The Community Relations team presents:
Fortnight's GraceOne Saturday, Stanley the librarian accidentally thwacked Grace with A Complete History of the British Isles, and she ended up in the middle of next week.
“But I don’t want to be in this week—I want to be in last week!” she cried to the Wednesday whose knee she had ended up on.
“You can return to last Saturday,” said the Wednesday, “but you must prepare yourself for a gruelling journey: making your way through each day takes… well, twenty-four hours.”
So Grace made her way back through Tuesday and then Monday, and finally Sunday.
“Please, Sunday, let me through the border to last Saturday,” said Grace.
“In a minute,” yawned Sunday. (It was a day of rest.)
However, several hours later still nothing had happened. “You know what,” said Grace, “I think I’ll just wake up here.”
“I’m terribly sorry,” said Stanley, as she came round. “Can I take you out fo
This tale of one woman's unusual journey won the cup by a large margin!
Prize: 1500 points!
Best in Prose
Soul FlyUncle Levi and Auntie Gertrude and Katie didn’t miss Gramma. They didn’t even think about her until her Soul Fly Day came. Their flies were silver with big sparkly opal eyes, but Momma said the wood ones Grampa carved for us were just as good.
It was my first Soul Fly Day ever. Momma got me a new black dress and told me it was all right to cry. Katie’s dress had white ruffles and silver flies stitched into it. She pointed at my wood fly and called us poor.
There were so many people there was barely enough room for the shaman to get to Gramma. Everyone got real quiet so we could hear him say words I didn’t understand. Gramma’s Soul Fly came out of her mouth and started flying over us. It was like a paper doll, only just black. It landed on my head and Momma cheered and we sang Soul Fly Day songs. Katie whined about how she should have got the blessing because her fly was so pretty.
And that’s how my painting won first prize at the fair.
Whatever world these characters are in, it certainly isn't this one; the setting is richly characterized in so short a piece.
Prize: 1000 points!
Best in Poetry
The Carpenter's BrideYour dreaming face betrays no conniving
lies; do you dream of sheep or kangaroo
courts handing down guilty verdicts, diving
into pools of laundered money accrued
by men with caterpillar mustaches?
Can your lurking Cheshire grin meet my eyes,
or is our great depression succotash
made with shelled oysters lead astray by wise
men gone to the dark? Keep your looking glass
spotless, and keep me on the other side
of reason, of justice. This last impasse
leaves no way out for the besotted bride
who saw too late; your guilty, bloody hands
have ripped apart our only Wonderland.
Unexpected enjambment and fresh double rhymes enlighten this stellar sonnet and its unsettling tone.
Prize: 1000 points!
PenitenceAnd if I disappear, remember this:and
My orphaned flaws will find a home in you.
Please carry on your rompkings, gentle miss.
The treasures I have left you are but few.
You'll want to taste the lemon drops, I know-
The ones I plucked from 'neath a dragon's nod.
To find them, follow dreams I sank below.
Look under all the sunbeams I have trod.
Your heart and breath may start to pull away,
So keep them locked up tightly in your chest.
And if these words should lead your mind astray,
A simple trick can lay your fears to rest.
Hang silvered fish around your neck like beads,
Then feed them on your tears and my misdeeds.
SketchyGraphite creatures crawled over planes of white, crossing lines like railroad tracks. Those in lead were the lucky ones. They- the flying tortoises, the moaning pumpkins, and the sea monsters with no gills- had been completed.
These were followed by their half-drawn brethren, who dragged themselves forward in spite of missing limbs. They tripped, sometimes, over beings that had never been granted heads.
Then came the ghosts- creations that had been finished, then erased. They drifted in a fog of pencil smears, and their voices came in clouded moans.
“How could you do this to us?”
The stragglers had all been crossed out. Ink dribbled from places where lines had lanced through their bodies.
Together, the ghoulish menagerie surrounded their tormentor.
The artist bowed her head, holding her pen out like a general surrendering her sword. “I swear I will never draw again.”
“No,” said a fanged sea monster, “You never will.”
This deviant entered both categories and both pieces made it to, but not past, the final round of judging. The sonnet achieves all too familiar a tone through very unfamiliar means, and the flash fiction will speak to any artist's dark dreams.
Prize: 500 points!
And in case you weren't creeped out enough the first time, we'll close with this again: