Well, that was a monstrous amount of fun.
That was a joke. A topical word choice based joke.
See, we asked for stories of 250 words or less, using this quote as a jumping-off point:
… which is of course the opening line of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
And you did us proud. Stories about all kinds of things, written in all kinds of genres. We loved them all.
But the point of this whole thing is that we have to choose two to love just that little bit more.
These are those:
RUNNER-UP: Liz Hedgecock
‘Now, if we could move on to agenda item 4.2…’ The Chair’s dark gaze extinguished the delegates’ chatter as effectively as a cloth dropped over a parrot’s cage. ‘Rhinitis, I believe that you’re leading this.’
Allergic Rhinitis bounced up from his seat and squared off the edges of his paperwork. ‘Yes, Chair. Item 4.2, Sub-Committee Equality Scheme, Phase 1.’ Capital letters rang through the room. ‘Since our last meeting I have convened a sub-sub-committee and canvassed female participants.’ He paused, blew his nose with a large red and white polka dot handkerchief, and stuffed it into the pocket of his hairy tweed sports coat.
‘Excellent.’ The Chair inclined his head. ‘And the result?’
‘Allow me to present our new committee members.’ Rhinitis sprang to the heavy double doors and pulled them open, revealing the silhouettes of three women.
‘Excessively-High Speed-Bumps…’ A tall woman sporting a polo-neck and pince-nez strode in.
‘Verruca Plantaris – ’
‘Call me Verruca, dear.’ A stout lady in lisle stockings stumped in.
‘And Multi-Level Online Games.’
She sashayed to the head of the table and poured herself next to the Chair, who couldn’t help smiling at her. ‘So lovely to be here, Red-Tape.’
He watched the way that she nudged her pen forward, left, down, and found that he was doing it too. They all were.
And the Sub-Committee of Afflictions, Distractions and Setbacks (Second-Class) never did action its action list. But it didn’t mind.
WINNER: Henry Peplow
The air stinks of coal and tar and the sweat of the men. You hear the rush of water over their oars and curse them for not muffling, as smugglers should, though you do it quiet so as not to rankle them. A fog steals the colour and the form of the world, so the retreating dock is a pencilled sketch rubbed and smudged across a page, and the sea beyond but a miasma.
You feel the purse in your coat pocket and smooth the flap to conceal it, as if even here some sly-fingered urch might creep upon you. And now you hear the horses, breeching the dock and scattering the sound along the cobbles so it rolls out onto the water, so close it makes your heart lurch. And the calling! The oars are flying now. Scraping gouts of water in each blade so the bow crackles. The fog settles dew onto your face to tame the blood-rush, and you see the great hulk emerge sudden from the vapours.
You press coins into the calloused hands of the oafs who ask for more until you draw a weapon already primed and scale the ladder up onto the deck. Even in the fog, enough air swings the great sail into a soft billow. The ship swings on its keel to clear the stench of land and shake off the bounds of its people. You’re laughing, great bellows that carry across the water, back to the dock.
Congratulations to Liz, and double congratulations to Henry, who is the very first person to win QuickFic twice!
And thanks to everyone who entered – you make our Fridays fly.