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Messages - Baron

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1
Can we have some transparency as to who these "certain applicants" might be?  Do we have to apply early to find out if we qualify?  ;)

2
Congratulations JudasFm!  A well-deserved victory.  :)

My original concept was that "happily ever after" for a revolutionary is a fiery death for the cause, as to grow old is to sell out.  I agree 100% with the feedback I've received, though.  I felt obliged to set up the cloak & dagger atmosphere (hence the secret entrance), give some background for the reason for the revolution (hence the meeting), and the importance of the cause over well-being or dignity (hence the two misadventures with the bank director and the armoured truck theft), all building to the chase scene which I really wanted to write.  But it ended up feeling a bit convoluted and unnecessarily long.  Next time I need a cleaner concept and a more ruthless editor.  (roll)

As for the ending, realistically they did achieve their happily ever after in a fiery death.  But given that they were magical beings with magical powder in their possession, and there was no direct evidence of their demise, perhaps they did get away in the end?  You have to believe in magic, after all, if you're going to believe in happy endings.  ;)

3
Mandle loves me again! ;-D  Except sometimes when he's drunk.... :undecided:  But sometimes when I'm drunk I love him even more, so it all balances out.  :=

4
My "story" was non-fiction and while there is actually an upturned wheelbarrow in my land-lady's vegetable field I don't think there is a dead baby under it, but now I'm kinda scared to go look.

Well, you can't not go and look now.  You'll always wonder otherwise....

But joking aside (and you can pretty much assume that I'm always joking, since I'm rarely very serious), I did find your story sad (emotionally, not as a story), and what I meant to say in a not-too-clear way was that I would find it highly ironic if you were to win given the theme of "happily ever after".  I concur wholeheartedly that happily ever after is a matter of perspective, but as a cynical being I have a hard time equating happiness with naked Darwinian failure.  I guess maybe structurally there weren't enough of the happy moments in your piece for me to really empathise with Panda.  Even the cuddling bit kind of came across as the adoptive family possibly suffocating the poor orphan.  I apologise if my feedback sounded harsh, but my gut reading of the story was "life is brutally harsh except for tiny stolen moments, so the tragedy of senseless death is ok if there were some good times squeezed in there somewhere," which in my opinion is too raw to qualify as a "happily ever after."  But maybe I should get a second opinion: I'll read it to my 9 year old daughter and see what she thinks.  ;)   

Having said that, I don't feel I did much better with the theme, so please feel free not to vote for me either.  :=

5
Best Character: I'm going with JudasFM's Dirnec.  The trophy "merlfriend" was a bit flat, and the princess was pretty one dimensional.  But I liked the patient scheming Dirnec demonstrated and his "they'll never beat me on the inside" attitude.  :)

Best Plot: I'm going with JudasFM here as well.  I was ready for a climactic "third act is the charm" story, but Dirnec in his wisdom decided not to draw the whole process out, which was refreshing.

Best Atmosphere: I'm saying JudasFM again.  The exotic culture of the merfolk was well-balanced with sufficient description to help the reader understand the important things (i.e. how the manacles worked).  There is the little stretch of the woeful princess choosing to mope in the prison pit, but I suppose it's no more of a stretch than a husband making a wife see sense with regard to pets.  (roll)

Best Writing: Again JudasFM gets my vote.  I liked the short paragraph style, and the reliance on dialog to drive the story was a plus for me.  Some turns of phrase were also clever: the subtle undercurrent works on so many levels, and "Meruna" wilts (since she's basically just a flower, a pretty object).

