Special thanks to all who entered, commented, and/or voted. Writing challenges are a lot of fun, and they spark more enthusiasm in our genre.
Once again we had a great group and our finalists made it hard to decide, but in the end, we have a winner who separated herself from the pack: Athelas Hale. Contratulations!
For any who missed Athelas’s entry, it’s posted below. Also, here’s the final voting.
And now the winning entry by Athleas Hale
The way Tag judged his circumstances, he could die if he stayed or die if he left.
Wind touched an ocean of grass, calling him. Stretching before Tag, the meadow boasted flawlessness that made him long to lie down and become a part of it.
The urge to speed the process of losing his mind hovered at the edge of his thoughts, even as the idea got the blue ribbon for fears. The world teemed with contradictions. A flawless world at first glance, it twisted the mind of anyone staying on long-term.
Focus, Tag. “Trevor!”
His voice echoed back.
Trying to fight mounting frustration, he ignored the voice in his head reminding him of his three more days. “Why are you like this? Can’t you be beautiful and good, or evil and ugly? You don’t have to trick people like this!”
The world laughed.
Hunching his shoulders, Tag shouted. “Trevor!”
Nothing. “And why don’t you quit with the whole insanity thing so Trevor could get home on his own?”
I could leave.
The thought—his thought—made him freeze. No.
“Abandon Trevor? Let him go mad without even realizing?” Tag forced emphasis into his voice. “Never.”
But what if it’s too late—he’s already dead?
Tag knew the rules of the game. If he returned to Earth, he could have decades before the insanity set in. Here he would have three days—five until death.
Both options ended the same way, but every instinct screamed for more time.
Tag never expected to feel such intense fear.
Taking a shuddery breath, Tag balled his hands into fists, soundlessly repeating the words some Sunday school teacher once drilled into his head. “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love, and a sound mind!”
He screamed to the world. “You cannot stop me! I will find him!”
The world studied him, and did not laugh.