June's contest asked for action scenes. The response was terrific and I want to thank everyone who participated. I also want to thank our judge, Literary Agent Cari Foulk. There's an abundance of talent out there and I enjoy showing it off. Congrats to the finalists. Feel free to vote for your favorite scene-->
1: Kent Ostby
Fear like an ugly, black bile, rose in Duke’s throat as he ran. The
bear gave chase on its three good paws, dragging the other like a
useless set of razor blades.
Duke drew his knife from the scabbard at his side, wondering if he
could make a miracle throw that would save his life.
The bear was on him in an instant and Duke had just enough time to
slam the stick into the bear’s jaws before it bowled him over.
Like a deadly cartoon, man and bear rolled round and round. Duke
thrust his knife over and over while the bear racked his body with
teeth and claws. The black bear rolled onto Duke’s leg, snapping it
loudly. Duke screamed as the bear reared up on his hind legs and
started to come down on Duke again. Duke shoved with all his might
pushing the knife deep into the bear’s chest.
The bear pulled back, tearing the knife out of Duke’s hand.
As the bear rolled onto its side, fighting for breath, Duke saw frothy
blood on its muzzle.
Duke began to crawl, fighting pain that emanated from every part of
his body. The river’s voice beckoned Duke and he turned toward it.
Behind him, Duke heard movement and saw the bear dragging itself
forward. Whatever damage Duke might have done to the bear, it still
had a massive set of working jaws. Duke saw another stick and grabbed
for it, pushing his weight off of his injured leg as another scream
tore from his lips. The snow was coming down in torrents as Duke
limped toward the river and dark eyes drew closer to him.
Duke wasn’t sure if he could stay conscious for much longer. The water
swirled near the top of the bank, flowing hard and heavy as the snow
disappeared into it. Duke turned and the bear was only ten feet from
Suddenly, the black bear rushed, looking surreal with the haft of
Duke’s knife sticking from its chest.
With a last look, Duke stepped forward and was swept into the current.
2: Sandra Cormier
A man lounged against the rough wall, smoking a cigarette. A spray of climbing roses almost obscured his features, yet he looked familiar. My mind's eye caught a wisp of a memory, of a scarred face stretched across high cheekbones. He was the guy I'd bumped into last night.
Cradled in his arm was a gun. A big one.
I let out a startled squeak and clapped a hand over my mouth. Before I could move, the man's gaze rose and locked with mine.
He shouted and raised his weapon. At the same time, the pale man in the window opposite followed the gun's line and stared at me across the short distance.
With a shriek, I slammed the window and dropped to the floor. I pressed my hands over my ears as an explosion bounced around the courtyard and shards of glass blew into my room.
I curled my body tight, heart pounding as I crouched on the floor. The shots ceased and shouts rang from the courtyard mixed with the frightened cries of the tourists.
What do I do? They saw me. I have to get out of here. I stooped low and scurried across the room in my bare feet, avoiding bits of glass.
More voices, this time in the hallway. Shit. I expected the door to burst open with splintering wood, but all I heard was a polite knock.
What the Hell? What kind of terrorist knocks? Maybe it's the police. I crept to the door and reached with a shaking hand toward the lock. I hesitated, thought better of it and shrank against the wall beside the door. I held my breath, praying that they would go away.
The knob turned and rattled, then the door exploded inward. Fuck. Not the police.
3: Diana Alkema
Tonight I waited for him to return from his secret rendezvous with my best friend. What he thought was secret anyway. I waited for his lies, then for his excuses. Waited for him to tell me I was wrong, to tell me I got it all wrong. That it was not what I thought it was. That he loved me, that he had never loved anyone like this, that we should have never had that abortion.
Now I am waiting for the ambulance. I sit next to him on the floor, he lost consciousness at the first sight of blood. I waited a whole minute before I called the ambulance. It was a wonderful minute in which time stood still. I just looked at him, absorbed every detail. He looked so peaceful.
The blood slowly spreads on the on my birch wood floor. Deep red and glistering in the moonlight that comes in through the high windows. It feels warm to the tip of my finger. I draw eights in the pool of blood and then I write Orion, over and over again.
I do hear the voices and the noise, I just don’t react to them. Not when they kick down the door to my apartment. Not when someone grabs me under my arms and pulls me up. “The jacket is on backwards,” I want to say but what does it matter. My arms are pulled around my body as if to hug myself and are secured behind my back.
“Wait here!” the voice says.
I hate waiting.
4: Cyndi Tefft
The radio crackles with the voice of the dispatcher. “Suspect heading southbound on I-5…” I flip on the lights and head for the on-ramp as Jake calls in our location. Cars part like the red sea as we weave our way through rush hour traffic to the freeway, siren blaring. We emerge from the tunnel and the target speeds past along the shoulder, sparks flying where the car’s side door scrapes against the metal railing. I hit the gas and follow him, the thrill of the chase building in my blood.
Damn, I love this part. C’mon sucker, let’s go.
The patrol car jerks as we ricochet off the railing in hot pursuit but I don’t notice. The perp is in my sights, the tantalizing nectar of victory sweet on my tongue. The lanes narrow as he crests the bridge, the gap too small for him to wedge past. A Mini Cooper is his unfortunate victim, the little car flung into the next lane with the impact. The sound of wrenching metal pierces the air, punctuated by the wailing siren as the suspect’s vehicle grinds to a stop.
He bails, fleeing on foot, but I can tell he’s injured. I’m a hair’s breadth in front of Jake as we follow, focused intensity sparking within me like a Tesla coil.
“Stop!” I shout and draw my weapon. The suspect freezes and I slow my approach, my senses on high alert. “You’re under…” I begin, but he spins around and I catch the glint off his gun a split second before the bullet tears through my shoulder. The force knocks me backward and pain explodes in my head as my skull cracks against the railing.
I expect to hear Jake’s answering gunfire but instead there’s a scuffle: heavy footsteps, fists connecting with flesh, grunts and the sound of crunching bones. The sharp tang of blood burns my nostrils, the perp’s body odor mingling with the taste of copper in my mouth, and I fight the urge to retch. Then I’m being lifted and my synapses begin firing again. He’s throwing me over the bridge! Snarling, I claw at him to try and get purchase but he slips through my fingers and I’m falling. Fear eats me alive, the sound of the traffic below calling my doom.
I’m going to die.
Jake snakes out a hand and my descent jerks to a halt. Hope flares in my chest. “Pull!” I scream and Jake’s eyes meet mine, steely with determination.
“Had to make it look good, partner,” he says with a smug curl of his lip.
He lets go.