Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catholic priest wins UK short story competition with "Mars"

The Inverness Courier in the Scottish Highlands area of the United Kingdom reports that Father Michael Marett-Crosby has won the 2010 Highlands and Islands Short Story Association and Writing Competition (HISSAC) with a short story titled "Mars". Drawing upon his past experiences as a prison chaplain, Father Marett-Crosby, now a full-time writer, penned the story from the point of view of a prisoner on the Red Planet. Here are the opening lines:

THIS is Mars.

I saw clearly as the darkness fell. I am seeing now. This is Mars -- these words make sense of stone and ash and dreadful desiccation. Everything is pale red, the colour of failed blood. Mars -- I am so thirsty. Mars -- so far from home. I want to cry but cannot, all the wetness sucked from me.

Mars has few words. The ones I own don’t fit. Like stone -- stone means stone-on-Earth, stone dappled, stone becoming ripples in a pond. I remember stones picked from the beach and taken home, a snatching of beauty but there was always more next time. But this, but this -- it is not stone like that, not stone like anything. Everything is ground and dryness, a gathering of griefs. It is as if Earth’s unwatered misery has landed here…

Father Marett-Crosby's “Mars” is scheduled to be printed in A Broad Scot, a magazine which is aimed at ex-pat Scots around the globe.

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