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Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES

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2020 has been one huge dumpster fire, so in the spirit of the ending of the world, I present to you our Halloween writing contest for 2020!

 

Our theme: THE END OF THE WORLD


This year, your story should be about anything involving a post-apocalyptic world. It could be virus or pandemic related. It could be a zombie invasion. It could be nuclear war. It can really be anything as long as the world ends! 

 

PLEASE ONLY POST STORY ENTRIES IN THIS THREAD. Any discussion can be held in the discussion thread found here

 

Due date:

 

October 31st 2020

 

Prizes:

 

$100 to 1st place

$50 to 2nd place

$25 to 3rd place

 

Judges:

As of right now, just me, but I am looking for two more, so that we have a tiebreaker. I’ll post once the 3 judges are finalized. I wanted to go ahead and start the thread though so that you guys have time to write. THAT SAID-----Please write!

I absolutely play fair. So if I’ve ever banned you before, write anyway. If we hate each other’s guts, write anyway. Don’t skip out on the contest because you have a ban record or have had a thread deleted. Please write! I’ll read it!

 

Rules/Info:

 

Submit multiple pieces or just a single piece. While I don't necessarily mind multiple pieces, it would be nice to see the effort and time put into a single work instead.

 

Please write original pieces. While I wouldn't really know that you pulled up an old piece of writing you made years ago it does kind of defeat the purpose of the competitions. (To write!) If I find it posted on the internet anywhere else I will assume that it is plagiarized and it won't be entered into the competition.

 

Short story format only please. The last couple of years I've also allowed poems, but we find out that no matter how well written a poem is it never places against a well written short story.

 

Other than that no word count or topic limitations. Just make it end of the world related!

 

Other:

 

It's a good idea to write in your preferred program and then copy/paste into notepad to get rid of some of the weird formatting between Word and newgrounds that can happen. Whenever I post I write in word, copy/paste into notepad, then copy/paste into an old newgrounds blog page to make sure the format look good before posting.

 

Try to keep your story posted together. It just makes for smoother reading. If you see someone else posting their story please wait until they've finished.

 

If your story will be multiple posts it's not a bad idea to write "continued on next post" or something similar to help judges and other people who are posting stories stay organized.

 

Don't comment in this thread unless you are posting your story. Please comment in the discussion thread posted here and on the top of the page.

 

This is something I talked about with @fro a lot this summer, so I stole these rules from his thread last year. He’s taking a well-deserved break---but just know he is the original Halloween writing contest fella!


In the spirit of the apocalypse, here is my favorite apocalypse artwork, by the one and only @Deathink

iu_167772_1414829.jpg


| It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose|||Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel.||||

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Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-13 22:29:09


@TomFulp if there's any way you could pin this thread and the contest discussion thread at the top of the writing forum, I'd appreciate it.


If you'd be willing to give the contest a shout out in your upcoming front page posts/any Halloween related posts, that's appreciated too.


There are money prizes! Everyone loves money!!!!


@TheTankTribune if you could manage a shout out as well, I'd owe you 5 cookies at least.


| It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose|||Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel.||||

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Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-14 09:05:06


At 9/13/20 10:29 PM, SevenSeize4President wrote: @TomFulp if there's any way you could pin this thread and the contest discussion thread at the top of the writing forum, I'd appreciate it.


Stickied and up on the calendar now!


Working on Nightmare Cops!

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Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-15 12:16:56


<3<3<3


"A reward is it's own reward." - Killgar

Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-15 17:21:27


                                    Promised Land

We were promised the world. What a bullshit promise to believe in.

---

“I’m not gonna start at the beginning, because you already know how that shit went down. I’m also not gonna bother telling you what my life was like before everything got fucked up. I mean, who cares, right? Besides, I don’t like to remember it anymore. Just makes me angry as shit. FUCK!”

She swings the rusted blade through the air, furious at the invisible enemy standing ahead of us as we both keep trudging forward. I don’t flinch. This behavior is expected these days. On edge. Sharply on edge.

I don’t know her full name, and she didn’t care to ask mine when we ran into one another a few hours ago. B, she said, and that’s all you need to know. I figure I’ll tell her my name eventually, if we make it far enough.

B huffs before continuing to speak, “Why do you care about this shit anyway?”

“I just think talking makes the journey go quicker.”

“I told you exactly how long it’s gonna take to get there… if it’s even still there.”

