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300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #24 -- READ FIRST POST!

Discussion in 'Writing Challenges' started by Ursa major, Jan 1, 2017.

  1.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    18,542
    Location:
    England

    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 2017 by their respective authors,
    who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here


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

    Entries must be posted no later than JANUARY the 31st 2017,
    at 11:59 pm GMT



    Voting will close FEBRUARY the 15th, 2017 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:

    Horse head nebular.jpg


    Image credit: Bryan Wigmore aka HareBrain


    This thread to be used for entries only.
    Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD

    Please do not "Like" posts in this thread

     
  2.  
    Vaz

    Vaz We're in the pipe, five by five.

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    821
    Location:
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Monolith


    A gift. A treasure; stolen from the bones of a civilization at the pit of the sea.

    Work of the underworld if you ask me.

    You see, they have all disappeared; three locals went first. The Bishop Ferlick, he who tossed his golden cross aside the moment it was wrestled from the morning tide. The old maid and her mute boy went next. Quiet as creeping fog.

    Six who came from Elysia to chronicle "it" are also missing. A certain Prince was among them. Worms of ice chill my insides at the thought of the Elys marching, spears crowned by the sun, to flower the land with our blood.


    I tossed the scroll aside, dust clouds around my jacket like moths. Damn headache, it brought that with it too; my skull is a field of stampeding stallions.

    A little rest. A break from these tomb like Archives.

    I shut my eyes.

    Hooves pound, like thunder striking stone. The ground is hard and flat beneath my feet.

    I can see it, and ... Oh gods. Those it has taken. Have become ....

    I touch the cool flat of the stone.

    To join them.



     
  3.  
    Cathbad

    Cathbad Weird Guy with Ugly Gray Beard

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2015
    Messages:
    4,590
    Location:
    Everywhere.
    Of Gods, Goddesses and Heroes


    “Can anyone tell me what deity this statue represents? Yes, Linda?”

    “Since it’s a horse’s head, I’d say Epona! Her duty was as guide to her followers through life, and to all who died and were on their way to the Otherworld.”

    “Excellent! Yes, this is where she fell. Does anyone know her tale? Jimmy?”

    “She was a Defender of Mankind.”

    “Yes, she was. Among those first gods and goddesses who met those who would war against mankind, when the Barrier shattered.

    “During the battle, she saw the immortal hero Cúchulainn, bearing the fearsome spear Gáe Bulg. She knew no mortal could stand against that weapon.

    “So, she fought her way to the hero, then feinted in a most unexpected manner – allowing him to skewer her!

    “With the spear within her, and yet in Cúchulainn’s grasp, she pushed all her formidable powers into the spear, already filled with much magic!

    “The resulting explosion not only destroyed the Gáe Bulg, but killed both the goddess and the hero.

    “As close as the Final Battle was, many believe the absence of the Gáe Bulg played a major role in its outcome.”

    “Teacher?”

    “Yes, Bobby?”

    “Why don’t we have an Epona Day, then?”

    The teacher smiled. “Perhaps we should. But it was the powerful god Lugh who led the Armies of Light, against those who sought to destroy us. That is why we celebrate Lughnasadh. Does anyone know what his festival was originally celebrated as? Yes, Marcia?”

    “It was a Harvest Festival!”

    “Very good, young lady! Okay. Much has changed since the day we learned the deities of the Tuatha were real. Can anyone name ways the world has changed since the Day of Revelation and the Tuatha Wars?”

    Everyone raised their hands. The teacher smiled proudly.
     
  4.  
    Wruter

    Wruter Aquarius

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    323
    It Was a Long Way

    "Come on, old girl. Almost there now." He urged his tired horse up the steep incline of the scrub-covered hillside then drew to a halt at the summit, to gaze down. The heart of the valley spread before him in a vast dry basin, bordered by sparse clinging stands of dying forest. He gazed, squinting against the pink glare of the setting sun, but saw nothing of what he had known once before.

    The valley was deserted, an empty wasteland, hollow and lifeless. The village where he had been born and raised was gone. Gone as if it had simply dried up and blown away on the wind, taking all of his old friends and family, and his happiness along with it. Gone as completely as though it had never really been, much like his youth itself.

    For a time he rested there, letting his horse graze, trying not to see ghosts everywhere he looked. But the dark of the night was coming down fast, over him and over the world, like a shroud drawing across the dead valley, and he needed to find shelter. Eventually, he mounted up once more.

