OFFICIAL EVENT Dog Days of Summer - Submission Showcase/Winner Announcement


Memento Mori
Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
My timezone is PST
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Futanari
Homosexual, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi, Magic, Vampire, Werewolf, Supernatural, Angels/Demons, Superhero, Zombies


With the submissions now closed, please join me in giving admiration and constructive feedback to the many participants in the contest. Remember, all of these works undoubtedly took a long time and great effort, so be kind with your words.

In the meantime, the judges @Ardent, @krow. and myself will be reviewing all of the submitted pieces, and a winner will be announced on August 18th.

The way one frames events informs the way
they are received. The Fathers say
to love one's neighbors as one's self is not
to love them like one's self, to learn to love
either one's self or others better, but
to learn about one's self through loving others,
to learn about one's strengths and faults
of caring far too much or of not sharing
how one cares enough: one must not say
all that occurs beyond this world of words
occurs in the "real" world, that all this
you well know you will one day leave behind
like Prince Hal's final setting out from Eastcheap
is not real. The Fathers did not know
about the world we live in now, where every feeling
hangs so much upon the written word,
and yet how much they cared about the Word
redeeming time, redeeming all the senses,
redeeming Falstaff, Bardolph, even quiet Nym
from the Prince's proud, discordant whims!

You've caught me call you my beloved once.
You've seen me rail at fools. You've watched me fight
and make myself an even greater fool
for caring far too much. You've done me right
in keeping quiet all these years, however
I have lost myself in losing you,
lost and found myself, and all that I
have left to say to you is what I hope
you likewise are: I'm grateful
for your time.
Written by: @RiverNotch
Word Count: 231
Chosen theme(s): Romance, which of course is a kind of madness
Chosen format: Poem

Summer never left. Unrelenting and gut wrenching, the heat pulsated off all it could, the streets empty, devoid now even of the traffic which had made Mara late so often. Releasing the key from her car door, dressed in cooling pads and soaked in protective spray, Mara moved swiftly. Her girlfriend's room was her destination, inside a shelter that low income people were moved into if they couldn't afford air conditioning. The building was orange-brown brick and formidable in height—most of the upper apartments were uninhabitable, even with the constant cold air. Mara opened the door and entered the building, breathing in as much of the stale cold air as she could.

The whirring of fans and news broadcasts entered her hearing—nothing good—as her vision adjusted to the darkness inside. She had memorized the steps so that she had no need to navigate by eye, humming as she walked, an increasing liveliness in her step as joy filled her chest. Standing in front of her girlfriend's door, a wood slab with venting carved into it, she took in a deep breathe and knocked four times, pausing between the second and third—their simple secret code.

It was always her expression that she noticed first, the slight curl at the corners of her love's lips and rise in her cheeks squishing the corners of her auburn eyes. All of her was so lovely, the laugh lines and the dark circles under her eyes and her somewhat messy hair and the birthmark on her neck and so on, eternally.

"Hello stranger," her girlfriend said, "are you here to save me from this hell?"

"I'm here to keep you company," Mara said, "for you are a glimpse of a heaven."

Her girlfriend laughed and so did Mara with a bit of a blush. After some small talk, Mara was starting to get a little bit too cold. It was always an ordeal taking off the heat protective gear, though her girlfriend's help was appreciated. It was an unbelievable relief to be in an atmosphere that wasn't killing her.

"Sorry I didn't dress fancy," Mara said.

"I've told you! Come to me in rags or arrive in armour, it doesn't matter. As long as you bring you." the love of her life replied. It was then that Mara was subjected to a torrent of kisses, on her nose and cheeks and forehead, and she retaliated, giving ten times as many in return.

The room still had little in it—a television, a couch and a table, with a few paintings of oceans as wall decor. It didn't take long for the two to move to the couch, sitting and talking for a while, giving Mara some time to relax after being outside.

"I—I have something for you," Mara finally said, reaching to her bag and then into it. Mara's hand made contact with wrappers, various personal cards, oestradiol pill bottles, rocks her girlfriend had found years ago, and two bitey combs before she found what she was looking for.

