We got a lot of great entries to the 61 Fiction Contest, and unfortunately not all of them could win the prize. But we'd still like to present them here for your reading pleasure. Look for a few each week
Poetic Justiceby Mark Somers
Every summer morning, old Taro Ishita would write haiku in the park.
Yesterday a mob of unruly youths had spilled his ink, torn his papers, and laughed at a feeble old man. Today everyone was talking about the brutal massacre of a local street gang.
If they had asked, Taro would have told them that his son was a yakuza member.
Sewer Sceneby ratfink_a
"Dawn? You there Dawkkkkkkkk", whisper turns to final gasp.
Finally, "Clear" echoes through the sewer.
"Stinks down here" the ork says.
"Thought he was safe" the elf observes, closing the blade. "Mark's easy whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
"Dawn?" the ork's voice is higher.
Ka-POW! Ka-POW! Muzzle flash strobes nightmare jaws and white hide.
bubbles settle in silence.
The Arrivalby Jon J. Naughton
Walks with Spirits came out of the trance and left the medicine lodge. The spirits had told him that they would not arrive until the sun rose once more.
He walked over to his tee-pee, walked inside and turned on his PC. The EMail symbol flashed. FedEx confirmed what the spirits had said. His new TriD would arrive tomorrow.
Ozymandiusby Jon J. Naughton
You pity my paralysed body because I cannot talk to you. I cannot walk beside you. I am alone in my virtual world.
Your world is shit. Mine is beautiful. Mine is whatever I choose to make it.
I read your mail. I know what's on your credstick. I watch you sleep at night. Do you really pity God?
The Johnsonby Jon J. Naughton
Alice slipped into a cyber cafe and logged into the matrix. She had one message waiting.
"Senator Bryan Alistair. Friday. Ten Million. Usual ten percent commision".
Alice quickly checked her Swiss account. The money had been transferred. She looked at her watch. Shit. She'd have to arrange a team tonight. Mom would kill her if she was late for school again.
Untitledby Scott Wheelock
"Lived on the edge, he did. Said his gun was his only friend, Death the only one he'd flirt with, and Dragon the only meat worth eating. He could have disappeared to anywhere, officer."
"When did you see him last?"
"A week ago. He was going out somewhere."
"I think it was...yeah. Shopping."
Untitledby Scott Wheelock
Just a flash and bang, and I get thrown through a world of refracted fire and wet shadow. Breath is unimportant, blood an afterthought. My hair, thousands of fibrous ropes, gently erodes the concrete that pillows my head. Sound is colour and sight a myriad of smells. I love it all.
The coroner stands, grim. "What a way to go."
Fire Fightby Mark Somers
Teflon knew all the tricks. He could kill with a wave of a hand. He could find anyone, anywhere. He could bind the most powerful of spirits. Everyone respected him.
Firestarter was sixteen. All he knew was how to burn things.
Five seconds later, Teflon was a pile of ashes, blowing in the wind.
In the Sprawl, life is rarely fair.
Shadow Puppetsby Mark Somers
When the dust had settled, none of the board members could remember why they had found the Ares proposal so distasteful. Nor could they identify the latecomer who had claimed to represent the Corporate Council. It was too late, of course. MCT owned them now. By then, Puppeteer had used his payment to buy a rare addition to his hermetic library.
Last Mistakeby Mark Somers
O-dachi wished people would take him seriously. He knew he could outfight anyone, he just had to prove it. When he walked into the bar and saw the one they called the best, he knew his chance had come.
"Hey old man, you're not so tough!"
"I said I'm not afraid of you!"
O-dachi's funeral was a memorable affair.
The samurai had broken into the target's condoplex, surprised her, and snatched her in the dead of night. When he pulled the hood from her head and reached out for his fee, Mr. Johnson gave him fifty nuyen.
"The target was worth five thousand!"
"Five thousand for a programmer, yes, but fifty is all that her housekeeper is worth to me."
