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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Scarifyingly Not Unpleasant
By Catrina Bradley


Balmy breezes ensnare the unsuspecting prey and hold him willing captive. Waves crash against boulders; gulls swoop and screech; family chatter echoes up and down the shoreline. The scarifyingly not unpleasant cacophony melds into a soothing hymn to his ear, hypnotizing and subduing him. The prey relaxes into the sand.

A nibble. I've got a nibble. Dare I claim a catch at this early stage? 'Tis a most promising nibble, to be sure.

Gentle rays from a distant sun caress and flush his skin, seeping into wrinkles, folds, and pores, working with the coating of sunscreen to burnish him oh so slightly. An occasional breaker produces a mist of cool refreshment and a contented sigh.

Ahh, I smell victory's sweet aroma blowing in on the ocean breeze.
The prey wiggles his saggy hind-end and his soft shoulders, digging a more comfortable nest in the sand. His hand reaches to his face, removes his imitation Ray Bans, and pulls his cap down, concealing his thinning gray pate and shading his eyes. Another peaceful sigh escapes as he drops his mottled hand back to the ground at his side.

Yes, this one finally belongs to me. He simply needed a convincing demonstration of my charms.

"George? Georgieee!!" A diminutive woman donning a wide-brimmed hat and a sheer jacket over her modest bathing suit rounds the protective rock and invades the solitude. "Oh, there you are! What on earth are you doing?"

No, woman! Quiet your shrieking. He is as good as caught in the claws of my clutch. Go away.

"Laying in the sun." The prey reaches for the brim of his cap and tugs it down further over his eyes. A satisfied murmur leaves his lips as his arthritic frame absorbs summer's heat from the sun-soaked sand.

Yes! Now leave him alone.

"I can see that. I mean why are you laying on the beach? You hate sand."

Busybody. Mind your own beeswax.

"And you're not too fond of summer, either, George. Thirty-five years I've been trying to get you leave the air conditioning and get out here with me. So what gives?" Her bony fists poke her hipbones and her elbows stick out like stork's knees as she stares down her husband.

Woman! Are you not on my side? Leave him be. I will not let this one get away again.

A lonely cloud seeks out the sun like iron to a magnet, affording the prey a few minutes of cool respite. He props himself on his elbows and removes his cap, allowing the breeze to drift across his sweaty scalp

The phrase 'scarifyingly not unpleasant' harkens to his tongue, but he refrains from such blatant transparency.

"Everyone out here looks always looks so relaxed, like they're having so much fun. And you love summer so much you plan our only vacation around it. I thought maybe I ought to give it a go. Maybe I might have been wrong all these years, who's to say? Maybe I ought at least give it a try."

He's on the hook now...

The prey lay back down, resettling into his nest and shading his face with his cap just as the sun reappeared.

Could it be? He doesn't seem to be retreating. Is it possible?

"Well, then, what's your verdict?"

Yes, what is your verdict?

From underneath the brim of his cap, the prey's smile bespoke his surrender.

Summer claims another victim.

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This article has been read 1049 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 07/17/09
I couldn't quite figure out what was going on until the end. Good job. It was very different, for sure.
Laury Hubrich 07/17/09
Just so all know - I love different entries;) lol. I wanted to clarify that. This is not an entry you can read quickly and 'get it.' You have to pay attention and when you don't - you truly miss out because it has a big twist and is most hilarious.
Seema Bagai 07/18/09
Clever and well-written.
Jim McWhinnie 07/19/09
Quite a thoughtful and somehow intricately crafted ... almost as if a literary puzzle.

Quite intriguing and absorbing.
Melanie Kerr 07/20/09
Some of your descriptions are very good. I have yet to truly surrender to summer.
Chely Roach07/20/09
Ah, this is so cool! Like Jim said, a bit of a literary puzzle. Enthralling and very clever!
Mariane Holbrook 07/20/09
What a delightful twist! I think you're going to be surprised how much the judges like this one! If they're looking for something new and different by a master wordsmith, they tuned in to the right channel on this entry. Kudos, you little sweetie, you!!
Graham Starling07/21/09
Summer has the mind of a cat! Nice. As a long standing prisoner, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Some interesting turns of phrase to. "The claws of my clutch" - oddly turned around.
The word donning seemed a little out of place though as I understand it to mean putting on rather than wearing.
Carol Slider 07/22/09
A fun story, with a very clever ending! Summer can indeed be very seductive, if we let it. Well done!
Loren T. Lowery07/22/09
Terrific writing, you had me in suspense trying to figure out that off-stage 3rd voice. Very clever and oh so creative indeed. Loved it!
Sara Harricharan 07/22/09
Heehee! Original and clever. yay for summer! Another one claimed, mwahahaha...LOL! Loved the way his thoughts in italics mixed with the reality of his wife's questioning. Very nicely done.
Shirley McClay 07/23/09
LOL.. you totally got me. I could not figure out who the MC was! Too funny. Congratulations!!
Lynda Schultz 07/23/09
Never would have thought of summer stalking its victim. Really excellent.
Patricia Turner07/24/09
I kept wondering and didn't figure out your MC until the end. I love your word paintings! Congratulations!
Linda Watson Owen07/25/09
Congratulations Catrina! Your creativity is a delightful treat! You skillfully stalked your prey and hooked me with this cute story :-) !
Charla Diehl 07/31/09
To use "summer" as your MC was quite creative and entertaining too. I could feel the sprays of water and the soft sand as I journeyed through this great story.