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The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest

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 2014 by their respective authors, who grant the Chronicles Network
the non-exclusive right to publish them here

This thread will be closed until APRIL 10

-- as soon as the thread is unlocked, you may post your story

Entries must be posted no later than APRIL 30 2014,
at 11:59 pm GMT

Voting will close MAY 15, 2014 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 favourites

You may cast THREE votes

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

The inspiration image for this month is:


Image credit: Chris Green

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Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat
Aug 6, 2013

Slave's Trophy

When he prized the mask from its sticky mould, Doulos smiled, he had finally made his first perfect piece.


Doulos’ shop in the heart of Athens, eradicated all competition for miles. Using hammer, tongs and anvil, Doulos wrought iron that would never rust or break.
Patrons said Doulos spoke more to his tools than to man, but his secretive craftsmanship and the rumours of molten metal running through his veins, kept him in constant work.
Accepting a commission meant Doulos locked the smithy doors and harried his forge into a fury. His demon roar and hammer blows shook the foundations of Athens. Bending to both his might and will, metal obeyed in the hot frenzy of sweat and steam.
Satisfactory pieces were deposited into a box for collection and payment. A perfect piece, however, granted the patron one of the rarest gifts, a tour of Doulos’ shop.
Bolting thick doors behind them, the patron entered the blacksmith’s world, a chance to see where Doulos spoke to the gods through his hammer. He would lead them into his private courtyard to inspect their requested item, displayed upon his trophy pole with all the other perfects. Perfect chains, perfect blades, perfect hooks and perfect clasps, commissioned from weeks to centuries ago.
The customer never thought to ask why the blacksmith had all those items and not the patrons. Doulos would wait patiently, basking in their admiration. It always caught their eye, the perfect mask at the centre.
“What is that?”
“The face of my old master, Hephaistos.” Doulos loved the facial expression when they recognised the name. “I wanted a true likeness, so I poured liquid iron onto the real thing the day I fled Olympus.”
Hammer never far from his side, the foundations of the city would tremble once again.


Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
Jun 28, 2012
Connecticut, USA


On my ninth birthday, I snuck into the Old Man’s yard on a double-dog-dare. The others hung back outside the gate, all watchful giggles and whispered taunts. I slipped between the tarnished sculptures, nightmare forms looming from the long prairie grass, and set my foot on the bottom step.

The old wooden porch sagged and creaked, greying boards eyeing me like a silver-bellied snake, as I tested my weight, uncertain.

The others had gathered in a tight knot of jeans-clad normality. I longed to be among them, instead of alone in the Old Man’s yard, trying to prove that nine was no baby-age but very nearly, almost, a man.

Two more steps to go, then ding-dong-ditch and I’d be out of there, running fast. There was chocolate cake at my place, waiting in a glory of frosting and sprinkles and candles on top.

One more step, then quiet as a mouse across the broken-down porch. Two feet of eternity to cross. And finally the door, flanked by the Old Man’s totems. Rusted gargoyles snickered and gloated as I reached out a trembling hand.

The door, caught by wind or the gargoyles’ breath, swung open gently. And I screamed, and screamed and screamed, and when the police came I sat hunched on the hard dirt road still screaming inside.

“The Old Man just lying there,” I heard the grown-ups whisper. “Head ripped plain off and gone...”

But the gargoyles, they whisper too. They’ve been whispering for oh so many years now. They tell me the Old Man let something loose upon the world that day. And now I watch my birthday candles melt into the frosting and wonder, will this be the year it comes for me?

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Oct 5, 2011
blah - flags. So many flags.

Frizzled memories

After the shrinkies frizzled my brains I stopped remembering too well. The doctors go on about their new machines helping people think straight, but sometimes they do the opposite.

Since I don’t remember much anymore, I built a memory pole. Wanna tour?

Start at the side, there. That’s Da’s belt. It never fitted me, I’m way too skinny, but he taught me lots with it. I put it on the pole, and that’s how I started.

There’s Ma’s mask, for when she didn’t want to see things. She mostly had an invisible one, like a shade over her eyes, but when she died she wore the real one. I didn’t want her watching me, see, with my brain hot and not right. I’d have scared her.

Round the back’s personal. Annie’s knickers; she wouldn’t take them off for me. I don’t like to think about that too much.

