2017 Scintilla winners announced

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The winners of the 2017 Scintilla contest are:

FIRST PLACE
“The Painting”
By Marilyn Ihinger

She watched him under a bath of sunlight, curious of his wandering thoughts. If only her brush could capture more than what sat before her. The back of her hand trembled, already splashed with dried paint, as the brush’s tip touched the canvas.
She began at his clenched jaw. Like stepping to the front line, her strokes bravely followed his quiet pulse. He was aware of her gaze, and smiled softly.
She dipped her brush in her pool of red paint, and followed the curve of his lips.
The first flare of color in the somber painting, it was a shot in the dark.
But as he looked up at her, the shot boomed. Color splashed across his face, all but his flushed cheeks. It was a storm of sunken contrasts and strikes of sharp highlights.
The eyes. Her paint bled on the paper as she tried to capture their attentive nature.
Within each stroke of the iris, she attempted to unravel his battlefield of thoughts.
Somewhere, they were lost in the sea of blue.
It was finished. She stood, walking over to the facing wall, she pinned it up.
He followed. The boy looked up at the piece, reaching for his mother’s hand.
“Was that him?”
She watched as the draining sunlight fell over the painting, and with her palm she wiped the last flare of paint from her cheek.
Nodding, she grasped her son’s hand, and looked down at him.
Blue eyes smiling back, his cheeks were rosy.

SECOND PLACE
“The Threads of Time”
By Alexander Couillard

I didn’t know I was dead until I’d finished dying. Because in dying, I had to live again. The first thing to go was my corporeal form, dispersed to the winds in a wide sweep of the hand. My flesh broke up like the stars of the cosmos and spread in much the same way. I became everything. I could feel the grass growing through my ribcage. A bouquet of daisies sprung from my open jaw and a nest of robins was built in my skull. Nature reconciled in the hallowed recesses of my stripped bones.  But I could only feel, for she was showing me a different vision. I’d never met her in this life, but my mind ached for her loving touch. The painfully familiar strong hands unraveled the threads of my soul. Every memory was played in smudged neon euphoria at the hands of this celestial seamstress. It forced me to relive my every mistake and victory. I watched my father die and my son’s birth in the same moment like a searing scarlet burst of love.  And then everything went dark, and the feelings and memories jolted to a halt at the eve of my 80th birthday, upon the dull sensation of vines crawling down my withering spine.
“Would you like to do it again?” She questioned, her words turning to silken whispers in the ebbing darkness.

THIRD PLACE
“Room 204”
By Emily Winzenz

Whirling to life around me, the machine meticulously searches for the disease. The disease eats away at my brain like a carnivore, unwilling to be tamed by the vile toxins they pump into my body. Day after day, treatment after treatment, the disease whittles away my will to survive. Pieces of my soul are consumed by a disease that has already claimed my body. Interrupting my thoughts, she emerges from the screening room with pity plastered on her face. I’m assisted back into the tattered blue wheelchair that has taken over for my crippled legs and am granted a moment to recover. My eyes travel downward, fixating on the clumps of my once ample dirty blonde hair that litter the ground. As I desired, she removes the remaining sparse patches of hair and blankets my bare scalp with a thin scarf, attempting to preserve my dignity.

I’m wheeled back to room 204, where my spouse and three year old son have been patiently waiting for eleven months. Diagnosed with a disease deemed terminal, they’ve been forced to wait months longer than expected. I manage a smile, attempting to conceal the intense pain surging throughout my body. My son greets me eagerly, launching himself into my raw, blistering arms. I wince and let out a scream, unable to choke it back. Thrashing in pain, I force him away. He cowards in his father’s arms, tears streaming down his innocent face, terrified of his own mother. Now, the disease has taken everything.

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