While we’re waiting on the November Contest winner to be chosen, I wanted to share one more story ending from the October Contest. You may remember that Jim Hamilton won the October Contest, but this finalist gave him a run for the prize. She wrote an excellent story ending, and I almost chose her as the winner.
So she is very deserving to be the one and only finalist for October, and we hope to see more of her writing soon!
The one and only October Contest Finalist is Shanel Wilson!
Shanel is a Sci Fi writer finishing her first novel about near-future space colonization. You can follow her on Twitter at @shanelaileenw. Please send her some congratulations and let her know what you liked about her story.
In the meantime, please enjoy Shanel’s story ending below.
If you have already read the story beginning or the winning version of the story with a beginning and ending, then you’re ready to read this different ending by Shanel. Remember, in our story, Cass had escaped Mars with an infection of the Vere, crash landed on Earth at the family homestead and made it inside the farmhouse:
I peek out the window and I finally see them. Just two tiny triangles, but one is already veering off to the left. I think maybe it’s headed to another farm, but it just keeps going down at a diagonal until it crashes in a field of wind turbines. The lead ship comes straight ahead, following my smoke plume.
by Shanel Wilson
I only have a few minutes until the lead ship discovers my wreck and lands. I push off from the sink beneath the window and fall back against the barn-wood table. Dad’s favorite coffee mug sits in front of his favorite chair. I giggle again. I never knew why he loved that cartoon cow so much.
“Would you like me to play your next message, Cass?” the house system cheerfully breaks in.
“Fine,” I say, wincing as I use a table and nearby wall to support myself.
Dad’s voice sounds like a ghost of the voice I know so well. Even if it has been since his last birthday that I spoke to him.
“Cass, don’t come home. It’s too late . . .” his voice trails off.
“End of message. Would you like to send a reply?” says the house system.
My heavy breathing is my response. So, they might not be OK. The room starts to spin. A red, spinning swirl of childhood. I have to get to the basement. I concentrate on the door leading to the hallway. My arms are starting to give out from trying to carry all my weight.
Move! The voice in the back of my brain is back. I’m working on it, me! I think to myself.
I summon the last bit of strength I have left and launch through the door. I crash into the opposite wall. I grip the wall and drag myself along. Only a few more feet to the control panel.
A whirling sound drifts in through the open front door. I must have forgotten to close it. Not that doors are a problem for them. I could use all the advantages I could get at this point.
I reach the control panel. The keypad is gone and in its place is a retinal scanner. Dad’s latest upgrade, I could only assume. I use my filthy, gloved hand to try and clean my facemask enough for the scanner to see my bloodshot eye.
“Incomplete scan. Try again.”
I bang my head against the wall next to the scanner. The whirling is getting louder and closer. Sweat is dripping down my face. If this is the end, by the Vere or by them, I might as well smell my dusty house one last time. My home.
I clumsily unhook my helmet and toss it to the floorboards. I take a deep breath in. My cloudy excuse for a brain is flooded with memories of early mornings and days in the fields. I try and shake the cloud away long enough for the scanner to do its job.
The door opens and I tumble in. I am Home.
Please post your comments below. I’m sure Shanel would love to hear some kind words.