Vote for the best story

Poll closed Apr 28, 2014.
  1. Good Boy

    2 vote(s)
  2. Thrice I Will Die

    7 vote(s)
  1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.

    Closed Voting Short Story Contest # 152 Theme: The (incurable) disease

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Apr 15, 2014.

    Short Story Contest 152
    Theme: "The (incurable) disease" Courtesy of @Fronzizzle

    Voting for Short Story Contest (152) is OPEN

    Giving everyone a break from contests with lots of reading needed, and time off for Easter, we have two excellent entries in this contest. The winner will be revealed in two weeks and the winner thread will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Entries are listed in the poll in the order I received them.

    Voting will end Sunday the 27th of April 2014 ~1730 (5:30pm) Pacific Time to give everyone a chance to read the stories.

    I encourage authors to vote. It is acceptable to vote for yourself, but I encourage you to vote honestly. In the name of good sportsmanship only vote for yourself if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation.

    Consider how the author has responded to the theme, as well as the quality of the writing and overall impression of the story in making your decision.

    Good Boy
    [2193 words]

    “Take this compass lad. You'll need it now.” Said the commander with an evil grin and handed the young boy a small wooden tablet with a metal needle that was spinning profusely, trying to find north. It slowly settled to a northern direction as the young boy let it rest in his palm, he looked at the commander, trying to show no fear.

    His military fatigues were partly torn and filthy, wrinkled and with some stains that looked like dried and old blood. He had black hair that was sprouting in several directions, like he hadn't bothered to wash or clean for weeks. His facial hair had grown into a ragged stub, he had some cuts and scrapes on his chins and on his forehead.

    It was a beautiful day, the sun stood high over the small village, there were very few clouds in the sky. Birds was singing a tune in the trees. Not their ordinary tune though, this one, sounded more like a warning.

    The commander smelled foul.

    His breath was of something the boy could recognize, it was alcohol, and lot's of it. It was a smell that his uncle had reeked of, on the many day's when his father had brought him to their house. His uncle would always sleep on the couch, crying and whimpering.

    His father had told him that his uncle was very sad because he had lost someone he loved to a nasty disease. But more importantly, he had also told him; to never trust a man with such a breath.

    The boy looked around him.

    To his right was his mother, lying in a pool of blood with a large wound to her head. At his left side was his father, with two wounds to his chest. He was lying on his back with his eye's still open, they no longer had the fury in them--that the boy had seen, as his father had desperately tried to defend their family. The eyes now looked empty and lifeless.

    His uncle was a couple of paces away, also dead, together with several others from the small village, all bundled in a large pile. He could make out ant Nellie's golden-red hair, and old mister Ceril's arm with his leather watch attached to his wrist, they were both lying in the stack of bodies. They had lived across the street and had been very nice and friendly, often letting the boy have some treats for a few simple chores. Now their houses were on fire, and two soldiers were stacking more bodies on top of them. The pile they were in, grew larger and larger.

    He looked back at his own house, it was burning very fast, most of the structure had collapsed on itself and he could spot some of it's frame through the blaze. The street they were on was filthy and littered, like a great storm had torn through the village. Trash was spread around, along with clothes, furniture and small household objects.

    The boy could still hear his mother's heart pounding against his ear. She had held him in her arms, smiled and patted his hair like she always used to. She was a kind and loving woman. She had whispered to him over and over, 'be strong'. She had kept smiling at the boy, even as two soldiers pulled her from his arms. She had kept smiling as the commander put his sidearm against her head. Her last smile, conveyed unconditional love for the boy.

    The commander was standing right in front of the young child, he had been observing him. “I wonder what's wrong with you, little lad? Why aren't you crying and whining like the others?” The commander asked callously. The boy didn't answer. He had learned not to cry a long time ago – as tears was the fuel for wicked men.

    A soldier down the street interrupted them. “Hey, sir! Look what we found! It got some great springs and cushion's soft enough to die for!” He yelled, as he sat down in ant Nellie's white sofa with blue stripes on. The soldier looked pleased as he sat to rest and was soon joined by another, they were taking a break from hauling corpses to the pile.

    “We better bring this one back to the base!” The other soldier yelled out, looking equally satisfied. One of the soldiers powered on a stereo next to the sofa, and a tune of calm jazz rang out in the burning neighborhood.

