#5MinuteFiction Week 81 FINALISTS!

How’d you do with the last 5MinuteFiction of the year? Have fun? It seems a bit weird to be talking about the new year already, though. There’s too much still to do in this one for me to wrap my head around a new year yet.

So, who did our judge, Carol Morgan, @CounselorCarol1, pick as the last five finalists of 2011?

DeJean Smith, @dejeansmith

J.P. Sloan, @J_P_Sloan

redshirt6, @redshirt6

Nicole, @nicolewolverton

Sarah E Olson, @saraheolson

Congrats all! 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!

DeJean Smith, @dejeansmith

Pain.

Earth-shattering, mind-numbing pain.

The kind of sensations that made Clive Barkley and Stephen King go ‘EWWW….gross!”

Pain.

“I can’t do this!”

“Shhhh,” came a soothing cluck as another round of tasteless ice chips neared her mouth.

Like a petulant child, she turned her head away with a growl.

“You promised!” she shouted at the top of her lungs before another bolt of searing pain wracked her body.

“And the baby decided it was in a hurry and they can’t give you anything.”

“I am so…going to hold this over him or her until they’re 40,” she hissed.

“Almost there,” came the way too calm voice of a doctor between her legs. “I see the head and the shoulders are … here we go!”

With a scream and a groan, a sigh and a grunt from too tightly held fingers, and the cry of a newborn…

“Time of birth … 12:01 am.”

“Happy New Year, baby,” he smiled, pressing a light kiss onto her sweaty temple.

“Happy New Year,” she sighed, watching as the nurses whisked away her newborn baby…

“Girl,” the doctor smiled through her shield. “A healthy baby girl.”

J.P. Sloan, @J_P_Sloan

Art’s wristwatch beeped as he clutched his pulse rifle against his chest armor. Muzzle flashes from a Tibernaught airship strobed across Miriam’s face as she gave him a weary look.

“Huh.”

“What?”

Art lifted his watch.

“Midnight.”

“So?”

A round of concussion grenades detonated several meters from their trench. Art tucked and rolled, balling himself against Miriam as rubble pelted their armor.

Miriam tapped his helmet as the last pieces of shrapnel rained into the trench.

Art coughed and straightened up, checking his rifle.

“So, Happy New Year.”

“What now?”

“It’s the New Year.”

Miriam shook her head wearily, and reached down to plant a kiss on his forehead.

“Thanks.”

The Tibernaught’s hull careened through the atmosphere overhead, blasting the trench in heated air as it ascended to rejoin the flotilla. Art exhaled and moved back to his side of the trench, giving Miriam a wink as she secured the magazines on her belt.

redshirt6, @redshirt6

It was a new year. A new Terran year that is. On Antilles Beta Prime the new year was a long ways off.

Kronton stopped weeding the row he was on and stood up. He rested his hands on the hoe handle as sweat ran down his sides and back. The low light of the afternoon cast an eerie pall to the landscape giving everything a slight reddish tint. On the horizon he could see gibbous Antilles Alpha Prime with her majestic rings filling a full third of the sky.

Kronton thought back to the last New Year’s Eve he had experienced on Earth. He could hear the sounds of noise makers and feel the sharp, grabbing edges of plastic confetti as it stuck to his cheeks and his neck, almost cutting when he turned his head. He could even smell the bouquet of the champagne.

But that was a long time ago. Enhanced biology had allowed him to travel the light years in statsis and it allowed him even now to live a life far longer than the average human. All in the name of preserving Humanity.

He could smell the rot of the decaying cities of Earth even now in sharp contrast to the warm, fertile soil under his feet.

With a sigh he thought, “Happy New Year, Humanity. Happy New Year.”

Kronton took up his hoe and returned to weeding the row of vegetables.

Nicole, @nicolewolverton

Edna Butterfield woke on the first of January to an aching back.

“Jimmy,” she muttered. “Where you greeting in your sleep again? I swear you bruised me from here to Friday.”

Silence greeted her, and when she groaned and rolled over, the bed lay empty. The very air missed the scent of her husband of ten years: chewing tobacco and armpit sweat. Sniffing deep, she bolted upright. His hunting rifle was missing from the corner. No stained underwear drooped off the rickety chair by the bureau.

What was this — new year, new Jimmy? Had he cleaned?

She scurried into the bathroom. Gone was the ratty stuffed deer head hanging above the commode. She glanced into the toilet. Lid down, flushed. Her eyebrows caterpillared up her forehead.

The living room was neater and cleaner than her own dear mother’s house. No cigarette ash burns in the couch. No half-eaten sandwiches attracting ants on the counter in the kitchen.

Now she was worried.

“Jimmy?”

“Yes, dear?”

She whirled to find a man of twenty striking a pose behind her in the hallway, a thin pair of pajamas accentuating a perfect body. His full head of brown hair and bright blue eyes weren’t anything like Jimmy’s bald and scaly head and bloodshot eyeballs.

Edna considered screaming but rethought it right quick. “What’s your name, sugar?”

“Jimmy Butterfield, sweet girl. Now what can I make you for breakfast?”

Her knees buckled, sending her to the couch. The last thing she remembered from the night before was making a wish: “No more dead weight in 2012.”

Eyes widening, she whispered, “Well, ain’t that a miracle?”

Sarah E Olson, @saraheolson

Kellan held a secret about the new year.

He wasn’t sure what the secret was, but he knew it was very important. He kept the secret – a coiled metal ribbon etched with a mysterious scrawling script – hidden inside a leather pouch that hung from his neck.

He withdrew it and unraveled the coil. He rubbed his finger across the etched words. His lips quivered as he read, as if he were whispering the secret to a friend. But he knew better than to read the secret aloud.

The clock counted down to midnight. The new year was almost here.

Kellan sat on the edge of his bed, watching the dazzling globe of light reaching toward its final destination with hungry eyes.

10 seconds left. The secret began to burn. The edges turned red and shriveled as the gray metal snake came alive. Kellan dropped the secret, too hot to hold, and it hissed and popped on his orange shag carpet.

The countdown ended. The new year was here.

The secret engulfed his room in flames. Kellan crashed through his bedroom window and landed on the barberry hedge lining his front entryway. He ran to the middle of the street and shivered in the bite of the cold winter wind.

When the firemen arrived, Kellan offered only one explanation for the fire, “Secrets have a way of revealing themselves, no matter how hard we try to keep them hidden.”

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