I know I said this post would come yesterday, but over the weekend I was possessed by a demon, commonly known as The Cold, so my week’s been a bit delayed. That being said, I’m moderately back on my feet and ready to share with you the fabulous submissions that I received for my #AndvellArt contest that wrapped up in October. I know! I said I was late!
A big apology to those who submitted that this post is only going up now – but a huge thanks for your patience. It means that world to me that you participated, and I’m excited to share the results with THE WORLD!!
As I said in my original post, I was not a judge for the contest. That title goes to the magnificent Megan Faw, Kate Sparkes, and Meghan Hyden. Thank you muchly, ladies!
Only the top 3 were placed in any sort of order, so I’ll post the rest in the order I received them. Sit back, take a read, and enjoy!
BRADY AND THE DRAGON by Jean-François Lacelle
[JF now gets future credit for helping me come up with some great babble words]
– Hello? Hello??
– Yes. Finally you’ve been able to say what you’ve been trying to say for the past few days, but instead have been spouting gibberish. Now, let’s see if you can actually form a sentence.
– You. Lizard?
– Best try that one again mortal.
– Better. And yes. I would be a dragon.
– I am human. Name is Brady.
– Words are slowly coming to you it seems. Quite fascinating. It’s rare for me to see a mortal such as you, be able to learn our language so quickly. Brady is it…
– Your name is?
– Unimportant really. And besides, it would be much too long to pronounce. We mystical creatures like our overly complicated nomenclatures .
– I have much patience and some time.
– Actually, you don’t. In fact, before we even continue this conversation, I feel like I must warn you: dragon-speak is not just a language, but it also requires a large amount of energy. As a dragon, it takes close to nothing for me to speak to you. But for a mere mortal as yourself, it will seriously tax your reserves. It could in fact kill you, as it has many before.
– Matters not.
– Are you certain? While you may see me as a terrible creature hellbent on destruction, I actually have no desire to kill you. Much like those who hunted me down before, the only ones I’ve killed were the ones that went too far and, in the end, caused their own demise.
– I know. That was… friend. But I am not like him. I come asking for help.
– Help? Truly, you must be desperate if you are willing to brave certain death to simply ask me for such a thing. What could possibly force you to risk your life that you would not be able to handle with other mortal help?
– No, no, you said it correctly the first time.
– I was merely pausing at the mention of his name. I know of Raul, yes. In fact, he’s one of the mortals that I wouldn’t mind having an interminable conversation with, if only because inserting my claws into his flesh has been so difficult to do so far.
– Then, you will help?
– As I said, I have been unable to catch him so far. What makes you think that I would be able to help you with this pest?
– Because he wants us dead, and will do all he can to destroy us.
– This makes us good bait. He runs away from you, but he chases after us.
– Hrm. Your point is valid. Very well then Brady, if it means ridding the world of this wretched Raul, I will listen to you, and I promise to keep my comments brief, so as not to tax you unduly. So, tell me, do you have a plan already?
EVEN STEVEN by Lee Wallace
Jeff sat in his chair, watching Venn work. She’d been on this side of the portal for a short time, but she was already picking up the skills required to live in the big city. Venn could understand enough French to take an order for a fancy coffee, and to politely refuse any unwanted attention. In fact, her customer service skills were amazing compared to when Cassie had first suggested hiring her at the Le Coin du Café…
“I’m not sure what to with Venn,” Jeff said to Cassie. Bringing Venn to his world had felt like the right thing to do at the time, but little details he hadn’t considered kept popping up – housing, clothing and feeding her were at the top of the list, followed by helping her feel useful. The first were fairly easy to solve – Cassie had a spare bedroom, and older clothes that fit Venn fairly well. Jeff made enough money from book sales to give Cassie money to buy extra groceries, but he could see that Venn didn’t like the situation – she’d been taking care of herself for years, and it rankled her to have to rely on someone else. “What do you think?” he asked Cassie.
“What about a job?” she suggested. “We’ve had a couple of people quit recently – I could put a good word in for her with my boss, if you like.”
Jeff liked it. Venn had been bouncing off the walls of Cassie’s apartment. He didn’t like her walking around alone yet, but only because he was concerned about OTHER people’s safety – Venn had a rather permanent way of dealing with people who bothered her. Until she learned to ask questions first, stab later, Venn needed supervision. Working at du Café would help her learn how to live on his side of the portal.
“I like it!” he said – then he saw Cassie’s expression. “What’s wrong?”
“I forgot that she doesn’t have any ID! I can’t pay her under the table, so she’ll need a SIN number…also, can she read?”
“Writing is the same in both worlds,” he assured her. “I’ve been letting her surf the ‘net to learn more about our world, she’s had no problems.”
