2nd Annual Flash Fiction Contest: Winners!
|The votes have been tabulated!
Beth Cato, “Bless This House”
The winning story is published below. Congratulations to the winners, and all the finalists!
“Of Mice And Astronauts”
by John Eric Vona
An ear-raking shriek careened through the ship.
“Quiet!” I yelled. “You’re wasting air.”
Liddy had been a mess since this ordeal started and I’d had enough. The last few days had been problems on top of problems with malfunctions in the recycling systems and a shortage of oxygen but while I was knee deep in the sludge of the food processing pits trying to figure out what was going on she was running around like a teenager in a haunted house.
“I saw a rat,” Liddy cried, bounding into the room. From my place in the pit, her lanky, six-foot tall frame appeared enormous in the low-ceilinged ship.
“That’s impossible,” I scoffed. It wasn’t enough that were all going to die in the next few days, now we had a hallucinating astronaut. As payload specialist, you’d think Liddy would know that rodents weren’t part of our Mars-bound cargo.
“What’s all the yelling about?” The voice of Val, our mission commander, demanded over the intercom.
“I saw a rat!”
“No she didn’t,” I grumbled.
“Were you there?”
“How do the processing tanks look?” Val asked me. I smiled, amused by her disregard of Liddy’s hysteria. Val always got down to business: my kind of woman.
“I can’t explain it but there are holes in the plastic lining.”
“Maybe something chewed through it.”
“Give it up, Liddy,” I snapped.
“Wait one,” Val said.
After listening to Liddy lecture me on the necessity of empathy to deep space voyages and give a comical description of a rat scuttling across the bulkhead in low gravity, Val appeared in the doorway.
“Take a look at this,” she said. I slipped out of my waist-high mucking suit, pulled myself out of the pit and followed Liddy and Val to a floor panel Val had removed. Between the hull and the decking, clinging to pipes and cables, a couple dozen brown rodents half floated in our semi-artificial gravity.
“I told you,” Liddy said. “Rats.”
“Actually they’re field mice,” I corrected. “Which makes sense. The launch pad was in the middle of farm country. This explains the holes in the food processing liners.”
“With a steady food supply and a few months to reproduce there could be hundreds of them by now,” Val said.
“That would definitely make a dent in our 02 supply,” nodded Liddy.
“Only one thing left to do.” Val grabbed a plastic bag, reached below the deck and started filling it with mice. Liddy gasped.
“How can you—”
“Either they die now or we all die later,” Val said.
“What are you going to do? Airlock them?”
“Can’t afford to waste the bio-matter,” Val stated. “We’ll put them in the recyclers.”
“Ashes to ashes, mush to mush,” I said but regretted it when I looked up and saw Liddy on the verge of spewing tears through the corridor. “Come on,” I said, guiding her away. “Let’s go to the galley so I can practice my empathy.”
– END –
Last year in June, when we had barely half a year’s worth of issues out, we decided to throw a Flash Fiction contest. Not knowing what to expect, we were stunned at the enthusiasm! We had so much fun with it, we decided we had to do it again. Welcome to the 2nd annual Crossed Genres Flash Fiction contest!
The deadline for entries to the contest is June 15. The ten finalists will be posted on the website on June 23. Everyone will be able to read them and vote for their favorite. Voting will close on June 30. The winner and Honorable Mentions will be announced on July 3.
- 100-500 words (FIRM)
- Anything Science Fiction and/or Fantasy
- Unpublished stories only (including online)
- One entry per person
- Winner: $25 and a print copy of Crossed Genres Year One
- Honorable Mentions (3): A print copy of Crossed Genres Year One
Entries which don’t follow the guidelines will be automatically disqualified.
The decisions of the judges are final.
Only the ten (10) finalists will be contacted regarding the results of the contest.
If any multiple voting is discovered, all those votes will be discarded. (We will be checking!)
You must register on the site to vote (it’s free and easy!).
By submitting your story in the Crossed Genres Flash Fiction contest, you declare that the story was written by you; that the story has never been published before, including online; and that you are legally free to enter the story in the contest.
Should your entry be selected as a Finalist, you agree to let Crossed Genres post your story in its entirety on the Crossed Genres website for voting, for a period of up ten (10) days; during which time you will not publish the story elsewhere. If you should win the contest, you grant Crossed Genres exclusive online publication rights for one month from the date the contest winners are announced.