Genesisby Richard Levingston
Have you been in the Matrix recently? It's madness.
What is happening?
Everyone leaves traces of themselves when they deck, shadows of their true selves. The elements have linked and the Matrix is alive!
It is the most intelligent mind on the planet, but one built from the dregs of society. Loners. Misfits.
No wonder this great mind is insane!
Big Questionby Richard Levingston
The question was asked by some youngster at a public access kiosk.
The Matrix laboured hard to find the answer, dredging into all its archived datastores, conscripting more and more computing power throughout the night. The wetware was the most versatile, though it overloaded quickly.
For days you could see deckers stumbling along the streets, muttering "Who made God?".
Betrayalby Richard Levingston
Her blood drips down the walls.
I knew the gang wars were getting nasty, but I did not expect even her to turn against me.
I thought the bomb in the lunch box was an oversight.
The cynanide on the toothbrush might have been an accident.
If you can't trust your own mother!
Her blood drips down the walls.
The Duelby Richard Levingston
I faced the dark wizard across the barren waste.
I easily blocked his first blast, as he effortlessly parried mine.
I could see the concentration on his face.
I knew that I could counter his next attack before he had even decided what it was to be.
It was a bummer of a moment to lose a contact lens!
Safe and Secureby Tracey Peart
The body was found in a small room inside a room. It was hard to get at, Ivy on the outside, twelve inch steel walls, mag locks, retinal scanner, physical deadlocks, sound dampeners and other electronics. Inside with the body was food annaising equipment, empty air tanks and a note, 'You're dead!'
The key's to the deadlock hung on the outside.
Untitledby Wes Nicholson
Mace stood amid the wreckage of his beloved Garden of Eight Coins, his face hiding his anger.
"Someone will pay for this" he said to his companions.
In the Shadows across the road, a figure let out a low chuckle.
"Someone already has, little man. You just haven't realised it."
The wind didn't carry the voice to Mace and his cohorts.
Thankyouby Tracey Peart
Dear Raymond Harrison,
Your car handled like a dream. I enjoyed your APPS and have already made use of your run flats. The armor was a bonus and your satellite uplink kept me going in the right direction. Pity that direction happened to be into the front entrance of an enclosed mall.
P.S. I've borrowed your phone.
The mage went to bed laughing. So the shaman thought he mistreated his elementals? That sentimental fool...
He awoke as his spirit was pulled from his body. He knew immediately that he was in an outer plane, though not which one. A massive fire elemental stood before him and chuckled toastily.
The elemental pointed. "For your first service...go kill that dragon."
No, it doesn't matter how they die. The distant pull of the trigger, the pulse and burn of sorcery, the gleaming arc of the knife…well, perhaps I do like that best. But it really doesn't matter; the body drops to the pavement and I turn away, myself once more, until Shark tells me he's hungry again.
He's hungry now, my friend.
A Simple Hitby SeventyBlue
He was up shit creek again.
Helicopters swarmed around, searchlights swinging wildly across the docks. He was hiding behind a stack of crates, breath ragged, sweat dripping down his face as he heard the shouts of police officers and the snarls of search dogs.
It was just supposed to be a simple hit.
Who'd have thought it was the mayor's daughter?
Double Shotby Tracey Peart
Long legs, gorgeous body, and full red lips. She sat on his stomach.
"Ready for your shot?"
He eagerly watched as the needle went in.
The rush never came; he looked at her confused.
She flipped up her wrist watch display. "It's done, drug'll kill him in two."
He died contentedly, watching her blood stain his sheets.
Opportunitiesby Geoff Skellams
Jackson sat back in his chair. "MCT is moving the prototype on Friday."
DeLore looked up from the file on his desk. "Security Assets?"
"Minimal. They think no one knows. It's hidden in a statue."
"Can we snatch it?"
"Probably. Six armed professionals. Hit and run. It's doable."
DeLore dialed a number. "Fenster? How does the name 'Johnson' suit you?"
