(I didn’t post the 2 team challenges we had to do – too complicated)
Original story (the challenge was to rewrite one of three):
Dr, Madmask slowly trudged toward Gina, the sole survivor. A hail of bullets and several axe chops hadn’t stopped him but Gina’s will was threatening to do it. She drew Dr. Madmask back to the lake, and hopped into the rickety boat to freedom. He followed, but he was afraid of water, as she knew from legend. Dr. Madmask stood and paced loudly on the beach as Gina slowly rowed to freedom. The End…?
Gina crouched beneath the wind-whipped pines, steadying herself with a fractured arm. She was dizzy and half blind: her wounds were festering from Dr. Madmask’s claws.
The monster crept slowly, staggering from the axe wounds and shotgun blasts to his armored body. Gina stood, sticky with gore, desperate to stay conscious. She thought of the tattered, mutilated bodies in the cottage and stepped beneath the flashing sky. She turned her back on Dr. Madmask, facing his sole weakness: the lake and its rolling, storm-tossed waves.
She would survive.
Gina reached the fragmented boat, stepping into its water-logged belly. She pushed into dark waters with a spongy, rotten oar.
I heard it again: dry rustling from the locked crawlspace. Cicadas whirred over the buzz of a lawnmower. My neck tingled as I held my breath.
I heard them again: dragging noises, like coffee straws scratching the door. I pressed my ear to the wall.
“Hello?” I knew it was ridiculous – the crawlspace had been sealed for years. I reached for the knob as the lock rattled shut. Something scuttled away, thumping and scraping the floor on the other side.
I found a crowbar in the basement: the wooden frame, dry and crumbling, split easily.
I coughed, squinting into the sweltering attic: a man was crouched low, his face obscured by dust-swirled shadows. He slipped into the corner, trembling, searching for a way out. There wasn’t one.
“Who are you? Where did you…?”
He turned, melted into the shadows, and was gone.
I’m playing the Survivor XV writing game over at the Casa de Leche site. Here’s my entry for the pre-draft challenge. To establish teams, the writers of the 4 highest-scoring stories for this round became captains, who then picked teams anonymously based on the other writers’ entries. The challenge was to write a story in 100 words or less on any subject.
Last night I heard thumping from the twinkling black ocean.
I imagined a rolling, hazy rescue ship full of food and medicine. I peered from a cloud of whirring insects, shrieking beneath the moon, until I saw it come into focus.
It’s not a boat.
It bobs and swells and moves closer. A tilting head, balanced on its body, sways and jerks, blocking the horizon. It is impossibly large; I crouch beneath a canopy of humidity and palms, stiff from terror.
It is here: one watery, bulging eye pierces the trees as I retreat into the rotted jungle.
I stashed it in our treehouse: an eggplant stolen from the neighbor’s yard. Papa made me return it.
Humiliated, I offered the sleek, purple bulb to the old man.
“Keep it.” He patted my head.
An ambulance came the following Thursday. It departed in silence. Mr. Johnson never came back.
His garden shriveled and his home was sold.
Willow branches swing and he steps from the trees. Thrumming insects whirl before him like confetti.
He edges closer. Seven elbows bend six scrawny arms; an eye rolls, swollen and weeping. Moss dangles from clumps of hair. Twigs snap beneath him.
I’m shivering behind an oil drum. I have a match and a blade.
He stops: I don’t breathe.
Small gestures, that’s all: fleshy Polaroids in a purse, perfume planted on a scarf. Bitter notes pinned beneath wiper blades.
Today I thumbed lipstick onto a dog’s collar and dropped pantyhose into the neighbor’s yard –subtle yet conspicuous.
Now I sip gin and cradle my binoculars, waiting. Evidence is easy. I suppose I’m a sculptor: a connoisseur of fiction.
Father McCall was pinned to the wall, crushed by the student bus. I squatted behind the dumpster to watch.
He sputtered and cursed. I was afraid of the priest: his eyes bulged and he always smelled like eggs.
Our fieldtrip was cancelled. Firemen pried the steel bumper from his thighs.
His legs never healed; he transferred to another parish.