300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- VICTORY TO THE JUDGE!

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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
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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



THE RULES:

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 JULY 10

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


Entries must be posted no later than JULY 31 2014,
at 11:59 pm GMT


Voting will close AUGUST 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: Quintin Booth
 
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Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
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#2
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Falling


I have been falling throughout memory within a white-static void of indeterminable dimensions. There’s little to fall toward, so distance has no meaning. This seems unending.

I don’t hunger, thirst, nor suffer time’s passage here, though my hoary hair is astonishingly long and spirals behind me in breathtaking serpentine strands. I used to turn and watch it writhe entrancingly, but there was a time I nearly lost my Self that way--I no longer dare look back.

Once, faraway, I spotted a colored speck. I can huff and puff to slowly propel myself, and I worked my way to it through ages of effort, desperate to experience anything divergent. I found, floating untethered in the void, a window; it opened on some dead world shrouded in twilit ice; a soft soughing emerged. I reached for the opening, and one hand caught an edge—this was razor sharp. The fingers were frozen instantly by the extreme cold of the world, and were severed. The momentum from that moment of grip sent me spinning away into the void, blood streaming behind, mind fracturing.

Drifting, dreaming, I imagine another life, and happiness. I’m not sure if those things existed; I fear none of that’s possible now.

I had not been myself for a very long time. Emerging from a dark inner void I find I’ve subconsciously propelled myself toward another window. This nighttime world’s beautiful: stream, trees, a starry soup of sky that’s surely of Heaven. Could I escape there by passing through the window if I avoid the razor perimeter? Or do I stay in this void, and fall?

Would I want to continue in either place?

Should I finally turn, and disappear forever within the trailing maelstrom?

I dreamt once of happiness.

I make my decision, and move.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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#3
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

A Better Man.


We ran and ran. First, from the city; later, the towns. When we reached the village we weren't eight anymore, but three. Three who knew to drink the sweet, clear water in the well, to hunt the fields and stay out of sight.

We lived well for months, Tom, Jayne and I. We loved well, too, with Tom at our centre. His strength kept us buoyant, made each day possible. Our love for him held Jayne and I, jealousy left behind, in the ruins of civilisation where there'd been time for it.

The horde took Tom in the village. They toppled him into the well. Its clear water turned blue to green, its walls were bleached white as he screamed. When he emerged, his body ripped, eternally undead, Jayne grabbed me and we ran.

Tom hunted as he'd loved: focused; sure of us. He stayed close, knowing we'd go further into the countryside to seek the dwindling sweet water. He knew what we needed to hold onto life: he had time, when we had none.

He hunted us into this corner of a still forest. There's nowhere left to run to and the water glows; poisoned and deadly. We'll die of thirst within days - if we're lucky.

We won't be lucky. Tom's howl rises high over the trees, spreads through the starred sky. I hug Jayne close, knowing she's been left without the better man, that Tom might have found a way to survive, but I can't. I should have fallen in the village, not Tom.

Trees rustle behind us; soft footfalls sound. I turn and face Tom's ruin, grasp Jayne's hand. We grip tight and then, once again, we run.

I mightn't be the better man but I'm not done fighting yet.
 

Droflet

I don't teach chickens how to dance.
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#4
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Twinkling Lights

Rico screamed with each movement of his shattered body. He gritted his teeth and rolled onto his back, clearing of this fighter’s mangled remains.

“The stars look so different from down here.”

Certainly different with no one shooting at me.

The battle with the Amorsi mother ship had been brief and ineffective. Rico had no idea if any of his pilots survived the cauldron of battle.

“It was so damn big.”

All those stubbornly brave kids dying while trying to attack an elephant with an slingshot.

“At least we tried.”

His bio indicator beeped. It showed he was out of the green. The first yellow light blinked at him. Two more then the single red.

“Red and you’re dead,” he intoned.

The night sky lit up briefly turning night into day.

“Only one thing in the galaxy could cause that much discharge of energy.”

Hope surged through Rico. Perhaps they hadn’t died for nothing? His comm link crackled.

