2021 November Contest Winner: Reine Navarro-Hilfiker

Caitryn Tronoski, Editor-in-Chief

Week 1: Your best opening line.

The sweet violet chicory flower held on the girl’s soft fingers had six thin petals, just as many as broken hearts she owed.

Week 2: Your most creative character description in 300 words or less.

The man on the tenth seat was by a large amount one of the most powerful people in that hall, Kasama. He was, of course, Head of the Weapons Industry. His own presence already changed those around him, like he had a stench of power. Like a large cauldron of a potent poison, with a characteristic smell and shape and color. They called him Wethand, as he liked to hydrate his hands, something only those who could afford extraordinary amounts of water would do. The workers of the Dry Lands, though, believed that he soaked his hands in cauldrons of cold blood. Blood of those poor souls who were in debt, and whose only way to pay it was to volunteer in one of his new weapon test runs. Najam truly never knew which story to believe, blood and water had the same meaning to him. Of course, in such a court Kasama’s presence was lessened by the other present, but it was still notable. He was the only one in industry who had strong connections with the armed forces, which was something many wished for, and many claimed to be illicit. Either way, the man had power, and the rest in the row just didn’t.

Week 3: A dramatic plot twist in 500 words or less.

The clouds were falling, it was just fog they said. But Tot had read the legends. The clouds were falling. Tot was aware these legends were true because they had heard the stories from the man in the robe. He was the leader of so many, he had to be right. He had started off as a young scholar of the sky, some would say that was childish. But after not so long he noticed the sky was talking to him, to all of humanity. It had messages, they just had to be deciphered. Tot had listened to him, they knew the planet would explode, and the top layers would fly into the sky, and the sky would fall and crush them.

Tot wore the white dress the man in the robe made all his followers wear. He wanted them all to look identical, once in the family no one was discriminated against. But it felt nice for the family, they had been brainwashed, and there is nothing better than simplicity in life. Tot liked their dress, they wore it like it made them powerful and beautiful. But today, Tot slowly changed. They saw this dress as something that was keeping them grounded. They felt heavy and that the wind from the sky falling was pushing them down. They felt like this body of theirs was keeping them from reaching the sky, being catapulted with the ground itself. They were blinded by the clouds, they thought if only they could reach higher they could find the stars and let them guide Tot to a safer place. They felt a rush of wind, faster than usual, and finally the sky had fallen. 

They could see around themselves, green hills with forests, free with nature. Mountain peaks with bits of snow. No buildings, no human hatred. All dimly lit by the stars in the night sky, and the green and blue and white and pink streaks of light that made paths in the cosmos. At that moment, the man was right, for Tot it was the end of the world. Their heart stopped as they were shocked by the cold, and their eyes lost all shine. For them, the world had ended. So the man was right. It was twenty minutes past seven, and Tot had woken up. They were ready for another day of simple life at the office.