It’s The End Of The World Flash Fiction Contest

It’s finally here, folks!

Welcome to the first ever flash fiction contest here at I hope you’re excited. I’m excited.

If you weren’t around when I announced the contest, I mentioned that I was inspired by the prompt I heard for an anthology. I heard of it past the deadline, but my brain went wild with the possibilities inherent in the prompt, and I needed to let it play out. Thus, I bring it to you.

Here are the details for the contest:


The day before the end of the world. 

The twist? It’s an unexpected apocalypse.

The catch? You must use the phrase “end of the world” somewhere in your story.


Any — but you know how much I love fantasy.  

Word Count:

500 words or less.


15 – 30 July. Last chance to enter will be midnight Eastern Daylight Time (BST -5) on the 30th.


Don’t you want to hang this on your wall?

First Place: Aside from my unwavering love and devotion, the first place winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and an in-depth critique of the first 5,000 words of your manuscript. AND, a nifty Victor Badge and bragging rights.

“I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it…” Wait, what?

Second Place: The second place winner will receive an in-depth critique of the first 3,000 words of your manuscript. You will also get the Survivor Badge and brags!

Readers’ Choice: After the contest has closed, I will give YOU a chance to weigh in on the candidates. The Readers’ Choice winner will receive a highlight on my blog and a this awesome Chosen Badge. 

You can play this concept however you choose. You could write about people trying to bring about the end of the world, or you could write about people who are totally oblivious to their own impending doom. Or silly people who think they’re bringing about the end of the world whilst totally oblivious to their own impending doom.

This allows for some genre wiggle room — you can decide how your world is going to end, be it zombies or vampires or zombie vampires or Voldemort (it can’t be Voldemort). Your characters could BE vampires oblivious to their impending doom. Or it could be a giant asteroid. Keep it in mind, but remember the…

One Rule: Don’t show the end of the world. Your characters don’t know it is their last day on earth.

How To Enter:

Post your entry as a comment on the “It’s The End Of The World Flash Fiction Contest” blog post (that’s this one, doofus). I will accept entries from 15 July at 9 AM until midnight EDT (BST-5) on 30 July.

YOU MUST INCLUDE the following: 

1. Name
2. Word count
3. Twitter handle  

Any entries that do not include the above will be automatically disqualified.

Are you ready for the apocalypse?

It’s tomorrow. Tell me what’s happening today.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on July 15, 2012, in Contests, Flash Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. Wow! Okay, I’m in, but need to think about this one a bit…

    One question: I don’t have a twitter account. Does that mean I can’t enter?

    • I just need an email address to be able to give the winner the gift card, and I figured I could reach the winners most easily on Twitter. I already have your email, so it is cool!

  2. Can I play with the definition of “world”?

  3. Okay, here’s my entry. Written during my lunch break, I hope it doesn’t have too many typos…

    God’s Vengeance by N. E. White (499 words)

    Denali’s index finger brushes against the call button on her cell phone. She does not hear the rise in the voices around her as they toast her abuser, nor the music from the band they hired to celebrate his retirement.

    The hardwood floor of the bar shudders to the beat. She feels it thumping in her chest and head. It jostles the explosives strapped to her midriff. Taped tight to her skin, the adhesive chaffs. Gazing at the crowd through strands of her hair, she supposes raw skin would soon be the least of her worries.

    Or his.

    Her stare locks onto her target; a man of middling age with a gut to match his ego. She can see his thick tongue bounce as he laughs. The memory of that tongue forcing its way down her throat makes Denali gag, and tears spring to her eyes. It had found other places to probe on her young body when she had been defenseless, but now she would wipe him from the face of the earth. Along with those around him, she thought. They deserved it, too. Why hadn’t they protected her? Instead they had ignored her pleas as the cries of “the girl who called wolf.”

    Her watery gaze looks down at the display on her cell phone. It shows a five-digit number. God’s vengeance, the manual had called it. Pressing the call button would send the numbers to the receiver on her back and all would be over, blessedly over.

    She takes in a shuddering breath and positions her finger over the button.

    “Denali? Is that you? What are you doing here?”

    Someone spins Denali around and she faces her first-grade school teacher. Denali had thought Mrs. Cook ancient back then, but now she sees the lines on her cheeks disappear into a wide grin.

    Blinking back tears, Denali stutters a reply.

    “I was just walking by. I saw…”

    “What?” Mrs. Cook says. She presses one hand over an ear, and raises her voice. “Mr. Peters, you say? Yes, he’s finally decided to retire. You were a student of his, right?”

    Denali nods, and moves away, but Mrs. Cook follows with small mincing steps that Denali used to think was cute. Denali mutters under her breath and walks away, but Mrs. Cook continues to follow, a question on her face, her fingers tugging on Denali’s thick sweater . Turning back toward her, Denali shouts, “Stay away from me!” into an unexpected silence.

    Blushing, Denali looks around. The band stands mute. The TV over the bar is on. Pictures of battleships positioning over cities around the globe shuffle over the screen. The ships pulse with crackling lightning and Denali knows the instant she sees them that they are alien. The call letters of the station is superimposed on the left-hand corner, but there’s no announcer explaining what is going on.

    “Is this the end of the world?” someone asks.

    Denali says, “Yes,” and with the frailty of youth sends God’s vengeance.

  4. Ok, here goes. . .

    “LAST CALL” by C. F. WALLER (500 words)

    I can see my wine glass on the nightstand. Pink lipstick marks circle the rim, the sunlight cutting through the glass making the white sheets look pink. My head is pounding from the combination of wine and the searing white light that pours around the window blinds day and night. I lie here and try not to think about it. Hearing a snore I reach my hand back and run into another person. Frowning, I kick my leg back and hit him in the back of his thigh.

    “Get out already”, I say swinging my feet over the side of the bed.

    The clock on the nightstand informs me that it’s 10:32 pm. I need to get moving or I am going to miss last call.

    “Last call,” I mutter. “That’s an understatement.”

    I pluck a cigarette out of the pack on the nightstand and look around for a light. The lighter is on the floor next to the bed and I lean over and fish for it while trying to keep the sheet around my waist.

    “What time is it”, asks the lump in the sheets next to me?

