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300-word Writing Challenge #33 (April 2019) -- VICTORY TO JO ZEBEDEE!

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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
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20,948
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England

The inspiration image for Challenge#33 is:


Stone Stacking.jpg


Image credit: Ken O'Brien


THE CHALLENGE:

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


THE RULES:

Only one entry per person

All stories Copyright 2019 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 2019
As soon as the thread is unlocked, you may post your story



Entries must be posted no later than April the 30th 2019,
at 11:59 pm GMT



Voting will close May the 15th, 2019 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


This thread to be used for entries only:

Please keep all comments to the
DISCUSSION THREAD

(Please do not "Like" posts in this thread)
 

Cathbad

Level 30 Geek Master
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
9,050
Location
Everywhere.
Soup Cans


"What is that?” My sometimes partner asked, looking at the new crime scene photos.

“The murderer’s signature,” I replied.

“Weird. What’s it about?”

“Haven’t figured that out, yet. He stacked rocks at the first scene. Sticks at the second, beer cans were next.”

“And now soup cans?” Judd shook his head.

I shrugged my shoulders. “Murder took place behind this Kroger’s. They’d thrown out a case of dented tomato soup cans. I just wish I could figure out what he’s trying to say!”

"Gawd, you cops are stoopid!”

Perhaps we shouldn’t have been discussing the case at my desk – especially as Judd had a perp cuffed to his desk as he typed his statement. “Yeah? What would you know about it, Jimmy?” Jimmy the Grunt. Runner for a local drug lord.

Jimmy spat. “He ain’t got no reason for stackin’. He just has to. Gots the same thing’s me, fool! Man’s OCD – same as me!”

And that’s how we caught him. He was one of a couple hundred in this town receiving treatment for his condition by local psychiatrists. We merely had to start going through the list. We found Eddie Larkin just before he offed would-be Victim Number Six.

Who says all criminals are dumb?
 

Stable

Watching you from upside down
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
332
Can we help?

“It’s art, Mum,” said Eric. “I thought you would understand.” He had all of the hurt a teenager could possess. “Maybe all your ‘patients’ are just creative.”

“This isn’t art.” She grabbed the pebbles that had been hidden at the back of the bookshelf, ruining their careful balance. “It’s obsession.”

At work she took a new, unethical route. Instead of treatment she encouraged them. Gave them rocks of varying sizes, shapes and textures. She had to know what was happening to Eric.

The patients loved it. They were all, if they took a break, desperate to help with anything they could, especially cleaning. The ward sparkled.

“Can we help?” they asked. “Can we help?”

One, Pete, was so far gone that he had no time to help. She found herself spoon feeding him as he stacked, holding bottles of water to his lips so he would drink. He muttered a phrase, too low to hear, but the same shape every time.

“It’s not for you, it’s for the Earth.” He would say when asked. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t make out his words.

Eric found the solution. She’d been telling them all about the frustration of trying to listen to Pete. Eric looked up from his rocks. “Remember when I thought spies were cool?” That had been twelve months ago. “I have a spy microphone in my drawer. I’ll get it for you!”

She pinned the microphone to Pete’s shirt. He paid no attention. She listened to his mumbling on her phone.

“You’re dirty. Can we help?”

She repeated it. Pete stopped. He smiled at her with relief.

“You’ve heard it too.”

“It’s a message?” she asked.

“Yes. I hope the Earth listens. It should be clean.”

“Do you think it will reply?”

“Not where we can hear.”
 

Ian Fortytwo

Be Idle, be cool, and everything will be okay.
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
218
Location
Somewhere on this mortal coil.
The Souring of Utopia.

I couldn't get that picture out of my head, the pile of rocks with smallish rock at the bottom. Was it some kind of idol to a forgotten god. Because whomever had put those rocks there, were breaking the number one rule. For there is a rule forbidding any kind of religion, and the second rule was no political leanings of any sort.

Politics had been banned many aeons ago, and with neither religion nor politics, the world was at peace. There were no wars, no anger and people looked after each other, making sure no one went hungry. Money was no longer an issue as there was none, because it was not needed.

