October 2022 (Issue #40)

The premise for Issue #40 was


We challenged contestants to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the story’s main character(s) spend most (even better, all) of the story’s time in constant motion. (Just being on the Earth, which is spinning and moving around the sun, doesn’t count.)

We received 448 contest entries. Of those entries, six stories won prizes. Two more stories were selected as guest writers. The first will be published in November 2022, and the second in December 2022. Each will be added to this issue when it is published.

One of our prizewinners have had a story published in OTP before, and the other five authors are new to OTP. Three of this issue’s stories are speculative fiction and the other three are real-world stories.


The ship is large, yet still smaller than Ger-Ald or the other ten-whale ships. I force my tail flukes into action, focusing on the approach.

FIRST PLACE: Half Fin, C. R. Hodges’s speculative story about a dolphin trying to get home. (Previously published in Issue #14 and mini-contest #18.)

The teenager in the back seat—the one Waylon didn’t know would be coming on this trip—sighs audibly. “I could really use some lunch,” he says.

SECOND PLACE: Fireworks Over Disney, Kay McSpadden’s real-world story about a man who’s trying to learn more about his new girlfriend by taking her on a road trip. (New to OTP.)

Miriam was grateful for the bag next to her and tenderly laid her right arm across it, as if in thanks for the barrier it quietly and naturally afforded her. With the bag on the remaining half of her seat there was no room for another girl to sit, even if one had wanted to.

THIRD PLACE: Paper Cut, Mary Pastorello’s real-world story about junior high students on a school bus. (New OTP author.)

She was about to turn right, towards the University, when a fox crossed the road ahead of her.

HONORABLE MENTION: Frankie Cycles On, Ren Wednesday’s speculative story about a young woman who, while on a bike ride, keeps encountering her various “ex”es… sort of. (New OTP author.)

With unconventional illnesses, the trick was not to ask “What’s the solution?”, because no one knew that. Rather, you asked what came next: new treatment, method, experiment.

HONORABLE MENTION: Things That Move, Twinkle M’s real-world story about a teenager with an extremely rare medical condition. (New OTP author.)

The smell compelled us like a cartoon pie on a windowsill, the steam penetrating our nostrils and pulling us. And we kept walking to it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Move Eat Repeat, Ian Salavon’s speculative story about a well-known horror trope as viewed from an unusual and creepy perspective. (New OTP author.)

He looks up and around him. He is the only person in the carriage. He hopes nobody he knows gets on before he leaves.

GUEST WRITER: Cockfosters, Sarah Moraghan’s real-world story about a man with a troubled marriage and the subway ride he takes through London.(New OTP author.)

On the field, the girls organized kickball, then soccer, then tag. They got the IDs of any players who were not already in their network.

GUEST WRITER: Summer, C. J. Peterson’s feel-good speculative story about what summer might be like for kids someday.(New OTP author.)

Note: Photo courtesy of Capstone Events from Unsplash