OCTOBER 2021 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO BETOK_HANEY!

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Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Dec 9, 2012
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

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 h

The complete rules can be found at

Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 23 October 2021
Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 October 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 November's theme and genre





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 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! **

Ghosts woke him nearly every night, their countenances distorted by his own despair and frustration. Every face he remembered, a brutal decision between life and death that had to be made.

Many more could have been saved, but there were too many sick and not enough healers. He drowned false regret behind dry tears; each decision resulting in death had been made with purest intent.

And because he remembered, their souls were not truly lost.
At Norton Grange

They were all prisoners once, and prisoners they remain. Each in their own way. A cook to a tyrannous master; an urchin caught stealing; a wronged wife of a loveless marriage.

The place hums past injustice like a struck tuning fork. The memories have gone, yet still they linger in the scratches in the woodwork and the sighing of its timbers.

Into the future, impressions on time’s film serve their sentence. No chance of parole.

Since childhood, I have been able to perceive the departed. They outnumber the living, drifting among them unseen. As a girl, I mistook them for patches of fog, or drifting smoke from unseen fires; vague, shapeless, translucent blurrings of vision. Now I know them for what they are, and I understand why they are less common than before. Death is claiming fewer victims, and someday He will cease His harvests.
The Suicide Room

1931. Outside the Ludsthorpe Inn. Mr. Banks checked his watch.

"He's gone," he told Mr. Crooks.

"No," said Crooks, "Here he comes now."

Mr. Naughton walked gravely towards them.

"You survived. You're the first."

Naughton held out his hand. Crooks gave him the promised $500.

"I've seen terrible things," said Naughton.

Suddenly, he turned and walked back to the inn.

"Where are you going?" they asked.

"Home," Naughton replied.

He passed through the closed door.
Reference Point

The Universe coalesces around me, glittering and shadowed. Familiar patterns evolve. Life emerges from hollows on a thousand worlds, and dies in hollows on a thousand more; stars collapse, galaxies collide. Threaded through it is the trace of the path my ship took into this black hole.

I sought death. How could I have survived the event horizon?

”You didn’t” said my granddaughter, clapping her hands. “We’re all here now, children. Shall we begin?”
A Change in Focus

“He would want you to, sweetie. Go ahead, you’ll see.”

“Why, Mom?” Brooks asked. “Dad never let me use the Polaroid before he died. He was always so weird about it.”

“It will make you feel better, I promise.”

Brooks sighed, raised the camera, and snapped her picture.

As Brooks stared in awe at the developing photograph, a smile crept across his face.

There, beside his mother, stood his father, smiling back at him.
The Rooms at Night

I was staying with my widowed father when he finally passed.
He’d needed help living until he could die.

He’d been a man immune to imagination.
When he’d said he saw nightly
apparitions roaming his house, I (a terrified atheist) listened,
reasoning if spirits existed, death wasn’t final.

I’ve moved into our home, and at night wander its rooms.
My family haunts every corner, phantasms of memory.
I’d trade these nostalgias for one real ghost.
Be patient, it may be you.

It starts slowly, muddled thoughts, a name forgotten, misplaced items. People we knew gradually disappear, replaced by shades of their former selves.

You need to listen, not sigh, never correct, always agree. Sometimes they know you, sometimes not. They think you’re their siblings, parents. Random children are you.

Let them speak of times gone by. If you listen carefully the ghosts of the past will come to life.
Doomed to Repeat

The Ghost of the Past advised his mates – Present and Future, on how to conduct their affairs.

Future said, “It’s clear that Present can’t see beyond his own nose, but Past, you’re too darn nostalgic.”

Present joined in the ribbing. “Past, Future is uncertain of everything, but even he knows, you’ve no sense for the times.”

Past, recoiled at their arrogance. “Fine then. Ignore my lessons!”

Present snickered smugly. Future, following his lead, chuckled nervously.

Braith rolled out of bed, dripping sweat. He’d seen the old man again, withered, wistful, snared to a pitiful existence like prize game in a trap. He’d watched that same bright child bawl at the suffering and sensed once more the presence ruminating quietly in the shadows. They were all him… and so many others besides.

