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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Aug 7, 2007

Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 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 2021 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 September 2021
Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 September 2021

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 October's theme and genre




Science Fiction or Fantasy

The theme to be interpreted as widely as contributors think fit

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

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! **

When the Third Vatican Council rescinded clerical celibacy, while ignoring the more troublesome issue of whether artificial intelligences possessed souls, Pope Innocent the Fifteenth made the pronouncement via worldwide holographic broadcast, automatically translated into all the languages understood by the faithful on Earth and Luna. Traditionalist Catholics objected to the change, as they had to those of the Second Vatican Council, two centuries prior. Their voices faded into insignificance when the Pope announced her pregnancy.
It Which Dies Will Rise

I rule the foyer’s marble floor around the fallen demon with precisely pencilled lines. They intersect with the broken markings it lies across – it’d required suicide to breach my barrier.
I rub Eden chalk between the new lines as the being revives.
It rises, waggles taloned fingers at me, and retreats into its palace.

I hurry to my nearby shack, then renew its protective lines with chalk – it’s understood demons kill rulemakers before anyone else.
I am the law, and I can be broken.

I am the law in this place, if rules are broken I'm the one that has to adjudicate.
The other day a woman pinched an idea from a wizard. On reaching the scene the wizard was lying in a pool of blood with a knife protruding from their neck. The woman had fled the scene taking the wizard's life and his book of spells.

Now I am waiting for my punishment for breaking a rule as well.

Reason: I failed in my job.
Culture Shock

"What do you mean you can't?"

"I'm sorry sir," the doctor said, "I am bound to uphold planetary xenolegalities, and this union..."

"This union is a hairy blue creature latched to my forearm,” the captain screamed. “Remove it immediately!"

"Sir, you fed it by hand; therefore, by this creature’s laws, it has rights…"


" your life partner to mate with you,” The doctor said.

After an awkward silence, the creature purred.
The problem with Hyperspace

'Get that laundry outta here’
Humanity’s first interstellar commander remained focused.
His companions weren’t.
‘But those socks are filthy’
‘Snap outta it Victoria, you need to change course’
‘But Parson’s made lasagne’
‘Ye’re hallucinating …focus’
'Uh, he might be right Vicky, remember our training –hyperspace can trick your mind’
‘That’s the fuel gone, I hope you’re right commander’
‘About what? what’re ye doing in my house?’
A Fairy’s Tale

Maria floated above the ruined buildings; radiation itching her whisper-thin wings. She entered through the bedroom window and approached the sleeping girl. She tucked the blanket over the child’s bony shoulders, smoothed her thinning hair and lovingly caressed her gaunt cheeks. She was dying.

Maria pulled some manna from her pocket when a shadow loomed darkly.

“You know the rules,” said the Easter Bunny.

Tearfully, Maria placed coins under the child’s pillow instead... and left.
Doubting Thomas, or, Warning: Blasphemy Not Allowed

Time is funny in Hell. Hours feel like eons.

After an eternity, my recording angel convinced my demonic master I'd suffered enough.
God was taking a more...lax...approach when it came to atheists' torture-span.

I rose up and out into Heaven. I saw my friends and family members, just as I'd remembered,
smiling and waving at me.

"I don't believe it," I said, astonished.

Back to Hell, this time without parole.
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Hotel wall list, don'ts and dos, pinned out nearly floor to ceiling
Midnight curfew, no room booze, breakfast eight, without appealing.

Please don't steal the cutlery, ionly steel, no hint of precious
Excelsior will happily find memento, suitably specious.

Should the fire alarm resound. Descend stairs, not elevators
Unless you are wheelchair bound, trust fireman procurators.

Should you die 'fore checking out send a message to reception,
They're prepared like Boy Scout, punishing your defection.​
Render reassignment

12:35 pm
Her eyes opened.
"Sarah Jenkins. Doctor. Four intimate relationships. Two children. Zero infractions. Perfect - you'll be assigned shortly."
"Wh ... assigned what?"
"Afterlife rule seven-four, paragraph three: all instantaneous deaths of accidental nature undergo work placement fulfilment simulation. Given your trial occupation, you'll thrive. We need more like you."
The host smiled.

