Monday, May 5, 2014


WOOHOO! Let's go for another round!!! I'm excited to read what you come up with this week. I'm tearing through my own edits (and by 'tearing though' I mean glacially - I am slowly and inexorably moving toward my goal one millimeter at a case anyone was wondering on my progress which I haven't updated in way too long...), so if you've noticed I haven't written much recently, now you know why. You've satisfied your curiosity, and now you can go write. So do it! Off you go! Write like the wind! (Why are you still reading this?) (I said go...) (really?) (still?) Hee Hee Hee. I'll stop talking now. :)

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Julie Gold
. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #44 is:

The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Stars, space ships, planets, aliens, robots, fantasy. (I'm going to clarify that you need to use at least three of these things. You can certainly use all if you would like, but you can use three and qualify for the special challenge. Thanks!)



  1. Any Landing You Can Walk Away From

    The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late. Alarms blared and warning lights flashed on the bridge. "Danger. Danger. Planetary surface detected in close proximity. Planetary surface detected in close proximity. Excessive speed. Excessive speed. Crash immiment. Crash imminent." The Star Searcher's computer announced blandly.

    My half-robotic partner, EC-03 tried to forcefully pull me away from the controls. "Captain Maddox, what are you doing?" He yelled fearfully. "We're headed straight for the surface, we'll be killed!" It was the first time I'd heard the cyborg express any kind of emotion.

    Sanity returned in a rush. I frantically twisted the steering controls sharply upwards. The Star Searcher porpoised wildly. I grimly held on, gaining enough altitude to make a uie. Teeth clenched I wrestled her into the proper orientation. Hastily I reversed propulsion, slowing our fall. The engine needles quivered in the red, but she responded gamely. The ship clanged loudly as we banged tail first into the ground. I released my death grip on the controls and sagged back into my chair. Breathing heavily, I wiped the sweat from my brows with my left sleeve. "We made it, we've landed safely!"

    "Are you all right Captain Maddox?"

    "No EC-03, I am far from all right! I almost crashed the ship on an alien planet because a strange voice told me, "Come here! Now!" I need serious medical attention."

    "That'll have to wait sir, there are currently no medical staff available."

    "Just my luck."

    "What next sir?"

    "Examine the Star Searcher for damage and call for help."

    Our finger flew across keyboards calling up the ship's status. "I'm afraid that we're marooned sir, the crash warped the port engine beyond our ability to repair it."


    "Position located sir, one trillion parsecs off our original course. The homing beacon was destroyed in the crash."

    "Well, we sure can't expect a rescue any time soon then. Good thing that we're carrying a full cargo of food, at least we won't starve."

    "I've never much cared for gringle worms or brambot berries sir."

    "Neither do I, there may be edible items on the planet."

    "Scanning the planet sir. Results: a breathable atmosphere, potable water, and a variety of biota compatable with our. It may not taste good, but we can eat it."

    Two hours later they were examing the surface. "Sir!"

    "What is it EC-03?"

    "Aliens rapidly approaching sir, lots of them!"

    A horde of tall, slender, gorgeous females floodedtowards them. "Activate translator!"

    "Men! They're men!" The leader shouted happily. "We're so glad to see you!" They surrounded us, cooing and stroking our skin. "So big and strong!" She breathed hotly into Maddox's ear. He recognized the voice that had drawn him here. "We're sorry you crashed, but we've been alone so long!"

    "What should we do sir?"

    "Relax and enjoy ourselves. A planet full of lonely, beautiful women is every man's fantasy come true."

    496 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  2. Movie Night

    The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late. Such is the nature of childhood. Choices that we make as kids not only have complete rational logic at the time, but often the fantasy we conjure is equal to irrefutable fact.

    I was seven and my brother Tommy was eleven and we were alone at home the night that we watched “Alien Robots from Mars”. Back then I guess our parents felt secure in our quiet rural safety.
    While we watched the movie I kept rising up along the couch to peer into the yard like a wary prairie dog, certain that I would see these creatures tearing through my swing set on their way into the house.