“Badger leader this is Bellows, respond.”

Rico laughed even though it hurt like hell. “Good old Bellows, should have known she’d make it.” He keyed his mike.

“You’re just too hard to kill aren’t you, Sandy.”

“Jonny? Damn, I thought you were a gonna when that blast hit you.”

Rico’s bio indicator beeped. One more to go.

“Hey, Jonny, you there.”

“Yep.”

“We did it. The last of those big Amorsi bastards. Did you see it?”

“Yep.”

Beep. The last yellow light glowed.

“Jonny, are you alright? I can send a team to get you.”

“Sandy, tell Janis and the kids … you know.”

A long pause. “Okay.” Another pause. “Hell of a day, my friend.”

“Yeah. I’m going to watch the stars for a while.”

“Okay.”

“It’s really quite beautiful from down here, Sandy. You can almost reach out and –“

Beep.
 

Remedy

Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat
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#5
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Where the Star Trees Grow

I had gone out there to kill myself. Rope, pills and gun – I was equipped for suicide like some morbid boy scout. I should’ve known I would chicken out, that I would end up on my knees, sobbing into the pine needles.

Then I saw them for the first time.

Holes. Tiny holes opening up in the starlight-bathed ground. Silent holes growing larger around me, beside the tinkling creek.

Ghostly stalks rose from their dinner-plate sized openings, like glowing ethereal trunks. When the toothpick forest had ascended, the leaves unfurled. Silk ribbons unrolled into the night, floating and waving.

I touched one leaf with a shaking finger, it turned to powder. Too delicate for human touch and daytime sun, they appeared to drink-in the Milky Way.

Back home I still felt lonely and unremarkable, but I held an extraordinary secret; I knew where the star trees grew.


*


Life turned. Promotions, pay rises and good friends. The most wonderful of all was Beth. I knew she was the one I would take to see my star trees.

I shared my past. She listened and smiled. I led her there and showed her where I knelt. Her hand in mine, we stood amongst the star trees. Beth said they were beautiful. I said she was.


*


Marriage and kids. Holidays abroad. I took every chance to visit my forest. Beth joined me once a year, our anniversary.


*


Cancer came for her aggressively. Hospital bed, her hand in mine. The drugs were strong and she was weak.

She smiled and sighed, “You know I never could see the star trees… but, I’ve always been glad that you could.”


*


A final visit to scatter her ashes beside the creek. I can’t see them anymore but I smile all the same.

“They’re beautiful.”
 

farntfar

She turned me into a newt.
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#6
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Live long and prosper

When we first came to this world, all that time ago, there was nothing.
Pretty soon we knew that we weren’t going to achieve the sort of colony that we’d all been expecting when we set off.

The climate was all wrong. Maybe it was Doppler-Fizeau shift but our readings from home had been way off. There was just no way to achieve the sort of chemical reactions we needed to survive at these temperatures.
But there really wasn’t much choice. Our world was dying. Our species would die with it. And besides. We’d crashed. It was do something here or nothing.

As far as we’d been able to tell, we were the only intelligent life in the universe. We had a duty to do something.

First things first. We built the environmental domes on the sea bed. If we could at least live, we’d be able to start thinking about what to do next.

Second: Use the local chemistry. Our own metabolism didn’t stand a chance in hell here. Could we get anything else to work?
Well it took a long time, but we eventually created a form of cellular life that could survive under the weak sun here, and once you’ve got life, you’ve got hope as they say at home.
It had a pitifully short lifespan, but it was self replicating. Its short lifespan has actually given us far more opportunity to play with its evolution.

Several billion revolutions of the star have passed since we arrived, and we’ve produced a basically intelligent creature. Out of carbon, would you believe?

It’s all we can do.
We’ve come to the surface for one last look at the stars before we change back to the silica from which we’re made.

Good luck meat babies!
 

ratsy

www.scifiexplorations.com
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#7
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Change​

The stars shone down on the lake-shore. The phosphors glowed green, casting reed shaped shadows on the rocks. It was the ultimate irony to Kel. The radiation that had killed everyone he’d ever loved also made the world glow in beauty.

