300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- VICTORY TO HEX

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Teresa Edgerton

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#1
THE CHALLENGE:


To write a story in 300 words or less


INSPIRED by the image provided below, and in the genre of
Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative fiction


Only one entry per person


All stories Copyright 2012 by their respective authors, who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here.


This thread will be closed until July 10 -- as soon as the thread is unlocked, you may post your story


Entries may be posted no later than July 31, 2012
at 11:59 pm GMT

Voting will close August 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm GMT
(unless moderators choose to make an extension based on the number of stories)


You do not have to enter a story to vote. In fact, we encourage ALL Chronicles members to read the stories and vote for their favorites.


You may cast three votes


For a further explanation of the rules see here:
Rules for the Writing Challenges


The inspiration image for this month is:


Photo provided by Sephiroth
 
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#2
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Our English Dead​

We used to make the finest zombies in the British Empire, here at Silsbury & Ravensdale’s factory. We don’t need to no more.

Back then, they was needed for the war. They was why the gap between the British and German trenches was called No Man’s Land.

’Cos zombies weren’t men. Not no more.

Poison gas rots a man’s lungs, but zombies don’t breathe. Machine guns kill men twenty times over before they can fall down, but that don’t stop our zombies.

Germans what feared no livin’ man feared our dead. Our dead et their livin’. Or half-et ‘em, and made ‘em into zombies.

We was winnin’. Then everythin’ went ’orribly wrong.

Zombies attacked British troops. Dunno why. Maybe mustard gas did ‘ave some effect on ’em, after all. Maybe the German zombies remembered we was their enemy. Maybe the Church was right about industrial necromancy. Maybe the zombies just got ‘ungry.

It don’t matter now.

Now we hides behind the iron fence o’ the factory. The fence is one long, twistin’ ward what zombies can’t pass. It were made to stop the new zombies from wandering off the grounds.

Now, that ward keeps ‘em out. Thousands o’ ‘em shamble along the fence-line, lookin’ for someone to eat.

Some o’ those zombies is from the village. Our wives. Our kids. Our parents. Our brothers an’ sisters.

When we seen that, we gived ‘em Silsbury and Ravensdale. Threw ‘em over the fence. They was fat bastards, but the zombies is still ‘ungry.

The sun ‘as set on the British Empire. And the world. One day, our wards will rust and fail, and on that day, the last little bit o’ ‘umanity will die.

They said this were the war to end all wars.

They was right.
 

Jo Zebedee

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#3
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

REFUSING THE ROAD TO HEAVEN

Entering the gates, I take a deep breath: the original Sobibor was destroyed but the same silent forest stands, like a witness; the train tracks remain, grass-lined; a museum stands in the place of the barracks.

Ahead is the Road to Heaven, a tree-lined path leading to the gas chambers. Some sang as they followed it, unaware; most were forced, their curses cutting the still air. Either way, we watched.

Now?

Not yet.

I walk to camp two’s yard. Here, we survived and in the evenings we’d gather and sing. Esther and I would retreat and find a moment of love: oh God, there was love, even here.

The first day she fell ill I supported her through the headcount: otherwise, she’d walk the Road to Heaven. The next day she fell.

She cursed them. Later, flames licked the night sky and I knew…

Two days after we escaped. Two days.

I clutch the photo, sepia tinged: the same crematorium locked in time. I begin to breathe the words.

This won’t work.

Shaking my head, I finish the sentence and hug the photo to me.

Voices in the yard.

I double over: I’m hungry, so hungry. I’d forgotten that.

“Abraham! Are you all right?”

Esther: so thin; eyes of soft brown; hair tied up, revealing her slender neck. Sixty years have passed, and I’ve never met a more beautiful woman. Her smile swims under my tears.

“Come, Esther.”

She follows until we stand clutched to each other.

“Take this.”

“Why?”

“It’s magic.”

She swallows the penicillin. Takes paracetamol with fresh water.

Three days – I have brought enough – until the gate comes down. We’ll turn our backs on the Road to Heaven and steal the path of life. It’s worth an old man’s soul.
 

Brian G Turner

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#4
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

LEARN TO FLY

He looked down from the top of the cold chimney stack, and felt sick with the height.