    Once the movie was over Tommy and I were both quiet. As the silence settled around us I could feel the beginnings of panicked tears well up. Tommy looked over at me and called me a crybaby so I reached over and punched him. He punched me back and a real fight would have ensued if we hadn’t heard a thud in the backyard. We froze, the collar of my shirt still gripped tight in Tommy’s hand. We could have been posing for a still life.

    There was another thud and then a rustle. Tommy bolted from the couch and I immediately scrambled to follow him, both us thundering up the stairs to our shared bedroom. We slammed the door behind us and for a moment sat panting on our carpeted floor.

    Tommy stood up and grabbed his slingshot and a handful of polished rocks, meant for display not weaponry. I looked for something appropriate within the context of our bedroom but couldn’t find anything that could work as a real weapon. I picked up my play air riffle that made sound but did little else and hoped that maybe the appearance would be intimidation enough.
    We stood facing the bedroom door, Tommy just a little ahead of me, taking his place as the older brother. I was shaky and breathing too fast for just standing still.
    I could picture the aliens making their way up the stairs silently. We waited.

    Enough time passed that we decided we could at least sit down so we huddled together on Tommy’s bed, each still clutching our weapons, such as they were.
    We must have fallen asleep because we were suddenly awoken by large sweaty hands on each of our arms. I screamed and struck out blindly with my gun and Tommy threw his handful of rocks right at the faceless thing.
    “What the hell?” bellowed our father.
    He was furious as we were relieved to see our father and not ghoulish alien robot hybrids from Mars.

    Our attack on our father had led to extra chores for the week and a banishment of of all SciFi movies.
    Too late to change the folly of youth. Now I look to the sky, smile and shake my head.

    500 words
    Special challenge accepted?

  3. The Notion

    The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late: I was wearing a candy apple red silk gown on top of Peter’s car, Piazzolla’s finest tango blasting from the boombox while I held high the “Marry Me, Peter” sign. And right in front of me stood Peter and our company’s very shocked CEO.

    “Do you know this girl?” said the CEO once he had recovered.

    Peter looked everywhere else. “She works in the mailroom.”

    “Our mailroom?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    The CEO’s eyes fluttered shut. Open. Shut again, wincing like he was in pain. Then he lifted them up toward me. “What is your name, young lady?”


    “Are you happy working here? Does your supervisor treat you fairly?”

    “Oh yes. Yes, sir. This is a great place to work. I really love it.”

    The CEO frowned. “And how long have you known Peter?”

    “Since he walked in the door, sir.”

    “Last week? That’s right, isn’t it, Peter? Tuesday, I think.” He glanced at Peter for confirmation.

    My mind raced. Was this a trick question? On the calendar of True Love, I had known Peter forever. I answered truthfully. “Since the dawn of time, sir. Since the birth of stars. Since the planets were spun into place—”

    “All right, all right, I get the picture.”

    I watched the owner of the company purse his lips, thinking. In the window-sized portrait of him hanging in the lobby, he looked powerful and angry. It was a wonderful portrait; all us clerks said so. In real life he appeared kind, if somewhat harried, though from this vantage point I could see a suspicious patch of skin growing on top of his head.

    At length he spoke. “I had hoped you both would remember the terms of your contracts here.”

    “I remember them clearly, sir.” Peter spoke smoothly.

    “Oh, me too,” I said, anxious to make a good impression. “All the little details and points.”

    “Then let me deal with you first, Melanie,” said our boss. “What is Term XIV, subpoint E3?”

    “Um—no inter-office dating?”

    “No interspecies dating.” He stared pointedly at my third and fourth arms, which were plucking nervously at my dress.

    Peter studied his shoes intently.

    “Peter, HR claimed nepotism when I hired you,” continued the CEO, “but I assured them your… proclivities… would not cause a problem. Did you, or did you not agree to leave those infernal love arrows at home?”

