This little piece took first place in the Lillian Dean First Page Competition for Short Story Category in 2007 at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference. This competition judges literary works on the merits of its first 250 words only. I wrote the story originally for the SLO NightWriters Annual Short Story Contest, but decided it was eventually going to go longer than the 500-word limit. It never made the NIghtWriters contest, but I entered the first page of it in the Lillian Dean Competition and won first place! And only my third year at the conference. The story isn’t quite finished yet, but the beginning is truly a hoot. Enjoy!
Keening, high-pitched, the sound grows in intensity. Rudley’s wail catches Kamma’s attention. She walks onto the balcony and looks up, shielding her eyes with a cerise-gloved hand. He clings to the flagpole tip like a Popsicle to its stick, fair skin frying in white-hot incandescence. Given his bare-and-buck state, she’s grateful that solid shadow fattens his rebar limbs into a concealing barrier. Or perhaps she’s simply been lucky enough to stop at just the right angle.
“Rudley! Are you coming down from there?”
The hairy head rises, eyes screwed shut against piercing sun-glare.
“Not until Missa leaves.”
“She’s not, and you know it. You’re being ridiculous.”
“That’s my constitutional right.”
The disembodied reply rings in the dense, hot air, but Kamma doesn’t hear. Movement catches her eye; she swivels her head to watch an eagle ride the thermals around Rudley’s perch. Damn, but they’re high up now. With so many applicants, Domicile keeps shifting floors and adding units, boosting First-Comers closer to the stratosphere. Pretty soon, as Missa claims, they’ll need oxygen masks just to enjoy the view.
She glances over the railing and down, her fingers clutching the scardey-handle.
“You’re drawing a crowd,” she tells Rudley. “I can see cameras down there, and telescopes. Want a robe?”
Silence. She looks back up. Rudley’s eyes are still closed; white bird-juice drips off his nose. The eagle has landed.No comments