Thank you to all of our participants especially the many newcomers and to those who provided comments.  Some of you poured your hearts out with your own stories of loss.  Some of you made me laugh.  All of you continued to impress me with your writing talent.  This week's contestants were:

Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
David A Ludwig ~ @DavidALudwig
Charles W Jones ~ @ChuckWesJ
Miranda Kate ~ @PurpleQueenNL
Anthony ~ @unfoldingmyth
Jeffrey Hollar ~ @klingorengi
Cara Michaels ~ @caramichaels
Stacey Jaine McIntosh ~ @StaceyJMcIntosh
Jeff Tsuruoka ~ @JTsuruoka
Phoenix Lavan ~ @PhoenixLavan
Chessny Silth ~ @ChessnySilth
Ryan Strohman ~ @rastrohman
Bob Mahone ~ @Computilizer
Rebekah Postupak ~ @postupak
and a straggler but still a lovely story from
S Jayanth ~ @sankarajayanth

Judge's Comments

Thaks to all who participated and to Wakefield for providing the challenge - especially during this time of loss.

As if making choices from among these great stories weren't difficult enough, the power went out a few times as I was working on this.  Ah, the joys of living in a third-world country!

Finally, after having read each story at least a half a dozen times, I managed to reach the following decisions:

Special, Tom Lehrer, "I Hold Your Hand in Mine" Award:

Charles W Jones (@ChuckWesJ):

Not exactly the same situations, but the story certainly triggered the memory.

Honourable Mentions:

Jeff Tsuruoka (@JTsuruoka):
Death before (or, perhaps, because of) dishonour among thieves.

Chessny Silth (@ChessnySilth):
Finals week can be such a killer.

Ryan Strohman (@rastrohman):
Nothing comes between the MC and her sister.


Rebekah Postupak (@postupak)) :
Loved the concept.  It was kind of a combination of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" along with "Logan's Run" but all wrapped inside of a world created by Philip K. Dick.  Well done!

“The List”
By Rebekah Postupak

I can’t believe she’s gone. By all the rules, she shouldn’t be: according to the List, Dena was owed another fifty-two years, eight months, seventeen days. She’d paid in full, too—I witnessed her making the final cash transfer, and signed my government-approved name to it, all legal and everything. Even your grease-dripping lawyers will have to agree the contract was valid.

You developed the List to do away with this exact situation, the “hideous wrenching of unpredictability,” your brochure says. The List “provides peace, happiness, security.” Right there on the front of your brochure, in big, glowing letters.

Well, Dena’s gone, you fatheads, and now her husband is fighting in court over her bank account, and her kids are crying and confused, and our dunderheaded government took her house back, and if you did even ONE stinking thing you promised in the contract, I’d like to know what it is.

“Calm down,” my wife says.

She can say this because she’s still got thirty years left, plenty of time for calm. She knows I’ve only got another month left myself, and she’s got her eye on Ted next door. A month, blast it all, a MONTH, and the way I see it, your company should go right down the toilet where I’ve just flushed my contract codes.

Nobody at your office would talk to me on the phone about it. Cowards. I tried in person, but your guy at the front desk said, “Read the small print, mister, there’s an exception for car wrecks.”

He didn’t need to call security like that, just did it to show off. Probably has a hundred years left, I’d bet. And anyway, it was a lie. I read that contract fifty times, me and Dena did together, read it line by line, and we could read every word just fine. Wasn’t any words any different size than the rest of them.

You can flush your small print, you crummy floozies. Flush it with my contract, with the government, with the whole world.

You owe Dena. You owe her big.

And I want my little girl back.

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