It was a tight one, wasn’t it? And I love a tight one. (Stop snickering, Richard.)
But is was a close race this week. Probably because there were such excellent entries. Did y’all get good material for your novels? I spent this evening taking my entry from today and making a full scene out of it. I love what it’s becoming. It might necessitate a few changes here and there to fit it in, but I think ultimately the idea around it will lead to a much richer storyline for this book and more possibilities for a series. Woot!
Here’ are their winning entries, may you all worship at the shrine of their greatness. (And then come back next week and stomp their asses.)
Penelope Price stopped dead in her tracks. The echo of her heels coming to an abrupt halt, much to the relief of the visitors around her.
Having almost an unlimited source of money and a black hole where her scruples were supposed to sit, makes for an interesting time traveler.
The plans she had made were all working quite well, thank you very much.
It was the little things–the unexpected things—that were a direct result of her meddling with the fabric of time/space that always shocked her.
She stared at her discovery.
She was meeting her contact with a line into Mussolini’s new government. Penelope was about to close a deal to sell the 20th century dictator microchip technology.
“It must have been a side journey,” she thought.
The little Italian weasel of a go-between–Carducci—had insisted on meeting somewhere public.
Three years ago, she thought. That mistake with the time settings. She though she’d left before anyone noticed.
But obviously not. She began to laugh.
The Sistine Chapel in Rome was as public a place as any.
And there, on the ceiling, was a perfect representation of Penelope…in her 1930’s costume.
“Michelangelo, you old dog!” she said.
The farm was just like I had left it over a month ago, merely a heap of charred wreckage that still stank of smoke and burned meat.
The memories of my childhood didn’t come as fast as they had the morning after it happened – I barely recognized the stone slab my mother used to set me on while she washed our tunics in the summer sun. I almost walked right by my old bedroom without a second thought, the gouge in the door where Ralf had pushed me into it had burned to ash along with everything else.
Did my time in Caer Guorthegirn really erase an entire lifetime of memories? Or did they never exist, because I was too busy ingesting potions and hallucinating things that were never real. Even those hallucinations faded soon after they had happened, like a dream you wake up in the middle of.
My head was filled with nothing. Even to myself, the past seventeen years barely existed.
I was in my parent’s old room, the corner of the house that looked like it had been spared the most from the Saxon’s razing. A portion of the wall still stood, a false barrier to the elements and forest our farm was nestled among.
I started going through the rubble, searching for anything that would tell me where my mother had gone. My father had already succumbed to the unforgiving English winter and the starvation that came with it. If only I had helped him save more of the food and livestock instead of taking a trip with the brown fairy. Things might have been different.
I turned over a blackened piece of wood paneling, and the charcoal crumbled through my fingertips. Underneath, surprisingly untouched by fire or water or snow was a fibulae, engraved with our family crest. A stag looking back at me over his shoulder, and surrounded by floral inlays that were crude in craftsmanship but beautiful to me.
Underneath that was a rolled up cloth, which I carefully unfurled, not knowing how fragile it was. On it, were two boys, one well into his teen years and the other a handful of years younger. It was Ralf and I, sitting stoic for whoever the artist had been. Both of us gazing at my current self, their expression unwilling to reveal their thoughts.
I unfurled it the rest of the way, and felt tears forcing their way to my eyes. My throat seized, and all of a sudden it became difficult to breath.
In the corner, scrawled in ragged ink was “Geoffrey, of Willingdon.” My father’s own hand had crafted this. A hand I thought was incapable of doing anything but striking me down for my failings or working the land relentlessly and joylessly.
I don’t know how long I sat in their old bedroom and clutched the painting to my chest. But before I knew it, night had fallen and I knew I had to move on. There was no shelter here for me anymore.