His pack dropped to the rocks and he stooped to the water for a drink. It would be tainted, but everything around him was compromised so his thirst won out. The liquid was cool against his parched tongue and left a taste that reminded him of eggs.

A shuffling from the trees startled him and without thinking, he hid, back pressed against a large rock. Footsteps came toward him. His chest tightened as he attempted to stay small and breathe quietly. Sweat beaded down his forehead, the salty drops burned his eyes. The steps stopped and something started to sniff the air above him.

After what felt like hours, the sniffing stopped. A large trunk like protuberance passed over his head and plunged into the water. It drank. The trunk pulled back, leaving him soaked in rain water, still crouching behind the rock.

It left.

Turning around after a few moments, he saw the creature in the dim light. It walked on two legs. He shuddered as he wondered if he would become like this monster. Most people had died as their bodies were poisoned, but some like him kept going...and eventually changed.

He shouldered his pack, deciding to keep moving for the night. Something caught his eye in the water and he leaned down to see it. The light was dim but the stars shone bright that night. He saw only his reflection in the calm lake. He touched his face and could now feel the change.

His tears caused small ripples as they fell.
 

Ashleyne

Queen of Rainbows
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#8
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Not Going Home

Janine tossed the pebble as hard as she could, into the mass of boulders at the other side of the lake. She sat down, with a frown, on the water's edge. She was never going home again. She was sixteen; her parents treated her like she was six!

Janine lifted another pebble and skimmed it over the lake, where it ricocheted between the boulders. A low moan rumbled from the other side of the lake. She looked across the lake and could see, rocking back and forth, an illuminated chair.

Her eyes wide and alert, she sprang to her feet before retrieving her mobile phone from her pocket. She swiped her fingers across her phone's screen, looking for her mum's phone number, when from behind her, a green skull reflected onto the screen, making Janine scream and drop her phone as she spun around. There was nothing there.

With panic throbbing through her brain, she turned around to look at the chair, but her foot collided with her phone, sending it into the water. She placed her hands over her face in horror and wailed “No way. No… awww, Dad’s gonna kill me.”

From beneath the water, her phone sizzled whilst emitting a bright green light.

Once again, she heard the low, rumbling moan, but this time, it came from behind her. She looked across the lake and realised that the chair had vanished.

Her heart gushed anxious blood around her veins as she ran around the lake, determined not to look at what was behind her.

She jumped onto one of the boulders; however, the boulder started shaking, causing her to fall into the lake.

Her hair was being pulled down. She couldn’t breathe. She kicked, wriggled, struggled and gave a bubble-filled scream. Gradually, Janine's consciousness was drowned.
 
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Juliana

Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
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#9
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Lost Daughter​

The triple moons were rising, bathing the river stones in an eerie glow. It was strange to be outside the vilarejo’s protective walls at nightfall. The chirruping of insects sounded different out here, and made me jumpy, on edge. I cursed softly, wishing not for the first time that I had told the Old Ones about Aline’s flight.

But Goddess protect my little sister if they caught her first. I was the eldest daughter, the surviving matriarca of my line. If I found her, and took her back, she would be protected under the lei familia.

The moons had climbed the springtime sky while I hesitated, unwilling to cross the last unmarked boundary of our people. In the distance, the city lamps lit the horizon like a beacon. Why the city, Aline? Porque a cidade? There is nothing there for those like us. Nothing a daughter of the Goddess should want among those sinners.

By the time I crested the last hill the Goddess had drawn her fingers across the sky, leaving red trails of dawn. The slumbering city filled the entire horizon with its filthy sprawl. Ó Deusa, how was I to find one wayward village girl in all of that?

The city watched me silently, and my veins sang with twitching power in response. I was suddenly afraid. I feared for Aline and I feared for myself. There was strong magic hidden under the dirt and decay, and it knew me and made promises I could only hope to resist. Ah, Mãe de Mães, Mother of Mothers protect me, now and forever.

