Sudden Denouement Divergent Literature Short-form Writing Contest


Unpublished/Original work 

More than 50 words

Less than 500


1st place 100 dollars

2nd place 50

3rd place 25

Time: thru 11/30/2016

Judges: Sudden Denouement

Send submissions:

There is no prompt or content, though the contest is for divergent literature. 

Top three posts will be published on Sudden Denouement and then a decision will be made on winner. 

Finalist will be contacted by Sudden Denouement.



Looking for Crazy – Introducing N.R. Shepherd



Looking for Crazy – N.R. Shepherd

They write about madness, as if it’s some
moonlit romance. A gentleman in the corner,
sitting crosslegged, in a suit, with slickback
hair, and a glass of scotch; Gomez, if you will.
Please, raw lunacy skips down the sidewalk
in broad-day, wielding a lasso of ideas,
ready to tie down anyone that will listen.
Madness doesn’t chat, it rambles, on and on,
metaphorically, in a kaleidoscope of emotions,
expecting you to keep up. It’s a cataclysmic
disaster, in daily functions such as deciding
which spaghetti sauce to buy. You watch your
entire life incinerate, right before your eyes.
You’ll lay down in the ashes, and masturbate
with thoughts that you can’t discuss; using
your own tears as a lubricant. It’s sketchy hygiene
and sleep deprivation. Obsessive nature scares
people away, and you’re blessed with a 6th sense,
that others would call paranoia; bullshit, they just
want us to think that, and then attempt to dull your
gift, with man-made chemicals, because they
don’t want us to figure out their plan…and believe us,
there is a plan. Our point is, they view “crazy” as
some classy attraction; they are dead wrong.
Be careful where you look for it, you might find it,
and we are definitely, no Hollywood makeover.
Now, let us say this in closing; May God bless the families,
should we fall in love, with one of our own.


[N.R. Shepherd is a contributor to The Lithium Chronicles. This is his first piece written for Sudden Denouement, and we are pleased to have him collaborating with us.]

Pathetic – Introducing Bishop Hermes


Pathetic by Bishop Hermes

I thought he was long gone 
dead or departed i had almost forgotten
he’s been watching waiting 
for a misstep or stumble
he lies in wait with no sound nor mumble
he thrice tried to slay me 
probably more my souls a whore
he bid me with enticing schemes 
coerced me to believe foolish dreams
then crushed me with reality
I’ve sensed him lately
though i would not believe it
he’s been baiting me
awaiting a chance to trounce me
but i see him plainly now
the curtain is dropped the guise is spoiled
he’s gone now and i can see clearer
though he was never far
when i looked in the mirror

[Bishop Hermes is an exceptional poet/musician who came to Sudden Denouement with strong recommendation from Sperantia Zavala. We are excited to have him contributing and feel strongly about his poetic vision and look forward to a fruitful collaboration.]

Not to love, then – Georgia Park


Not to love, then by Georgia Park (Private Bad Thoughts)

He can’t love himself
until he’s filthy stinkin’ rich
with heat and a toilet

I can’t love me
until I’m published

so we call to remind each other
not to love anyone else, then
until these things happen

I write for his latest business scheme
over eggs with hollandaise
canadian bacon,
coffee with cream in it
all the most fattening things
for our one meal per day
we name concepts-
The Devil’s Companion,
The Dusty Bible
then vow to steer clear
of satanism-
not the most popular theme
how about…The Liquid Lady?

we shake hands and take turns paying
grounded in who is struggling more

he still daily promises
to never let me starve
or lead me homeless,
like he kind of is
and he keeps to it
bringing pounds of burritos,
chocolate milk and whatever’s waiting
inside our Styrofoam boxes
from the back of the restaurant
when no one’s looking
but he swears he won’t take care
of any babies
by another man

I date lots of them
but i never feel
the way i still do about him
ever again
he does, often
and tells me about it
i look at their pictures
ooh-ing and ahh-ing

There’s grinds in my coffee
i am laughing
and the waitress thinks
so many good things
about us
but we are good tippers
so this comes

Georgia Parks

The Enchantress – Laura McGowan


The Enchantress by Laura McGowan (Skinny and Single)

His heart burst when she touched his hand.

She was magic, that’s the only explanation. He remembered the sparkle in her eyes, the blush on her cheek as she kissed him goodnight.

The longing overwhelmed him when he drew her portrait in charcoal. Night after night he worked the piece, it would be perfect, it would be beautiful, it would be her.

He was just fifteen when this enchantress came to him. She overwhelmed him, she intoxicated him, she said hello.


The words that would forever change the life of a boy, now a man, a man who hungered for this beauty, her soul, her heart, her.

It was a meeting of the soul, a destiny that was beyond explanation.

The stories talk of love, of fairy tales, of soulmates.

They talk of first dates, first kisses, first dances.

First loves. A never forgotten first love.

Then when he met her dad he said “I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I’d met her.”


