WOW! That was fun! You all made this week's contest a great one! Thanks for writing and reading and commenting! I'm looking forward to what you have to share next week! Without further ado, here are Rebekah's comments:
Judge's notes: Thank you, everyone, for writing such beautiful stories this week! I loved them all, from Megha's sweet tale of the in-law relationship to Nada's hilariously overwhelmed brother to Allyson's determined teacher. And yes, even LurchMunster's sinister sock monster. Some of you took my dragon hints literally (props to sweet Flabbergasted Ma for one of the best ending lines ever: "Lunch time"! and Drmagoo's gloriously morphing elf; and Allison's own distinctly UNfriendly creations) and some of you used the words to launch in totally inventive directions (Penname has very nearly ruined egg-eating for me forever, and ahhh, Pratibha's stirring tale of a man desperately trying to help his family before his death). I also loved the kaleidoscope of worlds you built, like Whitney's tale of friendship and sacrifice, Alex's story of the Family Business, and Lisa and MTDecker's marvelous tales of justice. You're amazing, all of you! It was an honor and privilege reading your work.
Judge's Special Challenge Champion:
Jeffrey Hollar, "Hands," for a tale of true smooshiness. I loved how you reframed the dragonish words (as I was hoping people would!) in a heart-rending way and let us walk the final steps of Jocko's heroic journey with him. Jocko is, indeed, a mountain of a man, and I guarantee you Bessie knew it. This is a beautiful story of a truly loving relationship, told without being cliche or maudlin.
Dr. Mike Reddy. "Here Be Dragon," for an absolutely fabulous tale from start to finish, including the modified title. The concept of a henpecked dragon slayer is already funny, but cleverly developing the scene with vibrantly colored dialogue--the wife's tireless harangue offset by the hero's wry submission--put this story over the top for me. It's a good idea supported by good writing and a smash-hit clincher at the end. I may have to hang a sign reading "Some dragons are harder to kill than others" on my wall. Wonderfully done.