300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #21 -- VICTORY TO JULIANA!

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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
20,669
Location
England
#1

THE CHALLENGE:


To write a story in 300 words or fewer
INSPIRED by the image provided below, in the genre of
Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative Fiction



THE RULES:

Only one entry per person

All stories Copyright 2016 by their respective authors,
who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here


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

Entries must be posted no later than APRIL the 30th 2016,
at 11:59 pm GMT



Voting will close MAY the 15th, 2016 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


NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM


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


The inspiration image for this month is:


Image credit: Culhwch
 

Ashleyne

Queen of Rainbows
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
531
#2
Beautiful and Faceless

I call her Raspberry.

Slice. Squawk.

The way she bites my finger... feels like it's bruising. It seems she's holding back. She could bite the flesh right off. Cute as a bunny in a bow tie.

Bonnie Tyler blasts through my stereo: "And I need you now tonight. And I need you more than ever."

Slice. Squawk squawk.

Her claws dig into my wrist, sending red teardrops down my arms.

I tried to stop myself, succeeded for years, but I had to catch the birdy, had to. I cast the seeds and she came to me.

Slice.

That's how much I respected her.

Her breaths become weak and wheezy . She flutters half her eyelashes at me...

slice. My hair tickles my ear and falls into her eyes. She tries to blink it out. Her eye whites turn raspberry red.

Slice. Crunch: she bites my knuckle. The throbbing sting sets my pulse racing, my stomach swarming, and me? I can't stop smiling. And the blood... how it stains her teeth...

Raspberry, like the dress I first saw her in.

Those lips...

slice. Gush. My hands are getting slippy.

I've got Raspberry's number on my phone, called her, said her mother had collapsed outside my house. "She can stay on my sofa until the ambulance arrives. Can you come quick? I'm worried."

She came running, and I began slicing, just like I'd pictured it always.

That cute button nose...

slice, slice, slice. "I've watched you for so long, dear." Slice. "Years and years." Slice. "I was there," slice, "to drive you and my daughter to your prom." Slice. "I cried when you got your first boyfriend." Slice. "And when I found out you was gonna get married?.." Slice. "I fell apart; I love you to pieces."

Hack! Crack!

"Tiny, little, pieces."
 

farntfar

She turned me into a newt.
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
2,052
Location
France.
#3
What goes around comes around.

On my thirteenth birthday, my uncle took me to lunch, to explain the facts of life.
But it was not the birds and the bees, that he discussed, but the bird and the dinosaur. For he proceeded to expound on the new theories of evolution: how from a microbe might develop a worm and from a worm, what then? A dragon? All happened by chance, but that very randomness produced such wonders.
His enthusiasm filled me with excitement and has shaped my entire life. Oh, to observe such a thing.
“No, lad!” he said. “You can only imagine it. Unless you live a million years or build a time machine.”
Time machines are obviously impossible, in spite of certain foolish novels. So my only recourse was to live forever. Equally straightforward then!

But a member of my club spoke of a mystic who pretended to transference of consciousness. Whilst clearly a charlatan, I engaged the fellow for some small sum and drained him of his knowledge.

The details I shall keep, but after much experiment I achieved my goal and on my deathbed I was able to migrate my consciousness into the brain of a passing dog, and later from the dog to a cat and so forth.

It’s not ideal. The transfer always occurs on the death of the last host, but curiously I have solved also the problem of Mr. Wells, having achieved transference backward in time as well as forward.
Choice of the new host is tricky, but with care, I have seen all of evolution’s wonder.

In gratitude, I endeavoured to return to that same luncheon to inform my uncle.
But my route became lost, and though I am now here, I cannot even read the menu, empty-headed birdbrain that I am.
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
Supporter
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
6,241
#4
Dare to Write?

When it happened I do not know, but listen. The Staid, antithesis of creativity, anthropomorphic presence at the heart of the Write, was ensnared in a sentence of complexities, that twisted and turned tying it beneath the surface of the written word. A prison perhaps, but no less an escape.

Can you see or hear it? An auditory echo breathing sweet venom in your ear.

Leering out from behind the black digital shapes, letters and words, mocking you as you try to piece together a story of restrained size?