The face? Sure, that’s a memory; it’s the shrinky that frizzled my brain. Scared looking, ain’t he? Well, so was I. Only fair when I got hold of the machine he got frizzled too.

And here; the horseshoe. I did Ned’s head with it when he said they should’na freed me.

I’ve one more to go. Seymour told the shrinkies about me. He needs to learn to shut his mouth. How? I’ll show you. Come on, I won’t hurt you. Can’t hurt you; no room left for anyone but Seymour.

See the blade dancing? After I see Seymour it’s going on the pole. Then everyone will know not to frizzle me again.

You going? Well be careful through the swamps. I’m not the only one frizzled; there’s a whole bunch of us. And we all have a memory pole each. Sometimes more than one. Like me.
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Mr Orange

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb...
Jun 17, 2013
Noo Zillund

The Gift

Images flash in the dark; A horseshoe, a steel dragonfly, the dancing iron spear; horrible demonic faces. The whispered voices follow; caressing, urging me on. Behind it all looms the future. Desolation and destruction, fire and pain; a future only I can see, only I can stop. They say it’s my gift; I say it’s my curse, my burden; I will bear it.

Shapes swirl against the inky blackness, slowly fade; one remains; the horseshoe. The voices fade to a breath of wind, unintelligible; I know what I must do.

I‘m awake. I gasp at the cold, wet grass, scramble to my knees in the moonlight, panting. Quiet footsteps in gravel; I crouch behind a low bush. Then I see it: A small, dark figure, moving stealthily. Almost dainty beneath the hooded cloak; I know better.

I know the time is now; my blade is in my hand, I leap forward. With a snarl of surprise, it jumps back, red eyes glowering, but I am faster; my arm around its throat, I drag it back into the bushes, keeping clear of sharp, snapping teeth; this one isn’t strong; it lets out a blood-curdling scream; it’s futile; I tighten my grip around its throat and stab it in the stomach, again and again, blood warm on my hands, until it is still.

I let go, it drops; the adrenaline leaves my body and I sag, the thrill leaves me, I wipe the blood from my shaky hands on its coat, just one thing to do. I pull the hood back; the demon has gone, left its host.

“Be at peace,” I whisper to her angelic, bloody face; I kiss her forehead.

Carefully I carve a horsehoe where my lips were, wipe my blade on the wet grass, then go… satisfied…
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Independent Author & Publisher
Oct 29, 2013
West Sussex, UK

Carry the Blessed Home

The silence of the afternoon enshrouds me as I trudge through the birch forest. Arms aching, lungs burning, yet I feel no regret for leaving every aid behind on our ship.
This place is beautiful, regrown from stumps and blackened limbs to be a triumphant testament to the wisdom of mediators long dead. Mankind is incapable of shedding its need for divinity. Some would say that gods are as much a part of us as aggression.
To that end, Earth was changed from ruined cradle to temple planet: the holy site to end them all. All the revered religious shrines from every age are restored and tended by their faithful.
The great forests of Albion have returned and through one of them I walk, a burden of love upon me. There are bigger, and also gaudier, havens of faith, but this is ours. From the moment she developed cancer, that evil that has plagued man since the dawn of time, we knew how it would end.
There is a clearing ahead. A single birch at its centre is adorned with tools; many with purposes lost to time. They are arrayed about a face garlanded by wrought leaves: Cernunnos, Ogun, Herne. He has had many names. We call him Pater Viridis, and it is to him we all return.
I lay her body at the foot of his tree - a featherweight as the cancer ate her away. Placing hands upon her brow and ancient trunk, I send my lady on:

“The spiral is turning,
Singing and burning,
The spiral is turning,
Back to the green.

Oh father carry me,
Your child I will always be,
All-father carry me,
Back to the green.”

I take her hands in mine and smile through the tears: “Until we meet again, novia; fare well.”


Feb 16, 2013
jaimiehollick@gmail.com or follow me on twitter ht

Opening The Gate

The flames licked the bottom of the pole. The metal idols decorating the length of it were glowing red with heat. The smoke billowed upwards, a dark vapor against the night sky.