    "Come on, old girl, time to be moving on," he said softly, maybe to the horse, or maybe to himself.
     
  5.  
    Peter V

    Peter V Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    London
    A Gift from the Gods?
    “Seriously. They look to beat us at our own game? Burn it and all those within.” Agamemnon regards the great horse’s head which has appeared outside the city overnight.

    “But brother, the scholars say it is solid through and besides, what if it is a gift from the Gods?” Menelaus cautions.

    “For ten years we spilled our blood on these cursed shores. Where were the Gods then? This is Trojan trickery I tell you; the last desperate revenge of defeated mortals. Have it destroyed.”

    In the distance, thunder rumbles even though the skies are cloudless and Menelaus nervously regards the heavens. Agamemnon rolls his eyes at his brother’s fear.

    “It is just thunder.”

    From above Zeus looks down upon the two, a low growl of anger issues from his throat.

    “You should not get so annoyed father.” Apollo smiles and looks upon the Greeks as they set about the destruction of the great horses head.

    It is not theirs to dispose of.” Zeus replies. Indignant.

    “No, Agamemnon speaks true when he says it is not a gift from the Gods.” Apollo laughs. “But it was
    you who dropped it, so technically maybe...”

    “I was winning.” Zeus snaps.

    Apollo shrugs his shoulders. “We will never know, now that you have dropped your knight.”


    “I was going to gift them this game as a reward but I will be Titan damned if I am going to now.” Zeus knocks the chessboard to the floor, the remaining pieces scatter but no more fall to Earth.

    “I will find a more appreciative people.”
     
  6.  
    ErikB

    ErikB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    Messages:
    299
    Broken Toy.


    Ondrosaron enjoyed the little people. They were so cute in their little buildings and little cars. A whole world in miniature! There were animals and trees, all tiny too. A small blue planet full of tiny little organisms.

    The largest creature on the planet was not even the length of his arm. A blue whale the little folk called it. So he came to the tiny world periodically and studied the little insect-like people.

    There was a sculptor named Nic Fidian-Green who made large horse head sculptures and this gave Ondrosaron an idea.

    He could recall a cute ornament in the back of a vehicle. A little animal with a head on a pendulum that nodded and bobbed as the vehicle drove through traffic or came to a stop.

    Ondrosaron liked the toy. But he could not simply place a foreign object on the ground. It would stir up the inhabitants something fierce! They were already obsessed with aliens and extraterrestrials and other similar notions.

    Ondrosaron designed a bobblehead horse statue that would sway and move in the wind. Then aiming his mind fusion interceder at the sculptor's house he downloaded the plans into the human's head.

    Nic awoke with a great inspiration. One that was to become an homage to his equestrian passion.

    He began to sculpt and create the Artemis horse. It would be Goodwood's Horse of Selene. But as Nic progressed Ondrosaron did not bother to check in on the tiny human artist. Perhaps he should have.

    The completed horse was static. The pendulum not built in. His grand toy broken!

    He sighed shaking his head. Artists! So fickle.

    Oh well... It still made a fair statue. But next time he might just place his toy ideas himself. Humans always break their toys.
     
  7.  
    Heijan Xavier

    Heijan Xavier Not scared of boogie man. It's been me all along.

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Location:
    Raleigh
    The Gift of Pure Contamination

    50 years ago, The Native Sons gave us the Horsehead as a gift of forgiveness. The rusty “Tears” were an homage to the wilderness we destroyed, and a reminder to cherish nature. They were also a radioactive poison that destroyed everyone and everything. Very clever, I can’t blame them.

    9 barriers and 700 square miles later, the plague was finally contained, but no human has stepped foot anywhere near the Horsehead for 50 years. Expeditions started surviving Area-9 about 43 years ago, none have survived Area-8 though. Maybe we’ll be the first.

    Jordy and I traverse Area-9, a lifeless wasteland of slimy grey earth, rank orange sky, and black brackish waters. God knows what Area 8 is like. The gate keepers, knowing we won’t return, can’t bear to look at us; no human has survived beyond this gate for 50 years.

