My NYC Midnight Addiction

Two years ago, my rad friend Ammie – a WM Geology alumna like meee – posted an announcement for the NYC Midnight Short Story Competition.

Basically, writers are assigned a genre (sci-fi or action/adventure), an action (fishing), and a person (firefighter), and must incorporate their prompts into a short story. But there’s a catch – both the word limit AND writing time limit DECREASE as you pass each round in the competition (see below).

Even though I’ve never made it beyond Round 2, I’m sooo addicted to this competition (it’s spawned many of the short stories on my website!). So when they announced a micro-fiction competition, this mama was STOKED (because 250 words is an abstract, scientifically-speaking, and I can BS one of those in like 30 minutes).

For this challenge, you’re given a genre, along with both an activity and a word that must be explicitly included in your story.

Here were mah prompts:

  • Fairy Tale and/or Fantasy
  • Starting a fire
  • infinite

Here’s what I did with it – enjoy! (and let me know what you think!)

Zula stirred the boiling liquid in her cauldron one last time, before moving to her alter. She picked up the steel dagger and took a deep, steadying breath. 

Images flooded Zula’s mind – her sisters, her own daughter, stolen while Zula was out gathering. She heard the echoes of screaming women, being dragged away, tied to stakes and burned. Her coven had been ripped apart, and Zula had nothing left to lose.

Shutting her eyes and firmly grasping the dagger, she quickly slid the blade across her open hand and watched as beads of dark blood gathered in a pool. Tilting her palm over the cauldron, she spoke the sacred words:

“Oh, Great Goddess – 

I invoke your infinite power 

Against the evil forces 

Who have destroyed

The deep bonds of our sisterhood.”

The fire beneath the cauldron suddenly swelled, sending a burst of heat into the room. In the distance, Zula heard the *pop* of a single flame, felt it spread through the undergrowth, moving quickly through the forest towards its target. 

“I invoke the wrath of our Mother

And summon the ancient fires 

Upon those who have taken 

The souls of my sisters.”

The fire’s roar shook her small hut. In the distance, Zula heard the frantic cries of villagers burning, as church bells began to ring out a futile cry for help. Her voice swelled with the final words. 

“Purify the Earth

With your cleansing flames

So that we may rise

From the scorched ground


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