A boy dressed in dirty woolens, thin as bone, crouched by the rock, watching the men and women in black robes chanting in unison. The words were strange and guttural, dancing on the wind. The candles upon the altar dripped red wax that looked like blood to his blue eyes as he watched frozen with fear.

He was gone too long, his father would be worried but he dared not move. If he was caught in this forbidden place the consequences would be fatal.

There was a heaviness to the air, a slickness left on his skin from the warm breeze. His heart pounded, his breath stilled.

The ululations of the Cloaked reached their climax. The top of the pole caught fire, flames shot up into the sky.

The largest of the idols was the face of the Demon Lord Croag and as it glowed redder than the flames the mouth began to move. The words of summoning fell from it in fiery gasps. The boy could not understand its demonic tongue yet the idol held him in thrall. Some great evil was entering the world, the air alive with electric darkness.

As the last of the words began to fade the pole collapsed into a pile of glowing coal. The men and women scattered as quickly as they had gathered and already the sun was poking its rays above the mountains.

The boy rose on shaky legs, cramped and cold he approached. Upon the altar a naked boy stared back at him with blue eyes that matched his own.

“Brother,” Smiled the boy upon the altar.



Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2008

Memory Stick

The totem lay on the rocky beach, covered in seaweed.

“So what do you think we should do with it Sal?” Termik asked his sister.

“It’s kinda ugly but the fishermen said we could have it. Maybe we can sell the metal?”

“Don’t think we could get anything from this rusty junk. Let’s see if we can drag it home. Jem will know what to do with it.”

Termik leaned down and touched the hook and chain.


The sea sprayed his face and he heard someone yelling at him. He looked down and saw his bare feet on board a wooden ship’s deck. Where am I? He saw that his body was not that of a gangly boy any more but that of a sun baked, muscled sailor. Instincts told him he needed to grab the rope in front of him and tie it down. The wind was picking up and the sails were billowing, causing the masts to creak.

After hard minutes of working the rigging he sat down on the deck in awe of what he’d just done. The ship straightened out and the crew cheered.

“Good work mate. Drinks are on the captain when we get to shore,” a grim looking man said.

“Sounds good to me,” Termik replied in a man’s voice.

“Don’t forget to save me a dance,” a sultry voice behind him said.

He turned to see the most beautiful sun browned beauty he’d ever seen. He gulped and could feel his face turn red.


Termik blinked his eyes and let go of the hook. He was back on the beach with his sister.

“Well, can we drag it home?”

“Don’t touch this Sal. It’s sharp.”

He left it on the beach but knew he would be back later.

Karn Maeshalanadae

I'm a pineapple
Dec 2, 2007
My own twisted Wonderland

The Pillar of Souls

I stared up at the pole. It was a real work of art, I will say that much. It was made of some exotic metal, and the faces and bodies carved into it seemed almost real, frozen in positions of excrutiating pain and horror.

​“Like it?” A young associate approached me.

​“Um, yes,” I stammered. “But why is it for sale so cheaply? The price of the material alone has got to be worth at least five times what your gallery is asking.”

​“Not many people are willing to buy a piece like this...we had no luck in ten years.”

​“I will take it. It is really fascinating.”

​That night, I had strange dreams. The pillar was speaking to me, and a woman’s face would appear, beckoning me. She looked like an angel, but I somehow knew she was not.

​I shot up, panting heavily, soaked in sweat.

​“So you are the one.” A disappointed voice sounded. I let out a yelp and turned to the statue I bought. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There the woman from my dreams was standing, leaning up against it. I saw in the dim moonlight that she had sli.m, onyx horns, sticking out like a ram’s, dressed in a thick, black metal armor that reflected the silver light, and had a spiked tail that seemed to have a mind of its own, swishing and flicking about.

​​I gasped. “Who-who are you?”

​“The name is Lilith, kid. And I can not believe I am here right now.”

​“Why ARE you here?”

​Lilith smirked. “Because the pillar of souls fell into your possession, kid. And with it, you get to make any command of me you want.”

​I grinned. “Any command?”

​She nodded, visibly annoyed.

​“Then turn me into a demon.”

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Dec 9, 2012
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

The Redemption Man

The redemption man came to our village on a cool day in spring. His wheelbarrow sloshed through muddy puddles. Everything about him was gray, from his hair and beard to his shirt and trousers. Even his eyes were the color of storm clouds.

