We begin this announcement with a recap of the 4 shortlisted stories for the Iron Clad Alias Award.
Sachin Sharma’s Fortune Cookie kicks things off with an arresting cover image. While story images don’t count towards the final score, it’s nice when an author includes one, even better when they put in a bit of effort. Sachin’s choice of image, as well as typography, really enhances the story and helps set the mood before the reader even engages with the text. For that, I’d like to draw special attention.
Sachin’s tale is one of hunger, survival and despair. The relatively short tale turns on this one innoucous sentence:
Inside the bin, I crunched the cookie as silently as possible.
I’ve called out Sachin as one of the most consistent authors at NiTH through 2018. I’m not sure they’ve ever been denied a shortlist when entering a contest. Not for the first time, I highly recommend reading a story by Sachin. This one an excercise in brevity and meaning. Read Fortune Cookie here.
Rebecca Hadland’s The Perfect Explaination presents a very ‘NiTH’ type of murder, death by curling iron. Playing a straight bat, with just a sprinkle of wry humour, Rebecca puts us in the mind of the killer moments after the deed as they plot their escape.
I looked down at my curling iron, horribly misshapen from the contact with Bianca’s head.
“All those times you didn’t help with the chores because you had low iron,” I mused aloud, “now we’re both iron deficient.”
On debut, Karen Irawan delves into fantasy and action as a witch makes her escape from a very different type of Oasis. In a few hundred words, Karen takes us on a rolicking ride of conjured talents as our hero avoids secruity personell to complete a decade long mission in Leaving Oasis.
“Woman,” the leader announces, putting his radio away. “Nobody leaves Oasis except with prior approval from the Governor.”
Finally, Abhilasha Sharma rounds out the shortlist with Hide and Seek. Set in a National Park amid the arrest of one ranger over aiding and abetting poaches, Abhilasha’s story is twists and turns as we begin to suspect further foul play is afoot.
“If you don’t care for the environ, you get the branding iron, eh?” the cook with a smirk.
A strong if small shortlist for this award, with each contender close to the winning story. Our judges each had their favourite, but of course only one can prevail. Please congratulate Sachin Sharma for Fortune Cookie, a wonderful story in a compelling shortlist. Well done Sachin, and keep up the good work.
Also a big thanks to all the writers who entered the contest, and the judges who helped out with the scoring the shortlist. Coming up next, we’ll have winner announcment for My Neighbour TL:DR Award and the shortlist for the Mythological and the Mundane Award, plus some new awards for you to enter. Stay tuned for more short story good times at Needle in the Hay.