Winners from February 11, 2011

1st Place: Bonded by Brittany Ballard
Fans of fantasy and mass fiction will both find this short story by Ballard appealing--strong characters combined with an intriguing narrative voice make it a winner. Utilizing this week's optional prompt (Animal Companion), Ballard constructs a world of swirling wonder and romance. The sign of any good fantasy story is the yearning it creates in the reader to read more, see more, live in the world just a little longer. Readers, when you finish Bonded, you'll be asking Ballard, What next, and when can we read it?
Download and read Bonded.
2nd Place: Skeletal by Maria Chatfield
In this macabre short poem by Chatfield, readers will find a mountain of images selected to chill and tantalize. Lines like 'and I think I will crush you / with my powerful earth goddess love' should be your indication of what to expect here. Visceral and gritty, Skeletal moves with a deep, chugging rhythm all its own, crafted--or so it feels--to lure you into a dangerous web of complex emotion and loss. While not the happiest or lightest of poems we've read, Chatfield gives us much not only to admire, but also learn from here.
Download and read Skeletal.
3rd Place: Whys by Keayva Mitchell
Mitchell also explores this week's optional prompt (Animal Companion) in this wild, whimsical prose poem on companionship. "Whys" feels frantic at times, bordering on chaotic, with a wide range of verbs meant to incite and rattle the nerves. What Mitchell does best with Whys, however, is the seamless integration of the concrete with the abstract into a lucid, breathing work--both sensible and intelligible, while nagging the reader to ask the larger Why questions.
Download and read Whys.

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A Pilot's Guide to Washington

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