2020 Contest Results
1st – “And Indeed There Will Be Time; or, The Priestess of Celery” by Collin Suttle
Everyone forgot that time worked differently for the Gods when the Gods started fighting.
It didn’t last very long, the forgetting. The village pandemonium lasted about a week before everyone got bored of waiting for the giant fist of Karak the Wave Maker to collide with the even more gigantic face of Uhar the Battle-Hunger. Another week later, after the non-tavern establishments had opened again and the taverns had begun to pick up after themselves, the face and face finally met. A shepherd in the square discovered a fresh talent for hysterics, but all that reached the snow-muffled village from so far away was a distant thoom, almost apologetic in its smallness.
“It’s not Uhar’s best look,” the alewife said speculatively, after she’d given the shepherd a drink to stop his throat. Foam-lipped, the shepherd hazarded a look at the nearby priest of Uhar, but the priest had no way of denying the alewoman’s statement. Uhar’s was no longer, after all, a face they could put on a new batch of icons.
2nd – “Guinevere” by Annika Lee
If I was to survive as a beautiful woman in the world, I would have to know many things, become many things. I would have to know how to sing and dance, converse and gossip, turn every expression into a tool in my arsenal. I would study languages, history, politics, science. I would forge myself into a many-edged knife. And for seven years I had done just that, but at nineteen I was growing restless and looking for a way out of my father’s house.
“What a way to live, Guin,” you would say. With that compassionate, amused, pitying look you got when I shared something incriminating about myself.
There are so many incriminating things.
3rd – “Feather or Bone” by K. J. Haakenson
“Sometimes… sometimes I wonder how I would live if I knew I only had few years left. Growing up with this choice ahead of me, I’ve always known what the beginning of the end would look like. What it would feel to finally be in that wide blue sky, flying forever into the horizon, no longer shackled to this stupid leg. I’ve always known I would choose the feather. But what if—”
“What if you chose the bone,” I finish quietly for her.
“Self-Portrait of an Artist II” by Emily Schaeffer
“You see,” the professor said, comfortable triumph in his voice. “This is art. This is what we would like to display. If he has anything like that—”
“How can you expect him to have anything like that?” she asked, her hand snapping out in exasperation. He turned, unmoved, back to the table, and began shuffling the canvasses and sketches into a stack. She turned back, her throat tight, and began, “How can you? That’s…”
“That is excellent work. We accept nothing less. You may take these…new submissions back.”
“A Circle Has No Beginning and No End” by Lydia DeGisi
The mall was dead. Because it was 1pm on a Tuesday, but also because it was a mall, in 2019. At least, Pete Grayson thought it was 2019, based on the latest phone models on sale at the Sprint store.
He wandered through the hollow building for several minutes. He passed only a handful of other people, and none of them were who he was looking for. He stopped at a bone-dry fountain and sighed. It was time to enlist some help.
“Buckets Unkicked” by Rosey Mucklestone
Greenhaven looked like the perfect place for someone in the business of death. It was a dusty town filled with frail old ladies sitting on their porches in blustery weather and children playing tag in crumbling old buildings. Dry prairie stretched out endlessly in all directions. There wasn’t a doctor within at least a hundred miles. And there certainly was no funeral home.
Jake Villin was confident he’d found the perfect place to set up shop.