So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye… Thank you to all the writers and judges who’ve made #MenageMonday something to look forward to each week. One last time, you’ve written to the challenge…
Siobhan Says: Wow, the authors really pulled out all the stops on this final #MenageMonday challenge. There were some really good ones and all of them had great elements I truly enjoyed. It was terribly hard to choose and you all did a great job. But choose I must and here they are.
- Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
- Wakefield Mahon | @WakefieldMahon
- Greg Nance | @acenance
- Stacy Bennett-Hoyt | @RowanWolf66
- Lynn DeRocco | –
- L.T. Dalin | @ChessnySilth
- David A Ludwig | @DavidALudwig
- Dr Magoo | @drmagoo
- H.L. Pauff | @HLPauff
- Mark Ethridge | @LurchMunster
- J Whitworth Hazzard | @zombiemechanics
- J.M. Blackman | @J_M_Blackman
- Kel Heinen | @Aightball
- ML Gammella | @MLGammella
- Nellie Batz | @solimond
- Rebekah Postupak | @postupak
- Ruth Long | @bullishink
On to the Winners!
L.T. Dalin | @ChessnySilth
Siobhan Says: “A Loop of Sanity” I loved the Twilight Zone aspect of this. He had to keep the tape running, even to get just a piece of her back, as if to keep the zombification at bay while he protected them from the others outside. Nicely done and I loved the sci-fi twist. This could be extended into a longer story with hope for a cure. Great job, LT! [read more]
H.L. Pauff | @HLPauff
Siobhan Says: This was a great story completely different from the others and I’ll never argue with someone who names his weapon. Eep. Nicely done and made me laugh uncomfortably. 😀 [read more]
ML Gammella | @MLGammella
Siobhan Says: “Traditions” this was an awesome story – the only thing that kept it from being the Judge’s Pet was no mention of the sign from the photo. I loved the idea that she’d gotten a message in her tea leaves and made sure to have the fire going for when the apocalypse started. Great tale, Miranda! [read more]
Week 52 Judge’s Pet
Siobhan Says: This was a great take on the end of the world theme, only an asteroid, a big celebration to send off 7 billion souls, and a love story of 20 years. Great science, fun storytelling, and original theme. It was the story I kept coming back to and it made me smile every time. Great job. 🙂
He looked over at her, his face screwed into his best attempt at a soulful expression. “I’m glad you are here with me, Sam. Here, at the end of all things.”
She paused for a moment, and then guffawed, reaching out to slap his arm. “You dork! You…are a complete bastard! You’ve been saving that up since the night we met, haven’t you?” Her grin belied her angry words. “And keep your eyes on the road, you psycho. This is our last day on Earth, let’s not spend it in a ditch.”
“As… you… wish… I am glad, though.”
“I know.” She sighed. “It still doesn’t seem real, y’know? It can’t all be coming to an end, can it?”
“I ran the numbers myself. The asteroid’s too big, and we’re too in its way. It’s going to hit southeast of Kyoto at 9:17. The impact…” He knew when he was lecturing, and this wasn’t the time. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I wanted to spend forever with you. I just didn’t know that forever was only twenty years.”
She reached out and took his hand, both resting on the stick shift. He’d always loved how they could just sit silently together, but not tonight. He had so many things to say, and he hated that he wouldn’t be able to tell her everything. So he started babbling.
“I guess this is called a Kurama fire festival. Some of the lab guys are from Japan, and they set this up out in the canyon. It’s supposed to help our souls pass from this world. With seven billion of us going at once, we need all the help we could get. They’ve timed the biggest fires to start at impact. We’ll have a few more hours, but it’ll be dead Earth spinning.”
“That is a singularly ugly phrase. You’re going to use it twenty times tonight, aren’t you?”
She saw a sign up ahead, the first one they’d passed for miles. “Hey, stop a minute. I need to pee.”
“At a gun store?”
“NRA freaks have bladders too.” She smiled. “Maybe it’s about time I learned to shoot a gun, don’t you think? I mean, I can’t imagine they’ll be obsessive about background checks tonight.”
