious disdain/disinterest was a nice touch, as opposed to the the normal love-at-first-sight scenarios in typical YA Urban Fantasy fiction. Something else I'm just noticing: the word style is done well here; it feels flowing and quite . . . surreptitious. Stealthy, flowing, cat-like. Good job!
(Bonus points to you for making me learn a new word: surreptitious. Also, Elena's "no man should be able to resist me!" thought made me think of a Mockingjay parody (observe lyrics "Gale and I have chemistry . . ."))
First Runner Up
M T Decker's Hypothetically Speaking
Rin: I love crime-scene type shows, so this story was a treat for me! The dialogue was good and flowed well, giving me a good idea of the character's personalities even without the help of much description. I like how instead of having it where the answer is clear, the characters went through a bunch of different scenarios in which someone might have a use for it. Especially enjoyed the mention of a real-life forensic science thing, fingerprint fumigation. Well done!
Mars: (I forgot to finish this I'm so sorry) Dialogue-heavy stories are something I'm generally very fond of; it pleased me to see a flash that carries a plot well through mostly dialogue. I am left wondering what conclusion Gina was drawn to, but that feels like part of the charm for the speculating, progressive tone of the piece. I like the look into Gina and her husband's relationship--we see one side of them in the brainstorming session, but there's a hint towards something else; nicely done character dynamics without being flashy. Nice work.
And, without further ado, the moment you've all been waiting for--
with A Sticky Situation
Rin: I loved this one! The mysterious feel was good and I liked how I was kept guessing how the super glue would tie in until the very end. My favorite line was "He didn’t care about her deformed ear, her abnormal arm, or club foot. He loved her for who she was," because the sweetness of it really did a good job of making me question my own intuition and whether I was reading more suspicious things into what came above it, making that last line really pop!
Mars: It took me a few re-reads to understand exactly was going on, and then I had a little "Awww" moment. The suspense was artfully played up to drive home the last line--what exactly his greatest work was. The reader can tell how obviously he dotes upon her--even before his declaration of love--which demonstrates excellent characterization. This is a really cute piece!
A Sticky Situation
“Why do you have a pound of superglue—you know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know…I’ll just trump it up to another one of your idiosyncrasies.” She smiled, and tucked her hair behind her good ear, leaving her thick auburn locks covering the other.
He asked her if she’d like a drink; she accepted.
They sat across from one another, the tub of superglue on the mahogany coffee table, and sipped the brandy in silence. He stared into her large round eyes, then let his own admire the perfect symmetry of her face. A paragon of beauty.
“Can I use your restroom?”
“Of course. Shall I help you?”
“Thank you, but I think I can manage.” She propped herself up on her cane, and hobbled toward the hallway. “Third door on the left, right?”
He refilled her drink, and waited, musing over the work to be done—his greatest work, his magnum opus.
Upon her return, she thanked him for refilling her drink, sat, and together they shared hopes and dreams and thoughts on life. She liked him, and she knew he knew it; he loved her and he knew she knew it.
He didn’t care about her deformed ear, her abnormal arm, or club foot. He loved her for who she was. But she neither loved herself nor believed her worthy of love.
She took a big sip of brandy, set the tumbler down, and yawned big and heavy. Her perfect cheeks flushed. “Oh, I’m sorry. I—I—”
Her eyelids grew heavy; she eked out an embarrassed smile, and passed out.
He cradled her in his arms, brushed back her hair, and kissed her forehead; he bent at the knee and picked up the bottle of “Dr. Frankenstein’s Medical Grade Biotic Super Glue.”