"Hold out your palms," Mara told her.

When her girlfriend saw what it was, a high-pitched gasp escaped her mouth, nearly dropping the gift in excitement. A small ceramic beast sat in the palms of her girlfriend, painted black with large yellow eyes, with triangle ears and whiskers—a fearsome beast known as the domestic cat.

"It's so lovely," her girlfriend said, "do you want to marry me?"

Mara's eyes widened.

"I mean, if you want to, that is."

"As far as I'm concerned, we're basically already married," Mara said, "are we going to name our child, my lovely wife?"

Her girlfriend gently brought the ceramic cat close to her face. "Winter Keyes." she said after a few milliseconds of consideration.

"Winter Keyes," Mara repeated, smiling.

And then, not long after gifting the ceramic cat, the love of her life left. The news was bad, always bad. When Mara heard the name of her girlfriend's apartment complex on the radio after locking herself in her room after a fight with her parents, she had no words for what she felt. A horrible storm had swept in her girlfriend's, winds viciously tearing apart everything, with an unbelievably high amount of lightning. The apartment had been struck by lightning several times, catching on fire but also killing the air conditioning.

The fight with her parents had been about whether or not her girlfriend could live with them. There was no space, her parents had said. She had decided to go and live with her but it was too late.

Mara's life afterwards was nothing for a while—disconnection and sorrow, wishing so dearly that all of this was a twisted nightmare. She tried to stay updated with who survived the storm or not but all of it hurt, searching desperately for her love's name and finding nothing good. She wished so dearly that she could have saved her from this hell, her one glimpse of heaven.

As part of the disaster relief effort, they released a public record of all survivors, though it was only accessible online. There weren't many computers anymore, at least new ones and most had extreme prices, even old ones. Phones were ungodly expensive and cell service was sparse as cell towers couldn't be reliably maintained.

She sold all she could, got in more fights with her parents, in order to gain access to an ancient computer alongside some temporary internet, a keyboard, mouse, and a monitor. It was slow and cumbersome, many times she thought the thing would crack—its fans screeching and randomly halting—but finally she pulled up the list of survivors. She searched for her girlfriend, chest tight, tears in her eyes. There was nothing.

The page had frozen. She refreshed, typing the name yet again, so desperate that she misspelled it a few times. The page jumped down—it jumped to her beloved and always: Summer, Summer Keyes.
Written By: Anonymous
Word Count: 994
Chosen theme(s): Catastrophe, Romance
Chosen format: Short Story
Warnings for: Climate disaster with a death toll, loss of loved one, mentions of family issues

I first encountered the Northern levitating ray twenty years ago, as a young researcher on the Sirius-6 Ecology Project. My team originally planned to spend a year studying the planet's mineral forests, but our attention quickly diverted to the levitating rays that populated the northern pole.

Sirius-6 is a cold planet, with an average surface temperature of 36 Kelvin, with the poles reaching a high of only 41 Kelvin in the summers. The Northern levitating ray calls this hostile environment home. The ray has a flat broad body, mainly composed of nickel, with a network of superconducting magnesium diboride nodules scattered along its underbelly. This composition allows it to hover above the iron surface of Sirius-6, in the highly magnetized region around the pole.

On the first day we set up base on the frigid planetary surface, a young male ray snuck into our encampment and wandered curiously around our recording equipment. Though we gently guided him back into the wilderness, he returned on each subsequent day. This ray had a large silver spot on his left wing tip, and my team came to affectionately call him "Lefty". We know now that the Northern levitating ray primarily senses its environment via magnetic fields, so our electronic equipment must have looked fascinating to him.