    The final gate opens to reveal a pristine landscape though. Stunning azure skies meet lush prairies far off along the horizon. So clear is the visibility that we see the Area-7 barrier one hundred miles away. An extinct species of honeybee settles onto a flower in a breezy field of vibrant lilacs. A doe leads her fawns to drink beside a she-wolf and her young pups. Their little pink tongues tickle the water and the crystalline pond ripples in harmonious vibration with the wind-blown meadows.

    “Twenty minutes before our suits fail. Better transmit some samples back to base. As it is we’ll be a week in decontamination.” Jordy radios, jarring me back to reality.

    Contamination readings are off the charts but I don’t want to leave. I’m mesmerized.

    “How is this possible?” I think out loud.

    Jordy laughs,

    “Ha! What do you expect? Humans haven’t lived here for 50 years.”
     
  8.  
    farntfar

    farntfar I'm looking forward to looking back on 2016

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,424
    Location:
    France.
    A condition of acceptance

    So this is it, then, Mr. Far. And even finer in reality than in your holoimage.
    Now, as you know, you were invited to produce a celebration of man’s imminent entry into the Galactic Federation, to be placed in the square of Galaxy House.
    I’m afraid some of the committee are questioning your theme.
    I’m sure you know that there are other artists in the running, and it has to be said that several other entries seem more relevant.
    Rumbolt’s work, for instance, whilst rather fussy, shows several scenes of earth’s culture; orchestras, jazz clubs, the superbowl; all of which are appreciated by other races.
    Whereas Chen has chosen to represent our involvement in Federation science.
    We are intrigued to understand therefore why you simply show a horse.
    It is a noble beast certainly, and represents a simpler time, perhaps.
    Or... please explain.

    Thank you Chancellor. It does, in some ways represent the past, but perhaps not in the way you think.
    I understand, that some races oppose our gaining full membership, on account of our aggressive history.
    This piece addresses that ...

    .. Ah! If I may hazard a guess.
    The horse represents our ancient warrior times.
    The fact that horses are extinct, and that its head is removed indicates that that aspect of us is dead.

    A very pretty spin, Chancellor. One you must give to the Galactic Council. (I shall invent an alternative title.)
    But no.
    Is it true as rumoured, sir, that Professor Krakow has found an application of unified field theory which could explode every star simultaneously?
    Please don’t answer. I’m sure it’s classified.

    My lord Chancellor. I believe you appreciate old earth cinema.
    Know then that its proper title is an offer they can’t refuse.
     
  9.  
    Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,779
    Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
    Layover

    They are here again, the voices, the aliens, the unseen inquisitors. I continue to fill out the papers entrusted to my care, not unaware of the irony of being the object of questions rather than the one who gathers and arranges the answers of others.

    The papers come from another department, where hundreds of miserable supplicants are interviewed by kind and sympathetic evaluators to determine if they are worthy of the state’s beneficence. I never speak to the clients, I never see them, I make no decisions. I merely transcribe their answers onto the proper forms, so that my superiors may render their judgments. My handwriting is excellent, my accuracy without peer. I do not allow the aliens to disturb my work, no matter how intimidating their curiosity.

    “Tell us of horses,” they say.

    “They are animals,” I answer. Here, in my tiny office, there is no one to hear me. No doubt that is why I have been selected out of billions of others for study. “They are powerful and swift.”

    “No,” they say. “We know all this. Tell us what they mean to you.”

    I really have no reason to speak aloud to them, as I am certain that they can read my mind, but it amuses me to do so and makes the time pass quickly. “I guess which one will be fastest. If I am correct, I gain wealth. If I am wrong, I lose it.”

    “This pleases you.” It is not a question.

    They know the narcotic pleasure of winning, yes; but much more than that, they know, as those whose names appear on my forms know, as those whose faces are forever unseen by me know, the ecstasy of loss, and the final, inevitable, ineluctable proof of the malevolence of the universe.
     
  10.  
    Calliopenjo

    Calliopenjo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    USA
    Treasure Left Behind

    I looked at the monstrosity as I remembered the first night upon my return. The bodiless mount reminded me of my own dragorse that I lost during a long battle. I convinced myself, without him, my treasure to you would not exist.

    It started in a land that had been taken by greed, by blood, and by death. Margese wanted their land back and they had the will to fight.

    Heart and soul won over might and force. Man and woman fought on grisly land. The sun rose to show limbs and bodies scattered about in pools of blood. The sound of insects and birds would have been preferred over the clanking of swords and battle cries.

