Melinda Mcguire! Melinda is the author of several short stories available on Amazon and Smashwords and the upcoming debut novel, Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey.
I asked Melinda about her thought process when she created her winning story, We Brave Seven (scroll down, her awesome story is posted today!). I wanted to know how in the world she thought of her story.
Melinda's answer: "I stared at the picture, stared at the picture and stared at the picture some more. I tried to pick up on the colors and the impression from the photo. The pumpkins are almost supernaturally bright and the rest of the photo's colors were ominous. To me, the colors were foreboding. So, I thought, what would be a tragedy for a pumpkin? And, We Brave Seven came from there."
For her prize, Melinda will receive an 8x10 print from Kara Stewart, Art in Photography. She has selected The Old Store as her print of choice!
Aaaaand . . . as if all of that and having Melinda's story below were not exciting enough, we have a Second Place Winner! Yes, that's right. Didn't know that was going to happen, but there you have it.
Second Place in the Fall 2011 Write That Photo Contest is Deborah Miller! Deborah is Artist & Owner of Visages Gift Store at Zazzle.com. Deborah will receive a 5x7 print of her choice from Kara Stewart, Art in Photography as her prize.
CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH MELINDA AND DEBORAH!
Thanks to all the wonderful entrants! Please continue to watch this blog and enter the next contest!
And now, the winning story:
We Brave Seven
Fear clings to us, like the dew did this morning. We brave seven. Alone now on this porch, cut off from communicating with our kin, we sit.
We see them sitting on porches and steps, just like us, all the way down the street. Orange blotches nestled next to houses everywhere you look.
How could we have known this morning that this is how our day would go, how our lives would turn and twist? We heard the rumbling of the tractor at sunrise. A new, strange sound accompanied the rumbling of the tractor’s engine - laughter.
The tractor pulled a wagon loaded with people and their cameras right into the patch, and out piled the people, one after the other, all walking over us and around us, pointing fingers, snapping pictures with their cameras.
And then, before we understood what was happening, out came the man’s axe, and we were cut, each of us, one after the other, from the vines.
It was horrendous! All of us, old, young, big and small, cut off from the vines, toted by these laughing people, held in their laps as they rode the wagon back to the barn.
I think I blacked out at this point. I know that I was loaded with these six others into the bed of a pickup. I don’t remember much of the ride, but the old man who lifted us out of the truck and placed us on these steps was careful. He was gentle with us, and it was welcomed after the rough ride from the farm.
But now, here we sit. We are weak and tired and growing more so as the day wears on. We seven, we brave seven, just waiting, but we don’t know for what. The sun is high overhead; all is quiet up and down the street. It is so strange to see all of our family members all around us but too far away for us to talk to them, to find out what they know about what is happening.
Soon there is movement at the houses across the street. People are coming out on their porches carrying black tarps and trash bags. There is lots of laughter. The people are picking up our friends and setting them on top of the tarps. What is happening?
I don’t feel well. I continue to grow weaker and all the hustle and bustle on the porches across the street is makes me nervous. What are those people doing to our friends? They’ve gone back in their houses now, leaving our friends on top of the black tarps. The trash bags are lying next to them. What are they going to do with those trash bags?
Out they all come, banging through their screen doors, what are they carrying? They sit down, surrounding our friends. I can see something long and glinting in the light. What is happening now? I see quick, sharp movements. I hear the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard, a sloshing, wet, swishing sound. I can’t see what is happening. The people are blocking my view, but I see the long, sharp glinting object moving back and forth in their hands and I continue to hear that awful sound.
One of the people moves away and picks up the trash bag. I can’t bear to look but I can’t look away. One of the littlest people is holding something wet and stringy in her hands; the top of my friend is cut completely off.
I can’t stand it. I can’t take it. I don’t want to see anymore. I don’t want to know anymore about what is happening.
We brave seven remain. Our friends and family across the street, all up and down the road, are gone now.
It’s growing dark now. We are all so tired and weak. I feel life ebbing away more quickly now. I have nothing left. There’s been no sign of the old man since he placed us here.
I wonder what has happened to all our loved ones. It is night now and the people come back on the porches. It is hard to see them, but I can hear them laughing and talking.
And then, all along the street, bright lights glow from inside round objects, smiling carved faces shining out at everyone. What are those things? They look familiar, so familiar, but my sight has dimmed and I can’t see that far.
I hear the footsteps of the man as he opens the front door of the house. I feel that the end is near for us, we brave seven.