For much of the year, the Northern levitating ray forages on crystal growths and hunts for small creatures like ferritic beetles. The rays also exhibit caching behavior, storing stockpiles of food in their burrows in preparation for summer. Toward the beginning of summer on Sirius-6, the temperature during the day begins to exceed 39 Kelvin, the superconducting transition temperature of magnesium diboride. Any ray unlucky enough to be caught in the heat loses its levitation, falling gracelessly to the ground. In such a condition, the ray can only flop at a snail's pace, and must wait for the cooler temperatures of nighttime to regain mobility. In this vulnerable state, the rays are lucky to have no predators.

Researchers agree that the ray evolved this characteristic due to the nature of its home star. Sirius is a binary star, composed of the massive Sirius-A and the white dwarf Sirius-B. A planet orbiting this system follows the chaotic nature of three-body physics, and can fall into different semi-stable orbits over time. Simulations have shown that only a few thousand years ago, Sirius-6 was in a cooler, more distant orbit, suggesting that the caching behaving of the rays was a recent adaptation.

By the end of that trip, it was mid-summer and the surface temperatures on Sirius-6 were exceeding 39 Kelvin for most of the day. Lefty by that time had gone into hibernation, and I would not see him again for another ten years.

By my next visit to Sirius-6, I was an assistant professor leading a team of graduate exobiologists. Our visit was prompted by measurements indicating that Sirius-6 was continuing to shift in its orbit. The temperature on the surface had risen by an average of a degree since my last visit, and my team wished to document the effects on the planetary ecosystem.

Following a tracker we had placed on Lefty, we found him in a region about 30 miles west of our original campsite. By now he had grown into a large adult ray, measuring nearly six feet across. Though we tried to be unobtrusive, Lefty once again was drawn to our electronic equipment. Unfortunately for us, he was now a full-grown male, and he made multiple attempts to mate with our holographic recorder. We attempted to lift the recorder onto the roof of our encampment, but Lefty simply circled the area until we shut the recorder off. All of our records on that trip were thus made via 2D cameras.

The rest of that mating season proceeded without further incident, and Lefty was able to attract a silvery female with a diamond-shaped mark on her tail. The courtship ritual was elaborate and beautiful, as the rays circled each other and waved their fins in undulating waves that shimmered in the starlight. Northern levitating rays are known to mate for life, and raise a brood of young roughly every five years. Within a few months, Lefty and Diamond were being followed everywhere by five tiny rays, each roughly the size and shape of a poplar leaf.

On that trip, summer came faster than we expected. Before we knew it, the days grew long and the temperatures rose high. On one particularly hot dawn Lefty was caught in the rising heat, and the temperature did not drop below 39 Kelvin even at night. For almost two full days he lay on the ground, unable to return to his burrow. Finally, on the second night it became cool enough to resume levitation, and he darted off into the distance. We did not see him again that trip, though our tracker confirmed that he'd made it safely home.

Another ten years passed, and I returned once again to Sirius-6, this time as a senior professor. By this time the planet had risen another full degree, and surface recordings showed that many weeks could pass where it did not fall below 39 Kelvin. Though it should have been autumn, there were no rays on the surface. My team, following the tracker that we had placed on Lefty twenty years ago, located his burrow. Inside, we found the emaciated corpses of Lefty and Diamond. They had left behind a small stockpile of food for their new brood, of which three were still alive.

In the following decades, the temperature of Sirius-6 is predicted to rise another two degrees. Though Lefty's brood may survive this year, their future looks increasingly grim. It seems there is no longer a place in this universe for the Northern levitating ray. As the planet continues to warm, it seems to be entering a period of permanent summer. As I write this report, Sirius rises on the horizon, sending its merciless heat onto a dying world.
Written By: @BucketOfFish
Word Count: 1000
Chosen theme(s): catastrophe
Chosen format: short story

Salutations, friends. Robert Cooper is my name, selling vacuum cleaners is my game. But I'm not here to talk about vacuum cleaners. I'm here to talk about my wife, Eleanor. I wish you could meet her. We would have so much fun together. There is never a dull moment when you're hanging out with Eleanor.