    “Time to go home,” I say thinking it doesn’t matter if he stays or goes.

    “What’s the rush? Is it the end of the world and no one told me.”

    I don’t answer him, but the irony isn’t lost on me. I light up and toss the lighter back on the floor. It takes some pulling, but I get the sheet out from under the lump and wrap it around myself one handed. My cell phone rings on the nightstand and I have to choose my cigarette or my sheet and the sheet loses. I pick up the phone and exhale smoke.

    “I am already up,” I mumble watching the lump roll over in my bed.

    “Headed out the door I hope,” the female voice replies.

    “Quick shower,” I say glancing down at my naked body. “I will catch a cab.”

    “You have some random guy over there don’t you?”

    “Not some random guy, the last random guy,” I say snarky like heading for the bathroom. “What did you do last night?”

    “Same thing,” she answers giggling. “Just get over here. I don’t want to be here alone when it happens.”

    “Are there a lot of people there already?”

    “Too many if you ask me. Daddy told at least a dozen people.”

    “He is under a lot of pressure.”

    “He’s into his second bottle already,” she says in a monotone.

    “Try to keep him upright until I get there and order me a drink,” I say ending the call and heading into the bathroom.

    I flick an ash in the shower as I turn it on. Catching my reflection in the mirror I wince. My make up is either rubbed off or cracked. The lipstick is smeared on one side making my mouth look like a grumpy circus clown.

    “I hate clowns,” I mutter, flicking my butt on the floor.

  5. Larz Yerian Word Count: 406

    The Peak

    It wasn’t that it was actually difficult. It just took time. So much time. One foot in front of the other. The trail went on forever, a steady, winding incline bordered by jagged rocks and sparse alpine flora.

    Their breath was ragged, not due to effort, but because the air was so thin this high in elevation. Kal stopped to breathe. “You know, they say we’re going to die soonest because of the elevation. We get more radiation than people at sea level.”

    “But we have so many other good things going for us. This is the healthiest state.” Dani replied, taking a sip of water from her CamelBak. “No earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes or tornadoes either.”

    “Yeah, only flash floods and wildfires.” Kal agreed, and started forward again.

    Their pace was slow but steady. Behind them, the grays and browns of the trail and rocks gave way to dark evergreens interspersed with lighter aspen stands; ahead, only stunning blue sky above the never-ending trail.

    They had begun at sunrise, watching the new day touch the peak in golden alpenglow. Down below timber line the hike was actually easy and they had made good time. It wasn’t until they left the relative protection of 12,00 feet that the thin air slowed them down. But they were used to this; they’d been hiking peaks all over the state.

    Kal glanced at his watched as he trudged. “We’ll summit by noon for sure. Not a cloud in the sky.”

    Dani only nodded, saving her breath for the climb.

    The view didn’t change much above 12,000 ft., just more rocks and small tundra flowers. Some pikas yelled at them as they passed through a field of strewn rocks.

    “Looks like a bomb went off.” Kal chuckled.

    They summited just before noon as Kal predicted. As they topped the last rise, the world opened up around them. Dani sat and ate a sandwich while admiring the views. Below them on every side were the broken rocks of the peak. Further out, other mountains rose above tree line, vying for the highest point. They could see the tallest to the west. It was roiling with dark clouds.

    “Looks like Elbert is making some weather.”

    “It looks really dark, will it come this way? Should we head down now?”

    “It’s not the end of the world. Just a little storm.” But as he said it, Elbert grumbled and woke from its dormant state.

  6. Okay, this was F-U-N!

    “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD…AND I FEEL FINE” by Martin Reaves (500 words), @MartinReaves.

    Jake snapped out of a doze as Pastor Charles Voorhees slammed the Bible onto the pulpit. “God will NOT be mocked!” he raged, spraying vengeance into the first two rows.

    Shit, Jake thought, why the hell are you yelling at us? I could be at Into the Blue 2, watching Jessica Alba in a bikini two sizes too small. Last day it’s playing but I’m here, so how about cutting me a little fucking slack, okay?

    Voorhees stalked across the stage, head swinging left and right, daring anyone to contradict him. He paused. His features softened. Now he was kindly Grandpa Chuck. “It could be today, my brothers. Our Lord could split the eastern sky this moment. We know neither the day nor the hour. When that trumpet sounds, when the dead in Christ shall rise, when the end of this God-forsaken world comes…where will you be? Where do you WANT to be?” He removed a sodden handkerchief from his pocket, dabbed his brow, patted his lips. “I’ll tell you, my friends. I want to be right here. Amongst the redeemed of the Lord…”

    Jake had to piss. Ignoring his father’s frown, he slid from the row. Behind him Chuck Voorhees picked up steam.

    The foyer was less claustrophobic. He passed the ladies’ room as old Sister Lawrence exited, a two-foot-long streamer of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Beyond her, as the door was swinging shut, Jake saw Missy Davies standing in front of the mirror adjusting her bra strap.

    Fuck this. Chucky Cheese in there says the end of the world could be today. You know where I wanna spend it, Chuckles? Seeing if Jessica Alba will pop a nipple, that’s where.

    Twenty minutes later, he and his buddy Randall had their tickets for the latest Pixar offering. Loaded with popcorn they walked down the hall, past the theater indicated on their stubs and into the next, two minutes before Jessica Alba slid out of the water, dripping liquid and high-beaming like there was no tomorrow. And so it went, with more T & A per second than any boy could want.

    A dull thudding came through the walls.

    Jessica entered the yacht’s small shower. “Holy shit, Randall, she’s gonna get naked in this one.”

    Thud. Louder, followed by ripping sounds, distant screams.

    “What the fuck?” Randall said.

    Jake shushed him. “It’s the movie next door. Chill.”

    “Dude, that’s the Pixar flick—there ain’t no explosions…shit, I hear screaming.”

    The crowd had taken notice, some heading uneasily toward the exit.

    Jessica turned toward the shower head, facing the camera, still in her bikini. She reached behind her for the ties, the movement causing her back to arch and her breasts to strain against the fabric.

    Randall stood, his voice the flat. “We gotta get outta here.”

    In the back of Jake’s mind: “We know neither the day nor the hour…when the end of this God-forsaken world comes…Where do you WANT to be?”