    "Do you like music lad? I love it, all music. From the classic's to the new. It reminds me of a different world. And there is nothing better to listen to, when you take a life. Nothing is better, than the echoes of civilization, when you're in the process of tearing it down! It just brings your heart up!" The commander said with a sadistic grin.

    Two other soldiers approached the boy and the commander. They grabbed the child's dead parents and dragged them to the pile.

    “Do you think I'm evil? Little lad?” Asked the commander, persisting with his torment.

    The boy yet again, didn't answer. He refused to give joy to such a monster. The boy struggled to not look scared, he struggled to keep his emotions contained, any sign of weakness was all the commander needed, he was sure of it.

    “You don't understand, do you? Did your parents not tell you?” The commander asked and looked for a reaction, finding none, he continued. “The world has changed. There has been an terrible disease. But you and me kid, we're immune, we're just the same” The commander said and smiled.

    The commander was holding the boy's parents' wedding bands, he was studying them. “For eternal love” He said, reading the engraved inscription on their insides.

    “I was there at the beginning, I buried the first bodies. I fired the first rounds. The larger towns was the worst, the smell would stick in your nose for days.” The commander said, still looking at the wedding bands.

    “Light the fire!” The commander suddenly yelled out, and one of the two soldiers that had recently dragged the boy's parents to the pile of bodies, threw a flaming piece of wood on it. The bodies lit up in a sparkling blaze as the gasoline took fire. “Normally I wouldn't waste the gas, but I felt bad for you, little lad” The commander said and put the wedding bands around his middle finger.

    That was as much as the boy could take. He dropped the compass, and in a raging fury he raced forward, punching the commander with all he had, over and over, yelling and screaming. The commander laughed and gave the boy a hard kick, the child fell back and landed on the asphalt of the street. The commander then drew his sidearm, pointing it at the boy.

    “That's the spirit! I knew something was hiding behind that face! Now stand up, little boxer! I wanna hear your body thump when I take your life!” The commander yelled out with wild eyes.

    The boy stood up, he faced the commander, glaring into his eyes. If he was going to die, he was going to make sure that his eyes would be seared into the wicked man's memory. Without blinking, without hesitation, scared, breathing heavily and rapidly, the boy was determined, he had anger burning inside him and he wanted that anger to pierce into the wicked commander's eyes.

    But all of a sudden, someone appeared from behind a pile of trash. It was Jerry, a middle aged father of three, he lived in the house next to the boy and was the owner of a hardware store in the neighborhood. He was known as a tough and hard man in the village, he was big and strong.
    But not today. It was easy to give a hard appearance when your worst enemy was a bent nail, but with experienced and ruthless killers in his neighborhood, he now looked feeble and scared as he was approaching them. It was almost as if he had shrunk. Jerry was wielding a small hammer, but he dropped it at the sight of the guns. His hands and legs were shaking.

    “Please don't hurt the boy! I beg of you, let the boy go!” Jerry stammered as he stumbled towards the commander. Jerry looked nervous and terrified, he could barely stand. Some of the soldiers quickly surrounded him. And the commander withdrew his sidearm.

    “The things you can find in the trash! Eh boys?!” The commander yelled out in an excited tone.

    “I'll do anything you want, just let the boy go, alright?” Jerry pleaded, his eye's the size of saucers. The boy could see the panic and sorrow in Jerry's eye's. Just a moment ago, he had seen his three boy's tossed carelessly into the pile of bodies. They had been good friends, the boy and Jerry's sons, they used to play many games around the neighborhood. Sometimes they made a mess of things or a prank, and Jerry would get mad an yell at them, but he was still a loving father. Perhaps his current frail attempt to save the boy was his redeeming action, for having failed to save his own sons. A last try to preserve some life.

    The commander looked at him calmly. A few seconds passed before his response.

    “I don't want you to do anything.” He said and shook his shoulders.

    One of the soldiers walked forward and aimed his rifle at Jerry's head. He had no time to react to the motion before the soldier shot him. The boy jumped at the bang. Jerry was lifeless before he hit the ground.

    Calm jazz music was still playing in the background as the boy looked at the dead man. The events of the day began to slowly sink in. His anger had whiffed away, and he wasn't sure if he felt fear, or the lack of it. It was a new emotion, one that felt empty in his heart.

    The commander turned to the boy yet again, aiming his sidearm at the child's head.

