3rd Round Results (View the Assignments)

The results are in!  The top stories in each heat from the 3rd Round of the Short Story Challenge 2020 are below in ascending order by heat number. If your story is listed among the top 5 of your heat, congratulations on advancing to the 4th and Final Round kicking off at 11:59PM EDT (New York time) on Friday, June 19th!  The 40 advancing writers will be placed in a final heat and will be challenged to create 1,250 word (maximum) stories in just 24 hours based on a new genre, subject, and character assignment.
 
Whether your story is listed below or not, everyone should be proud of making it to the 3rd Round from an original field of over 4,700 writers and rising to three challenges along the way.  Thanks to everyone for participating and stay safe!

 
Top Stories by Heat

HM = Honorable Mention

 

      HEAT TOP STORIES      
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #1 - ''When They Were Burned'' by Chelsea Sanders  SYNOPSIS - A man must use unlikely means to save the life of his daughter.
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #2 - ''Fever Fur'' by Elaine Lies  SYNOPSIS - It's Nyepi, Balinese New Year's, when demons are said to roam the earth and everybody stays inside for twenty-four hours, no matter what, to pretend the earth is uninhabited so the demons will leave. She's alone, with the cat she adopted as a stray – or is she?
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #3 - ''For One Basket of Jade'' by Myna Chang  SYNOPSIS - Consumed by greed, a man bargains for his heart’s latest desire. Will the first ray of dawn illuminate his wish?
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #4 - ''Everything in its place.'' by Allison Quiller  SYNOPSIS - A young woman fears the return of her partner.
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #5 - ''The Morning Caller'' by Emma Preston  SYNOPSIS - In Nathan’s line of work, high risk means high reward. How far can he stretch his luck in pursuit of his biggest payday yet?
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #HM - ''Forget-Me-Not'' by Nicholas Guerreir  SYNOPSIS - When you’re on a wire one hundred and seventy feet above a waterfall, your own thoughts are your biggest enemy.
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #HM - ''The Appointed Hour'' by Natalie James  SYNOPSIS - A lonely widow and her companion wait for Death.
1 - Suspense / An appointment / A cat owner #HM - ''A feast for the ages'' by Liam Borgstrom  SYNOPSIS - A bike courier has to gather some special supplies for a very demanding client.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #1 - ''Mad'' by Gina L. Grandi  SYNOPSIS - Abigail, stunt reporter, is determined to expose the truth of life in a madhouse. After all, one can survive anything for a week.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #2 - ''The Memory of Truth'' by Adelae Norwood  SYNOPSIS - A teenage girl teaches herself to draw at her boyfriend’s grave as she reevaluates her perception of him due to the unsettling nature of the moments before his death.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #3 - ''What Did You Find Out, Lois?'' by Sonya Bennett-Brandt  SYNOPSIS - Camille and her cat have both just turned twenty-one, a strange age for each. Camille is locked in battle with her parents, and the cat is figuring out how to die – what will they make of their last chances to come together?
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #4 - ''Ma Vie'' by Jenna Weldon  SYNOPSIS - While hiding from the Nazis in the sleepy village of Oradour-sur-Glan, a Jewish woman teaches her daughter English in hopes of fleeing to America. Will it be too late for them to escape by the time her betrothed returns from his mission with the French Resistance?
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #5 - ''Old Man Winter'' by David Burg  SYNOPSIS - After making his home in the game for two decades, a ballplayer decides to hang ‘em up and return to the home he has long neglected.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #HM - ''The New Normal'' by Jessica Raney  SYNOPSIS - Zara, Cel, and their son struggle to adapt as they cope with a new state of normal.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #HM - ''Initiate'' by Kathleen May  SYNOPSIS - Lisa is a small-town reporter, eager to break the story of the newcomers who claim to be witches. She infiltrates the coven as a skeptic and finds herself encircled in something she doesn’t understand.
2 - Drama / Learning a new skill / A reporter #HM - ''The Obvious Question'' by Jeff Dunne  SYNOPSIS - After asking an unappreciated question at a press conference, a reporter finds herself pressured towards a life of prostitution in order to serve a political agenda.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #1 - ''Madam Grace'' by Delia Moran  SYNOPSIS - Madam Grace is certain that her new place in the old Victorian is going to boost her business. She can feel it.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #2 - ''Laurie's Bay'' by Samantha Rouse  SYNOPSIS - The white wings of a boy’s owl were a sign of safe berth in Laurie’s Bay until the night she escapes his grasp. Years later, his son returns to the bay and his owl returns to the cliffs above the sea.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #3 - ''Murder of Crows'' by Viktoria Neumann  SYNOPSIS - The ghosts of two crows lead a child to their murderer. She must then decide how to deal with him.