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WRiTE CLUB 2013 Playoffs - Quaterfinals Bout #2

Today we continue the WRiTE CLUB quarterfinals...where we will narrow this list of contestants down from six to four.  There will be three bouts...on Mon - Tue - Thur...with our fighters randomly re-matched.  We will have three outright winners and one wildcard (the loser with the most votes), like we have in the two previous playoff rounds.  

The fighters who move into the semifinals will have the opportunity to "tweak" or edit their current submission based on the input voters have left for them.  Those "tweaked" submissions will go to battle in the semifinals, where only two will become finalist.  No wildcard in that round.

The two fighters who make it to the finals will be asked to once more submit new 500 word writing samples, and that will be what is forwarded to our celebrity judges. Of course I'll post them here on my blog for you to comment on, but it will be our judges who make the final selection.

Are you ready?

Stepping into the near corner, please welcome back to the ring...Jamie Stuart

Evie had died too many times to count--the first time when she was sixteen--and she had thought for sure this time an angel had come to take her away. He was certainly heavenly enough, practically glowing from the moonlight. Instead, he was just another ghost. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing was soon to be decided.

“I know you can talk, so don’t think you can get away with the silent treatment.”

He stared into her eyes. “How can you see me? Make me solid?”

She shrugged. “Been trying to figure that one out for eight years now. It only happens when I’m alone. With a ghost, that is. Now that you know my secret, you’re not going to hurt me, are you?” Because then she would have to move again, and wouldn’t her brothers have a field day with that.

He shook his head. “I could never hurt you.”

Somehow she believed him. Some ghosts weren’t so friendly, some downright crazy, but those traits usually came out as soon as they realized what she could do. This one seemed more scared than anything. She smiled and relaxed. “Glad to hear it. My name’s Evelyn. What’s yours?”

“It’s not Evie?”

How did he…oh, her brothers. “That’s my nickname. And yours…?” He looked down as if debating. “You know, there are ways for me to find out. I’m sure if I did some research, I’d find--”

His head shot up. “Don’t. It’s Adam.”

That was interesting. What was he afraid she’d find? “Who killed you, Adam?”

“What makes you think I was killed?”

“Because ghosts don’t linger unless they have unfinished business. And that unfinished business usually takes the form of finding their killer. Or maybe you need to tell someone you love them?”

He shook his head.

“So you were killed.”

“Why is it so important to you?”

“I just want to help. Figure there’s a reason I have this ability.”

“Well, maybe I don’t want your help.”

“Why wouldn’t you want my help? Don’t you want to move on?”

“That’s not it.”

“Then what is it? You think someone will come after me?”

He floated back and forth across the room, as if pacing, but kept his mouth shut.

She pointed at his faded Rolling Stones t-shirt. “I know you died wearing that shirt, so it had to have happened after that concert. I also know it happened around here, because you’re stuck in a quarter-mile radius of your death.”

His eyes widened as the pacing stopped. “How do you know all that?”

“You’re not my first ghost.” She sat on the bed, hoping that would relax him. “Please tell me what happened so I don’t have to look it up. I can help.”

“No! You can’t help.” With that, he disappeared through the wall.

“Oh, Adam. That’s where you’re so wrong,” she muttered. Guess she’d have to find out on her own, then.

And in the far corner, their willing opponent, making a fourth appearance....Muleshoe.

On the third day, God said: Now you just stay there and think about what you did.

So Elim stood where they'd tied his hands to the posts of the main street promenade, leaning into the dwindling shade as the sun climbed higher.  The rest of the dust-choked street was long since deserted.

Which left just Elim, standing spread-armed between the beams, struggling to keep his aching head shaded and his sluggish thoughts pious as his bare back and shoulders roasted in the sun.

That was a tall order.

It was powerfully difficult to let his eyes rest on the beautiful covered walkway without thinking of the people it had been built for.  The raised wooden walk had kept their genteel boots out of the mud; the open sloping roof had guarded their reverend heads from the rude heat of the day.

They would have been fine, decent folks.  They wouldn't have left even a bastard like Elim strung up like this.  But they had long since passed on to their reward, and left him at the mercy of their brutal heirs.

He was close, though – so close his sweat dripped onto the weathered gray planks.  If he could just get past the pain in his arms and the breathtaking tightness in his chest and lean in far enough to get his head into that heavenly shaded space – just for even a minute – he would surely breathe in some of their deathless grace, and understand how to atone for himself.

That kept him busy enough not to notice the slow, rhythmic thud of hooves behind him.

Still, he couldn't miss the enormous brown face that hung itself over his shoulder.  There beside him was Molly Boone: unbridled, unsaddled, and apparently having liberated herself from the corral.  Elim’s mouth cracked in a smile.

"Miz Boone," he declared in a parched whisper, "you are a brazen hussy.  Is this you flauntin' yourself around town without your bonnet on?"  He closed his eyes as her hairy lips anointed his face with a streak of oaty slobbers.  "And dolin' out your affections to any man in the street, I see.  Ain't you 'shamed?"

No, not hardly.  Shame was for people – for creatures who could sort right things from wrong ones, and hold themselves accountable for the difference.

Elim breathed in her warm-barn smell, and steadied his resolve.  "Don't listen to any of what they said about me, now.  You know I ain't like that."

He had to get himself sure on that too.  Back home, he could have said it for a certifiable fact: he did not and never had hurt anyone.

Here, though...

Elim glanced down the empty street, past the adobe walls shimmering in the heat and the tilting burnt-out church steeple, to the black-iron manor at the end of the road. 

Maybe this place had changed him into a murderer.  Elim couldn't have said whether it had that power.  But it certainly was fixing to change him into a dead man.

Please leave a vote in the comments section for the one who you believe deserves to move on. Voting for all three quarterfinal bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, October 6th.  Help me spread the word about what is happening here.  Anyone can still vote, as long as they register on the Linky List.

Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. I broke down my thoughts about both of these pieces last round, so I won't be repetitively redundant by redundantly repeating them again here in a redundant, repetitive way.

    So may it sufficiently and adequately suffice it to say that today I emphatically, earnestly, and eagerly vote for muleshoe.

    (...and thus ends my salute to redundant adverbs. I think I needs some more caffeine or something this morning...)

  2. Muleshoe for me! I'd probably cut a few of the modifiers because they're a tad heavy, but otherwise beautiful. :-)

  3. Jamie, I love how Evie and Adam connected.

  4. Voting for Muleshoe. Your writing is the most creative.

  5. I enjoyed both of these but I'll vote Jamie. Good luck both of you.

  6. I really like both of these, but I'll have to go with Muleshoe.




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