    "I lost my wife and my daughter. I loved them. They weren't killed by the disease, their lives was taken by weak men in retaliation of my work. I never enjoyed massacring towns, I just did what had to be done, I never enjoyed decimating communities." He said without smiling and continued. "But now I do. Now I know that the sins of men is absolute. I want to watch the world burn, until there's nothing left, but ash." He said and paused for a while, staring at the boy, still aiming his sidearm at the child's head.

    The boy could see the dark barrel of the pistol, the end of life hid in the black crevasse of the pipe, just waiting to come out and have the boy join his parents. At any second, he could be consumed into the darkness. But the young child showed no reaction.

    “I have killed many children, many men and women too. Old and young.” The commander said in a cold tone and continued. “They're all the same, they all whine and moan. Like their life matters. As if they believe they deserve to live. It's pathetic.” He said and looked at the child with a cold heart.

    The boy felt nothing, he didn't care about the man's words. He showed no emotion. He just wanted it to be over. The child was ready to die.

    “But you are different. You aren't like the others.” The commander suddenly said and slowly holstered his sidearm. He had noticed the boy's broken condition, and he was pleased with his own accomplishment.

    “Tell you what kid, you've had a rough day. So I'm going to be kind, I'm going to do something I've never done before. I am giving you a second chance.” The commander said and picked up the compass that the child had previously dropped in his fury.

    He took the boy's hand and put the compass in it. The child just stood there, like a shell. The commander ordered one of his soldiers to give the boy a small bag with provisions, he then leaned down and looked at the child.

    He stared at the boy for a moment before he spoke. “To your east and west, you have burning barricades of houses. To your south, you have your family and friends in a smoking pile. To your north you have an open and long road.” The commander said and continued. “Follow the compass, and decide which way you want to travel” He said and gave a vile smile.

    The boy looked at him with cold eyes, he ingrained the commander's face into his memory and without hesitation, without looking back, he walked north

    He knew that the boy he used to be, was left in the burning pile of corpses with his family. There was nothing left for him here.

    As the child walked away, the commander, still smiling, said with a grin: “Good boy”


    Thrice I Will Die [1280 words)]

    Robert lay on the hospital bed, pale and sticky. Nina wiped his brow with a cool damp cloth.

    “Ah, that’s better,” he said, smiling at his wife. His lips had no colour anymore.

    “I remember when your lips were as scarlet as strawberries,” she replied, as if thinking aloud. “And I remember the day you first kissed me with them.”

    “That was a while ago.”

    “I still remember it.”

    In and out came the nurses, with their smart uniform and busy feet. Nina glanced at them, wondering how much they could really help if Robert started to pass away right now. Would they even care? Hospitals sure weren’t the same anymore, and neither were the people.

    “I know what you’re thinking,” he said to her.

    “And what’s that?”

    “You’re wondering what’ll happen when I’m gone. You’ve never had to sort out a bill or cheque in your life.”

    “Oh, how do you do that, Robert? I’ll never understand it.” Nina huffed, disguising a smile.

    “It’s all clever trickery, my girl,” he replied. “After all, it’s a simple magic trick that attracted you to me, was it not?”

    “Yes, and I still haven’t worked out how you did it,” she admitted.

    They sat in silence for a time, comforting and warm. Sometimes they looked at each other, deep into each other’s eyes. Nina would look away first; it would not be long before she would never see them again.

    “So how will I pay the bills?” she asked after a time.

    “I don’t know.”

    “How will I live without you?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Why are you being so dreamy, Robert, so suddenly? I’m trying to tell you how difficult it’s going to be for me now that…” A film of tears rested on her eyes. “Now that you’re leaving me. I’ll have no one, Robert. At least try to understand that.”

    He said nothing for a long time. Just looked out the window towards the other drab yellow-brick buildings. His mouth was almost a grimace and his eyes leaked pain, discomfort. Worry. And then he spoke, still looking outside.

    “I’ve thought about this moment for a long time, Nina – there’s little else to do when you’re stuck in a hospital bed. You are the dearest thing I have ever had, and I hope I have been the same for you. And as I’ve seen other patients come and go on this ward, I’ve not wondered about their families so much, but for them. What must they be going through? What about those who have no one? Who visits them? Who sits with them when the nurses have done their work? Who kisses them on the forehead and strokes their hand when their life comes to an end? These are things I have wondered, and it’s not been easy.”