It lurks deep, a twisted shape in the socket of a skull, leering as your imagination is stimulated, as synapses crackle and jump. Creativity infuses your brain with tantalizing images and ideas. Words spring to mind, forming sentences, the very essence of a story.

It strikes! Ethereal tentacles lance from hollow to eye, the calcified beak mocks you with silent laughter.

It consumes dreams, emaciating imagination, sucking dry the depths of the mind’s eye, leaving only the withered husk of the id.

It does not kill, but you will pray it did. From within your head the world is a greyer reality. You will wander the paths of life, seeing only the physical mediocrity of what is, unable to make the multi-hued jump to symphonic imagery. You can almost feel it, blackened, cracked talons trace whispers down your spine; vertebrae ratcheting in discord.

Again I ask, can you see it?

Deep in the skeletal remains, between hollow bones and long forgotten flesh and feather, it lurks, predatory, waiting. To steal all you hold dear, leaving a mummified soul, bereft of magic and wonders.

It sinks back into ink-black shadow, bloated on a veritable smorgasbord of ingenuity, leaving you hollow-eyed, empty, originality consumed.

A prisoner of the mundane.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Supporter
Joined
Oct 5, 2011
Messages
16,605
Location
blah - flags. So many flags.
#5
THE VARIANT ADVENTURES OF BONY-B.

This is my moment. Reporters arriving from all over the world. It's my time in the spotlight. And long overdue.

You'll have watched the coverage of my trial. Saw them vilify me. 100 years: a sentence of such severity, they say I'll be desiccated by the end of it. All for one measly jewel. (Granted, a jewel worth the annual turnover of a small country.)

Anyway and anyhow: here we are. My last moments before I'm caged and fed gritted-food pellets for life. I cross my bone-tips and rehearse my answer.

The door opens. Lights flash. The question comes from all corners. Where is the Dazzler of the Sun? Where is the booty? Where? Where?

"The magpies have it," I say and, over the next half hour they wheedle out of me their location in Brazil. Street, town, district. A good description of the tree. I didn't mention how the thieving fiends had turned on me. How they had feathers, not bony wing-tips that no longer fly. How they'd laughed as they'd double-crossed me and taken to the air. They'd made me the laughing stock of the bird world. Me, Bony-B.

The journos race from the room. Flights are booked and deals made. One of the warders sets me in my cage, and gives me a bowl of water. Then, he locks me in. I watch through slitted sockets.

I've survived 200 years in my current state. I'll last a hundred more, I reckon, not like the feather-brained magpies. And I'll be richer than any small country, once I grab the real stone.

So now who's down and out? Eh? Not Bony-B.
 
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Duttster

Unleash the power of the imagination.
Joined
Apr 10, 2016
Messages
17
Location
Cornwall, UK
#6
The Visitors


The crew had gathered the humans in the main room in the centre of the building. The detailing of the place was antiquated, yet still imposed a sense of grandeur on the visitor. The imposing figure turned to the shuttle operator.

"How many troops on the ground?"
The pilot turned his head slightly. "9 my Lord. Your Understudy is with them, he claims to be the one who found it."
As the ship lowered its landing gear and eased down, the ramp automatically descended to ground level. Stepping out into the one sunlight this backwater planet had, the figure realised this planet had an odd smell. The air was too clean. He didn't like it.

Shrugging, he strode through the entrance, his emerald Takoarmour whirring and hissing with every step. The gloom returning, his visor enhanced the light particles in the air around his face, allowing him to see perfectly. It was a strange room he found himself in, filled with cabinets and strange glass boxes. There were creatures which appeared to be in cryostasis contained within, some had clearly failed, as he noticed the skeletal remains of a winged concoction, it forever frozen in a state of flight. This was a strange place indeed.

Arriving at the room with the humans, all forced on their knees, he noticed there were yet more boxes around the room. This time they contained rocks and stones on plinths, as if they were treasured heirlooms. Pitiful mortals.

Turning to the matter in hand, he turned to his Understudy who carried forth the Object. Receiving it in hand, the Object began to bond with his armour, its powers integrating with its circuits. The Lord spoke.

"What is this place?"
The human nearest him replied, "It's a museum."
"No," he spat. "It is your tomb."
 
