Welcome back to our judging session of Cracked Flash Fiction, Week 34! We had a surplus of fabulous entries this time around, and are pleased to announce our winners!
Browniydgrl1 with Frank’s Big Dreams
Mars: This was a very amusing piece (made me chuckle). I can only imagine that they have hamster-sized bunny ears if they can put ants on stilts! I have to wonder what the extent of the hamsters' concept of their living state is; they (or, at least, Hank) recognize(s) that the humans keep them captive--how intelligent are they? The personalities came through the all-dialogue story well; poor Hank and flamboyant Frank.
Rin: I liked the whimsical tone in this story. The arguing hamsters were fun and distinct. Frank had me laughing with his high society aspirations and I couldn’t help but feel for poor Hank, slowly going mad at the mercy of his cage mate. The idea of a pet society revolving around fashion amuses me. It reminded me fondly of a variation on a Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie. Well done!
First Runner Up
M.T. Decker with 24.984 Centimeters and Counting
Mars: I'd definitely be that one with the horrified look on my face (actually, you probably couldn't have paid me enough money to go into that room (I seriously got nightmares from that episode of the Twilight Zone with the sentient doll)). I felt like the piece was a little unended; I would have liked to know the force behind all this creepy mojo (and who was the room making space for?)--but otherwise, it was well written, and the eerie tone came through the piece really well. I hope Abe and the main character got away alright!
Rin: This one is shiver-worthy! It had this classic, horror, paranormal crime scene feel to it that I adored. I hate, hate, HATE dolls with the passion of a thousand suns, so that alone is creepy to me. Then you had the mini-replica dollhouse, which is never a good omen. I do wish that it had been more clear what was on the character’s neck, that bit confused me. But that last line was fabulous! Loved it!
with Careful What You Select For
Mars: Aha! I loved that DUN DUN DUNNN moment at the end there (good foreshadowing early on--"You must be able to see how dangerous that is."). I liked the journal-entry style of writing after the initial conversation; I felt it flowed nicely (I might have actually preferred the entire piece like this).
'Robot apocalypse' keeps popping into my mind over this, simply because Dr. Fazzino forgot the one thing that prevents this kind of apocalypse--the human touch. Bad things happen when you let computers (or animals) evolve to get smarter than you!
Rin: I loved the concept of risky genetic experimentation run by a computer program (and let’s admit it: some mishap is bound to happen when we let a computer decide things) combined with the use of real, scientific animal names. The tension built up nicely with each new addition bred into the rodents, gaining size and more advantageous features. It had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would inevitably go wrong! That final line wrapped it up beautifully, with this sense of the horror having only begun. Great story, congrats!
Careful What You Select For
“This is incredibly disturbing to me.”
“Leo, this hamster has genetic modifications for climbing?”
“Generation 34 included some minor modifications to paw structure, yes. It’s got a lateral ‘finger’ including some primate gene sequences, and the latest generations have a limited opposable thumb.”
“It’s better at gripping.”
“Better at climbing too, as you can see, Sam. Genetropia is apparently selecting for some arboreal survival advantages. Climbers avoid predators and can reach more food sources.”
“Genetropia is selecting these gene modifications without intervention. Leo, you must be able to see how dangerous that is. It’s selecting freely from 200000 library animal genomes, and you have no idea what the expert system might consider ‘advantageous’ in the next generation.”
“Nonsense, the system will automatically discard any result that produces a disadvantageous mutation. Genetropia will only select for better, more survivable animals. We’ll end up with super-rodentia, eventually.”
Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 65.
“For the recent litters, Genetropia seems to be selecting for traits common to Cricetidae, possiblyRattus rattus. Our hamsteroids have developed longer tails and have been steadily gaining in size for generations.”
Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 85.
“Dipodomys elator, I believe, kangaroo rats may be the source of their overdeveloped hind legs. I’m not sure how much of the original hamster DNA remains, but our modified rodents appear to draw mostly from other species now. Up to five or six pounds, it’s big and it can make tremendous leaps. I’ve had to upgrade the cages several times already.”
Dr. Leo Fazzino’s Genetropia project lab notes, Generation 113.
“The modified rats are gone; apparently they’ve learned to work latches. Down into the basement, they’ve made it in the sewers. I only pray they aren’t as intelligent as I suspect.”
Thank you all for your participation, and hope to see you back this Saturday! :D