Discussion Thread - 300-word Writing Challenge #52 (January 2024)

Time to Vote

Received votes:

No Pets Allowed
by @Yozh because it had a great surprise ending and caught an essential character of human transference.
The Two Little Mice by @Victoria Silverwolf because it has a wonderful surprise at the end of the story.
Hoffeldon mouse and the importance of good manners by @AnRoinnUltra because I love it when someone is right for all the wrong reasons.
The Taxidermist by @Christine Wheelwright because it is so oddly frightening.
A Labour of Love by @Bren G because it speaks about the persistence of someone who is well loved.
Mice-en-scène by @Elckerlyc because it's just a sweet story that you could tell to a child.
Mousehole by @The Judge because it's nice to think of finding the foreordained house to live in.
I wish I had kept up with these as they went along. Oh well, better get reading. I will add my thoughts and likes for my favourites as I go (* shortlist)

@Rafellin one story in and already a contender. Great ending *
@Culhwch A sadly relevant and poignant metaphor
@Victoria Silverwolf So I like cats, so that's always a head start but hey, a cat with talented mouse friends? What's not to like
@Cat's Cradle A carefully crafted tale of future self sacrifice, love and compassion in very difficult times *
@johnnyjet I enjoyed this tale of a philanthropic AI and especially liked it originality * vote
@ Luiglin A moving observation on suffering and love. A sad read in all truth * vote
@ Christine Wheelwright A delectable tale of horror, told cleverly from a one sided conversation. Lucky for our protagonist that she is speaking with the officer before what would have been a fateful last supper! *
@ M. Robert Gibson A charming tale of time travelling mice, delivered with a pleasing, every day feel of normalcy
@ Bren G Another time travel tale (so many industrious mice) but one that touches on sad realities before a sensitive, peaceful ending. *
@ Elckerlyc Very original take of remarkably magnanimous and talented mice
@ Provincial A gentle tale, with a nice ending
@ Phyrebrat I have read this three times now and I am still not completely sure I have the truth of it. It is complex and layered and that shocking reveal made me re-think what was going on. And then again. Our protagonist is clearly a victim but is her would be victim guilty or just in the wrong place. Only our author knows for sure. *
@ The Judge Being a know-it-all, I pronounced the title of this tale as in the Cornish village and was not at all surprised to see it quickly mentioned. Moving on from smugness, I found this intriguing - mainly about the back story and motivations of the properties denizens. I think they are benign, or more likely, nourishing for our protagonist * vote

Well done all. Lots of other good tales and not a bad one amongst them.

Everybody gets on my shortlist. Not one bad story. But three stories resonated with me above all others:

@Culhwch - A Quiet Reprieve From The War - just lush, loved it. Reminded me of the song Father and Son by Cat Stevens.

@emrosenagel Marley's Marvelous, Mystical, Metamorphosizing Menagerie of Mostly Mammals - Great imagery and messaging.

@AnRoinnUltra Hoffeldon mouse and the importance of good manners - I didn't appreciate this one so much on my first read but it is a very good short story from you as usual.
CW wrote a pleasingly chilling tale, Provincial wrote a story which I would have liked to come up with, and SB gave me the welcome gift of laughter.
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My Long Short List and *** Top Three ***:

Baffle – Rafellin
No Pets Allowed – Yozh
Best Laid Plans – Guttersnipe
*** The Two Little Mice - Victoria Silverwolf ***
Is the light on? – Luiglin
The Mouse House - 2151 – Parson
Behind the Freak Show Curtain – Starbeast
*** The Taxidermist - Christine Wheelwright ***
Mice-en-scène – Elckerlyc
Succor of Time – Swank
The Dancing Doctor – Phyrebrat
*** Mousehole - The Judge ***
I hope it is an unresolved three way tie. That at least would provide some value from this process. The mischief that courses these veins of mine was thinking of voting at the 11th hour to contrive such an outcome but I didn't want to cheat deserving authors of my votes. I think in roleplaying terms I am chaotic good.
Didn't we have a tie breaker in the 75 word challenge that threatened to rattle on into an almost comedic mundanity?
We've had at least 2 where there was a second tie, and then the tied authors decided how they would choose the next topic. IIRC in each case one author deferred to the other, but there would be nothing wrong with doing it together or one choose genre and one choose topic.
Ah that's right wasn't it ridiculously polite? It truly is a different world from the energy sapping horror that is social media.
When I worked on here as a super moderator back in the 0s it was pretty hellish at times. I often received abuse and one spammy author even wanted to meet me for a dust off at his local boozer ha ha.

This solves two mysteries; the absence of miscreants, and the faint whimpering I sometimes hear whenever the lounge empty.

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