- Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
- Keturah Lamb | @KeturahAbigail
- Silver James | @SilverJames_
- Bill Engleson | @billmelaterplea
- Barbe Crabtree
- Mark A. Morris
- Gentry Lee Burke
- Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir
- Mark Ethridge | @mysoulstears
- Cara Michaels | @caramichaels
- Kelly Heinen | @Aightball
Mark A. Morris
Daniel says: Morris for a fun last-line twist.
Kel J. Heinen | @Aightball
Daniel says: Aightball's story, wins the "laugh" and "shiver" awards simultaneously.
Mark Ethridge | @mysoulstears
Daniel says: Mark Ethridge's story for being unrelenting and timely.
Cara Michaels | @caramichaels
Daniel says: Her dense, emotional prose unfailingly gets me invested. I always come away wanting more.
A pounding started up in my head. No—the door. Someone was banging on my door.
“Ruby! Answer me, damn it. Open up.”
I knew that voice, but the spell dragging me under kept blurring my memories. I was losing them, piece by piece. Everyone I loved, drifting away. I willed my body to remember. To respond.
One more thump rattled the door, followed close by a frustrated groan.
Lisička. What did it mean? Did I know? Think, Ruby, think. Lisička. Little fox—yes, that was it. For my red hair. He called me that when we first met—he—he, who?
A name formed on my tongue, bursting free on a gasp. “Aleksei?”
My feet twitched, my left leading toward the door.
My fingers fumbled for the lock, twisting the deadbolt. The door flew inward, clipping my chin and knocking me back.
“Shit!” Strong arms wrapped around me before I could fall. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please be okay.”
“Aleksei.” I buried my nose against his throat, the familiar scent of him grounding me. “I need you, Lex. I need you to—”
“Take a deep breath,” he murmured. “Tell me what happened.”
“Someone tried to break in. I almost lost home.” Damn this curse. “I can’t lose home again. Can’t lose you.”
He shouldn’t understand my fear, the violation shaking my hold on the world. Yet his hold on me convulsed.
“You won’t.” He pressed his lips to my hair. “Never again, lisička.”
Congratulations TWENTY-THREE TIME WINNER Cara, and Honorable Mentions Mark, Kel, and Mark! Don't forget to claim your badges and display them with pride. You certainly earned it!
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