    Jessica slipped the knot…and Jake smiled.

  7. Unemployed and homely in appearance, Larry is a man who’s tired of life. From the moment he was born, Fate decided that Larry would be one of the unfortunate ones to receive Fate’s twisted sense of humor.

    It’s a normal Wednesday morning. Larry wakes to the sound of his landlord pounding his fist on Larry’s door. Larry opens his eyes and decides he would commit suicide. Today. Maybe right after lunch.

    The sun traverses the sky. Larry starts his preparations. He sits on the couch with pen and paper in hand. The TV in front of him drones on about scattered earthquakes all over the world. Larry pays it no mind.

    Poison? Too painful.

    Slitting of the wrist? Too messy.

    Gunshot to the head? Gun’s too expensive.

    Hanging? Dramatic.

    Larry can see it in his head. His landlord enters his apartment. He sees Larry’s body swinging like a morbid pendulum with tongue sticking out. Larry smiles as he imagines his landlord’s face turning a sickly green.

    Larry encircles the word: Hanging.

    Larry ties one end of the rope around the ceiling fan. He pulls out his iPhone and checks the tutorial in YouTube on how to make a noose.

    He studies the video and memorizes every loop. Ten minutes pass by and Larry has a perfectly tied noose in his hand. He wears it like a necklace and tightens it.

    He starts to have second thoughts on whether or not suicide’s the best thing, then his landlord returns at his door. Yep, suicide it is.

    Larry’s breathing becomes heavy. “Next would be to jump.”

    Larry closes his eyes and steps off the chair—kicking it down along the way. He feels the rope bite into his skin. Larry claws at his neck.

    He opens his mouth to say “painful, hanging’s too painful. To hell with being dramatic,” but the words that he manages to utter are: “Ack. Ack.”

    He tries to pull himself up but lacks the necessary arm strength to do so. Larry feels himself slipping away. It’s the end of the world for Larry…

    …then his apartment starts to violently shake. Larry hears wood straining and breaking. Larry falls down to the floor. Coughing, he removes the noose from his neck and looks up. He sees a huge hole in his ceiling—the part where the ceiling fan is attached. The fan lies beside Larry.

    He remains on the floor as everything starts to settle down. He looks at the noose in his hands, then at himself, unharmed save for a few rope burns.

    “A sign,” he says in between sobs. “It’s a sign.” Larry starts to laugh.

    The TV set lies on the floor, on its side. The grim face of a news reporter is on display.

    “…all around the world huge fissures are suddenly appearing. Experts say the tectonic plates are dramatically shifting…”

    Larry doesn’t hear a word. He stands up. He’s decided to live life to the fullest. Starting tomorrow. Maybe after lunch.

  8. Last Day by Unisse Chua (@sushixuni), 499 words

    Alarms started to wail in the empty laboratory at three in the morning. Dr. Levi Jones woke up and shouted, “Where’s the fire?” He fell asleep again while finishing up a report.

    “There’s no fire Jones. It’s the greenhouse,” shouted his research partner, Dr. Catherine Lane. He blinked and tried to think of what to do. “Levi! Greenhouse!”

    “Oh, right.” He stood up and ran to the greenhouse.

    When Levi got to the greenhouse, he heard the computer say, “Attention: Subjects two and fifteen has no pulse.”

    “Two more?” asked Cat. “I can’t believe this. Nothing was wrong for a month, and now all our lab animals are dying.”

    “Well, not all. The panther’s still –“

    Another alarm went off. “Attention: Subject seven in critical condition.”

    “You were saying?”

    Levi quickly grabbed the protective gear hanged outside the greenhouse and suited up. He opened the door and rushed to find the panther, but when Levi got to her, it was too late.

    “No pulse. Pupils dilated…” He trailed off examining the body of the jungle cat.

    “What are we going to do Levi?”

    The doctor ignored her and continued examining the animal. It was extraordinary. There were no external signs of any sickness hitting the beast and yet it collapsed.

    “What were the stats of the subjects before?”

    “The only unusual thing about them was that they had a flat line immediately. No spikes or heart attacks. They just dropped dead.”

    “That can’t be. It’s too bizarre.” He felt annoyed and helpless. “This can’t be happening now.”

    The greenhouse was exposed to a gas they created to help clean the environment. It contains active elements that eat up the pollutants in the air. It was created to only work in air.

    “The air,” Cat said. “The gas works in air but when the animals breathe, they take in the air together with the gas.”

    “That’s nonsense. We already tested the gas on the animals before but they didn’t drop dead like this!”

    “There must be something we’re missing.”

    “The gas is to be released tomorrow! We can’t be missing something now.”

    “Don’t you think I know that, Levi? If we let that happen, it’s the end of the world!”

    He shook his head. “No, that can’t happen.”

    She took out her phone. “Wait, what are you doing?”

    “I’m calling my dad. He’ll tell them to stop the release tomorrow. We need more time.”

    “But there’s no more time Cat! I don’t have time anymore. It has to be done tomorrow.”

    “Why?” she asked, puzzled. “We have plenty. We can work on it together.”

    He stood there, staring at her. “What?”

    “Tomorrow’s my last day. It has to be tomorrow.”

    “What do you mean your last day?”

    He ignored her and went back to work. It has to be tomorrow, he said to himself. If the gas doesn’t cure the world, the twelve years he gave up to come back in time would be useless. The world will still end.

  9. The Europe Thing by Angie Richmond (499 words) @write_me_happy

    “It’s so quiet out.” Vaughn whispers.

    Kallie raises her cigarette to her lips with one hand while the other transforms the sidewalk surrounding her feet into a pretty piece of art with a chunk of blue chalk she stole from a neighbor kid. Her Perky Pink polish is already chipped in several places revealing her discolored toenails; a reminder that cheap nail polish is never a good idea.

    “I know.” She exhales slowly on purpose, like they do in the movies.

    Vaughn grabs the smoke from Kallie’s fingertips and takes a quick puff. He’s not a fan of smoking but the silence is creeping up on his nerves. His fingers tap relentlessly on his bent knee.

    “Somethin’ gonna happen.”

    He passes the smoke back allowing both hands to drum.

    “Oh yeah, like what? The end of the world?”