The wind tussled at his clothes, his hair, his legs, with cold fingered-eddies, as if teasing him loose to fall.

He wasn't going to fall. He was going to fly.

They all called him Bananabrain, the boy who danced like a mad fool to entertain the guards. To keep them laughing. To keep them from killing him.

Mama had gone first. Then papa. Then Uncle Pietor. His friend Sally from Berlin, with the snotty nose and broken smile, who had been so kind to him and gave him her cloth doll to look after. In case she ever came back.

She never did. None of them did.

The grown-ups always pretended they would. But their voices were quiet and eyes frightened, always looking aside as liars did.

Bananabrain knew where they really went. They all went into the chimney. To live with the angels.

All he had to do was climb up the chimney, then he could fly and be like them, too. Only now he wasn't so sure.

Far below the guards were shouting at him, the people staring.

He was no longer Bananabrain the clown boy who made them laugh. Now he was going to be a grown-up, doing grown up things. He would become an angel.

Becoming an angel felt terrifying. The wind grew stronger every moment he was up here. One of the guards started to climb the iron ladder.

Bananabrain held onto the rim of the chimney and dragged himself carefully into position. His arms ached with the exertion and the cold brick scraped his stomach.

Panting, he looked over into the black tunnel. Time to fly.
 

Lilmizflashythang

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#5
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Barrier
The alarms sounded. Everyone gathering supplies hurried back to the fort. The barrier was the only protection they had on this world.

Breen clutched his amulet, his only key through the microwave barrier. His job was gathering wood for the fires and checking the barrier. He ventured so far away, the fort was hidden from his view. His eyes quickly scanned the trees, searching for trouble or safe passage back to the fort.

A growl echoed from behind him. Breen gulped. He dropped the wood. There! He recognized the slender cut he made with his hatchet.

Finding his direction, Breen tore through the wilderness. The growls of the creature were getting louder. He ignored the cuts and scrapes caused by his escape. Barely avoiding the falling trees.

Breen could smell the creature. The stench of sulfur burned his lungs. He veered to the right narrowly dodging the creature’s carnage. His eyes watered. A falling branch snagged the amulet, scratching his neck. Without the amulet, he couldn’t go home.

He swerved around the tree. The creature’s great body slammed into it, stunning it enough for Breen to dive for the amulet.

Breen scrambled to his feet. The barrier was within his sight. He raced for it. He heard the creature growl. It’s jaws snapped at Breen’s back. He zigzagged to get away.

Breen felt a familiar tingle as he encountered the furthest point of the barrier’s protection. He slowed to catch his breath. Glancing over his shoulder, he noticed the creature still advancing.

Breen smirked. A little further, and the creature couldn’t escape. He shouted with anticipation, drawing the creature closer. Smiling, Breen squatted and watched as smoke billowed from the creature.

One job done. Now I got to retrieve the wood, Breen thought.
 

DthenB

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#6
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

"An Account of the Saint Uziel Riots, or the War of Eight Days"

The riots began two fiscal years after the diocese brought the Word of Peace and sealed the consecrated grounds of the Ballistica of Saint Uziel. The jacketing and cartridge altars were to go cold and rust, and even the armorer emeritus was forbidden from performing Rites of Manufacture.

The congregation wept in the streets. Their Divine Purpose was gone, stolen. The Liturgy of Production went unheeded by the cardinal-general, and the Psalms of Conflict changed nothing.

Some proclaimed that they had performed their holy calling too well, that they had actualized the Purpose. Their offerings had filled the papal reserves, and they would be divinely rewarded. They were Completionists, and they would be first to reach Paradise.

The Revisionists felt that the Purpose had been commuted. They were called to action, to give the ballistica's forges and presses reason to return to life. They tore down the brass statue of Saint Mikhail and set fire to the nunnery on Mount Wesson. Completionists were given the holy sacrament with small arms and their bodies would not be removed from the streets until the intervention of the cardinal-general and his celebrants.

Church records call the ensuing conflict the Saint Uziel Riots, a small skirmish only notable for the destruction of three munitions caches by fire. Six celebrants and twelve nuns were martyred, their names recorded in the official papal record. Fourteen thousand Revisionists were excommunicated for heresy. Their bodies were burned.

