This week's short turnout did not diminish the quality of stories we received.  A huge thank you to all who participate and to those readers who visit every week and of course to this week's Judge Ryan Strohman

Honorable Mention

_Charles Jones (@ChuckWesJ) gets an honorable mention definitely. You
could see where it was going right from the start, but who doesn’t
love the idea of something so cute and cuddly being so incredibly
sinister.

The Winner

_The winner as Rafe (@etcet). His use of the prompt
was fantastic in the way he broke up the wording and played the smile
as something entirely unexpected. I also love the line “the
peripheral neural pathways were the first to succumb, leaving you as
nothing but a brain in your own corpse.”

The Winning Story

_I'll never forget.

That smile hung in the air like a Cheshire Cat moon, a known but unreachable distance away. Part of it, sure was the drugs -- going down for the long sleep, the peripheral neural pathways were the first to succumb, leaving you as nothing but a brain in your own corpse until you came back up.

It made zombies seem like a reasonable thing to believe in -- long sleep storage was pretty much the perfect snack, being a fresh brain in an immobilized body, without the power to do more than panic internally.

But the smile remained above me, even as my eyes lost the power to focus and the face around it faded to a soft blur. And when I woke next, whoever was behind it would be centuries dead.

We devour the living to fuel our travels, and only the barest slivers of them remain, like the rim of a crescent moon, smiling.
 


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