Totally loved the steampunk craziness of this week’s challenge and the myriad stories you saw in the man and machine. Thanks for taking the time to share your visions here (and welcome to the newbies!), and thanks again to dashing judge Dan Radmacher.
Remember to check back Monday to see which *riveting* story (hahaha! still giggling over that one; credit to Chris White) will be chosen for Flash Points.
Judge Dan says, This is a really tough week to judge. [Rebekah’s note: I know judges are supposed say that, right?–but this week, WOW, no joke. Incredible stuff.] There are so many excellent entries, it’s really difficult to decide which deserve to be singled out, which is why I ended up with three runners-up and an honorable mention. Every one who wrote should be proud.
And now tighten your lug nuts, cuz here’s your results:
TheImaginator. I know Rebekah loved the dragony twist at the end [Rebekah’s note: YES!]. I loved the images and the description of both the expert and the journeyman.
Third Runner Up
Whitney Healy. What a great, rich, emotional story. It packed a huge wallop.
Second Runner Up
Chris White for “Tighten the Bolts, Lock the Doors.” You made fantastic use of rhythm and repetition to give us a feel for the character and his situation.
First Runner Up
SJ O’Hart for “Inspection Day.” You built a world in under 400 words. That’s a huge accomplishment. You capture the sense of a system that’s been in place for ages, and the emotion and drive of a damaged individual. Excellent job.
And our most emphatically NON-ROBOTIC, STEAMIN’
DRAGON WINNER IS….
“Minerva” is a compact, yet complete tale, with rich, vivid descriptions and characterizations and effective dialogue – and what a satisfying conclusion. Well done!
“Loosen the bolts, Giuseppe.”
Giuseppe froze. Despite the heat, a chill traced its way up his spine. Minerva.
“Hey,” he heard Paolo call from behind him. “What’re you doing? You’re going to get us fired.”
“Don’t listen to him.” Minerva’s voice floated from the other side of the door. For a second, Giuseppe turned his head toward the massive plate of steel and placed his palm on it.
“Just turn the wrench back the other way, Giuseppe,” she said. “No one will know. You don’t even have to do it very much. Just enough.”
The lunch bell rang and Paolo’s wrench clanged to the ground. When Giuseppe turned around, Paolo started to jog over, hands bent like crab claws as though he was still holding on.
“You can let go now, Joe.” The nickname angered Giuseppe. No American-sounding name would ever make him pass as American. He knew Paolo meant well, but delusions were dangerous.
“What happened to you?” Paolo picked up Giuseppe’s lunch and steered him outside.
“I got something in my eye.” After a moment, Giuseppe added, “What’re we closing off anyway?”
Paolo’s boss had given them the job. He needed three strong men to start immediately and work overnight. The chambers had to be sealed. It was urgent, he said.
“Don’t know. Didn’t ask. Don’t you, either.”
The two ate in silence for a while.
“Giuseppe?” Paolo only called him by his given name when he was working an angle. “Why did you stop?”
“I heard something.”
“I thought you said you had something in your eye.”
“It’s her, isn’t it? You heard her?”
Giuseppe caught the note of concern. He mistakenly told people he heard her crying that first week.
“No.” He knew the script now.
“She’s gone, Giuseppe. She isn’t following you around New York. She’s gone to God.”
“I know.” He didn’t, though. She was still only missing. She’d been gone for two weeks. Paolo was the last to have seen her. He said she was dragged away by armed men. None of it made sense, but the grieving mind doesn’t question stories at first.
The work bell rang.
Back at the chamber, she called again.
“Giuseppe, loosen the bolts.”
He did. As the crew was leaving, a gush of water filled the chamber, opening the door. Minerva’s body rode out on the tide. Clearly dead, she also clearly pointed at Paolo.