“Okay, then it makes time feel like it’s going faster.”

“Not for me.”

“Alright then, I’ll stop asking personal questions.”

“You can just shut up in general.”

I’m beginning to reconsider tagging along, but my stomach gurgles and reminds me how necessary the journey is. I don’t know how exactly to get to the settlement B had mentioned when we met. I had been digging through the rubble of an old convenience store, trying to find something to eat, when she almost shot me. Jesus Christ, I thought you were a feral. Yeah I know I’m not a fucking supermodel, but I’m not that ugly, either. While I didn’t find any food, we both managed to scrounge up some scrap metal. It was then that B told me of Promised Land, a settlement about three days of walking to the north, where we could trade for some food. I hadn’t had much luck scavenging lately, so I asked her to show me how to get there.

“Alright fine, now you’re being too quiet.”

I laugh. “Okay, what do you want me to say?”

“Nothing in particular, just don’t ask me about myself. And don’t talk about before.

“Deal.”

I tell her about the raiders that I had spotted a few miles southwest of the convenience store. A few days earlier, I had tried my luck in an office building, hoping that some vending machines might be untouched. It was one of the few larger buildings in the area that hadn’t blown to bits, as it fell just outside the blast radius. I had made my way up the building, sweeping each floor and hopeful I’d find something to keep me going another day or two. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single damn vending machine in the entire building. On the top floor, there was a massive corner office, and even though I doubted there’d be any food in there – those asshole CEOs usually just went out for lunch every day at some fancy fucking bistro or whatever – I at least wanted to amuse myself by sitting in there and pretending to run my own imaginary company. Upon opening the door, I found the asshole CEO still inside. He was dead, obviously, with a revolver still clutched in his hand as his lifeless body slumped over onto the desk he probably used to fuck his secretary on. I moved him out of the way so I could sit in his leather chair. I leaned back. That’s when I spotted it. A half-empty decanter of scotch. I chuckled gleefully, nearly forgetting what a terrible idea it would be to drink it on an empty stomach. Even before all this shit went down, I’d never gotten the chance to try the really good shit. I was an office drone, not-

“Quit the before talk and get to the point.”

“Right, sorry.” I continue, “So I took a small sip. Just to taste, y’know? And holy shit you’ll never guess what it was?”

“Piss?”

“Very funny. Nah, haha, it was cheap vodka with like food coloring in it or something. I ended up looking through the books in the CFO’s office next door and apparently the company had just gone under like a week before, well… you know…”

“Vodka?”

“Yeah, the cheap shit. They were probably trying to keep up appearances for investors or whatever. You want a sip?” I take a bottle out of my bag and hand it to her. “I cleaned this thing out pretty good and only spilled a tiny bit of the booze while pouring it into here.”

“Why didn’t you keep that fancy-ass decanter?” She takes a swig and smiles a bit. The first smile I’ve seen stretch across her face. She hands me back the bottle and I take a small sip before placing it back in my bag.

“I did, but I didn’t want the vodka leaking out. This shit’s apocalypse gold.”

“Sure as hell is.” She laughs a bit. The vodka has lifted her spirits considerably… but I’m still not gonna bother her with any personal questions while she’s still holding that machete.

“When we get there, let’s have a toast.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The sun dips down over the ravaged horizon, and I feel content for the briefest of moments as we walk onwards towards an otherwise uncertain future.


Just another nobody trying hard to be a somebody.

Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-16 09:14:05


Heck yeah Seven! This sounds awesome! I may contribute to this and if it looks like you’ll need a judge still, let me know and I’ll help with that instead!


You need a voice? I got one for ya! :D

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Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-16 14:42:12


Her eyes stare blankly ahead.


It's best not to look around much. Put it all behind you. Everything worth having you already have. Holding on to what was will hold you back.


The straps hold her tight to the chair, and her neck couldn't have swiveled to take a look around even if she wanted to.


 Kepler-452b.


That's all she knew. Kepler-452b.


Don't think about your mother. Don't think about Kevin. Don't think about Bobby. Don't think. Don't.


She didn't know how much time passed as the stars drifted around. A minute, a day, an hour? They'd warned her time was flexible. They warned her that was part of the plan. "They." They were all dead, now. There wasn't time for explanation. They said it was all relative.


Relatives. Like her mom. Like Kev. Like Bobby.