Every day, I feel so lucky because, every morning, I wake up to my wife. Call me cheesy if you want, but I think she's the most beautiful person in the world. Each night, I look forward to seeing her face in the morning light. She has a face that's truly unforgettable. She has the type of face you see in your dreams over and over again.

Speaking of which… I feel so unable to get Eleanor out of my head. No matter where I go or what I think about, there she is. And, whenever I dream at night or have a daydream, it's my wife who I see. But not always does she look like herself. Dreams are funny that way. Sometimes, she has tentacles where her arms and legs should be. I interpret that to mean I'd love her no matter what, even if she looked like an octopus. Other times, she has multiple eyeballs on her body and in her mouth. I take that one to mean I'm what her eyes most desire! All eyes would be on me if she happened to have fourteen more of them. Again I will say, I'm lucky.

Oh, and that voice of hers. How I so love to hear it. She's quite the singer, too! Eleanor's singing voice is positively sublime. And since we live together, I get to have private concerts. She sounds like an angel who was born in space. She is my angelic outer space queen! Whenever she sings, I drop to my knees and I worship her. I feel so compelled to do so. I just have to keep her away from the karaoke machines. The last time we went to a karaoke party, she drove the whole room into a frenzy! I guess they were overpowered by their own emotions that night. They were jealous of her for winning the karaoke contest and probably couldn't handle how good she sounded. Why else would they punch themselves in their own faces and start stabbing each other with kitchen knives? The excitement of music can be too much for some.

And her perfection doesn't end there. I have to say, she is truly a stunning lady. From the top of her head all the way down to her toes, she's flawless! I think my favorite thing about Eleanor is her eyes. One of my favorite pastimes is to gaze into those beautiful blues. Those eyes of hers could drive me crazy if I'm not careful. The longer I stare into them, the more overwhelmed I get. I feel invincible and like I could get away with murder. My love for her is just that intense. And her eyes are just that hypnotic. Why, I'm pretty sure I'd do anything she asked of me. Anything at all.

With each passing hour, I fall more in love with her. But, Braydon, a friend from work, tells me it's not love that I'm experiencing. He insists I've fallen into a state of madness. I don't know what that's supposed to mean. All I'm hearing is that I'm madly in love with my wife, which is true!

Every darn day I deal with people like Braydon. They tell me, "Robert, you've gotten yourself trapped," or "Robert, how is it you can't see she's pure evil?" I don't understand why everyone tells me my wife is some kind of a monster. So what if her face is also her entire mouth? So what if she's got rows upon rows of tiny stabby teeth? So what if, sometimes, she wants to open all her face flaps and screech at the television? She doesn't hurt anybody when she does that! I don't see her do anything, but our guests insist that her voice makes them feel uneasy. I find that rude. My wife has feelings too, you know. Is everyone not different and unique in their own ways?
I thought I could trust my colleagues and friends to at least be civil. They seem to get increasingly agitated around us, though. Not to mention dramatic. Apparently, the world itself is at stake because of my wife. How ridiculous is that? It's so ridiculous I could just laugh about it. I don't know what kind of stunt they're trying to pull here. Is someone in our friend circle jealous of us? Are they trying to separate us? Whatever the reason, I wish they would just leave us be. I'm trying to adore my wife over here without interruptions. Call me when there's a real emergency.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I wish for peace, people continue to pester us. Just earlier, Braydon told me that the city's up in flames and everyone is in a panic. He says that the people are screaming or killing each other in the streets, and the season has shifted from Summer to Chaos. I don't see what's going on, though. All I can see is my wife, Eleanor. Why would I look at anything or anyone else? The world can burn for all I care. I'm so in love.

Eventually, Braydon and the rest will have to leave us alone. That's all I ever want anymore is to be alone with Eleanor.

Oh, how I love my life. How I love my wife. There is no life without my wife.
Written By: @Fluffy
Word Count: 947
Chosen theme(s): Madness, Romance, Comedy, Catastrophe
Chosen format: Narrative Short Story

It was a perfect day for a wedding, in theory. The skies were Ghibli blue with the occasional fluffy cloud. The sun glanced off the crested tips of waves, the soft golden sand, and the bride's long, white dress. A gentle breeze caressed the cheeks of every guest, keeping them from overheating even beyond the shade of the beach parasols.

