I love the opportunity to host a veritable anthology every week.  

Great stories this week from
@ModernBard1024
@rastrohman
@etcet
@ChuckWesJ
@solimond
@klingorengi

Check them all out here.

A big thanks to judge @LupusAnthropos

The Results

In the judges own words:

Honourable Mention #2: @ChuckWesJ - Just don't tell Bubba.

Honourable Mention #1: @klingorengi - Since his MC won't be working with the GSPOT he wanted for tonight.

Winner: @rastrohman - For initially making me think of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html) but really spinning it in quite a different way.

Thank you to everyone who entered and especially to Wakefield for hosting #MotivationMonday and for his patience in waiting for my decision when I was out at the time the competition closed.

The Winning Story

What a way to spend that special day. The children were all ecstatic, dancing around, gripping their balloons with chocolate-covered hands, faces that bore smiles as wide as oceans. Electrofiddlers played their tunes, frenetic yet rhythmic notes that forced even the elderly to dance. The entire district had converged upon the square, where the newly born babies were about to be revealed to the public.

Quen stood amongst the group in this strange land, watching the festival. He’d heard little of what this was all about since arriving. He hadn’t expected everything to be so quaint, especially given the rumors.
“Behold!” shouted Meritus, the mayor, as he introduced the four couples and their January babies.

The couples all walked onto the stage, their little bundles of joy cradled in their arms, their eyes alight with the special festivities. The fact that only four children were born in the month was an absolute rarity, as typically there were twenty or more. Meritus shook the hands of each of the parents and studied each newborn intensely, before finally pointing to the Finks and declaring them the winners. The crowd cheered, and the other couples, while appearing dejected, congratulated the jubilant victors.

Quen turned to Rutap, the crusty young man he’d met upon arriving, and inquired, “what did they win?”

Rutap smiled, his left eye looking at Quen but his right wandering toward something else in the crowd. “Oh,” he exclaimed, “little Amaxa Fink has been chosen to be an honorable Patronus!”

Quen had only heard whispers of the fabled protectors, and he watched keenly as the infant’s parents began to disrobe her. Meritus then took the naked infant and placed her on the table in front of him. Two androgynous individuals wearing white aprons appeared, one carrying a laser-scalpel—the kind Quen had seen used in the war to amputate the mangled limbs of soldiers.

To Quen’s horror, Meritus grabbed the laser-scalpel, turned it on, and pointed it down toward the child.

“Stop,” Quen shrieked, as he bolted up onto the stage, pushing away the mayor and the infant’s parents.

“What are you doing?” shrieked Meritus, but his question was lost in the sound of mechanized stomps as two large, vicious cyborgs appeared on either side of the stage.

“Put the child down, foreigner, and leave immediately. You are no longer welcome here.”

“But you were going to maim this poor little girl!”

“That is not your concern. She has been chosen to join us, the Patroni, protectors of our district. It is an honor here, and you have no right to question it. Now leave!”

Quen looked from one to the other, knowing what he must do. Leaping from the stage, Amaxa Fink cradled tightly under his arm, he ran as fast as he could to his cruiser, enabling the shields and spiriting away.

He did not care about their customs or the impending war. He would not allow this: removing the infant’s limbs and replacing them with weaponized robotic prosthetics.

By Ryan Strohman
 


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