Below are the four finalists for November's contest. All four were diverse, yet powerful in their imagery. I'll be switching it up next month by posting scenes from Indie or lesser-known authors who have books available to purchase.
Now take your time to read these strong scenes and vote for your favorite on the poll to the right. The winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card and jealous glares from their fellow writers.
A- Robb Grindstaff
I took the baby from Daniel. She was red and smelled like smoke, but she was crying full throttle so she could breathe okay. At the end of the long gravel driveway, boys and girls from age five to twelve cried and huddled together. We had to go to them.
Flames danced out all the windows on the top floor. The loft was engulfed. The roof over the master bedroom end of the house buckled and the fire poked skyward. I reached for Daniel’s hand.
“I tried,” Daniel sobbed. “I couldn’t get to them. I got the baby, but Ma and Pa wouldn’t wake up and I had to get out. I tried to go back but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”
I pulled him with me to the end of the drive. We had to do a head count. Including Daniel, the baby and me, thirteen of us waited for the fire trucks and the police and the neighbors.
Thirteen of us waited for official word that our foster parents didn’t make it out. Thirteen of us waited for Child Protective Services to take us somewhere else.
B- Shannon Lee
She reached under the table and brought out a rusted pipe. The movement was so fast, Janet plunged the pipe into the man’s chest. She shattered ribs and tore through his lung. Never had I heard such a pitch escape the lips of a mortal man. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to turn away. Janet withdrew the pipe and blew through the clean end of it, forcing out the organ and tissue that was lodged. She was quick to place it back into the mortal’s chest. The blood began to flow out as Janet led the mortal to the table. Anchored into it’s sides was a hallowed out meat grinder, a forceful shove brought the metal pipe into the grinder’s entrance. I was ill to see blood and chunks of flesh gush, until an even flow of blood began. Mugs were placed, under the grinder to catch the drippings.
His hands were the first to lose strength, as they turned pale, his face slowly drained of color as his pleading eyes begged me to help him. I nearly did, until he stopped breathing. His corpse remained on the table as drinks were placed. Janet took hold of hers and drank. “Sorry about the pulp”
C- Derek J. Canyon
Thring bends down and snarls at me. I see his rotten teeth, sticking out
like tombstones in his mouth. Apparently, the genetic engineers who
designed him cut some corners on dental. He licks his lips.
"I'm talkin' to you, pissbag."
It's time to put this guy in his place. I'm the resident psycho and
ice-cold killer in this bin, and I don't want anyone else getting their
noses into my routine.
"You're blocking my sun, boy," I say softly.
Despite his technological ancestry, the racial slight has the desired
effect. His face contorts in anger as he grabs my shirt and lifts me with
ease to a standing position, the muscles on his arms rippling in barely
"I'm gonna kill you!" This guy's real original. His breath is stale and
musty, like a puff of air escaping from a just-opened coffin.
I look around. The other cons watch closely, waiting to see what will
happen. Well, I won't keep them in suspense. As the psycho, there is only
one thing for me to do.
D- Joyce Yarrow
The walls, covered with graffiti, scream in undecipherable defiance. The window gate is open, and I climb onto the fire escape, gulping in fresh air, clutching the railing. Below me, treetops in the back yard sway in the slight breeze, oblivious to the violence perpetrated above them. On the platform, a canvas beach chair and a towel hint at better days. A glint of metal in the corner catches my eye. Pulling a pencil from my purse, I use it to retrieve the chain, which is attached to a miniature replica of the Empire State Building and a small key. I insert the key into the padlock on the outside of the window gate and it turns with a smooth click. I know I should leave this evidence where it is, but on impulse, I place the key chain in my pocket. How easily years of training can go down the drain.
I force myself to re-enter the bedroom, knowing I have only this one chance to investigate before the police secure the scene. I'm calmer than I'd expect, but all my experiences tracking deadbeat dads and scam artists haven't prepared me for the ugliness of violent death. This is my first murder victim, my first corpse.