Mushroom Clouds by Amanda Acton

Prompt: Mastermind | Word count: 1000 | Genre: Fantasy

The hive was beautiful. A drop of sunlight, twisting lazy loops. It all but glowed with promise and Harry licked his lips in anticipation. He squinted up at the hive and his brain began to whorl. The hive was a good six meters from the ground, but that was hardly the problem. The real problem, the thing that gave Harry pause, was the Gigantus Fungalus.

Gigantus Fungalus were a rare species of giant mushroom and this hive, this beautiful font of sweet treasure, was nestled deeply within the black fronds of one such mushroom. Harry stroked his stubbled chin. Even within the Neglar Marshes, a veritable paradise for fungi, the Fungalus were rare and Harry’s prime directive was to keep them safe.
Well, his actual job was harvesting honey, but it was his personal belief that one could do so without unnecessarily hurting the environment. The whole thing with the bees was unfortunate, but Harry had heard some interesting stories of keeping bees in boxes, almost like livestock and he was eager to try it out for himself. If all went to plan he would be able to secure the queen from this hive and…

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The Club by Ashleigh Seton-Rogers

Prompt: The Club | Word count: 750 words | Genre:  Comedy

Astrid strolled slowly into the school.  It was dark out and the place was deserted.  She wasn’t sure what to expect.  And if it hadn’t been for the light up ahead, coming from one of the classrooms, she would have fled.

A Facebook message had started all this.  It had said something to the effect that she would ‘benefit greatly from this gathering’.  She had tried to look up the person “Glynis” who had sent the message, but their profile had been set to private and except for a pic of a cat as the profile pic, there hadn’t been much go on.  Nearing the door, she heard chatter and the scraping of chairs.

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Aunt Meemi by Hazel Campbell

Prompt: Going home  | Word count: 500 words  | Genre: uncertain -paranormal?

Our community is rural, old-fashioned, close-knit, with a sprinkling of retirees  – persons who had migrated to England or USA and returned to build their dream homes and live the rest of their lives in the calm and peace of home.

Aunt Meemi and Uncle Roy were one such couple. When the need for a librarian became acute, Aunt Meemi came out of retirement, but, very few knew that she was a cancer patient. By the time we found out it was almost all over. She was at work up to six o’clock on Wednesday evening and everybody was dismayed when on Thursday morning the library remained closed – Aunt Meemi couldn’t get out of bed.

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A Peaceful Rest by Rachel Dye

     Prompt:  Going Home | Word Count:  500 (exactly) | Genre:  General Fiction

       Martha stretched as she woke and reveled in the peace of her body. She felt amazing; what a strange feeling. The sun draped her face, as she sighed.

       “Good morning, beautiful.”

       Martha’s eyes widened. “Hank,” the name tumbled from her lips as she stared at  her husband. He was dressed in the Army uniform he’d worn the day he’d shipped out.

       “Surprised to see me, love?” he tapped her nose playfully.

       She tried to remain calm. “Since you’ve been dead more than fifty years, a little.”
Hank smiled. “I’m dead too.” The words felt scary…and right.

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Home Is Where the Heart Is by Anusuya Kashi

Prompt: Going Home | Word Count: 500 | Genre: Legend

After stumbling for two hours through the dense undergrowth, Captain Kiran finally accepted that he was well and truly lost on his first day in the beautiful mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. He rued his impulsive decision to trek to the army camp instead of waiting for the jeep that was to transport him.

“Veerta aur Vivek,” he chanted aloud, trying to draw strength from the motto of his alma mater, the Indian Military Academy. He knew he had shown no ‘vivek’ or wisdom and was in dire need of ‘veerta’ or courage, to go on.

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If Not for Kalpana….by Anusuya

Prompt: Conversation with my spouse | Word Count: 1200 words | Genre: Psychological fiction

I hurry out to the porch and settle down into my chair for our evening ritual. Rohit looks up at me and smiles. It is a beautiful evening.

We are sitting outside, watching the sun set with a soft, orange glow. There is something about the stillness that sets in with dusk as all of creation prepares to rest for the day. In the small town to which we have recently moved, there isn’t much to do after sundown and we’re not given to socializing either. So we sit watching the sunset in a silence that is only broken by the chirping of the crickets. How loud the silence seems! And to me, that makes everything seem even more intense.

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Induction to the Dead Stick Squad by Daniel Casey

Prompt: A White Lie | Word count: 2480 | Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Opera/Drama?

Kelton’s head slammed back against the wall, his attacker towering over him.

“One more stupid stunt like that and I won’t be hoping the Tessera end your streak, I’ll do it myself!” The Captain’s words echoed through the silent mess hall. Captain Haynes and Kelton had been feeling each other out ever since Kelton was assigned to Haynes flight squad. If Kelton were honest with himself, he just wasn’t that good a team player. Formation flying, zone defense, and in general, being part of a good safety net was just not his style.

Feeling his head bounce off the wall brought Kelton back to the present, Haynes mere inches from his face, screaming about something. This was bad. He’d drifted into memories in the middle of an actual fist-fight, just like he’d done after he went rogue and broke formation earlier in the day. While he had taken out the hive-link relay ship, shutting down the attack, he’d put the entire flight team in jeopardy to do so.

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It’s Time by Hazel Campbell

Prompt: Conversations with my Spouse | Word count: X1200 | Genre: Crime

“Wake up, dear. It’s too hot. Time we went in.” Rachel poked her husband who was dozing in his wheelchair.

“Call Fairy,” he mumbled.

She shook the bell they used to summon the caretaker, vigorously. Fairy would say she didn’t hear the bell if it only tinkled.

In the kitchen, Fairy grumbled, “A person can’t get two minutes to themself. All day long they ringing that damn bell. Never mind,” she consoled herself. “The house soon finish, then …”

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Forging CoBALT by Daniel Casey

Prompt: A New Life | Word count: 1000 | Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Opera/Drama?

Kelton shuddered awake; alarms piercing his fogged brain. He felt trapped, the weight of his exo-armour unresponsive as the systems slowly rebooted, warnings flashing across his HUD.

COR Offline – System Malfunction – Pressure breach. He wasn’t in good shape, but he’d skirted the reaching grasp of the reaper once again.

He drew a deep shuddering breath against the negative pressure of his suit and realized he’d been drifting. He triggered the refresh and winced, COR was still offline, and he was at half pressure; no wonder he was getting light-headed.

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Live by the List by Rachel Dye

Prompt: The List |  Word count: 1032 | Genre: Fantasy | Mild Violence and Profanity

“Live by the list; die by the list!” Eve dutifully repeated the words as she entered the Assassin’s Hall.  I never wanted to be an assassin, Eve cringed at the young initiate’s words but she continued towards her place at the front. There was little she could do to comfort the unblooded woman.

Her decade of service granted her one of the highest ranking positions in the Corp.  Perhaps with time the young one might learn to accept her fate but the odds were never in their favor.  More than half the new initiates would be buried before the end of the year, dead by one of the factions’ hands during a botched assassination or by their own guilt.

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