Emerging Writer Contest 3 Winning Entries
Hummingbird's Emerging Writer Contest 3 Semi-Finalists
THANK YOU to all the incredible writers that submitted entries for Hummingbird's Emerging Writer Contest 3. The work was outstanding, and the panel of HB judges were challenged in selecting the top two entries. In fact, we had a 3-way tie for the second story, and the panel had to vote a second time among the 3 tying entries. Submissions were unique and well written. Each was creative in its own way. We were very impressed that authors experimented with literary devices which differentiated the work further. We had 10% more entries than in Contest 2, and the quality of the work just gets better with each contest. We invite you to enter next time!
Hummingbird Readers cast their votes for their favorite story.
The semifinalist stories are below. Both stories were presented anonymously for the Hummingbird Reader vote. Voting closed on September 29, 2019, and votes have been tallied. On Saturday, October 5, 2019, the winning story will be announced, and authors revealed. The winner will have the opportunity to publish another original story at a later date. (See Contest post for details.)
Guidelines for Entries:
Your story must contain or feature “a thought” that is succinctly stated and central to your entry. For example, “His first reaction was, ‘this will never work.’”
Up to 300 words.
Your story must have a title.
That doesn’t go there. Her thought doesn’t quite find its way into speech. They seldom do anymore.
The left hand remains cradled in the pocket of her robe as its mate re-opens the cabinet and takes the coffee cup out again. It does go there, she knows, but only after she’s drunk the coffee and washed the cup.
She sits at the table and looks around the kitchen again, hoping that the corn-spangled wallpaper and dark wood chairs will trigger some memory. Since she grew up here, the place should be rife with shadows of her past, cues nestled in every corner. Instead she has only confusion and a half-empty coffee cup. Did she drink some or spill it? There is no evidence for either.
The left hand now flops onto the table, practically dead at the end of her wrist. Defensive wound, doctors deduced. But the shot would have struck her head with or without the hand in the way. Screaming stampedes and a bullet-centric manifesto claimed a hand — and a chunk of her mind. Was it occipital or parietal damage? PTSD? Or mere mental fragility? You know how women can be.
Unable to recognize her face in the mirror, she has stopped looking at it. The hand is witness enough. Bionics, someone once suggested after seeing pictures of robot-limbed soldiers, but new lives aren’t free. They are the purview of heroes — not victims.
A man’s face fills the screen of the phone sitting on the table, one she feels like she should know, but is even less familiar than her own. Her finger repeatedly grazes the grain of the wood two inches away from the phone in a futile attempt to slide across the vibrating smile and give it a voice.
It was close to suppertime and the late afternoon sun sent long slanting rays of golden light across the mostly dirt road. The woman’s house sat on a small hill above the road. She was washing dishes and glanced out the window over the sink when she heard the crunch of sneakers on loose stones before a boy came into view from behind the pine trees.
He was about ten, his longish blond hair, sweaty from play, jutted from beneath his denim ball cap. From the cut-off sleeves of his bright red tee shirt protruded two thin, gangly arms, deeply tanned from weeks of summer playing. His jeans were rolled up to just below each knee. Had he waded in the nearby stream looking for smooth rocks to be used as skipping stones? Rocks he would put in his pocket, forget about and would end up in the bottom of his mother’s washing machine.
He walked home at an unhurried pace with his head downward. His right hand clutched a dead branch that he used as a walking stick. He stopped suddenly and she watched as he used the stick to poke around in the tall grass along the side of the road. What did he see; a land frog, a small snake, a big spider? It didn’t hold his attention long and he continued toward home, kicking a rock as he went.
When the road turned, she lost sight of him. She placed the last dish in the dishrack and emptied the dish pan, standing it on its end to drain. She wrung out the dishrag, shaking it twice before laying it over the faucet and dried her hands. She smiled as she thought about her little boy, now a grown man with sons of his own. One she planned on calling right after supper.