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WRiTE CLUB 2018 - Cage Bout #4

Reminder - You can follow along with all of the bout results right HERE, and remember, the bouts stay open for one week.

The contest started with 181 submissions from 132 writers and we've narrowed that down to 18 (fifteen 1st round winners and three that were SAVED). The DFW Conference is in less than four weeks and its time to get serious. That means - it's CAGE BOUT time!

Here's how this works. Instead of two writers competing against one another, now it's THREE. The contestants will be using the same writing sample that allowed them to get this far, and the readers/voters will have to choose one of the three to move on.  There will be six bouts (M-S) this time.

If you voted in the preliminary round, then there is no need to leave a critique this time, however, if this is your first time seeing these writers we do ask that you leave a brief critique for the writers with your vote because that is one of the real values of this contest – FEEDBACK. Please be respectful with your remarks!

Even though there will be a different bout every day (M-S), the voting for each bout will remain open for as long as possible from the date it is posted to give as many people as possible to have a say. The voting for today’s bout will close on Tuesday, May 22nd (noon central time).

It’s that simple. The piece that garnishes the most votes moves on to the next round where they’ll face a different opponent with a NEW WRITING SAMPLE

In case of a tie, I’m the deciding vote. I can do that because, like all of you, I do not know the real names of our contestants either (my wife processes all the submissions).

Oh yeah – for every bout that you vote in, your name (see rule #2 below) will be placed into a hat for a chance for a $40 Barnes and Noble Gift card that will be drawn after the contest concludes.

A few rules –

1) One vote per visitor per bout.

2) Although our contestants are anonymous, voters cannot be. Anonymous votes will not count, so if you do not have a Google account and are voting as a guest, be sure to include your name and email address.

3)Using any method (email, social media, text, etc) to solicit votes for a specific contestant will result in that contestant's immediate disqualification. It’s perfectly okay, in fact, it is encouraged to spread the word about the contest to get more people to vote, just not for a specific writer!

That’s enough jibber-jabber…like the man say’s –

In one corner, we welcome back Birdie.

With All His Heart

BEEP. BEEEP. BEEEEP. Sang the metal snitch on my chest.
I get three beeps to stop doing whatever I’m doing. If I don’t obey, it calls an ambulance.
I caught Coach’s eye and patted my chest. He blew his whistle and called a timeout.
A girl with curly pink hair and a hoodie yelled at me from across the field. “Little boy! Little boy!” She clapped at me with each word. “THERE. ARE. NO. TIME. OUTS. IN. SOCCER.”
I thought academic probation was the worst thing that could happen during my first varsity game. Mom thought that the worst thing that could happen would be me dropping dead on the field. We were both wrong. Everyone was looking at me, confused. This was the worst thing that could happen. The coach ran over and walked me a few steps away from the other players.
“You alright?”
“I’m okay. My monitor messed up.” I lied. The snitch was always right. It was supposed to let me play soccer. It was supposed to let me be normal. I reached under my shirt and I slipped my finger under the wire that grew out of my chest like a thick hair. It looked like I was scratching.
The timeout ended. We raced onto the field. I dug my shoes into the dirt.
I thought a raindrop hit my head. It was sweat. Pink-haired girl had the ball. I was the closest. I fought to close the distance and show Pink Hair what a “little boy” could do. I fought to keep my lunch from coming up. My steps rang out louder than the deep bass of my heartbeat. There was no beeping song to stop me this time. Freedom.
Pink Hair inched nearer the penalty area. Near me. Time for the “little boy” to force her off the field. Her shoulders turned toward the touch line. My heart vibrated. Excitement. Maybe.
The October air sucked the warmth out of me. Everyone was watching. Judging. Goosebumps popped up. Pink Hair almost drove the ball out of bounds. So close. We’d get the ball. Hero. Mom would regret telling me to play goalie.
The air thinned like had just sprinted up a mountain. Cold.
I slowed. Pink Hair crossed one foot around the ball. No air. Her shoe like a planet around the sun. Breathe in. The next foot orbited and kicked the ball behind me. Breathe out. A perfect crossover. My heart sank. Kept sinking. Fell into my stomach. Knotted into an angry little fist. Breathe in. Breathe in.
Foot, move. Lungs, work. My heart quiets. Buzzing. Heavy. Brick shoes. Bricks on my chest. Bricks in my chest. Pulling me down. Now there’s a mountain of bricks on top of me.
There goes the ball. Spinning crazily. Great. If my feet would-
Then the world started spinning.
Before everything went quiet and black the last thing I heard was Pink Hair’s voice, “give him the red card, he’s obviously faking it…”.

