Finalists for August Writing Contest!


I want to thank everyone for their patience in waiting for the finalist results.  Unfortunately, I had an emergency trip to the hospital last night which delayed getting this post up.  All is well now and I’m happy to announce the three stories which have been selected for a final vote to choose the winner.  Thank you to everyone who participated, even those who were not eligible.  All the stories were very creative and entertaining to read.  It is never an easy process to decide who will make the finals.

Below will be a review of the contest guidelines followed by the three finalist’s stories.  At the bottom will be the instructions and poll for voting.  Anyone may vote for the tale they believe is best, but you should take the time to read all three before making your decision.  Remember, you may vote only once.

 

Stipulations:

1) The submission must be between 700-1000 words. This has been upgraded since the last contest to allow for more room in creativity.  I will allow no more than a five word variance from this. Titles are required this time, though they do not count toward the total.

2) The point of the story should be to bring a killer to justice.  You should include the details of the crime as well as the perpetrators capture.  Those who were murdered do not have to be human but must be mammalian in nature.  There can be one or more victims.

3) The killer themselves cannot be human.  Anything else is acceptable (ie- ghost, tiger, vampire, alien, shark, etc).

4) Ensure your story is well-edited and broken down into paragraphs.  If it is not, these things will count against you.

 

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Bongo and Blue – Elephant Detectives by M R Mortimer (Anthias)

Bongo and Blue had a mystery on their hands. They found the old man named Grey a splattered mess at the bottom of a high cliff. It was a sad day for the entire herd, as the old man was a much respected elder. He would be sorely missed for his wisdom as well as his wit. But for now they had to do two things. Firstly get his body to the elephants graveyard, and secondly find out if he jumped or was pushed.

“Grey having been such an extraordinarily confident and self possessed elephant, we can assume it was a homicide.” said Blue.

Using their trunks, they carefully dragged the body away from the site. It was messy business. The landing had been not an elegant one and Grey had splayed his legs out in four directions before his chest hit the rocks.

“You know,” trumpeted Bongo in his deep voice, “He can’t have jumped.”

Blue looked at the spot where old Grey had landed.

“How do you know?” replied Blue in his trumpeted tenor.

“Because his face was towards the cliff when he landed. Who jumps from a cliff backwards?”

“Hmmmmm” trumpeted Blue, “We should check out the top of the cliff. There may be a clue there”

So it was that after delivering the body into the care of the graveyard’s minder, Bongo and Blue headed back to the cliff, but this time carefully made their way to the top.

“What are those marks?” said Bongo

“It’s scuffs from old Grey’s feet. He was backing away from something. What do you suppose it was?” Blue replied.

“Well, wait a minute…” said Bongo.

Bongo knelt low to the ground, inspecting the dusty earth carefully.

“What do you suppose these marks are?” he said.

Blue knelt down low next to his friend, and carefully inspected the marks.

“It’s footprints. Of a… a… m.. m… m… MOUSE!” said Blue.

As soon as he got the words out, Blue jumped to his feet, his head swinging as his gaze darted about nervously. Like so many he was terrified of the little creatures that were so hard to see beneath you’re feet.

“Wait here, I’ll go get the elders. They’ll decide what to do about this murderous mouse!” Bongo said confidently.

As Bongo sauntered off, Blue sat morosely and stared out over the cliff’s edge. Just as he was drifting into a pleasant nap, he felt something. Something strange. Slowly his mind came to full alertness. Somebody was pulling on his tail!

Slightly afraid of what he may see there, Blue turned his head to try to look behind himself. At first he saw nothing, but he could feel his tail being pulled. First his tail was pulled to one side, then to the other.

As his tail was tugged to the same side he was trying to see, it came into view – the mouse!

Blue leapt up in a fashion you wouldn’t believe possible of such an animal!

“M M M M M M M M M M M MMMMOOOUUUSE!” He squealed, quickly jumping to his feet and turning to face the hideous monster.

There before him, boxing at the air as he danced nimbly in front of the elephant was the most arrogant, over confident mouse you ever saw.

“Hey FATSO!” shouted the mouse, it’s squeaky voice sending shivers along Blue’s spine like a tusk down a rock.

“W w w w what?” said a petrified Blue, as he inched back slightly more.

“You wanna piece of me?” squeaked the mouse.

“N n n n no thanks! Please, will you just go away?” said Blue.

“I ain’t goin’ nowhere you see?” squeaked the beastly creature, “I’m gunna do for you just like I did your big fat friend before!”

To illustrate his intention, the mouse jabbed the air between them, sparring with Blue as though it was already a serious fight. Intimidated, Blue backed away further.

“Go on fatso, give it your best shot! I bet you can’t! You big fat elephant chicken! HA! HA! HA! HA!” squeaked the monster, jabbing a fist hard at Blue with each ‘HA’ he said.

“L l l l l leave m m me alone!” said Blue as he backed up further.