"Who will sell me the sins of the past?" His voice was clear and sharp.

I peered at him from inside our cottage, my brother at my side. Mother tended to the fire and paid no mind. Father was off in the fields somewhere.

A dozen villagers approached the redemption man with the strange things they had found over the years. Books, toys, tiny boxes of glass and metal; anything from the time before. The redemption man traded seeds and tools for them.

"Haven't you got something to trade, Eli?" I said. "We could use some seed corn or a good knife."

"Quiet, girl." He was only three years older, but he acted as if he were already a man. "I'll keep what I have."

There was a tall wooden pole in the village, prepared long ago for such a day as this. The redemption man nailed the ancient things the villagers brought him to the pole. One of them was a mask, made of something shiny. It made the pole seem alive, a condemned man grinning at his fate.

When his work was completed, the redemption man dragged his wheelbarrow out of the village slowly, his head hanging down as if he were weary. The villagers gathered around the pole with flints, steel, and tinder. Soon the pole was ablaze. The mask was the first thing to burn, as if it were eager to die.

Eli ran away from home that night. I never saw him again. Sometimes I wonder what he saved from the flames.

Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
Mar 3, 2014

USER NAME: Mylil.Pony666 (A Nefarious Conversation)

"The Time of your Dark Lord Satan is here, tremble mortals, and--"

"Dad, chill, it's just me! The disciples are car pooling home."

"Damn! I worked for days on that speech. How are you son? How go plans for the Apocalypse? And what of the Totem of Terror? When will it open the Unholy Portal so the Legions and I may cross for the Final Battle?"

"Well, honestly...I've been busy."

"WHAT? But the unholy mask, Belekkai must mouth its oath or the portal will remain forever sealed!"

"But I'm interested in other things now...there's a new Naruto out; the Girls finale , and...I've met someone."




"We met at a polka festival..."

"AHHH THE CHOSEN MUSIC! Kids enthralled by those hypnotic rhythms...has it reached predicted world-saturation levels?"

"No, honestly it's not doing well...kids like rap."

"Rap! Wow...Vanilla Ice?"

"Really dad?? One other thing..."

"What, Mammon?"

"I've finally gotten the nerve to try writing...I'm entering a story in The Chrons Challenge."

"Yes, The Chrons...that hidden agent of Darkness...the many souls they have consigned me through 'Registration'. How's everyone doing?"

"Great! Starbeast's story won the last challenge! You would have loved it...it's very funny!"

"Hey, I knew he'd go far! Could you chant his entry for me?"

"Dad, I can't...copyright laws?"

"Copyrights...that one certainly hurt us over the years."

" 'Thou shalt not steal!' "

"Quite...what about your story?"

"Well, there's this cosmic pony who brushes her own mane with the Totem of Terror, but I'm having trouble with word count."

"Have you tried eliminating 'and' and 'the'?"

"Of course."

"Hmm...add part of the plot to the title, and discard one character."

"Dad, I gotta run...Revenge is starting."

"Revenge, that's my boy! Call your Mother sometime!"
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Benevolent Galaxy Being
Mar 11, 2010

Gandalf in the Lair of Balrog

A tall post decorated with pieces of armour, chains and various metals, was the road marker that lead to the Lair of Balrog. After thirty miles further, Gandalf (wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt) and Hobbits emerged from a smoke filled van. "Explore the shop, but stay close. And I mean you Pippin."

"Gandalf, old friend."

"Good day, Samwise. I'll take a pound of Smaug's Gold." (crash) "And what Pippin broke."

"I've got Red Wraith in."

"Mmm, and a pound of that."

"Good. Yes, Nodo?"

"Any new black light posters?"

"Definitely. How's your dad?"

"Papa Zoso's great." (crash) "Pippin! Stop touching everything."

"Sorry dude. This weed shop, has cool glass pipes." (crash)

"It won't for long. Gandalf, get him out of here."

"Alright Sammy." (crash) "Pippin Took Junior! DO NOT PROVOKE MY ANGER! GET OUT!"

"Ok ok! Let me buy some Salted Space Pork Jerky first."

Gandalf grabbed Pippin's money pouch, then threw him out. "Here's for the damages Sam. And here's for a bag of Space Jerky."

