In honor of the book's morbidly romantic overtones and the month of Valentine's, our competition theme was a Dark Romance poem or short fiction piece using the prompt "Darkest Depths."
You can now read the winning entries below!
FIRST PLACE: "Moon Change" by Jacob Steven Mohr
The moon appeared a lover; I succumbed,
Snapping forward bodily into the change, but I did not become a wolf. I became a man.
Yes, a man! With a man’s bulk and breath and need. So I stalked the shadow-haunted corridors of my life, Seeking prey, and you appeared: full-voiced and ripe-bodied, Aloof, beckoning, luminous framed in that high window.
With claws and bare-pad feet I scaled the edifice, Entered your chamber and beheld you reclining on The white sheet, breathing softly. And when I
Cut you to ribbons—
No cry escaped your crimson mouth.
Then it was finished; I saw you smiling on the bed, Mouth grinning blood, your blood, and I was afraid. I fled That place, but now daylight will not come for me. Only
The moon’s sightless white eye:
My lover, my conqueror, my lord god,
Pursued me ever across cold pale hours
And the flash of your red teeth
Was never far behind again.
SECOND PLACE: "Jewelry Box Dancer" by Danielle Edwards
mesmerizing jeté upon the stage
accompanying thunderous applause gently took her delicate hand in his warm lips brushing flawless porcelain skin painting a picture perfect portrait scene of a gentleman's innocent desire
slipped a glittering chain around her neck gold nestled beside her fluttering pulse quickened tempo of awakened longing enchanted key resting beneath costume shimmers adorning sapphire crushed velour reflecting in her starlet deep blue eyes til the stage went -black
bewildered dark fringe of lashes raised to jewelry box confinement pirouettes performance upon his every whim curtain call plunges into darkest depths held fast in a loveless captivity
gazed upon with wicked adoration storybook tale turned into a nightmare
THIRD PLACE: "Under the Abattoir" by Lucy Ives
I hear a clatter above as the key falls
The way it always does,
It’s how I know when he’s brought another one,
That claret-stained key of bone
That once was part of my hand,
When I had one,
And I know up there, some slip of a girl
Stares at her own reflection
In a red mirror of a room.
I lift a voice like rats scratching,
As always, too weak and too late.
She falls, and blood like watered silk
Pours through the cracks
To where I stand, slowly drowning,
Neck-deep in what remains of all the others,
No vulgar death on a meat hook for me,
Because I was the first,
And I hold a special place
In the sanguine oubliette
Of a blue-black heart.
HONORABLE MENTION: "Under" by Ginger Lee
I claw the sand
The breath leaves my lungs
As you drag me down
I feel your fingers
Learning every inch of me
I taste the salt on your lips
Your body is heavy and warm
The sea cold and lonely
There isn’t enough time
As the tide rushes in
It repossesses you
And I watch you slip under the waves