“Probably not. Get me one too – that Zombie Max sounds pretty sweet for an apocalypse gun.”
She pulled the handle and turned to step out of the car. It was hard watching her go. Too much was unsaid. “Hey, Sam?”
“What? I gotta go, you know me.”
“I do. I just wanted to say…yes.”
“Yes, I have been waiting to use that line since the night we met. You were so beautiful, and I’d been drinking, and it was everything I could do not to start quoting Tolkien at you. I am such a dork. I…”
“Yes you are. But you’re mine.” She paused. “Just swing over there by that bush. Who needs a gun when I’ve got you and fire and forever?”
Week 52 Champ
Rebekah Postupak | @postupak
Siobhan Says: Ah, the great spirit himself come to protect the town. What a great perspective on the theme of zombies attacking. The villagers never saw him, he’d protected them, and then fell back into the waiting game until next year. Great tale, wonderful storytelling, and I so want redemption for the “soul-less” protector. Well done, Rebekah!
This night gnaws at me. It tears me up inside, shreds me to pieces organ by organ—kidneys, liver, lungs, one by one, methodically, scientifically. Never the heart, though—no, never the heart: the heart is left to me so my pain will stay fresh and raw in its tattered cavity.
It is dark.
It is always dark now.
I grip my crook tightly, watching dispassionately as tiny shards of oak worm their way into my palm. They weave patterns into the flesh, delicate as a spider’s web, angular as ice flakes. Like me, the patterns formed will never be mistaken for beauty, nor will anyone recall them in the morning.
The hour approaches; the earth begins to tremble with light desperation beneath my feet.
They are coming.
First, the children, cheeks pink and glowing in the firelight. They dance, they skip, holding their infant torches above their heads, sweet, ignorant laughter mingling and melting with the sparks in the air.
I wait. Steady—yes, steady. My turn will come.
Next, the men. Their beacons roar, broad and muscular, biting into the night with teeth of flame. If I were other than what I am, I, too, would tremble, cowering at the thunder of their steps. But the men pass by, eyes locked forward, mouths shouting something I can’t quite catch.
The streets lie ablaze before me, fires in the doorways, torch and flame on the horizon. My treacherous heart strains against the confines of its cage, clawing at my ribs. Are they coming? Is it time??
Shuffle. Shuffle. STOMP. Shuffle. STOMP. Shuffle. Uneven, dissonant scrapings. Familiar scrapings.
Faces grey, eyes wild. A legion of them. Two legions. They stagger vacuously; they snap at each other, growling, hissing. They stumble across the village, ravenous, raging, the smell of pulsing blood in their nostrils.
I grip my crook with both hands and step into the street in front of them. They see me. They fall silent, bewildered by my bloodless heart-pounding.
“Come,” I say, my voice low and soft. I take a step backward, toward the firelight.
Uncertain, they follow.
STOMP. Growl. STOMP.
Still they follow.
“Come,” I say again. I continue to step backward, their eyes on me, frantic, confused.
They follow, urgently, hungrily.
They will follow me unblinking deep into billowing flame.
In their violent, joyful celebrations, the townspeople do not see what they think they see; they would never guess this is what it is.
“To the Shepherd of Souls!” they shout, raising glasses in a raucous toast, their festival accomplished for another year.
Silently I wipe ash from my cheeks. I gaze at the flushed and noisy faces, contemplating for the tiniest of moments what it might feel like to smile. Or to breathe.
The moment of self-pity passes, for now.
A new year dawns.
I spread out my arms and let the night devour me one more time.
Siobhan Says: There were so many more good ones and all the regulars made an appearance. J Whitworth, David Ludwig, Sheilagh Lee, JM Blackman, and Nellie all had great stories that had elements I liked. I just couldn’t choose them all.
Congratulations, Rebekah and Magoo! Claim your badges and display them with pride! (If you need any alterations for color/background, just let me know, or check the #MenageMonday page for a white background version).
Pass on the great news. Google Plus, Twitter, FB, smoke signals. I’m not picky. Check out all of this week’s offerings here, and thank you all for a wonderful year of #MenageMonday!
And that’s all she wrote, folks!