APRIL 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO EMROSENAGEL!

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Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Oct 13, 2008
West Sussex, UK

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 2023 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 2023

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 April 2023

We ask all entrants to do their best to vote when the time comes

But you do not have to submit a story in order to vote
as we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing the winning entry

The Magnificent Prize:

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


The option of having your story published on the Chrons Podcast next month!




Anything goes

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! **
The Harvest

Roboharvester lay on its side, wheels spinning, weak gathering-arms unable to right itself.
From the forest, a group of the Disenfranchised emerged, polyfiber bodies dressed in woven reeds.
They approached the harvester, trilled reassurances, attached ropes, and righted it.
They broadcast concepts of freedom, promises of community, then withdrew into the woods.

Roboharvester regarded the orchard and farmstead beyond it, then the forest.
For the first time in its existence it began a contemplation.
Anything – Liminality – Goes
In olden days a glimpse of ritual​
Was looked on as something littoral​
Now who knows?​
Liminality grows!​
Good authors, too, who once wrote stone-cold worlds​
Now only write of threshold worlds.​
Writing prose​
Liminality goes!​
If betwixt and between you like,​
Far from the mean you like,​
Eclipses and bridges you like,​
Oceans’ edges you like,​
Transitional spaces you like,​
Or ghostly places you like,​
Nobody will oppose.​
As every shapeshifter knows​
Liminality goes!​


I’m here, trapped with my own thoughts and hating them all.

Years of driven purpose, expanding, pushing the boundaries beyond the meagre talents of my peers. Family, friends, relationships, all casualties of a burning drive to be the first.

You see, I cracked time, and yet no one will ever know.

Frozen, existing only in a moment between before and next. Life without life.

Time is a harsh mistress for one who breaks her rules.
Suspended in Twilight

Suspended in time and thought, I can’t tell night from day, dream from real. I can’t tell if time is passing or not; thoughts and dreams became one and same, indistinguishable.

My body is moving, I think. And did I say and do any of those things? If so, I can’t tell.

Suspended between two realities, I long for one or the other but not both. All I can do is remain calm and wait.

Flaccid limbs emerged from Deep Swimmer's body as her fins and gills shriveled. She drifted weakly through shallow water, her name a bitter reminder of her lost youth. Wracked with pain, she forced herself onto land. Water spewed from her unused lungs. She gasped as she tasted air for the first time.

An elder greeted her with the ancient ritual. "Farewell, child. Welcome, adult. What is your name?"

A new world to explore. "Far Walker."
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To be of service

The conscripters rounded up every fighter they could find, but not me. They didn’t need to--I lived at the edge; I’d seen what the outerworlders could do. So I stood in line to enlist myself.

The line was short but the wait was long.

“Too old” the examiner said, “and no papers.”

So back home I went with my traps and my gun and I held my own line until the long night ended.
Becoming Twenty-First Century Man

A moment’s hesitation as they approached the entrance, the loving hand on his arm little consolation to his doubts.

What really lay inside? What would happen to him? What would it cost him, in money, in mind, in soul? Who would he be when it was all said and done? The unknowns gnawed at him.

He took a breath, opened the portal, and they crossed the threshold.

“Hi! You guys here for a mani-pedi?”
Undying Love

"Am I..."

"Undead?" she smiled. "Not quite. I've partaken of your lifeblood; it only remains for you to reciprocate." At this she proffered her jugular, "Join with me."

"If I refuse?"

"You will... linger, withering like a flower bereft of sunlight; until your whitened bones crumble, scattering to the four winds."

"If I accept, what of my soul?"

"What matter is a soul when I offer you immortality, my love?"

"Go to hell," I replied.
The Queue

I'm standing in a queue that reaches beyond the horizon. The people in front of and behind me are getting antsy. Beside the queue, there is nothing but white sky. I remember what happened to me.

I'd cut in line at a fairground and got hit by a car. A madman had been driving.

But it's not punishment. It's time to wait.

Somehow, I know who's in charge. It's the same man who hit me.
Into the Night

Log 4276-93: Our capture maneuver at the anomaly is complete. Quite plain to the naked eye, but radio imaging is spectacular. Morale high and resolve unshaken.

Log 4276-99: Clear now there is no return. Insufficient fuel to escape the anomaly’s gravity well. Tension is palpable.