DON'T THINK. STOP THINKING. NOTHING HAPPENS NOW. LET THE NOTHING HAPPEN.


It felt like night. It gets cold at night, and it was very cold. That is what she told herself. The needles, cannulas, and catheters were a part of her now. She couldn't feel them. She couldn't feel anything, like the cold night itself.


Choose not to move. These straps will hold you whether you fight them or not.


She'd done nothing wrong. It was so unfair, when they dragged her in front of the council. No one was okay with this, it was against all the rules, yet it happened anyways.


A ring of crusted blood formed around the perimeter of the needle.


GODDAMNIT CAROLINE PARKER, GET YOUR HEAD TOGETHER!!!!


How was she not supposed to be mad? She had a right. She'd lost so much.


When they came to lock her up, they said it was for her own good. She'd seen the fires, the riots, but she survived, keeping her head down, acting like nothing was wrong. It was all so stupid and wasteful, she didn't want to be involved. She'd kept the faith, like a fool.


She must have spent a year locked in that cell, only allowed to contact the outside world through a computer screen. No trial, no crime, her food sterilized and pumped through a spigot in the wall, without the dignity of a tray slid under the door. There might not even BE a door. They told her they were worried about her mental stability. HER MENTAL STABILITY. Police were dropping napalm on kindergartens, but SHE WAS MENTALLY UNSTABLE.


Clench your jaw. Don't scream. You'll deafen yourself screaming in this coffin.


They never told her they were limiting what she could see. They just put something bitter in the stuff they were feeding her and one by one, the websites quit working.


The reality she knew was crazier than her blank expression.


It was an automated message. There was no one alive left to give it. There was a lot of math, but the gist of it was physics, propulsion, and a little golden congratulations text that she'd be traveling faster than any human ever had.


Distance is velocity multiplied by time, in the same way E=MC^2. Mass is energy. Time is space. It's all Relative.


Kepler452b.


The destination. Because there was nothing left of the other place. You know, "earth."


Fertilized frozen embryos sat in row after row behind her, each one with a tiny pink or blue light. Not her babies, but babies all the same.


Occasionally a buzzer would sound, a warning that one of the predictions had gone wrong, and the course was correcting itself.


She wasn't crazy. She was on a spaceship to Kepler452b. She was the last uninfected human from a plague that not only wiped out the human race, but every form of life right down to the lichens growing in Antarctica. They said it was a mutated virus brought in from an asteroid. The closer she got, the more corrections came: the planet was smaller than predicted, which was good. It wasn't supposed to be earth. She blinked when she saw the global images. The continents and oceans were eerily familiar. Maybe she was insane. She counted the rocks from the sun. The destination planet was the third rock from what turned out to be a single star after all.


More buzzers rang.


You know, like she could do something about that.


The crazy started to set in. Surely this is a nightmare. I'll wake up. I'll wake up and little Bobby will jump on my lap and Kev will give me one of those sweet good-morning kisses and we'll pull the covers wrapped around me off....


But when her eyes opened, the blankets turned into straps, and the little blue blob had doubled in size.


Why is there a continent that looks like Australia on Kepler452b?


Or a frozen content to the south? Or...


That's Africa. Nothing looks like Africa but Africa. And South America.


She blinked, hard. If her arms weren't strapped to her chair and jacked full of needles, she'd be rubbing her knuckles into her eyes in disbelief.


Relativity, they said. Infinite monkeys, infinite typewriters, infinite time... but this ain't Shakespeare.


Alarms she'd been learning to ignore for an eternity were throwing a rave in the control surfaces around her.


Hitting the atmosphere was like getting slapped by the Hand of God.


It got hot quick after that.


The controls said the landing gear had melted off. Some of the disco lights went dark. Her breath became stifling.


Half the embryo lights had gone dark when the ship exploded. She found herself floating from a chair, the hope for rebuilding now molten slag slamming into the ocean. The needles retracted from her flesh like cat's claws, but not before injecting her with a powerful dose of amphetamines.


She watched a metric ton of molten slag crash into the ocean under her feet, still miles from the shore, her parachute slowly guiding itself to the shore like a paramotor wing. Now that she could reach around, she found the release button, only to realize it was jammed.


DON'T THINK. YOU'LL GO INSANE IF YOU THINK.


She had plenty of time dangling from the strings in her chair to get bored, still powered by that frantic injected amphetamine energy.

