Aaaaaaaand we have results!!!! (Phew! Good thing, this is the results page!) Thanks for all your brilliant entries, once again! I am continually amazed at where each of you chooses to take the prompt. Kudos. If you missed any of them, go read them here. Otherwise, TO THE JUDGING!
I know people have said it before and I agree: this was much harder than I thought. There are elements of each story that are absolutely golden. And I learned quite a few things from the life lessons that I will take to heart: manners go a long way, chinchilla’s should not be purple but purple hair on a human can save a life. Who knew?
But onto my very sophisticated and noteworthy opinions of your stories….
Lori “A Tasty Lesson Never Learned” – If only Anna had been a little more observant! Love how you adapted the prompt to be a baker specifically and the setup for her walking into the house is very well done. “The sounds of dinner cooking and dad yelling at Dodger to take the garbage out before dinner, were absent.” – the tone of that sentence changed the whole piece from being about Anna to being about a bigger picture. Really well done with the phrasing. What made you phrase it that way instead of simply saying, “She didn’t hear the sounds of….”? So much more powerful by explaining the norm and then saying “…were absent.”
Emilykarn “The Not So Great Escape” – My first thought was “I can’t believe someone wrote about a grandma being kidnapped!” and was delightfully surprised that she was snarky and no harm came to her! The details you included were poetic and I was able to see a neon-green haired old lady driving a lipstick-red Cadillac around town. Not just red, but lipstick-red which is such a simple modifier that says so much. And I guess criminals dumb enough to kidnap grandma are dumb enough to get caught. Great balance of humor in this piece. Well done.
Stella “Plums” – Lots of great stuff going on. There is an unhappy, stuck wife who is trying to rationalize her lifestyle by living in the moment with an unsupportive husband. And a stranger at the door who is just glad to escape and find some company. Not sure if you intended this or not but I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Anna being “on a course of mindfulness” and “meditating over her quandary” and the first thing she says out loud is, “oh for God’s sake!” Such a simple way of deepening her character. Again, not sure if that was your intention but well done! The ending feels like she is going to leave her hair purple forever, leave her husband and run off with John! (At least that’s what I hope she does!)
Geafflepard.com “Just a little prick” – How can you go wrong in a story where someone is smothered by a paper mache mask? Made out of plastic surgery brochures of all things! Such beautiful irony. I like how the levels of crazy just keep building and Anna manages to creep out the creepy. Bits of humor peppered in really made this story: “having such a major procedure as a tattoo” and “this is trusting” when she goes inside. And I had to look up “kerfuffle” to make sure it was a real word and I definitely plan on using it in my everyday vocabulary.
JM MacF “The Tragedy of Mrs. Chibbles: A tale from Persimmon Hallow” – You pulled us right into your universe and told us what was what. What about the prompt made you decide to write animals instead of humans? I really enjoyed the breaking of the fourth wall and speaking directly to the reader. So we have a vain, attention seeking Chinchilla whose strutting gets her killed. Yes, I believe it. I like this world, I think I’ll stay and have a look around.
Michael Simko “Judgement” – The flow of this story is really well done. The religious and moral overtones throughout the story show the succinct way in which Chloe rationalizes her decisions. Her logic is almost like reading her diary. You very eloquently capture how on the path to being a “good” person one often steps on others to get there. I would recommend the movie “Seven” if you are interested in a somewhat creepy rendition of how people’s sins get them killed. Really enjoyed this story. I would definitely read more stories about “The Maid”.
Di Eats the Elephant “Perdido” – Great rendition of the opening line. I really loved the dialogue in this. I got the perfect image of “creek rat” children always either causing trouble or seeking it out. “I ain’t never seen a mass murderer. I reckon this is my only chance.”- from this line onward I’m am 100% on Skeeter’s side and I am on board with whatever plot he has to be a part of the action. His plan is backyard brilliance. And their shenanigans pay off when they catch the murderer.
@goldzco21 “End Game” – One killer conning another. Yes please! As soon as Stitches said “I’m up on the north side, by 38th” I knew something was weird. Honestly, I thought Chef was going to hunt down Stitches but it makes him almost more evil to use the system to his own advantage against his buddy. Love the concept of the game and how when Stitches finally gets ahead he is already another step behind.
SPECIAL CHALLENGE RUNNER UP: @goldzco21 “End Game” – One evil cancels out another and the braggart learns that the hard way.
SPECIAL CHALLENGE CHAMPION: Michael Simko “Judgement” – Well written and really took the special challenge to heart. “The righteousness made her feel better” and killed her in the end.
RUNNER UP: JM MacF “The Tragedy of Mrs. Chibbles: A tale from Persimmon Hallow” – For the affirmation that Chinchilla’s should not be purple.
GRAND CHAMPION: Emilykarn “The Not So Great Escape” – The guy kidnapped grandma and if he had manners he would’ve gotten away with it.