“That’s good to hear,” Cassie replied, “but what about ID?”
Jeff smiled slyly. “Don’t worry – I know a guy…”
A few years earlier, Jeff had been doing research for a novel, and had made friends with a forger. Although the book was stalled, he still spoke to the forger – who was a big fan of the Meritas books. A new identity for Venn wouldn’t be an issue.
“Jeff! How’s the new book coming along?”
Jeff and Venn entered the shop. “Hello Steven,” he replied. “I’m not sure. You know my motto – ‘When it’s done!’ How are things with you?”
“I’m good – what can I do for you today?” Steven asked.
“This is my cousin Venn. We’re hoping you can help us – can we talk in private?”
Steven nodded. “Sure, just one sec. Tommy!” he shouted. “I need you up front!”
A young man got up from behind the desk, and walked towards them, with a leer at Venn. “What’s up?”
“I’ve got to talk to some customers out back, mind the store.”
The boy shrugged. “I guess.”
Steven rolled his eyes at Jeff as they walked to the back of the store. “I hope your cousin isn’t as big a pain -“
WHAM! The sound of flesh hitting the ground made Jeff spin around. Venn had pinned Tommy to the ground, the tip of her knife dimpling his throat.
“You dare touch me?” she hissed. “Do you know what happened to the last dog to try that?” As she spoke, her dagger hand rose high above her head. Tommy’s low moan of terror broke Jeff’s paralysis.
“Venn! NO!” Jeff half shouted, and as he watched, she brought down the knife –beside Tommy’s head.
“Next time you’ll be eating your own sweetmeats, worm. Raw.” As she walked towards Jeff, she shrugged at his expression. “What? He’s not hurt – much. Next time he’ll think twice before grabbing someone’s ass.”
As Venn walked towards Jeff, Steven darted around her to check on Tommy. Seeing nothing, he booted him in the ribs. “Get up, you idiot! Quit your snivelling and watch the front!” Steven sniffed the air. “On second thought, go home and change your pants. I’ll let you know if you still have a job tomorrow.” With a fearful glance at Venn, Tommy ran out the front door, leaving behind a puddle.
Steven turned back. “I’m so sorry about Tommy. If there’s anything I can do to make this right, just tell me!”
Venn smiled crookedly. “There is one thing…”
“OK, just look here, and…perfect!” Jeff smiled as Venn posed for the camera. After the incident with Tommy, he was glad that he had warned her about the flash – it was quite possible she could have done something expensive if startled again. “I won’t have the passport or SIN for about a month. For now though, here’s your birth certificate.” Steven handed Venn the document and she turned to Jeff. “I can’t wait to show Cassie! Can I get a job at her café now?”
Jeff smiled. “You should be able to. They’ll want your SIN number, but they’ll understand the delay.” Venn gave the forger a grin. “Thank you Steven! I’m so happy you could get this done so quickly!”
Steven smiled nervously. “Hey, no problem. I’m sorry about my idiot cousin, I’ll be talking to my uncle about him tonight. He shouldn’t have tried grabbing your – ah, grabbing you. We good now?”
Venn nodded. “We’re square. Just tell your cousin that if I hear anyone else complaining about him…“ Her hand seemingly grew a silver finger.
Steven nodded. “Will do.” Steven turned to Jeff. “Glad to see your cousin can take care of herself!”
Jeff smiled lopsidedly at Venn. “Me too – now just to channel those skills into customer service!”
I’m not pandering when I say I’m glad I didn’t have to choose between these. So many made me laugh and show an incredible amount of creativity – likely from people who weren’t sure they could pull it off! *round of applause for all!*
But the judges did narrow it down to these top three. May I present:
#3: The CAKE by Shannon Faucher
#2: WHERE’S RAULDO by Serah Gordon
– do you know where to find him?
#1: A burlesque act choreographed and performed by my long time friend, stage name Randi Rouge. Context: From Evensong, this is Jeff’s fantasy of Cassie Murphy escaping Treevale before he makes up his mind to go save her (/eyeroll. Oh Jeff.)
Warning: NSFW. If you’re offended by boobs or partial nudity, it’s in your best interest not to watch. If you judge burlesquers and their form of performing art, then please keep your (perfectly entitled) opinions to yourself. If this is not you, click away and enjoy Jeff’s fun and wacky imagination. While he still has it…
Hope you enjoyed what everyone submitted and hopefully were inspired to try something yourself on the next round. Again, a HUGE thanks for everyone who took the time to create and submit, to judge, to comment, to support – Love you all!
Want more? Make sure to come around again on Christmas Eve for a very special Feldall Family treat, bringing the characters together for the holidays. Want even more than that? Follow the ebooks…