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Juliana

Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
Supporter
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
4,563
Location
Connecticut, USA
#7
Tiny Bones


I crouch down in the garden, poke them with a stick. Small things, wispy and fragile. “Just a bird,” they would say. “Leave it alone, Sarah. It’s just a dead bird.”

It’s raining again. There’s been nothing but grey since the Weeping began. I haven’t seen the sun in over two years. I hate this rain, the feel and the smell of it. It trickles off the bird bones and sinks silently into the moss.

The bones are truly minute. If I picked them up, I could cradle them in my hand.

I wanted to cradle Sam, too, but they wouldn’t let me. He was so small when he was taken. Not even a proper baby yet. He never felt any pain, they told me. But what do they know? What do they really know of tiny bones and hearts and souls?

He was the fifth, this year alone. Since the Weeping, no child lives in this aging compound of ours. One by one, fading, failing. In this diseased world, we scream and rage, but still the silent killer strikes, deadly accurate, picking off our young ones one by one.

We bury the bones, bury them deep in the hidden place so they can’t come back, not like Marion’s Ava who killed three people before we trapped her in blankets and ran her through the wood chipper.

Because when they come back, they’re not human. Not any more, not after the Weeping.

But I don’t care. I want my Sam. I leave the bird’s tiny bones alone and make my way to the hidden place. I sink my fingers in the rain-damp soil. And then I begin to dig.
 

Rafellin

Independent Author & Publisher
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
475
Location
West Sussex, UK
#8
Fantastic Taxonomy and How to Conceal It

“I understand the ‘Tawny’ bit.”

“It’s not hard.”

“But why ‘Frogmouth’?”

“Because ‘Pixie-Catching Owl’ was considered a little too bloody obvious.”

“Oh.”
 

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
5,461
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
#9
Fossils

From the balcony of their penthouse apartment George and Amber watched pterodactyls glide from one skyscraper to another. A mastodon lumbered along Fifth Avenue, adding to the congestion of the morning rush hour.

“Maybe it’s a message from God.” Amber sipped her espresso.

George chuckled. “Last week you thought it was aliens. Before that, a prank by time travelers. Let’s face it, darling, nobody knows.” He swallowed the last bite of his bagel. “Time to go to work.”

They walked back into the living room, George to his computer, Amber to the full length mirror to check her hair and makeup. Charles, the dodo that had appeared one day out of nowhere, sauntered up to her and trilled affectionately.

“Not now, sweetie,” Amber said. “Mommy’s off to bring home the bacon.” She waved goodbye to George, who was already lost in the world of electronic stock trading. Somehow he always managed to make a profit, even during the financial chaos caused by the Reappearance.

The taxi ride to the small, discrete apartment across town was uneventful, except for a bloody fight between a smilodon and a dire wolf which required a detour around Central Park. The delay gave Amber time to call in sick. The slim possibility that George might try to reach her at the advertising agency gave her a delicious thrill. She smiled to herself as she admired a flock of passenger pigeons blocking out the sun.

Amber unlocked the apartment door with the key she kept hidden in the bottom of her purse. The room was heavy with the scent of masculinity. The man stood waiting for her, naked, the remains of a carnivore’s breakfast scattered at his feet. He grinned, revealed massive yellow teeth. Amber locked the door and embraced her Neanderthal lover.
 

Ihe

Forum Revolutionary
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,097
#10
Late Return

Rudd came back home one day, out of nowhere—literally. Can’t tell us where he’s been for the last two years. He’s not right: repeats back what we say, like small children do; has trouble using his fingers (I’m not the clumsy one anymore), makes big messes in the toilet, and keeps to himself, which is unlike him, if I remember correctly. Pity. As big bros go, he wasn’t half bad—you know, before he went bonkers.

Mum says he’ll get better, but I can still hear strange sounds from his room late at night. It keeps me up. I know it keeps her up as well. She’s always crying.

But not all is different. Rudd still likes to go to the park, maybe now more than before. Climbs trees as well, which is new, but he has fun and that’s nice. He also enjoys his music, madly head-banging to it on full blast. His rhythm’s gotten better, I must say.

And above all, he loves his pet bird. We kept it in his absence, and Mr Beaky is causing a ruckus lately. It must be happy Rudd’s back. They share quite the bond. Rudd stays by it for hours on end, tapping the cage and getting his fingers bit.


