Our August 2019 Writing Contest
This contest is now closed to submissions!
The prompt for this contest has been...
Some special moments split your life into distinct "before" and "after."
Your protagonist has such a moment at the coffee shop while ordering a Danish.
Write the story.
We have 1 honorable mention:
"Life and Puppies" by Rodolfo Boskovic
Rodolfo's story surprised us with a twist that we never could have predicted.
And the first-place winner is...
Ella RM with "The Last Second"
Ella tells this story from a fresh and unusual perspective. I wish I could read more about this world and the events that followed the story's ending.
Great job, Ella!
Read the winning entry below.
The Last Second
By Ella RM
Fear tastes like copper pennies.
I waited in line at the coffee shop, feeling my foot try to run away from me, tip tapping a tune independent of my commands. The low thrum of conversation was a dull background roar. Melanie gripped my hand. When we weren’t shuffling forward, we were watching the television, spilling its blue light over the display cabinets of fresh pastry. Our friends weren’t able to be seen from this camera angle, but we knew they were up there, the super ones, the beautiful and bold saviours of the city. On occasion we caught a glimpse of Nina, cape aflutter, wings outstretched, diving back down towards the fray and her team mates. Just another day on the job, stopping another supervillain on top of another megacomplex. Or at least that’s what the public story was.
The sweat turning our hands clammy told a different tale.
They had eighty seconds to stop this disaster. I checked my communicator, seeing their glowing symbols beneath the flickering counter synched up to the bomb Melanie and I knew was up there. All five life signs still online, seventy-nine seconds.
It wasn’t a comfort. Not on a day like today. And no one else in that café knew.
Melanie gave my hand a squeeze, a low gasp caught in both our throats as the tower on the news listed slightly in time with a colossal thudding noise from outside. Dust flew around the tower like a centralised urban sandstorm as the news camera zoomed in.
I remember the last words Nina said to me before boarding the drop ship. “We’ll be back when this is over. You may not be super like us, but you don’t need to be. You’re super like you.”
The City didn’t know the Alpha Team as Nina, Josh, Mia, Rowan and Tom. They knew them as Eagle, Banshee, Barricade, Mana and Darklight. And if they didn’t know that much, there’s no way they’d know us. The ones who’d fix them up afterwards, who would stitch up the wounds and hold them through each nightmare. The ones who love them.
“Ma’am?” The cashier’s concerned voice snapped me out of my reverie. The queue had dissipated. “What can I get for you?” She smiled at me: she knew exactly what I was here for. Ever since the team had moved in across the road, the order had always been the same. I could see behind her a young man who the Supers had saved before, Jordan, as he shot me a grin of recognition and began filling takeaway cups with coffee.
“Seven Danishes, five mochas and two americanos please.” I rattled off the list like a mantra.
“Coming right up.” She replied. Another piece of the routine.
I checked my communicator again. Thirty seconds.
Melanie’s hand drifted to the small of my back, wrapping around my waist and holding me tight. I imagined that I could feel her heartbeat, in time with mine, fast and light beneath her skin like a hummingbird’s wings.
The communicator beeped.
I looked down at it, feeling the backing track of life slowing down around me.
‘1 New Message. Sender- Rowan: It’s too late.’
Melanie was also staring at her communicator. We turned to each other, the realisation settling in our stomachs, anchors of the heaviest despair taking root. Her eyes were all that mattered. Deep, dark brown, flecked with hazel. Piercing and honest.
I kissed her, holding her tight.
We were still holding each other when the earth shattering, bone shuddering explosion rocked the ground, and the chatter of the café turned into screams.
Melanie reacted quicker than I did, using her grip on me to drag us both to the ground, rolling under the nearest table as chunks of ceiling fell and feet stampeded around us running for the exits.
Everything changed that day, except for one thing. Fear still tastes like copper pennies.