Something was going to go wrong.

Mòrag just had that sinking feeling in her gut. It wasn't quite cold feet, but it wasn't exactly a pleasant feeling to have on one's wedding day. She watched as one of her bridesmaids chivvied a handful of children out of a rock pool; two of them clutched at buckets and all looked a little miffed by the lecture.

Well, at least they wouldn't have a child braining themselves on a rock during the ceremony.

'Nora, is everyone here?' She called to the maid of honour, who was in the process of guiding an older aunt to one of the white chairs that spread outward from the sandy aisle.

'Everyone but the groom and his party,' came the call back, followed by a faint, tutting, 'Oh dearie,' from the aunt in question.

Fantastic. Mòrag knew she shouldn't have agreed to travel separately, but Elijah did love his traditions and superstitions, and hadn't wanted to see her before the ceremony. Well, at least they had taken the precaution of booking out the slot following theirs, too; there would be time to find him if he and his groomsmen had gotten lost somewhere.

'Mòrag, love, are you still sure you want to do this?' Her grandfather had emerged near her elbow, popping up as if from nowhere. 'I know you love the lad, but he does seem a wee bit flighty, doesn't he?' Her grandad had regretted his first marriage, he said, done too young and before he knew what he wanted.

'Yes Grampy, I'm sure,' she insisted, waving him off to one side. 'You got married when you were sixteen, and no offense, but there's a reason you don't see folk doing that now. And Elijah's not flighty, he's just not great at directions. He's probably got this beach mixed up with the one down the road… Nora!'

'Can I use your phone a sec, Mòrag? Bet he's not turned off location. I'll get the hubby to go get him in a sec. Don't worry. Just go sit and relax, he'll be here.'

After a brief scuffle with the pile of handbags that had been abandoned in the coach that brought them here, Nora reemerged from the vehicle, nose-deep in the apps on a particular phone. A strange expression crossed her face.

'It… says he's here?'

There were a few beats of confusion at that; Mòrag stared at her guests as they continued to mill around the sandy shoreline, not seeing her fiancé or any of his laddish entourage among them. She was about to comment on the continued and oh-so-profound absence of her soon-to-be husband when a cacophony of noise began to rise above the babble of polite chatter. There were thrashing, splashing, and aggressive sloshing sounds, along with the shouts and hoots of what certainly sounded like a whole group of lads who had been out on the drink all night.

Unwilling to stand by and continue doing nothing at the behest of her friends, the bride stalked off down the beach towards the chaos, her expression turning stormy.

By the time she was near enough to pick out Niall, the best man, she realised there was another something in the water, and it wasn't particularly human-shaped. There was at least a fin or two, a sizeable body that went through bouts of flailing and then bouts of stillness, and there was Elijah, clinging to its body and trying to hold it still while two friends tried to pry another's leg from its grip.

'Ayyy!' Up popped one of the other men, getting up in her face. She smelled alcohol on his breath. 'You gotta go back over to the party! Elijah doesn't wanna see you til it's time!' The rebuke stunned her; a group of men were wrestling with a shark which was casually gnawing on the leg of their friend, and she was being told not to help, but to go back to her own wedding and wait for them to… finish up?

'I- I'll… call an ambulance,' she said, though she didn't have her phone with her, having left it in Nora's hands.

'Ah, nah, ain't a big deal,' called the man whose leg was being chewed upon. 'I've not had an upgrade in ages, and my insurance will cover it!' He sounded remarkably perky for someone who was being literally eaten, thought Mòrag.

'Not a big deal? Your leg's—'

'False, innit?' A toothy grin split the groomsman's face. 'Would show ya, but I can't really pull my pants leg up, s'kinda stuck in the teeth.'

