Congratulations! So many great stories! If you missed any of them, you can read them all here. Finished? Great! Here's what the judge had to say:
What a week of stories! I wanted a prompt that could go anywhere, and boy did you all deliver. I had a hard time picking a winner, because I thought they were all well done. What fun!
@hollygeely – Holly brings us the story of Jeff and the alpaca in Wallowing. I laughed when I read this story. I loved how the alpaca turned into fruit salad. Then I read it again, and I realized Jeff is happy with his life. He’s happy being a normal guy who knows how to knit, and he doesn’t need a fruit-salad alpaca to turn him into a hero. How wonderful to be satisfied with your life. Maybe a more appropriate title would have been Winning at Life, because Jeff certainly is. The wallower is the alpaca. Well done. (But are you sure he wasn’t on drugs?)
@MadilynQuinn – What I loved about your story, Madilyn, was how you turned “No One” into a person (er…an entity). This story gave me the creeps, but also made me want to hear more. What happened after James went out the window? There’s definitely a longer story inside this short. You used the special challenge words effortlessly. Great Job.
@needanidplease – This story had me rolling at the end. When Debra is in the house and Mrs. Lang is talking about chains, I thought she had her husband chained up in the backyard. The feeling of being in a new town, and getting accustomed to everything is so clearly described here (and boy do I know that feeling!). I love how we get the sense that nothing is right, and then the last sentence brings us back to reality. Great use of the special challenge words too! Well done.
@MichaelSimko1 – There’s so much going on here. Coins for passage to the other side. A bitter spirit intent on bringing his mother to her demise. A husband who seems glad for the death of his wife. I think you could turn this into a much larger story, like a novel. I love the way you talk about the tracks and then in the next sentence the rails. The railroad imagery is persistent—a way out—and then her tokens to the other realm are stolen by the very child who caused her to lose her life. Great job Simko.
@melinagillies – I love the way you wove the special challenge words into the story. And you tell us so much in so few words. Albert, guilty on the streets of New York, and haunted by his past criminal deeds. Reading this, I felt the moistness of the water surrounding the ghost and the uncomfortableness of Albert(o). And in the end, the snow solidified the feeling—cold, harsh, and cruel. Great job.
@GeoffHolme – Oh James (or is it Mike?). Trying to end a relationship, but keeps falling into bed (literally) with Rhona even though he’s no longer interested. I could feel the tension between him and Rhona and the uncomfortableness of the very early birthday present. Such a human experience, and you describe it so perfectly. There’s nothing harder than breaking up, and especially when the woman is so smoking hot! I’m wondering if he really did change the locks the next day or if he let her back into his house? I had to look up David Dickinson by the way, and yes, his face is tan-orange!
SPECIAL CHALLENGE CHAMPION
Richard Edenfield – Funny and creepy. I loved the way you repeated the special challenge words in the book the witch was reading. And the way you described the woman’s hair like melted syrup—such a visual picture. Bored with her life and set out to change it, although the husband is the protagonist, the witch-woman is really the agent of change. Well done, and I thought about this long after I read it and wondered if her husband still wore his alpaca sweater and ate oranges after he ran off!
@ParkInkSpot – I loved how Uncle Mitch’s character comes alive with the one word “Nawp.” This story reminded me of the movie “Mothman,” and brings with it the themes of life, death, and the realm beyond. Haunting, but there’s something so simplistic and amazing about the narrator’s delivery. The description of the uncle’s spirit as a diseased buzzard at the end sums up his life and fits so well with his real-life job of cleaning up roadkill. I’ll be thinking about this story for ages to come.