APRIL 2020 85-Word Story -- VICTORY TO MOUSE!

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The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest

Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 85 words, not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


All stories Copyright 2020 by their respective authors who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here

The complete rules can be found at RULES FOR THE WRITING CHALLENGES

Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 23 April 2020
Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 April 2020

You do not have to submit a story in order to vote -- in fact, we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing a winner

The Magnificent Prize:

The Dignified Congratulations/Grovelling Admiration of Your Peers and the challenge of choosing next month's theme and genre





This thread to be used for entries only. Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD

We invite (and indeed hope for) lively discussion and speculation about the stories as they are posted,
as long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot

** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **
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"Goodbye, Sugarland"

Emily came in through the door. The sun filtered through cotton candy clouds. Peppermints rolled along chocolate rivers, while chocolate bunnies hopped about gummy worm bushes.

The Caretaker fluttered down.

"You can't be here," she said sweetly, "You're well into womanhood now. We've played our song."

Emily shed a tear that became a lemon drop when it fell.

"It's harsh out there. My niece has cancer."

"Then will it." Emily looked up.

"Will it to her. She'll need this now."

And so the Creator did.

The Spaceport’s little red light blinked starkly against the coming night. Two moons watched from above and stars twinkled brightly as the sun’s last sliver winked out. As if on cue, a choir of zymphfloids crooned to the hand of some unseen conductor, their jubilant chorus echoed into the silence.

Alyn exhaled a slow breath, awestruck by Andromeda’s beauty, and humbled by its scale and timelessness. How was the universe so orderly, when he, something much less grand, roiled with chaos?

The moons didn’t answer.
Every night in my house, I turn into a tiny mouse.
Flatten my ribs, squeeze under the floor
once I’m there I meet another four.
(Mice, that is).
Don’t know their names, don’t really talk
but we do scuttle round, on a very nice walk.
Under the table. Under the chairs.
Into the cupboard under the stairs.
When morning comes I turn into man
but, God help me, I’m not a fan.
Too many worries, too much stress
My other world, I like the best.
Research Field

I can no longer fly. Constrained, within this body, to movement in two dimensions.
At first there were collisions with the other bipeds. Now I have mastered 'walking' I dodge and dart with the best.
I am called Roberts down here. I transmit daily observations up.

They are developing more rapidly than we did. They achieve so much because they do not need to forage all day.
This is the lesson for us.
It set us back millennia, not having this behaviour they call farming.

"Touchdown," Hix proudly announced. We remained inside the Lander while taking measurements and assessing the area: battered structures overgrown with vegetation and the occasional scamper of a weasel-like rodent.

Finally Mara and I climbed out leaving Hix inside for contingencies. "Look," I whispered excitedly, "Altonians!" Mara stepped forward, held up her right hand and said graciously, "Hello."

The Altonians stood motionless when suddenly an earsplitting blast destroyed our Lander. "Hiiix!" Mara cried out in shock. I spun around drawing my hand-cannon but saw no one.
To Travel Anywhere, While Going Nowhere

I took another sip of coffee as I looked out the window to barren streets. It had been over a year now. Sparingly you might see a black-clad figure patrolling the neighbourhood, ensuring we were all still inside.

I sighed. Home is wonderful, but . . . small. And lonely.

I turned to my wall of portals. Oh, what places lay on the other side! From Middle-earth to Arrakis, from Narnia to Terminus, from Westeros to Hyperion.

Now where shall I go today . . .
Missing link

The ancient probe had spent many millennia searching for the perfect world to begin anew.
Alas, time had run out. Perfection abandoned, it beamed it’s precious cargo of consciousness toward the young planet below.

The Commander gathered his people. His new brain was basic, but not without promise. Tentatively he projected his thoughts out to the expectant faces.

First job. Getting down out of these trees!

Quickly, his first officer responded.

Understood Cap... erm... anyone else have the urgent need to throw their own excrement?
Plain Jane

In the morning, Jane changed into Jeanne. She was a traffic engineer in a world of flying cars.

After lunch, she became Joan. She was the tail gunner on a bomber. When the plane returned to base, with only one crewmember lost to antiaircraft fire, she turned into Janet. That was a relief, after a world ravaged by decades of warfare. She was an unemployed single mother of three toddlers, but it could have been worse.

She fell asleep as Jane, and dreamt of stability.
Open Your Eyes

She received the message that there’d been an accident at the city playground, and before she reached the hospital she was no longer a mother.

That evening she went to sit near where it happened.
With eyes closed she prayed, she raged, she implored. With mind storming she conjured, she imagined, she invoked.
She continued into darkness.

It rained overnight and throughout the morning, and passersby offered to help the soaked woman whose eyes never opened.
She smiled. Sunlight warmed her face, her eyelids.
Picture Perfect

Verdant grass undulates in an unseen breeze, lambs frolic in sunshine. Tall, leafy trees mark the edge of the pasture. What’s beyond is not important. For me, this small meadow is paradise enough. I can almost smell the grass and hear the lambs bleating happily.