'…Then why are you… wrestling…'

'Honey, I can hear you over there! I'm a little busy right now; Fred's gonna have a tough time standing in the photos if we don't get his leg back, so I'm just—' Another set of dense splashes and a slap or two broke up the remainder of his speech; Elijah grunted as he received a whack to the eye as a result of his clinging hold on the shark. 'I'll be over in a short bit, promise, I just—'

'Oh, come on you noodle, I don't care if Fred has to sit for the pictures! You're the one that wants the fancy wedding snaps, I just want to get married to my uneaten fiancé, please! Let the shark go!'
Written by Anonymous
Word Count: 955
Chosen theme(s): Comedy
Chosen format: Short Story

Ting stripped off her armor furiously, metal plates hitting the floor of the Third Cohort barracks with a loud series of clangs. Shreya tried to pat her on the arm reassuringly, but her sister threw off her arm. "I hate that guy." The Chinese-American girl said, scrubbing the sweat from her forehead, leaving a black grease smudge on her face. "Even when they lose, he has this nasty-" her plumed helmet slammed into the wall and landed on her bed "-smug-" Bang "-little-" Clang "grin on his stupid face. I just want to punch him in the face all the time, but especially on days like this." She threw her leather belt into her bed with all her might.

"Well, you know what they say," came a snide voice from the open doorway, "Omnia vincit Amor." He was leaning against the door frame, as Ting had slammed the door so hard it had bounced slightly open without either of them noticing.

The minute she saw Cae standing there in the purple Camp Jupiter shirt and jeans he'd worn during their annual summer chariot race, Ting's face scrunched into a furious scowl. He had barely worn any armor during the race, prevented from falling out of the chariot by nothing more than a rope loosely tying him to a loop in the chariot, and that somehow made their defeat to the Cupid twins even more humiliating. His bow was slung over one shoulder and the leather quiver of arrows was still strapped to his thigh. A hole had been burned into one shoulder from where his shirt had caught fire from a flung fireball, and Ting was rather wishing she had been the one to throw that fireball, since it was the only damage he had sustained. Jamie was a nice kid, but he drove like a demon, and combined with Caelan's ability with a bow and arrow to sabotage others' chariots from a longer range, the Cupid twins had become favorite picks to represent the Fourth Cohort in chariot races.

They had been so close this time. With the two Fortuna girls' good fortune, and a protective spell a son of Trivia had whipped up for their chariot, they had managed to avoid the worst mishaps. Except at the very last turn, Caelan had shot a volley of explosive arrows into the finish line and their horses had reared up. With their good luck, the chariot hadn't tipped over, and the horses had kept moving forward, but it had given them enough time to get just close enough for the asshole to take up a spear and slam it repeatedly into her shield. Shreya had driven grimly on, until Cae had jammed the spear between Ting and the back of the chariot and yanked, sending her tumbling from the vehicle. It had hurt to Pluto, and Shreya had gotten so distracted, she had forced the horse to a stop while the boys pulled right past them to cross the finish line first.

Her blood pressure rising with the memory, she snapped back at him, "Amor can suck Fortuna's dick, bitch. My mom would tell me, 'with luck people can meet even separated by a thousand miles, without it they might never meet only one street apart.' Fortune is what makes your precious love possible in the first place, you flaming ass."

"Ting..." Shreya said, grabbing her arm, worry and frustration in her eyes. She shook her head, telling her silently to leave it alone.

Ting shrugged her off again roughly, but gave her her full attention. "Doesn't his arrogant behavior bother you? He's just the son of a minor god of love. Not even Venus, but Cupid. You know with the diapers and the cute little heart shaped arrows. What right does he have to go strutting around like a big shot when he's the son of a superfluous sweet little baby god?"

Cae smiled at her, but it wasn't a nice smile, there was not the smallest shred of warmth in it. "It's cute how you think my twisted personality only comes from one side of the family."

She harrumphed and began to take off her leather arm braces, turning away from him as she unlaced them. "It's not like Jamie has a twisted personality."

"Ti-" Shreya said in alarm, and the Asian girl turned back around just in time for the son of Cupid to grab her lapel and pull her close.

