Three prompts for this one, the above photo, the phrase "survive this" which must be included somewhere in the piece, and the following scenario provided by judge Karen DeLabar:
"You woke up… ten days later. What do you do? What do you remember? Where are you? How do you piece everything together?"No rhyming couplets for this one, just your average zombie tale. Le voici:
My Last Meal
By J M Filipowicz
I wake in a rainbow glow, the aurora borealis casting its light over the parking lot. If I believe the date on my wristwatch, ten days have passed. My suit and stockings are caked in black mud, my new black pumps missing. My head throbs. Touching my hair, I find it sticky with blood. A pool of it stains the pavement, footprints running through. They left me for dead, took my shoes and kept running.
Hunger gnaws. I think of the last thing I ate, yogurt from the break room fridge. No time for proper breakfast. If I survive this, I’ll have a steak, juicy and rare. I can taste the salty sweet blood.
I limp across the parking lot. A shadow darts under a flickering street light.
“Wait!” My voice groans. I don’t recognize it.
A man steps into the light, wearing the olive green of a security guard. He approaches cautiously, holding his broken flashlight like a weapon. He reeks of sweat and fear. An animal inside me takes over. I know how to satisfy my hunger.
As the man swings his flashlight I grab his arm, pull it towards me, and take a bite. Salty and sweet.
200 words on the nose. Woot! Woot! Here's what judge Karen had to say about it:
"As much as I love romance, I love dark and mysterious even more. I loved how it started out with what was a seemingly ordinary girl, other than the fact she can’t remember the last ten days, she’s caked in mud and her hair is sticky with blood. My favorite part of this story was the connection between the steak she was going to treat herself with when she found her way again and what her actual meal ended up being. It’s little twists like those that make me want to read more."Thanks Karen! Also thank you to Cara Michaels for hosting the contest. And congratulations to honourable mentions Daniel Swenson, Quil Shiv, and H. L. Pauff and to the "judge's pet" Mark Ethridge.