    She laughs and stubs out the butt. Normally she has no desire to feed into Vaughn’s paranoid, delusional rants. Worldwide pandemics, flash floods, killer bees; it’s always something with Vaughn.

    “I’m serious, Kallie. It just feels – different.”

    He stands; the ritual of pacing commences. He kicks up chalk dust from Kallie’s street art.

    “Are you sure it’s gonna happen?”

    She leans back, stretches out her cramping legs and tries not to trip Vaughn up.

    “No. I mean not officially 100% sure, but this feeling…”

    He lets his words disappear, unsure how to describe a feeling.

    “Can we go look?”

    Kallie smiles knowing his answer before he gives it. She’s being an ass but it’s so much fun taking the piss outta him.

    He stops pacing and bends down in front of her, grabbing her shoulders and inching his face so close that their noses touch. Kallie thinks of the Eskimo kisses she learned about in grade school.

    “You know it’s too dangerous.”

    Vaughn’s brows furrow giving the appearance of one large fuzzy caterpillar. She almost chokes on her laugh.

    “Oh yeah right…I forgot.”

    She wiggles out of his grip and lights another cigarette. Vaughn paces. She wonders if he really knows something the rest of the world doesn’t. Maybe the doctors just need to up his meds again.

    “Do you have any regrets? You know, since it’s the end of the world.”

    She shouldn’t be encouraging him; it’s no good for anyone to get Vaughn riled up but she’s bored.

    “A few,” he sighs, squinting at the sun waiting for some unknown threat. “not much can be done now though.”

    “The Europe thing again?”

    She asks picking at her toes, only half listening for Vaughn’s response. It’s a tradition between them now; he gets a feeling and she humors him. She knows her part.

    “Yeah. I’m sorry.”

    This time he sounds genuine. Not just an empty apologize born from a fear of the end.

    “Oh. Well….it’s okay.” She means it this time too; surprised by his naked emotions.

    “You sure?”

    He stretches his hand and she mirrors him. Their fingertips brush just for moment before she lets her hand drop.


  10. The Seeds of the Earth, by Lyra Selene (@lyraselene), 499 words

    The old man woke before the dawn, shuddering against the cold. Nightmares had wracked his sleep that night, the bedclothes tangling around his ankles and clutching at his wrists as he fought free of their grasp. They looked like pale serpents, and the old man shivered again.

    He twitched the curtains open. The stars shone bright as diamonds despite the morning creeping up behind the mountains. The old man frowned: he did not know what had torn him from his bed so early. Closing his eyes, he felt deep within himself for the eternal vibration he had long ago learned to sense. His breath caught in his throat; the rumbling was restless and strong this morning. Too strong.

    The mountain pass filled with grey light as the old man scrambled down the steep path; light enough for the his feet to find their way between the stones. He ducked into the low tunnel that twisted into the heart of the earth. The old man felt his way forward by touch and memory; he had traveled this tunnel more times than he cared to count.

    When the old man reached the cavern he was frightened. The terrible grumbling in the earth spoke to him in a way that he did not understand; anxiety clouded his thoughts as foreboding clenched at his chest. Something was wrong.

    The cluster of five massive rocks stood in the center of the cavern, equal in height and breadth, radiating with inner light. The old man drew in a breath of awe, as he always did; they had been there at the beginning, and they would be there until the end of the world. Tender love swelled his chest, but today it was tinged with a nagging worry. Waves of heat poured from the stones, terrific tremors shaking his bones until his teeth were chattering in his head. He laid a palm against the foremost stone, examining the ancient cracks, the pocked surface, the shards of mica.

    The boy slipped from the shadows with barely a sound. The old man turned.

    “Hello, Grandpa.”

    The old man was not the boy’s grandfather, but he was familiar with the nickname. All the children in the village called him Grandpa, Old Man Mountain, Grandfather Time.

    “You should not be here.”

    “Lady Weed told me who you are, and what you do. It is time, old man. Time for the mantle to fall to someone new.”

    “You have no idea what you are asking for.”

    “I do,” argued the boy, and the knife flickered in his fingers before he plunged it into the old man’s chest.

    The old man fell to the floor, his vision darkening. He tried to force the words out: the manner of his death was wrong, his life must be freely given for the Guardianship to move on. Disaster was nigh. But his words gurgled in his chest: it was too late.

    The boy moved towards the stones, and the earth began to shake with fury.

  11. “Old Faithful”
    By Alissa Leonard
    (It lost the italics for her 2 thoughts, but I don’t know how to put them back in.)
    500 Words

    “Ugh! It stinks here! Why did we have to come here for vacation? It stinks.” Adrianne had a whine in her voice that could shatter the teeth in my head. Plus she was dragging her feet.

    “Please hurry up. We’re going to miss Old Faithful!” I had planned too much. I somehow overestimated the endurance of a five year old…or, perhaps, hoped for too much. We should’ve left her with Grandma.

    “Doesn’t the fountain spray all the time?” Adrianne continued to shuffle her feet.

    “It’s called a geyser, and it will be at least another hour before it erupts again, maybe two.” Timothy turned around and got right in her face, “so hurry up.”

    “Erupts like a volcano?” she whispered.

    “No. And Yes. It’s just water and steam, not ash, dust, gas, and molten rock, but it will spray it over 100 feet into the air, close to 200 if we’re lucky!”

    “That sounds hot. I don’t want to be any hotter. It’s too hot here. Can we go home?”

    Timothy turned to me with that look in his eyes, “Mom! We’re gonna miss it!”

    I sighed and handed over the camera, “Here, take this and catch up with your Dad.” Timothy snatched the camera and took off after Brian and Michael. I hadn’t even realized they were so far ahead.

    I picked up Adrianne. That set off a screaming tantrum that shook the earth, literally. Tremors are normal here, I had to remind myself. I suppose blaming the tremor on my daughter was a little excessive, but she was acting like it was the end of the world. We’d seen the Grand Prismatic Spring this morning, and we were booked for a Wagon Train tour this evening. This was our window for Old Faithful.

    As I carried a screaming five year old toward Old Faithful, I couldn’t help but notice the stares. I just wanted to die of shame, but I wanted to see Old Faithful more.

