Friday, December 30, 2011

Help me decide!

All right, guys. I need help deciding something. I'm entering the New Year's Contest hosted by The Penslayer, and Scribbles and Inkstains. The theme is First Impressions--whether of another character, a place, an object...and the story isn't supposed to be complete--it ought to have some coherency to it, but I'm not supposed to tell an entire story because I have to keep each entry to 200 words or less. :) That's kinda hard for me... :D Anyway, here are four of the ones I've written so far [I can only enter two] and I need help deciding which ones to enter. I have my own favorites, but I want to hear from "my public". ;) So without further ado here they are! Please tell me your two favorites!

"They Called her Queen"
By Rachel Heffington
             Frost on an autumn-fired maple—that was the picture emblazoned on my heart as I lifted her from the carriage and the early snow kissed the gleaming coils of her hair.
She was fairy-light in my arms, and the shine from the other footmen’s torches illuminated the emerald hue of her gown, echoing the same color in her eyes. Her tiny, slippered feet touched the cobbles and all at once she was vast leagues above me. Regal, proud, unattainable.  But I couldn’t tear my eyes from her—crimson lips parted in a quick, excited breath, eyes dancing with green stars and dark magic.
She pulled her velvet, cloak around her shoulders—it could have been made of rose petals it was so light—and shivered against the cold. It was such a pretty, confiding gesture, and bespoke her perfect knowledge of her power.
            “You’re…beautiful.” I hadn’t meant to say that aloud.
She laughed, and I joined her cold, silver trill with my own laughter. But somewhere in myself a mouse-thought nibbled and warned that my pride would be footing the bill for this present glory. But what did that matter? She laughed!
No wonder they called her Queen.

"At the Very Doorstep"
By Rachel Heffington 

They dangled above Hell’s gates. Or so it seemed to the young Welsh boy as the coal-elevator jerked downward, ever downward one agonizing shaft at a time. The sheer weight of the leagues of earth above him pressed the breath from his lungs. Raven-toothed shadows fought for precedence against the pale torches, the weak circles of light fighting to keep alive in the fag-ends of life they possessed.
He tried to envision the green fields of his village, his widowed mother, the reason he was here, but he could not breathe—all the remorse and sorrow of the world sunk to these depths and festered in the perpetual night.
That crash of rubble and the stifled cry behind it could belong to a miner, but he thought it far more likely it was a soul in torment, pleading for pardon. He and the smirched, vacant-eyed foreman with him were the fallen on their way to the utter depths. The clink and crash of iron against stone was not the picks of the workers—it was the devil’s own whip.
Lower, ever lower the elevator wobbled, and hotter the shadows smothered about him. They were at the very doorstep now.

"Goody Briarbeck"
By Rachel Heffington

Goody Briarbeck lippity-lipped to the stove and poured water into a chipped teapot. If an elderly rabbit from the grassy warren had put on a homespun petticoat and muslin apron it could not look more like this Oldest Inhabitant. Anna Cooley tapped her pencil against her journalist’s notebook and tried not to smile at the quaint ears of Goody Briarbeck’s kerchief, sticking up at pert angles atop her head.
 Anna had driven eight miles off the beaten track in her pony cart to cover this story. It wasn’t everyday one met a centenarian—but she was unprepared for the quaint figure that met her on the porch, and hustled her inside with a hopping, cheerful gait.
“Noo, why daid ye coom?” Goody asked, coming lippity-lippity back to the table with a tray of scones piled with cream.
 “To ask your secret for longevity, ma’am.”
Goody Briarbeck cuddled into her chair and twitched her nose, suddenly shy. Her bright black eyes peeped at the city-woman before her with a weighing expression. “It’s aisy enough. I raid m’Bible, I eat butter by th’tub, and I tak a coold bath ivvery mawnin’.”
Anna scrawled the answers into her notebook, a trifle disappointed. She had hoped for a more rabbit-like answer. Clover, perhaps, or carrots

"Writing Crumbs"
By Rachel Heffington

Camille Perkins checked her watch again. Thirty-three minutes late and counting. Where was Mr. Botetourt? For an editor interviewing a new client he was most unpunctual. And it was not helping her nerves.
She wandered to the bell and touched the rope, preparing to ring for the secretary, but a faint harrumph chased her back to her chair. When her cheeks cooled enough that she hoped she was no longer showing through her powder, Miss Perkins glanced upward into the face of an asthmatic-looking gentleman who squinted apologetically and breathed crumbs as if he’d just been dining off of spelling errors and rules of grammar.
“Where were you hiding, sir?” she asked, being so startled, she hadn’t time to think of proper manners.
“The garden, Miss Perkins, the garden.” Botetourt gestured to the raised window-sash and a half-eaten cookie tottering on the sill in a paragraph of crumbs. He bowed, coughed, and squinted. “I before ye until after tea. You know, Miss Perkins.” And he eyed her bulging portfolio with an expression suggestive of an after-dinner snack.
Miss Perkins hugged her precious novel tighter and wondered if she wanted to surrender it to this sort of creature after all.


ashley tahg said...

The first and last!

Unknown said...

Hmm...this is a tough question. But I'm going to say the Queen and the Writing crumbs. Those are the ones you should send off. Well, done!!

Maria said...

Ooooh. My definate favorite is 'They called her Queen' and I think I like all the rest equally. I love your writing style, especially in 'Goody Briarbeck.'

Amy Walker said...

Hi Rachel. All of them are very good and sound as though they could develop into wonderful stories. I really like the second one "At the Doorstep" because it sounds as though it would have a more substantive plot line. It also draws you in; I want to find out why this boy is in such a horrible place and predicament; why did his mother die; what is his future going to look like since he obviously doesn't want to be there.

Anyway, : ) I think that my second favorite would be "Goody Briarbeck" because she seems like a very unique and entertaining character. Also, it sounds like this young journalist could learn some lessons/have some adventures.

However, that being said, "They Called her Queen" is very well written. I love the description that is in that one. And it appeals to my romantic sensibilities. : )

So, sorry if this is too long, but I vote for the second and third stories. But all are worth sending.

Miss Dashwood said...

I vote for At the Doorstep and Goody Briarbeck.
Hope you win!

Anonymous said...

I would say the second and third. Though the last one made me laugh. All of them are beautiful Rachel.

Jenny Freitag said...

My dear Rachel, I can hardly believe the versatility of your talents. I don't feel free to comment on favourites, but suffice it to say: I love your writing.

On a whim - or several whims all bound up into one tangle after the fashion of my Sicilian up-bringing and over-abundant skirmishes with angel-hair pasta - I have posted something for you as well. I rather hope you enjoy it.

Morgan said...

First and last are my favorites. The first being my top favorite:)