A Job Well Doneby Tracey Peart
Smoke blanketed the two lone figures in the deserted restaurant.
"Where's my nuyen?"
"You'll get it as soon as I am positive no-one will find the body."
"It won't be found, trust me, you don't want the details."
"Sorry, I need them. Man something smells fine, what ya cookin...I think I will take your word. Here's your cred-stick."
The Fall Girlby Tracey Peart
"We need someone to take the heat."
"I know," picks up the phone, "Sam honey, you wanted to prove yourself..."
Later...Back alley of the docks. Gunfire heard not too far away.
"Got the package, let's go."
"Hey, she's on the phone, says she needs backup."
"Screw her, tell it we're busy. Never liked sis anyway."
The gunfire ceases
“I think it’s trying to communicate with us.”
Paden looked the mage, then at the creature questionably. “Are you sure about that?”
“Of course I am. It’s obviously an ancient creature of the Sixth World.”
The creature’s mouth opened with needle-like teeth.
“I don’t care what it is, what is wants, or if it’s intelligent. I’m just going to kill it!”
Seven Minutes, Twenty-Seven Secondsby Dani Martin
Seven Minutes, Twenty-seven seconds, that's all it takes. That's all I need. I wait. The money man will be here soon. All I have to do is be patient. It was the perfect job, now all I need is the pay-off.
A steady tone.
"We're losing him..."
"Seven Minutes, Twenty-seven seconds."
Dead on the mark.
Song for the Deadby Rand Ratinac
Breath slows. Trigger breaks.
Corporate samurai falls.
Never Forgetby Rand Ratinac
"Are we ready?"
He nodded. "We’ve infiltrated every level of society. Within days our forces will control the world. There is nothing anyone can do. And the best thing is, no one even suspects what we truly are." He reached out with his trunk, opening the door and gesturing his companion in.
"Welcome to the Neo-Elephant Republic of Puget Sound."
The Grailby SeventyBlue
Data, coalescing in it's own brilliant light.
His ticket out.
The transfer took a tick, and it was done.
A knight, black as death, rose from the ground and attacked.
One, two, three, his claws hissed, cutting it to pieces.
He danced away, laughing. No more poverty for him.
He had just planted this week's lotto numbers.
Them's The Breaksby Rand Ratinac
The security guard’s head lifted fearfully as a crack sounded behind him. "What was that, Billy?" Slowly, he turned.
Billy hung limply, eyes vacant, a black-gloved hand closed around his neck. The guard stared at the pale face swathed in shadows, the gloved hand reaching towards him, then screamed and fled.
Void cursed. He hated it when things turned messy.
Lifeby Rand Ratinac
The doors swung wide and the target entered the killing zone. As the executive’s bodyguards shouted and pointed at Stark, he smiled. A deep breath expanded his lungs. He eased out half, then stopped, the terror-stricken image of the target filling his scope. Weapons rose towards Stark, but only one thing mattered now. His forefinger squeezed gently. The trigger broke.
Safety Firstby Rand Ratinac
Crunch yanked repeatedly at the trigger of the missile launcher.
"What’s wrong?" Vanguard shrieked.
Crunch glanced at him helplessly. "It’s broken."
Vanguard stared at the rapidly closing Lone Star vehicles. Instants before the lead car fired, he slapped the launcher. It bucked and the cop car exploded.
"How many times must I tell you? Hit the safety BEFORE you fire! Before!"
The Painby Nightsky
I can’t stand the pain. My legs are on fire, but can I feel something that I don’t have?
How can they leave me here to suffer like this? Why won’t someone help me? Another squatter in a sprawl filled with squatters.
It’s okay. I’ve got my own medicine. I’ll hit “play” and let the chip heal me.
2061by Rand Ratinac
A rifle cracked. Joe whirled to see a slain executive’s bodyguards open fire. As bullets shredded the sniper, a man wearing black gloves barged past Joe, leapt into a Westwind and roared away. Turning to watch, Joe saw a patrol car explode. A pickup barrelled past, another police car in pursuit.
