The May Contest is still underway. You still have until May 15 to write an ending to my story “Mayday” and enter.
In the meantime, all this week I’m sharing the finalist stories from the April Contest. The first finalist is Shanel Wilson, one of my Champions who won the November Contest.
She almost won this contest and was leading the pack until I read the story ending by her husband, Jeremy Wilson, who won. How’s that for a twist?
It was very, very close. There were so many great entries, which is why I have so many finalists for April. I especially loved two endings and went back and forth trying to decide the April Contest winner. When I finally made my choices, I looked up the names of the contestants (because I read all entries blind) and saw Jeremy Wilson, a new name to me, and Shanel Wilson, which is a name very familiar to me. Only after notifying Shanel that she was a finalist did I learn that Jeremy is her husband. So now we have two Wilsons in the Circle of Champions!
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, the bold cat burglar has broken into the Lasones’ penthouse suite, nabbed the lavalier from the safe, and is hiding it inside her catsuit, hanging from a hook on her necklace.
In my pack, I have a party dress that slides easily over my catsuit. I also have a cat mask. A little inside joke. But the costume serves a practical purpose. It hides my real features from cameras, whether they be security cameras or cameras carried by partiers. After all, I’m still on parole and I can’t be seen at this party.
I also have five mailer pouches in my pack. When I reach the party outside, all I have to do is find five of my plants wearing orange vests. There should be ten people wearing orange vests, so five should be easy to find. Then all I have to do is hand off my envelopes and make my exit.
The slider tube is in M. Lasone’s smaller closet behind a parquet door. I type in the code, step in, and glide down the brightly lit tube for 16 floors.
by Shanel Wilson
I already feel the pulsing of the music outside as I land. I adjust my cat mask and dress from the slide down. The lavalier pulses with my increasing heartbeat.
I listen to the rhythm of the thumping and exit the door on the next thump. I dance into the crowd and disappear. Most blitz partiers opt for black costumes and masks. Only the occasional show-off wears a crazy costume. If you ask me, that’s begging for trouble if the authorities arrive before the party breaks up.
No one notices as I slip through gaps between dancers like a key through a hole. The orange vests stand out like neon steppingstones towards my escape. I easily spot five nearby and five further down the beach. It looks like my luck is holding, at least for a few minutes more. The first four hand-offs are smooth as silk.
Only one left.
I left the orange vest closest to the driveway for last. As I make my way through the revelers, I see them, wearing a frog mask and dancing with a flaming pink flamingo who’s sparkling head to toe. A walking disco ball! As the pink wig flips around, blue eyes gleam through the pink feather makeup drawn to look like a mask. The Lasones’ daughter! At a blitz party, at her own house, in the brightest costume invented? I heard the legends of her rebellious antics at Wycombe, but she is the last person I expect to see tonight.
A siren floods my ear. My luck has run out.
Authorities will arrive in less than five minutes. The plan was to be on the road winding out of here before that chime. My last mailer still in my hand. I need all five to go out or I should just stay here and get caught. So, do I high tail it to the beach and somehow back out of here or make the pass off in front of Miss Ladybird Lasone?
Fortune favors the bold, as they say, so I glide straight up to the Frog and slip them the mailer.
“Are those the party favors?!!” Ladybird squawks.
I move between her and the Frog.
“I hear the good ones are down at the beach,” I say, trying to distort my voice.
“Boo, that’s so far! Come on, don’t want to share with me, little kitty?”
“GO!” I shout at the Frog and they hop away.
Ladybird’s arm shoots past me to grab the Frog. Her glittery sleeve snags the ear of my mask. Before I can move, she yanks her arm sending my mask flying into the throng.
“Hello there, little kitty.”
“Meow!” I light a flash charge in her face and run. I jump in a vehicle and slam my override device into the ignition. The dash lights up but no engines. I jam its horseshoe-shaped button again.
I speed past where the gates used to be as sirens whirl into the compound.
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.