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Master Plotto Week Two Winner: Ilana Masad

This was a great week, with Plotto stories pouring in from all over the country. Thank you especially to NYU, the University of Arkansas, Portland State, and Sarah Lawrence College for all of your entires.

Just a reminder: last Week’s Prompt: {A}, in order to shatter his fear complex, plunges into a supposed danger that proves to be real.

This week’s winner is Ilana Masad, a 22-year old American-Israeli who wishes she could live in a house made of book-shelves. She is an undergraduate student at Sarah Lawrence College, currently enrolled at Oxford University for her year-abroad.

The curtain came up on the sixth piece. Graham stepped onto the stage, surefooted, his black jeans hugging his figure. He smiled at the empty-faced audience, the bright lights blinding him familiarly. He loved sweating onstage. It made acting look more convincingly like work to the uninitiated.

“My name is Graham. Five truths have come before mine.” A sniff, a cough, a titter – there was always someone who thought everything was funny. “My truth is a fear.” The lights came down ominously and a dramatic clap of thunder vibrated out of the speakers. He waited for one, two, three seconds.

“Behold!” Graham boomed and threw his arms open. The hot lights came up, sunning him. Silence, and then – the laughter. A bucket had been shoved onstage. He jumped away, cringing. The crowd roared. It was the way he moved; it was a thing you had, or you didn’t.

“Tonight, folks, I will face my fear. I will plunge my head into this bucket. I have just one request.”

People thought they lied, but they didn’t. Truth – that was the point. And no matter how many times he did this, it was terrifying. Seeing him blanch, the audience quieted.

“I need a volunteer to hold my hand.”

Every single one of them fell for him then: they fell in love, they wanted to adopt him, or they wanted to fix him. He had them by the heartstrings. Thankfully, he never had to choose among them. A troupe member picked a little girl wearing a white dress patterned with sea-creatures. Graham rolled his eyes at his friend’s stupid humor as the girl was deposited onstage.

She had blue eyes that stared. Most people were intimidated by Graham onstage, knowing that it was his domain, not theirs. This girl was too young to know anything. She held a hand out readily enough, though, so he took it, flashed a grin at the audience, and plunged his head down. He wanted to get it over with already.

The moment his hair touched the water, he knew – without understanding, he knew – that it wasn’t cold tap-water from the bathroom anymore. It was the ocean in that bucket, and it was pulling him into it. He opened his eyes as he was sucked in, head-first. Everything was dark, except for some glowing eels and a few broken beams of sunlight. He was coming out of a hole in the seabed. His mouth opened as his eyes widened, trying to find more light than was available. The taste of salt and decaying bones and plants swam over his tongue and he wanted to gag, but that would require air, of which there was none. He didn’t feel the rest of his body; he was only a head, suspended deep in the ocean.

The girl watched him twitching, still holding his hand. When people asked where her mother was, they heard “See, see,” but she didn’t point and they didn’t see.

Photo: Garrett Crawford

Be sure to check back later today for this week’s new prompt.

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Comments: 4

(2) Comments

  1. Christopher James says:

    Ilana, this is a lovely story, and your central character is wonderfully written – in so few words too. Congratulations on your win.

  2. Melissa Rodgers says:

    By far the best one I have read in this series. I wanted to stay in this world longer, which should be the takeaway feeling from any great piece of Flash.

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