Naturally all statues were condemned, at first people wanted them to remind them of the past, however after a brief struggle all statues were pulled down and recycled.

And now here in front of me was a pile stones, they were blocking a lovely view of one of the world's largest oceans. I was tempted to knock them down, however in touching them I would be incriminating myself, so I let them stand.

To think that over a thousand years ago idolised gods and made statues of people. Wars were common place, money corrupted everyone, and religious fanaticism ruled people's minds. Now people could exist and keep existing without worries.

As contemplated the view I heard a disturbance behind me. I turned and saw people sitting on some loose rocks looking towards the ocean and the stones.

As I sit here with them I realise I have started something that is wrong. I have broken rule number three. Do not form a crowd.

So I got up and walked away ignoring the crowd.
 

Rafellin

Independent Author & Publisher
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
482
Location
West Sussex, UK
Riders on the Storm

A precarious cairn upon a tranquil shore. You might pause to contemplate the precision needed to balance it, but after that, you’d go about your business without further thought.
“Akrasin mo Denda, brother to the stars.” Captain Raul, his voice coarsened by emotion.
Saluting, I recall Akrasin laughing as he collected the knife throwing trophy last festival. Each of those gathered here will be picturing the moment they hold closest to our lost comrade, but I think many will have that in mind. On retrieving his body, we found seven dead Tofnig soldiers with his blades embedded in them, the fallen of his final battle left to ward his passage to whatever afterlife remains unsullied.
I find a voice: “Being shown respect by humanity’s deadliest foe yet: the greatest accolade.”
There are nods.
Raul starts the stock exhortation: “Akrasin’s gone, leaving a toll that places him among the finest of the First Interstellar Navy. Our job is to live to exceed it.” He pauses, then shakes his head.
“To be honest, he’d throw something at me for saying that. Then he’d say our actual job is to live through this madness, to remember the horrors and work to make sure it never happens again.”
There are smiles. The maudlin mood lifts.
“Since I’m being honest, I’ll admit to agreeing with him. Which doesn’t change the fact we’re going to have to kill many more before it’s over. Make your peace with that, then return to base.”
I watch until the last sun starts to set. The little cairn slides into silhouette. It’s not forever, just like us.
In the fading light, I run my eye along the dozens of fallen cairns that line the shore, then head back.
Fly free, Akrasin.
 

dannymcg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
3,272
Location
Cumbria UK
Finger lickin' good.

Jeffo smirked as the pellets bounced off his shield screen, a weapon designed for vermin was futile against mil spec equipment.

Soon his gang had the homesteaders captured and the beaten farmer was being slaughtered.
In the background he could hear sobs of terror from the owner’s wife and three children.

His security team had gone feral since the colony’s scanners had picked up The Enemy destroying the Second Wave, the vast supply ships and cryo-pods now just dust. It would be another 22 years before Earth even noticed and help was dispatched.

Most of the colony was already widely dispersed, families trying to get established before the Second Wave immigrants arrived.

He idly leaned back against a stack of cleared stones from the fields and grinned at the crops and the trembling captives.
The mother was still attractive, her and the adolescent girl would amuse his crew for a day or two.

The farmer had already been gutted and chunks were sizzling nicely over the campfire, a mouth watering aroma filling the clearing. Yes indeed, his crew would eat well for the next few weeks.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
5,764
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
The Guardian

Two travelers walked through the desert. One was tall and slender, dark as obsidian, dressed in scarlet tunic and trousers. From her leather belt hung water bags, satchels of dried provisions, and a brace of daggers. The other was short and round, with chestnut skin. He wore a white robe and carried a canvas sack, from which protruded objects of glass and metal.

“Are you sure this is the way?” The woman called herself Kha.

“Have my devices ever failed?” The man, a geomancer known as Volen, retrieved one of the instruments and peered through its amber lens. “Just over that rise lies our destination.”

Beyond the next dune stood a pile of water-smoothed rocks, though this was a land which had never known rain. The tower was precariously balanced, yet seemed older than the desert itself.

Volen procured a wax tablet and stylus from his sack. He drew a sketch of the stones, capturing their positions in exact detail. As he stepped closer, the skeleton of an ancient beast, half-bird and half-reptile, exploded from the sand. It slashed at his legs with razor claws.