In the other corner, we have Wingsong.

There was yet another girl in the castle. I didn’t bother with any attempt to look civilized. Dropping to all fours, I crept to the door. The fire roared, highlighting the decay of the hall. I had gotten rid of two girls with the dust alone. This girl seemed to be made of sterner stuff.
I shook out my fur, making myself into as much of a Beast as I could. This one would need a personal touch. My tail lashed as I prepared to pounce.
She was not a girl. I nearly bit my lip in shock. Damn fangs. I noticed the shoulders first, broad and strong inside the heavy brocade coat. Pure white stockings showcased well-formed calves. The coat flowed to cover the upper legs, but the hands were delicate, encased in a froth of lace. Chestnut hair, pulled back in a queue, glowed in the firelight.
I should’ve worn a coat. In fur, I wasn’t exposed, but neither was I decent.
The man turned as I entered. He was younger than I thought, beardless but beautiful. I wasn’t aware that I could blush.
“Why are you here?”
He didn’t flinch from my rumbling. Better and better. “I’m here for my sister.” He was spoiling for a fight.
I sighed. “Name?”
“No. Your sister.”
“You don’t know?”
I settled down near the fire.
“She’s been here two years. You’ve allowed her to send things home.”
My tail tapped on the floor. His eyes followed the movement.
“Rose,” he said, as if I was stupid.
“I’ve five Roses.”
Giggles drifted down the hall. They were flocking again.
He blinked, then sat abruptly. “Five?”
I beckoned with a claw. “Description?”
“Gold hair, curls. Black eyes. We call her Daisy.”
I nodded. “She will be fetched.”
He didn’t question how. He was perfect. Goddamn curse. Goddamn fairy. We waited. He shifted. I used to be good at this. Words. I needed words.
“We don’t get many of your kind here.” Not those words!
Ivan raised an eyebrow. “My...kind?”
“Men. Or, well, brothers, fathers. You know. They don’t make it past the gates.” I couldn’t hold his gaze.
“Were you expecting many?” At least he sounded amused.
“You have no idea.”
“How’d that happen?” He waved one elegant hand to indicate the gigglers.
I groaned. “It’s been a long curse.”
“And you’ve liked none. Of five.”
“Twenty, right now. Five Roses, nine Belles-”
A servant came to whisper in my ear. I frowned at Ivan. “I’ve one Rose called Daisy. She doesn’t have a brother.”
Something ugly crossed over Ivan’s face. An old hurt. “I’m Daisy’s brother.”
“She doesn’t claim you, if that is true.” My heart twisted for his pain, but I wouldn’t just give one of the girls away.
He fisted his hands inside the lace of his sleeves. “I was born Ivy.”
Ahh. That’s how he made it inside the doors. Perhaps the fairy wasn’t so stupid after all.
“Could I offer you a room, Ivan?”*********************************************************************************

