WINNERS!!! My head is rebelling right now, so hopefully I can craft a coherent sentence. If you missed any of the stories, go here to read them. Here's what the judge had to say:
I like to make open-ended prompts because it enables creativity. Our writers this week embraced different view on the prompt and took it several different ways. We had horror, a couple horror that release, a story that could make a video game. We had point-in-time pieces and pieces that fit a novel’s worth into 500 words.
This week was a master class on how to do second-person POV. Three second-person pieces, and each felt different.
It was a pleasure reading your work, thank you.
This sounds bad from a romantic, but I was hoping it was going this way. I was wondering who would go the lobster route, and you hit it right off the bat. Fun story, and wise decision.
“Meanwhile, I was remembering of the many dances of Jorge.” What a great double-entendre, that for the first time ever in a double-entendre, was completely clean.
I was wondering if Emily had walked the dark side. I love the cooking wizard actually being a wizard. Great play on the prompt.
“It hurts your soul deep inside where no one else can see it.” Your voice is so strong, even in second person. I can picture this being read aloud in a coffee shop in the performance artist method.
I love the use of second person POV. This brings us in as the caregiver while not making it seem like we’re in mortal danger.
“And the screams become commonplace, part of the job. But they never get easier. That was a lie.” What a wonderful way to use second person to bring us into the role of the caregiver.
And wow, I got chills from that ending.
What a wild trip exploring people who can hear trees. I’m reminded of the Redwood forests and can imagine the scream from the giant trees. The person hearing the screams, but has sympathy is a great take on the prompt.
“For some it's just a background hiss, like a tingling tinnitus which sets your nerves on edge.” Great use of audible clues to wrap the story. I think my ears started buzzing from reading this — so thanks for that.
What a great take on the detective noir genre. I love the voice going. All the signs point to a serial killer before you pull the rug out from us. At first I read and said, “Hey, he didn’t foreshadow.” But then I went back and saw the subtleness. Well played.
“It’s the kind of conversation that leaves you numb on the inside, and slimy on the outside.” What a perfect setup to the rest of the story.
First off, did you challenge me to a spice off? Sir, I have slain for less. My Penzey’s creed is solid and masala is to die for.
I suppose I’m a bad person for being glad that someone went the bloody route with the prompt.
“Quickly, thought, out becomes downright comical.” I laughed, again proof that I have problems.
Slaughtering poor mutants — my goodness. Fantastic voice, and love where this went. I was picturing a zombie story pretty early on, but you went for the humanoid mutant aspect. Love how you unapologetically keep it in the killer’s perspective.
Horror lends itself well to second person POV, and you pulled it off. You shoved a great world into a flash and it pours through. What a great conclusion turning the first line on it’s head. Great tie in with the spices being integral to the story.
“One cup and he’s yours.” I love how you have a happy romance in a horror piece. The tone comes from whimsical and hopeful to yaksi taking their rights.
Charles W Short
The amusement park of fear. How many of us played the amusement park games and had people asking why our computers were screaming? Sharp story with a seamless integration between different time periods of memory.
“Five years later I could no longer claim apathy or innocence to what was taking place.” I was like, did he really go there?
Special Challenge Champion:
We had imaginative use of spices in the story from cooking (fantastic), to magic (wonderful), to puns (groanful). The one that called me first when I read was using spices to evoke emotion.
“You know the only thing that works? Fruit. Well anything the trees give willingly. Spices are best.” The sacrifice of the trees is human and inspiring at once.
Finish That Thought #2-18 Grand Champion:
Using second person to pull us into the empathetic role is wonderful. When we went for the hug I expected the artist to hurt us. Instead you end on such a human element that, sorry, there’s some dust in here. Great story, fantastic voice. Love the ray of light in a prompt that harkens darkness.