The Seventy-Five Word Writing Challenge Roll of Honour

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The Judge

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#81
November 2016

THEME: MAP

GENRE: DYSTOPIAN

WINNER:


Goodnight Kiss

by Hex


Your breathing softens into sleep. I smooth your hair.

Not even the cameras watch me here. Maternal love is my biological destiny, after all. Inescapable, thus sacrosanct.

So this is where I commit my sins. Thought. Word. And--

If found, the map's a death sentence. Public hanging in Traitors' Square.

I press my lips to your warm cheek, slip the map beneath your mattress. They won't look here, my darling.

They won't. I'm almost sure.
 

The Judge

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#82
December 2016

THEME: WINTERTIME

GENRE: GASLAMP FANTASY

WINNER:


The Case of the Frozen Cadavers, and Coprology

by The Judge


Tower Bridge, where three corpses lay, hacked from the solid ice of the Thames.

“Bloodless,” I said. “Utterly drained.”

“So Count Dracula has reached London. Yet lack of sewer stench will find him.”

“But the summer’s Great Stink from the city’s cesspits flooding the river is long over. Ice wholly blocks the sewers.”

“Excrement therefore accumulates in every habitation, but one. No solid food means no solid waste. Alimentary, my dear Watson.”

“No sh*t, Sherlock!”
 

The Judge

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#83
January 2017

THEME: RESOLUTION

GENRE: OPEN

WINNER:


The Promise

by LittleStar

"I'll be with you on your birthday." He kissed me, then left for war.

Mum cried when I set his plate that year.

And the next.

Then I started hating him for lying to me every day.

But he never said which birthday. A compromise, to stop it hurting, you know?

I understand now though. I always thought of him, willed him back with me, and know he kept his promise.

And I'll keep mine.
 

The Judge

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#84
February 2017

THEME: GROWTH

GENRE: FABLE

WINNER:


The Woman and the Moon

by Victoria Silverwolf

A woman said to the Moon, "You are high above me now, but I will grow tall."

"I doubt it," the Moon replied.

The woman built a mighty tower that looked down on the clouds, but the Moon just laughed.

So the woman built a ship and flew to the Moon.

"You have grown as tall as I," the Moon admitted.

"No," the woman replied, "I am taller." And she flew off to the stars.


RUNNER-UP (TIEBREAKER):


No More Mr Nice Shrew
by The Judge


Pygmy shrew – puny, small;

Bullied, abused, bombarded –
Swears he’ll grow, show them all.
“Big, I'll be safeguarded.”
Big he grows, wins his cause;
Every bully quitted.
But... shrews’ homes have tiny doors.
He no longer fitted.
Trapped outside, Owl he spied.
Then his size defeats him.
Though he runs, he cannot hide.
Owl swoops down, and eats him.
The moral is: grow we should;
Develop self-help attitude.
Faster, stronger, smarter – good.
But fatter? Never shrewd.
 

The Judge

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#85
March 2017

THEME: WORK

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY

WINNER:


Little Wonder
by David Evil Overlord


"I work all day,” said the superhero. “You can’t even make dinner?”

She ticked off tasks on her fingers. "Weekly groceries? Done. Washing? Done. Ironing? Done. Children to and from kindergarten? Done? Supervillain? Fridged. Dinner? No.”

“What?”

“Dinner?”

“No, before that.”

“Ironing?”

“After.”

“Children?”

Supervillain?

“Overkill. Frying pan to the face, carving knives everywhere else, into the fridge.”

“So, no dinner?”

“Not unless you’re taking me to dinner. I’m not Wonder Woman.”


RUNNER-UP (TIEBREAKER):

The Alien Will See You Now, Sir.
by mosaix

"You want to work for us? Doing what?"

"Saving you."

"From what?"

"From us. From humans. You should leave – now."

A wry smile. "You are so dangerous?"

"Oh yes. More dangerous than you can imagine."

"But we have conquered half the galaxy."

"Have you slaughtered your own kind?"

"Our own kind?"

"Nailed them to crosses?"

"Nailed!"

"Burnt them alive?"

"What!"

"Shot, gassed and incinerated millions?"

"Stop, stop. I had no idea! When can you start?"
 

The Judge

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#86
April 2017

THEME: PLAY, HOBBIES OR OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES

GENRE: FANTASY

WINNER:


Your Move
by HoopyFrood

Born just minutes after the Universe began, her most pressing concern had always been how to fill the great, unfathomable sea of time.

There was one other like her, she knew, but far, far away. Their only method of communication was to dim the light of their respective stars, sending a burst of code across the cosmos.

There! A flicker, a 100 million years old or more.

“Bishop to b5.”


RUNNER-UP (TIEBREAKER):

All the World's a Stage
by Stuart Suffel

"To make you better able to deal...with things."
Mother's explanation for the little theatre shows we did.
But it was never for us.

Lost lovers, betrayed heroines, misunderstood poets.
What did we know of such things?

