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  1. Gannon
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    Gannon Senior Member Contributor

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    Short Story Contest 113: Insanity - Submission & Details Thread

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Apr 2, 2012.

    Short Story Contest 113
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Insanity"

    This contest is open to all wf.org members, newbies and the established alike. Please post your entries as replies to this post. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a separate thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. Unfortunately, there is no prize but pride on offer for this contest. As always, the winner may also PM/VM me to request the theme of a subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Theme: "Insanity" (courtesy of member Bran). Any interpretation is valid. Entries do not have to follow the theme explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.
    Wordlimit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Monday 16th April 2012 10.00 am (UK local)

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. As below, any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

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    There is a maximum of 25 entries to any contest. If there are more than 25 entries to any one contest I will decide which are entered into voting based on adherence to the suggested word limit and relevance to the theme, not on a first-come-first served basis.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece manner to decide its legitamacy for the contest.

    Submissions may not have been previously posted on this site, nor may they be posted for review until voting has closed. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permissable.

    Please try to refrain from itallicising, bolding, colouring or indenting any text to help avoid disappointment. These stylistics do not reproduce when I copy-paste them into the voting thread. You may use visible noparse BB code to preserve style if you wish by placing [ noparse ] and [ /noparse ] (without the spaces) around the entire text.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please leave me a visitor message or PM me. Please do not clog up this, or any other thread, with your questions.


    Please note that only current members are eligible to win.

    Thanks and good luck.
  2. Gatsoh
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    Gatsoh New Member

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    Family- Insanity in its truest form (1285 words)
    By Hugh. G

    It had taken Jasper 16 years to appreciate his family, and heaven knows how many film quotations. 5844 days, including leap years, and the thought of his family finally made him smile. Though note, not in affection, just in good humour. Why Dad felt the need to inexplicably reverse letters in words, and how Gran possibly thought zumba involved chains and a whip was quite beyond him. Still there you are. A film wasn't a film unless it starred Tam Honks. And zumba just couldn't be zumba without some kind of satanic element. Well maybe it could be.

    Jasper had been born into a reasonably well to do family, and in excitement his Grandfather had driven the wrong way up a one way street to get to the hospital faster. As a first grandchild he was something to be worshipped. It was a source of amazement to Jasper that the genes of family insanity managed to pass from one generation to the next, and that each new set of offspring hadn't, contrary to Darwinian principles, failed to find a mate, or met an early doom. In his youth it never occurred to him that he had almost certainly inherited the cursed family traits.
    Maybe he too like his Grandfather would end up singing "Yummy yummy yummy I've got toothpaste in my tummy" in falsetto in as many public places as possible. It was a thought worth bearing in mind.
    His early years had been relatively uneventful, and he had to admit reasonably pleasant. He had tolerated his over ambitious parents, that was a crime every new couple was guilty off. He saw the many wounds he obtained being forced to ride a bike without stabilisers at three years old inevitable. He even put up with a series of failed birthday cakes. The worst was probably the castle that looked rather like it had been besieged when it arrived at a table of twenty of Jasper's friends.
    Like every good child of the 90s life was judged by how good the presents were, and twice a year he was relatively impressed. A tricycle, train set and fake mobile phone were among the highlights, and with the latter his parents smiled benignly at their son as he nicknamed Mr Switch lived up to his expectations playing with all the gadgetry they had bought him.
    He should have known his luck would never last, and things started to look bad as he received an endless stream of solar system models. The fact that one of them talked didn't even excite him: he didn't care for space. When would his stupid parents realise it wasn't the 60s anymore, and young kids had no desire to float around in a vacuum with impending risk of death.

    His sisters had arrived on the scene a few years into life, and that was a massive blow. No more could he play with both parents and the dog all at once. No, instead there was just a constant wailing in the background at a pitch so infuriating it would drive you to distraction. As every eldest child knows, desperate times call for desperate measures, and it wasn't long before the cunning infant had dragged his twin siblings into the fireplace. Sadly the only result of this was them getting all sooty, he lamented that the flames licking around them were only a figure of his imagination. Still they had sat in the grate willingly enough, perhaps there was hope yet of moulding them into the role of obedient and ever respectful younger sister.

