Hey there, Mastiff ! I'm OOT™ , and I'm honored to review your work.
My Thoughts: I was happy to find this piece from the "fantasy" genre, as it fits right in with the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group" Over the Rainbow Raid. It is also my first review of the 5 from your win in "Chinese New Year Celebration" .
I really enjoyed this story, and I can easily see how it placed in the contest. The plot was interesting and rather original, and I was hooked from the first paragraph. You made excellent use of the prompt words, and the story flowed naturally. Droyn and Mehenilda are interesting characters, and I found it easy to empathize with their plight, especially poor Droyn, who had been in the basement prison for 14 times as long. I did find it a bit difficult to believe that he had waited an entire year to fill her in on how to "escape" for a short time, but I do think you adequately explained it with his initial fear that she could have been a spy.
You did a good job of describing the captors and gave enough information about their methods of torture to allow the reader to imagine what Droyn and Mehenilda had endured during their time there. The chant was a nice addition to the story, and, even though it was meant to comfort, I think it added to the overall eeriness of the piece. I liked the characters and was rooting for them, so I was devastated when I learned their captors had caught on and were going to take the only comfort they had. The ending was perfect, making the story complete while still leaving a bit of mystery. Great job!
My Suggestions: My first suggestion is to change the genres from "Contest Entry" and "Contest" to "Dark" and "Thriller/Suspense". Now that the contest is over, it would help to give the readers more of an idea as to what the story is about. It would also help the story to show up in more searches.
edit to correct errors with dialogue. I'll give you an example to see what I mean: You wrote, "Sounds like the youngster.” Droyn said.
When you write dialogue followed by describing the person who is saying it, the period before the end quotes should be changed to a comma. It should be written as, "Sounds like the youngster," Droyn said.
I will give you an example when a name doesn't follow the quote: You say, "Well, in a way." He replied. It should be written as, "Well, in a way," he replied. There are numerous instances in the story that this should be corrected.
I believe "make" in the first sentence should be "made".
In the second paragraph, "the remainder of their life" should be "the remainder of their lives" since you are talking about the lives of multiple people.
In the first sentence of the fourth paragraph, "them beat on Droyn" should be "they beat on Droyn".
Overall: Thank you for sharing this short story. It was a pleasure to read and review, and I'll be back soon with your second review.