Time multiplied by velocity is distance, and sure enough the distance closed meter by meter, between her and shore, and between her and the water. It was a race to a terminal collision, one way or another.


The water was winning.


It was when the polystyrene pellets filling the buoyancy tanks keeping her chair afloat starting drifting off into the waves that she began to worry.


And sink.


Still, she waited right until the water was up to her neck to start frantically banging on the the seatbelt release. She ran her hands across her armrests in frustration before she felt the handle of the emergency strap knife. She could have been carried to the shore by the tide, but no, those bastards had to betray her at every turn, didn't they?


She slashed the straps from her arms, wearing nothing now but the same shorts and t-shirt she was stuck wearing all those months locked in the hole. Her ejection seat sank beneath the waves as if it had never existed at all.


Maybe it never did.


She swam until she was exhausted, and with the amphetamines coursing through her veins that was ten long hours. She felt the waves drag her across the sand.


"OI!" screamed the first unfiltered voice she'd heard in what felt like years.


"OI!!! ARE YOU OLRIGHT?! OI!!!"


Kepler452b apparently was populated by beings that spoke modern english. But maybe it didn't.


She coughed. They won't believe you. Everyone thinks you're insane. Keep your mouth shut.


Salty seawater and phlegm gushed from her stomach as she wretched into the balmy sand.


"OI!" The inhabitant of Kepler452b ran on what for all purposes seems to be human legs, with human feet, shod with brand name human shoes. He waved his arms, gathering others to surround her.


"You okay miss? Looks like you nearly drowned! Somebody get this woman a towel! YOU THERE!!! CALL TRIPLE 0!"


Caroline coughed again, a speck of blood landing in her palm as the amphetamines wore off.


Just like the blood coughed up by the people wiped out on Earth.


She collapsed.


She woke up in a hospital bed, an oddly familiar squat nurse with a bad skin complexion standing over her. Looks like my mother....


Her name badge says Caroline Parker. My name. But she looks 20 years older than me....


The nurse pulls the trigger without looking.


Me playing accordion and singing, even though I'm totally a drummer.

HATE.

Because how else do you explain 1.2 million years of perpetual war?

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Response to Hall-20 Writing contest ENTRIES/STORIES 2020-09-18 23:32:05


The Call Center at the End of Time REDUX - A REDONE short story about the heat death of the universe, based off of my emotional experiences in quarantine.


REDONE PREFACE - Impostor syndrome is a bitch.


It has been roughly Seven Weeks, Three days, Ten Hours, And Ten minutes since the last hint of any thermokinetic energy went inert in the cosmos.


Correction ; Eleven Minutes.


The last vestiges of all life in the universe, Sapient, Or otherwise vegetative, Exists on Pathos. I don't know the exact date when Pathos was made, It's not important to me right now. Nobody asks me that. Instead, What they ask me, When they call me, is a multitude of things. Mainly how to repair something. Most of the time, I'm the IT Guy. And whenever I play that role, I have one question myself, that ends up branching off into several more. Everyone on Pathos is among the most intelligent of their species, So why can't they troubleshoot their own supercomputers? What happened to automation? Was I born far after we decided that automating anything was too risky? Did it need too much energy? That doesn't matter either. I do like my job though, Despite the fact that it takes up an entire half of my already cramped house with the Cubicle I need to sit in when I'm not on break. Because there's one kind of call I love taking.


"Hey, So I've been feeling really down recently..."


And I listen. I play swivel-chair therapist. Whatever problems they have on the other end, They end up working out on their own, It's not in my payroll to respond in any meaningful way. But it's a strange, Schadenfreude sense of enjoyment I get. That the other person is having a bad time too. It's nice.I find it strange that nobody on the top-crust layers of Pathos don't call each other, Or at least, Seem to on the job. Counterintuitive, I suppose. Here's the thing, I get a lot of calls from the lower layers, Closer to the Core. The Core, Where all the energy in Pathos is generated, And those who have the privilege of living there are deemed the luckiest, because anyone to lay eyes on what the Core is like, Describe it as one thing, and one thing only. Heaven. Nobody has any other word to describe it other than that. I fail to buy it.


I don't buy it, Because I get calls from residents of the Core of Pathos itself at least 3 times a year.