Best Ending: I'm going with Mandle at last, mostly because the cat unexpectedly died.  I hope this vote doesn't help you win though, Mandle, since yours was easily the most depressing "happily ever after" story I've ever read.  :tongue:  Mine was bad too, but jeez!  It was hard to wade through the story for all the dead cat corpses bunging up the way.  Why didn't they just find a dead baby under the up-turned wheelbarrow while you were at it?!?   :-\  ;)

6
I had hoped this would be a grand return to the FNC, but sadly it wasn't a happy ending for me.  :undecided:

But what about the extras, P?  Do we still get the extras?  :=

7
For the Cause

   The old inn sprawled and sagged like an ancient, twisted oak.  The hooded figure approached, looked discretely up and down the miserable, abandoned lane, then entered.  Inside the public house was a bored looking barkeep and maybe a dozen drinkers seated on rickety looking furnishings.  A few heads turned to stare at the newcomer, but soon returned to the more important business of drinking into oblivion.  The hooded figure strode through their midst purposefully to the back passageway and the toilets.  A quick search confirmed that the lady's room was indeed, as always, empty.  The third stall had its perennial “out of order” sign, and it was there that the figure entered.  A quick flush (no one would ever think of that in such a dank public toilet), and a tile in the back wall slid open to reveal a pair of very suspicious eyes.

   “What's the password?” the eyes whispered aggressively.

   “Revolution!” the hooded figure whispered back.

   The eyes in the wall narrowed.  “That's the old password!” they whispered angrily.

   The hooded figure bowed its head and whispered again, only this time too quietly to be heard by the eyes.  The eyes narrowed further as the hooded figure seemed to convulse as its bottom half disagreed with its top.  At length the figure righted itself and spoke in a dignified whisper.  “The new password is... candy cane.”

   “Correct!” the eyes hissed, and along the tiled wall a secret door opened, revealing a winding staircase and a rough sign reading “Fantasy Society HQ”.  On a shelf next to the staircase stood the creature to whom belonged the eyes, a little imp no more than 12 inches tall.

   The hooded figure pushed back his cowl, which promptly fell to his waste revealing a slender elf standing on the head of a grumpy looking dwarf.  The elf was all smiles, but had a manic glint to his eyes.  “That's a stupid password, Comrade Morty!” the elf said sarcastically in a high-pitched voice, jumping off the dwarf's head and bounding up the stairs.

   “Take it up with the boss, Comrade Lief!” Morty rasped after him, waving the elf through.  The dwarf, who was too fat to fit through the hood hole, scowled down at the garment that was now twice too big to fit him.  Indignantly, he hitched up the billowing robe like he were crossing a puddle in a great wedding dress and strode up the stairs.  Morty the imp laughed after him.  “Comrade Gruff, that dress suits you!”

   “Things I bear for Cause,” Comrade Gruff grumbled in a thick eastern European accent, following his comrade up the stairs.

   *   *   *   *   *

   The meeting room was dimly lit except for the tiny speaker, a pixie who glowed of her own accord.  As she spoke her emotions intensified and she seemed to glow all the brighter, working herself up into a righteous rage that burned as hot as a drop of pure sunlight.  The crowd was a motley assortment of magical creatures and unhinged humans who were being worked up into a state of frothy fanaticism by the pixie's words.

   “And now the capitalists conjure their wizardry,” she continued, “at a $479.95 price point for the bourgeoisie to drool over!  The spell is cast, and the masses rend the forests and the fens asunder in exchange for a payment of a couple magic beans.  The snake oil salesmen get fat at the top, the bourgeoisie binge spend to try to keep up in the middle, and the masses starve on a diet of empty promises and false hope at the bottom.  This is a society sickened with the plague of materialism!  It lashes out in fits and spasms, in full denial of how sick it is and woefully ignorant of the cure!  Whatever can the remedy be?!?” the pixie asked with rhetorical flourish.

   “Real magic!” called a few members of the crowd.  “Grimmism!” cried yet others, extolling the creed inadvertently set out by 19th century philologists.  “Liberation!” shouted the most fervent, the elf Lief and the dwarf Gruff among them.

   The tiny pixie put her finger to her lip to bid the gathering to come to order.  “When a body is so sick that it begins to spiral towards death, is that the time for a plaster or an aspirin?”

   “No!” the crowd chanted in unison.

   “When an organism's very survival is at stake, is that the time for a hot water bottle and a lemon toddy?!”

   “No!” the crowd called out again.