Revisionist survivors also claimed victory. Their War of Eight Days had accomplished their Purpose. The burning of the caches and the enforcement of excommunication by the celebrants had created a shortage of ammunition. Smoke again rose from the Ballistica of Saint Uziel's steeples, and the congregation went back to work forging high-explosive and armor-piercing holy sacrament, rededicated to His will.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#7
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

WHAT THE THUNDER SAID​

Drought had starved the rivers and exhausted the wells; the land was hot and gasping for breath. Thunderstorms had come and gone, but there’d been no rain these eighteen months.

When Tom came out of his cabin, he saw a trail of bloody footprints in the dust. Small foot and high instep. Everyone knew about the ghost, but not who she’d been or what she wanted. Some claimed they’d seen her: a milky white figure spotted far across the prairie, or a woman in a brown cloak who went always just ahead, leaving bloody tracks as she walked.

Tall tales, by Tom’s reckoning, but the ghost was established fact.

The path he followed led past the graveyard, down by the church and the abandoned factory. Tom walked; the heat pressed down.

Then he saw her. Standing in the churchyard between two wooden crosses, she might have been asleep or in a swoon, though she stood so straight.

His stomach clenched up in a hard knot.

She was snow and white steel and blood. Deep wounds punctured the palms of her hands, dripping blood on the thirsty earth. It stained her gown and pooled at her feet.

He tried to speak, tried again and failed.

Lightning flared. She spread the dreadful glory of her wings. Thunder crashed. Her eyes flew open; Tom’s world went black.

How long he stood there he never knew, but cold drops of rain striking his head and shoulders brought him round. The angel was gone.

The rain continued, became a downpour. Tom sat right down where he was, the water trickling down his neck, soaking through his flannel shirt. He laughed and cried and laughed. His stomach still hurt.

He reckoned there’d be lilies growing in the graveyard come spring.
 

allmywires

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#8
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Tower

They say once there was a book written about a tower that housed a great flaming eye, inspiring terror over a whole land. The flaming eye could see all, read all thoughts, cast death wherever it looked.

My mother told me about this book. I can barely remember her, but her stories live in me, like a dying flame.

I’m dying.

I watch the town. I don’t know where I am. The wound in my side oozes, infected, the hook from the shrapnel still embedded. It’s sucking my life away, or maybe that’s just the nanobots. I feel them crawling in my flesh, like pestilence. Eating me up.

I’m a soldier of fortune, the recruitment poster had said.

I’m not sure I feel very fortunate now.

The sky is umber, hiding the warships that float above. I can hear the tzica-tzica of their engines, the dyspeptic growl of the mopeds that patrol the land, looking for dying, like me. The dead. I was told our generals collected our bodies, incinerated them in the proper way, so our atoms might join the Mother once more. The heathens keep their dead locked in wooden boxes, preserve them from nirvana so that their juices stay sealed in the ground, lonely and afraid. The Mother can’t reach them there.

I’m breathing shallowly. I don’t want to die. I watch the distant tower, see the crackle of lightning that means there’s fighting in the ships above. I try and imagine my mother, and her stories, pray for the eye. Please see me, I beg, to anyone, to the enemy, to the Mother. Please, give me just another minute. I’ll do anything.

My eyes blur with tears. I clutch my side, my breath hitching, the nanobots sapping at my soul.

I watch the tower.

I wait.
 

reiver33

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#9
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Look Back In Auger


“We fear both our future and our past. Both the undiscovered country and that land known all too well.”

I smiled at Olga. “From the poem by Holbein. Your point being?”

She gestured at the sepia-toned image on the screen. “This is at insertion point twelve, Director. The signs of dilapidation are obvious, yet it was a thriving industrial centre during this period in history. The city appears abandoned.”

“There will always be areas of urban decay, no matter how vibrant the general economy. Just change the focus point.”

“Of course we tried that, sir, but it’s now frozen. The same as insertion point nine and above.”

“Just a temporary technical glitch, I’m sure. Look, Olga, temporal mining is a tried and trusted technology. All we’re doing is extracting natural resources before the inhabitants of that era even knew they existed. What they didn’t miss didn’t affect them, end of story.”

My chief technician still looked doubtful. “There have been studies which suggest-“

“Neo-Luddite scaremongering, nothing more. Look, I’ll have the chrono techs check it out, OK? Now, back to work. I need the Saudi analysis on my desk by the end of today.”