I made the sacred sign for luck and wrapped my family blood-aura tight around me as I stepped away from the Goddess and into the world of men.
 

A. Fare Wells

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#10
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Night the Rocks Cried Out

You have lived here for aeons watching the passing of time, my love. Do you remember the buffalo that drank from your pond? Can you still feel the ripples move across your surface? Do you sense what is coming?

I do. I have been through it before, so relish the silence of this place, my love, for soon it will be no more. There is nothing we can do to stop it. They are too many, and we are too few. Their weapons will blow us apart faster than ever we could be eroded.

Should we remain, you will in time become aware of the sound of white noise in the background, stirred from the cars on their highways. It will be ever-present. Not the gentle sound of a breeze, but an irritant to which you will become accustomed and forget about except on rare occasions memory allows.

They will cut down the trees and build up skyscrapers into the heavens as if they could reach and share in the glory of the nebula. But it will vanish along with the stars as the smog from their factories coats the sky in thick layers.

Waste from their sewers will runoff into our lake. The fish that hide in our cracks and crevices will die, the hills will be graded, and we will be removed to be broken down and used in their projects.

But it doesn't have to be that way, my love. So awake and come. Let us and our children, our family and our friends leave this place for a better tomorrow. Let us not wait for the two-leggeds to destroy the tranquility we have found and us along with it.

Roll away into the night with me.
 
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#11
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Kelpie




Andra hummed softly to herself as she wandered through the woods. She was told not to go too deep; there were faeries about, including those of the Unseelie. She paid no mind, though; at sixteen, she wanted to explore.

​This was not the first time she had been in these woods. She wandered them as often as she could, and no harm had ever befallen her.

​Today would be different, however. A kelpie gazed at her from a distance. It watched her every time she entered these woods, as the girl would come to rest at the shore of his loch, to bathe in his waters and rest on his banks. It had taken a lot of careful planning, but today was the day.

​The creature shifted into a human form, smiling as he stepped out of the bush. Andra screamed as she saw him; nobody was there before. The young man apologized and explained to her that he could not swim, yet had lost something within the loch. It had fallen out of his pocket and went into the water. He asked if she could swim, and when she said she could, he begged her to help him search for it. She agreed, innocently stripping down, and dove into the water.

​It was the last anyone ever saw of Andra. It is said that if you wander through those woods, to the edge of that loch, you can still hear the girl's humming on the wind, a song now of despair and misery, and should you ever be unfortunate to hear the tune, then run for your life, for it means that her vengeful spirit holds its gaze upon you, waiting for a chance to take hold of a host, wanting nothing more than to live again.
 

alchemist

Be pure. Be vigilant. Beware.
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#12
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Me ‘n’ my Starman

It was down here by the river in ... ooh, 'bout '59 ... when I met him. Said his spaceship had crashed and broke. Showed me some fancy silver stuff outta his pocket, said it was "intelligent metal." Looked like 'luminum foil to me, but then I ain't so smart like him. He spoke ten diff'rent languages, he said, not that I could tell his Russian from his French; it all sounded like gibberish to my ears.

After we'd lay down, he'd point to the stars and say he missed home. "What's it like?" I'd ask. "Travelling between the stars?"

"Like a perfect dream," he'd say in his fancy voice. "A dream you'd never want to wake up from. An interstellar reverie of beauteous regard." He was the only one’d talk to me like that, see, like I was all grown up, and it was real nice.

He said nobody'd never understand and not to tell, that the gover'ment would just take him away. So I never told, not even when, y'know... Heck, Pa didn't even want me seeing boys – said it wasn't proper, someone like me. What would he say 'bout a spaceman?

Last time I saw him, was a Sunday, I remember – day before that big hullabuloo down Jefferson's Ridge when they strung a feller up for botherin' girls. He said he'd take me to the stars, but he never came back. I guess he fixed his ship and had to go home or sumthin'.

