THIS WEEK'S WINNER IS:
After a lot of thought, and re-reading each entry many times, the winner this week is Laura Hughes (@MittensMorgul)! Congratulations! What finally decided me was the anticipation through the entire story. What is it? I kept reading to find out. I enjoyed all of them: Feaky Snucker's moral dilemma, Carrie-Anne's necklace, and Michela Walters' hope in bleak circumstance. Thanks for writing! I'm glad I don't have to judge every week! You all are awesome! :)
"There! See it?"
Allen pointed, but Sara had no idea what she was supposed to see. She was weary from hiking. Even though Alan made the trip the day before, they still needed to hack their way through the jungle to reach this spot.
Allen stuck his arm over her shoulder so she could follow his finger to the tree. "Right there. Something's strange about that, am I right?"
It was hard to tell under the midday sun. Every few seconds, the branches and the underside of the thick, leathery leaves pulsed with a warm orange light.
Her first thought was to run straight back to camp and pretend she never saw the weird tree. The longer she looked, though, the more compelling the flashes became. There was something familiar about the light. She resolved to untangle the conundrum. "How long will it take to hike, do you think?"
Allen was relieved hadn't imagined the whole thing. He didn't intend to get closer. He only wanted confirmation that he wasn't losing his marbles. "You want to go down there?"
"Of course." Sara started walking. She kept the tree in sight, and memorized the systematic pattern of flashes. There was an intelligence behind the lights that defied explanation. She had to know what it meant, and Allen wouldn't abandon her.
The closer they got, the harder it was to continue across the soupy rainforest floor. The lights also seemed brighter beneath the shady canopy. It bounced around the relative darkness, turning the jungle into a bizarre discotheque.
The lights faded, each pulse weaker than the last. "Do you smell that?" Allen bolted into the undergrowth.
She smelled it, too. Burning oil. The lights winked out for the last time. In the clearing around the tree she found Allen pulling the pilot from the wreckage of a small helicopter. The man had a broken leg, but that was the worst of his injuries. He'd signaled SOS until the batteries failed. If they'd been an hour later...well, best not think what would've happened. The pilot was saved by his own searchlight.
Congratulations Laura, and thank you for entering!
You'll get to pick the three word prompt for next week's challenge (or switch it up with a picture), AND be the judge! Please send me an email so I can send you the "get to know the judges" questions. :-)
Email: emailjessarusso [at] gmail [dot] com
BIG thanks to this week's judge, Alissa Leonard!!