Spring, 2007
24-Hour Short Story Contest
2nd Place Winner!

She could hear the buoy bell ringing in the distance but it was too dark to see anything beyond the receding foamy water. She shivered as the wind picked up, knowing a late-season Nor'easter would hit in the next few hours, and knowing this was her last chance. She raised her arm and threw the glass bottle into the darkness...

Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.

By Avi Kotzer, Rego Park, NY

She stood at the edge of the island, trembling in fear and despair.

The sky was becoming darkness itself. She saw the gray clouds billowing towards her, smelled the wind, and tasted the rain. Her eyes squinted at the horizon, searching for a ship in the waters, searching for an airplane in the sky. Searching for hope.

She could not remember when or how she had arrived at that desolate place, that tiny land mass of sand and rocks surrounded by a sinister, empty ocean. All she knew was that she was alone and afraid and unsheltered. The island had but a couple of palm trees at the edge of the beach, surrounded by a few strewn coconuts. She had no use for them, as she felt no hunger; just gloom and cold.

How many days had gone by? She did not recall. How many hours, minutes, seconds spent in desperate solitude, trying to retain her sanity amidst the loud silence of this abandoned isle? It seemed to her that she had been terrified and tired for a very long time, and even the horror of the approaching doom was tempered by the idea, the possibility, that her suffering would be over. She blinked towards the sky, feeling her tears swept away by the blustery gusts.

Suddenly she tilted her head to one side, thinking she had heard a sound. An echo in the distance? A ship, perhaps? She peered out to the ocean, her eyes straining to catch a glimpse of something, anything, that would signal a rescue. Instead all she saw were the ominous murky swirls racing across the sky and to the island. This would not be just any storm. It had to be something bigger, something terrible, with howling winds and ferocious rain.

There was nowhere on the island for her to find refuge from the incoming chaos. She was sure even the palm trees would not endure this tropical assault. How quickly the sky dimmed, she thought. How swiftly those black clouds moved. Soon the shadows would engulf her, and her eyes would become useless. She considered for a few seconds what it would be like to be without sight, depending only on her other senses. She pushed the thought out of her mind. She would survive. She had to survive.

She clutched the neck of the bottle in her hand. She didn't remember how she had found the beautiful glass container on the island, or where she had managed to obtain paper and pen (Her purse, perhaps? But where was her purse?). It didn't matter now. All that mattered was getting help. The bottle was her only opportunity, her miracle salvation. Maybe someone out there would find it. Surely somebody would find it.

The blackness was almost upon her now, obscuring everything in its path.

She raised her arm and threw the glass bottle into the darkness...


"This is my favorite piece," said the young man.

"I really would like to thank you once again for showing me your wonderful collection," said the journalist. "I mean, you've been such a big help; I wouldn't be able to write this article without you." She smiled.

The young man blushed. "Well, Jorgen Ingebjorg's works are hard to come by. Unfortunately his art was never appreciated during his lifetime. Many of his sculptures ended up as refuse, or dismantled. It's only through hard labor that I have been able to procure these twenty-three pieces..."

The journalist interrupted. "And the newspaper appreciates that." She gazed at the sculpture in front of her. "So, what exactly is this supposed to be?"

"What you see here is Ingebjorg's version of a 'ship in a bottle,' with his own twist, of course. As I'm sure you know from your research, Ingebjorg always infused his personal, anguished view of the world into his art."

"Of course," said the journalist. "Although I must say I do not see a lot of anguish in this seascape. The ocean seems calm, the sky is blue, the sun is shining"

The young man grinned. "Yes, Ingebjorg was a master of subtlety. But look closely. What do you see?"

The journalist inched closer to the sculpture. "There's a tiny island in the middle."


"Is that supposed to be a person?"

"It's a woman. She's marooned, waiting to be rescued."

"But the ship is on the other side. And she's facing the wrong direction. They'll never see her."

The young man rubbed his hands. "That was the genius of Ingebjorg."

The journalist peered into the large glass container. "What does she have in her hand?"

"She's holding a bottle with a note that she wrote, asking for help. Now, the way Jorgen placed her, if you look through this angle," the man said, pointing at a place on the glass, "it seems like her arm moves, as though she were about to throw the bottle into the ocean."

The journalist's lips widened into a smile. "Yes, it does. Wow."

The young man stared at her for a few seconds. Then he said, "Now, further down the hall is a piece which many consider to be the most valuable of Ingebjorg's art."

Before they moved along, the young man picked up a thick velvet cloth and, with an elegant swoop, shrouded the glass bottle in darkness.

What Avi won:

$250 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

Contest guidelines are HERE.

Copyright 1997 - 2015 WritersWeekly.com
All rights reserved.