"Thanks Gandalf. Miss Proudfeet, what can I get for you?"

"Yeah, like, I'll take some Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, Raspberry Zingers, chocolate donuts, Goblin Clusters, Goat Gummies, Cherry Orc soda, and ah...Mordor Mushrooms."

"That all?"

"And a lighter."

"Careful with those strong mushrooms."


While blasting rock music and munching on mushrooms, Gandalf notices an Elf trying to overtake his van. "Blasted sports cars."

"Gandalf, we're approaching the narrow bridge."

"I know." (shakes fist at Elf) "YOU, shall not, PASS!!!"

Vehicles bump and tumble down a ravine.


"Is everyone alright?"

"Get off my chips Pippin! You're crushing them."

"Nodo, where's Gandalf?"

"The Elf is helping him to get out from under the van."


"I'm a wittle bunny. Boop boop, beep boop."

"Sam was right, those mushrooms are strong."


Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
NSW, Australia

Yeah, I’m an art student at City Tech. My final project is due next w… Oh, ***! It’s due today. Xcuse me, I’ve gotta run.

Where’s that mask I made?

I remember. Luke hid it when his knockout girlfriend came to stay. Said he was sick of it leering at him when he kissed her. He shouldn’t have bothered. She didn’t stick round after he broke his leg.

Here it is, smiling at me. What if I stick it on this stovepipe? Nah. I’ll have to doll it up more. I’ll head into Tech and see what I can filch.

Damn. Gotta get that train. Sorry mate. It just kinda jumped out of my hands.

Come on, we’ve gotta run. The train breaking down has really made me late. Made the crowd cranky too; they’re really acting weird. I’m outa here.

Hey Jake. Is that your project? Cool colours. Yeah, this is mine. What dja mean, it winked at you?

Nah, I’m not coming inside. I’m off to trawl around the sheds out back.

Look! An old winch. I’ll grab those hooks and that rusty chain. What? Well, you shouldn’t leave things lying about. Finders keepers and all that.

Hang on, what’s going on? Did you touch this? I put the mask up the top, above that horseshoe.

Good idea to look in the kitchen, innit? My man’ll like that cup. He gets thirsty, up on the pipe. What? They won it in the National Cookery Comp? Even better.

I’ll put this here, and this one… Hey! Stop sidling down the pipe. Stay where you’re put.

Get your rubbish outa here! That’s my man’s spot!

How dare you tell me what to do? Take that!


Blood? What blood?


Western PA High Tech Country Boy
Nov 11, 2011

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Space Elevator

Adam had never seen it this close before. The Clarke Space Elevator was so enormous it took his breath away. He felt insignificant in its presence.

The others hesitated, except for Tina who was never bothered by anything.

She turned and called, "Come on. We don't want to miss our ride."

They were twelve research students from a variety of scientific disciplines. They were selected by the scientific community to be the first from the public sector to ride the newly christened space elevator.

After enduring a long press conference and short briefing session, they were finally ushered into an elevator cabin. Inside they buckled themselves in place in a semi-circle of seats that faced outward toward glass walls that showed everything outside. The door clamped shut.

It started to move up the cable, slowly at first, then faster. The world rushed past them. Adam squirmed, feeling uncomfortable, vulnerable.

Everything blurred outside. The windows darkened. Adam closed his eyes and thought of loved ones, friends, family.

He grew calmer now, more confident. He felt a growing pride for this great honor.

He opened his eyes and saw stars. He was awestruck. One star began to grow larger. It was coming straight toward them!

Tina squeezed Adam's hand.

Soon the object filled nearly a fourth of their viewing area. It was oval with a greenish glow and showed the indistinct outline of a grandfatherly face. It spoke softly in each of their minds. It told them it loved each of them. It told them they must obey its commands.

It told them it was their new god.

Later, looking down upon the earth, the twelve felt the elation of being humble servants. And that made them feel -- possibly for the first time in their lives -- fulfilled.


Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011


Clellend flees through the trees, heading for the clearing. I'm five paces behind him.

‘Desist Demon!’ Clellend yells over his shoulder, spittle flying with desperate exertion. I sense the wild crash of his laboured heart and the tightened wheeze of his fear gripped chest. He senses that evil is close; instinct and adrenaline rule his mind.