“At once, Director. My apologies for disturbing you needlessly.” She gathered her notes and left.

I stood for a moment, contemplating the master activity display. Coal, oil, natural gas – previous exploratory drilling had found nothing at these sites, because we were there first. It was flawless; real voodoo economics.

The Biomass Division had recently started harvesting the past; vagrants, down-and-outs, those who wouldn’t be missed. They’d assured me the procedure was fail-safe, without risk.

In theory.

I rang my Head of Security. “Mahler? This is Breughel. Bring forward our departure schedule. It looks like the past is finally catching up with us.”
 

RcGrant

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#10
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Age of the Innocents

It had been fifteen days since we abandoned the city.

“Is there anyone left?” Charlie asked. I squinted in the sun, raising a hand to shield my eyes, peering at him hanging from the twisted metal of the climbing frame.

“Probably not.”

I looked down the slope towards the prickle of the church steeple, the smokeless chimney. All was still.

“C’mon.” I began to walk through the grass.

“No fair, wait for me!”

I turned, watching Charlie scramble down the frame, jumping from the mid-way rung to fall on his knees, staining his trousers.

“Mum won’t be happy…” I looked away.

“Mum’s likely dead,” Charlie said, matter-of-fact in his Asperger’s way.

I grabbed Charlie’s hand, hauling him along. His fingers were like minnows, darting across my palm as he tried to free himself. But I was stronger; I was twelve.

I slowed as we reached the boundary, the faded “Welcome” sign splattered with blood. The stench here was worse, and I fisted my shirt, shoving it over my nose. My belly felt vulnerable, exposed to the air.

Charlie was oblivious, counting bodies as we walked.

“Fifty!” he declared, as we reached our street. “Fifty is my favouritest number.”

I pushed open our door. Tiddles sat on the bottom stair, licking red from her paws. She yowled, hopping towards Charlie, who scooped her up, cooing at her as he rocked her like a baby.

I heard a shuffle from upstairs.

“Mum?”

The floorboards creaked, and that’s when I heard it -- the wet sound of her breathing, the blood in her lungs.

“Mummy!” Charlie squealed. Tiddles leapt out the door. Sensible cat.

“Get behind me.” I flung out an arm to keep Charlie back as I pulled out the gun. “Mum’s not here anymore.”
 

Perpetual Man

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#11
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Yearning for Yesterday​

My heart aches as I stare through the temporal window looking not at reflections in glass but in time.

For all the technology we have at our fingertips, the aching need to break the time barrier has eluded us; our ultimate triumph little more than a single image, looking back on a living, breathing moment of history. Unable to touch it.

The red brick chimneys point like fingers at a grim sky. Dark clouds shifting, mixing with the smog and smoke, a sky tainted by the coal fires that fuel the mills and factories of this other time. Red brick stained grey and black, the spires of churches little more than solid shadows pointing at an overcast sky. Somewhere orphans crawl through chimneys choking fumes, people lie in gutters spitting blood. There is a stench in the air that is as foul as it is fresh.

It is a world of exaggerated technological expansion.

A time of change. A moment in history. It is not pretty. It is not easy, but then births never are.



I look out of the 'real' window at my world beyond, cities raised on quasi-steel supports, sunk deep into the unending sea of burning lava, while the air visibly smoulders above.The razor winds that can flay concrete from steel carrying the sulphurous stink slipping through the filters tainting even the interior of the habitats of a population decimated by the environmental collapse we had wrought.

Once again I stared at the picture into yesterday.

Perhaps there were those that might have claimed it was where our current hell began, but compared to this existence it was paradise.

A heaven we cannot touch.

They say that every generation says the same thing.
But it is true.

Anywhere, anywhen is better than here.
 

stevietee

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#12
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Mother's Pride​

“It is a great honour to be chosen,” Father William told Georgie, a fact of which he was fully aware.

When his Honour Card started flashing his mother had collapsed to her knees, her face contorted with grief. There was nothing she could do. Morning broke and he left her by the iron gates; drying her tears with soft, warm hands before Father William lead him away under the roiling, red and brown sky.

