Jenna Fox becomes our Round 7 semi-finalist! Her opponent, I.B. Wrighton, will have his/her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection for a future bout, and as always writers who have battled once are welcome to submit a different piece if they so wish. As always, you can check my WRiTECLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.
I’m going to whine a little now, so you might want to break out the cheese and crackers if you have them. During these first two weeks of WRiTE CLUB my blog has seen more traffic than ever before. I've set personal records for site hits, visitors, and new visitors. Writers and Bloggers are coming by in droves to see what this sensation is all about. And with all of that wonderful activity going on…believe it or not…I’m lonely. I feel as if I’ve been talking AT you lately, and not WITH you. Most of the problem is that for each WRiTE CLUB contest posted so far, I've not responded to the flood of comments like I normally do. Not because I don't have the time (which I don't), but mainly due to the fact that the comments are directed more towards the contestants. The solution, blog more on topics un-related to the contest, but I’ve already lamented my minimal presence here in the blogosphere, hampered by my work-related travels (which continue this week). More blog posts just can't happen right now. Please don’t misunderstand me; the success of WRiTE CLUB is well worth sacrificing my own selfish need for attention, and hopefully when my traveling comes to an end I can devote more time to writing a post or two in between bouts. Until then, just know that I’m missing ya’ll. Whimpering over with.
Without further ado....
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 479 words, please welcome to the ring……..I Am Not Shakespeare.
I should have cried but I didn’t. I think I was more concerned with what my father was going to do once he got home and realized my mother had not only left him, but also forgot to take me with. That night my father walked through the door unaware that a colossal change had happened. He walked right by the kitchen, to his room. I silently counted, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four…. I’d almost made it to the fourth Mississippi before he realized most of my mother’s clothing was missing.
“What the hell is going on Julie? Where are all your dresses?" He was going to figure it out soon enough. When he didn’t get any response he thundered down the steps, stopping short of the kitchen. His eyes bore into me like I’d just committed a crime, and in a way, I felt like I had. In my mind, I didn’t fight hard enough to keep my mother there.
“Where’s your mother at?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged as convincingly as I could and shoved another scoop of Spaghetti O’s into my mouth.
“What do you mean you don’t know? Did she go to the grocery store?” I didn’t know where she was half the time as it was, and it was true this time, I really didn’t know where she was.
“No, I don’t think she’s at the grocery store. She had her red dress in a suitcase and said she had to go somewhere for a bit.” The minute he put together that she was in possession of both her favorite red dress and the suitcase it must have hit him what was going on. His face turned the color of the sauce in my bowl, a muddled, reddish color and he started to shake. His eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. This was what I’d been waiting for, the aftermath.
“I knew she would do something like this to me one day. I tried to give her everything she ever wanted and it still wasn’t good enough. Then she decides to just leave you here. What the hell am I supposed to do with you now?” His fury was palpable and his disgust was evident, he didn’t want me either. He seemed more upset that she’d left me there for him to take care of than her actual leaving. I avoided meeting his eyes because then he would see the tears that were finally starting to build. The sound of his boots, heavy and loud on the vinyl floor, stomped back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, back to the kitchen and then he stormed out the back door, started up his truck and again I heard the metal garage door closing and I released the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 493 words, let me introduce to you ……..Lilith Trueblood
“What’s that sound?” Penn shouts. A propeller-like whirl hums above us.
Turning, Calvin tilts his head towards the doorway at the top of the stairs. “Get down!”
My grasp on Penn’s arm is so hard we tumble off the side of the staircase and onto the hard, cold basement floor. Dad and Calvin leap into the air as I scramble to get my back off of the floor and on to my feet.
Mom huddles at the bottom of the stairs, guarding herself from whatever is coming.
Humming turns into a roaring freight train as the house starts to quake. Old canteens and oil canisters shake off the shelves, landing inches from my face. Penn rips at my arm. Before I realize what’s happening, the first story of the house peels open before us like a sardine can, exposing the fire-filled sky.
Time stalls as the force of the impact blasts Dad and Calvin’s lifeless bodies into the air and over the remaining wall. Out of my line of vision. My breath catches as my mind wraps around the horror that tears my world apart.
Flaming balls of fire descend from the sky like the Fourth of July. I follow them slowly realizing one is heading directly at us. It takes every ounce of energy to roll onto my hands and feet to stand, but I manage.
Grabbing Penn’s hands, I pull him as hard as I can. “Mom! Mom!” I continue to pull Penn searching for any signs of life from the corner that once sheltered my mother.
My body burns like the flames of Hell and suddenly I’m weightless. A loud snap and my vision goes white, then black.
Am I dead? My arms and legs are momentarily numb. Brightness reanimates through the lids of my eyes and needle-like sensations start moving from my toes up my legs and into the rest of my body.
“Charlie, Charlie,” Penn groggily slurs my name.
A response wasn’t coming. In fact, I wasn’t sure what was.
“Charlie, can you hear me?” Penn grunts, moving around.
Hissing from a fire extinguisher draws my attention. The hose slaps freely.
“Yeah, I can hear you. Are you ok?” My throat is dry. My stomach churning.
“I think so. My leg hurts something awful. I think it’s broke” Penn stands, bending over me, holding out his hand. “Take it!” A two-by-four rights him.
I extend my arm, pulling myself up on my knees. “Thanks.”
“You’re not there yet,” he says as he pulls me up on my feet. I sway a little, finding my bearings.
Where our house once stood was now an ash-filled basin. Chaos ran amuck. “We need to find Mom and Dad,” I whisper.
Penn nods, stumbling a little. “And Calvin.” Wrapping my arms around his waist, I shift my weight to counter his.
The sky, once filled with fiery boulders, now spits ashes and smoke. We stand here. Two soldiers rising from the ashes.
Anyone can vote (if you register on the Linky List at the link below), so leave yours for the winner of round 10 in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well. The voting will remain open for this round until noon Tuesday. Remember, you can throw your pen name into the hat anytime during these last six weeks by submitting your own 500 word sample. Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!
Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!