Closing the gap, I swipe at his trailing leg, hoping he'll topple into the foliage, but he evades me. Diving left he steals a new path through the trees, and breaks into the clearing.

I stop. Concealed within the shadowy tree line.

The quarter moon lights a cloudless sky, casting pale luminance over Clellend's chosen sanctuary. At the clearing's centre stands a single tree trunk. Divine relics and symbols of luck are crudely nailed to it.

‘You've no power here Demon!’ Clellend throws his assertion at the trees.

‘Come back into the forest.’ My voice is an urgent whisper.

‘Do not attempt your trickery!’ Eyes scanning the trees, he keeps his back to the decorated trunk; the pillar of his faith.

‘Come now. Your soul depends upon it!’

‘Be gone Demon, or burn on hallowed ground!’

I feel the Trunk's waning aura. Clellend has staked his life on diminished divinities, but out of respect to their once bright power, I will not enter the clearing.

I've failed.

The Demon cares not for ancient deities, nor respects sacred ground. It feels no duty to honour our fallen brethren. It surges into the space where I will not. Clellend's screams are cut brutally short. Unable to protect him, I cover my ears against the crunch of fresh rent bones.

On broad wings, I begin my task anew, aware that my adversary will soon resume his tireless hunt.

David Evil Overlord

Censored Member
Jan 25, 2012
Prime Evil Soup

Future Imperfect​

He thought he knew what the future held. In the movies, it held flying cars and hover boards and self-tying shoelaces.

He couldn’t wait. He didn’t wait.

He didn’t expect to find a future of primitive tribesmen painting pictures of slaughtered wildlife on cave walls with blood and ochre.

He’d almost believed his time machine had reversed its polarity, and sent him into the past instead of the future. But the tribesmen carried Stop sign shields, and he recognised their home “cave” as the underground car park of his local shopping mall.

He couldn’t even understand their language; maybe one word in ten was vaguely familiar.

A century had changed many things, post apocalypse.

Where a No Standing sign had stood in his time, now assorted scraps of iron were roughly nailed to a post. Here the tribesmen forced him to his knees.

He feared his future held nothing but violent death, sacrificed to a scrap metal god. Then he recognised the tribesmen’s chanting.

“Google! Google! Google!”

They’d made a god of a search engine? Superstitious primitives!

If they’d only known what was on the internet in his time. Did they have a god of flame wars? A god of porn? Or was porn the work of their devil? Or was their devil in charge of spam?

And did they have a goddess of cute kitty photos?

If he LOL, would that make him a troll?

He couldn't help it. He laughed.

The eyes on the totem mask lit up green, and metal shrieked as the mask bent to frown down at him.

Perpetual Man

Tim James
Jun 13, 2006


The mining disaster on Colony 3 was something that would haunt the neophyte human settlement for years. Not just for the loss of life, because that was tragic, but for the fate of Tom.

They all called him that and to be honest they did not know whether it was his real name. He seemed to like it and it fit.

Tom was simple. It might not have been politically correct to say, but it was the truth all the same. Not that it mattered, he had a heart as big as a moon, would do anything for anyone and worked the mines as hard as any other.

When the mine collapsed they did not find him straight away. Not with the group that suffocated in the cloud of gas; not with the mutilated forms of those crushed beneath the falling ceiling.

No, Tom was found alone in a small cave almost a mile from the disaster. isolated by the fall. He was curled there baby-like, white as chalk, a peaceful look on his face. It was as though he had laid down and gone to sleep, then just.... stopped.

Next to him though, there was something confounding. Attached to the support beam, shapes hammered out of copper. Tom’s tools lay there, obviously used, a rock his anvil. All kinds of shapes: a man, candlestick, horseshoe, hinges and exquisite curls.

At a glance it appeared to be an ugly thing, but it drew you back, revealing a hidden beauty: a simplistic complexity that seemed to be filled with meaning, something that could not be defined.

For years people tried, finding all kinds of truths, stories and depths hidden there.

But the real truth?

Who knew, but the man found at its base.

And he told no one.


Senile Member
Jan 30, 2012
High Wycombe

Royal Justice

For twenty nine days crowds had filed past, laughing and jeering, throwing rotten food and worse. The stink of it covered Rebus, leaving him bruised and sore, slimy and sticky.