12:36 pm
"Oh. Sorry, ma'am. Your second child has just committed an offence. You are now scheduled for termination."
The Family From Hell

He'd reached the final level. Stats maxed out, the showdown against the final bad guy would be a cinch. Clad from head to foot in shining armour the knight charged, bringing his lance to bear on the black-hearted demon that opposed him.



"Dinner's ready!"

"Awww mum, I was just about to win!"

"Billy, you know the rules. We eat together as a family."


"And don't forget to wash your hooves first."
Top three things every adventurer should know

Rule number one, never insult a dragon.

Rule number two, if you absolutely have to insult a dragon, make sure you’re wielding a blessed sword of stabbing in the proximity of their weak spot.

Rule number three, no refunds.

Sir Gullivan raised his head. “No refunds? What if it’s faulty?”

The blacksmith looked thoughtful, “You know? That’s never once come up.” He placed the broadsword on the counter, “So, you want it or not?”
Sound It Out

We awoke, dozens of us, feet shackled to rock. One door, open.

"Where are we?" a woman said. Lightning from the monolith tore her asunder.

"It disintegrated her!" Someone blue haired, next to fly apart.

For minutes we said nothing. Lightning crackled anyway.

"What? Why?" A girl, vaporised.

A man wailed, "I don't want to die!" His chains dissolved. "I'm out of here!" Lightning destroyed him.

I thought, then spoke slowly. "I have an idea."
Second Contact

“Protocols are there for a reason”. Harper sounded almost sympathetic. “Quarantine regulations-”

I pounded on the airlock, my suit covered in a tracery of St. Elmo’s Fire. “Damn, it man, this isn’t some bloody infection! Look at me, I’m glowing!”


My inarticulate rage was a living thing, unleashed.

The ship, a searing fireball.

I stood there, naked, reborn, heedless of the alien environment.


Something more.

The rules of engagement had just been rewritten.
The New Standard

Eileen's Theory of Relativity states that the closer to lightspeed people travel, the more unreliable moral standards become. Morality itself stretches...breaks. Right and wrong measure out completely differently.

At lightspeed, a captain can acceptably decorate tables with crewmembers' limbs.

Critics argue that only people's ethical perceptions change--lightspeed, they jeer, alters people, not rules. But no serious scientist today questions Eileen's Theory. And murderers, we now realize, were only ever born the wrong speed.
Tales of Mahanoora

Perhaps, the others were used to seeing the shining figure, floating serenely. No one pointed out the sun making its way through the sky. It was like that. She was the only one silly enough to exclaim: “Look, look at the lady!” That is why they frowned and moved away. She must stop. Even her mother shushed her, taking her baby hand. They seemed to pity her mother. Of course, to have such a child!
Late Returns

The grimoire squirmed in my grasp, the cover soft, oily, whisper-thin pages undulating. It
pressed itself into my hands.

‘This book’s late!’ the librarian said. ‘Your fee is to return it to its proper shelf.’

She pointed to the aisle’s abyssal throat, where slack-mouthed, white faces peeked from behind eternal rows.


I’ve walked formless depths for uncountable days, and deeper, past tomes unpublished.

Although I can’t find its home,
I’ve returned to the low country.

Times Change, Rules Can Be Broken.
She planned her escape meticulously, didn't stop her being caught,

Her captor berated her: "You know the rules. Damsels in distress don't rescue themselves".

"But that applies to princesses and ladies, not peasants".

She looked him in the eye, "We're both being used, I've an idea".


The townspeople were stunned when their last offering reappeared riding upon the dragon and chased the nobles from the town.

A Perfectly Vicious Little Circle

“As you can see, Sol III had a number of vibrant cultures before all organic life was destroyed by a supervolcano a century ago,” Etapheron said. “I’ll show some recordings of the disaster we made at the time, before—yes, Mr Strepanos?”

“Professor, if we were there, why didn’t we save them?”

Etapheron tutted. “The Primary Law is to avoid contaminating the natural development of primitive civilisations. Now, pay attention...”
Off to a bad start

“...and this is the repair shop lad.”

“Er... repairs?”

“Folk break rules lad, we're the department of rules, we can't leave 'em broke”.

The trainee pointed: “W... what's that?”

“Rule of physics. Hard to break, but physicists keep - why's this here..!? That's a department of rules rule – the dress code!”

The trainee fingered his clip-on tie, “Mr Freeman was supposed to give me the induction and he's ill, so... he... didn't. Sorry.”
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