Joe stuffed his hands into his pockets and kept walking.
Huntingby Ryan Yokley
It's dark in the chamber below. Only the humming of the fans tells me this is the right duct, the right position. Lying somewhere in that room, it abides - that red mark on the map I keep retracing in my head. It tells me my target; my trophy is in that cabin. It knows I’m here. The flames kill.
Life of a Mageby SeventyBlue
I am born.
I am life. I am innocence. I am happy. I am pure.
I am there. I am learning. I am loved. I am betrayed.
I am lost. I am found. I am hated. I am gone.
I am here. I am vengence. I am wrath. I am sin.
I am dead.
Wetworkby Geoff Skellams
Garrett shifted his weight onto his right elbow slightly and peered through the sight. The cross hairs settled on the mark's forehead. The smartlink snapped off the safety.
The rifle's silencer softened the bullet's firing to a dull whap. The mark's head exploded nicely.
Seconds later, Garrett was on Seattle's busy streets, dialing a number.
"Johnson? Your message has been delivered."
Wise Wordsby Geoff Skellams
"But I can’t find her," said Black Feather. "The kidnappers left no clues!"
Eagle turned and glared at him. "Have you learned nothing? Listen to your instincts. Let the spirits tell you."
Black Feather closed his eyes. "She’s in a ship in Tacoma."
Eagle smiled. "Good, your eyesight is improving. Go and rescue your daughter. The spirits will be with you."
“Jump!” Miles said from the top of the Acrology.
“Jump? It’s a mile down! We’ll reach terminal velocity within six seconds. We’ll hit the ground at three-hundred miles an hour. We’ll be buttermilk pancakes when we hit.”
“We’re landing on water. It’ll cushion the blow.” Miles jumps.
“But height that water is concrete.”
A Child's Deathby Shane Skinner
Blood, that was all I could see. Seattle streets running red from my blood, vision dimming, as I felt darkness overtaking me.
Scenes flashed into my vision from my childhood and short life.
Then the dominating vision, a mugger raising a gun and firing it into my chest and leaving me to die, then darkness rended my sight.
Wisdomby Rand Ratinac
Blair grinned, reaching out towards the chips. "Dealer wins again." His elbow jolted as it struck the tabletop; his face paled as the ace fluttered from his sleeve. Blair turned to the player on his right and smiled weakly.
Staring into the fang-filled maw, a thought crossed Blair’s mind. What was it they said? Never deal with a dragon?
Watching Footballby Adam Jury
Scuz picked idly on one of his overgrown tusks with a fingernail. "Hey, Frank?"
"You ever think about doing anything with your life?"
"Of course. I mean.. real job, wife, kids, taking family vaca.."
"Hey, Frank?", he interrupted.
"Can you turn the trid up? I'm trying to listen to the football scores."
Lover's Kissby Lady Jestyr
Byzantine sighed, a tired, soul-weary gust. She sprawled bonelessly on her bed, staring blankly up at the ceiling as she sought surcease in sleep.
Finally, lulled by the staccato burst of gunfire and the wailing emergency sirens, her eyes slid shut. Byzantine slept, and her warm and friendly city kept vigil around her, caressing its beloved inhabitants with its fatal touch.
Mental Noteby Merlin
Jump barrier and keep running. Bullets zing off walls. Quick shot behind me. Hear a groan, good, three down one to go.
Stop around corner. Last guy almost runs into me.
”Do ya feel lucky?”
Anger flashes, he moves, I pull trigger. Click….. Blam, hole in my chest.
Mental note “Check gun isn’t empty before taunting opponent.”
We'll be posting more entries in the coming weeks, so keep checking back. There's lots of good stuff to come! Thanks again to everyone who entered.
All 61 Fiction stories are (c)their respective authors, and are used here with permission.