Later that morning, former pastor Councillor Braith Carney attended the assisted dying conscience vote, his mind finally made up.

Next day, they made off with his motorised bed and medical monitor, and all the paraphernalia that had sustained him.

They emptied the room.

"Best delete the monitoring app," they advised.

For weeks, the app had animated each breath and heartbeat, storing everything.

Late evening, she discovered its audio feature.

She lay there, replaying his chat.

Next morning, she contacted them. "If I delete your app, can I keep the audio recordings?"

"Recordings? What recordings?"
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night at the White House.

The apparition speaks. “Remember him, Mr. President?”

A monochrome, flickering scene appears – a man descending a ladder against a desolate backdrop.

“Er, Aldrin?”

“Close. But this one you’ll know.”

A view of the Mars Colony. He glances at a document awaiting his signature. Mars Colonisation Project – Withdrawal of Funding.

“However, this will be new to you.”

He shields his eyes from the glare as an expanding Sun envelops the Earth.

He pushes the document aside...
Best Friends

I watch as the Veritipath takes his position at the Entropy Jump Drive interface.

“Captain Gaius”

“Have we met?” I ask

“We are best friends, will be, have been, are about to be” He buckles in.

“Sure. How does this jump go? I ask wryly

“Normally it's quite calamitous ”

“what?!” panic raising in my voice

“I wonder are ghosts the past or do we have to die first? Have you ever wondered?”

“Wait! Stop!”

Just so ya know

‘When I die, I don’t want ye carrying my body into the church so a priest can spout stupid sh*te like that fella just did.’

‘You won’t have a choice, and anyway it’ll be for us to decide at that stage.’

‘Well then, if ye do that ...I’ll haunt the lot of ye.’

‘What do you mean, how will ya haunt us?’

‘I’ll turn up at funerals and remind ye not to do it.’
Looking Past the Present

“It’s okay talking to mum as if she’s still here but you can always talk to me.” The pain of losing Sarah was bad enough, but every day John’s heart broke anew at his daughter’s lack of acceptance.

“But she is here dad.” Milly picked up her school bag and waved goodbye. “I just wish you could see her too.”

Closing the door, John turned to regard his wife.

“You have to move on darling.”
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An overheard remark on the delayed train.

"This can't be real."

A suppressed memory flashed through Sondra's mind and she realised in a moment that she had already lived, on Zeta-3.
Surfed the waves of glowing gas, birthed a hundred children, spiralled upward, flying round her planet with the swarm, eating bliss jewels.

Earth was not real life at all. She had died on Zeta and this was purgatory.
The stage before the Great Love.


The dog sat, tongue lolling, a genial idiot grin on his face.

The man raised himself up on the bed, one hand clutching the rail, the other cupping his well-worn face.

“Hey there, old buddy, old pal. I knew you wouldn’t miss this trip.”

“Friends don’t quit,” said the dog.

"You know what, Scoob? I can already taste those chocolate-covered hot dogs," said the man, as he lay back and closed his eyes.
Containment of Evil

“What’s in there?”

“My grandfather said it’s the spirit of a dead creature from another world.”

“Can I see it?”

“I don’t know.”


“Course not.”

“Then open the door.”




“What’s the matter, Linus?”

“Lucy and I opened Grandpa Charlie’s vault. This big cylinder leaked green gas. Lucy smelled it, then became huge and horrible looking. She’s outside eating our cows.”

“Good grief! We’ll talk about this later. I’ll get my plasma rifle.”
The wall

I see light. Then a woman, dressed strangely.

“Raissa, is it you?” she asks.

I nod. The woman starts crying and points.

There’s a wall, full of pictures. On top, I see Alexei and Mikhail, grown.

“They lived.”

“Yes, Baba. And their children, and their children’s children. You saved us all”

Now we are both crying. I reach out. I cannot touch her, but I share her space. It is enough.

We have outlived them.
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