“Tell you what I’m gunna do,” said the mouse, “I’m gunna show you my karate skills before you die”

“N n no th th th thankyou!” said the fearful Blue.

“Hya!” said the mouse as he kicked the air.

“Hya!” as he kicked with the other foot.

“HiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiIiIiiIi” said the mouse as he wound a foot behind himself as if in preparation for some special big kick.

“B B B B BONG G G G GO!!!!! Help meeEEE!” trumpeted Blue as he backed up more, feeling his back feet reach the edge.

“Your friend can’t help you now fatso! HYAAA” squeaked the mouse as he swung a mighty kick in the air.

The mouse returned the foot for another go, winding it up again in a comical fashion.

“Here I g…”

SPLAT!

“Blue what are you doing? I brought the elders” said Bongo.

Then he stopped talking, a confused look on his face. He thought he felt something squishy on the ground. He lifted his foot, tilting it to try to see its underside. A splattered mouse fell to the ground where a goopy mess was clotting the dust.

“Oh my… Did I do that?” said Bongo.

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Stone Cold Kill by Recluse

I was sitting behind my desk, watching the clock and contemplating doing something stupid when O’Weinstein, the Chief of Police, stormed in, steam pouring out of his ears. He threw down a copy of the late edition on my desk and glared at me.

“What the Hell is this?”

“It’s the Pravda Nuevo Times, Chief.”

“Don’t get smart with me, Chase!”

He jabbed the paper with a fat forefinger, his face turning an unhealthy purple.

“Care to explain this to me?”

“Well, I don’t read that rag myself. There’s a little too much red in their yellow journalism for my taste.”
I smiled up at the Chief, going for cute. I guess I missed.

“You sonovavich!”

O’Weinstein leaned across my desk, grabbed my lapels and proceeded to blow the scent of gefilte corned beef into my face.

“Where do you get off telling them that you can stop the Midnight Mauler but I warned you off the case?!”

Not wanting to put my hands on the touchy Chief, I stood up from my chair, as his hands slipped off my lapels.

“I told them the truth, Chief. Who knew they would actually change tactics and print it?”

To be honest, I was surprized I had gotten drunk enough to actually tell that little weasel reporter the truth, that he was sober enough to remember it, and that his editor had enough common sense to print it. The Midnight Mauler had brutally murdered 16 people, all people working late, crushing them to death, according to Magget, the coroner, before throwing them through highrise windows. The police had nothing. Not really surprizing, they couldn’t spot the obvious if it was sitting on their faces and wiggling. They even lost an undercover to the killer and a pair of detectives trying to trap the killer. I knew what it was, and was willing to risk my bright future as a live P.I. to stop it. O’Weinstein was too afraid to lose his job to listen. All things being equal, hopefully that drunken mistake on my part might save some lives.

“My offer still stands, Chief. You give me one shot, no questions asked. I pull it off, you get the credit. I get the reward. I screw up, you can urinate on my grave with clean hands.”

He closed his eyes and slumped.

“That maniac killed three of my best men. Do it. And God help you if you screw up, Chase. What do you need?”

“Just access to the High Infidelity Building’s 30th floor. I have everything else I need.”

That night, I was doing my corporate gerbil impression, acting harried at a desk in the High Infidelity Disclaims office. Things began to jump around midnight, when the Mauler came through the window. Gotta love a punctual killer. Not so thrilled to learn that I was right. The Midnight Mauler was a full blown gargoyle. An animate stone killing machine. I gave it the finger and ran for the hallway. I stopped, checked to see that the elevator was open and waiting, then backed towards it enough to give me some room.
The gargoyle came through the door like a freight train, spotted me and tried to stop, sliding on the marble floor and slamming into the opposite wall. I stuck my tongue out at it. It roared and charged. I ran for the elevator, watching the floor. There! I threw myself over the pool of silicone lubricant, to the right of the elevator, landing on my stomach. The gargoyle, a ton and a half of stone moving at high speed, tried to stop, found no traction and slammed into the open elevator. I pulled the rubber stop out, letting the door slide shut. The creature never got the chance to turn around when the cable snapped, sending it on a oneway trip to the sub-basement. The building shook with the impact. I brushed myself off and decided to let O’Weinstein’s men sift through the gravel. I needed a drink.

 

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Gus Graham and the Great Thief by Matthew Hopkins

There was once a small town in Ohio with very chatty residents. The citizens would chat about everything, almost endlessly: the weather, their jobs, their children, everything. But the richest thing the citizens had to chat about was, without any doubt, other citizens.

Of all the citizens that were chatted about, the most be-chatted was undoubtedly Francis Patickle, an entrepreneur who lived on the edge of town in a gigantic house, a house only visited by people with as much or more money than Patickle, and also some loose women from time to time.

In contrast, the most unspectacular person to chat about would be Gus Graham, a man of small stature and an unassuming personality who ran an ice cream shop in town and lived with his wife, Emily.