So even those who live in Heaven itself are disillusioned. Heaven Itself is Hell for some. This isn't to say that the whole of Pathos is any better, No matter what species, Human or otherwise, You have a very decent chance of dying. It doesn't matter what precedes it, A friend, a family member, your loved one, Sometimes even your child, Something terrible will befall you, Be they the worst crimes imaginable short of murder, And then they will take their lives with yours. The final violation of a world manufactured to remain unviolated even when all time grinds to a halt. It doesn't matter what time of day it occurs, Where it occurs, Who it occurs to, You will hear of such a thing. It is a trend, and it is a trend among those who believe one of three things about the ultimate purpose of Pathos. Because Pathos was made. It wasn't a place we found, We made Pathos, all of us here, or all of our ancestors, at least.


Pathos was made to survive the Heat Death of the universe itself, And it has happened.

So all that's left, Is for us to wait. Waiting for what, depends on what that one of three things you believe, You either believe that the universe will kickstart itself, And when the heatwave passes over Pathos, (Of which I doubt we will survive), We all scatter off into the cosmos with Pathos as our little... something. If you don't think that the universe will kickstart itself, It might not (Quantum Theory is a Weird thing), Then you believe that Pathos is the sole thing left to be the thing to somehow reboot the universe, And if not, You believe the third thing. The Last thing that, with how plausible it seems, it's no wonder that so many terrible things happen all across Pathos. You believe that Pathos is the last thing still alive, and it as a collaborative effort is a waste, because the universe will never reset itself. And that the Universe dies with Pathos.


And so, With that belief, You take to whoever is closest to you, Do unto them something unspeakable, and snuff their lights out with yours, To speed up the entropy that's creeping across ever soul on Pathos.


But that doesn't mention the Druggies. People who want to dope themselves to numb the pain of the ultimate apocalypse, and it doesn't matter what you smoke or snort or shoot, You will be given an offer by someone. A chance to feel happier than when the universe was first exploding, from a small yellow tablet called Nil. Nothingness. The chance to feel happy is astronomically small, at least, if don't you count the bliss of death. I have seen so many articles about Nil, that I am numb to all but one aspect. The fact that everyone who takes it, Dies with the most Blissful of expressions upon their face.


It is one of the scariest things I have seen, and it scares me because it happens every time.


I don't do much with myself. I sit, Like before, In my cubicle, Until breaktime, or my shift ends. Then I can do whatever I want until the lights all go down. Electricity goes dim after 17 Hours, Fully off after 19. Then everyone in this neck of the woods sleeps, and the next sliver of the hemisphere gets to wake up and do our jobs. Pathos itself is a beautiful place on the surface, and down below, There are so many natural wonders just within walking distance of my small little Five room brutalist white-cube neighborhood of other Brutalist white-cube houses. But even that gets boring. Even the Screen-wall in my "living room" gets boring, and the colors grow dull. It's getting harder to actually go far on those walks, Because the days seem to get shorter and shorter. I find myself winded after getting up from a particularly long call, Unhealthily so. It's with all those factors that I decided to beg for a few thousand kilometers' clearance, and went down yesterday, on a vacation day, to a red-lights district below the surface.


I remember nothing of it, Except I somehow came home with a tab of Nil.


So here I sit. On my pleather couch, With my screen-wall playing a Sitcom from trillions of trillions of years ago, Staring at a small yellow tablet of death and happiness in my hand. I've debated throwing it away. I've debated informing people, I've debated doing it with people. My thought processes are not in the proper array. But there's an Itch, That led me to go on vacation in the first place. That led me to bring home a tab of Nil. I've made the executive decision that, There is nothing left for me, at least. I could relocate, But then I burn off more time in my life, Waiting for a safer chance to reach the euphoria that this promises me. That it promises all of us. My death will likely be tragic, It will likely be talked about, But it won't set examples until people read what I have read.


Because I realized something, That led me to do this. I realized that, For about Seven weeks, Three Days, Ten Hours, And now Sixteen minutes;


Everyone on Pathos has been dead all along.


(OK, NO ERRORS THIS TIME, NO REMNANTS OF THE DRAFT, THIS IS GOOD, I'M GOOD, I'M FINE, I'VE JUST NEVER HAD THE URGE TO VIOLENTLY REVISE SOMETHING THAT POURED FROM MY MOST TERRIBLE EMOTIONS. HAPPY HALLOW'S WIENERS. ALLOW ME TO SCREAM INTO A PILLOW WHILE LISTENING TO KEYGEN.)


Time Sweep Begins!

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