Rudd doesn’t seem too bothered by Mr Beaky’s disappearance. The cage must’ve been left open. While cleaning it one last time, I did find something odd at the bottom: a half chewed cracker with little claw marks and scratches that roughly made up the words “not me”. Strange, isn’t it? That bird sure was smart. Godspeed, wherever you are, Mr Beaky. I know Rudd will miss you, even if he doesn’t show it.
 

J D Foster

Rank amateur, utter novice, please help
Joined
Jul 1, 2015
Messages
193
#11
Ellie Hood and the dig

Michael Shmuel is good looking, annoyingly so in a nerdy way, nothing like the guys I go for. It’s been a couple of years since I visited the crumbling ruins at Egio, and being back on Gortyn is hard for me. Still the Archaeological Society needed a guide, and I like the colour of their cash. I keep staring at Shmuel and hating myself for doing it; he’ll notice, even academics can tell when I have a crush.

They ran some scan I don’t understand, and found evidence of skeletal remains. Michael’s been telling everyone, “We’ve found it, proof of race older than mankind.” They’re all excited, all except that odd little fella from the Church. He hasn’t said a word since Michael announced the dig.

The funny thing is, I don’t give two hoots what they unearth, so why am I finding it hard to sleep? Riegger, the priest, that’s why. No one else gets that he’s a priest, but I’ve picked it up, just funny things he says is all.

The camp is strangely quiet, the couple in the tent next door to me are at it every night, but they’re not making a sound now. Creeping out I see Riegger silhouetted against the purple night sky, the glint of a blade in his hand as he stands outside Michael’s tent. He’s not the only one in camp who isn’t what they seem. I’m across the opening in two bounds and have him round the neck. He shouts once; then I’ve rendered him unconscious.

“Ellie, what’s going on?” Michael appears, he’s alive at least.

I fall into his arms; he’ll keep me warm tonight.

“I think Riegger was trying to stop the dig,” I say. “I guess a race older than us, doesn’t fit the Church’s plans.”
 

ratsy

www.scifiexplorations.com
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
4,644
#12
Story Time

“What happened then, mommy?”

I smiled at him, holding his little hand in mine. I turned away so he couldn’t see the tears falling down my face. Stars raced by the view-port in the hospital room. All this technology, but nothing to save my little boy.

“We dug further into the mountain. The digging got easier and easier as we made our way into the stone. Dad was the first to see them – the bones.” I squeezed his hand as he eagerly listened to the story I’d told him so many times before.

“Where was I?”

“You were in my tummy - until my water broke and we had to deliver you right there and then.”

He beamed. “I’m almost like a dinosaur then right?” This was the first time he’d said something along those lines.

“What do you mean?”

“Well I was born in a cave with baby dinosaur bones. Why did they die mommy?”

It struck me like a ton of bricks. There had been something in the cave! I recalled being sick after I gave birth to him.

I ran to the doctor’s station and blubbered something about dead dinosaurs. After minutes of her trying to decipher my mad words, I left and came back with one of the things mounted in a glass container. I shattered the glass and she did tests on the bones.

“Tell me there is something we can do!?” I cried at her, heart pounding at the thought.

She smiled at me. “This is the same thing we found on Grentlock5. The locals died by the thousands when they opened a similar burial ground. I’ll have to make the antidote.”

The same bones that made him sick would now save him.

We had a new story to tell now.
 

Shyrka

Friend of Ulysses
Joined
Jan 11, 2016
Messages
736
#13
Patience

“Oh they’re exquisite!” cried the Queen. Roget smiled. What has she found now?

He found her pouring over a mahogany counter bristling with avian automata. The birds were some of the finest he’d seen, their intricate, filigree’d armatures whirring as they played out motions both lifelike and amusing.

He heard a cough and turned to find himself looking down at a bespectacled, snow-haired elder. The proprietor, he presumed.

“Her Majesty is too kind,” said the man, his voice as dry and dusty as his emporium. Roget frowned. The accent was familiar. As the Emperor’s foremost military advisor, he prided himself on knowing such things.

“Nonsense,” said Roget. “Your work is fine indeed.”

He bowed. “I am but a humble Mechanist, Your Grace.”