Been waiting since, missin’ him real bad, but I know he’s gonna come back. He’s gotta! Pa says they’ll take you away, that I ain't able to look after you. Can’t let that happen. You're my little bit of Starman, and we're gonna wait right here 'til your daddy comes back for us.
 

reiver33

Only Forward
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#13
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Oliver’s Army Of One

The night sky has yet to lose its novelty for me as I spent my formative years in Fullertown, a geodesic bio-dome. My parents actively discouraged any contact with the outside world while we awaited the inevitable collapse of so-called civilisation. We were happy in our splendid isolation.

Our new society faltered, then failed.

Many found life outside the dome difficult, if not impossible. A high proportion of us are either dead by suicide, in mental institutions or living on the fringes of society. However I undertook sublimation of the self in pursuit of social acceptance.

So I don’t mention the vast, reptilian face in the night sky.

I believe those born and raised in the open suffer from a collective blind spot, one caused by constant exposure to background astral radiation. By the time a child is able to articulate his or her observations the damage is done, and any memory of ‘monsters’ is just a nightmare, easily set aside.

But a few of us, so very few, know the terrible truth.

I spend the majority of my time in a fall-out shelter acquired from a now-deceased survivalist. Alcohol seems to help maintain a sense of perspective when above ground, perhaps in the same way potassium iodide can offset exposure to other, less pernicious, forms of radiation. Unfortunately the awareness of an ‘outsider’ is so blinkered that only the most degenerate alcoholic has any grasp of reality.

In vino veritas, indeed.

Therefore any attempt to alert the authorities would be pointless. What I need is a grand gesture; an act that will propel me into the public eye and bring my revelations to a global audience.

I have a rifle and a target in mind. He’s due here tomorrow on a fishing trip, travelling incognito.

Wish me luck.
 

Mouse

ejtett.weebly.com
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#14
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

(And I Feel Fine)

Someone's thrown a pot of glitter into a vat of ink and then pressed a clean white sheet of paper into it. You know?

That's what the sky looks like at night. Glittery and inky.

That's what the sky looks like in your world. In my world, it's pink. Like, somebody's bled into milk.

I do like your world. There's more textures, more colours, more… flavours. Have you ever licked the underside of a rat? No? You should.

In my world we have these little… well, they're like cows. But small. And they have scales instead of hair – like fish. Really ugly fish.

I don't like your buildings. They've got to go. They're so hard and they have sharp edges, I mean, even the ones made out of mud have sharp bits. Did you know that? It's probably too late for you to find out. I'm just keeping you here for a little while because I've got a bit of time to kill before I get picked up, but I'll run out of words soon and then…

It's your own fault. You and your people. This is a nice planet! It's nice. It's like you can't see that, and you keep messing about with it. Destroying things, destroying each other. Idiots!

Anyway. Oh! Don't cry. Once you've gone your world will be beautiful again and, really, I don't know why you're crying anyway. No point you living now everybody else is dead, right? How boring would that be?

I'll bite your head off, okay? So it'll be quick.
 

Khayos

Procrastinating Queen
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#15
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

The Meeting Place

I wait, throwing pebbles into the lake. Suddenly a figure appears, his smell travelling along the light breeze and causing my tight skin to feel loose again; Jonah.
I stretch and cautiously sit up, sinking my knees into the dirt with a sigh. "I thought you wouldn't come." I mutter and he jumps a little at my voice.

"You know I'll always be here." He says and edges towards me over the rocks.

"I never know anymore. I worry about you."

"And I worry about you out there. How are you?" He asks, his voice gentle as an icy finger traces my face.

"I had another night terror."

He frowns, aiming to kiss my forehead. "What about?"

"You."

He nods understandably. "It was an accident Cassia."

I start to shake my head, tears threatening. "I shouldn't have kissed you!"

"You didn't know what it would do." He soothes, and tries to pull me into a hug.

I sob. "But I know what I am, and I knew you were only human."

"Just because you're a Witch doesn't mean you don't deserve love. I forgive you."

I nod and go to touch him, but, like usual, I fade through.

"I have to go now." I say, as I watch the galaxy above us disappear.

"Of course." He says.

