TIE-BREAKER POLL - 300 Word Challenge #31 - VICTORIA SILVERWOLF WINS!

Please vote for your favourite of the two stories below


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Ursa major

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#1
For, I believe, only the third time in its history, we have need of a tie-breaker to decide the winner of the 300 Word Challenge.


Congratulations to all entrants, and especially to those two - Victoria Silverwolf and David Evil Overlord - who stood above all other comers.


The rules for the tie-break are simple:


Each member has only one vote to cast

No member may vote for his or her own story

The poll will close at 11.59pm GMT on Tuesday, 20 November, 2018


Please keep comments to the Discussion thread -- any comments posted here will be moved.


And now for the stories, in the order of posting:




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Noncombatants by Victoria Silverwolf

Manuel grunted as he hauled in the net, heavy with fish. Salt stung the many small cuts on his hands. They would soon heal, adding to the web of pale scars on his skin. Felipe helped him empty their catch into the boat.

"A dolphin, Papa." The boy pointed out to sea.

The animal neared their boat. Manuel grinned. Dolphins always brought good luck. He threw a large fish to it.

"Look," Felipe said. "On its head."

Manuel squinted. A silver disk the size of an infant's hand glittered near its blowhole. He dangled another fish over the water to draw the dolphin closer.

"Come here, my friend." He stroked its smooth gray skin. The dolphin showed no fear, as if it had often been among people. He pried the disk off its head. The dolphin squealed, but did not back away.

"What is it, Papa?"

"A thing to kill. The government, or the rebels, or the Norteamericanos make these, and use dolphins to carry them to the ships of their enemies." Manuel tossed it far away. The disk sank into the sea, where it would do no harm. The dolphin swam off.

"Mama will not be pleased that we have given away so much of our catch," Felipe said.

"Let that remain a secret between men. We will say that the fishing was poor today."

"Only you and I will know that it was a good day."

"Yes. It was a very good day, my son."

They rowed to shore, watching the dying sun paint the ocean scarlet and gold. In the distance, the dolphin leapt out of the sea, drops of water gleaming on its body like pearls. It laughed as it danced in the air, as a wanderer laughs at the first sight of home.



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Fillet O’ Flesh by David Evil Overlord

Once upon a time, McDarkElf’s had served fish taken from the ocean. More often, the fish were taken from fishermen.

Raknir Backstabber, dark elf captain, was industriously robbing some human fishermen when one of them quite unfairly accused him of theft.

“Should any whose intellect properly cannot differentiate between my noble piracy and common theft dare to speak it,” he declaimed, “then they shall be paid in exposure!” He magnanimously brushed aside the human’s ignorant discourtesies, and exposed the creature’s innards to the elements.

“You cannot claim ownership of something merely because you did some hard work.” His tone said hard work was so far beneath him it was probably on another plane of existence entirely. “What is in the nets belongs to all. After all, you cannot put a wall around the sea.”

After sinking their graceless scow, he exposed the nasty, brutish and short humans to a similar life on a desert island.

But the fishermen built a raft, and made it back home. Then they built walls around schools of fish, as farmers did with their herds on land.

This turned not-theft into hard work, and his dark elves were disgruntled. Raknir was staring down mutiny, when a loud splash and a hail came from off the starboard bow.

Mermaids!

“Elves! I am Princess Phillette,” the prettiest mermaid cried. “We hunger, for humans are between us and the fish! We saw you fight them. Aid us!”

“We shall help you. Please, come aboard my ship so we may more easily discuss how I may serve you,” Raknir said.

Dozens of mermaids beached themselves upon his deck. Princess Phillette smiled shyly as he eyed her hungrily.


***

For weeks afterwards, the fish served at McDarkElf’s had an exquisite flavour. Perhaps the secret ingredient was the sauce.

Perhaps not.


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