He’d endured long and terrible days. Yet the nights were worse.

At night, when alone with the Traitor’s Post and only his thoughts on what was to come, that tormented Rebus’s mind. Knowing his skin was first, flayed from his body, head to toe. Belly torn open, guts pulled out and hung from the Post while still alive. Organs too, sliced out and displayed. Eyes blinded by fire, for all to see but him. Limbs next, trussed up like butchers’ choice cuts for the birds to feast on. Finally, at the edge of life, they’d take his head, its place on the last spike and finally crowning the bloody work of the King’s executioner.

Yes… the long nights tortured his soul.

To save himself, all he had to do was confess. Name his accomplices and let them take his place. Many times Rebus had come close to mumbling something, muttering a name, given someone else over to his faith, so easily done. Shielding friends helped during the long nights, when rain dripped like blood from sharp points and hooks.

Under the shadow of the lonely moon, twenty nine nights were an eternity.

There was some relief in knowing there would be no more nights. Today would be his last. Shivering from the cold morning dew and the fear that stalked him, Rebus drew strength from his final act and sacrifice.

And he smiled.

For the magic to work and the demon to come forth, there had to be a price. When under the Traitor’s Post and asked to name a name, he would name his King… and have revenge.

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Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2012
Edinburgh Uk

A Scottish night:

“ On the Sabbath night,when the sky weeps fire…”

Jamie tried to tune out the dishevelled ‘preacher’. He wondered : Why do so many of them come to a tiny village like St Olme? It’s got highland beauty, but I doubt that’s what they come for...

“….unclean shall return to claim their totem! The soldier shall resist, and his soul….”

Oddly, as Jamie passed, the man fell silent. Avoiding a gaze that chilled him worse than his old drill sergeant's had, Jamie made his best double time with the groceries.


It was a Sunday night, and the temperature had plummeted. So the knock at Jamie’s front door was… unexpected…

He opened it.

Strangely the visitor wore a robe, hood covering the face. But what was exposed was more than strange: The outstretched arm had two elbows, and the hand had a dozen fingers of different sizes. Silently it barged Jamie into the hallway. He threw the hat stand at it, and as it tangled he hurtled into the lounge and dragged the sofa against the door.

Silence…… the back door creaked! Shaking, Jamie moved to the rear window. Outside the sky was filling with meteors, white and green. By their light he saw a circle of vague figures which swayed jerkily, yet vigorously. In their centre dark earth exploded outwards: Something was coming up! It looked like a pale totem pole, but twitched, and shook, and floated. As the figures prostrated themselves before it he heard a noise behind.…


Jamie woke to sunlight, under the window. Eventually he noticed the muddy, six toed, footprints, and tears mingled with mad laughter: The footprints were inside the lounge, clustered around the rear window...
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Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2011

"Jackdaw Beasts"

It was just before dawn we came to the small clearing. Between the mass of vines the last of the moonlight illuminated three, maybe four buildings. Had we not passed by a dozen similar spots I’d have sworn we’d stumbled across an old mine camp. Truth was the foundations had probably been sunk only ten years before.

I edged into the first building hoping to see nothing, and almost immediately snagged on the small huddle of rags strung over greenish-white bones in the doorway. Red gingham dress, I reckoned. Homespun.

The crumbling letter was actually tucked in the front pocket, had I not been checking for coins I’d never have found it;


Da told me stay here whilst hes gone metallin an I know you been gone ages cos bringing loads of rust back to feed the tree cos Da was cryin an said thats why, but I'm goin metallin too.

Those nails we found worked but they soon got sucked into the Ceiba an its roots went grey again so I got scared.

I know its nearly light but if the stump don't get its rust the Jackdaw Beasts’ll peck our eyes an the roots’ll drag us like you said!!

Love you.


It was actually as I tucked the note into my pouch the movement from the centre of the clearing caught my eye. What looked like a crappy rusted horseshoe had slipped and fallen from a gnarled nail in an otherwise bare tree.

I didn't really have time to wonder why that was the only patch without grass; the thud it made hitting the dust was what made the whole forest around us erupt. To be honest that’s when I ran and, at a guess, the others died. That’s really all I know.
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