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inspired by the 'Just a Minute' challenge

By Heather HublerPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Created with NightCafeStudio

'Shit, how much time is left?'

'Uhhh, I'm looking...sixty seconds.'

'Oh my god. It's not enough. I'm not gonna make it.'

'What the hell, Fab? Pull it together, you can't lose now.'

'You're right. You're right. I just need to calm down and think.'

'There's no time to think, you need to DO!'

'Ok, grab the...the...grab the thermo thing?'

Will quirked an eyebrow at that apparently absurd suggestion.

'Come on, think Fab. Maybe a bit more outsi–'

His watch buzzed.

'Outside? of the lasers might do it?'

'Wrong. And now we're dead.'

'What? That can't have been a minute.'

He glanced at his watch again and frowned.

'No, you still have forty seconds left but Command is convinced you won't get it.'

'Will, I can't fail! There's got to be something else. I won't accept this.'

'I'm sorry, Fab. There are no other viable options. You can try again in a year.'

Will gave her a loaded look before grabbing his gear and walking away. She could hear his muffled voice as he called Command to report on her failed mission.

No, this was not happening. Fabiola watched helplessly as the timer continued to tick down to zero.


She never failed at anything and she sure as hell wasn't going to this time. But even the possibility was wrecking her concentration.

She wanted to scream in frustration. The first three parts of the challenge went so smoothly. Her instincts had been spot on. They'd all looked shocked to see how quickly she solved their little riddles and how she'd kicked ass at the physical sparring. It was only when the simulation began that she showed any sign of weakness.

And Will knew that playing along in these contrived situations wasn't her strong suit, but she never thought he'd take advantage of that knowledge. Of knowing her. Had he really sold her out to Command?

Fab thought they were finally in a good place. The sex was amazing, and he understood her like no one else ever had. They pushed each other in all the right ways. He was so good at getting her to think outside...

Wait, that was it! She was coming at this from the wrong direction. He'd stressed the word 'viable', and he'd been trying to tell her to think outside the box, not go outside. Subtle hints, right before his watch buzzed. Command. They must have given him a warning.

They wanted her flustered and not thinking clearly. Most of all, they wanted her to drop out of the program. Well, fuck them. She belonged here just like the rest of the male competitors. And she was about to prove it.

'Simulation, halt!'

With only twelve seconds remaining, the whole scene froze, confirming her suspicion. This was a simulation she couldn't win. Because there was no answer. All she'd needed to do was stop the clock on the bomb by any means possible. Those sneaky bastards.

The sound of slow clapping raised her hackles as the top dog himself, Director Zhao, stepped out from a hidden room she hadn't even noticed. They'd been watching Fab from mere feet away. Shame washed over her at missing that critical observation.

'Well done, Miss Diaz. You've completed the next phase of your training.'

The Director's strained voice sounded anything but pleased, yet it didn't matter what that asshole thought. She'd made it through to the finals, and that was all that mattered.

Fabiola Diaz was unstoppable.

thrillerShort StoryPsychological

About the Creator

Heather Hubler



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Gina Tiff Grz KJ Thavien CH Kelli

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Gerald DanaC JBaz Kristen Randy

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (27)

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  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Flamance @ lit.about a month ago

    Great job congratulations

  • Great read… just found this on the Leaderboard ✅

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Very exciting! Just what this kind of a minute should feel like. Congrats, Heather. Best of luck, my friend.

  • ROCK about a month ago

    Exceptionally done; congratulations on Top Story!

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story!! It was great 😊

  • Denise E Lindquistabout a month ago

    Congratulations on well deserved top story! 🎉🎉🎉

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Great take on the challenge. I really enjoyed your story Heather. Oh and it’s a fab top story too.

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    good one!!!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • The Writer about a month ago


  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story! It reminded me of Ender’s Game in a way.

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    oops forgot to say congrats on TS!!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Wow, I loved your story. Moved along quickly yet had so much in it and the ending, yay for Fabiola!

  • emaabout a month ago

    Wow! This is very good, good luck in the challenge!

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a month ago

    Congratulations Heather. This was such a great take on this challenge

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Super cool. Love your take on the challenge! Great read.

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    Very, very nice, Sis! Brought to mind the Kobyashi Maru episode of Star Trek. I know, you probably never watched such drivel. 😉 Congratulatoins on a fine entry and the Top Story!

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Oh dang, Congratualtions on top story

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Great begining scene setting hen you did abuild to enhance the 60 second challenge. The dialogue worked really well in this situation. Fabiola Diaz is unstoppable

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Psst. Congrats on the TS.

  • Caroline Janeabout a month ago

    Boom! Feisty. Love this. 😁❤️

  • Paul Stewartabout a month ago

    Well done on Top Story...this was kinda breathtaking and intense...Lot more dramatic than my first attempt lol!

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Good for her. This was intense. Incase getting nervous reading. Well done, my friend.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Fabiola kicked ass! She's so cool! Loved your story so much sweet looney partner!

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