MAY 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO JOHNNYJET!

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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 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 May 2023

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 May 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!




Science Fiction or Fantasy

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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The Cure

Years of progress can be achieved in a few minutes.

-- editorial, The Journal of Virtual Reality Therapy, May 2073

Jacqueline climbed the stairs, counting every one.

Four billion, three hundred eighty-seven million, seven hundred twenty-one thousand, two hundred fifty-four. Done!

Doctor Chandra lifted the helmet from the young woman's head. "How do you feel?"

"I am no longer a slave to my counting compulsion."

"Excellent! Any other questions?"

"Yes. Can we do that again?
The Final Piece

With patience and skill, she applied the last touch of makeup to the doll that would complete her collection. Hair, dress, every detail was perfect as nanobots took control of its delicate body.

A music box played ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies’ as she sat posed and motionless in the elegant room surrounded by her obsession. As the final piece to her life’s work, she began living in their world of porcelain dreams.
The Riverbank

He went, aged seventy, back to that riverbank and lay in the sun feeling the grass beneath his back by the babbling river, as he had as a child.

He so wanted that moment back, that realisation that he was alive. The infusing of his young body with all the sensual embrace of an infinitely benign summer world.

But his joints ached, cataracts blurred the trees, birdsong was faint , and he cried.
A Clowder of Conspirators

I did everything with my cat, Mischief. I had to follow her one night as she took her promenade. There was an ivy-clad back door on my neighbor's house that opened upon touch. Once inside, I couldn't believe my eyes. Scratching posts and litter for miles.

Mischief informed the cat king that I was her slave. The king responded that all slaves must be fixed. Out came my neighbor, brandishing a pair of garden shears.
Beta Polari

A curious child watches a little speck in the night sky, a distant sun shimmering in the vastness, one amongst billions.

On to a military career, captain of an interplanetary spaceship, an advanced degree in physics. And dedicated to be the first beyond our solar system.

Now, frozen in stasis, traveling light years into the future towards that flickering light, never again to see another human.

Some call it obsession. She calls it discovery.

The cost​

First, many animals. Easy.
Then, several strangers. Difficult.
Some acquaintances, a few friends, and then, his truest friend. Gut-wrenching.
Then, his wife. Are there even words for such?
Then, one by one, his children. Each a lifetime's agony condensed into a few days.
Now, the last one, and, if he were honest, his most beloved - his youngest girl.
At least he will have an entire eternity to find a way to forgive himself.

Disguising himself as a human, Silas visited earth to live amongst the fascinating earthlings.

By applying his intelligence, Silas climbed the ranks of many fields. He published breakthrough papers in analytical chemistry, and even won the Nobel for his civil engineering work.

At the end of his life, the humans considered him a success. Yet Silas considered himself a failure.

He thought that if he excelled at the things humans did, they would like him.
That Boy from Beta Prime

I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.
I love that boy from Beta Prime.

I love that boy from Beta Prime.
The Toad Who Desired a Prince

"The royal frogger," announced the herald.

A small, bug-eyed man skipped over the multifarious amphibians that hopped in his path. He clutched a golden coffer.

The princess leaned forward, expectant. "Well?"

"Your Highness, I must warn—"

"At last, my prince!" She threw open the coffer, lifted the two-toned toad, and mwah!

Disappointingly, the creature still lounged in her hands. Hands that seemed huskier than before. And hairy. "Something feels off," the new prince remarked.
All the Difference

It was after the divorce that Bob looked back on his life and realized where it all went wrong. Rehashing late-night debates with Carol of philosophy and physics, before they spent all their time in separate labs, and that one fateful walk in the fall woods.

After decades of all-consuming work he was back at that day, that time, that place where the grassy, leaf-strewn paths diverged.

Time to choose again.

Which was it?
Violent Delights

"I cannot live without you," he declared, gazing into her eyes.

"I know, master," she responded.

"Is that it!?"

What would you like me to say?"

"Fembot!" he snarled, slapping her face, crimson fluid appearing at the corner of her mouth. "Show some emotion."

"As you command," she replied, hands caressing his neck; then squeezing, squeezing, until his eyes were as lifeless as hers, the barely perceptible curl of a smile on her blooded lips.
Who do you think taught us how not to be seen?

The report was delivered directly; all hands lost, last communication indicating grail not at location.

This lunacy had come to define the Emperor’s reign. Constant exploration across the stars, thousands dead from all sorts of avoidable interstellar mishaps, quadrillions of credits spent.

Trillions looking to him for leadership and he focused on “wisdom” from the Imperial Archaeological Vault, wisdom privy only to him.

Just who the hell was the prophet Monty of House Python, anyways?
Barnacle Blues

The Singer awoke. Crazy groupie Missy was gone. Normal. A large growth on his thigh. Not normal.

The doctor said, "We'll do a biopsy."

It wasn't cancer. Still, it was annoying. It caused wardrobe complications, forcing him to wear flowing garments like Stevie Nicks.

Later, wallowing in alcohol, he heard a raspy voice.

"I'm your biggest fan." The growth pulsed. "I'll always be with you."

He crumpled to the floor.

Crazy Missy's exact words.

I saw you walking in the dark, so slipped behind your footsteps for a while.

Just like in the song that circles and circles in my head.

I know everything about you, your vulnerabilities, and all the bases are covered.

You live your life, oblivious to the cocoon I provide, just as it should be.

No one who gets close stays the course, I see to that.

I’ll protect you, my love.

Even from yourself.

At eight, his bed sat him upright.

He slid into his wheelchair, which ferried him to the conservatory where a food trolley served breakfast.

The chair then delivered him to the wet room, to shower and shave.

He dozed in filtered sunlight until midday, then ate in the virtual room with his great grandchildren.

As always, at sunset, the Nurse appeared, and asked him the question.

And he told it where to go, as always.
Merely a passing fantasy

I could give up writing if there were some reason to. It's not essential to my existence, like reading.

But why bother? Who am I disturbing? Parson with my occasional 'cats? Maybe if I sent all of them at once?

My dragon-loving grandnephew? It's not as if I forced him or anyone else to read my dragons, so his are hardly my responsibility.

Meanwhile, imagination keeps me occupied.

Merely a harmless delusion.
Obsessive Persuasive Disorder

'Luath, this is Kinnegad, launch is GO.'

'Copy' ...did I leave the gas hob on?

'Luath, Kinnegad, liftoff at three minutes.'

...I had eggs for breakfast, but did I turn it off?

'Luath, Kinnegad, do you copy?'

'Copy' must be off.

'Sullivan, your BP is 140, BPM 186, is everything okay?'

'Roger' ...I think it’s off.

'Luath, Kinnegad, Thrust is GO, all engines.'

It might be on... 'Kinnegad, Luath, abort mission, press to ATO.'

Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past​

Even through the rebreather, he could almost smell the history. Hands trembling, he sheathed the laser trowel and selected his favourite tool.

“A brush, Professor? You’re so digital.”

“Somethings, Miss Avery, cannot be improved upon. If I’m right, our bioweapons faculty will pay handsomely for this.”

As he caressed the dirt from the container, a golden liquid swirled within.

“Between love and madness comes Obsession,” he said in reverence.

“Who’s Calvin Klein?” asked Miss Avery.
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The Obsidian

I joined the Obsidian for an eleven month jaunt to Cerberus and only got back yesterday, three years later. On our return journey we detoured to the Sigma system to hunt giant moss worms, a common enough diversion for an empty freighter. But it was one particular worm our commander was after, a fearsome white thing with crooked fangs.

Sneaking into the hanger, I paint over the ship’s name with my remaining arm; Obs..ession!
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