So, without delay, here are my picks.
3rd runner-up... (Or personally, my winner among costume stories)
I had some technical issues with this work. The feeling of some of the characters felt rather one note and I got a little confused at points. But the story was the most compelling of the costume story setups. I encourage the writer to use more detail of character relationships and motivations. The positive quality of the costume curse on the four people kinda comes suddenly and I would've liked to see some foreshadowing. Still, this was a pleasant read.
Mister Truth - TGThe lamplight flickered fitfully, alternately casting the alley into darkness or lighting it bright as day; generally it did neither, simply casting the space in pools of shadow and light. It was the sort of alley most people would choose to enjoy, where a barking dog three feet away could appear an inch in front of you within the blink of a single light. It was also where Nathan happened to live.by
Nathan took a log drag off the cigarette in his hand, something he had bullied out of a passing kid; the brat shouldn't have been smoking anyway, he reminded himself, smiling a little. He always smiled when he thought about one of his "community services," the more so when it had been done unexpectedly. Taking the kids allowance in the process had simply been a wonderful donation for his actions as a "good Samaritan." "They should give me a Fing citation for this," he muttered under his breath, breathing out a puff of smoke with a small smile. He could already imagine his name written in gold
It definitely shows my twisted side that this story among Dragon's was the one which stood out for me. The Abducted one was an interesting stream-of-consciousness tale but the character was so challenging to relate to. The twist confused a little and, while I appreciate the cameo, it was okay but felt rather overwritten. Body Hopper also has issues kinda being confused with what was going on. The middle part was nice but then it kinda lost cohesion for me to where I wasn't sure why this pumpkin head thing was important. As with so many of the stories I read...I liked a lot of the ideas but the stories felt like they didn't really show me a good sense of the setting or the character relationships. For me, this twisted, dark tale told its story the best. The ending was a bit sudden but it fit. Still, I enjoy the amount of detail Dragon puts into stories.
Learns-A-Lot -A TG story-For a three bedroom house in the middle of a packed suburb on Halloween night, 318 Plymouth Lane was eerily quiet.by
Not that Joshua noticed this. His parents had taken Trisha out trick-or-treating in her princess costume while he, at the bold age of 13, was allowed out until 9pm with his friends.
It was 7:30 and he and his friends had run out of shaving cream, eggs and toilet paper. His mother being the prodigious bargain shopper, he had been the one elected by his friends to go home and raid the stockpiles of extras that his mother had surely acquired.
His first stop had been the basement where two 36-packs of toilet paper yielded him a ten roll bounty he was sure would not be noticed as it was on the back of the shelves in the laundry room.
Clomping back up the basement stairs to the kitchen in his black boots and skeleton costume, he put the rolls of paper onto the table in the kitchen and found plastic grocery bags in broom closet to put the rolls in.
His mother didn't ke
Both of TGfascinated stories were massively awesome. I liked the creepy-ass dolly story more though. The goddess story was damned creepy too and really presented a great mood with incredible details. I recommend you read it as well. My only quibble would be that Neil's motivation isn't really clear as to why he's doing what happens but oh well. The creepy doll story has some great repeated lines and mood. There are a few areas I'd edit for clarity and to keep the mood going at full strength but it still works. Not much else to say. Dolls are f-ing creepy. Bravo.
And my top pick...
I tried to keep entirely objective throughout but Lisa's was my favorite story of all. This may even be my favorite of all of Lisa's works. The mood is set very well. The language is just so enjoyable. After some stories in this contest which completely glossed over any description of setting, it was an invigorating breeze on a rainy day to see how much this story fills and inhabits its setting with an array of characters which I care about and am intrigued by. I almost regretted that it had to have Zappy in it because I was so caught up in a fun narrative of characters. The main does raise my ire for not liking books but that's supposed to be so...and he gets better. Nancine was interesting even if her twist did feel a little obvious. The "Monster" mention was the only thing which confused me at first. But I figured it was that energy drink "Monster". Jade was cool and among my favorite characters. I'd nudge Lisa about so often having sassy, wry female characters but I write them from time to time too. But my complaints are minor and I just absolutely loved this tale. The other tale ("The Squeak") set an interesting mood and I was captivated by the sense like..."Ooo...As the character gets nearer, they're getting girlier?" I also liked the girl-town setting. But it felt like it stopped too soon. I'd like see Lisa reconstitute the tale in a more languid form, like what was used for "Passion".
And there you go. Thanks to everyone who entered. It was fun reading when I finally found the time. Thanks to the artists and writers. You all made something awesome by being creative *bows*. Thank you so very much for your time and effort.