Another great ending to the April Contest

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. Today’s featured finalist is Ruxandra Niculescu.

Rux took a different approach than most writers in the contest, which I love. Our clever cat burglar finds a surprise at the bottom of the slider tube and a nefarious plot!

Can the clever cat burglar talk her way out of a scrape? Photo by Soroush Golpoor.

If you have not read the original story beginning, read it here first!

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 Rux. Remember, in our story, the bold cat burglar has broken into the Lasones’ penthouse suite, nabbed the lavalier from the safe, and hidden 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 Ruxandra Niculescu

The pillows at the bottom of the chute are softer than expected. Rich people.

Straightening my party dress, I assess the safe room. It looks like a Renaissance painter took psychedelics. Ready to be out of here, I’m almost to the door when a chain rattles and I freeze. The noise repeats and I turn, eyes straining to see past the barriers imposed by the mask. I dare not take it off. I can still feign being an errant party goer, lost on the way to the bathroom.

“Finally made it?” The muffled question comes from a dark corner and I step back toward the door.

“This isn’t the bathroom? Those drinks went right through me,” I lie, adding a giggle that would be the envy of any girl on campus.

“They know you have it.” A girl in a ruffled crimson red dress steps forward. The cascade of cloth leaves one shoulder bare, complementing her cinnamon skin. She’s wearing an elaborate phoenix mask.

“I’m just looking for the bathroom.” I stall, my hand fumbling, finally finding the latch. I turn to make my escape.

“They wanted you to take the lavalier.” I have one foot out the door. This could be a trap. Scratch that. It probably is a trap. But curiosity always was my weakness. Cat burglar. Heh.

I turn to look over my shoulder, and the phoenix nods, lifting her hands to brush a feather away. It’s only then I see the manacles chaining her wrists together.

“It’s an insurance scam,” she continues. I’m sure her voice is familiar. “The Lasones have been watching you all along, ever since your capture. I’m shocked you didn’t see through it, honestly.” There’s a hint of derision in her tone and my temper flares.

“What are you talking about?”

Silently, she lifts her hands up, removing the mask and revealing the unmistakable features of Marcy, the daughter of the very people I came here to rob. “I’m the one that’s been feeding you the info,” she finishes. “My repayment for a job well done is being shipped off-world to a convent colony.”

“Why?” I blurt incredulously. I thought my sentence was bad.

“Oh, tricking you into stealing the lavalier was how I avoided a much worse fate. But I’m not interested in joining a convent. I’m interested in revenge.” I look at her dubiously, though she can’t see behind my mask.

“Why should I believe you?” I drop the façade and she shrugs. Her eyes burn with an anger I feel smoldering inside myself.

“Because we want the same thing. I need your help and you need mine. Trust me. This time, they don’t plan on having you go through the court system.” There’s something about the way she says it that makes me shudder. In that moment, I make a decision. We may be from two different worlds, but maybe if we work together . . .

“Ok.” I step forward, pulling out my spare lockpick. “Let’s get you out of here.”


Ruxandra Niculescu is the author of Balancing Wonderland and other fantastical tales. You can follow her on Twitter at @CallMeRux and see more of her writing at ruxtheauthor.com . Please send her some congratulations in the comments below and let her know what you liked about her story.

Here’s another great story ending from an April finalist

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. Today’s featured finalist is Sarah Parker.

Sarah’s ending puts a whole new spin on the story with family ties and a master manipulator.

Can the black sheep of the family turn out to be a black cat burglar? Larceny runs in the family. Photo by Soroush Golpoor.

If you have not read the original story beginning, read it here first!

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 Sarah. Remember, in our story, the bold cat burglar has broken into the Lasones’ penthouse suite, nabbed the lavalier from the safe, and hidden 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 Sarah Parker

Going down 16 floors, I trip-activate memory lane. Backstory’s so important. I highly recommend knowing what forces shaped you.

I discovered the back door of the guest room closet with Henri when he was invited to stay. The ‘rents kept him near them, of course. Hadn’t yet decided which daughter he was worthy of, and neither of us wanted them to catch us fooling around with boy toy. Didn’t figure they’d allow for choice. Life had always been so planned, and I’ve always craved that element of . . . surprise. Guess I’ve let my roots show.