Instead, charred stumps and shattered buildings litter the wasteland in front of our lines. Anxian warhorns sound; the aliens are attacking again.

“For victory! For Earth!”

I slip the old photo back in my tunic and raise my rifle.
Maybe One Day

Captain Hughes staggers to the control panel, surrounded by flames.
“Captain, the ship’s gonna blow!”
“Maybe one day, but not today!”


“The killer is Ambassador Korgun!”
“Who dares!?”
Captain Hughes strides forward.
“Die, captain!”
“Maybe one day, but not today!"


“Maria, let's leave our ships and retire somewhere.”
“Maybe one day...but not today."


“Maria Hughes.” Doctor Philips looks at his class and sighs. “Over a decade in a coma, despite our best efforts.”
“Will she ever wake up?”
“Maybe one day, but not today.”
No direction home

It's fairly bland in fairyland,
Where dragonflies can barely land,
And scientific rulings banned, hourglass sand.

For underhill depends on magic
Wingèd folk, merfolk half pelagic
Where infidelity is tragic, hybrid envy fanned.

Immortality's the basis
Conservatives embracing stasis
While mortal world's progress oasis rules unplanned.

I am no self-apologist,
Nor gifted escapologist,
Appreciator, not zymologist, drinking life secondhand

I'll tolerate the oceans' plastic
Rejecting absolutes for rules elastic
Choosing mundane o'er fantastic, emotions' contraband.

Long disappeared, family,
Or any dream my sleep can see.

Pure Imagination

The orcs charged, a screaming, drooling wedge of mad muscled flesh.

Before them, stood the Legendary Seven; warrior, priest, thief, wordsmith, knight, bowman and magician.

Iridescent robes flowing in a dramatic breeze, the magician stepped forward, uncanny energy crackling between his fingers.

“Do not fear, my fellows. I have this.”

When the dust settled, the orcs stood in silence, eyeing the crater where the Seven had stood.


“Critical fumble, sorry, lads. At least we went out with a bang though. Same time next week?”
Sometimes the rules are taken too far.

Here I am, about to become the first man to set foot on a planet in a different solar system from our own. After twenty years of suspended animation and several months' rehabilitation, I have landed on Alpha Centauri's only terrestrial satellite.

With cameras rolling, audio recording and my momentous speech prepared, I pause on the last rung and take a deep breath.
I step off.

"That's one small step for--"

"Excuse me, sir," a disembodied voice interrupts. "Is your journey really necessary?"

Damn lockdown!
O Paraíso é ...

“Where to, senor?” asked Luis.
“Sky chord…quickly,” replied the man.

A green light flashed. Luis elevated his taxi above the rooftops and into the air lane.

“Downtown, eh,” purred Luis. “Food, colours, music, dancing…”
“…broken pavements, foul language, street crime…," sneered the man. "Paradise.”

The gleaming white orbital transfer station drifted into view.

“Could be worse, though,” grinned Luis. “Could have to live in the city you run, eh senor Mayor?”
Mayor Chavez glared daggers into the rear view before dipping his cap brim.
The Flag

His grandson pulled at the long grass and looked about.

"Why'd we come here? When you visit?"

"I played here."

"When you were little?"

He laughed. "Spent too much time here..."

"Before granny died?"

"Ran my business from here, met contacts, made deals..."

The boy wandered off.

His presence drone tagged along.

"What d'you call that?"

He looked and the drone followed. "The clubhouse."

When he turned back, his grandson had dragged a pole out of the heather.

The boy unfurled its flag and smiled.
I had visited this planet before.

I had visited this planet many times in the past. The last time I remembered seeing many cities and towns.

However as I entered the planet's atmosphere I noticed that there were no cities nor towns.

There were no aircraft in the skies, nor any vehicles of the motorised kind. There were many cycles, and many people walking around.

As I got closer to the people, I realised that they were observing a certain distance between each other.

What had happened here?
The uninvited Universe.

Dust, from across the galaxy, falls on Earth daily. Your kitchen may hold Martian desert, your attic traces of lunar hills, or salt crystals from Ceres…

…which may explain the alien. It’s been in my flat for days, grey skinned, big eyed, ignoring me and hoovering everything. It scans the collected dust minutely with a silvery probe, as if seeking a particular speck.

My landlady's visiting tomorrow. She’s a strict ‘no pets, no sub-letting’ type.

Maybe I can send it to buy hoover bags?
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The Re-conquest of Baran, 204.M41

“Welcome to the 165th Planetary Defence Regiment, Lord Commissar. It's an honor to have one of Kreig's finest with us.”

“Do you know why I’m here, Captain?”

“N-no, my lord.”

“The Greenskins have launched their attack. The Death Korps will hold to the last, but should this flank fold, all is lost.”

“This is it then?”

“The Emperor's finest are coming. Raven Guard, Eagle Warriors, Marauders.”


“Yes, Space Marines. Until they relieve us, not one step backwards.” Beneath them, the ground began to tremble.
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