Kha reversed her daggers, aware that blades were useless against bone. She smashed the monster’s skull with their iron hilts until it lay still.

“You have earned your fee,” Volen remarked. Blood stained his robe.

“Let us find the treasure and be gone.”

“I already have it.” Volen lifted the tablet. “A perfect record of a unique phenomenon. Who could ask for finer riches?”

“I could.”

Volen laughed. “To throw away on wine and beautiful men, no doubt.”

“Yes. Can you walk?”

“Slowly, as I shall walk on my way to the grave. Lead on.”

They headed away. The undead creature sank into the sand, ready for its next visitors.
 

Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
Supporter
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
2,424
Maine

When I tell you something’s true, you mustn’t doubt me.


One spring afternoon four months ago, from my property on Wohoa Bay, I witnessed two huge, iridescently purple fishmen rise from the ocean pulling a giant clamshell laden with jagged stones.

They unloaded a dozen onto the beach, then grabbed small octopuses from buckets nestled in the clamshell. These they slit open, then smeared their innards onto the stones.

The fishmen set the largest rock as foundation, then stacked the rest till a cairn rose above them. They bowed deeply, then started running round the mound on their leg-like hind fins, screeching in occultic cadences and sounding like dolphins, but more glamorous.

Each stone levitated and separated slightly, then began spinning frenetically. The fishmen stopped running to caper wildly.

One of them dove into the water, and with a lightning flick of tail, darted away. The other, finally spotting me, turned and thrust its bottom skyward, and slapped it disrespectfully with a front fin while raspberrying me.

Minutes later, the other fishman returned, dragging a screaming man in striped swimsuit. He tossed him at the cairn’s spinning base, and the man was sucked in and ground, sluiced upward and pulped, and finally voided as slurry from the foul construction’s apex.

The transgressors capered again, then returned to the water. One turned back momentarily to aggressively thrust a fin toward me. They swam away down the coast, dozens of stones remaining within the trailing clamshell, tentacles poking above the buckets’ rims.



The stones still spin today, pulling in and grinding birds, driftwood – anything that touches them. That bluish, lichen-like patch on one is Karlsen’s Levi’s. Sunbathers no longer clutter my beach.

You’ll ask if I’ve called the authorities, but I’m just not a person who gets involved with things.
 

nixie

pixie druid
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
5,160
Location
I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
A Bountiful Catch
There is something strange about the tiny village of Moreton, a thriving community made up of 30 families, they don’t marry outsiders, newcomers aren’t welcome, they leave within weeks.

It’s not the people who make them feel unwelcome it’s the village, things disappear, inexplicable accidents, luck turns sour.

Then there is the fishing, the natives always return with full loads, their vessels are rarely lost or damaged, they never lose a crew member. Strangers who fish in the same waters never catch anything or are caught in a storm and sink without trace.

Now you’re wondering how I know so much about Moreton, a close knit community, the natives are born and bred, they don’t leave.

The truth is I was born there, I went to school, I joined the fishing fleet, I was happy.

We had a monument on a secluded beach , nobody was allowed near, it was maintained by the chosen, only those over a certain age know it’s meaning.

One day the chosen called a meeting of the fleet, to be held on the beach only those who sailed attended. A long drawn out speech about how blessed our village was, how the sea looked after us. I switched off, day dreaming pleasant thoughts about my sweetheart and our forthcoming marriage. The tone of the speech changed, pulling me out of my dreams, they said it was now time to pay the sea her reward, lots would be drawn to choose the privileged three. Suddenly my world was torn apart, every fifty years a triple sacrifice was made. My sweetheart had been chosen, I tried to make her leave with me, she refused, was excited to receive such honour.

I fled never to return.
 

Daysman

Newfangled Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
167
Location
east of the crooked house, south of weddell wynd
At the Water's Edge

The Chaplain's ascent began early morning.

By the time she docked, the Cervantes had crossed into shadow. Operations stowed the pod she rode up on and began the week long job of winding back the orbital tether.