    Both sides fought even as warriors dwindled. The ones who argued over it had no idea what the battle meant. Truth should have been written on that piece of metal. Instead of that gibberish engraved on that plate the great war reflected understanding and partnership.

    Understand my child, I did not tell you this so you could brag that your mother fought in the great war to free Margese. I told you to help prevent another war. The day the sun would rise reflecting trees and flowers, the sounds of nature should be striven for.

    I cherished the day they told us to go home. To rebuild what had been lost, burned, and killed. The possibility to love again, the ones left behind. An opportunity to learn to live without fear to trust another.

    I put my memories and experiences on these scrolls as my treasure to you, my child. Learn from them. Feel the emotions. Do not ignore them as woman’s ramblings.

    I left these for you to know what should have been written. Never forget that any fight has consequences. Never.
     
  11.  
    Cory Swanson

    Cory Swanson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Messages:
    256
    Dear Edna,

    I hope you’re doin’ good. Sorry I haven't written much lately. Things’ve been a little crazy.

    The other day I caught my dogs sniffin’ at something’ so I went over to have a look. It was a big ol’ horse head. Smelled pretty ripe.

    Not much left but skull and leather. Vermin had cleaned it out pretty good. I was lookin’ around in there and got my head stuck.

    Oh God, the smell was really somethin’. Just about blew my socks off. I pulled and prodded at that thing, but it just wouldn’t budge. I started to get a little scared, but bein’ as I could see just fine, I trotted back to town to get some help.

    When I got there, I could just tell somethin’ was wrong. Everything looked real small through the head and people was screamin’ at me like I was a monster or somethin’. I kept tryin’ to ask for help, but my voice came out all horse and terrible. Folks started chasin’ me, so I galloped to the hills.

    Even the hills were startin’ to look real small to me. They gave me some shelter and all, but I could tell that the folks from town was regroupin’. There was only one thing I could think to do, so I reached to the sky and grabbed at a star. It held my weight fine, so I kept climbin’ till I was safe.

    Since then, I been tryin’ to get this darn thing off. Rubbed it against Saturn’s rings, no dice. Tried to dip it in the fires of Betelgeuse, only got my hair singed.

    So that's the news from my end. Tell Ma I won't be home for thanksgiving. Not that you all would want me around, what with the smell.

    Take Care,
    Earl
     
  12.  
    Old_Man_Steve2016

    Old_Man_Steve2016 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Messages:
    125
    Who lives, decides your history
    The hovercraft floated into the parking lot and landed. Many tourists piled out and began following their guides towards the giant horse statue.
    Once at the crest of the hill, the guides stopped walking and faced the tourists. The tourists were of many races, colors, and sizes of the Longatian Stellar Contemporian, and most were human.

    The lead tour guide, a tall native Longatian began his explanation. "¤¬±±ЏЛ Ha Ha Ґ†‗“сххи∑” and ff□fl⅜₾шŅ".

    The woman next to him translated his words into English. "This statue is in commemoration of the defeat of Adolf Caesar by the combined forces of
    Napoleon Putin and the entire Bolivarian militia, on Earth time July 4th, 1776. Caesar's Pantech tank legions had a superior firepower advantage over the Allied forces, but the horse cavalry of Napoleon Putin had the advantage of maneuverability."

    The lead tour guide spoke again. "F ˉηςχļõõçė ha ha ¦¥µ®©ë™∏⅛≤ or ││fl№"
    The woman translated again. "The Bolivarian militia was afraid to engage the tanks, but Napoleon Putin stood heroically on this spot and spoke his famous line. "Only fools rush in. Therefore, we sneak in quietly and break them before they spot us." He knew the Pantech tanks had poor visual range in bad weather. So they waited for the fog to roll in. The tank crews couldn't see them and were wrecked with only one Allied casualty."

    The guide gestured with his fourth and second arms. He then spun in a circle. The translator "The best the historical records state is he forgot he was not supposed to drink from the lit molotov cocktail."

    "What about the sharknadoes?" asked a boy about eight years old.
    The Longatian laughed. The translator said, "That was a fictional movie. It never happened in Old Earth's history."
     
  13.  
    Luiglin

    Luiglin Dark Lord's biographer aka Stuart Orford

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    765
    Location:
    West Midlands, UK
    Behold!

    Behind him and covered in a sheet of black silk, stood the statue. It had taken much looting and saving to get here; not an easy task considering his tribe but for once, they'd listened.