Georgie had trained for this moment all his life; as had all children under fifteen, but he was not prepared for his mother’s tears. Grim faced men weighed and measured him before guiding him wordlessly towards the pod. He climbed in feet first. It was a tight squeeze.

“Remember, when you reach the apex of your flight, push the button.” Father William closed the hatch with a hollow clang.

As the countdown began, Georgie’s arms were pinned to his chest, but he could still reach the button above him. Sweat trickled from his brow as the temperature increased. Suddenly the pod was hurtling along the narrow launch tube with a thunderous roar before being expelled into the sulphurous air. Secondary thrusters fired, but burned quickly and G-force crushed him until the pod began to slow its ascent. As it reached its peak Georgie recognised the feeling of weightlessness and breathlessly, he pushed the button.

Far below his mother’s tears of anguish meshed with those of pride as the pod exploded in a blaze of light. Dark thunderheads parted and golden sunshine spilled across the blasted heath, her face warmed by its touch. Georgie’s hands, she thought as the tears dried. They had another year now, perhaps two, before the atmosphere degraded once again and the Honour System would select another child to detonate an Environment Pod.
 
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Brev

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#13
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Hunter.


‘That the place?’

My guide, Corbin, doesn’t answer. He doesn’t need to. The way he stares at the distant chimney - face washed pale, hands trembling - are confirmation enough.

‘And you say three children have been taken from the village?’

This time he nods, once.

I smile, to show him that I understand his fears.

He need go no further.

I leave Corbin by the rusting ironwork gates, and press on alone.

Inside the factory is dull, silent, burdened by decades of neglect. Jaded light filters through dusty windows, creating irregular shadows. I sense her presence before I discern her with my eyes. She radiates a palpable aura, an intensity of purpose which makes the air tingle with a whisper of midnight.

‘So soon?’ She steps out from between two derelict machines, her lithe form a sepia silhouette in the half-light. Her voice a rustle, like dry leaves scattered by an autumn breeze.

‘You left a trail a blind man could follow.’ I study her, intent on every movement. Preparing. ‘It’s almost as if you wish to be caught.’

‘Indeed.’ Shadows disguise her face, but I sense a smile.

That is all we say.

She charges, direct, like a surging tide. And she’s fast; she must have fed recently. Her body crashes into mine, hands grasping, eyes fierce. The momentum of her leap takes us to the floor. I feel her nails biting into my shoulders, feel her mouth pressed against my neck.

But I too have fed recently. I roll her over, press her down. Smile at the undisguised lust in her eyes. Our lips meet, and I let her taste Corbin’s blood.

She will be gone in the morning - she always is - and tomorrow I will hunt her anew.
 

paranoid marvin

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#14
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Sweet Revenge


Before you stands a small town. How tranquil it appears, how mundane; yet this is a mere illusion, a fabrication of the truth. At one end of the town are the jam butty mines; small pitheads belying the vast network of tunnels hidden beneath, where seams of this valuable commodity lay waiting to be brought to the surface. At the other end of town stand the tall, proud chimneys of the cake mills; huge edifices that house the men and machines that toil day and night to produce confectionery that would satisfy even the sweetest of teeth.

For what seems like forever the rival factions of the miners and the bakers have been at logger-heads. In the past, it had just been friendly banter; "spongers!" cried the miners, "sticky fingers!" retorted the men from the mills. However recently it has gotten much more serious; a stink was caused when one of the miners found a rotten egg concealed in his safety helmet. Soon afterwards one of the confectioners was left red-faced after discovering that his best bakers' hat had been lined with a heady concotion of strawberry preserve - unfortunately only finding out after having placed it on his head. It was becoming clear to both sides that something needed to be done before things got out of hand.

Realising that cake-makers aren't to be trifled with, the jam-butty miners have used their loaves, dug deep and come up with a solution; they are going to attempt to buy out their cross-town rivals and send them on their way. For the miners know that no matter how prosperous, successful or famous they may be, bakers always need the dough.
 

johnnyjet

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#15
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Ghosts and Aliens

The aliens lived among us. We got along with them well enough. Except for the ghosts who roamed the cities and towns. They shunned the aliens.

Their spaceship stood among the broken slides and monkey bars of an abandoned children’s playground outside our town. It looked like a tall monument to Pablo Picasso. The alien overlords lived there.

