Donald Jacob Uitvlugt's Blood, Sweat and Tears
The setting was both magical and futuristic! Kind of gross, but kind of fascinating. I really felt for main character. I was right in his head feeling the relief of the shift being over, and feeling the dread of realizing it actually wasn't over. For some reason, I kept expecting the poor narrator to mess up and somehow wind up in the vat of blood. I kept wondering where it came from and what he was feeding. For most of the story, I was fine not knowing. I just wanted to find out in the end. Good work!
First Runner Up
Keshia Nowden's Bleed
This piece was part Hunger Games, part Most Dangerous Game, part serial killer training. It was dark and morbid, but I loved it. A great concept. I just wish I could have gotten a little more into the main characters psyche.
Carin, if this wasn't already on a public web site, I'd tell you to polish it a tiny but more and send it someplace like Daily Science Fiction. This was a fresh take on zombies with a perfectly executed reveal. I was hooked from the first line and satisfied with the last. Overall, it was a great but dark, little story!
By Carin Marais
I woke up with a shovel drenched with blood in my hand, and there was a trail of blood leading up to me. I got up slowly, stumbled, and then righted myself by using the shovel as a crutch. My left leg didn’t want to carry weight.
Some of the houses lining the street were burnt. Cars - some burnt, some simply left with their doors open - stood around haphazardly. My own car was crumpled against a street pole not far from where I had woken up. I looked down at my left leg and gagged. My left foot was gone, the flesh ripped, but the wound not bleeding. There wasn’t any pain. I gingerly touched my face with red-stained fingers. Where a stubble-covered jaw should have been there was nothing but raw flesh. A shiver shook me.
I limped towards my car, hoping to find my phone in working order.
A mangled body at the end of the gory blood trail drew my attention and I limped closer. It had been a woman. Now her head and chest was a bloody pulp. In her hands she clutched a foot. My foot.
An overwhelming desire to taste some of the flesh overloaded the synapses in my brain until spots appeared in front of my eyes and I came to myself once more.
My gurgled scream sounded across the street and deserted cars as I remembered what had happened before the alluring scent of fresh flesh drew my attention to my right and I dropped the shovel.
Some people stood there. One had a shotgun aimed at my head.
“Kill me,” I tried to beg, stretching out my gore-covered hands. But the words stuck in my throat and sounded like a growl.
I lurched forward.
The gun fired.