300-word Writing Challenge #30 (July 2018) -- VICTORY TO THE JUDGE!

Status
Not open for further replies.

johnnyjet

Western PA High Tech Country Boy
Joined
Nov 11, 2011
Messages
1,491
Location
Pennsylvania
The Unmasquerade

The Lost Baron, Aristillus, returned home late in the feral dog days of summer. He put his mask on before crossing the border. He stopped his dragon on the hill overlooking the lush purple platter trees, green pines, and multi-hued grasses.

He arrived unannounced, stirring excitement among his remaining servants. Their masks were different, but he knew their voices. He tethered his dragon and locked his wagon in the shed.

His brother and uncle long since passed away, only his invalid aunt remained alive. He told her of his adventures and the fortune he brought back, especially the marvelous automated machines. She nodded, not fully understanding.

Aristillus held a ball to renew old friendships. He wondered how many would come, considering his long absence. However, he was pleasantly surprised when most came.

During the ball, one man stood alone by the family portrait, his clothing dark, his mask a Grim Reaper's. The other guests avoided him.

As the ball ended, Aristillus called for all masks to be removed. No one moved. Only the most intimate exposed their faces to one another.

He dropped his silver mask onto a table.

After a moment, a woman tossed her jeweled mask down.

She said, "You're not so bad to look at."

"Thank you, Angela. And you as well."

One by one, the others followed. Gradually they became accustomed to one another, associating unfamiliar faces with familiar voices.

"What about him?"

Aristillus went to the man by the portrait.

"Please meet my new automaton. Katu, remove your mask."

The automaton stripped off his mask, revealing a faceless bulb that somehow seemed to be staring directly into the soul of each of them.

They grabbed their masks and left in great haste.

As he suspected, he had no real friends.
 

Starbeast

Benevolent Galaxy Being
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,016
Location
Illinois
Vader's Elevator
"After you repair this lift, let no one use it, except myself, and the Emperor."

"You got nothing to worry about, Lord Vader."

"Soytanlee."

#

"Nice work, Larry."

"Thanks. Say Moe. What does the Emperor look like?"

"There's his picture on the wall."

"He looks like Gary Oldman as Dracula."

"Snappy dresser though."

#

"Let's break for lunch."

"OK, Curly."

"Oh boy, eats. Hey! You can't come in here."

"I'm, your Emperor."

"Impossible. You look like an undercooked chicken nugget."

"How dare...!"

Beepa Beep

"Look! A mouse droid."

"Moe. Larry. The cheese!"

"What's with him?"

"Mice droids, make him crazy."

"Moe. Larry. The cheese!"

"Look out mister!"

POKE SLAP BONK

#

"I love Havarti cheese."

"Never mind that. Where'd you hide the body?"

"I put him in there."

"You numbskull. That's a garbage chute."

"Larry. Open the hatch. HEY MISTER! GRAB THIS ROPE! Pull him up boys."

#

"He's stuck."

"Get some grease, mattress head."

"IDIOTS! I'll asphyxiate you."

"Ohhh, ungrateful eh." POKE

"Oww!" chomp

"Neeaouch! He bit me."

SPLAT "Take that!"

"Attaboy, Larry."

"That was my pie. Oh well. How about, hot sauce?"

"AHHHHHHH!"

"Give him the works."

#

"He's had enough. Use the crowbar..."

KLANG "OWWW!"

"You dummy. I meant get him out of there."

"Oh."

"AAAAAaaaaaaaiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" THUD

"I didn't say shove him back in." SLAP

"We gotta get him outta there. It's garbage day."

"You're right, Larry. Come on fellas."

#

A wall explodes, the Emperor floats in. "Where are you three?!"

"Emperor. What happened?"

"Vader. Those maintenance men tried to kill me."

"I saw them by the Garbage Smashers. We'll use my elevator."

"Detention level. This button."

#

CRASH!

"Hey Moe. Someone used Vader's lift."

"Get em' outta there."

"It's the chicken nugget guy, with Vader."

"Fools! He's your Emperor."

"Don't be scared fellas, just run."
 
Last edited:

Perpetual Man

Tim James
Supporter
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
6,273
The Impossibility of Dating in a Modern Age.