    Drums rolled a heady beat, their booming rhythm reaching fever pitch as the cloth fell to reveal, for the first time ever, their God.

    He offered down to hell a prayer of thankfulness.

    Silence.

    He risked a peep from beneath his priestly cowl. The tribe looked on; confusion showing plainly on faces normally only accustomed to vicious snarls and thunderous brows.

    “Behold! Our God!” He cried.

    A few mumbles.

    “Are you worthy to worship our demonic Lord? Are you worthy to bathe the ground with blood to sate his monstrous hunger?”

    Head scratching was not the answer he expected.

    “Are you not in awe at his grotesque form?”

    A few shakes of the head.

    He singled out a brawny warrior. “You! Does his baleful visage not fill you with bloodlust?”

    Instantly a space appeared around the man as his peers subconsciously stepped away. His scarred face crimson, the warrior scuffed his feet in embarrassment.

    “Well, speak!”

    “Err, it's not like how I imagined him.”

    “It's not like what?”

    “Err, sorry your Holiness, he's big and that but I thought he had… you know… lots of tentacles and claws and fangs and eyes and stuff.”

    “He has!”

    The warrior sheepishly pointed.

    He glanced over his shoulder. The statue stood resplendent in the afternoon sun. Sighing deeply, he beckoned over the foreman.

    “Glorious, isn't it.” The man beamed. “Our forge’s finest work.”

    “That's not what I ordered,” said the Priest.

    “Yes it is, look,” the man held out a clipboard, “craft and install a horse's head statue.”

    “Idiot, I wanted a statue of our Demon God, Ahorsulszed!”
     
  14.  
    Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    In your bedroom wardrobe...
    Oh, Jump, and I’ll Come to You, My Love

    To run with white horses, white horses, white horses. Oh, how I long to ride them with you.

    Because the cleats of life have left boot mark scars on my skin, and cast my torn petals to the swine of chagrin. But I still believe after all, I still believe I’ll be dressed and refreshed, tumbled and polished; my thorns removed, and they’ll carry you to me.

    I still believe you’ll come.

    They’ll scoop me up on kelp saddles once more, galloping in foamy blue lynchets; show me sovereign redwoods turning to matchsticks, the Andes abraded to sand. We’ll gallop in helical curlicues along gulfs that stretch from Kerala to Montague, the mangroves of Nok and the Firth of Forth.

    Together they’ll drag and they’ll draw us to countless lagoons, past archipelagos, the Strait of Hormuz. Our xylophone bones tangled in each other's embrace, forever we’ll dance in a damnable grace.

    Till they reach down and gather me from the fount of the earth to the seat of the gods, I’ll wait for your splash, made coralline thereof; remain faithful to you, my peninsula love. I’ll await your anemone kisses with hope glittering in my pearly eyes; to run with me, on horses, white horses we’ll ride, to crash with white horses upon the same frilly coastlines.

    For now, though, I’ll abide right here in the deeps, suspended by jellyfish in midwater streams, ensconced in the cove under midwinter moon-gleam. I’ll sing and abide on white horses, white horses. I’ll dance a puppet’s jig in brine, full fathom five, as the fish buoy me up and I feed them my eyes.

    Because I still believe - though you didn’t jump, too - I still believe you’ll leap into the blue.

    White horses, white horses, white horses…
     
  15.  
    Aquilonian

    Aquilonian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    82
    The Awakener.


    Close up, the head seemed sadly helpless, speared on its iron shaft like an ogre’s trophy. She should have brought a coat- it was bitter cold upon the hilltop, and the sky threatened. She wished for rain to drive away the other visitors, especially the tall silver-haired man who kept looking at her. This wasn’t what she’d planned. She felt pathetic and ridiculous.

    Then she heard him. The voice was like someone speaking from inside a bell. She thought at first it was the wind, till he repeated.

    “You may approach me!”

    Her knees trembled, heart thumping against her ribs as she walked slowly toward the black stone plinth. The man was definitely staring at her now.

    “You may make your offering!”

    The man had not looked up- the voice was for her ears only. She fumbled in her shoulder bag for the oats. Make it rain, please make them go away…

    “Why do you hesitate?”

    “They’ll say I made a mess...”

    “Your embarrassment is stronger than your love.”

    “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come… “

    “Give it to me. Give me your embarrassment.”