    We didn’t miss it. They had saved us a seat. Brian leaned over and took Adrianne from me, “Hey Sweet Pea, do you want a lollipop?” He had pulled out our bribe bag. We tried to limit their sugar intake, but this was an emergency. She stopped crying immediately, so I wasn’t going to worry over it right now. One lollipop wouldn’t kill her.

    Just then, Old Faithful erupted. Wow! I allowed myself several moments of awe before I turned to see that my family was also enjoying the moment. I reached for the camera from Timothy and snapped pictures.

    Old Faithful sputtered out way too soon and the ground began to shake. This was a full-on earthquake! Also, not unusual here, I had to tell myself. But when the shaking only got worse, I felt Timothy pulling on my shirt. I looked at him with wide eyes and he was pointing. I followed his finger and saw a cloud of black. I turned back to Timothy, “That’s not normal, is it?”

  12. Okay, here I go:

    The Best Seat in the House (303 words) @RafaWriter

    The view from the Copula was the best seat on the Earth. Except that I wasn’t on Earth but two hundred miles above it. I checked the countdown on my pad.

    Impact in 24:17:09



    I switched the damn thing off before it reached 00 seconds. Lindsey McKenzie rested against the window frame.

    “So, any plans for the last twenty-four?” she said. Her gaze drifted to the blue ocean below. Vast dust clouds stretched from the Sahara, across the Atlantic into the Caribbean basin.

    “I thought I would just drink some of Sergei juice and vodka mix until we ran out and then, oh I don’t know, ask for some company, regs be dammed,” I said.

    Her light brown hair dance around her head, “You can’t be serious.”

    “I’m not taking the damned pills, Lin. And, well this is it, isn’t it?”

    Her eyes welled up, “What about your family, and mine and…” She blinked. Tiny translucent spheres leaked from her eyes, like pearls suspended in mid air. A few of mine merged with hers into bigger droplets that flew past her nose.

    “Of course I do, but you know the score, Lin. It can’t be help. I prefer to go down laughing than crying, don’t you?” And at that moment, with Mother Earth below me, I said my last silent goodbye.

    Sergei popped up on the hatch above us, “Here, have the first batch on me!” He threw a pair of Kool-Aid packs “enhanced” with Russian vodka.

    Juice in hand she tugged at my collar, “Let’s make it a good one.” Lips pressed together, arms sought flesh under clothes. And somewhere in the labyrinthine perch above our home a music player played a familiar tune.

    It’s the end of the world as we know it….

  13. Love the first prize of your unwavering love and devotion. 😉

  14. ‘Final Thoughts’, by Matt Sloan (@falcon_feathers) – 491 words

    I watch them from above, in the cold dark silence, as they go about their final hours in ignorance. This is their last chance to live, to love. I have long known that my course ends here. Their scientists have not yet seen me – I came out of nowhere, out of the blackness, and only in their final moments will they know how blind they have been. They will ask ‘how could this have happened’, they will fight and argue and struggle. They will concoct the half-brained, futile schemes of a race that knows its extinction is imminent. Their society, so civilized and advanced, will crumble in fear and desperation.
    Do they think I asked for this? I didn’t want this either. But I think like them; I had dreams once too. If I could change my course I would, if only to protect them. Life is not so common in the universe. Would I if I could, I would pick one of those lesser planets where the creatures have yet to crawl, quivering like newborns, out of their primordial swamps, to take their first breath of air and begin the long road of evolution which will, if fate allows it, lead them here.
    I have long since accepted my fate. I will perish also, the last of my kind, as I fall screaming through their atmosphere. I muse over their names for me, forming them over and over in my consciousness – I pick out each the syllables in turn, I whisper them to myself. Asteroid. Meteor. The End of the World. I infer meaning to these words, but in the end only one name means anything. One of their scientists said it best. I have, also, ‘become Death, the destroyer of worlds’.
    Most of them have never seen their planet like this – the satellites circling like shining insects, glinting in the radiant light of sun and sea. When night falls, the lights crisscross the dark side of their world like arteries and veins, and I think to myself that this is truly the lifeblood of their planet, where people have gone and people have conquered.
    As I watch, their sun begins to rise over the first of the major cities, and I cannot help but sigh. As I pass the Moon, their only natural satellite, I see the monuments of their success, the farthest any of their race has ever been from home. If only I could have warned them, if only they could have travelled further.
    I’m close enough now to see individuals – lovers, best friends, parents and siblings, sharing in love and loss. Newborn babies come screaming into a world that is taking its final breaths.
    I cannot watch anymore. I close myself off, preparing for what is to come. I whisper an apology to the Earth, the planet I have come to love, and become the destroyer of worlds.

  15. 499 words exactly! Working title “The Coming” T.C. Sinclair

    It started as a star. High above the northern ridge it appeared, brighter than the others and growing faster every night till one morning he woke up to find it shining still against the morning light.
    But what did a star matter really when there was wars to fight? Star or no star, life went on.
    Maybe old Jake was the only one left to really ponder such things as stars and skies. As he latched the gate he would pause to watch the unwavering light that moved to neither side, only forward, ever forward to meet his gaze.
    “What could it be?” reporters blared on incessant screens. Scientists gave meaningful pauses as pastel suited coifs nodded knowingly on couches. Something was coming for sure, but what? The end of the world? Satellites watched from sweeping orbits, blinking back the first confirmed images of the others.
    But what could it matter? Jake thought to himself when he gave himself the time. Cows need milking, wars need killing, day’s got to dawn.
    Some went mad, some just cried. Still life kept on with stoplights and sirens, birthing and dying.

    An empty ship of lead and steel hurls through space as circuits click to life. An unblinking eye begins to see.

    Old Jake wasn’t really old. He wasn’t really even Jake. After he got back from fighting he just decided to up and slip away. Only time would know him now.
    Polly was someone else now too but since she stopped talking three years back it wasn’t like anyone would even notice.
    Every morning Jake would lead her by the hand haltingly each step to the front porch and set her down in the broken rocker where she would slowly creak back and forth on the cracked wooden rails, silently staring ever northwards to the rising peaks. If he was late her mute anger would fill the house with a thick animal fury.
    Somewhere inside Polly was still there, he thought, but what cage held her? It had been so long since he had heard her voice but sometimes he would wake in the night from dreams he could not quite recall, the last notes of a strange lonely song still ringing on the night air as she softly stirred beside him.