    “Only brought a little one, for fun, to test it on the alien,” said Peter, blushing. “No harm done, right?”

    Our boss sighed heavily. “Apparently you haven’t noticed what she did to the moon. Now listen! I will undo this, but you must swear by all that’s holy that you will follow the rules!”

    “Yes, sir,” I said proudly. The moon glowed pink above us.

    “Yes, Zeus,” said Peter, but he winked at me, and hope bloomed in my hearts.

    Maybe my notion hadn’t been so irrational after all.

    499 words
    Challenge accepted :)


  4. The notion was irrational, but when she became conscious of the fact it was already too late. Tharnis was dying.

    The golden string that connected Tautia to the heart of the planet was coming to its end, a place she had never been. What would really happen when she went into the beyond and left her planet behind?


    She glanced up to Scorin. Their eyes connected. Scorin’s eyes, entirely black as the night sky and decorated with just as many stars, fascinated Tautia.

    “Come to me my love,” he said.

    Her smile met his and she floated closer to him.

    Tautia lurched to a stop. The golden string had reached the end.

    Scorin held out his arms, beckoning. Tautia fought as the string resisted her. She pushed forward while the planet pulled. Vibrations began along the string. Broken. Dying. These words sang up to her. Through her.
    A crack had split Tharnis in two. A cry escaped her lips. Her beautiful home was suffering. A second later a heavier burden fell upon her heart, she was the reason, the cause and effect.


    “Something’s wrong.” Tautia couldn’t look away from the black jagged line that had destroyed a beautiful waterfall and fields decorated with flowers. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She felt ill. “What happened? You said Tharnis would be okay.”

    “And it will my love. It will survive. I never said it would go unscathed but it will survive. I promise you. Trust me.”

    Tautia was the planet, its soul, and all she had was this glorious earth. But she had never known love, not until Scorin arrived, promising things that Tautia had never dreamt of.

    “Please Tautia, come to me.”

    Tautia reached out a hand. “Help me."

    “I can’t. If I help you Tharnis will not make it. There is so much more to this universe and I can show you every splendid piece of it but you must leave on your own accord.”

    Oh to see the universe! How she had always wished to see more, to see everything. With a silent goodbye, she burst forth with everything she had. The string resisted at first, but with a final charge there was a snap.

    Tharnis exploded behind Tautia before she could reach Scorin. The force threw her into Scorin’s arms and then thrust them away in a frenzy of matter.

    When they stopped reeling Tautia picked her head up off Scorin’s chest and looked up at him, impossibly close. His eyes were replaced with a planet, hers. The fierce green and layout of the place she knew inside and out sat in his eyes and slowly faded back until the planet landed amongst the stars of Scorin's eyes.

    “You,” Tautia tried to push away from Scorin, but his grip was strong and her arms were trapped. “What did you do? What have I done?!”

    His eyes squinted and his mouth twisted into a sneer, changing his handsome face into a hideous one. “I am The Consumer. And you are mine.”

    481 words
    Challenge accepted

  5. Captain John Noah’s Travels

    The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late. The rogue planet had been detected while I was in a sleep cycle. Then when the computer had determined the planet was habitable, it set up a standard trip down to the surface.

    I am old. I have spent thirty long years as an explorer, reporting back to my government. Now I am on a crazy, hopeless ride down to a rogue planet. Rogue planets might have atmosphere, they might have acceptable ranges of gravity, but there is no way a rogue planet, one flying free instead of orbiting a star, can have suitable temperatures.

    So now I was heading down to what had to be an intolerably cold planet. My ship’s sensors said the surface temperatures were averaging a comfortable seventy degrees. A fact which was weird enough, since everything is triple checked. Multiple sensor arrays verify everything, but without a star to provide heat, it has to be frozen.

    To kill time on the descent, I manually run temperature readings. They come back between fifty and ninety. Impossible. I am puzzling over the quandary when an alarm goes off. The computer is warning me of life down below. Now I am really confused. It is reporting life forms up to 3800 pounds. Life cannot exist without a star providing light and heat. Then another alarm goes off. Major civilized settlements were detected down below. Again, impossible.

