JULY 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO THERAPIST!

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The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
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RULES

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


WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM

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 July 2023

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 July 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


AND

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


Theme:

RISK

Genre:

Gaslamp 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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BigJ

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Imagination on vacation, please ring back later

His quill hovered over the page, the small room silent save for the beat of tiny wings.

“I’m, a, muse. I’m amused!”

Whisky was a bad idea.

“How long until your host realizes you can still write stories if he turns you?”

Whisky was definitely a bad idea.

“I just need seventy-five words, please.”

“Gamble, peril, endanger, liability . . . “

“A seventy-five word story!”

“You should get a proper lamp, that candle is so last year.”
 

THX1138

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Land Locked Ocean Dream
Take It If You Can

“What’s this then? A forgotten steamer?”

“I’d leave it be, porter. Ain’t worth the risk.”

“Who’s stopping me?”

“Ain’t paid to stop nobody. But I’d let it be if I was you.”

“Thought so. And you ain’t me!” He gestured.

Firey gold shapes and symbols formed when he grabbed the steamer. Found unworthy, he vanished.

“I get paid a bob for warning you.” I said, tipping my hat with a smile. “Right, who’s next?”
 
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Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
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The Vivisectionists in the Fog

She regarded the paperwork: her deceased husband's estate – her chance for modest widowhood – liquidated to purchase this gymnasium.
But she'd needed to make amends. Horrors lived in his recovered diary … we'd hunt those travelling alone at night

Her helper dumped blocks of dry ice into water. Mist billowed forth, and throughout the gymnasium.

"Ladies, pair up. Have whistles and truncheons ready. My boy will stalk the fogbound pairs of you.
"Be merciless in your self-defence."
 
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Guttersnipe

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Cocagne
Joie de Vivre

The crystal ball was now foggier than London itself. The fortune teller was chanting under her breath.

"When you die," she said, "it will be as if a weight has been lifted off everyone's shoulders. You will be mourned, then promptly forgotten."

Figures swirled within the opalescent sphere.

"Think I'll go now," I said.

"Do you seek to live, risking your relationships?"

"Life's a risk," was all I said.
 

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
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Mrs Hyde

She entered his study, nursing a swollen cheek and bloodied lip. Many times she had sworn it would be the last; this time she meant it. Staggering home from his club, would he discern the acrid smell before lighting one of his hateful cheroots? Can a monster be destroyed by fire? That was a chance she would have to take. Turning up the gas lamp before extinguishing the flame, she prepared for his imminent return.
 
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Abernovo

Transcontinental intergalactic tea drinker
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Offices on Earth, Haumea, and at Galactic Core.
A Judgement of Jeopardy

Isobel limped home, as street lamps were being doused, and a week-long haar lifted misty tendrils from Old Aberdeen.

Maìri helped Isobel inside. "What happened, love?"

"A Burker attacked a sìdh the other night. She killed him, but I couldn't chance his depraved soul becoming a revenant."

"Instead, you dug him up and chanced the cemetery guards killing you!"

Maìri dabbed a cloth at her wife's shoulder.

Isobel winced. "It was a worthwhile hazard."
 

Luiglin

Getting worse one day at a time
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Mercia, UK

A game of global domination

The board filled the great hall; a miniature landscape in all its topographical glory. Cities and towns sat, denoted by flags that waved to a non-existant wind. Lands shaded in national colours, their borders sparkling silver.

The two generals stood, contemplating their positions.

Bonaparte drew out a pair of sapphire encrusted die from beneath his coat, blew on them and tossed.

Elsewhere, the French fey host began their march across the fields of Waterloo.
 

genelewis

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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tea Ceremony

“I know the expression,” said Lord Marbury. “With great risk comes great reward.”

“Not quite,” replied Lord Kensington. “For me, the risk is the reward.”

With a flourish, Kensington finished his design poured in lines of scarlet sand – a seven-pointed star, a cup, and other symbols that it strained the mind to comprehend.

“Now,” he said, as black flames sprouted all around, “prepare to enjoy the best tea of your mortal life.”
 

Peter V

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London
A Dutchman in London

“Godverdamme” Abraham curses, realizing he is too late to save the woman.

The creature turns, hissing, then screams as Abraham plunges a sharpened stake into its chest.

Its scream dies on undead lips as it turns to vapour.

Abraham looks at the unfortunate victim. Not yet mutilated, puncture wounds clearly visible on her neck. Regretfully, he takes his knife and slashes at the teeth marks, hiding the evidence.

The Ripper would not take a sixth.
 

Phyrebrat

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In your bedroom wardrobe...
The Untouchable

Cupid loosed a poison-tipp’d arrow; loving me causes The Bloom.

Foggy streets cloak my shame; the mantel clock a metronome marking my regrets; paraffin fills the study with its lambent vapour.

Can love cure the incurable? Will my kiss make her as the guttering lamp flame that fails; will she flicker and die? Will it be a death sentence, or an act of valour?