    In the darkness beyond a shutter opens on the golden lens with a low whir and hum. Ahead the sphere of blue glows slowly larger as the transmission begins.

    Soon they would know. It was time.

    Jake absently switched on the television and flipped through a few stations but the only thing happening was the war he had left behind and that damn light in the sky so he turned it off again. He had started drawing the blinds again even though there hadn’t been any neighbors for years. It seemed to be watching him, a golden eye that never blinked, hanging fixed in the broken upper pane.

    Polly’s blank eyes gleamed through the darkened doorway. It was time.

  16. ‘Long-Overdue’ by Afsaneh Khetrapal (@Afsaneh_Dreams) – 500 words

    The lab guards’ bullets had slowed in the intruder’s liquid armour, freezing on the malleable surface and studding him like stars.
    “Such a primitive race,” he’d barked, brushing them off like dust. “But it’s to be expected from humans.”
    He’d approached her then and vowed peace with his curious eyes; green and red, like Christmas. Only he hadn’t known what Christmas was, and when she’d commented upon it, he’d demanded to see the ‘specimen named Jesus’.
    Many stories later, they’d become oddly dependent on each other. She’d helped him adjust to Earth and he’d given her honest, albeit strange, company. It suited her well; no friends had ever much liked that her talks frequently took an intellectual bent, but this foreign male took interest in her words. And she did in his, particularly when the fellow scientist had divulged his reason for journeying here; that Earth was to stand as the location for his L-14V5 virus trials.
    Humans were immune but as the only of his species to be, it was his responsibility to rectify. He’d withheld the account of the Hague planet’s attempt to extract his gene and weaponise it. His traumas concerned no-one and yet, she tried to engage him in personal talk as if she sensed his secrecy.
    She straightened behind the microscope. “We’ve done it.”
    They’d struggled for months with his uncooperative DNA. Outwardly, he was entirely human but delving further than his 46 chromosomes, he was a genetic conundrum with the structure of his inherent material so complex, it resembled a mesh of nucleotides with an incomprehensible base-pairing system. To further add to this, the Hydrogen bonds seemed to govern them into an unusual nebulous shape. Needless to say, isolation, then splicing for the recombinant DNA had not been without its challenges.
    He snatched the vial and studied the fluid inside. “With this we can establish and eradicate the immunity?”
    “You can protect your race now,” she smiled.
    He replaced the anecdote and tipped her chin up.
    Her breathing shallowed. “You haven’t done that in a while.”
    “I was studying you then… I’d never seen a human before.”
    “You have now.”
    He braced her shoulders with sudden grip and crushed his lips to hers. She was forced backwards as one of his hands trailed down her waist, and tried to disengage herself but the wall gave way behind her. She gained her footing just as the transparent lab door sliced between them, and searched her coat pocket…he’d taken her access card.
    “Don’t you dare!” she screamed, banging her fists on the glass in frustration.
    But he downed a vial and stole his long-overdue death from its bottom. He’d not told her that his race was dead or that he’d extinguished the responsible planet, but he’d still felt a truthful bond with this woman before the end of the world.
    When she was finally inside, she sat with his still body and stroked along his faint smile. Her bleary mind did not register the missing vials.

    Afsaneh Khetrapal
    500 words

  17. Eleni Sakellis

    Hi Emmie, here’s my entry…
    Honeymoon at the End of the World
    Eleni Sakellis
    496 words

    The waves crashed on the shore just outside the balcony of the honeymoon suite. Maggie nudged her sleeping husband.

    “Brian, something’s wrong,” she said.
    He got up and opened the balcony doors. The sun had changed color.
    “An eclipse?” Brian asked.
    “I’ve seen an eclipse. It doesn’t turn the sun purple,” Maggie replied.
    “What do you want me to do?”
    “Come back to bed.”

    He stepped out onto the balcony, into the eerie purple light, and disappeared.

    Maggie screamed. Brian barely caught a glimpse of the giant alien spacecraft that beamed him up.
    “That fills our quota of humans. What should we do with the rest, captain?”
    “Oh, just incinerate them,” the captain replied.
    “No! Wait! Don’t!” Brian cried out.
    “This human understands our language, captain.”
    “Please, I beg you! Don’t incinerate them!”

    The captain hovered over Brian, who was tied to a metal slab.
    “The slave amuses me. I am glad we chose him over the female,” the captain said.
    “Please! Save her instead of me!” Brian said.
    “You would sacrifice your life for hers?”
    “Yes! Yes, I would!”
    “But does she possess your facility with alien languages?”
    “Yes, she does.”
    “He lies, captain.”
    “I know it, fool! Your gift is rare, human. I cannot part with you so easily. Forgive me,” the captain said.
    “Wait! Can’t you save my wife, too?” Brian asked.
    “One more human won’t make much difference, captain.”
    “Silence! I am addressing the human. Even if I ‘save her,’ as you put it, you will never see her again,” the captain said.
    “But she will live. That’s all I care about,” Brian said.

    The captain placed a tentacle on Brian’s shoulder. It reminded Brian of the delicious grilled octopus he and Maggie ate for dinner last night in the taverna by the sea. The captain sensed Brian’s thoughts and laughed.

    “You have moved me, human.”
    The captain pressed a button with another of his tentacles and Brian’s wife appeared.
    “I hope she fetches a good price in the slave markets,” the captain said.
    “You never said anything about slave markets!” Brian shouted.
    “Don’t worry, human. She will live.”

    Maggie ran to embrace her husband, but a guard restrained her. The captain raised another tentacle. The guard let her go. She threw her arms around Brian.
    “I thought you were dead!”

    Maggie kissed him over and over, while the captain watched. He wiped a bit of slime from his three enormous eyes. His subordinate approached him.
    “The planet’s resources are absorbed, captain.”
    “Good. Proceed with the incineration,” the captain replied.
    “Why incinerate the planet if you already absorbed its resources?” Brian asked.
    “We use the energy to power our ship, human. Say farewell, my pets,” the captain said, patted Brian and Maggie on the head, and pressed another button.

