To start with, apologies for the double up in winner announcements. A brief holiday to Japan where I caught up with NiTH powerhouse Ash Warren followed by the sad passing of a relative left me a little behind schedule, but we’re all caught up now.
Give that there’s two winners, I’m not going to recap every story. Instead, we’ll announce both winners and move on to what lies ahead.
Historical Factions Award Part 2
This has been an interesting serial in that it has attracted different authors at every turn. Both ReLynn Vaughn and Jon Sellars fought valiantly for top honours, but in the end it was newcomer Jon Sellars that took out top spot. La Comete enticed us with it’s morbid yet intriguing introduction:
“That’s not how you flay a squirrel.”
“There are lots of ways to flay a squirrel, and this is definitely one of them.”
Only to catapult us into a family history that brought about significant changes in the history of England.
His cries caught the attention of a group of noble men stood nearby who, like the rest of the camp, had been staring skywards trying to understand what they had just witnessed. At the front of them stood Harold Godwinson, the reigning King of England.
“Your highness”, continued the man, “he mis-flayed a cursed squirrel and he has unleashed evil. He brought forth the wrath of God that just appeared before us. I tried to stop him….” His sausage-esque finger pointed unmistakably at Neville.
“Thank you Trollop”, Harold nodded to the man before turning to the soldier. Neville sat motionless on a stool, he held a knife and a half flayed squirrel in his hands, a pungent mix of blood and intestine formed a puddle in his lap. “What have you done? A mis-flay? And on a squirrel of all creatures? Heaven have mercy. You may well have cost this country it’s future, you fool. What is your name?”
“Well, Cafe, once this Norman invasion has been conquered tomorrow, you and your cursed squirrel shall be buried in the same unmarked grave as my conquests. On another day you would be dead by now, but our Lord looks unfavourably on me already; I must wait for my victory before I can kill one of my own men. Guards, I want him shackled with no bread or water until my return.”
La Comete was Jon’s first effort at NiTH. Make sure you check out his second on this week’s shortlist.
Protest Pro Test Award
Three authors competed for a share of the spoils in the Protest Pro Test Award. Familiar faces Joey To, Lydia Trethewey and Sophie Macdonald will all share in spoils of that contest, but for pride of place it’s important we recognise the winner.
As you would expect with three heavy hitters of this calibre it was as close as they come. Edging out her comrades Sophie L MacDonald gave us something to shout about with the phenomenal Protest in Peace.
“I’m sorry, Mr Reynolds,” I wasn’t going to address him by his first name, despite his insistence, “but we have been through all the proper approvals, and no one has complained.” I spread my hands widely. I am generous. “I wish I could do more. You are not related to the deceased in question?”
I peered at the paperwork. No, Reynolds, and his grubby kid had nothing to do with the relocation of Timothy Green’s grave.
“Well, no, we’re not.” He glanced at his daughter, an unblinking girl of maybe six or seven. “But you see, Michael, my girl here plays in that graveyard, and she’s struck up a bit of a friendship with,” he faltered, “with little Timmy’s ghost.”
I was speechless, and he seized the opportunity.
What seems like a simple case of townsfolk wanting to let sleeping dogs lie soon turns into a tale of ghastly visions as a real estate developer faces up to apparitions of the past. Well done Sophie! Read the full story here.
Return of the weekly award
The last couple of months we’ve experimented with bi weekly awards, and they’ve been pretty fun. The purpose was to pace out the contests so that we could run one Patreon funded contest a month and still offer a contest to keep people interested that didn’t want to be part of that award.
However, this meant less awards, and it feels like NiTH lost some of its immediacy with this change. Starting now, we’re going to be doing an award each week.
We’re still keeping the ‘Patreon sponsored award a month’ format, so some of the other contests will be a little briefer and more whimsical to keep people having fun with their writing. Stay tuned throughout the week to see more contests coming up.
For now though, check out our latest Patreon Award, the 2017 Science Fiction Contest.