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Deathmatch 2017 is off with a bang! The weekend’s electrifying lightning round has left the Deathmatch with eight excellent stories battling it out for the glory! Here are some of the highlights from this round so far:

“The Very Last Mr. Jones” by Hege Lepri vs. “Fogger” by Vicki Savage

Day one of the quarter-finals starts with some serious combat between these two writers in the comment section. Faced against the story that took the top spot in the weekend lighting round, Savage exhibits some quick thinking and pulls a literal “Trump” card in the comment section – a humourous call for sympathy votes in light of the recent results of the U.S election. Lepri bites back with a case for her own status as an underdog and takes a moment to check Savage’s privilege. Savage retaliates and gives the comment section a crisp history of her own personal struggles and the battle finishes with an apology from Lepri. Tensions are bubbling and the fight has only just begun! Keep voting, everyone!

“I Want You Around: True Tales of a Relationship in 10 Ramones Songs” by Rachel Rosenberg vs. Wyatt McCrae’s “A Gun for Chekhov”

Rachel’s campaigning keeps it short, simple, and universal:

“How you guys have the energy to petition so hard right now is very impressive. I napped, which is something I usually don’t do. Vote for me if you love naps?”

“Failure to Cooperate” by Susan Read vs. “Her Shadow’s Bones” by Kaitlin Tremblay

Votes remain tight between these two!  Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorite lines from each story:

Tremblay demonstrates a delicate mastery of language in “Her Shadow’s Bones” – “The pieces of her body she didn’t like, she tossed in the bathtub to sterilize them with the boiling water. She would have to reform them later, chisel away the excess layers of bone she no longer felt belonged to her.”

In “Failure to Cooperate” Read eloquently details the anxiety of interrogation that anyone working in the service industry has felt at least once – “It’s fascinating what a little heat can do.  I have become the one sweating and fidgeting.  I feel a sudden weight on my chest.  It’s their eyes on me expectantly.  It’s shock and discomfort.  It’s guilt.”

If you haven’t read these two stories yet, be sure to check them out!

Rob Onofrey’s “The Illuminated Throat” vs. “Sick To Death of Stories” by P.D Walter

P.D Walter gets philosophical in the comment section about the Deathmatch.

In his comments, what makes the Deathmatch so “great and frustrating”  is that “the variety of stories, in all different genres and styles – is richer than what any one story has to offer. So how do you judge the quality of two stories, head-to-head, in such totally different literary universes?”

Good question, P.D. If you have an answer to this conundrum, be sure to let your voice be heard in the comments!

If the first day is any indication, this year’s Deathmatch is going to be good. Keep voting, y’all!