Spookymilk Play With The Prose — Challenge #6: Consequences Of A Wrong Decision

Our Play with the Prose mission, should we choose to accept it: to write a story about someone dealing with a wrong decision they had made (200 word limit). Here’s my take on it:


Fiery pain ripped through Stim Tremplent’s left thigh, followed quickly by the sting of his suit’s epi-painkill and a thrumming numbness as the suit resealed and repressurized. He awkwardly dragged himself into the gaping hole in the nearby alien architecture caused by the same chem-missle that just wounded him.

Stim released a spybot drone to assess his situation. The renneretts, big ugly bastards resembling gray slugs with undulating carapaces that made kill shots difficult, were everywhere around the maze-like cityscape, and all manner of weapons fire dotted his helmet’s heads-up display.

Once more Stim found himself regretting choosing a two-year stint in the Zealand Defense Force instead of the mandatory decade of tedious desk work in the Census Ministry, which his lottery number dictated. No one anticipated this initial small confrontation would take such a horrible downturn.

As the spybot zipped back to him, he reached out to deactivate it; instantly his head snapped back and his world went black…

…he awoke to Platoon Leader standing over his medibed. “Tremplent, we’ve reviewed your mental blackbox; your lack of focus has cost us greatly! Three more months have been added to your enlistment.



The judges’ comments:
K: I really loved the prose here, and the character felt believable (despite the bizarre name (which I liked)). I’m not sure I buy that three months would be added to his enlistment after he nearly got his entire platoon killed, though. Maybe an ending where they “punished” him by having the remainder of the two years behind a desk? Anyway, good stuff regardless. SILVER

P: I like the sci-fi element, since I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, anyway. I like the concept behind the regret of taking a few hellish years instead of a number of boring ones. What I really don’t like is the “DAMN IT” exclamation at the end. I would think that such a statement could be reasonably assumed. It doesn’t damper my opinion of the piece too much, but it’s unnecessary. BRONZE

Well, the unfortunate aspect of a 200-word story is that you can’t fully clarify things. Still, the medal streak continues! STANDINGS

  • I had idea about how I wanted to start the story — it only made sense to bookend it. Even if not everyone thought so. For some reason I heard Stim’s voice sounding like Brock Samson Patrick Warburton.
  • Who doesn’t love coining futuristic words and names?
  • Some of the sentences got pretty run-on, but that’s a requirement of pulp SciFi, isn’t it. The initial draft came in with an extra 30+ words over the limit; it’s a fun challenge to leave the virtual kettle over the fire and boil off the excess.
  • I thought it great irony that his dwelling on the bad decision that put him into a two year battle cost him even more time there.

Time to begin planning that family reunion 😉

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