Image Inspiration winner for Issue 2
A committee of readers of various ages, interests, preferences, and backgrounds has decided: the winner of Issue 2's Image Inspiration Writing contest is John Philip Corpuz! His story, Muse, inspired by this image (by Andrew Drilon), can be read in the just released issue 3 of The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories.
In addition, the tallies of the judges' scores showed that two other entries came in fairly close, so though John has won the main prize, we're going to give a free copy each to the authors of these two other entries! Their work can be read below, and drop them an email to let them know what you think of their stories! So congratulations also to Erica Gonzales and Blue Soon!
Two Birds by Erica S. Gonzales
The large birdcage owned by the guardian of the mountain was different this morning.
Normally it had two lovebirds inside, a male and a female, which happily chirped in the mornings and sang a few songs before sleeping at night. This morning, it housed a white male lovebird, and a small fair-skinned female, completely naked and shivering in the morning breeze.
“Maya…” the female said.
“Why didn't you tell me that humans MAKE their coverings?” She shivered from within the cage, her new legs bent at the knees to cover her new body.
“I thought you knew that by now,” her mate flapped his wings and answered.
“I had this idea that dresses came with humans, the way we have feathers and dogs have fur. They just molt every night and on special occasions. That's why they have new dresses every day.”
“You haven't been a bird for that long, haven't you?” Maya tsk-tsk-tsked.
Another breeze passed through the house. The female hugged her new legs even closer. “Please, Maya, I don't want to be like this anymore.”
“It's your fault for making incomplete wishes from the master,” Maya chirped beside her. “You said 'I want to be human'. But that's all you said. “You should've thought of asking to be a human of a human size and outside this cage and in a dress. But no. All you asked was to be human. In our master's supreme wisdom, he did just that.”
She sighed and buried her head in her arms. “I just wanted to be like the master.”
“It'll take more than that.”
Maya flapped his wings and sang his saddest song, lamenting the loss of his mate.
First Contact by Blue Soon
Finally! The writer was back!
Kyrielle excitedly stood up on the flimsy perch, jostling the sleeping maya who shared it.
It had been one whole day in this stupid birdshit-spattered prison with this schizophrenic
sparrow, waiting. At last the nightmare would end.
It really was that featherhead Falla’s fault, panicking and crashing the spacecraft when they wormholed into the planetary atmosphere. If the idiot hadn’t been killed in the crash, Kyrielle would have skragged her herself.
The malfunctioning cloaking field was the only thing she had been able to salvage. Damn thing was permanently stuck to sparrow disguise setting.
“Hello, little birdies!” the writer said, “Give me a few minutes and I’ll be right with you.”
Dizzy from the crash, Kyrielle had no defense. The birdcatcher’s slingshot had gotten her easily. At the pet store, keeping the vicious birds she shared the cage with at bay using telepathy had exhausted her.
But soon she would be free. She was rested and at her full strength. All she had to do was wait for the writer to get in range.
“Hungry?” he asked, walking up to the cage on his desk.
Before the maya could wake and start its abominable twittering, Kyrielle killed it with a contemptuous flick of mindpower. As the bird tumbled to the floor, the dismayed writer rushed to open the cage.
“Oh no, what happened?”
Kyrielle gathered herself and unleashed her deathstroke at the human.
The writer blinked, and smiled. “Sorry, immune to telepathic attack, necromancy does that.” A wave of his hand and her sparrow guise evaporated.
Picking up an incredibly sharp letter opener and an empty ink bottle, he said, “I usually need two live birds to work my Spell Against Writer’s Block, but I guess one alien will work just as well.”