Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Ok, so maybe that title is a bit of a mouthful, but regardless, the time has finally come.
With the month of July having come and gone so to has “Fusion Fight.” For those who are unaware, Fusion Fight was a short story writing competition that was hosted by myself and OWLS, a blogging collective focused promoting equality and respect, as part of the OWLS Mini CONmunity: Anime is Never Cancelled. Today, after a slight delay due to the need for a little bit more time, I will be announcing the winners of “Fusion Fight,” as well as featuring their work on this post. Without further delay, lets get started.
Runner-up: “Ghost Toast” by Miyo
Genre(s): Ghost Story
Brandon lives in a quiet neighborhood in Missouri. One night after finishing all his homework, playing a video game and eating all his dinner, Brandon wanted a midnight snack of toast. He opened the fridge and scoured for the white and blue patterned packaging of his favorite bread. He opened the bag and grabbed the middle slice for extra freshness, popped it in the toaster and drowsily waited 3 minutes. He stared at the digital clock on the oven, reading 12:43 AM. KACHANG! The springs startled him awake enough to grab his single toast slice and head back into bed. As he lay in bed biting off the crust of his toast, his eyelids became heavier and heavier. Soon, he succumbed to his drowsiness and fell asleep. A half eaten toast in his hand. That night, Brandon dreamt of an angry toast who had not fulfilled his purpose in life. The toast in his dream grew to the size of a building. Dream Brandon tried running but his feet felt slow and heavy. Brandon woke up at the sound of his alarm set for school. Brandon laughed at how child-like his nightmare was and got dressed for class. But first, he would have a slice of toast for breakfast. When Brandon opened the fridge again, The familiar blue and white bag was gone. “Mom do you know where the loaf of bread is?” Brandon called out to his mother in the living room, watching the news. She yelled back “Bread? I haven't bought any yet since last Tuesday. I'll grab some after lunch.” “ No I just had some toast last night, it was right here in the fridge.” Brandon retorted. Brandon's mother turned around from the couch and assured Brandon that she had not bought any bread in the last week. “Maybe you dreamed of toast, Brandon. I'm going to pick up a loaf for you today, OK?” His mother said. Brandon closed the fridge and stood there in the kitchen for a moment, trying to recall if he really HAD eaten toast the night prior. Did he really FEEL the heat from the toast last night? Had he truly CRUNCHED the crispy crust which was his favorite part of a toast? He retraced his steps for a moment and looked at the clock like he did last night. Oh crud! It was already 7:40. School starts in 20 minutes! Brandon grabbed his backpack and tied his shoes as fast as he could and ran off. “See you later, mom!” “Bye Brandon, Love you!” She turned to shout as the door shut behind Brandon. As Brandon sprinted his normal path to school he couldn't remember if he had his school I.D. with him, In case the hall monitors catch him being late to class. He reached into his left pocket and felt no card but felt sand. He stopped running to feel the large quantity of it in both his pockets. When he turned his pockets inside out, toast crumbs fell out like a crumb waterfall.
One thing that was apparent among many of the competitors in “Fusion Fight” was a love for ghost stories. This is understandable, given how immediately interesting the prospect meeting the deceased is. However, just cause it was done a lot, does not mean it was not done well. Miyo’s entry mixes a ghost story with a bit of humor, as she describes a young boy Brandon and his obsession with toast. The story overall has a lot of charm and funny moments, which can be great in combination with the supernatural. For that, Miyo was the runner-up in this event.
2nd: “The Frailty of Murine and Legomorphs” by F. Abel Fox
Genre(s): Ghost Story/Suspense/Horror
My Dearest Gwendolyn, In an earnest attempt to qualm my tremors, I hastily write what well could be my final letter. It satisfies me to know you’ll never witness me in such a dreadfully woeful disposition. My complexion bleached; my lineaments crooked. The result of my clumsy stairway descent that left the veneer utterly blood-soaked. Be assured that with my sincerest of convictions, this was no mere accident. I am absent of delusions. Swearing by my unsullied name that I have been bewitched with a rancorous specter. The floorboards moan, temperate dusks are meddled by a sudden December wind. Gwendolyn, your swift divarication should have left my pensive mood flared by crippling loneliness. I do not feel alone, I am not alone. My imperceptible visitor lurks, and frightful I am they wish upon my eternal agony. His ghastly entrance commenced with mere clouds of dust and the occasional float of cobwebs. Too burdened by your exit, I paid no consideration to these optic tricks. A damn fool I’ve been, dismissing these as erratic phenomena. Gnawing marks across the mopboard? Simply, it must have been a rat. Well I’ve dealt with vermin Gwendolyn. Many times, have I witnessed the dropping of the hammer onto murine and lagomorphs alike. But never have I tangled with as beastly of a rodent as their barb indicates. Not ‘til the vulnerability of my recent burdensome slumber did I face the miscreant. His contour hollow, and his visage bringing immeasurable unease. Awoken from my trepidation, I dashed knowing my survival rested on a hurried escape. I reached the stairwell, but as I went to descend, I was clutched by the ankle. That is what hurled me forward causing the aforementioned accident. Wheezing and crawling like the wounded animal I was, it was you who gave me the strength to persist. Few cracked ribs and a protruding tibia would not prevent me from slinking into the study where I now retreat. Even while enduring this unholy infliction, the reminiscence of you tickles me. Your elegance silhouetted by the glistening glitter of the moonlight. The frailty of your boney hand enraptured in mine. Your haughty and neglectful demeanor; alas has it all been lost to oblivion? Never shall I forget our final twilight. The repugnance of staring into your vibrant irises glaze. Your breath shallows. The fade of warmth from under my palms clasped around your larynx like a Burmese python. Must all love be cursory, Gwendolyn? Certainly, this must not be the case between us. For these scribbles I write you postmortem must ascend beyond the mortal plane and reach your current haven. It has returned, returned to ensure that time’s arrow comes to cease. I hear his pattering steps Gwendolyn; the bronze doorknob is slowly oscillating with a disturbing intent. This impending departure causes me sickening apprehension; a timid-ness rotting my core. But I guess that is the price to pay, to be a father of an unborn son.