Back online, the bridgemaker crew hailed her with questions, foremost being: why are we leaving? In contrast, the conn officer said nothing. He just waved her through to the Captain's bolthole. She took her usual spot near the hatch.

The Captain handed her a water bulb and asked about her observance. “You didn't post anything?”

“Network was down. So, we're leaving?”

“In about four months,” he said. “It'll take two just to recall everyone.”

“Yesterday, you'd planned a year's exploration here. Now, we're bridging to another system?”

“Twelve lights away; a roadstop, then home.”

“So, what happened?”

He held up his hands. “The XO redeployed one of our monitoring satellites...”

“To spy on me?”

“He was curious! And he'll apologize, later… but I need your AV records, from this morning.”

The Chaplain accessed the local interface and the rear wall transformed to reveal a frozen shoreline. They saw a beach, bounded by two great fingers of rock stretching out into the ocean, as if some colossus left a petrified shadow of their hand at the water's edge. A string of cairns lined the sand, pebbles worn smooth in some past epoch, gathered and thoughtfully stacked to form improbable towers and arches.

“And you built your own devotion, too?”

The Chaplain skipped on an hour and paused.

“Impressive,” the Captain said. “We’re looking for bridging points. Found one, so far… takes very little energy to reopen a bridge.”

“We're to follow, then?”

He grinned. “Never guessed it would happen this way…”

“That we might visit the same places? Or we all stack rocks?”
 
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Hummus

wrap it up already
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
45
Location
Uk
FALLEN STAR

”It's like they say - every pebble’s a fallen star,” said the old man.”I patch them up, and the wind breaths them life.”

He looked thin and fragile, crouched over the small stone heaps. I was impressed with the amount of precision he still had, balancing stone on top stone.

”Look at Elvis - good as new! And Buddy Holly, Joplin...”- the old man gazed round the cliff with a sigh -”Others, sadly, fell before the world even caught glimpse of their light, and remain unknown.”

The girl rolled a blonde curl around her fingers. Her face hinted a yawn, but she had manners enough to suppress it.

”They all look the same to me,” she said.”And dad says Elvis ain’t dead anyway.”

”Your father has a bad habit of wild speculations.”

Must run in the family, I thought.

Satisfied with his latest piece of contemporary art, the old man sat back with a nostalgic smile.

”I don’t see why we have to play with stupid rocks,” said the girl.”Aren’t grandparents supposed to, I don't know, take you fishing and bake hot cross buns?”

But the old man’s ears were elsewhere. I think I heard him humming along.

..take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby..

If they hadn’t been called to dinner, he might have done the whole album.



The girl snuck out at dawn. She stomped down to the shore, and plucked the head of Elvis.

No!”, I screamed, but it was too late. The King did not impress as skipping stones.

The girl, agitated by this act of rebellion, kicked the next row of pebble figures down. I tried to cry, but I don’t think she could hear me.

I was scattered back to stardust.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,698
Location
Mercia, UK
Balance

I don’t know how I died.

My life before, a vague memory, only fragments, faded snapshots in an old photograph album found in a charity shop.

I place a stone. It fits the scene, a piece in the jigsaw of a picture unknown.

The act makes me feel sad without a reason why.

Seeking consolation, I welcome the last rays of the sun as they lay a golden path across the waves to where I stand on the cliff edge.

The view is one to die for, a front cover of some glossy holiday brochure, Photoshop redundant.

A second stone sits atop the first, the balance is perfect.

They seem to want to tell me something. A nagging word on the tip of my tongue.

A third joins them, a fourth and fifth.

The vision appears and disappears in the blink of an eye. A woman’s face full of tears and despair.

I know her. She’s…

A sixth stone, the others shift but a seventh returns the balance.

Her lips frame a simple word. I hear nothing, but sense the emotion — a prophetic plea of a hurt that can never be erased, a betrayal that can never be forgiven, a fervent wish to understand.

The last stone caps my work. A final jigsaw piece in a picture blissfully hidden.

The face in my mind changes in an instant, lines of worry gone, eyes that shine with love and a smile that gifts hope.

Serenity replaces sadness.

The last light of the sun winks out and I step.

