Random (but not really)

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Winner!

I’ve chosen the winner for the short story contest!

Here is the winning entry:

I was trapped by the fiend and I had to get moving again.

I tried pleading with him:
“Come on, just let me go. Please! I swear it’s in your best interest to let me go.”

He was unmoved.

I tried defiance:
“You can’t keep me here forever, you know. Someone is going to come looking for me. They’re going to notice I’m not at work. My friends will rescue me, you’ll see!”

He looked at me with that level gaze, imperturbable as ever.

I tried threatening:
“I’ll get out of this chair, I swear! And when I do, you’ll be sorry.”

He knew I lied. It wasn’t chains that held me immobile.

He yawned, showing white fangs of unnerving sharpness, but in the odor that emerged, revealed a weakness — bad breath.

I pounced. “Phew! Don’t you ever brush? What have you been eating? Nevermind, I can tell.”

When he remained unruffled by my jibes, I sagged against the chair. He was immune to insults as well, the bastard.

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the phone ringing. Someone wanted to talk to me. What did they want? I’d never know. Would I ever be permitted to move again?

As the last ring faded into silence, my captor got bored and rose. He jumped off my lap and stretched luxuriously, first the front half, then the back.

Looking back at me slyly, he twitched his whiskers and moved on.

I was free to get the laundry, or that snack I’d wanted half an hour ago.

I was free!

For now.

He’d be back.

And now that I have checked the logs, the winner is ANNE! Congratulations Anne!

Anne has won a copy of The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner. If I can get moving, I’ll try to get it in the mail today, otherwise you’ll have to wait until Saturday.

I have to say that I really liked not knowing who wrote what, and that I was wrong in my guesses as to who wrote what story. If you all would like to out yourselves, let me know. :)

ADDENDUM the First:

Nathan wrote:

When David made an entrance…he made an entrance. He always exuded supreme confidence and tonight was no different. He didn’t know a soul in the room and he was under no illusion that anyone there knew him from a hole in the wall.

“That’s fine,” he thought, “I’m the best at what I do and soon, they’ll all know it.”

He was completely underdressed for the event in question, but that didn’t bother him either. He took a perverse pride in wearing whatever he damn well chose, whenever and wherever. The chances of anyone calling him on it were negligible. Besides that, he hadn’t planned on making an appearance tonight. He’d been comfortably ensconced at home re-reading some Sartre when the phone had rung. The caller had pleaded with him to show up.

Ultimately, he’d given in, but he had no intention of bowing to fashion.

So David, as always showed up as himself…unconcerned with anyone’s opinion, unconcerned with peer pressure…as if anyone in this crowd could claim to be his peer. None of them had his knowledge; his expertise, his talent.

He stopped at the top of the stairs and surveyed the crowd for a brief moment before deciding who the Queen Bee was and he confidently strode straight toward her. The crowd, sensing someone different, split before him like the ocean gets out of the way of an aircraft carrier.

Arriving at his destination, he tapped his target’s shapely shoulder and said, “Where’s the toilet with the problem lady? I charge hourly, so no need to rush.”

I have to say that the first time I read this, I misread underdressed as undressed. That gave the story a different flavor entirely.

MWT wrote:

She walked steadily up the old, deserted road. A small, thin waif of a young woman, alone in the quiet dusk with only her own thoughts for company. Full night was coming soon, and still that gentle, insidious whisper in her mind bade her onward. The old, abandoned church was ahead of her as she began to climb the side of the hill.

Why was she here at all? She asked herself this again, for perhaps the seventeenth time since beginning her journey. She had lost count, but there it was. She did not know why, only that the voice would not let her go. The dry, reedy underbrush cracked beneath her feet with each step forward. She reached up to touch her shoulder without thinking, letting her fingers brush past the two small puncture wounds – and flinched away from the old, familiar soreness as the whispers grew louder, more immediate. Again the cycle repeated. Why was she coming here?

Then she was over the top of the ridge, moving past the thick tangle of junipers. Pausing for a moment, she wrapped her jacket around herself more tightly against the evening chill. The church looked almost inviting, in a solitary, forlorn way – but she would not go inside tonight, much as she wished to. The voice beckoned her forward, around, behind the church – and so around, behind was where she went.

There was a garden there. She remembered visiting it on a sunlit afternoon with some friends, a few weeks ago. Strange, but that was all she remembered – just a big, beautiful garden, and a gazebo enclosed within its bountiful embrace. Memories of her return home, the picnic they hoped to have, none of that was there. Nor had she seen any of her friends since the trip. For a moment it was all very disconcerting. Then the garden was in front of her, and everything else became abruptly distant and irrelevant.

A tall stranger in a long, dark, flowing robe stood beside the wall, just inside the rusted cast-iron gate. Silent and still, watching her come to him, he did not smile – and yet, somehow, he was comfortably familiar. A feeling of peace enveloped her, soothed her, erased what doubts still lingered in the back of her mind. She did not know him, but she could see it in his dark, serene eyes – she would be safe here with him.

“Come.” His voice was a resonant bass – presently soft, yet hinting of much power. He turned, moving deeper into the garden with a faint rustle of fabric against the evening wind. The word echoed in whisper to her mind, and she could do nothing but follow.

I don’t think things will end well for our heroine, regardless of her feeling of safety.

ADDENDUM the Third:

Matt wrote:

“And finally, we have the master bedroom, which features dual walk-in closets, a balcony that overlooks the bay, and a master bath with two-seater jacuzzi tub, oversized shower stall,” said Renee.

Since the market dried up last year, sales had been few and far between. She wanted this sale, needed this sale.

“It’s just gorgeous, don’t you think honey,” Jessica said.

“Yeah, it is pretty nice,” said Jeff.

Renee could tell they had fallen in love with the house, just like all the other couples she had shown it to had fallen in love with the house. Hell, she loved the house, but there was no way she would ever buy it. Location, location, location was the first rule of real estate, and as locations go…

“How long did you say the house has been on the market,” Jeff said.

“It’s been on the market for about a year,” Renee said. She wouldn’t lie to these people. She knew from experience that would lead nowhere.

“That seems like such a long time for nice house to be on the market,” said Jessica. “And isn’t Natterville on the Newsweek list of best towns to live in?”

Renee hesitated, frowned. “Yes, it was on the list, for eleven years, actually.”

“What happened,” said Jeff.

“Apparently Natterville is so desirable that this is where the space beetles landed and decided to colonize.”

What confused me about this story was that if the couple knew what space beetles were, I wasn’t sure whey they didn’t know where they had colonized. In fact, I thought about this for entirely too long, trying to come up with reasons why the couple wouldn’t know that. (So Matt, why didn’t they know? Inquiring minds want to know!)

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