A story like “The Frailty of Murine and Legomorphs” is one that can be somewhat intimidating at first. After all, their are a lot of pretty obscure words and phrases. However, that is arguably what makes the story so good. F. Abel Fox was able to build on the identity of a Knight in danger, describing his sorrows and current adventure in a letter to his wife right before he dies. Fox not only does a great job of building to the reveal at the end, but makes the knight seem relatable in a way that most knight characters do not, and for that he earned second place.
1st: “Ms. McCloud and the Cream Soda Ghost” by Koji Kojou
Genre(s): Romance/Ghost Story
Website: Bikkuri Book Club
Part 1 I rubbed at the tender spot on my arm. I knew from my previous experiences in gym class that there would be a bruise there later. I would have liked to say that I had gotten the injury from something fun like dodgeball or basketball, however… “Don’t worry!” Ms. McCloud put her hand on my shoulder. “You’ll be able to jump rope someday!” Please don’t say that out loud, I thought. “Are you going to the library again?” she continued. “Yeah. I need some relaxation time.” “Make sure you stretch so you don’t pull a muscle while you’re reading.” She chuckled. “How are you allowed to be a teacher?” I asked. “I teach Gym, remember? I’m barely a teacher.” Part 2 I usually went to the library to read, but today was different… On my way there, I stopped at a vending machine and made sure to buy a certain beverage. The can felt nice and cold in my hand. The bold text on it read “Rutger’s Cream Soda.” I heard a rumor recently. Allegedly, a ghost stalked the library when the lights were out. It didn’t spook or scare people. No… It craved cream soda! Today, I would put this story to the test! Part 3 I watched from behind a shelf, waiting for something to happen. Maybe the whole thing is fake after all, I thought. That was when I saw it: a small girl in white, glowing softly in the darkness, reaching out to grab the soda from the table I had placed it on. I blinked my eyes a few times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. She’s here! I dashed out from cover, my phone ready to take a picture. The ghost began to flee, and I pursued the apparition as fast as I could, until… CRASH! Everything went dark... Part 4 A young school uniform clad Karolyn McCloud sat at a diner booth across from a meek girl. “C’mon!” Karolyn pushed a cream soda float towards the quiet young lady. “I got it for you!” “Th-thanks…” the girl whispered. “You don’t have to be lonely anymore!” Karolyn said, grinning. “I’ll be your friend from now on!” “B-but… I can’t play sports with you because… you know… my heart condition.” “That doesn’t matter! We can still hang out, right?” Blushing, the girl looked down at the soda in front of her and smiled. “Y-yeah!...” Part 5 “You okay?” I shot awake and looked around. I was back in the library, with Coach McCloud standing over me. Must have been a dream… “Looks like you hit your head,” Ms. McCloud said. “C’mon. I got some ice packs in my office.” Part 6 Once we arrived at our destination, we found the most peculiar thing… “Odd,” Ms. McCloud said, picking up the ice-cold cream soda can from her desk. “This is the third one this week. No idea where they’re coming from.” On the side of the can, a heart was drawn in the condensation.
Like I said before, many of the contestants in this competition opted to write a ghost story, but in the end only one story could get first, and although there were many fantastic entries, “Ms. McCloud and the Cream Soda Ghost” was the only story the judges had an immediate unanimous decision on. Not only does this story have a immediate charm and interesting characters, its payoff near the end, though subtle, was heartwarming to say the least. It also managed to perfectly combine the ghost story and romance genres. Because of this, Koji Kojou is the winner.
Special shoutout to both Lita and Ashley for helping me judge this event, it honestly might have been a bit harder to make a decision with out them, so please go show them some love too. Also, I mentioned in my update the other day that while I don’t have any immediate plans of hosting another Fusion Fight, I certainly am open to and interested in doing so. If you would like to see another competition like this, please leave a comment down below.
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