It was bothering him now. “Your accent. It is known to me but I cannot place it.”

The Mechanist nodded. “Few can. I was born in Erestosia, a distant province.”

Roget snapped his fingers. “I knew I had heard it before! I was stationed there in my youth.”

“Indeed?” The old man said. “What a coincidence.”

The Queen bustled over, cradling one of the mechanical birds. “Roget, we must have them! These crows are a perfect match for the family seal!”

_________

The unblinking eye of the last automaton stared back at him. The Queen’s shipment was ready: one hundred corvids, his finest work. Difficult but worthwhile. He massaged his aching fingers, the cuff of his work coat slipping down to reveal a faded tattoo. The sun-worn words stared back at him: Work-slave 117. An echo of times past, places gone. Vengeance takes time.

He fastened the lid and called for the courier. The shipment would arrive in time for the anniversary celebrations.

He allowed himself a smile. The murder of crows would be glorious.
 
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Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,596
Location
Mercia, UK
#14
First of the Line

“I want a ship that will strike fear into my enemies, not this damp infested wreck. Wait a moment... The Happy Dance! It’s called The Happy Dance. Ah... come on.”

The Minion beckoned him aboard and onto the poop deck. There stood the Captain, dressed in stereotypical pirate gear, a large floppy hat sitting on a grinning skull, jaw bone set at a jaunty broken angle.

“This is the Captain? He’s a skeleton, Minion, and the crew?”

The Minion’s cowl nodded.

“It’s a ghost ship, isn’t it?”

Another nod.

“Fine, at least it will be scary. What’s that tapping noise?”

The Captain opened his shirt, revealing his rib cage within which sat an equally skeletal parrot. The undead bird cocked it’s head sideways to peer blindly out for a moment before returning to peck at a rib.

“That’s a novel place to keep him. Well, let’s be underway.”

Though no wind blew the tattered mildewed sails billowed as the ship sailed out of the harbour.

“Just a jaunt around the bay please, Captain.”

The Skeleton nodded, skull wobbling dramatically and setting a ripple of bony clicks reverberating through his body. Within, the parrot took up the tune, adding his own complimentary beat.

“The sea air, Minion, perfect... is it me or is the ship sinking?”

The ship dipped dramatically, prow disappearing beneath frothy water that rapidly rose.

The Minion made a dash for the cabin door as the ship submerged sails still full of ghostly wind. The Dark Lord felt something shoved in his hands and he shot up to the surface like a cork. There to find himself clutching onto Inflatable Ingrid, the Minion on the other side.

A rubbery tap.

The Dark Lord spied a bony beak poised, small skull cocked in unseeing beady contemplation.

“Don’t...”

Peck.

Pssssss...
 

Robert Mackay

Not all those who wander... Oh, actually, I am.
Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
476
Location
London
#15
A Murder

The old bird is dead.

At the head of the table, his perch stands empty. From that spot he tirelessly harangued us at mealtimes, his saw-blade voice cutting conversation and flesh to wound the soul.

He had other ways to hurt. One day - I would have been seven or eight years old - he landed on me in the back corridor. His talons gripped my shoulder, piercing my shirt. I yelped, almost screamed. I thought I was protected below-stairs, but nowhere was safe.

He leaned in, a stiletto whisper carving a hole that would never heal. "Just like your mother: not good enough for this family."

Now he is dead, and I must pretend to grieve.

Last night he came into my room. He stalked around, thrusting his head forward and back, pecking at the air. I don't remember the words he used, just the tone. An old song, but one whose melody still burned. I found comfort visualising his flesh melting from his body, his sparse, aged, feathers fluttering to the ground, until only the bones remained, still strutting, the beak opening and shutting soundlessly.

He is dead, and I killed him. I felt the power rush through me. I know he felt it too. He looked at me in horror and defeat, and all I wanted was to puke.

Today we will hold a parliament, and, after the squawking is over, we will have a new leader. A new voice to rule the rookery.

Whoever is chosen will cast me out. They cannot allow me, who murders with imagination, to remain.

I don't care. The old bird is dead, and the world is a better place. I leave, knowing that they are not good enough for me. I will fly alone, or not at all.
 

