The Seventy-Five Word Writing Challenge Roll of Honour

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Culhwch

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#41
JULY 2013

THEME: DISCOVERY

GENRE: Science Fiction or Fantasy

WINNER:

What a find!
by Glen
It was like the short story ‘Billenium’, or the movie 'Ghost' – while renovating we punched through a wall and found a hidden room. A big room, high ceilings, full of light. For that moment we felt glorious. What a find! What value it would add to the house! But we stepped into it, and now we are stuck here with all the other souls that found it before us.

It doesn’t seem so big now.
 
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Culhwch

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#42
AUGUST 2013

THEME: CHANGE

GENRE: Social SF

WINNER:

All the way in
by Hex

Fat, white hands, posh black coat, Alphaman comes down alley. “You, Epsilongirl. You meld?”

I flash my iden-key. “Fifty creds -- all the way.”

He fumbles down his security boundaries, crashes into my neural core and starts grunting away.

Don’t notice me slither into him.

One push, he falls – all the way in.

One twist, we separate.

#

“No!” the girl screams.

“Melding’s dangerous.” I grin, and shove her away with my fat, white hand.
 
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Culhwch

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#43
SEPTEMBER 2013

THEME: LISTENING

GENRE: Alternate History

WINNER:

Searching
by alchemist

Alone; his room; bedtime. In futile hope, she twists the dial a millihawthorne altwise.

Nothing. Another empty parallel universe, an alternate world of familiar pain.

She twists again, and – Stop!

A voice, her own; light and carefree as she once was. "Good night, love."

She waits, fingers trembling, a lifetime in a heartbeat, and he speaks. "Night, mummy."

She locks the dial and sobs, willing herself to silence as his gentle breaths turn towards sleep.
 
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Culhwch

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#44
OCTOBER 2013

THEME: PLEASURE

GENRE: Ghost Stories

WINNER:

Unlucky 13
by The Judge


He sighed. He enjoyed his little pleasures, but the girl was dead now. His thirteenth. He –


Odd. Her trickling blood, making a pattern. A word.

PREPARE

He laughed, then noticed the strips of flayed skin:


TO

He stumbled back, knocking over the dissection table. His knives fell, skittered, jinked, formed...


MEET

His blinding cords:


OUR

He ran. Smoke coiled from the brazier’s coals.

PLEASURE


Knives, cords, coals flew at him.

Laughter rose. Thirteen young voices.
 
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Culhwch

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#45
NOVEMBER 2013

THEME: SECRETS

GENRE: Detective Novel

WINNER:

We All Have Our Secrets
by Culhwch

Forty years. I’ve seen some things. But one case really stuck.

Little girl, snatched from her yard. Eight, blond, pretty little thing.

Frantic parents, useless cops. So they hired me. Worked for months before getting a lead. Middle-aged man, history with kids.

Found her in his basement. The things he’d done--

No. Some secrets should stay secrets. Couldn’t even tell her parents.

I buried her on a hill covered in wildflowers.

Him, I burned. Alive.
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#46
DECEMBER 2013

THEME: FAITH

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

WINNER:

The Mail
by Tywin

John strained to see the approaching supply ship against the darkness.

This year, he thought. This year she’ll send something. A picture. A letter.

My little girl is almost six now. She’s old enough to ask Rebecca about her father.

Rebecca’s not a monster. She’ll send me something.

The supply ship’s captain shook his head sadly when he saw the look on John’s face.

Next year, he thought. Next year she’ll send something.


RUNNERS-UP (TIEBREAKER):

Just Another Victim…
by mosaix

Old Ma Jones had been thinking about this – she wasn’t going to cross the street to avoid the lad. “Give him a chance, trust your own judgement,” she thought. “I’m sure I’m right.”

As they passed he grabbed her bag and was off.

She looked around, heart racing – no witnesses.

What had the guarantee said? Total disintegration within a six foot radius. She pressed the remote.

“I knew the cheap bag was the right choice.”



Ceremony
by Victoria Silverwolf

Today i is threeteen years old. I gos to the temple in a white gown maked by mother's mother. The temple is full of womans, the youngest carryed in she's mother's arms. The oldest woman smiles at i and shows i a small white cake. I closes i's eyes and opens i's mouth. The cake melts on i's tongue and fills i's heart with cold fire. I believes that someday the mans will return.
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#47
JANUARY 2014

THEME: COLD

GENRE: DARK FANTASY

WINNER:

Changeling

by Hex

Thin and brittle and made of twigs, it's nothing like your fat baby.

