Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing Sample--Contest Entry

Early in June, I summited my entry to The Schizophrenic Writer's blog-sponsered writing contest, under the prompt of "unexpected voices". What do you know, I had the fortune of taking first place and winning a little cash for my efforts!

Here is my winning entry for the contest, an untitled piece clocking in around 320 words.


Four dollars and forty-six cents.

For all that these box cutters are going to alter things irreparably, it’s a surprisingly small price to pay. She wonders if it’s a sign.

Mallory crouches behind the dumpster soundlessly, sobbing through her teeth. She rips the package open with her nails. Slides and clicks the razor blade into position.

She’s alone, she’s messed up big time, and in a few moments, it won’t matter anymore. The scars from her cesarean still ache with raw freshness, and her parents, states away, aren’t even aware of anything other than her college bliss. Knowing nothing of David. Or the baby. Or the fact that she’s arranging the blade so delicately over the whiteness of her wrist, like the needle above a record.

It won’t matter. It won’t matter. So very soon, it just won’t matter when…

Her hand is shaking. Cursing, Mal takes a little breath to steady herself. Looks up.

City streets around her, damp asphalt beneath her knees and crumpled paper, neon signs that flicker in the twilight haze. She can see one now, for a restaurant, it says “DON’T GO HUNGRY”.

But the later bit is blinked out, you see. Mal squints at the flickering green.




A single voice. So meaningless. So empty. Nothing in the grand scheme of things, it’s a sign, a stupid sign, not the kind she wants, not the human contact she so desperately craves. It’s a coincidence. Nothing more.

But still. But still. Under its light, she can’t do more than scratch herself.

Choking, Mallory hurls the blade away. Lets her body heave with gasping, mewling cries. Draws her legs to her chest and rests her face there, until the knees of her jeans are soaked in tears. She can’t even commit suicide properly. How stupid, how utterly worthless, how…

The sign flickers above her. DON’T.



  1. This is beautiful. Absolutely amazing. I love how you make everything so clear in so short a time, and the way you answered the prompt was both unexpected and lovely. I think everyone looks for that sign in their lives, and the way you made it come alive in this piece was exquisite. <3

  2. This is lovely. You really captured the moment in a profound way. I'm at a loss for words.