Mini-Contest #50

The 50th OTP mini-contest launched in October 2021. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long in which water played an important role.

We received 108 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Three of the six winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Maggie Iribarne (new to OTP)

Throughout the scuffle, the stomping of boots, the jolt of the defibrillator, Walt’s glass of water remained, sitting there on his nightstand. A month later, a dust-covered mosquito floated on the top. Liza forced herself to carry the glass downstairs, dump it, place it in the dishwasher beside the others.


Second Place by Kathy Schilbach (published in mini-contest #29)


Digging on Evrist, the only spot of land on the planet, Sea-Eagle brushed the earth from the fossilized bone. “They did exist.”

Stories spoke of a race of creatures who couldn’t fly who’d once held dominion over all others. Frowning, Sea-Eagle looked across the shimmering waters. “So what happened?”


First Place by Jessica Corra (new to OTP)

In a perfect world, my sister would still be speaking to me. I ruined her wedding, so it’s understandable. I never meant for my water to break during the ceremony, but I guess screaming at the groom that it was his fault for knocking me up was worse.


Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

“Water is life.” The guru pressed his palms together. “Water is strength. Water is—”

“A torture device used to slowly steal an enemy’s sanity.”

The guru pursed his lips, meeting the gaze of the man sitting in the back. “Sir, I believe you are in the wrong class.”
(by Rachel Dib, published in) mini-contests #32 and #39

I was asleep when we were torpedoed. Slept right through the explosion. Woke to water lapping just below my bunk.

First screaming. Then sobbing. Then silence.

Two days, wondering when oxygen will run out. Running through fear, resentment, resignation, then finally… peace. Beautiful, cathartic, cleansing peace.

Then I hear tapping.
(by Brendan Hall, new to OTP)

Standing beside my husband, I can barely breathe as I watch the priest trickle holy water over baby Daniel’s head. I’m terrified that once my son is washed free of sin, the church will reverberate with the voice of God, revealing the shame of my infidelity.
(by Wendy Janes, published in Issue #35 and mini-contest #47)

Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.