Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these; be sure to tell us which two you chose):
* Plot: A clever, now fabulously wealthy man seeks revenge on those who once wrongfully imprisoned him.
* Conflict: man vs man
* Character: escaped convict
* Theme(s): revenge AND/OR justice
* Setting: Napoleonic France
Story Elements: Character & Theme
The Dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy
She lived her life in the folds of oppression.
He lived his life in the smothering love of his parents.
She once twirled in the sunlight. Once smiled. Her dreams were crayon-colours. Roughly sketched blueprints of respect, dignity, self-worth and a mythical thing called love.
He only left the house when they went with him. Mind that step, son. Have you taken your tablets? Button your coat. Don’t forget the emergency procedures.
She pursued her dreams and saw that glimmer of love in broken men; men that she would come to realise were beyond redemption.
He watched his parents die from the genetic disease that coursed through his veins and was left ill prepared to face the world alone.
She folded into the roles and shapes demanded of her. She was the beautiful dove, the delicate orchid, the fearsome dragon. Between roles, she could not turn back to herself—such a person did not exist.
He hid in the musty shadows of his house. Breathed the mould-spore mists. He didn’t clean the dust, for the dust was them. It was all he had left.
They dreamed. They dreamed of impossible justice.
In their dreams, they danced in the mirror-ball light of the moon. They touched with tenderness. Kissed with compassion. Their origami-porcelain children would be strong and independent, and feel loved.
Perhaps she would leave these men?
Perhaps he would leave this house?
And perhaps justice would be found in the dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy.
I was very happy with the story, but you never know what the judges will say. What can I say, it felt like a long time coming and I was close so many times. I finally won a FF winners badge!
Here were the lovely comments from Rebekah and judges:
And now: forgive the blubbering mess, but ohh darling draggins, please let the celebrations reverberate across the galaxies: it’s our long overdue, first-time
MARK A. KING!!!
“The Dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy“
HG: “Her dreams were crayon-colours.” What a gorgeous mental image that is, for someone as fond of crayons as I’ve always been. The implication of those colours is significant and unique. The two characters who are so different from one another, and yet who dream together…amazing. There is such depth here in so few words, such tender feelings and heartbreak. The final line is perfect and leaves you with hope as well as an underlying feeling of despair.
FI: From its unforgettable title to the prose-masked poetry dancing through its lines, “Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy” stole my heart on first reading. Its approach to both character and theme are brilliantly original. Rather than follow the trials of a traditional convict, it shows us two trapped souls from vastly different worlds: a boy living “his life in the smothering love of his parents,” and a girl surviving “in the folds of oppression.” And while many of the stories chose to paint portraits of revenge, this one chased after a “dream of impossible justice.” In their secret selves they crave a world where their “origami-porcelain children would be strong and independent, and loved,” escaping from that metaphorical prison the boy and girl have known from birth. For soul-searing prose and ingenuity, a worthy winner.
Congratulations, Mark! We’re all so jubilant and overwhelmed and giddy, we can barely contain ourselves. What a gorgeous story from a powerful and beloved writer. Please find here your brand new winner’s page (which has been waiting in the wings for some time now, knowing your day would come) and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please stand by for questions for Thursday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And now, here is your winning story: