Congratulations to our 2017 Summer Writing Challenge winner:
M. A. Zeller.
I’ll be contacting our writing challenge winner privately to arrange the gift card from either Amazon or B&N.
For those interested, voting results for our summer writing challenge winner are now visible in the poll (see below, click on view results).
Special thanks to all of you who participated: the entrants for sharing their stories with us, the visitors who commented and gave thumbs-up votes for finalists, and those who voted in the poll to select the winner.
Contests like this are fun. The thing that continues to amaze me is how varied the stories are even though they all begin with the same first sentence. We had such a wide range of speculative genres and of tone and mood. In the end, surprise and humor seemed to win out.
For those who may have missed the entry by out summer writing challenge winner, here it is again:
By M. A. Zeller
Elijah wanted to run—to hide if not to get help—but he couldn’t leave the kids alone. Not after witnessing what would happen to them.
His fingers tightened around the hilt of his sword. The ominous cadence of the approaching evil echoed though the shadow-immersed catacomb.
His gaze fastened to the door in front of him, he knelt, his fingers brushing against damp cloth. Blood. Suppressing a wince, Elijah plunged his hand into the bag, his fingers curling around parchment. He yanked his hand out and motioned for the oldest child to take the object.
“It’s a map that will lead you to the exit,” Elijah explained, his heart thumping in time with the footsteps overhead. The boy took the map, his hand shaking with fear. Elijah glanced at the other three children. Their faces were pale and drawn in the candlelight.
“Go,” Elijah’s voice was raw with urgency. “I won’t let them catch you.”
The boy nodded and led his siblings into the dark tunnel of the catacomb. After they disappeared from his sight, Elijah blew out the candle before snapping his attention back to the door. There was a wrenching sound, and a sudden burst of blinding light assaulted his eyes.
Soldiers rushed in, torches and spears in hand. Pain numbed Elijah’s fingers, as two of the soldiers gripped his shoulders, seizing his sword and pushing him forward. “Is he one of them?”
“Yes,” a familiar voice drew out as a man entered the catacomb. “He is.” Elijah jerked against the restraining hold as his arms were drawn behind his back.
“Traitor,” he spat.
“Spare me the drama, Elijah, and tell me where the rest are hiding.”
“And condemn those who are innocent?” Elijah glared at the man. “I’m not a traitor like you.”
The man cursed at him before something smashed into Elijah’s head, dragging him into a chasm of darkness.