2019 Contest Results
1st – “The Weight of Living” by Mary Rudd
I was nine when it became clear that Grandma’s feet could no longer touch the ground.
“Couldn’t we just get her those weighted shoes, like on TV?” Jared asked, tossing a football in the air and catching it, over and over. He was at that perfect age where he was light enough to run and play sports, but not so light that he drifted every time he leapt. I wished I was a teenager. Everyone my age was heavy, but sometimes it seemed as if gravity pulled especially hard on me, like I had lead inside my bones.
2nd – “Church Mouse,” by Erin Besse
You have no idea how to kneel. That’s what people do, isn’t it? How do they even fit? The rows of benches are so close together you can’t stand perpendicular to them; does everyone really shuffle sideways when they need to reach a seat? The place is empty, of course. You wouldn’t have come within fifty feet of this place if there were actual people in it.
3rd – “The Practice Room,” by Aidan Bender
At the end of the hall on the right is practice room L37. The L stands for how many rooms back it is. Room A, for instance, is the first room on the left and room B is the first room on the right. Etc. The 37 stands for how many times the room has been demolished, cleansed, and rebuilt. All of the other practice rooms have much lower numbers: room A is only A4 and even room G is only G10. You see, room L is the most popular practice room on campus.
“Comfortable Lives,” by Lydia DeGisi
Bates was going to talk about New York again. Sanders could hear it in his sigh and could see it in his slacked work pace. Sanders nailed him with a searing glare as the two of them continued to shuck the peylep pods. The last thing either of them should’ve been thinking about was New York.
“The Pale,” by Laurel Elizabeth
Underneath the water, I heard all sorts of voices. I thought it would be silent there, deafened; and in a sense, maybe it was, blocking out everything above me. But the river held onto everything it heard, and it wanted me to hear it, too.
“Petunias in Space,” by Miguel Flores
I have heard them say that the universe is constantly expanding, that one day the constellations will have pulled so far apart from one another that they might as well not exist. It’s like stretching an old rubber band until it snaps. Or spreading a trail of powder one fleck at a time until the whole thing disappears. On the far side of this thinning fabric of space exists a tiny planet. Or what used to be a planet.
“The Letters I’ll Burn,” by Catherine Haws
(You will never read this, for I intend to burn it as soon as I finish.) I swore to hate you forever the day I found out you would be born. You’d laugh if you knew that, but then you’d ask me why. That’s why I’m burning this letter.