April 2015 (Issue #25)
The premise for Issue #25 was
One or more characters try to learn something.
We received 216 contest entries and chose six stories for prizes. We also have two guest writers this issue. Only one of the authors in this issue, our third-place winner Neil James Hudson, has had stories published in OTP before; everyone else is new to us. For two of these authors, their stories represent their first fiction publications.
“I recommend researching and disproving a claim made by a man who says he has created a perpetual motion device.”
FIRST PLACE: Gifted, Stephen Lawson’s speculative story about the life of a hormonal fourteen-year-old girl who might also be the most intelligent human being alive.
“If you were,” he says, smiling, waiting for her to sit before he does. “I mean, if you were rich, would you still be doing this?”
SECOND PLACE: “Tevye” One Afternoon, Jackie Davis Martin’s real-world story about how uncomfortable unrequited love can be when it might be inappropriate as well.
“I was interested in secret languages—languages so different from anything anyone else spoke, that it would be nearly impossible to learn them.”
THIRD PLACE: A Language of Regret, Neil James Hudson’s speculative story about dangerous knowledge.
“You need to find yourself a way to make a living that doesn’t end with your face planted in someone else’s fist.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Pick Your Poison, Melinda Newmin’s real-world story about a kid who’s determined to live a life that the adult he respects most disagrees with. (Her first short story sale!)
“Oh, yes.” Willis turned back to face them. “The assignment. You were to write the most offensive two-word sentence possible.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Loaded Words, John Derderian’s real-world story about the power of language and education.
He calls me Gos, and so some part of me is with him, and I cannot get it undone.
HONORABLE MENTION: I, Gos, Anna Autilio’s real-world story told from a speculative point of view—a hawk’s.
He was moving his face back and forth again, trying to see everything in the apartment.
GUEST WRITER: Verandas, Tony Concannon’s real-world story about three cultures colliding in a small apartment complex.
“Relax,” Jake said. “We haven’t done anything. Let’s just see if he stops.”
GUEST WRITER: First Season, Erik Christian’s real-world story about a hunting trip and the murky world of law, order, right, and wrong. (His first short story accepted for publication!)