    In later life his sisters weren't too much of an annoyance, and indeed earlier on they had provided a supply of barbies which he could tear apart. Admittedly they did develop at some un-identifiable point an unhealthy addiction of fantasy and this was not acceptable in Jasper's eyes. Quite ridiculously in his opinion they would often despair over how they couldn't live in a fictional world with dragons. It was a shame, he would have quite happily dispatched them off there. These days Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were definitely their favourites, and they seemed to watch them on a loop. However the position of favourite fantasy world was ever up for grabs and it seemed a new competitor was out on the block, and in a big way. Not a day passed when Jasper wasn't subject to some Hunger Games quotation. Some of these were so irrelevant that they were indistinguishable from average speech (except of course from the roar of laughter that always followed them) Some of the best examples were: "of course you did, try you will, and my heart stopped." All of these to the best of Jasper's petty knowledge were drawn from the words of the funky blue haired Game's host. Annoying as this "joke" was, it had to be admitted that Jasper too had been enthralled by the film. What's more he seemed to have developed a taste for plaits, after Katniss' excellent example had been flashed on the screen in front of him a good few times.

    Perhaps the stand out member of his family was his Dad. Every morning would see the introduction of some bizarre new theory. Sulking behind the cereals boxes Jasper always waited for the famed words "I was thinking." He was so bored of this routine that even the boxes of organic food, and their wordy summaries of their "natural goodness" and "pioneering frugality" were more stimulating. Some of Adam's, his father's, most notable "theories" were that Romeo and Juliet was actually a comedy, and that the Battle of Hastings hadn't ever happened.
    I don't know how he planned to explain the blatant French influence on the Brits starting in 1066, but I guessed he hadn't thought that far, he never did.
    After breakfast each day Mum would drop him off at the station Par Carc (note that was why the sign had a big P, not a C) and then return home to let in Miranda. Miranda was the housekeeper, who reminded me a bit of Caesar, not only because she ruled the house with an iron fist, and the excessive use of the word now, but also spoke about herself in the third person. She also unflatteringly shared her name with Gran's hen, who lived in the aptly named Chickingham Palace.
    Gran was a highly strung character to say the least. She had this rather weird habit of humming in some warbling arpeggio whenever she was stressed, and that was a sure sign for one to help out drying the dishes. She was crackers to say the least, old Gran. She would affirm with conviction that "back in her day" the theme song from Toy Story had been a negro spiritual. A trip to Gran's was always an experience, and I think my parents had sarcastically named it "posh"itanio. Nowhere else could you guarantee quite the quantity of dog hair in your food as you got there, and dank stew seemed to be a permanent fixture on the menu.

    Jasper often thought school would be a haven from the family of insanity he inhabited, but it couldn't have been further from the truth. Perhaps he was unlucky, or perhaps it was all some bad joke, but who else goes to a school where your overweight Geography teacher bellies dances to "I'm walking on sunshine."

    He wasn't really sure how he had ended up with the lot he had, but with the incremental building of wisdom over these sixteen years: he began to feel a slight hint of warmth towards the quirkiness of his life. After all, he realised, you may as well make the most of it.
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  3. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft New Member