   “Well if the body of society is so ghastly ill, what remedy is sufficiently radical to shock it out of its death throes?!?”

   “Revolution!” the crowd shouted ecstatically.

   “That's right, comrades!” the pixie cried.  “But it might get messy, oh yes, it might.  Is it right to use proportionate violence, to bring humanity to its senses?”

   “Yes!” the crowd called.

   “Is it right to commit murder, if it averts a war that kills millions?”

   “Yes!”

   “Are we just and righteous to prune 1% of the foliage to save the rest of the tree of Earth?”

   “Yes!  Yes!  YES!” the crowd chanted, none louder than Lief and Gruff in the front row.

   “Then hear me out, comrades, for in our day of most desperate need now is the hour of action!  The central committee of this glorious society has created a plan to strike the head from the Beast.  But we lack resources.  Brave is the brotherhood of arms we have formed over these many years, and strong is our resolve.  But what good is an axe against a Narvaa S23 Stroke Harvester, I ask?”

   “Errr...?” went some in the crowd.

   “What good is an enchanted bow and arrow against an M230 Chain Gun?” the pixie continued, trying to win back the crowd.  “About as good as bringing a butter knife to work at a slaughterhouse!  We need to level up, comrades!  When the time comes to overthrow capitalism, we can't bring a knife to a gunfight!  We need to buy some serious Russian-made military kit!”

   There were now more than a few sideways glances in the crowd, but the pixie could see that a few fervent believers at the front were still spellbound by her speech.  She straightened her back and pushed her glow up to maximum intensity.  “What we need now is for some brave comrades to rob a capitalist armoured truck to help us finance our magical revolution!  It will be tough, and it will be dangerous.  Who believes so fervently in our cause that they are willing to sacrifice life and limb for the Cause?!?”

   By this point Comrade Lief and Comrade Gruff alone were on their feet in the front row.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Comrade Gruff reclined naked on the gilded cushion, his long beard artfully draped to conceal his sexing organs.  Across from him on the bed lounged Elysia, a 600 pound woman of insatiable appetite.  She was currently dipping Mars bars into a bucket of melted ice cream and then cramming them whole into her mouth.  Melted ice cream dribbled off her chin to feed several rivulets on her chest, which in turn converged to form a veritable river flowing through the gorge of her cleavage.  Seeing the dwarf staring at her she gave him a teasing wink.  “I'll let you mop up in aisle three in a little bit, Sugar!”

   Comrade Gruff had to stifle a gag and forced himself to look the woman in the eyes.  They were bloodshot from the dry hotel air and too much screen-time, but they were still by far the woman's least disgusting attribute.  They might have been even pretty once, a pair of sapphire gemstones implausibly set in dolomite skin.  But now her face seemed too small for a head swollen with ballooning jowls and multiplying chins.  And the head itself seemed more of a circus ball perched atop some kind of bloated porpoise beached in a nest of plastic wrappers.  He shuddered despite himself and turned back to the eyes.  Think of Cause, he told himself over and over again.  Think of Cause!

   “I don't know how you get cold with all that body hair, Sugar,” Elysia panted, sweat beading on her forehead as she pulled another chocolate bar slowly through the viscous cream.  “It's like you're wrapped up in a little pageant girl's fur coat!  Still, I bet it beats Waxing Wednesdays down at Chez Stupot....”  Wherever this line of thought was going it ended with a mouth stuffed full of sugar and the revolting rivers flowing anew.

   A sudden beeping erupted from somewhere in the room, and an armband stretched taught on the woman's left arm started flashing red.  “Aw, kill joy!” Elysia cursed, spraying cream across the bed.  “Sugar,  be a sweetie plum and go fetch momma's insulin!”

   Escape at last!  Comrade Gruff rolled off the bed and grabbed the giant suitcase off the pile.  A pair of hands emerged from the slightly unzipped zipper of the bag beneath soon followed by a gasping elf mouth.

   “Not there, Sugar!  In my purse!”  Elysia strained herself to wave towards the other side of the bed.  Gruff reluctantly abandoned his comrade once more to rummage through the sea-cow's purse.  Candy wrapper, candy wrapper, liposuction loyalty card, candy wrapper, cell phone....

