After last weeks all in rumble the Hope Springs Maternal short list is a welcome seachange. Four authors, each with their own unique takes on the award, each on their own NiTH journey.
Lydia Trethwey looked to reinforce her position as top dog with Abigail. Pulling no punches, Lydia leaves us with an uneasy resolution where hope is where we find and, and never black and white.
Abigail is crying. I whisper her name beneath each breath. It’s all there is now. She came screaming into the world and I disappeared, from phonebooks, from memories, from sight. He vanished too, but it was never expected that he’d stick around. It’s the mother that should be selfless. In this house of ghosts I go to my daughter and rock her gently back to sleep.
As far as tone goes, David R Ford’s second story for NiTH, Another Cheesy Short Comedy, couldn’t be further from his debut, Conscious Nightmare. Far from being pigenholed, David slides from Kafaesque horrorshow to an offbeat comedy that, in a few hundred words, paints some broad angles.
“Ah, sister. The names Jeremy Arshull. Yep, THE Jeremy Arshull. I know you nuns swore off men but I bet there’s not been this much temptation since Jesus went walking in the desert!” he said.
Newcomer Alex Kogl showed us that motherhood is both an obligation and a right, offering us a glimpse into the complex relationship between work, life and responsibility in Maternal Instincts.
The sleek, stainless steel cupboards were mostly empty, containing only random items like a pack of straws, crackers and a half empty wine bottles. The fridge, with all its built-in television, didn’t offer much more: a couple of sticky jam jars, a few bananas and chunky milk. I sighed: Ms. Lacey had been too busy to do the groceries again this week. I resorted to dry crackers and sliced banana.
While Alicia Bruzzone looked to capitalise on last week’s big win and make it two in two with the uniquely twisted Refitting Shattered Pieces.
A tiny squeal of complaint erupted over the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, and I took a startled step back. He didn’t. He couldn’t have. There were only adults allowed here. Adults only!
Week in week out, the judges return from their judging cages (on judge mountain), with who they think should take out this week’s award.
While we might have asked a lot of them last week, scoring ( and providing feedback on) 8 stories, this week presented a different challenge. Four wildly different stories, each with their own claim to first place.
Things are looking great for this week’s winner, as newcomer Alicia Bruzzone makes it two from two with her winning story Refitting Shattered Pieces!
It’s been a while since a an author has swooped in with such a quick succession of victories. But now the pressure’s on, can Alicia make it a 3-peat with her next story? You’ll just have to wait and see.
Well done to all our authors this week for bringing such a qide range of unique stories to the short list. Coming up later today, the short list for the Spoken Weird Award.