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    Insanity Squared (730 words)
    She sat up against the window, the slow moving raindrops dripping down the outside of the window leaving blotched shadows across her face. She was pretty, lips naturally dark, hair naturally dark with thick lowlights, eyes perfectly shaped across her face.
    She rocked back and forth, looking out the window, then down at her hands, out the window again and then across the complex that stretched outside her window. A student ran by, books shoved under his jacket, the rain dropping down onto his head and making his hair slick down around his head.
    For some reason, this stirred her, her small hand slamming against the window with a dull bang, she sat up a little more, looking down at him, her hand slowly sliding along the glass making a quiet squeaking noise. Her hand dropped down her to side again, her eyes looking to her lap as she moved both her hands to rub the bottom of her shirt together.
    “Hello there.” I said, instantly regretting it. She turned and looked at me, the fear of the world in her eyes. The boy, still barely visible in the compound below, was walking into the door just below us, the whole wall rattling as the wind slammed the door closed.
    She tore from her spot, running across the room. She was wearing only a tshirt and shorts that stopped above her thighs. I felt her hand, every muscle in her body, every ounce of her power, shoving me backwards as she took to the hallway.
    Stumbling back, I hit the post of her bed, the wooden rail digging into my back, bruising my spine. My notebooks and pencils hit the floor and scattered everywhere. With a slight growl, I regained my footing, running into the hallway after her.
    Her shirt was just a flash that caught my eye as she descended the stairs. I hurried to follow, unable to think of anything else to do to stop her.
    She had just reached the next landing when I started down the stairs. The boy who had been crossing the compound had his books under his arm, the keys in his hand barely inserted into the door.
    She must have been trying to quiet her breathing, because as she leaned over the rail she was silent as a lamb. When I heard what she said, my breath caught in my throat.
    “I love you.” But the boy didn’t turn around, just opened his door and set his things onto a table that must have been sitting just inside, taking a moment to remove his keys.
    “Alex, we need to get back to your room.”
    The boy by the door turned quickly, looking at me from just inside his door. His eyes glanced across the hallway and toward the flight of stairs, stopping on me again.
    “Who are you talking to?” I heard him say as Alex, standing in front of me, turned around. She didn’t say a word, just smiled for only a moment, like the flash of a camera, bit her lip a little bit and dropped her face to one of hopelessness.
    “Alex…”
    “There isn’t anyone up there with you, man…”
    I heard her giggle.
    “…and I’m not Alex.”
    A door opened behind me, the hinges making a loud creak as footsteps walked out behind me.
    “Sir, sir…are you ok?” It was a young woman, wearing a sweatshirt, turning around and yelling something back into the apartment. A man came up behind her, leaning against the door and looking over her head.
    “Yes…I just…my sister came running down here and I was worried she was bothering that young man.”
    The girl walked out of the apartment, looking over the rail, right where Alex had stood a moment before. “There isn’t anyone out here.”
    “He…he must have gone back into his apartment.”
    “Flat four ‘j’?”
    “That one, right there.”
    “That flat has been empty for years, something about the window leaking was a liability.”
    I looked over the girls shoulder, back down to the hallway. Alex…no, Alex… She was running toward the man in the hall. He dropped his keys, she jumped into his arms, they embraced, they kissed.
    “Empty…?”
    “Yeah, man. How much did you drink last night?” She laughed, looked toward the man standing in the doorway. He laughed too.
    I looked back down to the hallway again. It was empty, the door to apartment four ‘j’ roped with caution tape and a sign saying something about maintenance.
    I heard her giggle again, even if I couldn’t see her.
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  4. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    Insanity Everlasting (1111 words)

    Confusion filled his head as he found himself standing on the sidewalk, not really sure what he was doing or where he was. There was screaming “why was there screaming?” he wondered. Then the screams turned to sobs. He couldn’t think with this noise and a sun that seemed to stab at his eyes. Maybe it was some kind of accident. Looking up, trying to shade his eyes, he could see a car with windows broken. The sun was too bright for details, but something was on the roof.

    The noise, the light, were just too much, he had to find someplace to think. Looking away, towards the buildings and down the sidewalk, what he saw looked familiar. “Wasn’t there a park?” he thought to himself. Still confused he wasn’t sure, but he had to go somewhere, so he started walking, compelled to distance himself from all the things overwhelming his senses. Looking down as he walked, trying to keep the damn light out of his eyes. “Why was everything so loud?” He kept wondering. He started to walk faster. He had to get someplace quiet, “AND OUT OF THIS DAMNED LIGHT.” He screamed silently to himself. Sirens began to blare getting closer, so he ran, tears flowing as the noise and light felt as if they were about to shatter his brain.

    Finally, crossing the last street, cement gave way to grass, but still he ran. He ran until the sounds were distant and the trees softened the light at least a little. Exhausted, he collapsed onto a bench curling into fetal position. With eyes closed tight and hands over his ears, he just laid there. Slowly he began to calm his mind and rapid beating heart. “Think” he said to himself. He had to remember what happened. Slowly he opened his eyes just a crack. What he saw was a man with a face that was somehow familiar but he didn’t know why. “Who are you?” he croaked, barely able to get the words out.

    “Who I am is not important. Remembering who you are, is?” the man standing before him said.

    “Why, I don’t understand” he whispered.

    “You will, it’s the rules” the man replied. “First let’s get you sitting up” as he grabbed his arms and helped him to rise. Taking a seat next to him “Your name is Jack, do you remember that?”