   “Hey, is what beeps?” Comrade Gruff asked, turning the phone on.  Curses, biometrically locked!

   “Nag, nag, nag!  It's worse than a doctor,” Elysia whined, grabbing the cell phone and pushing her pudgy finger print into the touch screen.  Comrade Gruff made sure to note which finger.

   “This one?” he asked, holding up a cartridge.

   “That's momma's laxatives.”

   Comrade Gruff stifled another shudder and replaced the cartridge.  “This one?” he asked again, holding up a tube.

   “That's momma's ass-rot cream.”

   Think of Cause!  Think of Cause!

   “This one?”

   “That's momma's sleeping pills.  Oh, just bring the whole thing over here!”

   While Elysia rummaged through the purse Comrade Gruff was able to discretely dump most of the sleeping pills into the ice cream tub.  He doubted whether she'd notice the tiny anomalies the way she ate, although he marvelled that such tiny doses could bring down such a large being.  The words “elephant tranquillizer” on the bottle were reassuring.

   “Uh, wow!” Gruff gaped in mock admiration.  “You can tell how important person is by how much medication in bag.  You must have very high stress job at bank!”

   “Oh, we can't all make a living as a Swedish Man Toy, Sugar!  I've been running Daddy's bank since he got that horse-body implant.  Centaurs were a fad with the Russian models back in the 2020s.  Anyway, now I work 24/7.  While we make love I'll be using this app to check up on derivatives, for-ex, counter-parties, bond-spreads, and even security.”

   “Wow!” Comrade Gruff gaped again.  In his peripheral vision he could see that Comrade Lief had finally freed himself from the bag.

   A few moments passed while Elysia played with her phone until she finally noticed Comrade Gruff standing there.  “Uh, hello?!  It's back to work time, Sugar.  We're both on the clock here!”

   Think of Cause!

   *   *   *   *   *   *

   BAM!

   “What was that?!?” the driver of the armoured car asked, slamming on the brakes.

   “Sounded like we hit something,” his partner replied, undoing his seatbelt and reaching for the door.

   “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” the driver cautioned.  “It's 3 AM on an abandoned stretch of road.  Let's just follow protocol and call it in.”

   “What, afraid of a half-dead coyote?” the partner mocked.  He drew his gun and made sure the safety was off.  “Live a little, Aunt Mae!  I'm gonna go check it out.  Maybe shoot something to put it out of its misery.  You cover me.”

   “This is a bad idea, man,” the driver warned, unholstering his own weapon.  “On three?”

   “One, two-” the partner was out the door already.

   “Shit!” the driver cursed, and followed.

   Maybe a hundred feet behind the truck a lump lay motionless in the middle of the road.

   “Well, it ain't twitchin',” the partner said with disappointment, slowly approaching the lump.

   “Hey, it's not an animal,” the driver remarked, noting that the tiny lump seemed to be wearing clothes.  The size and shape of the lump suddenly made his stomach wrench up into a pretzel.  “Oh shit!” He turned to the side of the road and started barfing doughnuts.

   His partner was more macabre.  Holstering his gun, he approached the child-sized lump, which was sprawled awkwardly over pavement.  A tiny hood concealed its head.  Steeling himself, the partner grabbed an edge of the fabric and pulled it back to reveal a bizarre looking child with a sinister grin on his face.

   “Hissss!”

   The child suddenly came to life like a demon, biting down hard on the partner's gun arm.  “Ahhhh!  Ah! Fuck!  Get it off!” he screamed.   He couldn't reach his gun with his good hand, so he started shaking his arm violently.  The child was flung this way and that, its neck snapping in unholy directions, but still its jaws were locked.  He turned and started rotating his arm in great windmills, slamming the child against the tarmac with all of his strength.  “Ahhhhh!”

   He turned to see why the driver hadn't taken action, and was puzzled to see him lying on the road side, a bearded dwarf standing over him with a frying pan.  Suddenly the demented gremlin-child was on his face, screaming nonsense. 