    The moment stretched. Then the man stared, disgusted, as the girl poured the oats onto the grass. He was about to protest- then thought better as a wordless wail rose from her lips. The heavens opened and the tourists fled.

    On the tenth day of torrential rain, a soldier helping to evacuate the nearby town glanced upwards as lightning struck. The monument leaned sideways. Then the hill erupted, an immense emergence from beneath.

    That was a century ago. The Awakener’s monument now crowns the hill. Her hands raised, her dark aureole of hair sparkling with rain. And the God roams where he pleases, whole and free again. Praise him!
     
  16.  
    Cat's Cradle

    Cat's Cradle Time, now, to read...

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1,743
    Caterina and the Demons

    “Maybe we’ll ask Caterina how swallowing that needle felt!”

    Quoting my husband seems a good way to start this story. You see, ten years ago I made a terrible mistake involving his beloved Caterina (a middle-aged tabby, and his pride and joy – though you’d think his faithful wife might’ve held that lofty position).

    One evening, I’d finished darning Reginald’s socks, then forgotten to stow the needle and thread. We later found Caterina choking – she’d swallowed the thread, then started the needle. Reginald rushed over, grabbed his princess, and extracted that piercing sliver. I received such a tongue-lashing.

    Thereafter, whenever Reginald perceived the slightest transgression on my part, he’d holler, “The milk’s soured because you forgot to put it away – just like Caterina’s half-swallowed needle!”, or some similar chastisement.

    I thought I’d never hear the end of it, this hurtful mantra.
    #

    We started traveling after Caterina passed; Reginald fleeing a broken heart, surely. Late last year, in a field near Roanoke, the strangest statue mysteriously appeared: a gigantic horse head on an obsidian altar. Reginald insisted on going, to take photographs for his memories album (pages 1-19: Caterina photos; page 25: our wedding).

    Well, didn’t he cut his finger peeling the covering from a Polaroid snapshot. And didn’t blood drip onto the altar … didn’t that statue’s mouth creak open, spewing an irresistible horde of fiery, transdimensional demons.

    Later, in our hotel room, Reginald discovered I hadn’t packed his antidiarrheals. “Just like you forgot that needle Caterina swallowed!” said he.

    And didn’t I round on him, riposting, “I’d love to ask Caterina’s opinion of the man who helped demons invade the Earth!”

    He looked thunderstruck ... then horrified, as he dashed for the toilet.
    #

    I held this riposte ever ready throughout the years – it shuts him up every time!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  17.  
    Ashleyne. B. Watts

    Ashleyne. B. Watts Watts: A Matter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    395
    The First Unicorn

    I hid inside the oven, listening to the clash of metal. I was only eight, but I felt ashamed of hiding away as my castle was being attacked. I was too scared to move.

    Ponto the witch came for me after the noises died down. She covered my eyes and led me from the castle. "I want my mum."

    "She's gone," Ponto replied, "but we'll avenge her. Open your eyes, and try not to be frightened."

    My eyes opened. Betsy, my horse, trotted in front of me, but... "What happened to her head?"

    "The new king, Roderton, took it. He wears it on his sword hilt."

    My stomach turned. Tears loosed from my eyes. "Who else survived?"

    "Just me and you." She held me as grief shook me. "I know it hurts. Betsy shall help us avenge the queen."

    For weeks we followed Betsy, over mountains, through forest, until we reached the castle of snow.

    Ponto said, "I need to summon The False King. Do you remember what to say?"

    I nodded, then watched as she spoke to the guards and was let into the castle.

    King Roderton came from the castle, an armoured crowd behind him. He smirked. "You wish to challenge me?"

    "I am the rightful king," I said, "and I challenge you to single combat. The winner shall take the crown."

    "As you wish." A guard passed him the sword with Betsy's head atop. "Choose your weapon."

    "I choose Betsy."

    His blade shot up Betsy's neck, through her forehead and into his throat.

    His guards accepted me as their king, though the crown fell past my ears. Ponto sewed Betsy's head back on so I could ride her home.