It doesn't even cry. Not when you lift it from the cradle and try to feed it. Not when you scream, tear its twig-thin limbs apart and bury it in the frozen earth.

Later, you dig it up again, weeping in the grey moonlight.

It's all you have left. Alien and broken, cold forever.
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#48
FEBRUARY 2014

THEME: DANCE

GENRE: MYTHIC FICTION

WINNER:


The Old Ones Are The Best…
by mosaix


“I’d do anything to get you back to my place.”

“Anything?”

“Try me.”

“Well then, just for laughs, I’d love to see an old-timer like you try an air flare, followed by a monkey flip, then finish with a head spin.”

The dance floor cleared. He executed the moves perfectly.

The crowd roared their approval – she could hardly go back on the deal.

Later…

“Oh God! Oh God!”

‘Funny you should say that,” thought Apollo.
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#49
MARCH 2014

THEME: DEATH

GENRE: FANTASY

WINNER:


Talking Creatures Trilogy of Death
by Starbeast


ROACH

"Mmm, cake crumbs. Uh-oh, I've been seen." (runs) "Must, reach, cover of darkness! AHHHHHH!" (crunch)



The SQUIRREL

"Gotta hide these acorns across the street. Eh, bright light. Wha? AHHH! MY NUTS!"

"You hit something. Back the car up mom."

"Wait! NAAAAAAH!" (KRUN-SQUISHT)



The BAT

"Nicely warm in this house."

"A bat, kill it!"

(whack) "Ow!" (whack) "OW! Must flee!"

"It talks! It's possessed!"

(whack) "OW! Not the face." (BASH, stomp, scrap, flush)
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#50
APRIL 2014 (75 **PLUS 5** WORD CHALLENGE)

THEME: ENCOUNTERS

GENRE: FANTASY STEAMPUNK

WINNERS (TIE):

The Coal Miners
by Cat's Cradle

The priest paced around the mining office awaiting news--days had passed since the last faint tapping beyond the cave-in.

"Mankind First!"..."Dwarves Unite!"...ugly words, ugly placards, he reflected; human miners loathed dwarves for 'stealing' jobs--dwarves loathed humans for many reasons. Steam, and Edison's wondrous clockwork sensor boards, had seemed to promise unlimited opportunities for all, but little changed.

They reached the dead miners that evening--dwarves, humans, all embracing for warmth and comfort, united finally, hatreds forgotten.



...but if you try sometimes, you just might find...
by TheDustyZebra

“Will you serve God and sovereign, obeying always?” asked the king.

His armor shone. Second Law. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Will you defend the kingdom, land and people?”

Wheels turned in his head. Third Law. “Yes, Sire.”

The princess stepped up and whispered her question. “Will you give knightly succor to a lady, with all your heart?”

His eyes glowed, and steam poured out of his ears. “I am a machine, Your Highness.”

She turned to her father. “I'll take him!”
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#51
MAY 2014

THEME: ALIEN INVASION

GENRE: CLASSIC SCIENCE FICTION

WINNER:

The End Of Civilisation As We Know It
by alchemist

"But Rex, why?"

The cellar walls shook under another alien bomb.

"Hate, darling," he said, hugging Martha, his strength giving her comfort. "They hate our way of life, our freedom, how any man can rise to the top of our proud nation with hard work and the right attitude –"

The light flickered. Martha whimpered.

"Shh." He wiped a tear from her trembling jaw. "We have power yet. You'll still be able to iron my shirts."
 
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TheDustyZebra

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#52
JUNE 2014

THEME: DECEPTION

GENRE: HISTORICAL FICTION

WINNER:

The Ballad of Mary Read
by Juliana

O, Rackham flew the pirate flag,
Anne Bonny by his side,
They plied the trade and shared the swag
And more than that, beside.

A likely lad arrived one day,
To join with Rackham’s crew,
Anne’s eye was caught, she made her play,
The boy she would pursue.

Doused with rum atop the sacking,
Bonny’s fingers hovered,
She felt around, but found him lacking:
Mary’s lie uncovered.
 
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Culhwch

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#53
JULY 2014

THEME: FAMILY

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY

WINNER:

The Beach is our Happy Place
by Bowler1

Blinded by broken eye units.

Legs flagging and dragging.


Oil leaking and joints creaking.


NannyBot keeps going, pushing a precious cargo in a rusty and crusty
shopping trolley.


Through deserted streets choked with weeds.


Down roads where abandoned cars sit on rusted wheels.


