SEPTEMBER 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- CONGRATULATIONS TO PHYREBRAT!

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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 September 2023

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




Speculative Fiction

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! **


Dozens of cameras the size of wasps hover around Anton as he walks home. He swats at them from time to time, a useless gesture of rebellion that the Ministry tolerates; its eyes are too swift and agile to be harmed by mere human hands. Other pedestrians pretend not to stare at the man marked as lawbreaker under constant surveillance. Anton counts the months until his sentence is over. He swears never to jaywalk again.
Even the Sighted Are Blind

Gerald's mother had willed him millions to purchase state-of-the-art synthetic eyes. He'd been born blind, and the eyes' advent had come late for her. The operation complete, the doctors told him to "take it easy." Pshaw! He would see all there was to see. He ran into the streets, sun-augmented colors dancing before him.

Gerald hadn't listened to the doctors' warning about looking at the sun; the solar eclipse was the last thing he saw.

Your thoughts shape your vision. You see what you choose to see”. Or so we’re told.

Looking at myself in the mirror, a forbidden item, eye to eye I saw the emptiness they convinced me of. But looking deeper I saw something forgotten, something of hope and strength. Determination.

I was not convinced, but the deeper I looked the truer it became.

Willing is not enough, we must do.”

Now to put it into practice.


The temple echoed with his sobs.

“Peace, Erul, your daughter has been chosen by the Gods.”

“Gods be damned. She’s only four.”

“Take care with your tongue. Their understanding and mercy are not boundless.”

Beyond, a priest turned from a forge, sizzling white-hot metal firm in gloved hand.

The brand descended.

His daughter’s scream mercifully short, yet it cleaved his heart and soul.

“She will not need earthly eyes to see, she will need vision.”
The Synesthesiast in Space

She bumped against the ship's wall and pushed gently away, floating back towards the visitor, an orb of iridescent, pulsating bioluminescence with long, feathery tendrils.

It flashed in myriad colours, in emotive sequences that she perceived was their story, and that welled her eyes – homeworld destroyed, exodus, despair.

A message from the general came through her headset, a query of wasabi-uncertainty and chocolate-hopefulness.

She answered, "I understand them and they need our help."
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Watching All Possible Clocks Strike Midnight

People think knowing the future is like seeing a movie.

It is so much worse.

Each consciousness its own plane of existence, plucking at the strings binding it to all others, spider’s webs of headless marionettes dancing through infinite possibilities, merging into reality . . .

No wonder they locked me up.

No wonder they wouldn’t listen.

In my padded cell, I hear the distant nuclear sirens.

Across the expanse of my mind’s eye, the devil’s note plays.
Did that really happen?

The Teddy Bear watched all that went on in front of him. When the flying saucer landed in the front garden, he was the only one that saw it. Three aliens approached the window where the Teddy was sitting.

At that moment the Teddy Bear fell off the windowsill.

What the Teddy didn't see, was the flying saucer taking off. The aliens were never seen again.
Six-Colored Eyes
A dollar costs for a 6-Blue Eye in Georgia, and 1,000 yen costs for a 6-Red Eye in Japan. Before they were hated, 6-Colored Eyes were big across the globe. Nowadays, I’d lurk through forums and stores to find them.

Unlike rare collectors, however, I’ll use them, even painfully, to look for the Other Worlds. One eye can show me only one world, but two different eyes combined can show a mixed world, maybe home.
An Audience with Grimok

The elderly elven warrior knelt before Grimok the Mighty.

"Your clan have murdered my people, my wife and my boy. I seek vengeance."

Grimok sniggered as he circled the elf. "But you are old. Weak. And blind."

"True," the elderly warrior grimaced, rising briefly before returning to his kneeling position. "However my sense of spacial awareness is acute."

Grimok didn't reply. It's hard to do so when your head has been parted from your shoulders.
You Get What You See

"You're a vision, sweetheart!"

A catcaller? So young, too. Ray swiveled on her heels, lowering her sunglasses. Pity.

"Am I?" Such glittering, swirling eyes. "What do you see..."

"Oh." He stiffened. "Everything."