We knew. Children though we were, we knew.
But we played along.

We knew the game we played was 'stop Mummy from crying.'

We played it solemnly, ferverently, intently.

We played it from love.

We're playing it still...
 

The Judge

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#87
May 2017

THEME: THE END

GENRE: URBAN FANTASY

WINNER:


Of Things Unknown
by TheDustyZebra

Once, we caged them here for our amusement. Their living spaces were cramped, certainly, but we protected them and learned from them. And they gave us a great show.

Now, many of us protest this practice. We come to an agreement, as a people: they should not have to be our entertainment, living these closed, hardscrabble lives. We remove the lids from their skyscrapers.

“Go, little humans, fly free.”

But it seems they’ve forgotten how.



RUNNER-UP (TIEBREAKER):

Terminus Est
by Shyrka

“This is a child’s ticket, Sir.” The conductor’s expression says it all. I am undone. “Whose is this really?”

“M-my daughter’s,” I stammer. “I had to! She… she’s only six!”

His expression softens. My heart flips. I wait, breathless.

A curt nod. “Right you are, Sir.”

I breathe again as we thunder into the soot-dark tunnel. I wonder if it will hurt?

“End of the line!” he calls, turning away. “This train terminates here!”
 
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The Judge

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#88
June 2017

THEME: MURPHY'S LAWhttps://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/568017/

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY

WINNER:


If Something Can Go Wrong...
by mosaix

“...and for the kidnapping of John Moore and the harvesting of his organs I sentence you to life imprisonment.”

***

“...a drone will drop the device into the prison yard. Activate it and you're out of here. Where to? Timeline?” A shrug. “Who knows? We don't even know who you'll be.”

***

The bed's comfortable, the room bright and warm.

“Not too bad. Could be worse...”

Above the bed hangs a medical chart labelled 'John Moore'.


RUNNER-UP (TIEBREAKER):

Incident On Station Summer Breeze.
by Robert Mackay

In space, paranoia is a survival trait.

When Murphy arrived, we were terrified.

“Everything that goes wrong,” Jenkins said, drunk, “will be his fault.”

“I don’t care if he is a great hydroponicist. We’ve got to deal with him.”

First walk’s always dangerous. And the umbilical is very vulnerable to stray edges. Goodbye, Murphy.

Two days later, blight struck the hydroponics tanks. We’ve got a week’s air left. Murphy’s replacement arrives in a fortnight.

Damn.
 

The Judge

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#89
July 2017

THEME: TOY STORYhttps://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/568329/

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY OR HORROR

WINNER:


Insurrection
by Joshua Jones

“We know what must be done,” I said to the congregated toys. “Never again!”

Commando Joes, from the neighboring city of Marvinsroom, had made a beer can tower and secured a kitchen knife. I, Princess Alberta, would lead the charge. The stuffed animal army waited in ambush with scissors.

“He’s coming!” said Binocular Soldier.

“Chloe,” the stepfather slurred to our sleeping child, “I’m sorry. Just one more time…”

“Never again!” I cried, raising the knife.
 

The Judge

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#90
August 2017

THEME: TENDERNESS

GENRE: CYBERPUNK OR STEAMPUNK

WINNER:


To Be Beautiful
by LittleStar

Dress fits perfect; off-white silk to my knee. But every hobble sends steam whispers from the joint to flirt the hem; a Pre-Fall starlet. Almost.
My Tarmac-torn leathers cover my arm at least; something familiar; to complete me.

I fumble tears away. Steam from my thumb catches the scars; catches my breath again.

I can't.

But Harry pulls up.

I shake; open the door.

He smiles; kisses my fingers. "You look beautiful."
 

The Judge

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#91
September 2017

THEME: THE REAL STORY BEHIND NURSERY RHYMES AND FAIRY TALES

GENRE: SCIENCE-FICTION OR FANTASY

WINNER:


The Failure of Rocker B(i)
or
So not about the Glorious Revolution
by Ursa major

O’Dochartaigh’s thick Irish brogue came over the comms: “Emergency, Captain!”

“What?” I ask.

“Problem in one of the three top fore bays.”

Treetop? “And?”

“The load – an enormous space awl – shifted, jamming a rocker on its cradle. When we fire the fore reverse thrusters, there’ll be chaos.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“When the bow brakes, the rocker will fall, down will come Bay B, cradle and awl.”

“Is this a wind up?”
 

The Judge

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#92
October 2017

THEME: SEA VOYAGE

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY

WINNER:


Where Late the Mermaids Sang
by Teresa Edgerton

They hauled her aboard in a net, flopping wetly on the deck, blue scales gleaming.

“She’ll fetch a fortune! Stow her in the hold.”

“Pretty thing. It seems a pity—“

“Nonsense! They don’t feel things the way we do.”

Five days, and the Captain was raving. Seven, the men began to suicide.

They drew lots. The losers, trembling, carried her and threw her over the side.

***

A year later, the Captain died in a madhouse.
 
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