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #4 - ''Banshee's Bet'' by Brenda Martin  SYNOPSIS - Alive or dead, Declan O'Rourke would not compromise the safety of his best friend.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #5 - ''They Love A Dancing Bear In Denver'' by Connor Thompson  SYNOPSIS - Late one night an ambitious circus man gets a visit from an old acquaintance, and is reminded of a promise he once made. Luckily, there are no hard feelings.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #HM - ''Whisper Rocks'' by Julie Eisenlohr  SYNOPSIS - Jenny’s father dragged her into a world of supernatural conspiracies. After his death, she concocts a plan of escape.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #HM - ''Gunner's Watch'' by Hayley Fox  SYNOPSIS - When you no longer know what you stand for, surviving might be more frightening than the alternative.
3 - Ghost Story / Compromise / An animal trainer #HM - ''Singing in the Dark'' by Jose Cleary  SYNOPSIS - When his young son begins sleepwalking, Ian discovers that something sinister may be waiting in the dark.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #1 - ''Whack-a-mole'' by Dick C. Moon  SYNOPSIS - Young Mason hopes a “mission from dad” will restore balance after legal troubles upend their world.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #2 - ''Me Undies and Beyond'' by Beret Olsen  SYNOPSIS - A beleaguered mom—fed up with homeschooling during quarantine—starts buying all kinds of crap online.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #3 - ''Dressed Down'' by Kevin Joffre  SYNOPSIS - A well-intentioned teacher finds himself in increasingly hot water after he sends an email home about a female student’s attire.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #4 - ''Betsy Gyrates to The Beach Boys'' by Megan Zottarelli  SYNOPSIS - An eighty-five-year-old widow explores her sexuality after moving into a retirement home.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #5 - ''Blackboard Jungle'' by Faye Upton  SYNOPSIS - When Smedley High’s Head of Art is forced to compete in a no-holds-barred gameshow to win supplies for his struggling comprehensive school, he discovers that when it comes to competing with the private sector, it really is a jungle out there...
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #HM - ''Table Read'' by Camilla Pollock-Flynn  SYNOPSIS - Trying to grade an unremarkable manuscript turned in by a most remarkable student might have this screenwriting professor considering early retirement.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #HM - ''Circle Time'' by Rebecca Call  SYNOPSIS - When aliens invade Earth, Miss Amelia’s top priority is keeping her kindergarten class safe. And of course, getting them back to school before they miss circle time.
4 - Comedy / A shopping spree / A teacher #HM - ''Survival of the Witless'' by Christy Hemmingway  SYNOPSIS - When the world goes to the shitter, it’s time to go shopping. Miss Stannard gets help from a former student in her quest for survival.
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #1 - ''Devil's Island'' by Mike McClelland  SYNOPSIS - Lamb, who is spending his gap year working on an organic farm on an island off the coast of French Guiana, is helping the farm's charismatic leader prepare for an epic solstice celebration. But his plans are thrown into a tailspin when Jackson, his long-lost ex-boyfriend, shows up at the last minute and tries to deliver Lamb an awkward message; the celebration isn't a party, it's a ritual sacrifice.
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #2 - ''Howling in Love'' by Nicole Overy  SYNOPSIS - Millie meets the love of her life. But how do you tell your boyfriend that you’re a werewolf?
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #3 - ''The Unfortunate Histories of a Man Called Tim'' by Nicolas Berman  SYNOPSIS - Two eternally romantic souls fall victim to procrastination, and a series of unfortunate events, through twenty-seven thousand years of human history.
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #4 - ''Paradise Newspace'' by S. Klinetobe  SYNOPSIS - Moments before a ceremony promising to take them to paradise, two cult members discover they still have a lot to experience in this world.
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #5 - ''Better Late Than Never'' by Brittani Howell  SYNOPSIS - At the best of times, there are many places to get flowers for a memorial service—but this is not the best of times. Does flower theft count as grave-robbing?
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #HM - ''Dear #@$%ing Helen'' by Corinna Toews  SYNOPSIS - A lovelorn pet store owner encounters an old flame at a funeral
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #HM - ''To The Happy Couple'' by Lauren Bavis  SYNOPSIS - Chloe didn’t mean to hook up with the best man. And she definitely meant to write her toast before the reception.