The date did not start as well as I would have liked when she turned up in a bondage suit.

I’m sure some of you who would not have found this so bad, I know what you bookish sorts are like, nudge nudge, wink wink.

It was the fact she had a beard; thick grey hairs escaped the tight mask as though they needed to breathe.

Of course, I say she, who knows what gender it was that lurked beneath the clinging rubber, the form was, to say the least, androgynous.

“Umm,” I said, “You don’t look much like your picture.” Master of small talk, that’s me.

“Thatppps ok,” she said in succulent tones, “You don’t either. You thtill loo thexy though.”

“A week next Thursday,” I responded, happy to have been able to answer.

“Are you thtoopid or thomthink?” I tried to imagine that she sounded seductive behind the leather.

My normally over active imagination failed like a shot duck.

I realised I had not answered, “No, my name’s David.”

The smouldering bloodshot eyes glared at me from the glamourous sunken pits. “You’re jutht taking the pith!”

“I do have a sister, yes.”

I proffered the beautiful bunch of roses, and she snorted behind the mask. Perhaps it was an exclamation of delight, but it sounded like a pig overdosing on meth.

“Thith date is horrendouth!” she spat – the inside of that mask must have been rank, “It is a mithtake. I’m leaving!”

After such a compliment I wondered why she turned and stormed away, suit squeaking as she left, the rose tossed over her shoulder, along with a few words, “You’re a jackath!”

Of courseI am! I reached up, scratched one of my long ears, took a bite from a carrot.

Dating, it’s so hard?
 

RJM Corbet

Deus Pascus Corvus
Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
2,804
Location
Devon UK
THE GUARDIAN ON THE THRESHOLD

You have to get past me.

You understand the principle? The horus and the nexus? The hourglass? More you expand to fill the horus, more will you need diminish to pass the nexus -- sand through the hourglass.

If the sand is fine enough -- if you are fine enough -- you will pass through -- but upward, not downward -- and once through, there will be new expansion, rising to higher levels.

Oh, it has happened so often in your journey. So often trying to board the aeroplane with a grand piano in your kit; so many times let the piano go to rise and go on. Growing. Learning.

So many times the narrow door in the wall -- desperate escape when all is lost -- found only by the humbled soul, impassable with any baggage but a small bundle.

How often, on the other side, a new sunlit expanse of peace and plenty, the white unicorn grazing peacefully upon green hills and the gentle sounds of a distant flute. And there, inside the door, all you left behind, should you be fool enough to want to pick it up again.

You've done all that: flux and re-flux, birth, death and rebirth; inbreath and outbreath. Now at last the goal in sight.

But now, when you are most exhausted, when all your energy is spent -- now here I stand. How will you get past me? Your power could never move me. Anyway, you have climbed the dark cliffs: exhausted, naked, your mind is gone, your hair grown wild and nails like claws.

How will you pass?

I test your last and final fear.

The final test: your faith and strength of love to change me into a butterfly that rests upon your shoulder as you cross the rainbow bridge ...
 
Last edited:

LittleStar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2011
Messages
778
My Dorian Gray

It’s like a save point in a video game, a time where I was too scared to make the choice, so now I don’t have to. It’s always there, a back-up in case something goes wrong. My safety net, squirreled away in the attic under a filthy, moth-eaten tarp, only seeing the light of day when regret and what-if’s fill my thoughts.

I stare at it now, a mirror reflection with two me’s looking back. One happy, innocent, still wearing that stupid hat she liked so much; I can almost picture her too, hugging his middle, laughing the way only she could.

The other is a world apart, worn, wrinkled, scared. Dark rings from all the late-night fights, and a handful scars from her lashing out, even a fresh bruise closing an eye.

It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out which is the real me. There’s no way he would seek solace staring at my reflection, wondering what if he’d made that choice different.

No, that’s all me.

Bitterness clouds the mirror; fear, uncertainty. My fingers twitch, pull themselves back, when I reach for the frame. It would be so easy; one touch, I would be him again, with her arms around me, and breathing her summer breath and honey laughter.

But then… what if his life gets even worse? Something different goes wrong, then I lose everything good I have here… and there are good things; even if you have to search hard for them, there’re always good things.