Calliopenjo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2016
Messages
259
Location
USA
#16
THE UNEXPECTED

Class started, and station by station, we went to the back to identify the skeletons. My turn came up and began to name them without a problem. The last one confused me though. At first glance a young parrot. It needed closer exam—help me.

A quick glance behind me and everyone had their head down. I shrugged and went back to studying the skeleton. Feathered dragon popped in my head as well. Too many—help me find my mother.

The professor’s eyes met mine when I turned around to check again. He raised his eyebrow and tapped his fingers, which brought me back to the test. One thing everybody learned in Fauna 101, never write the obvious, so I wrote feathered dragon.

After finishing the last page, the bell dinged. We handed in our test papers as we walked by Professor Cecilefigee. Please, help me find my mother.

OK, OK, if only I could have gone back there and I had no idea what. Later, I went downstairs to the holding areas. Lucky number three had to be it.Without any expectation that anything would happen, the doorknob turned.

A larger version stood in the back labeled defect. It had the same round skull and mouth part the small one did. Next problem, how to get—my child. Have you seen my child?

“Uh. . . yeah. He’s upstairs. Professor Cecilefigee’s room.” I pointed up.“Can’t miss it.”

Thank you, Human. It disappeared in a flash.

I ran upstairs, and a pop came from the room. It had to have meant they found each other. I wished them to be safe as they found their way home.
 

Vaz

We're in the pipe, five by five.
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
1,317
Location
Liverpool, United Kingdom
#17
A Queen for Raven's


Charja shook, Anywhere but Ravenhook...

She was thrust into the great hall. Beast's circled her, devouring her fear yet craving flesh. Above, the Reaper Raven perched beside the black bones of his predecessors.

'My brother's,' he unfurled a wing towards them. 'I'm sorry their not as talkative as when you met last.'

'I... treated... respect.'

The raven cawed throwing open his wings. 'Respect! No sweet hatcling, it's your blood I shall have.' He snapped his beak, 'Bring the dove.'

Ser J'hanno Stryke was tossed before her, chains on his wrists and crimson weeping from his face. The white cloak he wore stained with all the colours of terror. 'Forgive me.'His eyes shadowed with shame.

'The letter.' The raven said.

A Snow Panther padded forward spitting a scroll from it's jaws into her palms. The seal was house Strykes', a wolf - it's lower jaw a lick of lightning. When she was finished reading rage and despair wet her cheeks, the salt stinging her lips.

'Children... Changing them....'

The Reaper Raven cocked his head. 'Now you see, sweet hatchling.' He hopped close to her, twilight feathers shuffling like a magic trick. "Even the whitest of lights can cast fearsome shadows. Bind us by blood and stand against our true enemies.'

Charja eyed Ser J'hanno and nodded.

A stinging talon parted her palm and blood leaked from her fingers. The raven flayed back his feathers, a heart fashioned from the night itself thudded before her.

'Unite us.'

She stepped forwards, blood dripping behind her like sour breadcrumbs.

'UNITE US.'

She locked her palm to the heart. The Raven squawked and screeched and the beasts roared and snarled and sang in a dark chorus.

The Raven Queen. They called her the Raven Queen.
 

Cathbad

Level 30 Geek Master
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
8,753
Location
Everywhere.
#18
What Are These?


“What are these?” I was looking at a row of Aves that I would have sworn on first sight were some sort of frogmouths. But a close look at the wing bone structure quickly dissuaded me of that opinion.

“Pterodactyls.” Was my guide’s answer. “Baby Pterodactyls.”

“Extraordinary!” I was amazed. I looked around the room, now recognizing the other skeletons on display as from the age of dinosaurs. It was an amazing collection.

“Okay,” I continued, “I understand now your hesitation in filing a Missing Person’s report on Professor Williamson; you want to protect his finds!” Professor Octavius said nothing – just stood there with a silly – and inappropriate - grin on his face, so I added, “Still, Professor, you have to call the police!”

Still smiling. After a long pause, he said, “How old do you think those bones are?”

“Well, I assume they’re from-“ I stopped short. I adjusted my glasses and got closer to the nearest skeletal Pterodactyl. I felt my stomach do a flip. In a thin voice, I asked, “Were these bones dyed?”

Octavius shook his head. “I have tested them. I say, with confidence, they are no more than six months old.”

