Once again, readers stepped up to the literary plate with stories that captivated, challenged and intrigued our esteemed panel of judges, who evaluated more than 100 entries to select the cream of the written crop. From the funny to the heart wrenching, and the ridiculous to the slightly disturbing, this year's entries didn't disappoint.
Rick Ardinger: Executive director of the Idaho Humanities Council and owner of Limberlost Press. | Laura DeLaney: Owner of Rediscovered Bookshop. Alan Heathcock: Board member of The Cabin and author whose first book, Volt, will be released in March. | Michael Faison: Executive director of the Idaho Commission on the Arts. | Christian Winn: Adjunct professor of creative writing at Boise State and frequent BW contributor.
First Place, $400
Jesus Silveyra Tapia , Juarez, Mexico
Radio Sound Designer
He was famous for his uncanny depiction of two lovers at the beach. Legend says he recorded the introductory stroll using salt and eggshells; the tide was warm club soda, wood pipes and pebbles; he formed the kisses with a complex rubbing of his wet hands.
Last night his body was found inside his apartment, murdered with two halves of a coconut clapped together. The culprit left behind a broken transistor radio, an old spy glass and a trail of sand leading to the bedroom.
When drawn, the sketch of the murderer sounded like the wild sea under a full moon.
Second Place, $250
Michael Prenn, Star
Shoot the Dog, Burn the Truck
The old man finally punched out.
The tires caught first. We drank his beers as black smoke piled into the desert sky. Hank spat. "Should've sold it."
"Shut up," I said. "Get the Winchester."
Hank tried running them off, but the run was gone from these dogs. They were part of this. He put them down. I dug the graves.
Two church kids pulled over, looking like FBI agents in white shirts and black ties. Their eyes were like soft jelly candies. We jumped in the back, smelling like burnt carrion.
Life folded over the dead and the story moved on.
Third Place, $150
Elisabeth Sharp McKetta, Boise
Todd trapped a sow and four piglets at the ranch.
"Will you shoot the mother first?" I asked.
Todd answered: "They make moon-craters in the cornfields," which was not an answer.
The next day blood streaked the dirt and red clay. One of the piglets escaped, and Todd cursed as he dragged the bristly mother to the fire-pit next to her babies' ashes.
I was pregnant at the time but didn't know it. That night I dreamt of milk and hunger and corn.
Months later, when Todd said, "All my traps catch nursing sows," I finally knew enough to know why.