I worked with two of the embedded aliens. Today I invited one of them, Chrixval, a female, to join me for a “working lunch.” We ate on a picnic bench outside the old mill where we worked in the analytical lab. I was the lab supervisor and she was a senior technician.

“None of us,” she said, indicating others of her race, “were involved in the invasion, Alistair. It was the overlords.” She nodded toward their spaceship.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “At least they’re letting us live our lives.”

I wanted to get to know Chrixval better. I was a single father in my early forties, still decent looking and in good shape. She was comparable to an Earth woman in her twenties, darkly exotic.

I didn’t know much about the aliens’ personal lives, but I was willing to learn.

She said, “How did your wife die?”

I sighed. I couldn’t keep the truth from her.

“She died during the invasion. She was a soldier.”

“Ah.” She hesitated. “She’s one of the ghosts that walk this town.”

I nodded.

“You know the overlords constructed the ghosts?”

“I know.”

She leaned in close to me. “Did you know they made the ghosts to be their spies? They didn’t trust us, their own people.”

I watched my wife’s ghostly figure stare at me from the entrance to our building. I felt a chill.

I didn’t know, but I suspected it all along.
 

Flugel Meister

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#16
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Stereotypes


Brian watched from the relative safety of the iron gate as the frost troll lumbered back and forth over the smouldering remains of the corn field. They weren’t usually ones for walking around in broad daylight, let alone in the middle of summer but this one seemed almost dismissive of old habits as it continued its unusual stroll while a small crowd assembled nearby.

It wasn’t long before they started shouting obscenities at it.

‘I bet it’s here for the lambs,’ his friend mumbled in his country tone, whilst chewing on something nutty. Flakes of whatever it was had gathered at the corners of his mouth in saliva laden clumps. It looked like acorn, though it was hard to tell with Martin. He generally ate anything, like he was trying to prove anything was food.

‘What makes you say that?’ Brian replied, pretending to be interested.

By now the troll was fixated on the smoky stubble of corn beneath its large, bony feet as it walked the length of the field in an odd, irregular zigzag. Every now and then it would reach down and claw up a large clump of earth and straw, only to roar and throw it aside.

‘Well, there’s not much up in them there mountains, is there?’ He replied. ‘And it’s bloody cold. Kind of puts me in the mood for a bit of skewered lamb leg, too.’

Really?

Brian looked on as the troll lumbered off again, this time heading for the next field – the one that was still burning. ‘I don’t think it’s here for the lambs,’ he voiced.

‘How so?’

‘Well, if I was stuck up in a mountain cave, freezing my goolies’ off and eating cold lugwurt all of the time I know what I’d want to take home.’
 

Hex

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#17
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Dream Factory


The wires hum against my forehead, burning out the first time she kissed me. After school, lips liquorice sticky -- always afterwards, the taste of astonishment and lust.

Ah, Lisa. I never deserved you.


* Account credit: £30 *


They offer £60 for our wedding.

Cider and sunshine and the fat seals on the Tay. Later, in the slick darkness, giggling at the noises the old iron bed made.

Regret closes my throat, but the gas bill's due. "Aye. Take it."

The chimney where the dreams burn looms over the city. Only the desperate go there.

But we're all desperate now.

#

The house has just two rooms, but she loves the garden. We drag the iron bedstead down the path; it catches in the fence and knocks her onto the grass. Her hair tangles black among the dandelions. Her skin tastes of salt and rain.

That's £20.

#

Lisa's breath purrs in the darkness. She'll never forgive this. When I'm finished at the chimney, she'll be a stranger.

I want to wake her, tell her what I'm doing. But this is all I have left to give her.

#

She's mopping the kitchen floor. Her hair tied back, sweat shining on her neck. When she looks up, her smile punches through me.

I have to tell her the mill's closing.

£5. Holo-dreamers don't want unhappy.


# # #




She's standing outside the chimney, a black-haired woman so lovely that for a moment the world fades.

"I'm empty," I tell her, and turn to go.

"Jamie." Her fingers close tight round mine. "Come home with me."

"You don't understand. I sold all my memories."

Her grip tightens. "You don't understand. They're my memories too. We'll share them."