Realization hit me. I raced out of the room and across campus, Octavius at my heels.

I led the way to a door marked “Department of Theoretical Physics”, unlocked the door, then went to my own laboratory, opened the hidden panel, and put the code in. A small room was revealed, containing all sorts of dials and computer screens.

I heard Octavius say, “I knew it!”

I checked the date on the Main Control Panel, and realized my secret project was not very secret. I stepped in.

“I’m going with you!”

I didn’t argue. I shut the door and turned on the power.
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
10,113
Location
nearly the New Forest
#19
Letter Home from Merlyn’s Mage School



Deerest Mother,

I hope this finds you well. Me and Jack are well and, Jack thannks you for the seede cake whitch he sez was rite handy. (I arsked if he ment tasty but, he sez handy is korrect.)

Mother, you mite get a letter from Prof Humminnbirde re the Reefekktry Reefecktree Eating Hall burnning down. But, it was an accdent.

I tolled you about the other pupills Daemons whitch are all grande birdes like Osppreys and Owles and such, and how they larffed and called Jack Bonesey on accounnt he dunt have fethers and skin eksettera. (Martyn Aigles daemon, Erne, was narstiest.) But, they was envyous re the seede cake and when he lefft it in the Hall (the Booobby) they was swift to tukk in.

But, you must of accdently baked a Flame-Starter Skuwer inside as, a Daemon pekked it and sparkks sparkked. That sett the cake on fire. Their was a Jugg near, whitch Martyn thort had water in. He thrrew it on the cake but, it was Prof Dowittchers ruff Vodkar. That sett the tressle on fire. Martyn ternned the water sprinkklers on but, Pettrel came out. (Oil Pettrel, not birdes.) That sett the Hall on fire.

See. Shear accdent. (Jack sez Shearwater accdent. Ha ha.)

No one was hurt bad. But, the other Daemons dunt larff at Jack now, on accounnt none of thems got fethers and skin eksettera no more neether.

Well Mother, must dash, its lessson time. Materriallising Obbjects Into Other Obbjects. Jacks favritt.

Yore loving Son, J Daw.

PS Jack sez pleese send annother seede cake. Skuwer oppshunul. Ha ha.

PPS Pleese xxcuse the writting. This new quills aukkward to writte with but, Jack sez its a gennwin genuwin reel eegle fether. Juss a bit skorched.
 

Cat's Cradle

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#20
The Elegant Equation

“Why show me a skeleton? Your correspondence mentioned only an ‘elegant equation’.” He returns the mounted nightjar to the cluttered desk.
“But Bohr, it’s the progenitor of all my work – the clavicles-”
“Albert, please.”
“Of course. My equation. E = mc2: Efficiency of musculature equals bone mass times cartilage density squared. This finally provides empirical proof that the muscular physiology of birds is directly descended from Cretaceous-”
Albert! I’m urgently needed elsewhere. Why am I in Zurich?”
“Forgive me, Niels. In my intellectual ardor I confuse enthusiasm for manners. But this urgency – is it the eastern front?”
“The Russians overwhelm us. Their sacrifice of lives...horrifying.”
“And Peenemünde – your Munich-Manhattan Project?”
“...Confidentially, old friend, I fear we’re lost – we’ll not achieve fission in time. Oppenheimer’s a massive intellect, but your desk communicates ideas more ably than he.”
“Heisenberg?”
“Is German through and through, with the dichotomy of consequences that implies. He and Oppenheimer despise each other.”
“Would Archduke Ferdinand intervene?”
“Heisenberg cannot get past their differences of the late ‘20s...Franz won’t approach him.”
“Then perhaps my poor manners may be forgiven – I can help.” He reaches to retrieve the nightjar. “My father gave me this skeleton when I was fifteen, and convinced physics would be my future. It engendered a metamorphosis of obsessions within me, and today – well, an American periodical recently named me the ‘father of modern paleontology’.” An evanescent smile.
“Still, I’ve maintained a keen interest in physics, and have experienced epiphanies of principles that would allow the interconnecting of all fields of mathematics to the enhancement of each – my unified fields theory. And startling concepts emerge, ones that advance your work – ideas on mass-energy equivalences, utilizing the speed of light as a constant. Please, consider my elegant equation, and listen a few moments longer...”
 
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