   “Suck sock puppet, capitalist pig!”

   Something fuzzy suddenly obstructed his airway as he frantically grabbed at his assailant.  Then there was a deafening gong sound of iron hitting skull, and he fell dazed to the ground.

   “Sock puppet?” Comrade Gruff asked quizzically.

   His elf comrade simply chuckled maniacally.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   The desert at dawn.  Sirens whined incessantly as the police cruisers charged after the armoured truck, four abreast on the abandoned freeway.  Lief leaned out the window of the truck to chuck a throwing knife at their wheels, and was met with a hail of bullets.  He quickly pulled himself back inside.

   “State line,” Comrade Gruff commented, waving at a sign that drifted by in a blink of an eye.  “Five miles.”

   “Patsies'll never take us alive!” Comrade Lief shouted.  He was missing two teeth and sported a black eye from his encounter with the armoured car driver.  Comrade Gruff winced as he coughed.  He had several cracked ribs from his night with Elysia, and emotional bruises that were much, much more painful. 

   “They'll have barricade up at line,” he mused.

   “We'll have to ram it!” Comrade Lief punched the air. 

   Comrade Gruff could see now how his friend would never surrender, no matter how hopeless it was.  He laughed despite the shot of pain in his chest.  It probably was always hopeless....  He sighed.  “They'll have tire spikes laid up across road, probably two hundred yards out from barricade.  Even if we don't tip, we'll never retain speed to ram through.” 

   Comrade Lief twitched in his seat, staring out across the barren landscape.  “We'll have to go off-roading!” he said enthusiastically.

   Comrade Gruff shrugged.  “Is canyon,” was his only reply.

   Comrade Lief squirmed in his seat.  “We have to try.  For the revolution!  For the Cause!”

   Comrade Gruff nodded affirmingly.  “For Cause.”  He reached into his robes and pulled out a fat cuban cigar.  “Is lighter in glove box?” he asked.

   Comrade Lief rummaged around in the glove box and found one. 

   “You don't mind?” Comrade Gruff asked.

   “Ha ha ha, no,” Comrade Lief replied.  He lit his friend's cigar, and then played with the lighter.  “Ha ha ha, fire, FIRE!” he said excitedly to himself.

   Comrade Gruff puffed happily on his cigar for a few moments before flicking his ash out the window.  “Ready, comrade?”

   The elf bounced happily in his seat.  “Let's screw those capitalist fat cat bastards out of a couple million!”

   Comrade Gruff genuinely smiled for the first time in years.  “Screw fat cat bastards,” he repeated in his thick accent.  “For Cause!”

   “For the Cause!” Comrade Lief cried, punching at the air again.

   Comrade Gruff swerved the armoured truck off the road, steering it directly into the glare of the rising sun.  A plume of dust shot out from behind the truck's wheels, almost obscuring the line of flashing lights that now fanned out widely in pursuit.  “Hey, look!” he shouted over the rumbling wheels.  “Coyote!”  The animal dove for cover in its den as the truck shot past.  “Is magical world, no?”

   Comrade Lief giggled uncontrollably.  “You know, some magical beings can fly!” he shouted.

   Comrade Gruff smiled back.  “I am believing in magic,” was all he said.

   Comrade Lief held up a tiny vial of fairy dust, a crazed glint in his eye.

   Comrade Gruff had to laugh again, despite the pain.  “Is just cocaine for smurfs,” he said.  “No aerodynamic properties.”

   “You gotta believe!” Comrade Lief cried, eyes darting towards the fast approaching canyon rim.

   “I am believing in Cause,” Comrade Gruff reaffirmed.  “I am believing in magic.”

   “Then punch it!” the elf screamed rapturously, shaking the contents of the vial so that a cloud of fairy dust filled the truck cabin.

   The police cruisers screeched to a halt in a cloud of dust at the canyon rim, shaking their heads at the craziness of perps these days.  When the dust finally settled they could see not a trace of the armoured truck against the morning glare.
   

