17 May Micro-Fiction Contest Winners!
Wow. When we (Asylum Warden Cindy and I) started this Elizabeth Bathory micro-fiction contest, we had NO idea how many entries would pile in. We got way more than we thought we would and it’s been SO fun to read them.
So this was your assignment: to write a piece of micro-fiction in 100 words or less beginning with the line: “They called her the ‘Blood Countess.’”
Some of you scared me. Some of you made me giggle. And many of you wish I had given you 100 words to write more. (Please tell me you guys aren’t novelists—I don’t need more competition. :D)
Thank you, everyone who entered! It was so hard to pick a top five, let alone a winner. (I’m not just saying this because I know what it’s like to write and not win, but because it really is true). Here are the ones we chose:
They called her the Blood Countess. When she announced her grand autumn gala, I assigned ten tailors to assemble my wardrobe. Surely the most provocative and eccentric of the continental aristocracy would be there. I would dazzle them all – and satisfy my curiosity! But after a week of parties, I was sorely disappointed. There was nothing untoward, not a hint of menace. Milady Bathory was the model hostess. I returned home bemused only by the desertion of one of my prettiest maids. Silly thing must have heard the rumors and run off in fear for her life.
The Rest of the Top Five:
“They called her the Blood Countess” was the opening line of the school’s incident report. The printer hummed, producing copies of the report. Sophie sighed. The office chairs were so uncomfortable. Every time Sophie twisted in her chair, the administrators stopped and watched her, not going back to work until she held still. Today was off to an almost good start. The whispers in the halls were easy to ignore. It was the cafeteria that pushed her over the edge. “I wonder if my parents will see this from my side….” was Sophie’s last thought before the lights went out.
They called her the Blood Countess.
György Thurzó, an investigator, reclined across from her, sharing wine and dinner—a ruse to gather information.
He was confident she didn’t suspect, yet a chill scraped along his spine all the same. Those eyes: candlelight flickered within like specters; impassive stars; funeral pyres.
“So what occupies your leisure time, madam?”
She was staring at him with a coy smile, then a wicked grin. “That wine is staining your teeth, Palatine. Red as blood. I suggest being cautious. Otherwise some around here may draw assumptions.”
Stiffening, György reached a hand to cover his teeth.
They called her the Blood Countess.
They called me ruined.
But she was my savior when I was worse than alone.
I had… that thing growing inside of me, the result of a stranger’s sin. My womb grew hatred, a ghost of violence, embodying my worst memory.
Then she smiled at me, gave me a home to raise up this babe. Her mercy freed me to forgive, to love the child as my own.
She saved us both. The noblest of women and the most gracious mistress.
But I would never have given her my daughter…
If I’d only known.
They called her the Blood Countess. Clothed in crimson silk, she radiated royalty, and power flowed through her veins. They called her vampire. Sorceress. Demon. Whispered rumors swore she bathed in virgins’ blood, as if their purity could reverse her mortality.
I called her mother. But now all I see is a shriveled husk of humanity. Lungs shuddering, skin sinking, eyes staring sightless, she is my future. She is everyone’s future.
As her chest freezes, I shiver. Her blood has stopped forever. My own heart pounds harder, and I wonder how many beats it has left.