April 2019 (Issue #33)

The premise for Issue #33 was

HIDDEN

We challenged contestants to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which someone or something important to the story is hidden in some way. (Hidden from one or more characters in the story, not from the readers.)

We received 379 contest entries and chose five stories for prizes. Only one of our authors has been published in OTP before; the others are new to us. Three of this issue’s stories are speculative fiction, and the other two take place in the real world.

CONTENTS:

“Before” was their codeword for the days before they came to the castle.

FIRST PLACE: By the Moon Unblessed, Brian Trent’s story about kids who live in a traditional fantasy world filled with many tropes from other fantasy worlds… sort of. You’ll see.
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Protag1001 occasionally tried to guess why people chose a particular avatar. The blue dragon might be a short guy with authority issues, or a woman who read a lot of fantasy literature.

SECOND PLACE: In the Flesh, Laura Ruth Loomis’s story about one potential way on-line identities and real-life identities could relate to each other in the future. (Laura has been published in multiple issues of On The Premises.)
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“You broke your pinky drinking wine coolers?”

“No, but if I hadn’t had three of them at the company picnic, I wouldn’t have tried to play volleyball.”

THIRD PLACE: Mildly Anxious, Overweight, Beth McCabe’s real-world story of a woman who would rather not let people know she’s seeking help for a personal issue.
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The fathers of the three missing children are standing on my rug, shuffling their feet.

HONORABLE MENTION: Not Here, Amelia Slemp’s speculative story about how life as a half-vampire isn’t as great as you might think.
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She sits back, eyes blurry. There is a commercial for toilet paper on. The grief, so intense just moments before, is gone. She is empty.

HONORABLE MENTION: Oyster, Jeff Hagerstrand’s real-world story about a difficult old woman who chooses novel solutions to problems she refuses to discuss with anyone.
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Note: Photo courtesy of Sameer Bhalekar on Unsplash