When she kisses me, her mouth tastes of liquorice.
 

ratsy

www.scifiexplorations.com
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
4,644
#18
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

A Picture of Hope

Walking, always walking....his worn boots had a thick layer of dust on them. His large sword strapped to him vertically giving the impression of a cross on his back. The days were forever growing shorter and hotter. Life almost ceased to exist. All he had was an ancient picture to go by...a fence...a church, in what used to be a small town.

Years he spent searching, hoping… never finding its like. He was the last in a long line of believers. He knew there was something more out there than a slow dry death the earth was going through.

More generations than he could ever know have passed since Good lost the battle. God was taken and sealed away where He could never fight again. A clue to their salvation was rumored to be found in a church, the one in the picture.

A long time ago, his father had given the task to him, as his father’s father before him had done. Since that day he had wandered the lands looking for the church. His gaunt horse had died months ago, no grass left to be had in this god forsaken land.

He reached for his wineskin, knowing it had but a drop of muddy water left in it. He drained it, replaced the cap and looked up.

He saw the fence. The one from the picture. His hands started to shake. Ravens surrounded him. Was it evils watchful eye or just a coincidence?

He scanned the horizon. No sign of a town. No church...falling to his knees, he started to cry. Tears running lines down his dusty face.

Then he saw the black top of the tower sticking out of the ground.

He ran to it. And started to dig.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,597
Location
Mercia, UK
#19
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

Rust

What if a single step could take you anywhere or anytime?

Would you take it?

Would you have the courage knowing that your next footfall would be elsewhere?

Would you risk everything for those subtle seductive whispers of curiosity?

I did. I took that step.

I lifted my foot from lands rich with life and colour. From a place so perfect my eyes would water in wonder at each waking. A home where cresting each hill would open a vista that would snatch your breath away.

I placed it down firmly into a land steeped in rust; bereft of life, poisoned and stained. Ugly blocks of stone punctured the ground in rows and rows. Pathways, dark as night, stretched back and forth alive with scuttling shiny beetles that coughed and roared. Repulsive vermin infested the whole hideous edifice, scurrying bowed down upon tasks of which I gladly remained ignorant.

The baleful tang of the Lifebane assaulted my senses. The corruption was all pervasive. Nothing was untouched and I realised that this world of rust had been truly enslaved to the it’s hollow promise of a greater life.

I searched and echoes of the past provided me with glimpses of how this world used to be. An achingly red flower buffeted by the passage of many scurrying beetles. The sweetly sorrowful song of a lonely bird upon a lifeless branch. A brief stab of golden light from between clouds as grey as the Lifebane’s soul.

I tried to step back but my foot remained rooted.

I tried to turn but my body was numb.

I called out. I screamed. I cried.

My brethren in the summer lands of my home heard me not.

Damned and haunted I became rust.
 

Abernovo

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
2,933
#20
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6 (July) -- READ FIRST POST!!!!

The Hunter and His Prey


"I've heard rumours about you. A sergeant with the Seaforths on the North-West Frontier. A demon hunter now, and a gentleman to boot!"

"Well, I don't know about that last part."

The old man nodded. "Well, no matter. We need your help, sir."

#

Only one miner survived the pit collapse, but Bill Howie had come back a different man. Wrong. It was the way he stared at people; how he looked into them and knew their darkest secrets.

"I know what you do, Alex. Filth! You're damned and you know it!"

"Hello, Reverend. Still comforting Mrs Willis?"

One sighting was all I needed. I could see his soul. Or, the absence of it, replaced by a darkness so complete, it terrified me. Whatever he was, he was no longer human. And words were his power. As he spoke, I could see the malignancy passing to his victim, filling them with the void.

#

I consulted the local legends and came to a familiar conclusion. The ancients had known about what lived in the depths beneath the hill and had created strong charms to prevent it ever rising. They simply never imagined the technological glories of our great Victorian age. Glories that had unleashed the Soul Eater.

I loaded my revolver carefully. I wanted to take him alive, in case any hope remained that Billy's soul could be restored. But I would take no chances. This was not the first demon I'd dealt with. They were too dangerous to underestimate.

A knock at my door signalled my meal had arrived. I put the gun down and crossed the room.

Howie's face grinned maniacally at me. "You think you do Good Works? If you did, I would not be here for your soul." I felt my innards turn to ice.

 
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