    Brian missed the end of the world. He averted his eyes and held Maggie when the flash of light incinerated the planet.

  18. Eleni Sakellis

    Sorry, the word count is actually 486 for my entry, woops.
    Eleni Sakellis


    “Protocol forbids it, Evelyn,” Dr. Adamson, said, gently chiding his colleague.

    She splayed a hand on her curvaceous hip. “Yes, but we’ve been shut in here for three hundred and seventy days. I don’t see how one night could hurt.”

    “Batting your eyes and claiming ignorance isn’t going to sway me.”

    “Well then, what would?” she asked, taking her place beside him at the control panel. “If I have to stay here one more night, it’s going to be the death of me.”

    “You volunteered for this project, Evie,” he said, logging the results of the squash harvest into the database. “And up until last week, you didn’t have any complaints.”

    She swatted at a flurry of dust motes. “That’s because I didn’t have tickets to the musical of the decade in my hand.”

    He peered over the clipboard at her. “You know we’re not supposed to accept gratuities from sponsors.”

    “But Monsieur Black isn’t just a sponsor, is he? He’s the biodome’s entire financial team poured into a well tailored Savile Row suit.”

    “So he has money. Where is the joy in that? Does he have the mental wherewithal to engineer and administrate an entire ecosystem independent of all outside life? No, he does not. He uses slips of paper to control people and outcomes but we hold the sustainable future in our hands, Evelyn!”

    “Lately, it feels as if the dome holds our future in its clutches,” she said, heading for the door. “Remember how we used to picnic beneath the apples trees and skinny dip in the creek? We don’t play anymore, Adamson. Now it’s all business. You take everything so seriously. Where’s the man who blanketed me in exotic flowers?”

    He held the door as she preceded him into the outdoors. “I’m right here beside you, Evie, where I’ve always been. But the dome prospered beyond our projections and there were enormous amounts of time and work involved tracking known species, categorizing and naming new ones, and updating the zone schematics.”

    She turned and stopped him in his tracks. “It’s one night. We’ll be gone less than six hours. I need this.”

    He tried to hold his ground. “It’s too risky. We’re the only team qualified to run the dome. If something goes wrong while we’re gone, the only hope humanity has in surviving a catastrophic meltdown will be lost.”

    She slid her fingers through his belt-loops and pulled him close. “It’s all been arranged. We’ll wear party masks, as per the theme, and be escorted there and back in a blacked-out limo. No one will ever know. Come on, Adamson. Say yes. Breaking your precious rules for a few hours will hardly constitute the end of the world.”

    . . . . . After the limo pulled away, Monsieur Black materialized in the dome’s master control room, set the self-destruct mode for one hour, disabled the override and slunk back into the primordial ooze from whence he came.

    – – – – – – – – – –
    Ruth Long
    495 words (including title)

  20. Doh! I put up the wrong version… This is the right one:

    Third Time’s A Charm

    Joel’s fingers curled around the small box in the pocket of his baggy shorts. The sun was hot and his sweaty fingers stuck to the wrapping paper a little. Sweat ran down his back and trickled along the sides of his face. Not all of it was from the heat.

    It was Abby Swanson’s birthday party. He watched her ponytail bounce through the crowd, her brown hair tied up in a yellow ribbon so large it shaded her neck. You’d think a bow like that would look corny, but not on Abby. Tendrils of hair escaped the bow, curling in the heat.

    The present had been wrapped three times now. The first time he had wrapped it in Christmas kitten paper. But he was too nervous to give it to her and hadn’t even said hello to her the whole week before winter break. For Valentine’s Day, he had torn off the kitten paper, wrapping it up in red hearts. Again, he chickened out, spending most of Valentine’s Day in the boys’ room retching. He was the most miserable cowardly boy in the whole middle school. Now, the box was covered with colored balloons. Mom said third time’s a charm.

    Inside was a delicate silver fairy necklace inset with colored gems. Abby liked fairies. As least, he thought she did. After all, what girl didn’t like fairies?

    When Abby started opening presents, her green eyes sought him out. His mouth dried up; his heart pounded. The thought of handing the box to her in front of everyone left him weak in the knees. He seriously thought he would puke. In a panic, he headed for the gate. Abby appeared at his elbow as his sweaty hands struggled with the latch, putting her hand on his arm. She asked him to stay for cake but he couldn’t. He wanted to tell her that he liked her but he was certain she could never like him back because of what a coward he was. Embarrassed, he left without a word.

    At dinner, his parents were upset. Something in the news had scared them. They kept talking about the “end of the world.” But he was too busy thinking about Abby to worry about it. Today, he had been so close.

    That night, he unwrapped the necklace and held it in his hands. He prayed that he’d wake up with the guts to walk over and hand Abby the necklace. Then Mom popped her head in to say goodnight, something she hadn’t done since he was very little. She sure was freaked.

    Joel woke unusually early. A strange glow from the window drew his gaze. His heart froze at the mushroom cloud blooming in the distance. The world was completely silent, but not for long. In his last seconds, he found his courage but there was no time now to run to her door, to kiss his sweet Abby before the end. Heartbroken, his fingers crushed the fragile wings still in his hand.

    Stacy Bennett-Hoyt
    500 words

  21. At Journey’s End by Jeffrey Hollar (@klingorengi) 500 words

    They were the fifth, and quite possibly the last, generation that would call The Great Ship home. Every possible scenario to extend their journey had been thoroughly researched and subsequently discarded as unworkable. The simple truth was the great behemoth simply had no more to give.

    Equipped and outfitted for a voyage expected to last no longer than one year of ship’s time, she was now halfway through her 237th year of travel and unlikely to see another.

    Scarce three months into their trek, she was seized in a solar storm of unparalleled intensity and flung willy-nilly through an uncharted quantum singularity. She emerged into an area of space that neither her databases nor her crew had any knowledge of.

    Nearly all The Great Ship’s systems had suffered damage of some sort. The most telling were to the primary and secondary propulsion systems, astrogation systems and planetary sensors. In essence, the ship was a great bird with a badly-broken wing that’d lost its sense of direction and was unsure where it might be safe to land.

    The final indignity was that this space appeared reasonably devoid of potentially-habitable planets. With little choice, they resolved to make the best of fate and so began their search.

