Woohoo!!! We made it! If you missed any of the spectacular entries, you can catch up on them here. Otherwise, let's read what the judge had to say about them:
This was such a fun and wildly creative batch of stories! A huge range of ideas. Every story was so unique. Thank you! You should all be quite pleased with yourselves.
Josh Bertetta: I loved this: "bearers of the roots that bridged their souls." This story covers such a wide expanse of time in a short length. And the language and description flow really well from one sentence to the next.
Emily Karn: My favorite here: "This planet is such a mud ball." Again, a world created in a small amount of space. I enjoyed the contrast between the politician's voice and the annoyed alien so much.
Tamara Shoemaker: This story works on multiple levels - as a parable or a fable, but also as an interior monologue. And the structure brings the reader along so smoothly. I love: "I will remain constant for eternity."
@hollygeely: What a great take on the prompt! Sometimes stories with a big reveal at the end kind of come screeching to their conclusion, but this one is paced just right. You really sense the relationship and the manipulation going on. And that last line is just terrific.
@rtayaket: Really nice buildup, and the details convey the sense of anticipation and foreboding that only a phone call from a doctor can create.
@rowdy_phantom: Another that covers so much ground, a complete circle of a relationship all in this short length. The beads provide the symbolic underpinning as well as the reason for falling apart.
Michael Seese: This one made me smile so much, especially the turns of phrase like "a single shot through the heart left the young starlet scarlet" and "holey ghost." What fun, just like a game.
Geoff Le Pard: This story makes great use of little details to convey a larger picture. The intermixing of the clothing and the food, and what they mean, and how this was all leading to a revelation.
@lurchmunster: Like a mystery this one pulled me along and I wanted to know what the next step was. But now I am dying to know - who is at the other end of the phone??
Michael Simko: I love this phrase: "where the Ambassador will lie to the people of the Earth." So matter-of-fact, and it says a lot about political announcements in general. Very creative too, even a universal language.
@fetterslopez: I love the detail of smoothing the paper as a bookend for this story. I also liked the contrast amongst the characters, which you got across in few words.
Rebekah Postupak: I know I know, this one was after the deadline, but I want to mention it anyway. Such a great story that pulls you along on a quest. And, a terrific twist!
Special Challenge Champion: Tamara Shoemaker, "Three Suitors." This story brought the challenges all the way into the fabric of the words in a really intriguing way. It was really thoughtful and served the story, which works on multiple levels. Really nice.
Grand Champion: @rowdy_phantom, "Third Time." The structure of this story conveys regret in a devastating way. We all wonder about choices we've made, turns we've taken, and this story uses the beads on the necklace to express both the idea of these decisions being strung together, and of lives and relationships falling apart.