"Come back tomorrow night?" I ask, though we both know he has no choice, stuck here in limbo.

He nods again and I slip into the lake, heading back into my world.
Once there, I crawl from my garden pond and sit by the edge in the cold. I see his soul there, fading as the sun rises. I hate myself.
I wish mother had told me why I should never kiss boys. I wish she'd told me that Witch kisses steal souls.
 
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#16
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Working with the Demon

“Do you have it?” the creature snarled as Robert struggled to climb onto the small boulder that overlooked the murky pond.

Robert slowly rose to his feet and stood toe to toe with a creature that had the shape of a man, but the substance of a shadow. Hovering six feet above the water, the dark creature was something out of a horror story. It outstretched what would have been its hand – if it were a man. Robert’s legs wobbled with terror and fatigue as he fumbled through his pockets for the device he had stolen.

He regretted having to kill the device’s inventor, but the creature made it clear that nothing was more important than this device, not even life itself. Robert looked down at the thing he held in his hand and puzzled, not for the first time, over what the device actually was. It was a metallic band covered in glowing emerald orbs, but its purpose escaped the imagination of a mere blacksmith like him.

The creature snatched the band from his hand with inhuman speed and Robert gasped in surprise. He stared, spellbound, as the creature brought the band close to its face to study it. Instead of the emerald glow of the orbs illuminating the shadowed face, the light was simply swallowed into the nothingness of the shadowed being that hovered over him. Stillness enveloped the starry clearing.

Robert grew uneasy as the silence stretched, so he took a chance and spoke quietly, “what is it?”

The creature’s head shifted and Robert’s eyes met the black hollows that should have been eyes, and felt a burning terror somewhere deep inside his soul. The terror deepened, and he thought he could hear the smile in the creature’s voice, as it rasped a single word,

“Death…”
 

StilLearning

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Edinburgh Uk
#17
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

The pride of Pan?

“Christianity,” the diplomat-angel said, “comes in peace, and offers understanding.”

Pan stroked his forked beard. “You.... represent the Christian ‘creator’?”

The angel smiled with ineffable patience. “He designed every beetle, he sculpted Orion’s mighty sword –“

Pan held up his clawed hand. “Say that last bit again?”

The angel hesitated. “…Orion’s mighty sword?”

“Is that supposed to be funny?”

“ I don’t underst… ”

“That ‘sword’ is a two thousand light year long nebula! I have fertility god aspects, I know my phallic metaphors! He wants the rest of us to know whose is biggest does he!!?”

Suddenly in uncomfortable territory the angel felt the situation slipping. “Uh…… I… I don’t …I don’t think that he wants you to take Orion that way – I mean…!”

“How dare you!?” Pan’s roar echoed off quasars, leaving ripples in the cosmic microwave background that would leave future astronomers severely perplexed “Do you think this is a Greek pantheon where we’ll mate with anything!?!?

“ I…. I…. I… no?”

“Get out of my sight! It’ll go the worse for you!”

"I... I... I...."

"OUT!"

As the mortified angel fled Pan glared at the distant stars and stood. His cloven hooves sank into the deep waters of mystic pools, his horns punctured the ionosphere, and he drove his voice beyond reality: “Think I’m gonna look at some hunters sausage for eternity? Two can play at that game!”
He communed with his followers….

***

From Mythteries, the Wiki for folklore related mysteries:

Hill figure: A large image created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology, usually best seen from a great height…… The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill figure in Dorset, England, which is maintained by locals. Origin and age are unclear. It depicts a large, naked, man…
 

Aun Doorback

Your place is magic
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#18
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

The fisherman




It was twilight dark and the moon hung pregnant above the silver water when I sat down upon the cool stone. My life was over. My beating heart danced its sombre melody and pounded tired blood within my head. I was weary now and was as an insect that plays out its final overture to nature ready to stop and fold myself up into a ball and wait for sleep.

I closed my eyes, sealed with the tears of mistakes and regrets and drew my numb limbs around me under the shroud of night; and waited to be covered in moss and lichen.

