Ronel Janse van Vuuren with Forest Inferno
What stuck with me about this story was the fine use of anthropomorphism. The fire's roar of rage over the bad eats was fun! Also the idea of sweating away one's very existence hits home with me personally as it was 90 degrees in my corner of the world today. This is more of a vignette than a story, but a well-painted one.
Kim Davis with Shit Happens
This story instantly places me, gives me character, tone, tension. The writing is pristine, which never hurts. I found myself thinking of it long after, especially the moment when they locked eyes, when "the champagne glass came unseated." Well done! I love image of a newborn mountaintop rearing up like a giant's fist. Unexpected and jarring, but fresh and wonderful because of it. My one wish would be for a more creative title.
When it happened, it happened fast. We were screaming along on a downwind run with the spinnaker pulling us into a glorious South Pacific sunset. The boss and his guests stood toasting one another with champagne in crystal classes. I’d tried break him of that habit, because I so often ended up scrambling around after broken glass when some fool forgot and a jibe sent his glass flying. This time, though, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I saw no danger in the champagne flutes. I’d topped them up and stood with Bill at the wheel.
None of us knew what happened. We were suddenly flying as the boat pitch poled and headed down. I caught the boss’s eye as his glasses came unseated and his champagne glass left his hand in slow motion. His mouth was open, but I couldn’t hear his voice with my own scream filling my ears. When the old man hit the water, I saw the boom smack the back of his head. His friends—who’d been forward of the mast—were forced down by the mainsail. None made it back to the surface. Bill and I were thrown clear of the boat by some miracle. Tommy, the deckhand, was trapped in his cabin.
We later learned that a newborn mountaintop had reared up like a giant’s fist to catch hold of our keel. Our forward momentum sent the bow straight down. Life rafts and safety vests were useless—there’d been no time. Bill and I were lucky. The crew of a schooner several hundred yards to starboard saw the whole thing and picked us up.
That day has become a metaphor that sums up life for me. Shit happens, even amid perfection.
Till next time, writer friends. :)