Our wedding, this house, the dog, the sleepless nights from baby watch instead of fighting.

I snort a laugh in the dusty darkness. If only I had a save point, in case I needed to get back.

But it was a one time deal.
 

Peter V

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2016
Messages
468
Location
London
A River Runs Through It

A bright flash, followed a few seconds later by a shockwave and the streets turned to chaos. Horns blared as cars crunched, whilst those still standing ran in all directions. Sam Cooper pushed a small child roughly aside and stumbled into the lobby of the nearest office block, heart hammering.

The noise from the street cut off completely as the door closed behind him and Sam found himself alone in a plush, air-conditioned atrium. To the left, screens above the reception area repeatedly flashed a news bulletin; “State of emergency. Seek shelter immediately.” He placed his sample case of fake religious relics at his feet and adjusted his tie.

“Hello?”

No answer. It was strange that the building appeared empty but even more surprising no one had followed him inside. Sam turned and tugged at the door but it now appeared to be locked.

Puzzled, Sam approached the elevators. There were two floors above the lobby and nine below. I could have sworn this was a skyscraper. He entered the nearest and pressed the only illuminated button: Styx-River Associates. One floor down. That was good; below ground would definitely be safer.

The doors opened, revealing a swirling, red tinged, sulfurous mist and Sam’s first thought was that the building was on fire. Then it was all he could do not to scream as a huge, dark presence suddenly loomed out of the mist and stepped into the elevator.

“Samuel James Cooper.” It was not a question. “I am Charon, elevator operator. Pay me a coin lest you wish to travel within this conveyance for one hundred years.”

Trying desperately not to pee himself, Sam fished in his pocket and pulled out a quarter, which he pressed trembling into the creature’s scaly palm.

“Time for judgment.”

The elevator plummeted.
 

Phyrebrat

ba-Ba-ba-brat
Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
4,407
Location
In your bedroom wardrobe...
The Eternal Beachcomber

Old Tom, hunched over in a seafront shelter of baby blue wood and stippled white concrete, stared over the salty flats. An ancient beachcomber, familiar, picks over the graph of flotsam hurled onto the dirty sand by a long-forgotten storm.

In his solitude, Tom wonders; if I disappeared, would anyone miss me?

A seagull offers a squeeee of mourning by way of reply, but soon that joins the white noise of the sea’s constant building and collapsing.

Once again, alone.

Alone, but not. Like that day in tea-time October rain, waiting in the toy shop’s doorway for the N1 bus. He, a young teen, more worried about his violin getting wet than his feet, wondering what the hunched giant in oilskins could possibly want as he scoured the kerb gutters on the far side of glossy Monet roads.

He finally accepts his legacy; after all these years, all these men: the man on the roof, the rower in the skiff, the beggar in the rain, the shape on the golf course - on and on, till now - the beachcomber who approaches.

‘Whosoever walks the shores of Nok,
There shall stay to light the Dark,’

Words come from the pitch of the cowled face to his mind and Old Tom feels nothing so completely that the nothingness seems to have a purpose. And finally, the man is gone, leaving only his mantle.


The eternal footman has passed on his coat.

No one to share the sun that brims over the sea in morn, or douses and melts at dusk thereon, and though the souls who come his way are often looking for company, it’s never his.
Alone, he carries the beachcomber’s torch.
Neither dead nor alive, just a corpse with a beating heart.

And a scythe.
 
Last edited:

Shyrka

Friend of Ulysses
Joined
Jan 11, 2016
Messages
787
Hair Apparent

“Father, please!” she cried. The orc assault had begun. She had to try.

Thogrim Drakenheld, last of his line, turned. “I have made my decision. Daughters of stone do not fight, hearthkin or no. The Black Guardian will answer our pleas, as he did in aeons past.”

“Father, the Black Guardian is a myth! We must-”

“Silence!” The dwarf king roared, his eyes dancing with fire. “He will reclaim the Drakenhammer and lead us to victory. It has been written!” He turned to the guards at the head of the chamber. “Keep her safe,” he commanded.

