#5MinuteFiction Week 70 FINALISTS!

Did you have fun with the starting sentence this week? It’s from our judge, Steve Umstead, @SteveUmstead out of his new book Gabriel’s Return . I confess I haven’t finished it yet, but as usual, his writing is excellent. I’ll have a full review up soon.

So who did he choose as this week’s finalists. These fine people:

Jen DeSantis, @JenD_Author

Jeff Pfaller, @pfallerj

redshirt6, @redshirt6

John Hancock, @Grokdad

Day Al-Mohamed, @DayAlMohamed

Aren’t they something?? Congratulations!

Their entries are below along with a poll for you to vote in and decide this week’s WINNER! Be back tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern to find out who wins this week’s competition, but also who wins our other prizes:

From Steve a copy of both Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Return for the winner, and I’m giving away a copy of Gabriel’s Return to one participant chosen at random!

So have fun voting and thanks for joining us!

Jen DeSantis, @JenD_Author

Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

“Allow me the chance, father,” the youngest among them said.

“The chance for what?”

The youngest blanched at his father’s harsh tone, pulling his face back out of the light.

“Tell me, son. The chance for what?”

His voice had softened, if only slightly. The young man sat forward, an eager, greenish tint to his eyes as he looked at his father.

“For vengeance.”

Silence fell around the table as a cloud moved in front of the sun, dimming the room. In the smoky air, the oldest man nodded his head once and the three others stood, ready to take the challenge.

Jeff Pfaller, @pfallerj

Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

“I’ll have no part in this,” Bento said, shoving his chair back from the table. The lord of the yellow planet’s footsteps echoed through the overlarge stone hall long after he’d disappeared.

The rest of them looked around at each other. None of them wanted to make the next move, Bento was always the leader, the one who always forged the way when times were dark. His absence left an awkward void no man wanted to fill.

“We have to kill him, now,” Sharpe said, staring at thick fingers wrinkled with age. “Even if the plan works, and the Emperor dies, Lord Bento knows.”

Sharpe buried his face in his hands. “And that we cannot afford.”

“Then let’s be done with it. My taste for killing, if I ever had one, is gone. I have no desire to see how deep this pit we’ve dug for ourselves goes,” Rogers growled. Each man nodded, in turn. Even Sharpe, who had fought side-by-side with Bento in the Andromeda Wars.

Sharpe motioned to the fifth man, the quiet assassin who had been lingering in the deep shadows of the room for hours, waiting to be summoned.

“Let’s begin.”

redshirt6, @redshirt6

Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

“So what’ll it cost me?” he asked. Ashton Palmente was not one who was used to asking such things. He flicked ashes towards the ashtray not even trying to hit it. The ashes spread out on the table.

“What do you think it should cost you?” Simon replied. His skin looked rough but solid like bleached concrete.

“Look,” the first speaker came back, “I’ll throw in the girl and we’ll call it even, okay? I don’t want any trouble over this, you understand? I can get you all the young women you need. Boys? You want boys? I can get those for you as well. So how’s that?”

Simon surveyed the other three men without moving his eyes. Two guerillas and Ashton Palmente. Ashton was the kind of scum Simon hunted with glee.

Some would say that Simon was a psychopath. In fact, several had said just that. He actually thought it sounded rather cool. He’d let the psychologist live for that very reason. Not so the guards. But that was long ago. Simon was much more refined now.

“I’ll tell you what it will cost you. Your life, the life of your two goons here, and anything else I decide it will. Okay?”

Ashton Palmente froze. The two goons at his side were clearly uncomfortable. Neither had ever heard anyone speak to the boss that way. After a moment of staring with disbelief, Ashton Palmente laughed. It started as a low rumble and then burst out into a full blown belly laugh. And then he was laughing so hard he was having trouble breathing. And then the two goons at his side were on their knees, their hands at their throats.

Simon watched as the three men succumbed to the biological agent. He watched without moving as their bodies twitched. He crossed his legs, placing his hands on his knees while he waited for their bodies to stop moving.

Simon liked this part best. He place the opened cylinder on the table in front of him.

John Hancock, @Grokdad

Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

“You better bring us up to speed, Guint” said the massive bear of a man overshadowing the rest of the table.

“Ok. First, let me say I’ve got nothing against Jackrabbit Slim, nor his family, nor his dog…”

“Get to the point. I’m late as it is” interjected the redheaded man to his left.

Nervously, “…ok, then, to the point. Jackrabbit Slim has to die. Who takes care of his family and his househol after that is what we have to decide.” Guint deflated after announcing their task.

“Can’t say as I feel responsible enough to come up with the scratch to do that. Why aren’t we wasting them all and letting God sort em out?”

“Yeah, that’s the way we used to do things,” said the bearded cook, “USED TO, remember?” he added sharply.

“Enough!” shouted the bearish leader. “We aren’t here to hash out what laws we agree with or hate. We’re here to decide. I’m inclined to make those that complain the most contribute the most,” He put out his hands like warming on a fire, “Here is the scrip. For the price of one Jackrabbit Slim, we promise to provide 80 quid each month for a year. After that, 70 quid, and so on, until finally no quid. Then they’re on their own.”

“This whole thing was his fault!” yelled North, his moustache trembling. Then, after a minute, “Not that I’m complaining. But he had a job, he had a function. If he couldn’t do it, then act of god or whatever.”

“An act of God? is that what you call 8 slugs in his chest? Wouldn’t that be an act of artillery?” A couple of men smiled in bitter humor.

“Look, all I’m saying is he was the lookout, and if he didn’t LOOK OUT, then he failed the team. We shouldn’t owe him anything, him or his.”

They all were hard and quiet for a minute. Some looked out the window. The Bear eyed each in turn, screwing his eyes tighter as he went.

“Give generously, or I’ll have to start hinting at a traitor”

the moon came out, and the men left one by one

Day Al-Mohamed, @DayAlMohamed

Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

They murmured to each other, too low for Casey to make out. She watched through slitted eyes, feigning sleep. She dared not draw attention to herself. Laying on the scarred wooden floor trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey, her body aching from the vicious beating, she felt a moment of wild animal fear. Closing her eyes, she took a slow deep breath to steady her nerves.

As her head cleared she began to note more of her surroundings. The smell of pine and the sound of birds. So different from her usual urban haunts.

She didn’t know why she was here, but she could guess. Their dress gave away much. They were a hunting party. But today, they’d picked the wrong woman. The wrong prey. She smiled and felt her teeth begin to elongate and bones began to change.

In seconds a wolf howl broke the woodland birdsong to be quickly followed by human screams.

[poll id=”70″]

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2 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 70 FINALISTS!

  1. Steve gave a couple of honorable mentions:

    “Nicole Wolverton’s was hilarious…Eric Hamilton’s too, but I went with the thematic ones that stuck to the foreboding lead-in.”
    Leah Petersen recently posted..Why I Unfollowed YouMy Profile

  2. Draven Ames says:

    Great contest. Good luck to all the writers.

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