~

Hidden from view amongst the rock pools, the man’s dog barks, an urgent, frightened yapping.

“You alright, girl? What’ve you found now?”

He steps around a boulder and into a sight that would stay with him until his grave.

“Oh Christ, no.”
 

Vaz

We're in the pipe, five by five.
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
1,385
Location
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Of Earth and Heaven

They met in a circle on the warm sands beneath the stones of the Ancients which towered over both armies like a forlorn god, sent to seperate the heavens and earth like star crossed lovers.

Both Queens were far brighter than the shadowed minds which had forced this conflict upon them. In Midwinter, beneath twin moons, their ideas of forging peace between nations through marriage and love had come together briefly, gracefully, intertwining like dancers in the night before being torn apart with the coming light and the fears of men.

Queen Jiran proposed single combat. Her foe, her friend, her first love - Queen Riann - accepted. They dismounted and faced each other. Neither spoke but a look passed between them that stretched the boundaries of silence, carried the beauty of birdsong, and held the strength to stop the seas reaching their shores.

They drew their blades.

Banners snapped on the high eastern dunes. In the shadows of the Great stones, and with both Queens in silvered helm, it was hard to tell them apart. They moved like dancers; two silhouettes clashing elegantly upon the amber sands in a song of steel. Captain Debrec knew they were a match, in combat and love. But it would take the Ancient stones to topple and earth to be joined with the heavens before their nations lay peacefully with one another. In the sullen light he stifled a tear from his eyes. He knew his Queen, and she would spill her life before that of her lover's.

A lone carrion bird circled grimly above the clouds. As the dawn crowned the horizon one Queen missed her parry, purposely, and stumbled. The other stood above her, sword hand shaking.

They saw one lover raise her sword, and the other lover fall.
 

Ashleyne

Shhh. I think they're listening
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
574
RESCUE MOMMY

I try placing the rocks where they was before Dad'd moved them. They keep tumbling and the portal ripples wider every second, eclipsing the sun.

Dad's been sat in the same position for hours, the red glow of the rocks shining off his beer glass. Milkiness has invaded his eyes, and he isn't blinking.

“He was so easy to convince”, says Melody.

I ignore her and continue trying to fix things. It'll work if I get this rock on the top, but I can't lift it past my waist.

She raises her leg, stomps the rock onto my foot. “Just give up. The world'll be a lot better when my mommy eats it”, she says, pointing to the eye in the portal. “It's what your father wanted.”

I grab her hair, headbutt her in the nose and blood pours out like defecation from a pigeon. Normally when I attack her my fist goes straight through her. And she doesn't look as translucent as usual; she's no longer a ghost.

Nose blood floats like vapour, absorbed by the rocks. I grab the smallest one and I bash her again and again until the rock pulls itself from my hands, floating back into it's rightful position.

The portal closes like the lips of a mouth.

I've been on this island all my life without ever knowing what would happen were the rocks moved. Now I know my life, actually, has meaning.

I flinch and pull a neck muscle when she cackles. She stands and pats herself down. Her jaw's broken, skin hanging off, eye's swollen like a slice in a plum.

I go for a punch and fall through her, face planting.

She points to the rocks. “If you want rid of me that much, just release my mommy.”
 

elvet

Easily amused
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
1,408
Location
Ontario, Canada
That Day at the Beach

The rules of the game were simple. Find a rock and lay it on the ones below. The trick was to make it balance. You won if you could place the last stone without making everything topple. Alice and I each took a turn, our feet kicking up the sand as we ran down the beach looking for the perfect pebble .
The events of that afternoon play in my memory like those snippets of silent movies we watch in history class. The noontime sun was hot when the shadow appeared. We both looked up, expecting a cloud. Instead, a fantastic machine hovered above us. I turned to see if Alice was watching this same apparition. I saw a beam of blue light hit her body, melting her form away. In a moment she was gone. Screaming her name, I turned towards the flying metal object as it rose up and disappeared into the sky. Panicked and scared, I ran all the way in to town. As I told my tale to the authorities, I could see the disbelief in their eyes. A search crew arrived to scan the shore where our footprints were being erased by the incoming tide. Divers came and went. “Are you sure you weren’t swimming?” they asked. “You can tell us if there was an accident.”
I was questioned for days, my story never wavering. My mother said, “She’s always had a vivid imagination.” Finally, without criminal evidence or a body, my friend was labelled a missing person.
Weeks later, I got enough courage to go back to the shore. Our carefully balanced pile of rocks was still there, guarding the spot where we played. Alice had won that interrupted game. I kept the top stone so I would never forget what really happened that day.
 

