April 2013

I’m not going to lie, there were a lot of emails exchanged with the NITH judges over this award (Cheeky – The Ed). It was great to see three highly original takes on Jason’s piece, and congratulations should go out to all our entrants. However there can only be one winner and I think it’s no surprise that it’s NITH’s rising star Amber McGlothin. Amber’s elegant prose and gentle characterisation set up a clear, honest dialogue between two very different people. No easy feat. We hope this win, her third now, will push Amber’s emerging talent onto bigger and better things!

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The nice thing about the new fridge is that she didn’t need to open it up to figure out what she wanted. The clear doors made things much easier, and was energy efficient, too. The main problem was that Charlie wasn’t hungry. She wasn’t thirsty, either. She was in a state of indecision, one that she felt she’d been in her whole life. Its not that she didn’t want to make decisions; things just happened before she really could. From the time she and Hubert stumbled across that glowing rock when they were six, decisions had been taken out of her hands. She stopped to think a seconds before picking up the pulsing purple gem – Hubert reached down immediately. So it was Hubert who’d wound up with all those …

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It was there when she got home, the blood red envelope, with its wax seal. She’d always thought it was dramatic. Why not just send a fax. Rubbing her bald head she cracked the envelope and read through her latest assignment. Another operative had been uncovered working to help the cartels accumulate, acquire, grow stronger, so that one day they could take power once more. *** Anderson was running late. There had been an outbreak of a new strain of Cucumber Mosaic Virus at his hydroponic farm, and if it spread it could turn his entire crop stumpy, misshapen and grey. A 12 story office building worth of cucumbers. A serious problem. Cucumbers were a pain in the ass. This infection was just the next of a seemingly never ending …

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<< WINNER >>   Cherilly’s World was in deep trouble. An asteroid was lining up for a direct hit close to the heart of the world. If the humans clinging to this planetary outpost weren’t annihilated in the moment of impact, they’d all perish from the fires and radiation that were sure to follow. They desperately needed a superhero. People on Barathea developed strange powers and superheroes were two a penny. Everyone knew that. So when Cherilly’s data miners went looking, Helen’s name came up. Trouble was, Helen had left Barathea because she was normal. #   #   # She was tidying up after a late meal, considering which of the pioneer worlds might pay her the highest premium after her work on Cherilly’s. She was ready to move …

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The cute blond chick was walking alone. It was only six o’clock but it was dark enough. Brad stalked her, although not too closely. She turned left at the next street, glanced behind her and saw him but it didn’t matter. When the blond rushed toward the phone booth just up ahead, Brad ran too. And as she rummaged through her handbag, he forced the door open and stepped inside with a grin. He naturally followed the blond hair as it slipped off and hit the ground. The brunette winked. “Hello there.” A seventeen-hit combo followed and the phone booth almost toppled over. “That partly worked off the thin-based marinara I just had. Thanks for that.” Prudence was grateful she studied Wing Chun… quite effective in tight spaces. She held …

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She walks as if she is a proud flag billowing out and splayed across the wind, unseen in the alleyway as she stares over the edge of the purple bandana on her face. Tugging at the teal hood on the wild, graphic hoodie she wears, she smirks beneath the cloth over her mouth. She knows it doesn’t quite matter in the end. Her long, brunette hair may have been covered up and the thin lips tucked away, but it is the eyes that give her away. Past the purpose, there is mischief, laughter and happiness, set aside for the moment if only to do what is right. Stopping at the ancient fire escape, she tugs the strap tight around her chest, making sure that the UMP is secure for her …

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I hate America. A country of infidels desecrating all that I love. As I walk past the earth scarred by their false righteousness, I am reminded of the necessity of faith. All roads to lead Mecca. Hanan chuckled as she placed her fanatical bookmark back inside her ragged copy of Siddhartha. When she was younger she had dog-eared her pages, marking her place with the recklessness of inexperience, but when she was younger she read for escape. She could not understand her world, so she left it for worlds imagined. Back in Kabul, it didn’t matter whether the oppression came from a fathers fist, or the bombs of a stranger. Whether it came from the taunts of other boys her age, the hidden planes sent by men she had never …

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The wedding guests fill the house and spill out into the courtyard, bright splashes of colour against the sun baked ground. Aisha’s uncle glances up, spotting the inevitable watching presence hovering above the courtyard. “Hurry, hurry,” he urges. He is too late. The Reaper drone strikes bringing the wedding to a blood splattered halt. The young bride’s married life lasts two minutes. Three children escape the slaughter, sheltered by the bodies of their parents. Three more to add to those I am trying to keep safe. I pull them screaming and bloody from under the corpses. One is the bride’s sister, Amina. She runs towards what remains of Aisha before I can stop her. She freezes; her sobs choking off. Back in the ruined cellar, the children have learned to …

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  Leeza, an old woman is talking to CoraLee, her great niece. Leeza: …I saw his face again last night. He was terrified. Terrified of what he was about to do and terrified that he might not have the courage to do it. Always unsure of himself, that was my twin, my little brother, Simon. We were living in Seattle and he’d been restless for months after Ma died. He went off, god knows where, for a week he said. One week turned into two, then a month went by and we hadn’t heard from him. CoraLee: For an unbeliever, you sure mention God a lot Aunty! Leeza: Don’t get me started! I will not, cannot bring myself to believe in god, especially when so much evil has been done …

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1. EXT. BACKYARD – DAY A hand GENTLY LIFTS a few GREEN LEAVES. Pull back and it is a white male, aged 22, INSPECTING a small OLIVE TREE in the backyard. This is SIMON PHIFER. Behind him is the HOUSE and a seated young woman, same age and hair color, READING A NOVEL. This is LEEZA PHIFER. Simon TURNS and moves back towards the house. He and Leeza EXCHANGE SMILES as he walks pass.   CUT TO:   2. EXT. NEAR TOWN – NIGHT Wide establishing shot of the TOWN and the surrounding QUIET COUNTRY. SUPERIMPOSITION: MID-WESTERN CONTINENTAL U.S. AUGUST 2022 Two F-35s ROAR pass, flying low. In the distance, they DROP THEIR ORDINANCE over the town and…   3. EXT. TOWN, STREET — CONTINUOUS …the SHOCKWAVES sweep through the …

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With red-rimmed eyes, Leeza stood by the mantle looking at a picture of herself and her brother Simon as children. It was taken the Halloween they’d dressed as The Wonder Twins, going from door to door, saying, “Form of…a trick!”, “Shape of…a treat!” It was stupid, and didn’t even make sense, but everyone thought it was adorable, and they’d gotten a pretty big haul that year. She smiled weakly at the memory, until she recalled the last picture she’d seen of Simon. It had been on the evening news, and showed him standing on the outskirts of a little boy’s funeral, holding a sign that said in bold lettering, “GOD HATES FAGS!!!” The child had been the victim of a school shooting, and a wall of mourners tried to shield …

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