A few weeks ago we ran a week-long event called Flashback week where we encouraged roleplayers and writers to think about the backstory of their character and write about a flashback to a different time in their lives. We held a competition for the best story, and our team of judges have voted, and the scores have been calculated!
The judges were:
- Elena from Before the Mast
- Charles Star from Independence Fleet
- Maximilliano Serna, scifi writer
- Nugra from Starbase 118
- Cedrada from Blue Dwarf
- Ryan from The Horror of Cthulu
- Andrew B from Starbase 118
I absolutely want to thank the judges who have read each story and had the difficult task of deciding which is their favourites.
Announcing the winners!
Here’s the top 3, in descending order…
3rd place – “James LeChance” from ORIGIN
2nd place – “Savis” from Nova Lux
It’s now time to announce the winner… Drumroll please! (if you can’t imagine a drumroll, listen to one here!)
1st place – “Scary Carey” from Estrangement
Written by Threnody
You can read this story below.
I hope you can all congratulate the winner and the runners up, post a comment below, or send them an email, tweet or message of congratulations!
Threnody will win the mug (shown right), which I’ll contact her about getting it delivered.
You can read the winning story below.
Scary Carey: The Tattoo
She was familiar with the term ‘experimentation’. Life on the streets gave you opportunities for all kinds of ‘experimentation’. There was experimentation with hunger, and the with cold and the with giving yourself for a time to whoever could take the other two away. There was experimentation with loneliness and with sickness. There was the experimentation called ‘seeking help’ and the one called ‘being judged.’ Yeah, Carey was familiar with experimentation.
After a baker’s dozen or so years after her mother’s death, Carey had thrown herself headfirst into every kind of experiment that she could. And now, with 30 in the middle distance, she had developed a shell of toughness, of cheery vitriol and of stoicism. So, this night, as the snow softly fell, and the general milling masses that she considered family, albeit distant and irritating, the man in the flickering light of the stereotypical fire-in-a-drum tempted her.
She had once said she couldn’t be bought. She was not an item to be exchanged by anyone else but herself for money nor comfort. Yet this mysterious man, with his hood pulled forward against the cold, and his eyes catching the fire spoke of an intrigue she had not previously heard of.
At first she shrugged him off.
“Whatev,” and continued to watch the fire.
But he was insistent. He could teach her to fly, he said, they could fly together.
“Is that what you call it?” she’d asked him, and he’d laughed.
She’d misunderstood him, he said, he hadn’t sat next to her and shared his food and lit the fire to simply get her into bed. He had a secret he said. It would change her life for the better, he said.
He asked her with clear disappointment if she was chicken.
He had found her Achilles heel. Carey. Was. Not. Chicken.
She sprang to her feet, in her dirty jeans and Jesus Saves t-shirt. Later he would ask her as he peeled it off if she really thought that Jesus saved. But for now, he skilfully separated her from her herd, leading her up and down alley ways and through fences, in back doors of restaurants and out the front of stores, eventually arriving at their destination. A dilapidated apartment block called Valhalla.
Up three flights via the fire escape and another two in the worn interior, to 5-02. The apartment door was opened upon a bang on it without question, and she was ushered in. The interior was, predicably, dark and dank. There was a single bare-bulb lamp in the room, and a chair and there was another person there, with a tattooist kit, and a chair.
This is it, the hooded man said, this is where you begin to learn. He pressed her against the wall, as if to kiss her deeply. Instead, he peeled off her t-shirt.
“D’you really think he saves?”, he asked indicating the motif on the front of it.
“Only I save me,” she told him with conviction.
“Or me, tonight,” He manoeuvred her to the chair. It was an office chair, and old one; the stuffing was coming out.
Carey’s inner alarm bells began to ring.
“That’s enough now fellows, I have to be -”
She was slammed into the chair. The sudden violence snatched her breath from her. Arms pinned up and behind her, and the tattooist himself holding her legs with his own weight.
Her lean torso was too exposed. She struggled violently, but she could not escape.
Low and close to her ear, her original assailant spoke.
“First, we need to offer you some protection, Carey.” Then he spat in her face. “You’re his daughter. We should just send you in without it.”
Carey’s fire was reignited.
“Fuck you! Let me fucking go!” She struggled like the animal in a trap that she was. She attempted to bite anything in proximity.
A short punch to her face saw a nosebleed commence, stars appear in her vision and the fight flee from her. And then roughly, the artist got to work with the ink-needle on the tender skin under her small right breast. An infinity symbol, with solid circles in the middle of each loop. It was rough hewn, but complete. Small, about 3 inches across – but irreversible.
Then with blood trickling from her newly etched art, Carey was thrust without ceremony into one of the closed doors, in ratty underwear, with nothing more than a barely uttered blasphemous prayer, she was delivered.
A corpse lay on a stained bed, stealing light from somewhere.
The woman exhaled shakily, her warm breath frosting in the cold of the room; indeed she was goosepimpled with more than terror – it was unnaturally cold. And then the deadman opened his eyes and began to speak. Surely it was the effect of the fire and the hunger and the negotiation. It could not be real. Careywouldn’t let it be. She had the pills in her pocket to prove it wrong.
Carey woke up in the sheltered area beneath the underpass, warmly wrapped up and next to the dying fire. Her memory was hazy. She could not remember what happened after the corpse spoke, only a vague impression that a deal had been struck. Her face hurt where she had been struck, and there was a pain in her – she sat up clawing her shirt up, to reveal a tattoo, a fresh one, of the infinity symbol with solid circles in each loop.
Once again, I’d like to thank the judges and for everyone who took part in Flashback week, whether you submitted your story into the competition or not, you helped encourage other roleplayers to do something cool and a bit different
A special mention goes to ORIGIN who had their own Flashback competition for members. I’m sure many more games did too, but that’s the only one I know about. If you also held one, let us know in the comments and link to the winning story.
I’m planning on doing another Flashback week competition next year. Make sure you keep checking this blog for an announcement. If you want to receive an email every time we publish a new article, subscribe to the blog using the form below.