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You're All Alone · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Frozen Potentials
Here I stood at the end of the world, I had to give it one more try. Dry wind hissed past my ears and swept streamers of snow and dust past me; these soared in clouds into the Void as the air of Earth bled away from the land. I adjusted my breather over my nose, checked my wingsuit, and inspected the great wall of nothing before me, just refractive hints of atmosphere fading off into starless black as Void continued to eat the Earth.

I listened to the whistling wind until I fancied I could hear the voices of those who went before me. I remembered my buddy sharing some of the lore he’d gotten from those who leaped over, before he took the plunge himself. When you hear the singing, you will know it is time. I thought I could hear a monk’s chanting and decided that it was close enough. Time to leave the world behind.

I took a few paces back; you were permitted to take it at a dead run, but I had observed that slower people got further in the end. I had been a stalker for quite a while here, at the huge slice of the planet that the Void was steadily carving away, and talked to many who had made the pilgrimage as society collapsed around everyone.

I strolled forward, spread the wingsuit, and dropped off the crumbling edge of Earth and into the Void. As I sailed through the thinning air, I saw those who had gone before. The void could be penetrated by living things to a degree, but after a certain time everything came to an end. When you died, you stopped, frozen in place. The only game here was to see how far you could get, to what degree you could beat the dead people who hung in the Void around you, before your own breath stopped and the last thing was discovered.

They were clustered around me in the air like stars. I fell past people in wingsuits, clown suits, business suits, bathing suits, naked folks and some who had dipped themselves in some kind of syrup. As Humanity drew to a close, strange days had found us. The only correct way to proceed was to get up off your tail and help somebody before it all went away.

They held varying poses, some were thumbing their noses or giving the finger to what they conceived God to be, some were faking a backstroke, some pirouetting, one held an unfired gun to her forehead, some of them were copulating. All were frozen like statues at the point where life had left them, embedded in Void.

I continued my Voidward acceleration, the air hissing away in my breather, not knowing when it all would end for me, but I fancied that I was leaving them behind, that I would be the one out in front of them all, right up to the end, with a pose like a superhero, arm in front of me, as if I meant to punch everything out of existence.

There would be no right or wrong left after all, no one left to criticize or censure, right up until that last moment when everything stiffened around you and you were all alone, forever.

I started to slow down—
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#1 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
A few editing things and a fair amount of close word repetition. One thing that's a reflex to do in first-person stories is to start so many sentences with "I," so you have to take opportunities where you can to avoid that. Even if you mix it up well within paragraphs, you want to vary the paragraph starts as well. To that point, a reader can see at first glance that after your first paragraph, the next 3 all start with "I," which can set up a first impression that the whole story is going to be repetitive.

As to plot, there's an interesting bit of world-building. The instinct is to want to know how things got this way, but it's not essential to understanding the plot. You might put off some readers by not answering that, but that won't affect their understanding of the story. The only thing I'd say about the plot itself is that the ending doesn't come as a surprise, since it's broadcast well ahead of time. I did entertain the possibility that this would be the only person to make it all the way through. On the one hand, the descriptions of the frozen people do lend setting, as otherwise the appearance of this place would just be a blank slate, but on the other, it does inevitably point to how you'll end it. Just a suggestion, but maybe hold off saying that those people are frozen until right before the end. Go ahead and say what they're in the midst of doing, and the reader will imagine them as active, then spring it at the last moment that they're all motionless.
#2 · 2
Jumping into a black hole, eh?

There is one fundamental flaw with that sort of story. Since the narrator dies at the end, who is writing the story? There’s a non-sequitur in writing at the first person a story in which the protagonist does not survive.

Anyways, more tomorrow before the deadline. It’s getting late.

#3 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
The idea here is fun, though we never come to know why people do commit suicide or what exactly has happened that led the void to gnaw at (what seems to be) Earth. Some sort of cosmic catastrophe? The Sun turning into a blackhole? A quantum experience that had run amok?

Or is it, as in the old movie Logan's Run, a form of control of the population, whereby anyone older than <x> has to walk deliberately into a disintegration machine of sorts and get killed for the sake of keeping the environmental footprint fairly constant?


The sort of museum you describe is fun though, and very much in line with what I’d expect it to be.

I’m a bit baffled by the obvious grit (spunk) of the narrator though. That’s not even a leap of faith here. They know they will die – well, to be honest we don’t know if they die, or if they’re just placed in a state of suspended animation, waiting to be later scooped out of the void. But they run to their (apparent) death with a very palpable levity, or nonchalance, that is somewhat baffling. I wish we could all turn death into some sort of merry, barmy experiment.

All in all, it’s a good idea. I’m a bit frowning at the use of the first person, and I think we ought to be given an explanation as to why is that happening. Barring these two minor gripes, it’s a great story.
#4 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Hmm, how would you frame a story like this, using the first person? I love the analogy between space travel and seeing people “embedded” in the surrounding air. But it doesn’t work out in the past tense, unless the speaker recovered their senses later and was merely interrupted in their reflections by a knock at the door. In the present tense, it might take the form of a journal entry or a radio transmission.
#5 ·
· · >>Monokeras
>>Pascoite, >>Monokeras, >>Heavy_Mole

Frozen Potentials

Getting sloppy with my retros; the author should explain. Thanks to everyone for the excellent comments and the silver.

I was in a somewhat dark state of the soul when this came to me. One might think of it as a metaphor for mortality, with people seeing what they can make of life before the inevitable end. Or, somewhat friendlier, it could represent the writing game and the public face you present with your accumulated art.

One little gimmick that I like to slip in occasionally; I referred to all of the submitted prompts within the body of the story. The extra constraints this imposes may help direct creativity, or simply trip up the process of telling a tale while snarling it in irrelevancies. This time it seemed to cause no harm; if no one noticed it, I probably hit the right balance.
#6 ·
It was a nice idea, really!