The day has come to announce the winners of the Fangland contest. We were very impressed with all of the entries, but three really stood out.
Best Creepy Story – The Candy Witch by Naamenblog
Best Use of Folktale – Open Sesame by Nina
First Place – Untitled (based on Frankenstein) by ChiaLynn
ChiaLynn’s story was a particular favorite of ours. In very few words she managed to weave beautiful images, evoke complex emotions, and create an engaging character. Congratulations!
All of our winners get a copy of Fangland, and our first place winner will also get a bonus package of surprise books.
Here’s our first place story again. Click the links above to read Naamen’s and Nina’s.
My mother was so beautiful. Golden skin clung tightly to the jutting bone and sinewy muscle of her frame. Her black hair fell straight past her waist in rippling waves, like the dark waterfall that concealed our home. My earliest memories are of her brushing her hair, singing the arias my father loved in her low, liquid voice.
Ah, my father. A full two heads taller than the tallest man in the valley, with the same golden skin and black hair with which he’d gifted my mother. But where she moved with the lightness and joy of a creature which knows itself to be beautiful, to be loved, his amber eyes were dulled with the deep pain of a lifetime of despair. He flinched from mirrors, even turning his head before ducking through the waterfall, lest he see himself reflected in a smooth expanse of water. And although he delighted in my mother’s gaze, he could not bear to be seen by another living creature, other than me.
I understood his revulsion, though I never understood why he applied it to himself. So many times I sat beside that deep pool, under the waterfall, willing waves and foam and broken twigs to obscure my face. I loathed my smooth, pale skin, the regular curve of my lips and brow. I despised my fleshy pinkness, and longed for my mother’s spare elegance. And her scars. Oh, her scars. That silvery network that highlighted her rounded cheekbones and knife-straight nose, gleamed from her high, perfect breasts, accentuated the length of her fingers.
The scalpel eased the pain. I took it from my father’s workshop, and concealed it in the basket I carried to the weekly market in the valley. It nestled there, under the list my mother had written in her slanting, fluid hand. It tugged at me, so that halfway home, I thanked the farmer who’d allowed me to ride in the back of his truck (my father had warned me never to ride in the cab) and hopped out onto the road. I waved gaily, until he disappeared around a turn, then ran into the trees. I nearly tipped my mother’s fabric and spices into the dirt, in my haste to reach the steel blade hidden beneath.
It was more difficult than I’d expected. The sharp edge dimpled my skin at first, without cutting. I imagined myself cutting the tough skin of a passion fruit, and suddenly, bright blood welled around the gleaming steel, and dripped onto the earth. I wiped the scalpel carefully, tucked it back into the basket, and waited until the bleeding stopped to straighten my clothing and step back into the road.
That night, and every night until it healed, I rubbed the wound with a rough cloth, to keep it from healing smooth. The scar faded from an angry red, through a pale pink, and finally to that silver gleam of my parents’ scars.
One day, I’ll ask my father to remake me, as he remade my mother. He has the notebooks – the ones he took from his creator and puzzled out, over the long years. Time means little to him. One raised from the dead, as he was, may never truly die. But I was born, rather than made, and I don’t have that luxury. All that stops me is the sure knowledge of how badly it will hurt him. He wants so much to be like me. So, for now, I wait. And when the longing grows too strong, I tuck the scalpel into my market basket and mark myself as they are marked. I keep the scars hidden, for now, but onne day, I’ll wear them as proudly as my mother wears hers.
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