Thursday, May 4, 2017

Year 2, Week 36 & 37: Results!

What a great prompt and turnout! Though I was still busy with the A-to-Z Challenge when the prompt went live, it made me want to cry when I realised I couldn’t write too. Oh well, at least I got to read excellent entries.

Now for the results.

Honourable Mention

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe with DELIVERANCE

I really enjoyed this story.

I think it will benefit from being longer: more world-building, getting to know the MC better and building the tension of the monster hunting her. As it is, it feels like we’re rushing from them being friends to Evan wanting to take her powers.

First Runner-Up

Carin Marais with Beneath the Bed

Scary! I love the idea of a monster protecting against other monsters.

Note: spaces between paragraphs makes it easier to read. Also, it felt like we jumped from the little girl’s POV to Monster’s (where we should be, as it makes for a powerful story).

Winner Y2W37

Sian Brighal
with No One Else

Wow! Terrifying in a this-can-really-be-happening way. I love how the orderly knows what’s going on, yet keeps the patient’s secret.

Note: dialogue must start in a new paragraph. (I’ve fixed it in the piece.)

I’ve replaced the semi-colon in the paragraph about Scary Mary with a comma – it could’ve been replaced with a full stop if the sentence that follows is rewritten to be a full sentence. (That’s why I replaced the semi-colon: a semi-colon does the same job as a full-stop just without completely severing ideas, but both should be full sentences in their own right.)

The end of the story is brilliant: the doctor figures out what’s going on, then…

“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

No One Else

“You’re my favourite monster.”
The doctor paused on the way out, feeling his neck muscles burn in protest as he kept his head facing forward. He’d been warned—and rightly so—not to react to such words: always maintain a professional distance. Only when the door closed and the lock clicked did he relax and turn. 
“Odd thing to say.” 
“She says that sometimes,” the orderly muttered in answer. 
“Why would she?” the doctor mused. 
“Trying to soothe ruffled feathers, I think.” 
“But why would she think I could be angry with her?” 
“Don’t rightly know,” he demurred, but the doctor saw something ghost across his face: fear, pity. “Spoke out of turn, sorry.” 
He would have questioned further, but a colleague left the room next door. 
“Hey, Barrows,” the newcomer called out before glancing across to the neighbouring room. 
“Don’t tell me old Hoskins has got you working on Scary Mary,” he said with a sympathetic tone but smiling mouth. 
“Oh, just some stupid mumbo-jumbo,” the man soothed. 
But Barrows had heard about ‘Scary Mary’, heard that she’d been linked in some superstitious way to the deaths of several doctors, orderlies and visitors, but he’d thought she was some story from the asylum’s deep and darker history. 
Later, at home, he spent a few minutes thinking about Mary, wondering why she’d single him out as a favourite; they'd never spoken before, but he couldn't deny that he'd seen some flicker of interest in her eyes. Was that it? But the more he thought, he couldn't help but feel that she'd been speaking not to him, but to her tattered bunny. 
“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

Well done, everyone.

Until next Saturday.

Super Late Week 36 Results!

*sneaks into Ronel's post* Okay, I finally found the time to get the reviews done (got a whole 9! hours! of sleep last night! and I felt better than I have in a week!). Sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long! You guys are great <3

First Runner Up

Stephen Shirres' Beware A Travelling Salesman's In Expensive Clothes

You couldn't have thought this would go well, my friend (@Main Character). Haven't you heard of Jack and the Beanstalk? Alas, some people.
This story amused me, mainly with the glum attitude of the main character at bookends of the story. It just kinda reads to me as, "Welp, that happened."

The piece felt quickly written, with some missing words and odd phrases ("as if everyone knees there were thousands," "there was a space above my hearth needing filled," "A match head of flame," "too long i," etc.,.) This didn't detract much from my enjoyment of it, though each instance did give me pause. Nice job conveying the tone through the character, here!

Y2W36 Winner

Marj Crockett!

with Summoned!

LOL the dyslexia in this piece gave me a good laugh. The character dynamics here are pulled off very humorously; I've definitely been in both the mentor's and apprentice's shoes at some point in my life! (The "argggh you're doing it wrong can I pls help" and "I DON'T WANT ANY HELP TYVM" things.) I thought it would be interesting to have some more rules and background for the magic, though that's not required for this story as a flash fiction piece or stand-alone. The humor, I think, is the entire point of this piece, and it's done well. 
He leaned against the tree with a sigh, his offer of help rejected.

Across the clearing, the apprentice mumbled as she marked a circle on the ground.

"Bone meal should do. It's quite stable." she muttered.

"Do you...?"
"No, I can manage."

"I want to help."

"NO! I said I can manage!"

He sighed again. This was not going well.

She started pacing again, criss-crossing the circle, and forming lines until the pentagram was complete.

Wiping her hands, she picked up her bag of magical artefacts. After rooting inside, she pulled out a stick with feathers on. Next came the wax figure that would be what she was going to summon.

From where he was standing, the model didn't look all that inspiring, but he knew not to interfere now. She would have to work it through to the end. Oh well, we'll see what she gets, he thought, another sigh escaping. His reward for this was a glare from the girl.

She chanted the summoning spell. She danced complicated steps, twisting and turning, moving round the pentagram. No real words reached his ears, only a string of sound that sawed into his brain. An awkward sound: something wasn't quite right.

"Shula..." he said. But it was too late.

Smoke filled circle, followed by popping and hissing. Which god she had summoned would not be clear for a moment or two. A breeze sprung up from nowhere, the smoke disappeared.

He heard a bark. A bark?

"Shula... which god have you summoned?" he asked.

"I don't know," Shula replied, "I thought I said the words right, but something... happened."

"Which god?"

"God? You wanted me to summon a god?" Shula gulped, "I thought you said dog!" 
The creature on the ground wagged its tail and barked again.

Thanks again for putting up with me. Ronel's got this next Saturday again! <3 

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