Across a land silent and still.


Heading for the coast, with happy memories on faulty hard drive of family days by the sea.


‘Soon now,’ croaks NannyBot, to rattling and clanging bones.
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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#54
AUGUST 2014

THEME: INNOCENCE

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

WINNER:

Razorlips

by Ashleyne. B. Watts

Daddy built me to fulfil his desires. He named me after the razors on my lips.

He sang to me when I smothered him with kisses. He liked it when the red oil dribbled down him. “It warms my skin” he said.

Now, no matter how much I kiss him, he just lays there.

I tried to recharge him; his skin turned to leather and started peeling, smelling like beef and sulphur.

“Wake up, Daddy!”
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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#55
SEPTEMBER 2014

THEME: ANTHROPOMORPHISM

GENRE: SPECULATIVE FICTION

WINNER:

Foreboding

by Teresa Edgerton

The furnishings here have a sly, secret look. At sunset, I light a candle and pray it lasts the night. I have always been persecuted by inanimate things.

The hall table rears up on shapely legs as I pass, glaring at me with malignant eyes. The grandfather clock clashes his false teeth. A gilded mirror leers.

Then a draft whispers across my skin. My treacherous candle wavers ... and goes out.

In the dark, something laughs.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#56
OCTOBER 2014

THEME: GHOULIES, GHOSTIES, LONG-LEGGEDY BEASTIES, AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

GENRE: FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, DARK FANTASY, OR HORROR

WINNER:

The Babayan

by Hex

Wake in darkness to the whistling breath of the Babayan. To the deep-earth stink of its skin.

Don't breathe. Don't move.

Listen to the creep of reaching fingers. Long sharp fingers, stained with red.

Listen, knowing if you move, the fingers will plunge deep, drag you into the choking earth. Know, because you've heard the stories, heard the screaming.

Lie still. So still you might be wood.



But you gotta breathe, don't you.
 

Culhwch

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#57
NOVEMBER 2014

THEME: OPEN

GENRE: FRACTURED FAIRY TALE

WINNER:


Snow Blight

by Phyrebrat

Happy flounced in, flicking a wren’s quill at his six patients:
Sleepy snored, oblivious to the red bloom on his face.
Bashful refused examination, and Sneezy had more than his cold to worry about.
‘She loved me!’ Dopey sobbed.
‘The slut!’ said Grumpy, rubbing a poultice on his crotch.
Happy scolded Doc. ‘You should’ve known better!’
‘I feel so…used,’ Doc replied, scratching himself.
Happy minced out, admiring his impeccable dress sense in the mirror.
 
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Culhwch

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#58
DECEMBER 2014

THEME: THE FESTIVE SEASON

GENRE: HARDBOILED/NOIR

WINNER:


The Gift
by Victoria Silverwolf

It's a lousy night to be pounding a beat on Skid Row. My boots slosh through gray sludge. I walk up to a drunk sleeping too close to a barrel fire. I nudge him awake with my nightstick so he won't burn to death. He rolls away and mumbles something in his sleep. I toss a couple of sandwiches wrapped in plastic at his feet. He won't care where they came from. Merry Christmas, Dad.
 

Culhwch

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#59
JANUARY 2015

THEME: CHOICES

GENRE: LOVE STORY

WINNER:

THE CALL OF THE NORTH
by springs

"My kingdom!" he pleaded. "For you, if you'll be my Queen."
I wanted him, all laughing eyes, slim-hipped and strong. I wanted his sun-sparkled city and peaceful kingdom.
The North wind rose, chilling me. My people wouldn't understand. They'd bring war; children would die.
"Love....?" He knew.
I turned and left, hand on my stomach. I couldn't stay, but I could carry part of him to the North with me.
 
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Culhwch

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#60
FEBRUARY 2015

THEME: CARNIVAL, FESTIVAL, AND ALL THINGS MARDI GRAS

GENRE: MAGICAL REALISM

WINNER:

Two Dollar Special

by telford

“Roll up, roll up. See the amazing Gonzo. Only two paltry dollars to be stunned speechless.”

“Let’s do it,” Anna pleaded.

I sighed. “Okay.”

Gonzo appeared, wearing a tattered purple cloak beneath a shabby cone hat.

“Whatever your desires, speak them to me now.”

Silence, until Anna giggled and shouted, “Pull a rabbit out of your butt.”

The rabbit appeared. Disheveled didn’t quite cover the description of the poor creature.

Indeed, everyone was stunned speechless.
 
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