Yep, I know I messed up and put the Veto challenge up prematurely, so you got to see what it is and who’s playing. Well, three of who’s playing. The other three (the remaining HOH, and the two remaining nominees) will be determined by this challenge right here. Then you’ll see that Veto comp post come back up in a short while. Follow me below for some stories.

Ham-Hands Brant

Jack had done this before. Same cold room. Same piercing, white fluorescent lights flooding the room. Same shining steel table with the same black box on it.
He knew the drill. Yet he still sat with his hands folded in his lap.
“Now, Jack, let’s do this the easy way this time,” a man in a white lab coat said.
Jack shook his head slightly and looked down at his hands. The man in the white coat watched Jack for a moment and then nods to the two guards by the door.
One guard took his left arm and held it as the other forced his right hand in the box and strapped his arm to the table.
Nothing.
“Come now, Jack. This time will be different. I promise,” white coat says.
Jack only offers a scoff in reply, looking away from the box.
“Jack, remember what happened the last time you refused,” he said, “now do it!” His fists slammed down on the table.
Jack looked up sharply, a hint of anger in his eyes.
With no warning as to what was coming the box bursts to pieces, sending shards in all directions. Darkness blacker that black billows from the box; tendrils snaking out.
“Good Jack! Good!” the man yells.
For a moment Jack basks in the darkness as it over takes the lights and fills the room. His mind turns to the man in the lab coat. The tendrils stop and turn toward the man. They race forward, spreading as they go.
The room goes black.
Jack’s heart starts racing.
His breath comes in ragged gasps.
Images start to flash through his mind. He’s in an old attic. The space between each floor board treacherously wide. A wrong step would result in a trip through the ceiling and the hospital.
Now he sees the trap door shutting sending the attic into pitch black. For hours he sits, balancing on the narrow edge of the floor boards unable to see.

He opens his eyes too see the bright lights filling the room. He’s on the floor, breath still coming in ragged gasps. He looks up.
The man in the white lab coat sighs, “Put him back in his cell.”
They lead him down a hall lined with doors, stop at cell 2342 and roughly shove him inside.
The man stand in the doorway. “Keep the lights off for an hour.”
Jack’s screams join the others as the man in the white coat exits the hall and walks up to the railing.

His hands rest on the bars as he looks down at the twenty-two floor below him. Screams echo up towards him and he smiles.

DK: This starts out with a few tense issues – switching from past to present a couple times before mostly resolving, and there’s a word or two that could’ve used a proofread. Otherwise this does a nice job of creating its atmosphere and pushing that forward. I really enjoyed the middle section; the short, clipped writing fits well with the tension balanced in Jack’s mind. SILVER

CP: So the superpower is . . . I’m not quite sure. Telekinesis with some bonus black stuff? The reason Jack can’t handle his superpower seems to be his memory of a traumatic event from his past. I’m not quite sure why his jailers are torturing him, as that doesn’t seem likely to allow Jack to overcome the past trauma, but I’m willing to go with it. This story feels a bit sloppy and a bit rushed; there’s a tense change midway through, “over takes” should be one word, and it should be “opens his eyes to see” rather than “too see.” Still, it satisfies the prompt in a reasonably clear way and there’s a definite story here. GOLD

Dusty Rutabaga

“Hey Ralph, you ready for this?” It was clear that Doctor Jenkins knew he wasn’t. He had passed out during all of the visualization drills. Really he was worst of the lot. It really was sad that he was one genetic anomaly out of eight billion people who can withstand the trip. A curse really.
“…,” Ralph Baker hesitated; it’d be the last time he could, “No, but I have to do it right?”
The only thing Jenkins could do was sigh; a sure tell for those that will know him. “Yes Ralph, you are the only person that can make this initial trip. We don’t really know why, but your genetic makeup makes time travel possible.”
“Okay, lets go.”
Dr. Jenkins walked back to his lab. Ralph’s slop-eyed grin seared into his memory. 2027 would be a very bad year for Ralph. As it had been for Tommy, Sal, and Debra.
‘January 12th 2014 – Today will be the last, I’ve already sent too many to their death. First do no harm? How do you do that with my foresight? If you are the first to find me you already know what I’ve done. Please let time be the judge.’

DK: This one definitely left a few words on the table, and I think it could’ve used a little more just to flesh out either the setting, the situation, or the characters. I don’t want to undersell how much I enjoyed the usage of the duality of abilities here – it’s a great concept that makes total sense for this challenge. I think using a little more space to pace it out so it becomes more of a reveal would’ve made it even more effective as a story and not just as an idea. BRONZE

CP: This started out all right, but it didn’t seem to go much of anywhere. It wasn’t very clear to me in what way Ralph couldn’t handle his powers. I was also confused by this final paragraph. It seems to be a journal entry for Dr. Jenkins, but the story was too vague for me to understand what sort of foresight the doctor is referring to. All in all, I would say this had a promising concept, but it needed to be further developed. BRONZE

Fat Mabel

He was still there the next morning. I had started awake; confused and disoriented, not recognizing my own living room from my position lying in the center of it. My face felt too large for my nose. The remote control pressed into my cheek leaving angry red marks that I would discover in the bathroom mirror in a moment or two.

I stumbled down the hallway past Stan’s door. It was cracked and the man standing in the center of his room didn’t quite register out of the corner of my eye. The bathroom was where it should be, which helped confirm I was in in the right house. I kept the lights off and sat, hanging my head between my knees on the edge of the bathtub. Stan lay in the tub, silent. He was as oblivious to me as I was to him.

Eventually I turned on the light and stared at myself in the mirror. My noise was flattened from the remote. I tried rubbing out the marks on the side of my face, but decided it wasn’t that important. Already, my nose looked better and no one would see me today anyway.
Stan’s door was closed and that wasn’t right. I couldn’t place the unease until I discovered another man standing in the middle of my room. What was left of his face was turned toward the door, flat and featureless, like someone had papered over his eyes nose and mouth. I tumbled backward and retreated to the bathroom.

I closed the door, and only then discovered Stan. He was decomposing. His eyes were gone, his mouth was just a lopsided hole. He could only manage a weak keening whistle before it closed off completely.

In the resulting silence, i could clearly hear through the door, from his room, Stan’s voice. “Where the fuck am I?”

DK: On the fundamentals this is solid, and it’s well-paced as an arc of plot. On top of that, it creates what’s for me the most effectively unsettling atmosphere and puts the reader successfully in the state of confusion – and growing realization – as the narrator. GOLD

CP: “My noise was flattened?” Yikes! Proofreading isn’t optional, dear writer! This is overall quite creepy and the ending is fun. My biggest complaint is that it’s not clear who has the superpower and in what way he can’t handle it. SILVER

——–

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Biff Slapcheese has become our first non-submitter of the season. This means Biff receives one BB strike. If he nonsubs again, he’ll be receiving a penalty nomination the next time around (if he’s still in the game at that point).

Nonsubs can have a wide-reaching effect on the game for multiple houseguests. There’s not much I can say to add to my calls for entries, but please, don’t do it.

Fat Mabel scored 8 points and Dusty Rutabaga scored 2 for a total of ten.
Ham-Hands Brant scored 8 points and nearly won the challenge by himself, but couldn’t overcome the nonsub.

This means that Gilgamesh is removed from HOH, since his nominees have won, and Princess Spatula is the sole HOH and advances, along with his nominees, to the Power of Veto competition, which will be re-posted shortly.

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