He was grinning like a shark as he put his pale lips right next to her ear and said softly, but threateningly, "That's why Jamie needs me, daughter of Fortuna. He is incomplete without me. There wasn't enough sanity between both of our parents to make a full person, so I am his insanity for him." For half a second, Ting was actually scared, but then he thrust her away from him and turned to walk out the door. As he left, he called over his shoulder. "And this is just a warning to you. Cupid is the son of Mars and Venus. He's not so kind as to forgive you for calling him superfluous, so if I were you, I'd watch my back if I ever felt something like love."
Written By: Anonymous
Word Count: 875
Chosen Theme(s): Madness
Chosen format: Short story

It was hot. Agonizingly hot. She had every door and window open but it did no good. It never did anymore. It was summer. It was always summer. The temperature outside boiled just as much as it did inside her sticky little apartment. She was sprawled on the old couch dressed in the drench of sweat and little else. There was an old floor fan beside her but the power hadn't worked in ages. AC was a fever dream.

Sweat on the pavement sizzled outside. Few were foolish enough to risk the wrath of the sun, but she heard the clatter of bottles below and wondered if someone was out there scavenging for whatever they could find. Or it might have been a cat, the poor thing. She'd skin herself before going out if she'd had fur.

She moved barely, sticky and gross, all but collapsed in fatigue as her eyes idled on the blank ceiling. She wanted water but water was a scarce resource. She had no bottles stored and on the rare occasion that the tap worked it produced a murky liquid at an unbearable temperature. Everything was unbearable. Sometimes she just wanted it to be over already. Sometimes she prayed the sun would hurry and swallow the planet whole rather than subject them to this drawn out torture.

Daydreams of winter crossed her mind, of white snow and chilly winds, things that could only exist in dreams anymore — and only barely. Even the winds were hot whenever they deigned to blow, rustling hair and fabric in a broiled embrace. She tried to focus on winter, but it was too distant. Too nonexistent.

A sound startled her. Trapped in lethargy she did not jump but sluggishly sat up, her eyes snapping to the doorway. It wasn't the safest to leave it open, but it was hard to care when the heat sweltered. Her fears were alleviated by the man in the hallway who'd just exited the apartment across from hers.

"Hot weather we're having isn't it?" He said in a cheery but exhausted manner before he started down the hall. Her heart sank at his delusion. He didn't understand how doomed they all were. She fell back against the chair and her eyes focused again on the ceiling.

He didn't understand the fatalistic nature of the sun.
Written By: Anonymous
Word Count: 389
Chosen theme(s): Catastrophe
Chosen format: Short Story

The air conditioner had the grace to wait until dawn to sputter out, the batteries drained and not recharged since the clouds had come a week ago. The boy woke up to a humid chill coating the plastic interior of his prefab cabin.


"Hey! It's so rare for you to call. What's up?" Her voice through the earpiece filled him with determination, and he pulled himself out of bed to brush his teeth and eat breakfast.


"Yeah, I just ran out," he managed between bits of his compacted nutrient bar. "I'm going to load some wood into the generator, and see if I can get a signal out. I think I have to go back."

IN OTHER NEWS, the holo continued to warble in the background, TENSIONS REMAIN HIGH...

"Well, there isn't much fire to report, haha! I think central will tell me to close up and come back." He zipped up the drysuit, but froze halfway to attaching the micro-climate unit to the slot on his chest. "Why?"


"Ah, that's silly!" He stepped out through the insulating airlock and into a stream of warm water that was sluicing off the roof of his cabin. "You're crazy. There's no way they'll try to disperse the clouds like that."

The wood was saturated, and there was not enough reserve charge in the batteries to power the dehydrating coils. He stood outside for a while, churning for a solution, but his unit began to warn of overburden. "I think I'll have to just go back ... I'll put in a report then."


