Ahoy, Mateys! That was a wild ride! If you missed any of it, be sure to check out all the entries here. Thanks to Mary for judging. Let's see what she had to say:
Thank you for so many wonderful stories! I truly did not know what to expect after tossing ya’ll out to sea. After surviving ship wrecks, drowning in shipwrecks, soaring to the clouds to meet one god, and being tossed into the depths of the sea to meet another, picking winners was a tough choice! But, I did eventually manage to choose and now to those results…
Mercy: I was immediately transported to the lighthouse with the keeper; watching as the waves smattered the poor little ship, biting my fingernails in suspense all the while, and finally letting my breath go as the little boy was carried ashore. The command of language made the story flow, despite the choppiness of those waves! I also appreciated how you personified the sea/storm as a goddess rather than directly attributing it to a deity. It added an element of mystical mystery that was delicious. My favourite lines: “The sea seemed to demand a sacrifice to hale the spring into life. March winds seemed to feed that demand, pitching up a storm of great power every year.”
S Patrick Cunningham: A delightful little tale about divine ex-lovers every bit as childish as your typical high school student. I enjoyed how you handled going back and forth between dialogue and action. It was fun and had me grinning through the whole piece. I wonder if there will actually be wedding bells in the future for the “god of futility.” My favourite lines: “‘You’re cheeeeating,’ he called. He ran back to the center of the cloud, and rummaged around inside it, returning to the edge to throw lightning bolts at the goddess and the small ship.”
Wrath of the Sea God: As we all know, wine is proof that God wants us to be happy… oh wait, that’s beer. The fact that the merman went to that great service just for a bottle of wine tickles me for some reason! You painted such a masterpiece in my head with your vivid descriptions that I almost thought I was watching it take place before me. My favourite line: “The ship sighed in relief as the tangle of dragging sails and wood was released.”
The Interview: Quite a different take on the prompt as the reader is hurled into the mind of a terminally ill man. As a friend of someone who has severe health problems and is struggling to find a way to make money to support herself, this piece really hit home. I could fully empathize with the man, feeling his despair, his weakness, and finally the overwhelming helplessness. A very insightful piece and very well done. It almost seems heartless to pull out a favourite line, but I have one nonetheless: “He now understood how a butterfly on a pin must feel.”
From the Depths of the Irish Sea: You certainly plumbed the depths of the sea for this one! I felt sorry for the poor girl, but it reminded me a little of the story of Jonah in the Bible who was tossed overboard in the midst of the storm to appease God. I was a little confused as to why the sea was so against women, but then the god of the sea saved her life. I did like how you transformed the sea from the rough and tumble up above to the gentle lapping waters of Lir’s underwater palace. My favourite lines: “When the last of Binne’s life escaped, the sea reached up and claimed her. As she descended, the embrace transformed into a hand, an arm, a body. Into Lir.”
Not Quite Undercover: A very well written piece! It felt more like a chapter in a book than a piece of flash fiction. I immensely enjoyed your diction and sneaking over the terrain with Captain Tennant to find the saucy heroin. You brought your characters to life, unwrapped their story at the perfect pace, and left me wanting more. My favourite line: “Patchy clouds scuttled across the sky making for tenuous, but sufficient, illumination.”
MurMade: Very vivid imagery that almost got me seasick with the tilting of the deck and the rolling of the barrels! There was such a sense of foreboding throughout the whole piece and the atmosphere sucked me right in. It was a little wanting on the plot side of things. Where had they come from? Why were they going there? There were many sentence fragments, but they wove together like lyrics in a song so it did not obstruct the flow of the story. My favourite lines: “Chilled to the bone, their last meal long since spent, sleep put off to work through the storm. Barrels recaptured. Lines were replaced. Enduring through the storm.”
Special Challenge Runner Up: Denise Callaway’s “Mercy.” Congrats on fitting all three words as if they were meant to be there anyway! I honestly had to go through the piece several times to pick them all out as they fit in so naturally.
Special Challenge Champion: Jeffrey Hollar’s “Not Quite Undercover.” Not only did you use all three words, but you used them all delightfully. Especially as you used riposte as a fencing term. I loved the reference to the patched galligaskins as well.
Grand Champion Runner Up: Imageronin’s “The Interview.” It really struck a chord with me and made me think a little more seriously about being a more constant encouragement to those in similar situations. It was beautiful in a sad way and very well written.
Grand Champion: S. Patrick Cunningham’s untitled piece. The more I reread your piece, the more I fell in love with the dialogue and manners of the gods. You may well attribute your win to the lines I mentioned previously. Well done, sir, well done.
Congratulations to all the winners, and to S. Patrick Cunningham especially! Happy judging next week!