Content Warning: The Audition Retribution Award contains strong themes.
Six authors went toe-to-toe in this topical and tawdry award that even had one judge pull out due to the stress of the stories. Let’s recap before we find out who won:
A Moment | Maximillian Stella
Maximillian is one of two authors on debut with the Audition Retribution Award. A Moment is a first effort that elevates the contest theme, asking us to question the broader context of violence, power and the work place
I say her name a thousand times a day because she is what matters.
Her going to school is what matters. Me having money to send her matters. This job matters.
His hand on my chest does not matter.
It’s a terrific tale which you can read right here.
The Imperfect Past | Sachin Sharma
Sachin’s ambitious take of casting couch vengeance blends fact with fiction in slick, dangerous thriller:
The glasses clinked and he gulped his drink in one go.
“You are a whisky person, I like that,” he said.
“I usually drink Rum but whisky is also fine,”she mentioned.
“Oh no no…Sweetie! You don’t start an evening like this with Rum. You have a lot to learn from me,” he said and made another drink.
Sachin’s story contains pretty heavy topics, but if you’re up for it, you can check it out here.
Gunslinger | C.R. Gardner
If Carla Gardner knows one thing it’s how to deliver punchy, page turning action. This week was no different, with a fast paced action driven narrative in the style of Stephen King and John Woo:
The door opened. She was called in. The room was dim, the only light sneaking in where the curtains didn’t quite meet. She let her eyes adjust.
‘Hello Annie,’ said the silhouette in the chair behind the desk, and she knew this wasn’t a call back at all.
Read Carla’s whole story for all the quickdraw action.
Room 188 | Jason Hemens
Every month or so Jason Hemens wanders onto the shortlist and it’s always a pleasant surprise. This time, Jason shows a penchant for the dark side, with a revenge tale that delivers a surprising punch:
“You don’t even remember this motel room, do you? Room 188. Cast your mind back twenty years. Her name was Louise. You took her innocence that day. Her dreams too. What you did changed the course of her life, and I bet you’ve never given it a second thought.”
She puts on a pair of surgical gloves.
Read the full story here, if you dare.
The Test Tube Experiment | Shreya Parashar
Shreya’s shortlisted story is a powerful revenge tale ripped straight from the headlines. Eschewing metaphor and allegory, Shreya goes straight for the jugular, literally speaking:
She squirmed to wriggle out when he almost threatened, “Have you learnt nothing sweetheart? Don’t you want this role to prove it to your folks, eh?”
Bam! Her head jerked backwards and hit his nose.
Thames was startled, more by her attack than the hot blood gushing out. She quickly turned to face him and hit on both sides of his neck, under the jaw.
She said in a deadpan tone, “Strike the cartoid sinus to restrict blood flow to the brain, causing unconsciousness or death.”
Shreya’s stories are always an interesting read. Read the full story here.
The Beast | Darajabi Nnamani
New to the shortlist, Darajabi’s already showing a knack for putting a twist in the tale:
There was a reason why he had been on the top for so many years, strong and with impeccable looks, untouchable, with even more powerful beings behind him, protecting him. Still holding him in high regards.
Yet I knew of his true nature, from when we were younger. A hothead. A bully. A predator.
It would be a shame to ruin the surprise, so I won’t give away more. Instead, read the full tale here.
Every week our judges score using a 10.0 system. That means scores like 7.3, 8.9 and even the occasional 9.6. Some judges even go to two decimal places (6.57).
Why am I telling you this. Well because draws aren’t that common.
Then again, this wasn’t a very common short list.
If you haven’t guessed it by now. We have two winner’s this week. Please congratulate:
- Darajabi Nnamani
- Sachin Sharma
It was a closely fought field, but these two authors pulled ahead, in some cases by less than a point, to claim top spot.
Well done to everyone who competed and a big thank you to our judges for pulling out all the stops on this longish short list.
Now check out this week’s shortlist, the Spooky Jelly Award.