Every day as far as Lucy could remember was awesome. The attention was intoxicating. She could have whatever food she wanted. There was always something fun to do.Today seemed different.Her driver was not waiting for her at the front door. She waited for almost an hour, patiently as she was taught. Eventually, her well-trained composure broke down and she did the unthinkable. She whimpered and scratched at the door.“I’m sorry Lucy.” She craned her neck, trying hard not to frown. That was her master, Nathan. He was tying his robe. “We’re all done with the movie. You get to stay home with me, now.” Nathan crashed into the leather couch and turned on his tablet.She didn’t understand. She looked at him hard, turning her head from side to side. When he didn’t look, she whimpered again.“Aw, buddy. It’ll be okay. Maybe we’ll get you another part someday. Come here.” Nathan set aside the tablet and snapped his fingers.Lucy trudged over to the living room, limping. She placed both paws on the couch and climbed up, pushing through the pain. She rested her head in his lap.“There, there,” Nathan said, scratching her ears.
K: This is the exact type of concept that usually becomes cloying and tiresome most of the time, but brevity and honesty helped a lot. The author didn’t try to imbue Lucy with an unlikely amount of human emotion, and the story was much stronger for it. SILVER
MN – I don’t always connect with animal stories the most, but this was handled wonderfully. It was tight and well paced, and didn’t rely on the reveal, but really built a connection. It shows well how less can be more, and really nails the balance of dialogue and action. SILVER
For someone who doesn’t really like dogs, this is the second time I’ve written a story from the perspective of a dog and the second time the judges have loved it. The judges also loved my team, as we coasted to another first place finish. 19 players remaining!