5 - Romantic Comedy / A ceremony / A procrastinator #HM - ''Not Another Vodou Ceremony'' by Luke Ball  SYNOPSIS - A young Haitian man returns home to connect with his roots. During a traditional Vodou ceremony he finds something he was looking for: Love.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #1 - ''Repaired'' by Alix Kelinda  SYNOPSIS - Castelain wakes in confusion, begging for answers she might be better off not knowing.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #2 - ''The Legends of Whitestone'' by Chris Wantz  SYNOPSIS - A century after a nuclear blast hit New York City, Char and Diego risk everything to salvage a submerged bridge. Success will earn them life-changing promotions, but only if they survive.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #3 - ''Upgraded'' by Weston Cook  SYNOPSIS - Artificial Cognitive Enhancement can do wonders for your company, but be careful what you let into your brain.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #4 - ''The Tennis Tutor'' by Gunter Schellens  SYNOPSIS - Husband and wife compete for a promotion.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #5 - ''Don't Call it a UFO'' by Laura Silver  SYNOPSIS - The Air Force has no idea what they’ve found, but the Pentagon wants answers. Maybe the janitor can clean up this mess?
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #HM - ''The Shadow of the Sun'' by Nick Smith  SYNOPSIS - Jai has worked all his life for a chance to move out of the shadow of the rotating tower and into the Sun-Side. But the sun hides secrets that could undo life as Jai knows it, forever.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #HM - ''Customer Number Noted'' by Sharon Kretschmer  SYNOPSIS - When a customer continually returns a product that should be faultless, answers are needed.
6 - Sci-Fi / A promotion / A repairman #HM - ''Time Pieces'' by Kevin Thomas  SYNOPSIS - A watchmaker gets tangled up in time.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #1 - ''Can I Help You?'' by Steph Ryan  SYNOPSIS - At work, Vanessa is always polite, friendly and ready to assist – no matter who, or what, needs help.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #2 - ''Amou Mwen'' by Val Muller  SYNOPSIS - An agent of Justice and Death, the shadow known as “The Cashier” breaks protocol to satisfy a deep fixation on one of his accounts.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #3 - ''London Fog'' by Anna Round  SYNOPSIS - For Evie, cashier at London’s most secretive gambling club, the Great Smog of 1952 conceals more than the city’s usual dangers.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #4 - ''Farm Girls on Mars'' by J. Anne Fullerton  SYNOPSIS - A small-town girl working at a drive-in wants to make it to the silver screen. Her wish comes true in a terrifying way.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #5 - ''Franky'' by Rae Stringfield  SYNOPSIS - Teenagers are going missing, but a grocery store cashier working the night shift has more pressing worries when a group of privileged high schoolers pilfer to entertain themselves.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #HM - ''Keeping Faith'' by Cristian Hernandez  SYNOPSIS - Andrea, a little girl who struggles to fit in, finds comfort in Santa Muerte, our patron saint of death.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #HM - ''Do You Remember My Brother?'' by Edward Avern  SYNOPSIS - A hardware store cashier decides to take revenge on his brother for years of embarrassment by erasing him from other people’s memories.
7 - Horror / Embarassment / A cashier #HM - ''She Hath Poured Out Her Wrath Like Fire'' by Rod Haden  SYNOPSIS - A bullied teen reaches her limit.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #1 - ''All’s Well That Ends with Custard'' by Regan Puckett  SYNOPSIS - Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair 1920s Manhattan, where we lay our scene. From malicious lies to budding romance, where the truth leaves hypocrisy finally seen.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #2 - ''The Play's the Thing'' by Susan Lyons  SYNOPSIS - When Pastor Ebenezer King brings his traveling revival show to Tombstone, business at the Shoo Fly Sporting House suffers.  Fortunately, Big Nose Kate and Doc Holliday have a plan, and their good friends the Earp brothers are willing to help.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #3 - ''Double Entendre'' by Trey Dowell  SYNOPSIS - In 1927, a small Broadway theater company runs afoul of New York City’s self-appointed “morality police”.  The only thing standing between the company and imprisonment (or worse) is their playwright—a talented woman with a scandalous gift for words.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #4 - ''The Speechwriter'' by Lorin Fries  SYNOPSIS - A Ugandan playwright gets a new assignment.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #5 - ''An Unflattering Reflection'' by Ashley Evans  SYNOPSIS - Marie, wife of a prominent playwright in 1680s Paris,

contemplates the mistakes she and her husband have made.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #HM - ''Son of Aeschylus'' by Kelly Morton  SYNOPSIS - The son of a famous Greek playwright tries to hold his own at the most important theatrical festival in Athens.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #HM - ''Over the Dark and Brightened Lands'' by Jules Roe  SYNOPSIS - Far from his home in war-torn Europe, an aspiring writer struggles to make sense of his trauma while starting a new life in New York.
8 - Historical Fiction / Hypocrisy / A playwright #HM - ''The Teeming Shore'' by Nicholas Brown  SYNOPSIS - As Greenwich Village seethes, a father offers refuge for his homeless son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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