8
I finally have.... an idea!!!!  ;-D

9
Not exactly a happy beginning to the competition, but that will just make the ending that much sweeter.  ;)

10
By my calculation it's now a tie between the real fake entries of Sinitrena and jahnocli with 7 votes each, so I'm hereby invoking my right as contest administrator to break the tie.

I think in my comments above I indicated a slight preference for Sinitrena's work this round, but even without that being the case I would have to decide in her favour due to jahnocli's choice not to vote.  While I respect jahnocli's analysis that it is somewhat absurd to vote for the only option available, it has been the traditional thing to do in this contest when there have been only two entries.  Call it classy or call it totalitarian doublethink, it's still the way we roll around here.  Sinitrena's point that it places her at a distinct disadvantage, having given jahnocli 5 of his 7 votes herself, has greater weight than any philosophical argument against voting when there's only one choice.

Thus, the final official results for the fake contest are as follows:

Sinitrena wins first place with 7 + 1 votes.

jahnocli wins a close second place with 7 votes.

Mandle slips to third place amidst charges of massive electoral fraud....  :-\

I'd hand out the trophies at this point, but as I said before they were all fake as well.  :P  Actually, this whole contest has just been a massive head in Emerald City.  Actually, this whole contest has just been a wabbit dressed as a busty nurse.  Actually, this whole contest has just been a wow butter and spam sandwich.  I'd like to stay and explain myself, but I'd almost certainly just get tangled in my own web of deceit.  See you all next time in the next exciting instalment of....

...The Fortnightly Writing Competition!

11
Huh.  Perhaps I should reconsider my fake results and allow JudasFm to vote....

Very well!  Voting is open for one more day!  :=

12
....but with just two (real...fake) entries...

I'm pretty sure if you added up all the real and fake entries the total would be three...  ;)

I think it's time to close this round, don't you agree, Baron?

Oh, very well.  Announcing the results of the fake writing competition!  Can we have a synthetic drum roll, please?

Sinitrena with 3 well-earned votes.

jahnocli with 6 well-deserved votes.

Mandle with a record 137 somewhat suspect votes.

So the fake winner is Mandle!!!1!!!  He was a dark horse, yes, but sometimes even in democracies you get some serious flukes.  Some people speak of the wisdom of crowds, but some other people look askance at those first people because, seriously, sometimes you just gotta look at the crowd and wonder wtf??

I made some fake trophies for everyone.  Mandle gets the golden sloar of Uruk.  Jahnocli receives the silver jabberwocky which is quite brillig and slithy in the wabe.  Sinitrena gets this imitation knock-off Lough Ness platypus.  I'm not sure what to tell you about that one.  Congratulations?   (roll)

If I may be permitted to give some feedback?  I thought Sinitrena's entry had a great set-up.  I love how the faker's downfall was the product of her own hubris AND design at the same time.  I hated that Gracie was such a shallow narcissist, but I guess that made her a great character for the purpose of the story.  Jahnocli's story reminded me more of an Ocean's 11 style caper, with everyone doing their small part.  I'd heard of this deception before, but not the details, so top marks for combining a well-researched historical event with the mandatory ruse of the theme.  I'm not sure you achieved the suspense or comeuppance that was recommended, unless you fast-forward 75 years to Britain's xenophobic rejection of the benefits of cooperating with the continent.  :P  Mandle.... well, what can I say?  In terms of the fakiest fakeness, you are the black-belted doctorate-bearing chess-master guru! 

 ;-D

13
Well, some input is better than none.  :P

14
Gah, I goofed by not changing the OP title to advertise the voting. :P   I'll extend the voting to Saturday in hopes of garnering more input from the reading community.

15
And that's a wrap, folks.  We've got three incredible entries to choose from:

jahnocli with Who Ya Gonna Fake?
Sinitrena with The Music of Grace
Mandle with Fake Invisible Entry

The voting categories are, as promised:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  You be the judge!

