"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bet you thought I forgot

The thousands of you who submitted flash fiction for the Freezer Burn contest probably thought I was never going to wade through all the entries and find a winner. Well, maybe the five of you.

For those of you who don't remember, I asked for a 100-word story about this picture. To see what I wrote about it, go here.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of Freezer Burn. Since there were only five entries, and they were all so good, I thought I'd share them with everyone.

From Jim Thomsen (aka Ninja of the Mundane):

We didn't dare breathe a word until Lizzie Borden was convicted. Then, Agnes and I went to the barren apple tree under bleak morning light, and dug up the silver and fine things we stole from the Borden House.

The ax, we buried deeper. And planted a fresh apple tree atop it.

Tonight, we take the midnight coach to Boston. And then the dawn sailing to Lisbon.

The Bordens should have been nicer to their housemaids. That is all I will say.

Chilling, yes? And Jim, I'd have loved to provide a link to your website, but I don't know what it is.

K. A. Laity wrote:

The picture was taking longer than Elizabeth thought strictly necessary. Why did it take her brothers and her father to make sure that her mother and she were properly framed by the lens.

It wasn't just the discomfort of standing side by side, pretending that her mother was proud, pretending that she was basking in a warm glow. While the afternoon sun threatened to turn the September afternoon to sultry heat, she knew it wasn't simply the sun that was making her head ache.

"I'm so proud," her father had said when she received the letter. The first woman they were admitting to medical school in the whole of the state.

"Some young man is not going to medical school," her mother had said, staring out the window as if he were standing out there somewhere. All summer they had sidestepped one another in silence.

"I think we've got it now," her father laughed, Edwin tugging at his sleeve carelessly. Elizabeth tried to smile, looking down at the carpet bagged, packed for the train ride to the east.

"You'll probably meet a man and get married," her mother said quietly. "But you can always come home."

"Thanks, mama," Elizabeth said, her voice barely audible, but she knew she would not return.

Okay, technically, Kate's entry is not eligible because it is longer than 100 words, but - CHICKS RULE!

Nick Valentino entered this:

The airship rumbled through the sky. Victoria stared at the photo of her mother and grandmother vibrating in her gloved hands. Two days after the picture was taken, the town behind them was bombed, killing her entire family.

Since she was seventeen, Victoria joined up with sky pirates looking for every opportunity to quiet the anger inside her.

Victoria jumped up and slipped her goggles over her eyes. She could see the ship they were going to board through the porthole. She gripped her cutlass with one hand and her revolver with the other. Today she would have her revenge.

Argh, mateys!

Cynde Hammond plotted revenge in this piece:

Why does father insist we stand so close together when we have our photos taken? I am never going to accept her as his wife—not after I saw what she did to mother.

He never should have married beneath his station in life. How could he betray our mother by marrying the very maid that she had begged him to dismiss? Mother despised her. She must have sensed she was up to no good.

I will see to it that she pays for murdering mother, but her death will be much worse than merely being shoved down the stairs.


And Karen Brees should get an award for brevity:

She was the Chosen One.

As you can see, the choices were tough. Everyone had a great take on the two women in that stark landscape. Ultimately, the one story I kept coming back to was Nick's. What can I say? I love pirates.

Nick, get me your address offline and I'll ship your autographed copy of Freezer Burn.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got an idea for the next contest.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congrats to the winners!

Wow, that picture does put Lizzie Borden in mind...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Some people are so clever! Enjoyed them all but the Lizzie Borden one was my favorite.

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Congratulations, Nick!

Yeah, his story was definitely the best! I agree with you, Gayle. And I can't wait until your next contest.

See you then,
Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

Helen Ginger said...

Great stories and truly imaginative writers. I liked them all.

Straight From Hel

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.