[Laura McGowan is the creator of Skinny and Single. Her blog is a study in devilish wit and unapologetic truth. She challenges social standards and mores with a sharp wit and keen insight, providing the reader with a glimpse into the mind of a strong, insightful voice which refuses not to be heard. The Enchantress is an exquisite poem that highlights the tender, poetic sensibilities of Laura. Please take a look at her about page. We are honored to have Laura as a contributing writer.]

The Path Goes Both Ways

by pbbr

A bird is singing on my windowsill this morning, sweet notes falling like ivory piano keys in a crosstown jazz bar. It’s autumn and he’s running late on his perennial southbound path. But he doesn’t sound hurried. Prancing back and forth on the windowsill, an avian entertainer chatting up the soft dewy dawn. I stand slowly, wincing at the surgery wounds in my belly, and reach for the shotgun.

The coffee pot is brewing on an automatic path. Savory beans roasting in their own juices, dripping, dripping. Chocolate warmth nestled in a cup,  auburn froth leveled at the top. Blended with raspberry crème. I take that first sip and my heart jumps in jagged arrhythmia.

The shower water is warm, stoking the embers of a tequila flame from the night before. The Mopar purrs in the driveway, guzzling the last few dimes from my pocket. Everything on its diametric path.

A blanket of fog lies on the highway. Spread out like a shroud, mother nature is proud. It reminds me of sticky teenage love and docks by the bay and Halloween adventures and Boy Scout campouts and the night my mother died. Damn it all to hell, she would say. God is love, she would say.

A belt to the thigh, a kiss to the cheek. It’s all the same to me.

All on its diametric path.

Good morning! the clerk says. A pockmarked face of scorn, eyeing to drag me down into the hole that he’s in. Would you like the meal or just the sandwich?

A rube is shining shoes in the lobby. Suave and pastoral, a mauve shirt that smells floral. A quaint memory of a time almost forgotten. He wears colorful kneehigh socks and suspenders and a toothy smile that decorates his face like a Christmas ornament. He nods and salutes, a crisp ritual. I heard he beat seven men to death in Vietnam.

There is a grating sound outside my office window. Jackhammer pounding, concrete snapping. Screech of metal on metal. The news is lamenting some bloodsoaked tragedy. A cascading exhaust wafts through the crack in the window and burns my nose. I sit back in my flea-bitten chair and smile.

These I can relate to.

All on its diametric path. It goes both ways, you know.

How To Suffer For Your Dreams – Mick Hugh


How To Suffer For Your Dreams by Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

The jungle floor undercut with gnarled twisting roots, ankle-snappers, watch your foot, through the verdant thick that’s only green with promise, and when the sun sets the dark is impassable – but there is no time to sleep, step by cautious step hands feeling along the jungle floor. Some days the sun’s high but the canopy’s a carpet, no light gets through, there is nothing above, no sky, and what you crawl through is a shadow swamp of muck; up mud hills, across ravines, through miles of hemlock you crawl. You have dengue, yellow fever, gangrenous extremities; day-long vomiting and dark shivers you sweat through for no reason you can find. But you continue to crawl, up on your legs, cut through the vines. This isn’t an illness you suffer, it is a circumstance of everyday, even when the body’s spent with dengue-sweat delirium, this is every day. It only stops if you stop.

The jungle breaks on a cliff of foresight – a thousand miles of impenetrable endless thick, and the horizon propping up the promised land on a mountain pedestal: your Eden at the top veiled by thick humid cloud, never seen, not yet touched, illustrated only by your obstinate dream. To crawl forward is now to climb down.

And all along the way have been the Exit Signs, posted to moss damp trees, stuck to rock faces, placed glowing in the deep crevasses formed by roots where you know you can climb in and find – annual vacations, financial security, suburban housing, carpeted floors, a family to love, clean cars (working cars), cures for your malignancies and melancholies and fantasies and obsessions; a big screen TV, watching Netflix from the couch comfort after a long day at the office desk giving you paychecks for stability and shelter and peace of mind.

The body hurts and the heart’s stuck in the hopelessness mire. You ignore this and you crawl. Wading through stagnant bog moving piece by piece the branches of overgrowth barbed-wired with thorns. The rains have come, covered in muck and shit that gets in the skin gashes and begins to infect, your sense of being sense of time – it has already been seven lonely years – mosquitoes molest your face, spiders feast on your back. Vines tangle for your neck, roots grab at your ankles, leeches bleed the stomach and parasites multiply in your genitals. And you are crawling.

You are crawling and your body is tearing into pieces. The mind is rejecting itself and the skin is suppurating from boils, gashes, abrasions, infections; melting away. To sweat all day and continue through the night, through the body aches-and-pains of a seven-year disease. You keep going because your skin and muscles will fall away, an exoskeleton you leave behind and feel refreshed – third fourth fifth wind this year- and the path behind you is littered with the selves you’ve shed, and you keep yourself from noticing how each skin is just a bit smaller than the previous, that you are in fact finite and running out of self and time. You keep yourself from noticing because it doesn’t matter: you will get there or you will (like a candle slowly extinguished in an opaque fog) fade into an obscure, meaningless death. It doesn’t matter.

you crawl on.

Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)