    Of the legion of lives lost along the way and the myriad of worlds deemed unsuitable, little more need be said. The explorers continued onward despite all obstacles, always believing that “home” would be the next world they encountered.

    Colonists aged, babies were born and their numbers remained constant if a bit diluted. Every passing year more secondary systems were cannibalized to prop up their sagging primary counterparts until no more secondary systems remained. Environmental controls faltered and the end of the voyage could be precisely calculated. A date and time were computed beyond which The Great Ship would live no more.

    Morale onboard was at an epic low point and some had even begun to discuss whether euthanasia was a viable means to extend their trip. In this, their darkest hour, they glimpsed the first feeble light of dawn in their latest scans.

    There remained one planet within range that could prove their salvation. Nothing hazardous was detected by the limited sensor data and a decision was made. They must, at long last, make landfall and call their exodus done. And so they did.

    The planet proved wondrous beyond their wildest expectations. The climate was almost perfectly agreeable with projected long growing seasons and relatively mild winters to be expected. Air, soil and water quality were exemplary. This was, at long last, home.

    They bedded down that night for the first time under planetary gravity, breathing air not endlessly recirculated and lulled by the sounds of actual terrestrial fauna.

    Sadly, they had no way to know the joy and relief swelling their hearts was echoed by the swelling of gravitational abnormalities within the core of their new planet’s sun. The end of the world was mere days away for those who’d travelled so long.


    “I want it done!” General Franco slammed his fist down on the lab bench, scattering calibrators onto the floor.
    A tense silence filled the room as the scientists froze.
    “Your Excellence,” Dr. Escobar said, “we’re very close. We need…”
    “You don’t need anything else.” General Franco picked up a monitor and smashed it on the floor. “You were given everything. Time, money, materials, and the best minds. Yesterday, it worked. And today, when the American tanks are crossing our border, you doubt. How can this be?”
    “Your Excellence, what you don’t understand is…” Dr. Reynaldo put his hand on the General’s shoulder only to be cut off mid-sentence.
    “Never tell me I don’t understand,” General Franco spit the words. “If we don’t stop the Americans, we’ll lose everything we hold dear. Your family, my family, our way of life, our great nation…all destroyed! Now. Does it work?”
    “Yes, but you can’t…”
    General Franco drew his sidearm and shot Dr. Reynaldo in the heart. A lab technician screamed, as Dr. Reynaldo slumped over General Franco and fell to the floor. Dead.
    The General held the pistol and walked over to Dr. Escobar—the ranking scientist in the group now—and placed the hot barrel against his temple.
    “Does it work?”
    “Yes,” Dr. Escobar said. His face twitched, and the beads of sweat poured down his face.
    “What concerned your ex-colleague so much that he was willing to die?”
    Dr. Escobar snapped his fingers excitedly and a white-coated technician brought over a stack of printouts. He flipped through and found the chart he wanted to show the General. “Your Excellence, the device works as we suspected. We can transport troops and machinery in the time-space compressed dimension to anywhere on the globe. The ancient text was correct in that respect. But our last test produced two unexpected results.”
    General Franco looked over the graph. “Go on.”
    Dr. Escobar traced a line on the paper, “The energy expenditure to open the portal has been dropping geometrically, but the last run it spiked negative when we shut it off.”
    “The portal is stabilizing, your Excellence. The instruments detected the dimensional rift open for 0.23 seconds AFTER we shut down our side.” Dr. Escobar wiped the sweat from his forehead. “If the trend continues the portal may stay open entirely on its own. More worrisome is this anomalous frame of video from the probe. We’ve run fourteen crossings and never seen anything like it.”
    A video monitor flashed and a red smoky landscape came into view, pixelated by static. In the corner of the image, was what looked like one half of a reptilian eye.
    The General lowered his weapon and spoke calmly. “Two battalions will begin transport at 0700 hours tomorrow morning. You will open the portal on my command, so they can begin their mission. As a special treat, I’ve ‘invited’ your families to watch your glorious success. Do we understand one another? Yes?”
    “Yes, your Excellence.”

    500 words

  23. Night in Vegas by Steven Paul Watson (@ashviper)

    “It’s not the end of the world.” Derek smiled warmly at her.

    Cameron had been his best friend since high school and, despite his soon to be ex-wife’s jealousy, they had remained in touch for the four years of his marriage. She was the first person he called when his wife told him she wanted a divorce and was seeing someone else. Derek jumped on the first available plane, landed in Vegas before he knew it without telling another person what was going on in his life or where he was going.

    Cameron brushed her dark straight hair across her shoulders and sat across from him on the bed. She smiled as she pushed the wine bottle into his hands. It was the same trademark smile she had greeted him with at the airport.

    “To brighter days ahead,” Cameron promised.

    He took a drink from the bottle and quickly wiped the excess from his lips before he again stared into her light brown eyes. He had never thought of her as anything but a friend, but now he found his eyes drifting to her lips.

    Derek started to speak, but before a single word could be said her hand was there on his lips. He sat there stunned by her movements as she crawled into his lap to wrap her legs around his waist.

    She moved in slowly and kissed him, he could taste the cherry Chap Stick she always wore and could feel her hands clasp around the back of his neck. “I have wanted to do that since graduation.”

    “You never said anything…”

    “I did. Maybe not with words, but I told you in every way I knew how.”

    Derek smirked as their eyes once again met, he was unsure of how he had felt about her. All this time he never knew; she was always the friend he went to when he needed advice. The one he went to when he was down. Derek slowly ran his hand down her face, to her chin and across her lips and smiled. He could see it now, her eyes, same look in her eyes he could remember from all those years ago. He leaned forward again kissing her lips, but she pulled away with a smile causing him to bite his own lip in anticipation. She pushed into him only stopping when he was on his back and she on top of him, again they kissed and she pulled away biting on his lower lip with a hint of a laugh.

    Sirens erupted, the hotel room shook from the sound alone. They quickly untangled their bodies from each other and moved from the bed to the large window. Nothing looked any different from their view so high up in the hotel, crowds of people in the streets walked, shambled, moved swiftly through the streets. But still the sirens continued to scream.

    (482 words)

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