And finally, PookeyDoo

With his empty hand, he stroked the book in his lap.  “The binding is distinctive.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  What is it?”
She lifted her cup and stared at him over the rim. 
“That one?  It’s made of Father de Silva’s skin.”
He blinked.
His cup slipped out of his hand, bounced off the book in his lap, and thudded to the floor.
Bile rose to his throat.  He shoved the tome out of his lap, jumped to his feet, and whirled around to stare at the rows and rows of books.
Thick and thin, tall and short, all with a myriad of bindings.  Rich mahogany, buttery yellow, and every color in between.
A rushing sound filled his ears.  He bolted toward the exit.
At the doorway his knees buckled and he fell.
He tried to get back to his feet but his legs were strangely too heavy and would not work right.
“What is this?  What have you done?” he cried.  On his elbows, he pulled himself partway into the hallway.
Madame Livreaux calmly put a foot on his back and pushed him down.  Its simple weight pinned him like he was a feeble, old man.
“I know why you’re in New Orleans,” she said.
“What are you doing?  What is happening?”  He tried to roll away but now he could barely move his body.
“I won’t let you and your Inquisition destroy my library,” she said.  “All my life’s work is in this room.”
A low growl started deep in his throat.  “May God damn you to eternal hell!” he snarled.  But now his tongue was thick and the words came out like garbled grunts.
She knelt down and cocked her head.  “Why Father, it sounds like you’re trying to condemn me.”  A faint smile played across her lips.  “Father de Silva said the same thing.”
She caressed the side of his face.  “You have such lovely skin.  It’s so white.  I knew I wanted it the day we met in the Plaza.”
She dragged his helpless body back into the room.
His eye caught sight of Poisonous Plants lying on the floor next to the teacup.  His bowels loosened.
“We each have our work, Father,” she said retrieving the knife from the table and holding it up.  Firelight gleamed on the blade.  “You say you’re in the business of saving souls.  I’m in the business of saving knowledge.” 
She cut through his clothes to bare his back.  With a feather-light touch, she stroked the length and width of it the same way she earlier caressed her books. 
Mon Dieu,” she sighed.  “More beautiful than I imagined.  Unblemished.  Pure.  Perfect.”
With all his strength, Father Argi again tried to put his hands underneath him to get away.  No part of his body would move.
The blade flashed in the corner of his eye.
A long scream echoed through his mind as the knife sliced deep.

*********************************************************************************Leave your votes and critiques in the comments below. Again, be respectful of your remarks and try to point positives as well as detractions.

This is WRiTE CLUB - the contest where the audience gets clobbered!


  1. I vote for Windsong, or Wingsong, it's been put both ways.

    For some reason the story text on my phone is a solid block of white. I had to highlight to see the stories at all.

    JoAnne Turner

  2. *sings* Poke, PokeyDoo. You know I poke you!

    That's how that song goes, right? No? One too many punches to the literary head then, maybe. Apologies. But one point for PokeyDoo!

  3. PookeyDoo for the delicious horror

  4. There are things I like about each of these entries. I think I voted for Birdie and Pookey Doo in the first round. I can't remember about Windsong. It's close today, so I'm thinking about which writer I want to see more work from, and I think maybe... probably... I'm not sure, but...


  5. Eww. All the rows of books with skins.
    PookeyDoo for the win.

  6. I love all three of these for various reasons, so this is a tough choice. Alas, a choice I must make, so I'll give Windsong my vote.

  7. While there is plenty to love about all three of these pieces, I'm going with Birdie because it's the most unique and inventive. I could feel the bricks on my chest and I cheered for the young MC all the way through.

    Birdie gets my vote this round.

  8. This was an interesting bout for me, since all three of them were choices I voted against in the first round. They all have strengths and I'm glad to get the chance to celebrate these strengths when they are pitted against each other instead of their original opponents. Birdie develops a tough young MC and makes me feel the crushing weight of his heart failure. Wingsong (Windsong?) reminds me of the twists and turns of an Escher print. PookeyDoo is deliciously, horribly creepy. Between these three, I vote for Birdie.

  9. I vote for Wingsong! It made me want to read more

  10. PookeyDoo gets my vote. It was one of my favorite stories out of all the submissions.

  11. PookeyDoo gets my vote...even though that ham sandwich might not have been the best choice before reading it again. LOL

  12. There's so much tenderness in Birdie's story. It gets my vote.

  13. Is it Wingsong or Windsong? Either way they get my vote.

  14. Wingsong (Windsong?) for me!

  15. I vote for Wingsong for a new take on a classic tale.

  16. My vote is for Birdie for making me hate the girl with the pink hair.

  17. Victory to Pookeydoo for a fantastic short horror piece.

  18. Wingsong, please.

  19. Just before the bell. Windsong for me!




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