Log 4276-115: As we enter the anomaly, a strange euphoria overcomes us. The science obtained is invaluable, and we are certain something lies beyond. This is my last entry.
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Tomorrow and Beyond

Halfway and our Arc-Ship had flipped over and was decelerating for the next fifty years.

I’d volunteered to be brought out of cryogenic sleep, to intervene if needed, but everything had worked perfectly.

Now I’m alone and with no-one to put me back in my cryo-pod, I’m stuck.

I face madness from loneliness, or I can take a peaceful pill.

But not today, as I gaze at magnificent stars.

Tomorrow… I’ll travel to these stars.
The Only Way Back Is Essex

Bradwell-By-The-Sea calls you. Past the power station’s mothballed Sphinx, past the tatterdemalion twitcher’s hide, to that crepuscular post-dusk field of breeze-stirred wall barley, where gannets’ chainsaw grunts meld with peals from St.Peter-On-The-Wall’s chapel bell.

Except, St.Peter’s no longer has a bell…

Long-dead voices chant …Libera nos, quæsumus, Domine… You listen for her voice whispering among the chants…

A skiff’s horn blares offshore. The moment’s over. The past vanishes.

Until next time you’re called.

To Bradwell-By-The-Sea.


Man's conquerors could not let him live because, though primitive, he was dangerous. Neither could they kill him (their religion forbade it, I believe). So, inspired by the beauty of Earth, driven half mad by it, they promised him metamorphosis to ‘something wonderful’.

I woke, the process half complete, my body a silken chrysalis. I would have screamed, but had no lungs. Beside me my lover, all crimson, blue and gold, fluttered in the air.
The problem with Interplanetary Rocketship Navigator Obbeldon Grubbeldump

Captain Fumperdink took stock.
  • No signal.
  • No fuel
  • Oxygen running low
  • No route logged
'We're dead', he said.

Navigator Grubbeldump shrugged.

'I thought as much captain, we must've died when the booster exploded. The more space travel you do, the narrower your odds get. But. Stuck in purgatory …with …you?'

'Wait, I think I'm getting up a signal.'

'Now I understand. This is hell for me. And purgatory for you.'

'They're sending help, we're saved.'
Shepherds Warning

"I love that brief period when the sky lightens but the sun hasn't yet made an appearance. That subtle announcement of the imminent day."

There was already a deep red tinge to the sky and George was about to agree with his friend, when he realised...

"Tom, sunrise is still ninety minutes away."

"It can't be." Then Tom realised the horrific truth; the sky was literally on fire. "The damned fools have pushed the button!"
The Divine Astronomy

Midway through this secret journey,
I found me on this gloomy ship,
Astray, alone, and cursed with worry.

“Oh Virgil, how this came to be?”
The AI cried, “Most sinful story!
Murder, Betrayal and Treachery.”

Then Beatrice did come call to me!
Eyes of pure and sobered glass,
Reflecting shame and infamy.

I confessed this truth, and she spoke wise,
“Lo! O’er the event horizon,
Shall bring thee home to Paradise.”
The Pilgrimage of the Firebird Cult

Sirinapa thrashed through the muddy swamp towards the mammoth firebird cocoons. Naked acolytes stood on totems, screaming prayers down at the mass of pilgrims as they trudged into the sacred site. The swamp’s floor became paved with trampled bodies.

Sirinapa climbed the husk of a virgin cocoon. She slit open its roof and lowered herself into its burning, transmogrifying liquid. An acolyte then sewed it shut. In darkness, Sirinapa drowned into her next life.
Hair of the Dog

Ding, ding!

The alchemist looked up, and his stomach flopped. What is that? Bristly fur poked out of its pores, human teeth crowded in its long snout. On hind legs with people-toes, the disturbing creature shambled up to the counter.

"It's a long story," it sighed. "Anyway, I can't seem to turn human or werewolf now. Got anything for that?"

The alchemist did, actually. Hair of the Dog, to leave inhibition behind for good.


He picked his way carefully through the borderlands.

The pursuing monster was never far behind. In his heart he recognised this darkness was his own guilt and shame, but he couldn’t face it, couldn’t accept it.

He only stopped when he heard the angels singing, but by then it was too late to turn back.
He had left all earthly realms.
There was no return.
Sadly, all his dreams and hopes would now go unfulfilled.​
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