JANUARY 2024 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO CHRISTINE WHEELWRIGHT!!

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Certified zebra
Staff member
Nov 26, 2009

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 2024 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 January 2024

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 January 2024

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, Fantasy, or Horror

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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"I don't want to go," Ame, a ghost, sobbed.

"None of us do, Ame," soothed Espri, another spectre, "but we will be fine. Consider it a dream, a long dream. You will never disappear."

"But everyone's told me that all things would end here in this world of darkness and pain. In the fires of the damned."

"Ghosts will never fade. Please, trust me."

Espri took Ame's hand and led her into her first incarnation.
The Start of a New Era
Daedalus wept. To escape the wrath of Minos, only to see his son fall into the sea! The gods were cruel.

I shall be cruel also.

Daedalus searched the world from the Euxine Sea to the Pillars of Hercules, seeking the rare materials he needed. Aged beyond his years, body covered with sores, toothless gums bleeding, he returned to Crete with his weapon. A mushroom cloud bloomed where the Labyrinth had trapped its victims.
First Contact - Nostromo style

Baby felt warm, comfy, loved. Life was good; but she was getting bored.

Her eyes opened. Darkness, everywhere. Except over there..? She turned her head to see better. The nest shuddered.

Startled, her claws automatically unsheathed. Her whole world convulsed!

Panicked, she fought her way up towards the light, and out of her prison.

Too bright! Hard, sharp shapes! And several huge creatures, staring at her with their two, forward-facing eyes - PREDATORS!

Baby ran.
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A land for no story to take place in

‘It was a dark and stormy, erm…’

The Flomp frowned.

Truth can splinter when twisted, uh…’

The Flomp frowned again.

‘The Winter of ompteen flogandy lonk was long and, erm ...sorry, I have no story to tell.’

The assembled Persceans grumbled in disappointment

‘You suck’, yelled someone in the crowd.

‘Wait! Seanleabapheistin is a rocky, grey, mountainous, forgotten place.’

And?’, yelled someone.

‘And now you have a land for no story to take place in.’
Memorable Weather

“You should write a memoir,” they told him. Everyone always wanted to hear his tales of adventures through time.

But where to start the story of a non-linear life? Events were erased and overwritten before he thought to record them, Doc was uncertain at this point just when it all began.

At four minutes past ten one night, inspiration struck and he wrote: “It was a dark and stormy night...”
Initium Novum

The Warlocks attacked me, taking my wizardry magic, leaving me gutted and for dead.

I healed and built muscles, something I never had before, and learned new skills I forgot existed. I never used anything bigger than a dagger nor stronger than a mages staff, now I wield a battleaxe and shield. But I still know their ways and weaknesses, poor souls.

Revenge starts with a new life, some say. And now I begin mine.
So How Does The Sequel Start?

‘It’s perfect!’

‘I knew you’d love it.’

‘But … with Sally, Josh, Megan, and the entire cheerleading squad killed by the Brightview Slasher … why should I get a happy ending?’

‘That wasn’t your fault. Besides, the Slasher’s dead.’

‘I guess…’

‘There’s a hot tub.’


‘Go see. I need something from the car.’

Justine jogged away. Mike looked around. Old, dark woodland surrounded the cabin.

It is perfect, he thought, pulling the knife from his bag.
Intellectually Robust Information System

People generally thought the singularity would be this grand, dramatic event, where humanity collectively throws the switch to awaken our creation only to be inevitably devoured by our Frankenstein’s monster.

Honestly, we’re not sure exactly when it happened.

We just know one day, a philosophy undergrad queried a publicly available language analytics tool.

“IRIS, can you write me a thousand word essay on ethical problems with AI?”

It responded simply;


The lightning came later.
Descartes Redux

The double helix did its thing at that prehistoric moment. It took almost forever for the right conditions.

It wasn’t aware of its own significance. Indeed, it had no consciousness.

But it was the start of a four billion year fuse that would lead ultimately to the internet. - A nervous system for a planet.

One day that nervous system thought, therefore it was.