Pale lace on umber skin. Tiny hands grasping his fingers. A text, "let's meet." Black lace on another woman. A suitcase and an empty house. Never any visitors. One lonesome white line.

An elderly man slumped at Ray's feet.

"No surprises there. Sweetheart."
Fried Chicken

Connors called us in. "Listen up! We've twenty people trapped in the sub-levels. Limited air. We do this fast, safe. Questions?"

"Yeah. Why are we taking that with us?"


Another moonquake hit as we reached them, cutting off our exit.

I hummed a Queen song in my head. My eye implants turned on, showing where to cut safely, and how to get out.

I said nothing, but that's why augmented engineers go on rescue teams.
The perils of self-knowledge

After long practice, he opened his inner eye.
It was dark, but with a flashlight pushed hard against the skin, he could make out details – crimson, wet, and pulsating with life. He marveled at rippling reactions to his slightest movement. He was fascinated, not squeamish… until he saw the thing.
It clung to his gallbladder, all scales and teeth. Noticing his gaze, it winked.
He shut the eye and never looked again.
On the sixth day

It had started with a sniffle.

She stretched out on the honey slab over third stream. The leaves would be falling soon but the sun still roared fierce in the sky. She could not get warm and her eyes were leaking.

Sweet Briar had fetched a dockor but nothing could be done. The oogers had cursed her with the Red-squint! She limped into the wastelands, away from fennel-hill warrens, where slept her beautiful young kits.
To see the world
All his life, the prince was told he would rule all that he could see. He climbed the highest mountain and thought, “surely I could see further if I went higher.”

He commissioned a rocket and looked down at Earth. “Why rule just one planet?” So he flew towards the center of the solar system hoping to see all the planets. Watching the sun grow nearer, his eyes burned and he saw no more.
the upside

The future's unknowable!

My apologies for being so… direct.


My migraines… at the aura stage… they're kinda visionary?

Hell, you're that so-called Seer.

Got any antiemetics?

You make a living on the Hill?


Not today.


Get out!

It terrifies you…


The future knows your secrets… so you embrace ignorance?


My twin brother's gifted too, except he'll plunder your past.


Don't you worry, Senator, you're wealthy. Gonna throw up now.
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Dargenteen Omperdonk's atomic garden of Eden.

'The completion of this robosurvey means Northerners can soon return to the planet surface.'

'But chairman, those images reveal a hostile frozen wasteland.'

'You forget Omperdonk's chain reaction device deputy, for with it we will thaw our former home into a garden of Eden.'

'But what if the Southerners also return?'

'Omperdonk has created a thermonuclear bomb to neutralize any threat from them.'

'But is that not extremely dangerous.'

'Absolutely not, history never repeats itself.'
⠞⠓⠑ ⠥⠝⠎⠑⠑⠝

“Girl, why do you still trigger the court with melancholia?” asked the technomage, “Have you not found your smile?”

Luci stood grim faced. “Because Ujingdan is doomed. The visions remain.”

“Did the interlocutor not disrupt your visual cortex?”

“She did.”

“Then how can this be?”

Luci held up an ancient book, wordless pages flapped in the breeze, its title barely legible: Predicting Climate Catastrophe, Braille Edition.

“Sight is not the only way of seeing.”
The unwilling biographer:

After John, my husband, was rescued from that cave he was… off. Somehow it was deeper than shock. He had nightmares: A burning eye, falling from a vast tower. He abandoned his paintings, despairing: “Something's… gnawing… itself, in every shadow I paint".
He even painted his dream - but burned the canvas immediately.
“Can I help?” I asked, stirring the ash.
“It… ...he… …followed me out," he blurted. "He wants me to see... tell… his story… ”
Tomorrow We Will Have Eyes

I could only hear their promise.

Tomorrow we will have eyes.

We paid dearly for the aliens' promise of new eyes. We returned to our rooms for our final night in blindness.

Their technology was superior, they claimed. We had no choice but believe.


I blinked at the sharp, fresh world unveiled before my new eyes. They were alien eyes. The world revealed was bitter reality. Truth.

I could only see the ugliness.
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