Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions: 10 Solid Shorts


Sacrificial Love
© 2007 Donna Sundblad

Morton cradled the small bulge protecting her unborn child. She had deliberated over choosing a parent to take her place. Part of her didn't want to let go. But keeping the baby would be selfish.

Orange rays colored the sky. This strange place would never be home with its puffy clouds and one sun. But leaving her child here offered hope for her people to survive. The surrogate stepped away from the nest into the long grass. Morton's clawed hand cradled the egg, lingering just a moment before placing it within the alligator nest of mud and twigs.

Author and freelance writer Donna Sundblad lives in rural Georgia with her husband and flock of pet birds. Thank you Donna for providing the e-book prizes for our Top 3 Winners!


Gabriel’s Carpet
© 2007 Orin Melvin

Breath drew softly through the child’s parched mouth. Flies buzzed her crusted eyes, explored cracked lips. He stumbled in the sand, but she remained cradled, his fingers clutching ribs and leg bones.

“It’s there, in the rocks.”

He kissed her Saharan hair. Gunfire shot through the hellish air, engines roared. He labored to his feet and ran to the protection of the rocks. Bullets zinged as he laid her on a dusty cloth.

“Heal on the Carpet of Angels.”

The cloth rose with the girl, expanding into a golden carpet. She slept while tassels fluttered over sands.

His body crumpled.

Orin Melvin has been published in Mirror Northwest, and assisted them as an editor. He is currently involved in the writing group Shadow Lands.


Turning Out the Lights
© 2007 Ben Schumacher

Last of all, they shut down the grid. Across the dark side of the planet, the outlines of old continents, rimmed by the lights of a thousand vacant cities, dissolved into a night more absolute than any since the taming of fire.

Jera was last to leave. She stood awhile by the sea, naked in the ancient darkness. Then, at her call, her Ship came gliding on its silver wings, enfolding her, transforming her. Great energies awoke within her hull.

She laughed. Stars like angels swarmed above. White radiance spilled over the Earth, and she leapt up to join them.

Ben Schumacher is a quantum physicist who teaches at a small college in Ohio and occasionally writes science fiction. He blogs intermittently.


Bellux Prime
© 2007 Mike Lynch

After a three-year journey, the Dearadon assumed orbit over Bellux Prime. Colonel Winters activated the spectral-analysis computer and began scanning the planet’s surface.

“It’s a good thing we found Bellux when we did,” Major Kaur remarked. “With Earth’s resources all about exhausted, and a population at twelve million and climbing, we couldn’t have lasted much longer.”

Winters stared at the screen, his face dim.

“What is it? Something wrong?”

“It’s Bellux. The oxygen atmosphere is there, just like the probe found. But . . .”


“Cyanide oceans.”

Kaur slumped in his chair. “Now what are we going to do?”

Mike Lynch is the author of Dublin (Arcadia Press) and his short story 'No Revolution is Too Big' recently appeared in Ray Gun Revival.


© 2007 Mike Lynch

“Sir, Carpathian warships have just entered tracking range.”

Captain Zarco kept his place. Steely resolve glinted in his eyes. “How many?”

“Twelve in all . . . and on an intercept course. What are your orders?”

“We have no other choice. We surrender at once.”

“Cut!” the director yelled. He stormed over the actor playing the captain. “No, no, no. How long before you get it right? The line is, ‘we ATTACK at once.’ Got it?!”

“I’m sorry, Mr. DeFranco. I’ll get it right this time.”

The director resumed his place. “Okay people, let’s take it from the top—Action.”

Mike Lynch, along with Brandon Barr, is the author of an upcoming novel, When the Sky Fell (Silver Leaf Books, February 2008).


Life Line
© 2007 Brandon Barr

The wicked scream of air tore at Ruzzo’s ears as he hung, suspended by his foot over a micro black hole.

“I didn’t even see it coming!”

“CUT YOUR WIRE, SOLDIER!” blared Macie

Ruzzo’s eyes danced at his captain’s command. “You’d kill me?!”

“Shut up, Ruzzo! You’ll drag us all in,” she growled.

Ruzzo grabbed the rope connecting him to the flagship and began climbing.

“It’s too late for that!” screeched Macie.


He saw her withdraw a machete.

Their eyes met...

“Time, give me time...I haven’t made peace with God.”


“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”




Brandon Barr is the author of several short stories published in magazines such as Ray Gun Revival, Revelation Magazine, and Haruah.


Mirror, Mirror, on the Screen
© 2007 R. L. Copple

How can one win an argument with themselves?

The Captain stared in shock, through the view screen, across a dimension, to look himself in the face. A duplicate ship had materialized. The duplicate Captain stared back wide-eyed.

"You don't belong here," our Captain said.

"Really? Whatever gave you that idea?" The duplicate raised an eyebrow.

"I'm gonna blast you out of this dimension." He turned. "Ensign, fire on my mark."

The duplicate barked the same command. "Winner takes all."

Unfortunately, the Captain never argued with himself effectively.

"Fire!" rang out from both captains.

R. L. Copple writes speculative fiction, and has been published in several magazines along with a book, Infinite Realities.


© 2007 Robin D. Ader

He felt himself pressed back into his seat. The acceleration was building and he sensed his chest being compressed. The ground dropped out below him. He could only see clouds and blue sky through the small rounded-square window.

"There's something wrong," he thought. There was pressure on his feet. "It shouldn't be there," sprang to his consciousness.

The acceleration slowed. He could hear a chime.

"Sir. Sir!"

"Yes?" he turned to see her face.

"Please replace your baggage under the seat in front of you," and she moved on.

Robin Ader is a freelance copywriter for business and marketing. His novel, The Messiah Condition, is currently under consideration for publication.


The Machine
© 2007 Nick Peterson

They called it “the machine.” “TRUTH” was engraved along its shiny steal side. They asked it the most important question, lest it should only answer one.

“Does magic exist?”

“Yes,” the machine said.

To be sure the machine was telling the truth, another question was asked.

“Will Prince Hubric be king?”

“Yes,” the machine said, and exploded.

Years later, the King named Prince Gad as his successor. Few people talked of the machine or magic again after that.

One day King Gad fell into a great pit and was never seen again. His brother, Hubric, took his place as king.

Nick Peterson enjoys Kurt Vonnegut, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald because they tell very simple stories very well. And he likes dragons.


The Road Leads On
© 2007 Karen McSpadden

Drive, he said.

Past the burned out cities, over scalded mountains, the road leads on. A hundred miles past tears, seconds ahead of sanity, beyond fear. Radio static plays no one's song, but she still hears gunfire. She still hears him.

Drive, he said, find me again.

If she sped, she'd make it in time.

Across the desert of the Reaper, down into the valley of the Shadow the road leads on. By car and van and truck they come, stragglers of life racing for one last appointment.

Drive, he said, when he died. Drive to me.

So she did.

Karen McSpadden is a member of the Lost Genre Guild and contributed to the anthology, Light at the Edge of Darkness.