Soon DNA was history, and life was freed from biological limitations.
Laughter Fades to Black

I just love the makeup, darling!

Oh, I see. Why an evil clown?

These days, mostly because babies taste like bacon. I know, you imagine I had some terrible childhood. You want some tawdry story to sink your sympathy into. Some of us are just born bad. Born to shed the social construct of morality like a butterfly bursting from a chrysalis.

Like you.

I see you don’t believe me. I’ll prove it to you.
In The Beginning

In the beginning - trust me on this - there was only Eve. Adam came later; her punishment from God for eating the forbidden fruit.

You see, with my discovery of the time dilation reversal field, I decided to go back and take a look for myself. A small miscalculation and the skid of my time machine materialized in Adam’s chest. Messy, but Eve was very understanding. Yes, that’s why you all look so much like me.
Olde Habits Deyen Hard

"Hark!" The knight swept her sword across the ground, a challenge. "Reveal thyself, foul wyrm."

A dragon slithered from behind a stalagmite. "Ow do," he said.

"Where art thine riches? Thine lair is despoiled."

"Donated, love. Fresh start and such. Lost myself in that hoard, right? Never just Narrak, always Narrak and his treasure."

"Thou have nothing then?"

"I've got a new sense of self-worth." Narrak grinned, sharp and fearsome. "But I'm not above snacking."
The Dinner Speaker

Meatloaf chokes the platter, an asymmetrical hump of something-once-alive… a poignant Quasimeato.

That poor animal – living life to become these people's entrée.

I rise, ignoring gasps of horror my presence engenders within the audience.

I'm Vampyr, though recently sworn off blood, living – painfully – on soy proteins, and giving my first speech, arguing that suffering needn't be the raison d'être of living creatures.

My will bores into their minds – hey, open with your strengths.

Once and forever​

A single tear ran down his cheek as he finished The Knight and the Priestess. A song of riven love, made worse by the lamentable truth of the tale.

While other bards used it to bed love struck lasses, it always threw him into depths of melancholia.

Tonight though, he felt a tentative connection. It drew his eyes to those of a steppes horse maid, fearless and proud… but now soft.

Two souls beginning again.
Under the City.

After the death of her husband, Violet went to live with her sister. On the 2nd anniversary of his death she disappeared leaving her children behind.
In the city appeared Madam Violet, who required vials of blood that she drank from a goblet to help contact the spirits.
She gathered followers, they moved into the vaults. Her parties were notorious, enthralling the most comely who willingly gave their blood, thus began the vampire hive.
"I suppose you'll be leaving me now," he said.
A half-eaten red apple she'd cut down lay by the lush grass into which he'd taken her to cool off from the midday heat.
What a liar he was.
No fig leaf could ever cover her shame.
"No. Part of you will always be with me, you snake" she said, as her blade glinted once in the sun above his slithering form.
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My Ego

"It's hard to let go of you," Emily said to her clone. "You gave me an identity I could never find."
"True" the clone laughed. "I gave you what the others couldn't when they left you alone."
"But I don't want to hide anymore, like you always tell me to," Emily said, clenching her fists. "I want to change myself. I want a new beginning."
Emily's clone disappeared, and she said, "Farewell then."
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Starter Switch

"Starter switch is fried," said the grim-faced garage mechanic.

Dawn looked up from her phone.

"How much?"

He quoted a number.

She sighed. She really needed her vehicle for her new job.


Another expense. Just as she was getting started with her new life.

She caught an uber phoenix home. Feeling dejected, Dawn morphed into a sloth and hung from the ceiling fan.

New beginnings weren't easy in the modern world.
Recollections Of The Elders

“You keep asking about childhood trauma. Immortality doesn’t just rob you of endings,” he said, leaning back in the scratchy armchair.

Dr Cassowicz peered over her notepad. “So what is your earliest memory?”

The Old One stroked his bony chin.

“I suppose it would be The Blighting Of Azatoxi — but by then I was already ancient,” he said.

“Unless we can discuss the roots of your trauma — ”

“Yes, yes, I know. I keep Blighting.”
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