First, let me say that I was honored to be asked to judge Luminous Creatures Press Summer of Super Short Stories contest for week 7. I am often humbled by the caliber of writing found amongst my ilk on this media called ‘social’. This week’s entries were no exception. Four writers entered the contest, and all four stories were spectacular, with well-drawn characters, vivid imagery and creative structure. Each writer, to my delight, attacked the prompt photo with a distinctive idea! Bravo, people. –Kristen Falso-Capaldi @kristenafc
A little note on each story:
“The Eternals” by Image Ronin
To me, “The Eternals” had the feel of both a timeless fairy tale and a futuristic dystopian story. The concept of sacrifice-equates-honor is a theme that intrigues me. Here, we meet young Amelia, a girl who has been chosen to represent her school and possibly become one of the Eternals. In the past, Amelia’s mother had been passed up for the honor, being deemed “too plain…uninteresting of face and mind.”
So, now it is Amelia’s chance to shine. If she “wins,” her father promises her it won’t hurt, and he vows to visit her everyday. She will become frozen, and well, it seems, dead. I liked this story a lot. I loved the ending. Will she become eternal? We know that she wants to be, which to me is better than knowing if she gets what she wants.
“In the Garden of Charm and Strangeness” by Voima Oy
Oooh, altered reality, an alternate universe, or as it’s called here, an inter-dimensional vortex, all brought about by messing with pi. As a former math nerd (former, because, truth be told, I have lost my math skills in the many days since HS) and a current book nerd, I dug the concept of this story. Plus, I always suspected there would be repercussions from messing with pi. Here, we meet three friends, two of whom built a “strange machine,” and the fashion model whose blunder sent them to said alternate universe. They find themselves dressed oddly and mistaken for fairies before getting back to their own dimension in time for pie. I loved the description here, as well as the clever dialogue; “Her hairdo made me hungry.” Great concept and great writing!
“The Choosing” by Karl Russell
Oh, boy meets girl. Boy meets ‘better’ girl. Boy contemplates throwing girl to a child-eating beast. I love, love, love stories that do not apologize for their characters’ actions. “The Choosing” brings us into the world of Lachlan, a young man who has been promised to Sheilagh, but has since fallen for Moira, a girl who is above him “by birth and by caste”. He’s got issues, obviously, but the more significant one at the moment is the fact that all three are running from a hellish beast with “broken, clotted fangs and…great sinewy arms” that yearly decimates the youth of the village. Great description by the way! Scary stuff! In the end, I am left wondering who was the sacrifice. In any case, Lachlan must live with his choice, at least until his next encounter with the beast.
“Ursa Major” by David Gentner
Mimes! And not just mimes, but a whole camp full of miming children . Ok, that’s just my own issue, but wow! I would never have come up with this idea in a million years. Here, we are brought into a summer camp, where neither the children nor their matron speak. Instead, they “kick the non-existent ball…(swim) through the air or (blow) their friends over with fictitious gales.” At night, whilst eating s’mores (real ones, that leave their white painted faces and gloves sticky), they pantomime stories of beasts with claws and hooks. It’s all good until the grisly bear arrives, breaking the silence and thus ending the summer at mime camp. I love this story not only for its concept, but for its brilliant details.
Well, there you have it, folks. The four wonderful stories.
And here you have THE WINNER: Karl Russell’s “The Choosing”
And here you have THE RUNNER UP: David Gentner’s “Ursa Major”
Thank you, Kristen, for judging this week’s contest! “The Choosing” will appear on our blog tomorrow in time for #mondayblogs!