Starbeast

Benevolent Galaxy Being
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
4,851
Location
Illinois
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
"Samurai From the Sky"

Hakata Bay, Japan, is where my investigation would begin, following a string of bizarre attacks by an armored Samurai. Witnesses claimed this ancient warrior, can also fly. Tony Vincenzo, Independent News Service, Editor, sent me, Carl Kolchak, to get to the bottom of this. I took a flight from Chicago, immediately.

****

Overlooking Hakata Bay, while reviewing my notes, I remembered that all of the victims, kept repeating the word, "Nodachi", because that was the only thing this flying Samurai would say. Referencing the word, I discovered it refers to a long sword that predates the "Katana", a shorter version.

Walking along the shore, I came across an old banner on a wooden pole. Though weather worn, I could make out a picture of a black salamander, on a red background. Just below it, was a half meter high, neatly stacked pile of flat rocks. After taking pictures of both items, I felt compelled to pick up the top stone, which was a big, mistake. Suddenly, an armored Samurai descended on me. He screamed, "No-tashee!", then pummeled me with a wooden sword. I begged him to stop, then surprisingly, he did. Pointing at me, he stated, "No touchy!"

"Did you say, no touchy?"

"Yes."

"You speak English?"

"Of course. I'm historian Michael Palin, from England, guardian of this site. Those stones, mark Shogun Yoritomo's grave. I jump down from the trees, wearing this armor, to scare people off. I guess I got a little carried away knocking you about with my Shinai. It's a Kendo practice sword."

"Thank God, it's not a Nodachi."

"Well, I could use one, but that would get a bit messy."

"Sure."

"Tourists just can't keep their grubby paws off those stones."

"Why not have the government protect this site?"

"..................................Yeah, all right."
 
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Calliopenjo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2016
Messages
272
Location
USA
One Day....

As Neberon’s mother cleaned my laboratory, I observed him by the banks. Never let it be known that I found him to be entertaining.

I discovered it fascinating someone that young had the competence to think up such complex actions. A brave warrior against a magnificent dragon. I laughed at his interpretation of me. I stood over a cauldron with my wand at the ready. I couldn’t find out why because of my meeting with our good king.

As with all matters, an active mind needed a rest. Chores took precedence over the ones that amused me so. I helped him, but only because I wanted him to continue. As he stepped outside to clean after the animals, I made certain to unbundle the straw. He never saw me cast those spells.

At the end of the last meal, a bit of light was still in the sky. He walked down to the shoreline and gathered some stones. Such heavy objects for a boy his size, but with determination, he built a complex structure.

One stone on top of another. It seemed each one represented a floor in his very own castle. Of course, I stayed behind to keep my observations a hush-hush affair. I didn’t want to interrupt his mind. I only cast a spell for me to be able to watch and hear him from a great distance.

It seemed this was not his only palace He lived in another. His father fought for the lord of that land and perished in battle. That battle was what brought him here. Neberon replayed it in order for his father to return and not die in the hands of—oh dragon’s breath. His father died by the order of my trusted friend.
 

Peter V

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2016
Messages
410
Location
London
Written in Stone

It was late autumn, in his last year of middle school when Laurie first saw her down on the beach at Auchmithie, watching fascinated as she piled a little cairn of stones just above the high tide line.

He had never felt anything but annoyance for girls, but her sweet, elfin face turned his stomach in cartwheels and her actions, as she meticulously placed one stone atop another, mesmerized him.

Coming back daily, he did not see her again until after the first real storm of winter; rebuilding the cairn which had been obliterated by the ravenous sea. She saw him watching in the distance and smiled. Laurie thought he had never seen such a wonderful sight.