That sophomore-year shindig that got me busted and brought before a judge? Nothing compared to the mess tomorrow will reveal. I’ll advise everyone to avoid broken glass when they enter, but I’m sure some drunkards will dabble blood about the place. Let’s just call that abstract art, eh, Lasones? Masterful stuff is extracted at a cost. And most know talk is cheap. Except therapists.

Should take Daddy Dearest and Mama Meanest at least 2 years to recoup. The family, that nuclear cluster, will know well enough it was me, though I never did count among their members. Mama knew I wasn’t her own, refused to claim me, allowed father to forge his stories of charity. Yea, those contributors.

Society only saw the runaway, the taken-in rogue. I like to consider myself the diamond in the rough. Always been tempted to possess and pocket gems.

There’s a man waiting at the bottom for me. Shoot!

“Seems you’ve finally found your niche. Welcome home, daughter. Now, I’ve some other safes I want to teach you. Their materials will be more of a challenge.”

He turns, walks into the night’s darkness, knowing I will follow. Intrigue kept me around the family, hovering, a shadow in their world.

“Where’s mother? Won’t she care I’ve got my paws on her precious?”

He stops, turns again. Stares at my chest. I can feel his eyes, even though I only dimly see him.

His stare pierces my mind, too. As if he knows I linked the stolen chain to my own. How could he have orchestrated this, too? I mean, I’ve known he’s a master manipulator, but . . .

“She’s not part of this. And I can buy her a new trinket. Consider it your copy.”

“I’m no copy. I’m an original,” I remind him.

He smiles. The same wicked grin stretches across my face.

The maid who’d been supplying my information slips out of shadows to join us.

“Danika, meet your mother.”

It makes more sense why she’d been so willing to help me. Why she hadn’t blinked at the sum I’d managed to siphon off the trust account father set up on the sly. She knew full well the source and how much more there must be, if he could replace the crown jewel without blinking an eye.

I look them both over, then ask, “What now?”

She takes her earpiece out, drops it to the ground, crunches it underfoot. I follow suit.


Sarah Parker is a writer of short stories, poetry, and academic writing. She has contributed stories to the first two volumes of Tales of the Year Between, an anthology of collaborative, speculative fiction published by Skullgate Media, and also to The New Normal: A Zombie Anthology, edited by Nikki Mitchell. You can follow her on Twitter at @isparkit. Please send her some congratulations and let her know what you liked about her story.

1 tragic ending to the April Contest

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. Today’s featured finalist is Ron L. Neal.

In Ron’s ending, a meticulous heist plan falls apart.

Sorry, kitty, your meticulously planned heist goes awry. Photo by Soroush Golpoor.

If you have not read the original story beginning, read it here first!

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 Sarah. Remember, in our story, the bold cat burglar has broken into the Lasones’ penthouse suite, nabbed the lavalier from the safe, and hidden 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 Ron L. Neal

As I changed, I wondered if there would be any interesting party goers.

Maybe some celebrity hangers-on?

I might dance. I could do with a little celebration. Looking at my reflection in the walls. Nothing like flirting with flawless lawlessness. Ooh, exciting!

As I look around the slider tube, I notice the construction was mainly in shiny opaque plexiglass to allow the colored lighting in the shaft. It was like a hall of mirrors. I could see myself in the slider tube front, back, and sides. I love shiny things.

Even the floor is see-through. The plexiglass is held in place with shiny, polysteel frames.

The plan was meticulous and carried out with complete precision. But there is always that element of risk. The one you cannot account for.

The other windows that fell carried the nanobots with them. And they in turn searched and found more polysteel food. The nanobots love polysteel.

The slider tube’s polysteel frame has been consumed all the way to the twelfth floor.

As the slider begins to dissolve, I slip on the Cat Mask, somehow thinking it will help. But really, I don’t want them to see me.

As I fall amongst the shards of plexiglass, I think out loud: “I could have been the life of the party!”


Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about Ron L. Neal, but I enjoyed his story. With luck, he’ll reach out to me and share some information about his other writing exploits. In the meantime, please send him some congratulations and let him know what you liked about his story.

1 more great story ending from an April finalist

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?

Do you like stories about second-story thieves, thief acrobats, or cat burglars? Then try this one. Photo by Soroush Golpoor.

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 not read the original story beginning, read it here first!

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.

Party time!

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.

Vrooooom.

I speed past where the gates used to be as sirens whirl into the compound.

Later, fools.


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.

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