And you made it another difficult decision for the judge! Great job, everyone! If you missed any of the entries, you can go here to read them all. Let's read what the judge had to say:
Emily Karn: I laughed out loud at the image of a unicorn trying to navigate public transportation, and again at Steven backed up against a wall while the unicorn inspected his purity. This sounded like it came out of a much larger piece, and I have to say, if it had, I’d be anxious to read the rest. You did a good job of setting up the interplay between the high fantasy of the unicorn’s world with the drab realism of Steven’s life. Steven sounds like something of a sarcastic and cynical fellow, and I would love to see him dropped into the middle of a fantasy world.
@stellakateT: I’m a little scared of Missy, and what her ‘gift’ is going to do to her. However, the evil lying dormant in her character is, upon a second reading, very apparent. She’s got a thin veneer of gentility barely covering a personality with the empathy of a spider. The gift clearly didn’t make her evil, it just let her be more of what was already inside. The inclusion of the details on how she reacts to the old woman make that clear, on a second reading. Missy becomes especially disturbing when she shows no signs of being ‘ungrateful’ for this gift, but rather enjoying it.
Rachelle Wood: Wow! You took a creative risk, and it totally paid off. I like the notion that maybe the centaur has experienced groups of frightened villagers chasing him with pitchforks before, and he seems to expect the same from these city-dwellers, but they’re all so blind to what’s going on around them that they don’t even notice. I laughed at the image of a centaur “trying to stay out of view.” I see him peeking out from behind a newsstand, or trying to duck down so no one sees the horse body he’s attached to. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece from beginning to end.
Samantha J.: You left just enough to my imagination that I got a little chill wondering what might lie in the Hidden Places. And Rose’s determination, even though she’s not really sure why she’s even following him, has all the hallmarks of great characterization. I really like Rose, and my first thought is that if anyone deserves to find the Hidden Places, it’s somebody like that, willing to go leaping off a subway platform in pursuit of she knows not what. Excellent story!
@LurchMunster: Your description makes me wonder if maybe I’ve run into one or two solitary fairies myself. I enjoyed the implied backstory that makes her spell on him really work—“Sex was something I hadn’t had a lot of”—he’s as much brought in by simple feminine charm as he is by this particular fairy’s wiles. And your description of what a solitary fairy would look like in the real-world context of downtown Atlanta was fantastic. “A stick with bumps” might have given this piece a Disneyfied feel, but as it is, you’ve created something that has a little more real-world grit to it. Her choice of words when she reveals what she really is give her a personality all her own. The dark ambience and streamlined characterization worked very well.
@Angelique_Rider: I like that I’m still not entirely sure what she is. Other than something supernatural, clearly. And also something free-spirited, but somehow chained to a reality she doesn’t want. The fact that a few moments of freedom are, for her, better than whatever price she’d have to pay when Treyon catches up to her give me the impression that she is much younger on the inside than she is being pressured to act on the outside. Her need for her own freedom was so compelling as she stripped down and strode out across the water, I was almost ready to head down to the park and try it myself. Thankfully the cop character showed up to remind me that I am just a regular old earth-bound mortal. You’ve created some fantastic imagery, as well as well-chosen details to suggest a rich backstory.
firstname.lastname@example.org: “Her smudged mascara and droopy red lips”—this, combined with the other mental fuzzies that the main character mistakes for drunkenness, give the dream its own aura that, once I found out it was a dream, made perfect sense. You kept me just as confused as the main character, so I was, like a real dreamer, willing to accept odd occurrences like the appearance of leprechauns and the ground opening up to swallow people. I like the notion that when the leprechaun said “meet me here,” he was actually referring to a dream state, rather than a particular place.
GRAND CHAMPION RUNNER UP:
Rachelle Wood: I really enjoyed your piece. You chose details excellently, gave me a character I really cared about, and put him in a situation that really brought those character details out. And you did the whole thing in rhyme. Fantastic.
Samantha J: Something about this little story grabbed me and would not let go. I found myself more absorbed in finding out what happened than trying to adjudicate on its quality, and that’s a really good sign. Excellent work, Samantha.