---

The horn sounded in the deep, low and long, a mournful dirge that echoed amongst the galleries, penetrating even the royal chambers.

“The Ancestor’s Gate has fallen.”

Killi looked up, her vision blurred with tears. Forgemaster Darrowdun stood beside her. The old dwarf was virtually blind now but his ears worked well enough, it seemed.

“Father,” Killi whispered.

“Your father is a proud man, blinded by tradition, but you may yet save him.” The Forgemaster's voice was like the grinding of a whetstone.

“H-how?”

Darrowdun held out a granite chest. She was amazed the old dwarf could even lift it. “Open it.”

Killi lifted the polished lid. Inside lay a black war mask, hewn from a single piece of obsidian, and a pair of plain iron shears.

“The mask of the Black Guardian,” she whispered. “But-?”

“It was gifted to me long ago,” Darrowdun replied. “And now I pass it to you.”

“But… the warhost will never follow a daughter of stone, whatever mask she might wear! Who ever heard of a beardless Black Guardian?”

Darrowdun’s lips crinkled into a smile as he lifted his chin, his ancient whiskers shifting. “What do you think the shears are for?”
 
Last edited:

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
10,534
Location
nearly the New Forest
Orison – To The Lady of Six Aspects


Hear my prayer, Lady, and remember me.

When first I came to the monastery, a trembling frightened girl-child of five, your statue was clothed in your martial aspect – fanged mask, dragon-scale armour, kukri wielded in each hand. The other postulants all bowed in homage to you, their goddess. Not I. I hid my eyes and turned away from that image of battle and death.

Within the Postulant House, I sought teaching only of your kinder aspects, the Lady Compassionate, the Lady Benevolence.

Within the Novitiate House, I sat at the feet of the Lady of Wisdom and the Lady of Truth.

In the Temple, I tended the Acolyte’s Shrine and gazed at your gilded statue, where the symbols of your six aspects rested in your six hands, and ever I prayed that at the Day of Accepting, you would give me the Balance, so I could follow the Lady Giver-of-Judgements.

But when the Day came and I slept the drugged sleep, it was the kukri you held out to me. “You shall be my warrior,” you said. But I refused, and turned away from you again.

Six years have passed since that day, since I left the monastery. Six years of wandering the land, of finding plundered villages, butchered families, raped children. Six years of watching compassion, benevolence, wisdom, truth and judgement-giving lost.

Now I understand.

The men who have plundered and butchered and raped sleep in the valley below. They are many. I am one. But I am also many, if, Lady, you are with me.

I turned away from you twice. Do not, I beg, turn away from me.

Lady of the Kukri, whose name is also Lady of the Defenceless, Lady of Justice, Lady of Death, remember me and hear my prayer.
 

Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
21,152
Location
England
Roadster to the Rescue
You won’t know what Terminator 2: Judgment Day is… I hope. But that’s why I’m out here, between the stars. Let me explain.
As a stealth (shapeshifting) android, I wasn’t meant to be on Earth. (Earth’s an insignificant planet, and long may it remain so.) But spending my gap millennium in a less fashionable part of the galaxy seemed like a good idea… until the tour operator went bust, stranding me.
That’s bad, and not just because of the stranded thing. You see, I’m packed full of advanced tech, tech that can have other uses less noble than, well, anything… like making really nasty weapons, the results of whose use would be my fault. To tell the truth, my conscience isn’t built to bear a burden of that magnitude.
So I had to leave. That was a problem. Earth’s so backward, it sends nothing significant into deep space, and nothing in which I could hide myself… until….
Pride’s a sin on Earth, but it can be useful. Like thinking it’s worthwhile to fling something useless into a heliocentric orbit. To make my escape, all I had to do was weld an ion drive onto that something and get myself on board.
The oddest thing about this, other than the means of my escape, was how easy it was. When one launches junk into space – even much-loved junk – there’s far less security. And as I could fit the ion drive after launch, all I had to do was hide until the junk was on top of the rocket. (Yes: Earthlings use rockets.) Once I was hidden behind the local star, the ion drive put me beyond the Earthlings’ reach.
Thus I escaped and became – to throw in another reference you (hopefully) won’t understand – the Man in the “Ion” Musk.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top