"I'm looking forward to seeing you again! It's been pretty lonely out here, actually." He waited a moment in the antechamber for the water to bead off; the cabin was already warming. "It was a good break, and the pay is good, but I'm ready to come back." He pulled the bike out of the attached garage. "See you soon. Love you."

He ascended the ramp to the monorail, and his bike latched onto the magnets with a thump and a jerk, accelerating to a speed where the visor of his helmet rammed into the thick rain. He crouched low behind the slipstream of the windshield, watching the scant forest blur past into the flash flooded basins, their banks falling away in mudslides, then the surging drainage canals engulfing the bridges above, his monorail joining with the others in a thickening streaming of wires that fed City A.

An alert flashed on his screen, red and distracting, deadly if it had come during a time when people still needed to drive. It pointed his attention upward to the city, its spires just visible on the horizon, bathed in sunbeams that broke the clouds. As he watched, more sun broke over the great plains between them, the detonations of cavitation missiles blowing apart the cumulonimbi. Interceptors lanced from the city to meet the ones arcing in from low orbit, and he could only gun the throttle on his bike, the engine revving uselessly as he continued to zip onwards. Hopefully, there would be enough time to find her.
Written By: Anonymous
Word Count: 649
Chosen theme(s): probably catastrophe, madness
Chosen format: short story
The winner will be revealed tomorrow!
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I didn't really understand this one so I don't think I can comment sorry!

Always Summer:
"Hello stranger," her girlfriend said, "are you here to save me from this hell?"

"I'm here to keep you company," Mara said, "for you are a glimpse of a heaven."
These lines were super cute. The usage of em dashes in the beginning was a little heavy in my opinion, but the writing overall was good. I think Mara's desperation and sorrow were portrayed pretty well.

The Rays of Sirius-6

The technical lingo made it a bit hard to understand. They style stood out a lot compared to the others, written more like a report than a story. I think it accomplished its goal well, but it wasn't a style I'm personally fond of

Mad About Mrs. Cooper

This one was so much fun! I think it incorporated every theme really well. My favorite overall.

Average Floridian Wedding
I think a gator would have been more appropriate for a Florida wedding haha. It definitely had an absurdist vibe to it.

His Madness:
It was a pleasant surprise to see Percy Jackson here! I'm not sure if I felt the madness theme coming through though. I liked the beginning paragraph a lot, it really portrayed her throwing things off/away while talking well.

A Snippet of Summer
This one made me feel hot. I could imagine the hot sticky days from when I would visit China in the summer. The heat, the sweat, the humidity. I think the nonchalant attitude of the guy at the end interrupted that vibe a little though.

It's Warm
The one sided dialogue confused me a little bit, but once you realize what it's doing, it's done pretty well. It feels like the set up to a much bigger story.

If I'm being honest, I the entries this time really suffered from the restricting word count. A thousand words just isn't enough to write a high quality short story. I found it interesting how so many entries went with extreme weather for their catastrophe.

The time has come to announce the winner of the Dog Days of Summer Contest. It was truly a difficult decision, as every entry exhibited the essence of the contest and was worthy of winning.

I'd like to take this moment to thank my co-judges @Ardent and @krow. for helping me make this tough decision. Furthermore, I'd like to thank all the participants. You are all amazing writers, and without you, this contest would be nothing.

Without further ado, the winner of the 2023 Dog Days of Summer Contest is... @BucketOfFish with their story The Rays of Sirius - 6. Congratulations! We all really enjoyed your story.

Thank you all again for participating in this contest 💕
It was a pleasure reading everyone's submissions!
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A Snippet of Summer
This one made me feel hot. I could imagine the hot sticky days from when I would visit China in the summer. The heat, the sweat, the humidity. I think the nonchalant attitude of the guy at the end interrupted that vibe a little though.
This was my entry. Thank you for the compliment! I tried to be clever with the guy at the end but it didn't quite work.
The decision was a unanimous one. We all thought Rays was a compelling and wonderfully written story.

That said, I also loved the vividness in "A Snippet of Summer" and the creativity in "It's Warm". You are all very talented!
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