TIE-BREAKER POLL - 300 Word Challenge #35 - PETER V WINS!

Please vote for your favourite of the two stories below

  • Total voters
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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Aug 7, 2007
For, I believe, only the fourth 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 Peter V -- 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
Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

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

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


Fade to White by Victoria Silverwolf

As Manzetti entered the Cinema Royale, he thought back on his career. Twenty years of following trends, not setting them. That was why he was here, at a theater long past its prime, instead of a luxurious picture palace in Rome. Still, it was pleasant to be Guest of Honor at the Serenissima Film Festival, even if he was surrounded by movie fanatics rather than starlets.

Manzetti settled into his seat and prepared to be bored by a marathon of his films. Maciste Against the Huns, Space Mission Alpha, Secret Agent Triple Seven, Bullets for Django. After the premiere of his latest film, Black Roses on a Lizard's Grave, he would announce his retirement. In this age of Star Wars, nobody lined up to see low budget variations on familiar themes.

Faded colors and distorted dialogue filled the musty theater. Manzetti found his eyes growing heavy. He drifted into sleep, only to be shocked awake by the cold steel of a straight razor on his throat.

A man dressed in black leather, from his hat to his gloves, held the blade. The screen behind him showed only gray shadows on a milky background. The man stepped back and gestured at other figures, nearly hidden in the darkness. A muscular man wearing a loincloth. A woman in a spacesuit. A man in a tuxedo, holding a pistol. A cigar-chomping cowboy.

Manzetti looked around for help. The theater was deserted. Only the clatter of the projector convinced him he was not dreaming.

"Do not forget us," the man with the razor whispered. He melted back into the screen, as the movie reached its conclusion. The others vanished. The film ended, and the crowd applauded. Manzetti rose and bowed to the audience.

"Let me tell you about my next project," he said.


A Toy Story by Peter V

Milly had lots of toys. She had a dolls house with six Barbie dolls and all the Barbie accessories an eight year old could want. She had an adapted PlayStation (though her parents would not be able to tell you the last game they saw her play on it) and sometimes she would watch her 49” HD television just before bedtime. Mostly though, she liked to play with the little marionette theatre her grandpa made just before he died.

“She has such an imagination.” Her mother would say and friends and family alike would marvel at her wonderful puppet shows. Everyone who saw them agreed that Milly had a rare talent.

What they did not see though, was where she went at night; when the light was turned off and her parents asleep.

Six inches high, Milly would dance upon the stage, her pirouettes with the handsome wooden Captain a blur of colour. She would sing duets with the pretty farmer’s daughter, the rosy glow on her cheeks mirroring the painted spots on the puppet. She would laugh at the antics of the sweet old clown but most of all she liked to teach the black and white sheepdog to do tricks.

“Stay with us.” Her wooden friends implored, each morning when grey light filtered through the curtains.

“One day I shall.” Milly always promised, before returning to herself and waking to spend another day trapped within her palsied body.

And she would. She could feel the time drawing near when she would escape the confines of her prison. To be free to dance and to sing. To play as other children did.

“When Mama and Papa are strong enough.” She would tell them. “When they see how happy I can be.”

And when they stop blaming themselves, she thought.