Congratulations to our 2020 Spec Faith Winter Writing Challenge winner:
For details about your prize, Cathy, please contact me via Facebook messaging, either at my personal site or through the Spec Faith page. I also have a public Yahoo account that you can find at my personal site.
Special thanks for your participation in the writing challenge, in all phases: the entries, readers in the first round who gave their feedback and comments, and voters who chose the winner from our finalists.
Contests like this writing challenge 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 again this year. That shows a lot of creativity.
For those who may have missed Cathy’s winning entry, here it is again:
The fact was, Kelly simply didn’t have time or opportunity to find out if the offense required the death penalty. He hadn’t planned on stealing anything. He wasn’t a thief, but that vial—just sitting there—had been an answer he hadn’t dared to ask for. A gift.
The stoppered glass burned through his tunic like mid-winter’s ice as he dodged people and booths. Hooves clattered behind him; he risked a glance over his shoulder. Just cart horses. Not temple guards. Should’ve known the difference.
The rancid smell of garbage met his nostrils when he ducked around the corner, but he pelted through the winding alleyways. Had to get there on time. Had to reach her before—
A trumpet sounded, freezing the blood in his marrow.
They knew. They were coming, and their horses’ heavy hooves thundered after him.
His legs burned as he ran even faster.
His home’s western door stood open, to let out her spirit, so he raced around to the front instead. Couldn’t take the risk of interfering, if he was already too late.
Kelly took the stairs two at a time, but Fia didn’t even move when he skidded to a halt by her pallet on the floor. He knelt and unstoppered the vial, then, slipping an arm behind her sweaty head, he tipped it into her mouth and waited.
The building shuddered as the guards pounded up the backstairs and through the door, but Kelly didn’t leave Fia’s side.
A guard’s voice resonated in the barren room: “We’re too late.”
Her lips lifted slightly. She whispered, “Drink it, Kell.”
So he did.
Fire and ice and mercilessness lanced through his veins, and confidence flooded him.
“Step aside,” another guard said.
Fia opened her eyes. Scarlet flames danced in her irises.
Roiling energy burned away his own fear. All would be well. He turned to face the guards, a smile creeping across his face.
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Again, thank you all for participating, and watch for Spec Faith’s Summer Writing Challenge later this year.