Emily could not have been happier with Gus and their life. Emily was so proud that her husband had been able to open up his shop and keep it running for seven years, putting smiles on the little children’s faces and giving the older ones a place to come to stay out of trouble. He had made a decent living doing it, too.

Emily’s little heart sung every time she heard their front door squeak, because this sound signaled Gus’ entrance. However, one day, another sound accompanied the squeak of the front door as Gus returned from work.

This was the sound of Gus screaming.

Emily rushed into the front room to see her little husband, brow covered with sweat, leaning on the end table, his lungs winding down. She didn’t know what to think. She had never seen Gus like this before. In fact, she had never even thought him capable of creating such a panic.

“Dear,” she asked cautiously, “what’s the matter?”

“Emily!” Gus shouted, looking up at her with a sudden, manic glee as if he had not even realized
she was there.

“Gus! What’s wrong?”

“It’s trying to kill me,” Gus said.

“What? What’s trying to kill you?”

“Gravity.”

Two weeks later, if you asked anyone in the little Ohio town for the latest dirt on Francis Patickle, they would barely know who you were talking about. In only two weeks, all the chatter was about Gus Graham.

“It’s been going on for God knows how long,” Gus had explained in an interview with the local gossip rag, “but it took me until now to realize. I’m not this short for any reason but that gravity is trying to kill me. It’s just smushing me away. All short people are slowly being smushed by gravity. It doesn’t want us to get any taller.”

The citizens were raging with excitement. A genuine loony had been produced right within their own circles.

Emily watched people cross to the opposite side of the street in front of their little house, and the back of her neck prickled. Business was booming at the ice cream shop, the customers popping in every day to see if Gus would do something crazy. But she stood by him; yes, she would not say a word to fault him. After all, they still had a relatively quiet life.

That was before Gus got the phone call.

A short man from Philadelphia phoned one day to tell Gus that he had been afraid to admit for years that he had the same suspicion: gravity was killing him. He claimed that gravity had murdered his father; he had the smushed clothing to prove it. He said he would ship some of it to Gus.

Emily cradled her head in his hands as Gus stamped about the house until late that night, worked up into a furor by the call. She finally tiptoed downstairs to check on him.

“Gus, please just get some sleep,” she begged. “You’ll feel better in the morning.”

“I can’t sleep when I’m thinking about gravity,” her husband replied.

Two days later, Gus received a package in the mail containing a belt that seemed to have been smushed by an all-powerful, unyielding invisible force.

Within the week, seven more men and women from all over the USA came forward with their long-held suspicions that gravity was slowly pushing them into the ground. In a month, there were hundreds. The panic among the short population was rising.

Gus had Emily measure him three times a week. Three months after his discovery, Emily measured him and he saw that he had lost a full two inches of height.

“Two less inches, already,” Gus said with religious terror. “It knows I’m talking. Soon, I’ll just be a puddle on the floor.”

Gus’ physical condition worsened. His back began to look as if it was bearing an enormous weight. Emily would sneak a peek at him now and then as he hobbled through the hall when he thought she wasn’t looking.

One day, Gus got in his car and left without telling her.

Panicked, Emily called all his relatives and friends, but no one had heard from him. She sat by the phone, wringing her hands, watching the television.

One day, a report came on. Thirty thousand men and women of small stature had made an exodus to Death Valley, Nevada, where they stood together in a mass prayer. There were photos of them huddled against each other, raising their hands not very high.

And Emily wondered…

Four days later, Gus showed up, the sides of his car streaked with dust. Emily was out of the house and on the driveway before he could get out. She opened the door to find her husband looking healthier than ever.

He smiled up at her. “You’ll never believe it,” he said.

“What happened?”

Gus swung out of the car and stood up. Emily noticed, to her great surprise, that he was almost half a foot taller than her.

“What happened?” she repeated, stunned.

“We pushed back,” Gus replied.

 

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Congratulations to the three finalists.  You did a wonderful job and I wish you all the best of luck during voting.  Due to this post being delayed, I will keep the poll open until Friday, August 2nd, at midnight (EDT).  The contestants are welcome to announce their story being up for vote on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. but I do require that you DO NOT tell people to vote for you specifically.  Ask them to simply visit and select the story they think is best.  Please make this a fair contest.  Once I close the poll Friday night, I will email the winner to coordinate getting their $20 Amazon gift card to them.  Thanks to everyone for their participation!

 

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~ by Suzie on August 31, 2011.

3 Responses to “Finalists for August Writing Contest!”

  1. Congrats to the finalists! And I’m glad things are okay with you, Susan. 🙂

    • Thanks Angela. I was out of the blood pressure medicine I take for my migraines and wouldn’t have been able to see my doctor right away which is why the ER was my only option. Personally, I don’t get why the VA hospital wouldn’t just renew it since I have been on the same meds for years. They could clearly see that in their computers since my medical history was all there. Not like blood pressure meds are narcotics that people scramble for, lol. Needless to say, I was late taking the next pill and for some backwards reason my blood pressure dropped too low causing them concern.

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