    I sent guards ahead to clean up in preparation for my mum's funeral, and my coronation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
  18.  
    Hugh

    Hugh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    65
    The Pier

    After the factory shut down, I did not have much to do. Fortunately, small omens and intuitions showed me the way forward. This was how I came to realise that the pier, being neither land nor sea, functions as a gateway between realities, if approached correctly. I thought that accessing this gateway would enable me to find answers to the various questions that had bothered me much of my life. Unfortunately when I got there I found that it was closed. This was such bad luck. To make matters worse a particular sea gull took a dislike to me. This seemed more than just coincidence: there was something decidedly evil in the way it looked at me. That’s the trouble with uncovering occult secrets: as soon as you get a handle on something, the powers that be resent this and home in on you. I knew that I was in great danger, not just for my life, but for my soul. I ran for shelter to the nearest café. Unfortunately they refused to serve me. The sea-demon still had its eye on me and was circling menacingly. It was getting dark now, and I realised that I would not be able to get home. I just couldn’t risk leading them to my house. I decided to pass the night in the subway by the underground car park. This was a mistake. Several members of some urban tribe thought that I was looking at them funny. I had thought that the blonde one might be a messenger from God. It got very cold in the early hours of the morning without my hat and coat. The bruising to my ribs and face began to hurt. When I eventually got home, my wife burst into tears.
     
  19.  
    johnnyjet

    johnnyjet Western PA Country Boy

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The Large Horse

    The large horse appeared one spring day wandering the marketplace of our town. It was the lunch hour and the streets were crowded with hungry people. Though it was a docile creature, most went out of their way to avoid it.

    It roamed the streets, never accosting anyone, never incurring any damage. True, it did cause some significant traffic snarls, but that could happen on any day.

    Being retired and with no fixed timetable, I followed the large horse, albeit at a safe distance. I did not want to provide it with any cause for aggression. I estimated its height from hoof to mane at twenty-five feet. Its fur was a fine and beautiful golden hue. It appeared well-groomed, as though by a loving trainer. Who would let such a fabulous beast wander freely?

    As the afternoon sun dropped, I followed it into our tiny park across from the municipal building. It stopped when a small child approached. The boy, no more than six years old, held out his hand, offering the horse an apple. Before he got too close, his mother snatched him away.

    Eventually the horse laid down, covering nearly half of the park's expanse. It appeared to go to sleep. After a while I realized I was hungry and left.

    The next day I heard the large horse was found dead in the park. After they examined the body, they systematically carved it up. They gave horse meat to the homeless shelters. They donated its fur to cancer hairpiece organizations. A taxidermist preserved its head and placed it on a pedestal at the center of our park. I visited the park often, each time constructing a new and different story about the life and purpose of the large horse.
     
  20.  
    Glen

    Glen Who are you people?

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    717
    Location:
    Sydney
    Glue

    ‘We’re cutting it a bit fine!’ Enrico, Chamberlain to the God Emperor (deceased) on Earth indicates the funeral procession closing on Pyramid Square. ‘They’re almost here!’

    High Priest Paulo looks down at his slippers.

    ‘Where are our alchemists, pyro-technicians, and actors?’

    ‘Executed!’

    ‘What?!!’

    ‘We can’t have the reincarnation of the God Emperor appear from behind a curtain with a fire-cracker, wearing a mask! And they knew too much!’

    ‘Listen to them chanting!’ the Chamberlain says, his voice rising an octave. ‘The citizens will bring the body of His Divinity onto this platform in seconds, and if they don’t get a reincarnation, they’ll all know about our sacred / secular conspiracy and we’ll be killed...’

    ‘God Emperors are not easy to find you know! He’s a bit of a one-off!’ Paulo defends himself. ‘What have you been doing!?’

    ‘...far more slowly than the hasty despatch you’ve given our Plan B! And funerals of this magnitude don’t organise themselves!’ Enrico succumbs to fear and bites the knuckles of his fist.

    ‘Perhaps we deserve a slow death...’

    The Chamberlain moans.

    ‘...we abused the presence of His Eminence. He asked for so little, just fruit really, yet we take everything from our people. We have been greedy.’

    The citizens spread across the square, the pallbearers ascend the stairs and place the massive bier on the ceremonial platform. They raise their arms to the sky and chant for the replacement God as foretold.

    Nothing happens.

    Then the sky splits, trumpeting heralds descend a rainbow cascade, the God Emperor is impaled with light, transformed, and his re-incarnation takes his rightful place on the ceremonial throne, takes a banana from the pile of offerings.

    ‘Time for change?’ The high priest considers the possibility of an altruistic world.

    ‘No. Business as Usual.’
     
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