SYTYCW – Top 6 – VOTE!

19 Oct

I know it’s been a long time coming, but we’re at the Top 6! We’ve seen a lot of amazing entries over the last 3 months, but these are the ones left standing for that coveted editor crit!

This is the last round where the bottom 2 are dropped. Next week, we lose 1 to bring us to the Top 3. And then, our esteemed judge Tina Burns.

And so here they are… You’re Top 6! Make sure to vote for your favorite at the bottom!

ONE

The thick cloud of confusion occupying my thoughts lifted and was instantly replaced by paralyzing fear. My body stiffened as my mind raced uncontrollably with realization; this harsh, sterile environment was unfamiliar. I tried desperately to speak, to scream out, to connect to something concrete. The barren, cold walls began closing in around me, suffocating my senses. I couldn’t say a word, couldn’t move, could barely even breathe. Behind a thick, wooden door I heard voices muffled by the barrage of questions ravaging my mind. In a single moment of clarity I heard a baby cry, just as I felt myself fading.

An uneasy feeling hovered over me all day.

Something was wrong; distress engaged my every thought and I wondered where Hell had frozen over.

TWO 

Lady Phoebe Howard had been in and out of trouble all her life; but kidnapping was new ground, even for her. She grunted as her knees hit cold wet earth. Cursing the ancient tree roots that conspired against her escape, she scrambled to her feet. The unfamiliar terrain of the Scottish Highlands played tricks on her senses, as the threat of being caught again by the brutes who kidnapped her terrified her.

Fear drove her to plow into the herd of cows she found lazily munching grass, but half way through the maze of beef she was grateful for the instinctive decision. She spotted the hulking shape of a man highlighted in the moonlight, and he seemed to be looking for someone. She eased toward the edge of the herd intending to slip away when he turned his back, but a cow jabbed her in the derriere with a horn just as the brute turned around.

She squealed as she shot out of the herd and right into the chest of the Scottish savage.

His arm came down around her like an iron band stealing her breath.

THREE 

Miss Marcia Elizabeth Drummond snatched the ivory invitation from the salver and perused the elegant handwriting. Dashing away a tear that clung stubbornly to her lashes, she wished six years of accumulated shame could be brushed away as easily. Her hand trembled as she crossed the room and flung the horrid thing into the fireplace.

Then, with her arms wrapped tight about her, she encouraged the grasping flames while reflecting on how the Avery’s annual masquerade never failed to transform her into a watering pot. Burn before Mother sees you, please.

As she stared into the unobliging fire, the memories she cherished renewed their endless struggle with those she was unable to forget. First, the visions of fairytale splendor and extravagant costumes became a phantom flight of swirling, snapping black capes. The gentle masculine hand, firm at the small of her back, turned into rough paws groping, pinching and lobbing her back and forth. And perhaps worst of all, the feelings of anticipation and freedom were replaced by the stickiness that had lingered in the wake of their slobbery kisses.

FOUR 

Lucy shoved the door to the laundry room open with her fanny, struggling to keep hold of the basket, detergent, and the baggie of quarters clenched in her teeth.

“Hello there, need some help?” A cute bearded stranger jumped off the vinyl couch and hurried to the door, scooping up a sock and two black lacy thongs that fell out of her basket.

“Wow, not awkward at all,” she nodded in thanks and tried to nonchalantly jam them into the mound of clothes as he propped himself up onto a washer.

“I’m apartment 26 B, Andy.”

“What happened to Susan, is she okay?” Lucy asked as she shoved fistfuls of laundry into the machine under his watchful eye.

“She’s fine, I’m just crashing with her for a little bit.”

Susan didn’t strike her as the cougar-ish sort, but this guy was at least twenty years Susan’s junior, not that she was judging.

“I’m Susan’s son.”

FIVE

I never saw the truck coming. It’s the story of my life, I get blindsided by something that’s obvious to everyone else. My memory is a bit hazy, not that I want a vivid recollection of being flattened by a garbage truck. Seriously, a garbage truck, I didn’t even get dignity in death.

I do remember standing in a long line, the kind of line that makes the DVM look like a model of efficiency. I tried to engage some of the people around me in conversation and failed miserably if the monosyllabic responses are any indication, so I spent quite a while contemplating my shoes. They were very comfortable, practical, good quality; oh forget it, they were ugly. That sounded like an insult or maybe a curse, ‘May you die in practical shoes.’ Which would be funny, except I did die in practical shoes. 

SIX

“On behalf of Historic Philadelphia Alive, I’d like to welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love.”

I smile at the small group waiting for me inside the Independence Visitor Center as I take their tickets, relieved that my last tour of the long Fourth of July day consists of only four elderly couples, three generic tourists, two Jersey Shore cast wannabes, and a mom pushing a little boy in a stroller.

This will be the easiest 75 minutes of my life.

“I’m Lauren Franklin, no relation to Ben,” I lie.

I usually always deny that Benjamin Franklin is my great-to-the-eighth-power uncle, but there’s been two exceptions. The first time I name dropped, I was a stupid freshman at the University of Massachusetts, desperate to get the cute grad student teaching the World of Thomas Jefferson to notice me. His name was Grant McConnell.

“Today we’ll be following in our founding fathers’ footsteps, learning about the places where the events of the American Revolution occurred,” I say to the group.

The second time I name dropped, I was desperate to get this job as a tour guide.

 

GOOD LUCK!

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