    The automatic pilot put me down in a cultivated field. It appeared to be growing corn. Sensors still stated the climate was temperate, so finally I went out to do personal exploration. After confirming every reading, I took off the sealed suit and breathed the fresh clean air.

    Then someone turned the lights on. Literally. Huge lights began to light up all over the countryside. Confused humanoids began to stumble out of farmhouses speaking what sounded like an ancient language and pointing at my ship. Within moments an official looking group of vehicles were charging across the fields in my direction.

    I tried really hard to process how any of this was possible. I wondered how I would record it in my monthly report that I was arrested. I managed to adjust a universal translator to understand what was going on while they handcuffed me. I was then transported over the next several days to another region, where I was introduced to Captain John Noah.

    He explained this was not a rogue planet, it was a massive ship. The surface was covered with topsoil to allow for farming and ranching. The innards contained power generating equipment and controls. It was massive enough to have appropriate gravity, and therefore could maintain atmosphere. They were looking for a new home. And providentially, I had spent a lifetime doing the research they needed on habitable planets.

    478 Words
    Special Challenge accepted

  6. Prison Break

    The notion was irrational, but when he became conscious of the fact it was already too late. Guards circled him with spears aimed at his rotund belly and torches held high against the starry sky.

    “What is the meaning of this?” Francis asked in his most grandfatherly voice.

    “I’m sorry, Father Malloy, but I must ask you to de-robe,” the captain of the guard said as he stepped forward. “The prisoner escaped and you were the last person to see him.”

    So much for Francis’ brilliant plan. Disrobing here would be immediate death for Jack and the gallows for him. It was unlawful to impersonate a monk. The robes were getting hot with Jack’s body heat radiating off his back and if Jack’s arms kept in that cramped position for too much longer he’d start choking Francis as well. Francis’ mind whirled with options of escape.

    He could refuse and storm out. It was the death sentence for any man to touch a cleric. However, there was no law against shoving a spear through the belly. He chewed his lip as beads of perspiration trickled down his face. If only there was a way to shrink the number of guards they might stand a chance! Perhaps…

    “De-robe? In public? That is sinful!” Francis exclaimed at last.

    “You are required to comply while the prisoner is free.”

    Francis heaved as holy-sounding a sigh as possible. “I don’t doubt your honourable intentions, my child. Perhaps you may search me privately?”

    The captain considered it a moment and nodded.

    “Follow me.”

    Francis wallowed after him as a second guard closed in behind. They escorted him to the guardroom where the second guard barricaded the door. Francis counted four windows and a door presumably leading outside. That was their exit.

    “Now, de-robe, please.”

    Raising shaky hands, Francis loosed the hood and let it fall back. The guards gasped.

    “You aren’t Father Malloy! You’re an imposter!”

    Francis took advantage of their surprise by lunging for the captain’s spear while Jack unhooked his legs and arms from around his partner and tumbled out of the massive robes. Straw spilled after him until the billowing robe slipped off Francis’ scrawny body. Jack rolled to his feet and tackled the second guard.

    “The prisoner is escaping!” the captain yelped as Francis backed him towards the door with the spear.

    “Jack, open the door!” Francis ordered. Jack dealt his guard a knock-out blow and ran to jiggle the door handle. It was unlocked. As the guards in the courtyard rammed down the barricaded door, Jack and Francis slipped through the doorway and tore off down the passage. Footsteps and shouts echoed in the stone corridor behind them.

    “Now what?” Jack hissed.

    “There’s got to be a door some---Ahhhhhh!”

    As Francis spoke, a trapdoor swung open beneath him and they tumbled down a flight of steps. He righted himself and shook his fist at the ceiling.

    “That’s it, I quit!” he yelled and promptly walked out of the story.

    Word Count: 500
    No special challenge