Voting closes Tuesday December 11, but I won't get to wrapping everything up until the 12th in case you're planning on cutting it close.  Good luck to all participants and may the best writer win. :)


16
Two entries doth a competition make, but it would be nice to have a few more.  One more day!!!

17
I'd like to thank you all for feigning faking interest in this topic. ;)

Just a reminder: you've got about 4 days left to fake up an entry!

18
What do Bridget Jones, Krusty the Clown, and Neville Chamberlain all have in common?  A façade of competence and the sword of Damocles dangling just above their heads.  A player's gonna play, and a hater's gonna hate.  So what's a poor faker to do?
 
Faker's Gonna Fake


Nobody likes a phoney in real life, but god they get into such great predicaments for story telling!  Teenagers trying on new personas like they're clothes-shopping at the mall, corporate yuckity-yucks throwing around buzzwords like they somehow make sense, politicians lying through their teeth just to disprove the rumours that someone just shaved a monkey and put a tie on him: it's a faker's paradise out there!  Your mission in this competition is to create a character self-delusional enough to believe that, despite a lack of genuine skill and experience, they can do it just like the pros!  It'd be great if there was some sort of reckoning at the end, actual or implied, but that's just for bonus points.

Deadline: All entries are to be submitted by Friday December 7.

Word Limit:  It's gotta fit all in one post.  Faker's not gonna put in extra work, why should you? ;)

Possible Voting Categories: I might change my mind over the next two weeks, but right now I'm thinking:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  Hmmmmm....  A wild card indeed! :=

Good luck to all entrants!

19
Thanks guys. ;-D  It's not a universal brand of humour, but I'm glad there's still a market segment for absurdist fiction. ;)

I'll try to get the next competition up and running soon.

20
Who's making excuses? ;)  I assumed I had until the end of the 18th....

An Alliance by WHAM

I thought this was an awesome story.  The atmosphere was moody, the characters strong, and the background world pregnant with possibility.  I agree with some of the comments already posted that it might not necessarily make for the best short story, but I think the world, characters, and plot problems all have terrific potential.  I especially liked the clanish-ness of the rodent tribes and their distinct characters.  My favourite character was the one-eyed mouse of the woods, just because his body tells quite the backstory and he's obviously got quite a complex set of motivations.  Obviously this wasn't something explored in depth in the story, but I want to find out more about him, whereas other characters were more easy to figure out off the bat (e.g. the quick-tempered Red Tooth, the cerebral Old White...).  I also liked your use of language in describing the setting as "wreathed" in fog as moonlight "crept" down the stairs.  Nice strong verbs there.

A fox knows many things... by jahnocli

I very much liked the atmosphere at the beginning of the story.  It had this grim foreboding feeling, which unfortunately didn't quite pan out in the end.  My favourite character was Prickly, mostly for his "Dickensian" manner of speaking (who uses the term "mutual advantage" anymore?).  I thought their plan was sound and the story-world plausible, except for the incongruous internet gambling bit.  While painting a vivid picture in my mind, some of your descriptions also jarred a bit with the rural setting: "the fog teased like dry ice" speaks of a degree of scientific familiarity that doesn't quite seem to fit in with animals living in a forest.

Ice-cream by Sinitrena

While you've adhered to the rules, I think your entry  bends the spirit of them a bit too far.  Yes, we know there's something different about Kessy even before she goes all Elsa-ice-queen on the creepy fae guy.  But outside of her weird look and powers, there's nothing really inhuman about her.  In fact, she seems to relate more to being human than to her "real" people, right down to the shallow teenage sassy-ness of her attitude.  I was intrigued by the ending about the longer backstory of her adopted family and the fairies, but shocked at her cavalier attitude in not even enquiring after her lost sister, so self-assured she was that the fairies would try to make contact again shortly (after 15 years of nothing....).  Kessy is for sure the best character in your piece, because you've definitely nailed down the frustratingly impulsive attitude of the human teenage girl, but I'm sorry to say that I can't actually like her.

Votes:

Most Convincing Protagonist: Prickly, by jahnocli
Best Story: WHAM
Best Writing: WHAM



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