‘Bury me’. I whispered to the Father sky. ‘Take my soul and let me evaporate high up into the starry heaven for I am old’.

'I hear your sorrow’. The words spun, cobweb delicate, upon my ears and I squinted at a woman who swam towards my pain.

She was a vision. A slender beauty with fierce bright eyes. Golden hair, lit by moonlight, clung to her face and she pulled herself up, upon the rock and stepped naked out of her sealskin skirt.

‘Fisherman. Your world is small compared to the ancients who dwell beneath you. What ails your passion for life?’

'I’ve lost my way’. I said ‘I’ve fallen out of love’.

She smiled. ‘Then come and I will show you new roads to navigate and fresh fields to cultivate. Life is not one short course but many births. Let the pain ebb away and it will be replaced with greater things. I promise’, and she took my hand.

I slipped into the cold waters and felt the love return, like the wash of a summer rain upon my hot skin.

' Your name?’ I asked as I sank into the calm oblivion.

‘Saami’, she replied.
 
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Phyrebrat

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#19
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

When the Salmon Run

When the salmon run and the December skies open, I take my locket and make my way past the hording fieldfares and redwings as they stitch the early snow fields.

My secret alder, with hidden treasure sequestered underneath, is a seasonal one, and one I’ll never betray. Its fan-fingered branches comb the bloated surface of a flood-swollen river, catching skeletal brown leaves, fishing line and dead grouse. In April when the chub melt back into the depths, the spates subside, shrinking like dried skin from a dead man’s brow, and those cluttered branches are decorated like the most perverse Christmas tree. Such cruel branches never scratch me; their arching bows seem tailor-made to my form, an almost-welcome of loving design.

I can see my alder from my bedchamber in our cottage, in the chilly little village of Foile. The treetop stands proud, higher than any oak - a lighthouse beacon; Delia come, it’s nearly time. Come to me and let us dance.

December mornings lie still and dark. I take the gas-lamp and make a thief’s exit from the house, crinolines bunched and rustling loud as firecrackers. If my gin-lulled father ever woke, there’d be dreadful questions, but how could a woman explain such appalling and wonderful events with cold fact?

Sam had always been a water baby. I’d met him at my father’s race in Brooklands as he swam across the nearby river to get home; a stain of sandy yellow britches and russet wool jacket amongst the magpie suits of landed gentry. Oddly, he disappeared when father saw the cut of his cloth, and his eye for me.

But, once a year he returns, when the salmon run.

Once a year.

Under the alder.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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#20
Re: 300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #14 (July 2014) -- READ FIRST POST!

Night and the River

Shullen gripped the muddy shore with her front paws and pulled herself out of the water. The warm air was heavy with the scent of night-blooming flowers. Stars blazed overhead, like the glowing, many-colored insects that were so delicious, and so hard to catch.

On a stony rise not far from the river a crowd waited for the eldest to speak. Shullen noticed some from her own clan, some from neighboring clans, and many whose scent was unfamiliar to her. She shook water from her fur and crawled forward.

Lussa, a young male from a clan she knew slightly, hissed a welcome. She flattened herself against the smooth rock and leaned next to him. His deep red fur was soft and musky. Shullen scraped her claws on the stone nervously.

The eldest was a slender female with thick black fur. She barked for attention. The audience shuffled and coughed, then grew silent.

"Before my grandparents' grandparents were spawned," she said, "the Others came." Some of the listeners hummed with excitement, some whispered to their companions.

The eldest closed her eyes. "Their fur was smooth and shone like the sun. They stood like trees, and told us they lived beyond the sky. They named our home Water, and called us Swimmers."

"I don't believe in the Others," Lussa said. His voice was so soft that Shulleh wondered if he meant to speak aloud.

"Someday," the eldest said, "when we learn to stand on two paws, we will travel beyond the sky, and meet them again."

Later, after the crowd had returned to the river, Shullen and Lussa mated. As Lussa slept, his beautiful head resting in a shallow pool, Shullen wondered if their children would leave the water forever.
 
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