The contest is over

Did I say when I was going to JUDGE the puppies by the 24th? Huh? Did I? It's tough! You guys are too good. And it's come to a eenie meanie minnee mo thing. So I'll post the four and you pick the winner. Remember, the contest was A Big Secret and points for 400 words or less and for not SAYING exactly what the secret is. Bonus for babies.

I found it hard to resist Doug's entry, but it came in at 419 words. And I rooted for Jesus Mary and Joseph but I figure one per author. I know I said as many entries as you wanted, but that's because I want to read them.

I love how perverse you people are.


#1
James looked at me and, his deep blue eyes never wavering, and said, "I have a secret."
My mouth went dry. James had always been the one for me. My heart mate. My destiny. Searching for him after he left town had taken all my time, money, and energy. Now that I found him, I wasn't about to let him go.
"You're married. Is that it?" I managed to keep my voice level.
He said nothing. Reached into his pocket. Pulled out a silver tube. Opened it. Put slick red lipstick on



#2
"So, it's been a while. Whatcha been doing?" He scuffs the pavement with a Converse All-Star.

"Nothing much." Her arms are crossed. He glances at the phone in his hands. Where is the bus? He wants the bus to come and rescue him from this. When it comes, they will get on and he will mumble 'nicetaseeya' and sit far away from her.

"Where are you going to school?" There is a textbook clasped against her breasts. "Modern Busin..." is all he can read.

"Night school," she says. Her tone closes that particular subject. In her senior year, she had been planning for pre-law.

He remembers her pale face lifted to his in the half-light of the television the last time he saw her. He remembers her whispered goodbye, the hollow ache of unresolved lust in his balls. He remembers her bare shoulders. Her naked breasts. Her white, smooth belly, so promising above the line of white cotton underwear.

"You disappeared," he said. The blood of year-old anger pulses in his face. "Said no because you were a virgin and then you just disappeared. Nobody knows where you went."

He looks up. She is wearing a short black leather jacket. Her face is mask above the textbook.

"I left for a while."

"Where?"

"None of your business."

"I loved you." He makes sure the past tense is emphasized, trying to dig the words into her.

"You're eighteen fucking years old. You were just horny." Her voice echoes from the plastic walls. Beyond her, over her shoulder, he sees the bus coming. But he doesn't want it now. He wants an answer.

"I loved you." He says it again, and this time he is pleading. "I just need to know why."

"You have no idea what love is." She gets to her feet and walks onto the bus. He follows. His bus pass will not come out of his pocket. He pulls at it, and then when it finally comes free he holds it out with trembling fingers to the driver, who nods permission.

He turns down the aisle. She raises her arms, lifting the book to put it on the overhead rack. There is rush of ice through his chest, choking him: across her exposed belly, white and pristine below the black leather jacket, there are red and purple radiating lines, marks as old as motherhood.


#3
Rogue Tok-hunting conventions were usually a drudge. But this was different. He was different, leaning against the stone wall, apart from the crowd gathered around the banquet table, all six foot-XXXL of him, wavy blonde hair carelessly tied back, feral gleam in his eyes, leathers from old century Earth.

Her heart raced as his gaze slid over her. She was a plain woman and this wasn’t a look you gave a plain woman. It wasn’t a proper look you gave any woman.

She held a kibbymorsel in one hand, and with the other she felt for her weapon, holstered above the slit in her gown. This unconscious action should’ve been a cue. One of the ancient philosophers—Plato? Freud? —had said something about the unconscious. Like listen to it. But as he approached, all she listened to was her heart, whooshing in her ears.

With an evil smile he took her kibby from her hand and ate it. His careless confidence was like an intoxicating scent and she had this crazy urge to press herself to him, breath him in, dig for bare skin under all those outworld weapons and leathers and give herself to him right there.

She’d never experienced a man acting so entitled; it felt dangerous, erotic. She even asked him at one point: Do I know you? She’d let him isolate her by then—along with two steaming glasses of Veek—in one of the dark nookbooths of the cavernous arena.

Yes, he whispered, warm in her ear, as he undid the complicated ties, trembling with hunger. She was hungry, too—it had been so long. Vaguely she wondered, as she traced the coy line of hair from his belly button to his leather pants, if he was one of those one-true-mate guys her girlfriends had warned her about, but it was too late. She’d always loved the point of no return because decisions got easy after that. You went forward. If he was trouble, she’d handle it later.

He yanked off her gown, upsetting a glass of Veek, splashing his old-century leathers.

“Shikes!” He stood. “Veek! All over my leathers. And this is a designer shirt!”

She grabbed his collar. “It’ll come out.”

“What if it doesn’t?” He exclaimed tearfully. “And now the moment’s ruined!” He stormed off.

Yeah, she knew him all right: roguish fun on the outside, but on the inside…she whispered the words…


#4

No one must ever know,” Erick said.

“But we have a chance. Really we do. Things are changing.”

“Not that fast. Not yet. Someday maybe. But not now.”

“You have to give us a chance. I love you.”

Erick’s smile was sad. His face pale above his black shirt. His dark hair a bit longer than it probably should be. He worked at his cuffs. Checked his buttons. “I love you, too, darling. But you have your place. And I have mine.”

“Are we over?” she asked. Her heart hurt. A painful beat in her chest. Her throat closed and she swallowed the sob that threatened to rise.

Erick took her hand. Kissed it. Even in her sadness, Mary felt her body respond. The quickening in her belly. The urge to clamp her thighs together. Her thoughts turned to their private times together. The tangled sheets. The murmuring. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. “Not unless you give me an ultimatum. I don’t want to lose you,” he said.

She bowed her head and her vision blurred with tears. She would take him any way she could have him. She would stay in her place and he would stay in his. They would remain each other’s secret.

There was a knock and she blotted her eyes. “Come in!” Erick called, releasing her hand. He was fastening his collar as Don stuck his head in.

“Did you get lost?” he asked Mary.

“No, no,” she laughed. She watched Erick put on his vestments. Made sure not to stare too openly. “I’m coming. Just discussing the upcoming Christmas Bazaar.”

“Come on, sweetheart,” Don said to Mary. “Let’s not hold up service by talking his ear off.”

Mary started toward the door.

“Women,” Don said to Erick. “You have to deal with them all the time. Especially this one,” he joked, putting his arm around his wife. “I don’t envy you.”

“Oh, I don’t mind at all,” Erick said.


HEY YOU READERS! PICK THE WINNER BY DECEMBER 1!!!!! cast your vote below or email me. If I see multiple votes coming for the same story from the same computer....tsk, tsk

Comments

  1. You have two #4's!

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  2. Tracy MacNish7:10 PM

    #2!

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  3. whoops. Numbers! Pshaw on you, numbers.

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  4. #2

    Leave it to me to disqualify myself just to fit in another joke (the preamble. Minus that, I'm at 400 words, baby).

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  5. You know, I'm going to say #1. It's short but it really grabbed me by the throat.

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  6. I like number 4, but I think I have to vote for #2.

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  7. I'm with suisan.
    Add another vote in the #2 landslide.

    PS: To say you are "Rooting for Jesus Mary and Joseph" here in Oz probably means that you are an unreconstructed Roman Catholic.

    See:
    http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/ozatwar/aussieslang.htm

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  8. #1 - for economy. No secret baby, a secret 'ooo baby' instead.

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  9. I vote #4.

    (and must admit I'm feeling a mite stoopid 'cause I'm not quite getting the secret in #3.)

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  10. Oooh. I'm torn. #1 is short and wicked, but #4 is so Drama in the Church! I have to vote #4.

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  11. #2 gets my vote by a narrow margin, #4 for runner-up.

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