The results – adults!
February 24th, 2012
Like the children, the adults sent me exciting and imaginative entries. Their brief was to imagine a new room for the museum, one that was hardly known about or had been forgotten. No one crocheted their entry, which was a bit of a disappointment 🙂 but the written descriptions made up for it. And it was incredibly hard to pick a winner.
Some of the entries are pretty long, so I think I’ll put up extracts from the ones that DIDN’T win first, then put the whole of the winner’s entry. Plus this lets me drag out the suspense a bit …
I’ll start with Karie Kaminsky’s entry. Her room had by far the best name, one that would fit right into the Museum of Dunt – Jagged Shrill. The description of Jagged Shrill was written from Goldie’s point of view:
[extract only] Small yellow tea cups, filled with sweet smelling nectar, looked and smelled yummy enough to eat. Flowers with five large petals in a bowl shape waiting to catch the sun, in brilliant crimson, delicate pink, purple and white were swaying. There were plants that had red leaves instead of green. Trumpet shape blossoms of all sizes and colors on tall dark green stems rose above with tall elegance. Along the ground were tube-shaped blossoms, purple, pink, rose, yellow, or white colored with spots. It was beautiful! A slight breeze wafted through the air mixing all the lovely perfume, made us drowsy. We sat down to soak our sore feet in a crisp cool stream, the water laughing as it skipped over the pebbles on the bottom, and almost fell asleep. What harm could come from these delightful flowers? They seemed to harbor no danger at all. The little voice in my head said “These plants are full of poison, if you eat any part, you would die a slow painful death.”
Cate Whittle’s entry gave me a shock. As I said to her in an email, if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought she’d already read Book 3, Path of Beasts, because some of the elements in her room were so similar to incidents that happen to Goldie in the third book. Great minds think alike, hey?
[extract only] The darkness was so deep, so black, that Goldie felt as though she had been plunged into nothingness, and cold fear swept over her, leaving her shivering. She daren’t even move. Which way was the lake? How could she find her way to the safety of a wall where she could feel her way again? And what was that noise?
Somewhere nearby, sound amplified in the darkness, was a rasping, breathing sound, punctuated by tiny growls, and then, almost beside her ear, a piercing, dreadful howl. Goldie turned and ran blindly, turning again only when she felt the cold slap of water on her feet, and she put her hands out in front of her lest she find the wall or a curtain of stone by running into it. Behind her, the growling, howling creature ran too, heavy footfalls uneven in the sandy surface. Goldie could imagine its slavering jaws, yellowed teeth and breath heavy with carrion. In her mind’s eye, she could see its eyes, dark and dreadful, somehow focused only on her. How, in this darkness? Yes, how? She stopped, making herself as still and quiet as possible, thinking herself not there. The creature stopped, too, then started to hunt around, snuffling as though it was running its snout along the ground.
The next two entries – from Matthew Morrison and Persia Rose – were neck and neck for the prize. Both were highly original, and yet quite simple. Both made me feel as if I could see the room and imagine myself inside it. Both would be a fine addition to the museum.
I think in the end Persia’s was the one that surprised and pleased me most – and she did it in one paragraph – so I gave her the prize.
Here’s an extract from Matthew’s entry. The room is called Introspective:
[extract only] There is one room few people have ever heard of, fewer still have seen. It is a dark and elusive place, said only to reveal itself on occasions of its own design. It is also said to be one of the oldest rooms in the museum. For most, it is merely the stuff of legend. For some, it is the nightmare that will haunt them to the end of their days.
Herro Dan has been there twice during his tenure – once when he was a boy, and again many years later. Olga has only ever been there once – and she was quite a bit older that when Herro Dan first visited. Do not ask her to speak of it, ever. Those memory threads would cut her like twine biting into a clenched fist.
The room is called the Introspective.
The most astounding thing about the room, according to Herro Dan, is that it contains absolutely nothing. No artefacts, no masterpieces, no curios. There is no place to sit; nor is there any place to rest. There appear to be no walls and no ceiling; it’s as if the room stretches to infinity. Yet the claustrophobia one feels is stifling, suffocating. The only light is a ghostly luminescence, like the blue steel glow of deep twilight, which emanates from no discernible direction. There is no sound from without. But one’s own breath and heartbeat can be deafening in the dark.
One is alone with one’s self and the void.
It is whispered that while the room will allow anyone to enter, only those who are true to their hearts can safely leave with their mind intact.
And here at last is Persia Rose’s entry. She suggested a paper room, which is an exquisite idea, and the description makes it so easy to visualise:
I think there should be a paper room. It can be very delicate but you have to be careful with it even then as the edges will cut like a knife at the slightest touch. There would be curtained dividers in the room made of thin Japanese paper and there would be reams of papers stacked as furniture. There would be a desk also with a giant spreading ink stain (blue) on its surface and dripping off the edge. There would be dim lights that would show off secrets in invisible ink written on the lampshades. And glow in the dark ink would be used to write music on the ceiling. I think it would be a somewhat clinical room as the only color would be the blue ink stain and the bright white paper with pale lavender of the Japanese paper curtains. I suppose that’s why they forgot the room. It’s all secret and stark and quiet. A lonely little room.
I just love this description. I love the stacks of paper furniture and the ink stain, and the secrets on the lampshades. I love the music on the ceiling and the loneliness of it all. Congratulations, Persia. I’ll send your prize this week.
Huge thanks to the people who entered. It was such a delight reading about your proposed rooms, and knowing that you had put so much thought into them.