1. starting line
2. ending line
3. format required: story
4. prompt words
I think two of those are the max for anything 100 words and under.
That said, there's some darn good work here and some of you really knocked my socks off.
The results were late cause I was reading Ashley Ream's new book The 100-Year-Miracle, and let me just say: yowza!! More on this later; let's get to the stuff you've been waiting for.
Special recognition for an outstanding first line
Timothy Lowe 9:07am
and then she sawed her husband in half.
E.M. Goldsmith 11:07pm
And then she saw the flying monkeys.
Special recognition for outstanding line/s
Michael Seese 9:29am
Margot was in no mood for catechesis.
Siobhan kissed the woman for a quarter of a second. A dime of a second.
Stephen Spain 8:57am
Daisy wasn’t particular about temperature, but she believed that revenge is a dish best served with style.
Special recognition for a superb turn of phrase
peek over the ledge into gravity's graveyard
This entry just cracked me up completely
Dena Pawling 10:15am
The Duchess of Yowl likes this one very much
Special recognition for innovative form
Kae Ridwyn 5:56pm
Not quite a story, but still, I love these two entries very very much
And then she saw that her characters had inspired a writer friend to compose fan fiction. And it was amazing.
Wow! This was huge, unprecedented. A career milestone right up there with getting an agent, or fan mail from prison.
She needed to express her appreciation. But she'd depleted her April word allotment and was running low. Still, she had to try.
No, that wasn't right. Think, she thought.
Maybe she should quit while she was ahead.
She sure hoped Kae knew how flattered she was and that, truly, the compliment had stunned her.
Where Theres A Quill 8:52am
“And then she saw Shirley in the park.”
“By the see-saw.”
“Shirley says she’s been shilling for the Cat long enough, she’ll sell shells wherever she wants.”
“Rubbish! I’m calling a meeting. Grab that Betty girl.”
“Best not bother Betty today...”
“Bit bitter ‘bout buying into Chuck’s butter.”
“Ugh! That new guy chucks his wood everywhere!”
“Drama galore, right? Productivity’s gone ker-splat.”
"I miss the old crew."
"Every Who. And Fox! She’d sock Boss for outsourcing!”
“She wasn’t intimidated by the hat?”
“They dated. Once she got past Boss's green eggs, nothing stunned her.”
Here are the six finalists.
“And then she saw Catherine Higgins, Mrs. Platt said, after she hit her with her vehicle,” said the officer.“Ms. Higgins said nothing’s broken, it was an accident and she won’t press charges,” said the Chief. “Thank God that sweet old lady was driving slow and doesn’t know Arthur is seeing Ms. Higgins.”Later, Arthur told his wife, “That Buick is simply too big. You can’t see over the steering wheel.”“I can see just fine.”“You need a smaller car.”“Arthur?”“Yes, Dear?”“Stop seeing Catherine or next time I’ll gun that Buick. This time I only stunned her.”
I'm a sucker for an old lady driving a Buick story, most likely cause Granddad was a Buick man. And I do like the little twist that no one expects a little old lady to be lethally aware of her man doing her wrong.
Celia Reaves 1:45pm
"And then she saw it was only the cat!" Maggie smiled at the couple who laughed, waved to the mostly oblivious crowd, and was done.
Backstage, Gabe scrubbed out a cigarette on his plate. "Tough room."
Not really. Maggie knew when she wasn't clicking, and she hated it.
Walking to her car, head down, she didn't notice the figure until he stepped from the shadows. Reflex took over; never let a heckler get the upper hand. "Big gun. Sorry about your dick."
"What are you, a comedian?" Over the gunshot she heard him laugh, and her gratitude stunned her.
It took me a good five seconds to get this one, and that's always a plus. I love the stories that make you think "wait, what??"
And of course the line about the gun is genuinely funny.
Patricia L. Shelton 4:34pm
And then she saw exactly how the trouble had begun, and quite possibly how it would end.
A simple gust of wind.
A hat blown askew.
The red warning light blinking – unseen, unheeded.
The security door ajar.
The isolation room empty.
The white jacketed bodies on the floor.
The outer door open.
The soft splat of the Edward Novitski Prize hitting the wet, sticky floor.
But it was the cat's knowing, angry glare that truly stunned her.
This is another entry that you have to think about to understand. I googled "Edward Novitski Prize" and that is a big clue. On the other hand the pairing of the first line "how it would end" and the last line "knowing, angry glare" gives a pretty good hint even if you don't google.
Calorie Bombshell 11:26pm
And then she saw the news. Three dead in a murder-suicide at a Manhattan hotel.
And Tom still hadn’t come home.
Not even his secretary could locate him.
Maybe she pushed too hard for marriage. Children.
He never said so, but signs were everywhere.
Receipts for fine jewelry and lingerie.
Women’s panties stashed under the bed.
His platinum wedding ring tossed among spare change on the dresser
All left for her to see?
“Which one is your husband?” The coroner lifts two sheets.
Those piercing blue eyes. Now fixed and vacant and smudged with mascara. I shouldn’t be stunned.
Did you notice that it goes from third person to first person? "And then she saw the news"/"I shouldn't be stunned" Because I know this writer's work from previous contest entries, and I have confidence in her writing, I didn't assume this change was a mistake. I looked instead for what it contributed to the story. This is the kind of small detail that can really lift something from good to excellent, as it does here.
Plus, the juxtaposition of "which one is your husband" and "her" is just perfect.
And then she saw a dollar. The bill was stuck to the pavement, glued to the concrete by the morning’s rain. She watched it flutter with hungry eyes. It was close, five steps away, curled away from the sky like a cat’s paw showing its claws. She hesitated, watching the people pass, their steps pounding the ground with wet splats. She almost grabbed it. She watched as a child with a pink hat pick it up and offer it to her mother, beaming. The way the mother snatched the bill and threw it in an awaiting trash can stunned her.
I stumbled when I read "she watched it flutter with hungry eyes" cause of course it sounds like the dollar bill has eyes (interesting idea of course.) Clearly this is something that would have been revised away had the writer had more time.
It's the ending though, that last line, that just grabbed me and wouldn't let me leave this off the list of finalists.
We the reader don't know if our narrator is stunned by the mother throwing away a dollar because it has no value to her, or that she'd throw away something that her child gave her with a big smile. Both are haunting in their own way.
And then she saw it. She raced across the linoleum, but the oatmeal was already splattered all over the microwave. It was scathing hot and clung to her hands like napalm.
She could already picture his tolerant smile.
Why could she never find anything in this kitchen?
Toast? No time.
Cottage cheese? Cancerous yogurt.
Banana! Individually wrapped.
Milk! Pour it in a glass.
She had just enough time left to compose herself.
He lowered his briefcase to the floor. “Mom? What is this?”
She didn’t understand. The dismay on his face stunned her.
This one took a second read as well. The big clue is "why could she never find anything in this kitchen" and then you really get it with "briefcase"
This is absolutely subtle and elegant writing.
If I wasn't so late on posting this, I'd mull it over some more and read all the entries again, but at this point it's just past 9am and there's this demanding thing called work, so I'm going to take the easy way out and have two winners this week.
Congrats to both Rkeelan 8:35am and Celia Reaves 1:45pm
d and Celia Reaves, if you'll email me (jetreidliterary@gmaildotcom) with your mailing address and what you like to read, we'll get some prizes in the mail to you.
Thanks to all who took the time to enter. It was a lot of fun to read your work!