She pulls me to her breast. ‘Love cures all.’

Valour, then.
 

Rjalex

How do you throw a space party? You planet.
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Southern Tasmania
Engine In The Sky

Sarah, in top hat and heeled boots, is walking past gears and steam when from the shadows creep blackguards. She

knows she must fight, but she only has a small vial. She knows the risk of using it, but she throws it anyway. The vial

shatters on the cobble-stones, and a cloud of smoke rises up. The brutes are frozen in time.


Transcending her body, she joins the engine in the sky.
 
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Victoria Silverwolf

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Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
La Belle Époque

Infiltrating the Académie Thaumaturgique, forbidden to females, whilst en travesti was a dangerous enterprise; but Violette Duprey was the boldest bas bleu in Paris. She was disappointed to discover it was a dreary place, full of old men exchanging exaggerated memories of sorcery performed at the Battle of Mont Saint-Jean. She left after an hour, returned to her pied-a-terre, and drank a glass of Bordeaux in celebration of the centenarian Emperor's conquest of Asia.
 

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
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The Netherlands
A Harrowing Experience in the Hailed Thames Tunnel (London, 1848)

Midnight. Pressing matters prompted me to traverse the Tunnel, thereby saving time. I cautiously - my age! - descended the stairs, only to find a Tunnel poorly lit by gaslights. Whole sections - measuring 30 strides or so - remained obscured. Though apparently deserted, the corridor was filled with a rustling of indeterminable origin.
Perhaps, after midnight, this shortcut…
I turned, and was confronted by a harrowing sight; angry ghosts - murder victims! - of people drowned in the river above.
 

johnnyjet

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Pennsylvania
Icarus in Ruffles and Lace

Lady Annette smirked. Men scrambled around the smoking fragments. She approached her fretting grease-stained husband.

"Don't despair, William. We learn from failure."

"We were so hopeful."

"Steam-powered flying machines will someday fill the skies."

"Imagine flying over London in your ruffles and lace."

Walking home, she secretly hoped they'd abandon the project.

Dusk loomed. Taking a risk she might be seen, Lady Annette unfurled her wings and soared high above the belching chimneys.
 

Bowler1

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High Wycombe
Jack the Rippers last night, a sad tale of Mutilation and Suffering

Hours of waiting in the shadows while searching for that perfect victim. A woman, drunk was best – and finally… there she was, plying her trade from a dark lane.

Excitement, sexual anticipation, and a maniacal urge to risk it all again left Jack breathless.

He moved quickly with his favorite blade and stabbed and stabbed.

She smiled with sharp teeth and grabbed his arm with vice like strength, ‘how nice… you brought your own knife.’
 

AnRoinnUltra

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Better the Devil you don't know

Wind whipped across barren fields.
Carrying a banshee's wail.
Through empty streets and homes.
And into a damp room.
Where the last inhabitant was sitting.
  • Hungry
  • Hopeless
  • Emaciated
  • Exhausted
A knock followed the wailing.

'Tár isteach Diabhal', hissed Bríd.

A creature hesitated, then opened the door.

'Are you not afraid child? I'm here to claim your soul.'

Bríd pointed outside to the starved ghost of a townland.
And laughed.

'I'll take my chances', she said.
 

Simbelmynë

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Mar 14, 2019
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117
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Birmingham, UK
Celtic Twilight

A veiled woman conversed with the proprietor of 'Yeats' Celtic Curiosities'. She pointed to a jar of formaldehyde in which floated a wizened, elfin-eyed babe.

'Perhaps “imprisoning” such remnants of faerie was dangerous,' Yeats assented, 'risky. But I only wish to preserve what risks being forgotten.'

The woman lifted her veil. A scream burst from her preternaturally widened mouth, answered by shattering glass. Once Yeats had recovered his senses both woman and babe were gone.
 

JS Wiig

“Hello, muse?” “Please hold…” *elevator music*
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Night Patrol

A little girl out of place feeling no fear,
Wanders a dark alleyway.
Unsavory goons emerge to pounce,
Clubs held at the ready.
Realizing too late her black magic intentions,
Bone dust piles mark their demise.

Then a flick of her wrist the street is lit,
Evening shadows suppressed by flame.
By warm gas light and in long wool coats,
The dinner crowd mills about.
Knowing not who conflagrated the lamps,
Safe in ignorance nevertheless.
 

therapist

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Jan 2, 2021
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Alexander

Alexander watched Harriet from across the ballroom. She’d never dance with an ugly lowborn loser like myself.

But perhaps tonight she’ll reconsider…


From his tailcoat pocket he removed the potion. The hedge witch said whomever drank it would love him unconditionally. Mixing it into a flute of champagne, he approached Harriet.

‘Is that for me, sir?’ she asked.

‘Apologies m’lady.’ Alexander knocked back the champagne. ‘Just needed some confidence before I asked you to dance.’
 
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