    He paused only to lick his lips.

    “What about those who die, Nina? Where do they go? No one knows, because no one has come back. Perhaps that’s because it’s so wonderful that no onewants to come back. Maybe it’s because they just can’t. I don’t know. But you say that you’re worried for yourself, Nina, and I completely understand that. But what about me? What happens when Iflat-line? Yes, you’ll cry when I go, and you’ll miss me the rest of your days. Only that’s not all you’ll have. You’ll have support from the kids and from your friends. You’ll still have photos of us; you’ll have memories.

    “And me? I’m sure memories do not exist after death, because with the true love I’ve seen on this earth, people would do all they can to get back here, just to see their loved ones one last time. But no one has, and so I have come to accept that death is a pool of forgetfulness. I’ll just dive into it and never get out. So that’s two deaths already: my physical death, and my emotional death.

    “But there’s a third death for me, Nina. There’s a third death. I’m supposed to look after you, because that what a husband has to do for his wife – huh, it’s what he wants to do for his wife. I’ve paid the bills for fifty-seven years, Nina. If I could do it for fifty-seven more, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it seems I don’t have enough of those left. So thrice I will die: as a person, as a partner, and as a husband. You only have to die once, honey. I will have to die three times, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it through without you. Love is the worst incurable disease. It’ll never let you go – ever. It’ll take everything you have. But it’ll do something no other disease will do: it will build you up to be a stronger person, and you’ve done that with me.” He finally turned to face her. “You’re my wonderful disease, and I wouldn’t be the same without you. Please destroy crush me with your love. I’ll never want the cure. I love you, Nina.”

    She could barely breathe.

    The nurses were a blur.

    The salty tears lingered in her mouth.

    “I love you too, Robert. I love you too.”


    “Please, Robert.”

    His eyes fluttered open.

    “Please, you have to tell me. How did you do that magic trick? You can’t leave me without telling me.”

    He smiled. So weakly, with even less colour, even less of him. Robert was fading. “Ah, I thought it would come up,” he said. “So you really want to know?”

    Yes,” she urged. “My whole life.”

    He looked at her with a tiny twinkle of cheekiness. “Won’t that give away the man you love?”

    “I suppose.”

    “So I’ll ask again. Do you really want to know?”

    Her lips quivered. She could feel every hair on her body rising, tickling her clothing. He was expecting an answer.

    “No,” she said, and she hung her head. “No, it’ll be another memory to keep, won’t it?”

    “It sure will, honey.”

    Nina stood up and stepped over to him, pressing her lips against his wrinkly forehead. This was the last time. She held herself there, remembering the first time she had touched him, the rush she’d felt. His charisma, his tricks. And she had been privileged to see him grow beyond that: to love, to endure, to treasure. He’d done it all. So she had to remember this kiss – she memorised its feeling, the way his cool skin felt against her warm lips and the way it tingled its way to every inch of her body.My husband.

    Then she withdrew her lips.

    He looked at her, and she was sure every little bit of colour returned to his lips. His mouth opened to reveal a brilliant smile.

    “Well, it seems I was wrong,” he said.

    “About what?” she asked.

    “About not remembering anything after you died.”

    “What do you mean?”

    The glint in his eyes was not of his younger trickery and charm, but of his older devotion and companionship.

    “What I mean, Nina, is that kiss. That kiss was so full of love, there’s no way my soul will let it go. So no matter what’s after this, I know this kiss will be with me forever.”

    “The incurable disease will do that to you,” she said.

    “Will do what?” he asked.

    “You know. If you are kissed by the incurable disease, then you know the end is coming. We’ve had our time in the sun.”

    “Yes, Nina, but you’re forgetting one thing.”

    “And what’s that?”

    “Whenever the sun sets on one side, there will always be a glorious sunrise on the other.”
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Announcement: There are 24 hours left to vote. Only 2 stories. If you've been meaning to vote in the short story contest but don't get around to it because you don't have time to read the stories, here's your chance. :)

    Also, I may be out of the building tomorrow when the poll closes. If that happens the winner's thread will be posted late Sunday night. Same with getting the new contest up for voting, that may not happen until late Sunday night. Feel free to start reading the entries in the submission thread.
  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    ~4 hours left to vote. :D
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    @Madman wrote "Good Boy".

    @Thomas Kitchen is the winner with "Thrice I Will Die"!

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