Back again after the next big storm, Laurie understood that he would only see her when the sea smashed the stones. A small wave accompanied her smile that time.

In December, the day after turning thirteen and the biggest storm of winter, Laurie found himself on the beach alone. Of a cairn and the girl there was no sign but the absence of a small pile of stones, so patiently constructed by delicate hands felt alarming. It was as if something was somehow incomplete and without even thinking about it, he knelt and urgently started piling pebbles, lacking the finesse of the girl but inexplicably compelled to complete the construction.

Placing the last stone, Laurie looked up into a beautiful smile; such was the delicacy of her footfalls, her approach went unheard above the waves. Up close he noticed slightly webbed fingers and toes and skin shimmering with tiny iridescent scales.

She held out a hand and instinctively Laurie knew that by rebuilding the cairn, an agreement had been made.

Her touch was cool but comforting as she led him to the sea.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Joined
Oct 5, 2011
Messages
17,050
Location
blah - flags. So many flags.
STONE-BORN

Ma Cassidy died last Wednesday, choking on a fish bone. Her stones appeared on Thursday, perched on the headland overlooking the salmon leap. They’re like that, the stones. They have a sense of humour.

To be chosen, Ma had to be a Millichireekie - born within sight and sound of Nona’s Headland, where the sea crashes into land. Blessed with health and bonny children. Of the island, shaped by it and revered. Strong enough to endure what life will ask: Ma bore the loss of two bairns and a husband to the sea.

She might have had a pebble found in her crib, or walked with her shoes full of gravel. Perhaps a smooth stone on her wedding bed, left by no one. Her child, born early in the kitchen and barely caught before crashing to the hard scullery flags. They say each Stone-born has a pocketful of stones that grow heavier each day, matching the march of age through bones.

I visit Ma’s cairn on the Friday. It has the look of her, straight-backed with the sense of a beak. I nod my head to it, and then pass by, the shingle shifting under my feet.

I put my hand in my pocket, letting the stones clank-clink together. My pocket can’t get much heavier. I find myself wondering where the stones will take me and how. Where they will leave my cairn.

My steps get lighter as I walk up the headland. The stones are heavy; I believe it may be my time. I find myself unafraid. I am Stone-born and strong.

Even so, I think I’ll not have fish for tea tonight.
 
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Dan Jones

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The Travels Of Sir Reginald Rigmarole, Part 94

So! There I was, stylishly pelting down Oxford Street, a plastic bag of my own urine in one hand, and my hand-crafted taupe velour cravat, which had come loose in the fracas with the Selfridges security guards, in the other.

Of course, my lithe frame easily outran the portly guards, but then the Selfridges Hounds (Rottweilers, four feet at the shoulder, freshly moisturised with La Mer crème and off their tits on Chateau d’Yquem) – were released! If my bladder juice wasn’t already sloshing around in a non-biodegradable carrier, it would undoubtedly be stribbling down my pantalonglinglongs by now.

The bothersome chiens soon hunted me down and slammed me into the concrete-like pavement, with Plod following up.

“You’re nicked, Sunny Jim!” cried the officer, shaking both fists at the heavens and gyrating his hips in a sexy figure-of-eight.

“It’s for my betrothed!” I cried, clutching the leaky piss receptacle to my chest.

You see, Hamza Ibn Bastante, the corpulent Saudi heiress, had promised me a stake in her father’s enterprise de parfum upon the provision of a bag of fresh English piss, which her father’s research had revealed to be an aphrodisiac of metaphorical potency. Thus my place in her affections would be, if not secured, then pencilled in. And I wanted my pencil in! Phwoar, gorblimey, look at the deeds on that etc.

Down Plod HQ my urine was violently confiscated and subjected to a drugs test, which came back positive, naturalement. After being hurled into chokey, I was permitted a solitary visitor – it was Hamza!

“Laqad jit li’iinqadh liy!” I burbled, spraying porridge everywhere.

But to my horror, Hamza slowly peeled off a rubber mask to reveal the burping features of El Boppo, the most hilarious drugs capo in Nicaragua!

“¡Si hay cocaína en tu wee-wee, me pertenece!”

Foiled again!
 
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