    “Jack? Jack what?” he asked still confused.

    “Jack Peterson. You’re a congressman. Take your time and think, it will come back to you.” The man said reassuringly.

    Closing his eyes once again he tried to think “Jack Peterson. Congressmen?” then there was a flicker of something. An image, an image of a women “I love you Jack” she was saying. “A woman, who loved him” he thought searching his mind. Then another image, another women, crying “who was she?” He wondered to himself.

    “Here this will help, look at yourself.” The man said.

    Opening his eyes once more, he looked up to see the man holding a mirror. Taking it, he looked at himself. He knew the face he saw. The scar over the right eye “from boxing in high school” he said to himself. “I’m Jack Peterson” Jack said out loud. Then the memories began to return. He remembered Carol, his childhood sweetheart who he married. She was the woman crying, but why? Then he remembered Jenny, his mistress who had been angry. She had called Carol and told her about the affair. He had been so pissed at her for doing that. He remembered they had fought. She had fallen when she had pulled away from him. Yes, hitting her head. “Oh God, the blood” he said to himself as he remembered, she was dead. He remembered disposing of the body, but weeks later they had found it anyway. The investigation had uncovered everything, kickbacks, payoffs, and the bribes. The local party was in a shambles and he was going to jail.

    Looking back at the man next to him, Jack knew that face. It was the face in his dreams, taunting him, whispering to him how much of a disgrace he was to his family. Telling him repeatedly what a good for nothing embarrassment he was. Standing, rubbing his head he began to pace. Yes, he remembered him. As he walked up and back, head hurting, yes he remembered that face, that voice, that’s why…”Oh God no” Jack screamed. The thing on the car! “No... NO…” the tears began to pour down Jack’s cheeks. Looking at the man still seated on the bench.

    “You remember now, don’t you?” seeing Jack’s reaction. “You remember jumping” he said grinning widely.

    As Jack began to scream again, it was cut off even as he tried to open his mouth. A black stinking soot emerged from Jack’s very being, engulfing him. He didn’t go up. He didn’t go down, he was just someplace else and all around him people floated unmoving. There was no sound, no screaming, no one looked to be suffering. Again, confusion pulsed through him like a wave. He could see their eyes were open, but vacant and unblinking.

    Then he felt an itch starting at the very base of his skull. A memory, not his own, emerged from nowhere, a nasty memory, then another so vile he wanted to tear it from his mind. Quickly came another, one so sick, filthy and disgusting he wanted to vomit. Then the memories came in a rush and as they did, he realized what was happening. In death all is shared, from the second of birth until the moment of death. All the acts of evil committed by all those here would be shared equally as if they were each their own experience. And as the next massive flood of memories struck his brain, it was like a hammer blow, slamming his mind into catatonic shock. Like the others he was just there, floating with eyes open, oblivious to anything but those terrible memories. Memories that played continuously through his mind, so obscene they burned as if his entire soul was on fire.

    “There are no individuals in hell for evil has taken a name, a name so vile it has not been spoken for more then ten thousand years. Lost to the history of living men but never lost to those who have become one with it, in eternal damnation” were the last words he heard as Jack slipped into a state of everlasting mindless insanity, enslaved to unspeakable memories of purest evil. After all, those were the rules, you had to know what was happening and why.
  5. My writer side
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    My writer side New Member

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    A pigeon for a moment of madness (1260)

    “How long have you been working here now Tom? Five, six months?”

    “Six I think.”

    “I think you've been here long enough now to know about a little project we have going on. It's a revolutionary project that will one day change the world.”

    “What is it?” he asked with a tone that he had adapted.

    “Before I tell you, you must promise me that if you accept to be part of this project you must be fully dedicated to it. It must be your number one priority.”

    “I promise.” he said with no intentions to do so.

    After taking a long drink from his pint he cleared his throat and had a quick check over his shoulder.

    “Do you know who the Shaolin Monks are?”

    “I know of them.”

    “That was me; until a few years ago, I only knew of them. Until something happened to me that made me want to know more; that made me want to know more about pain, physical pain.”

    “What happened?”

    Again he took a long nervous drink from his pint.

    “I was working on the counter, next to the fryers, in the kitchen here. I had the back door open; a pigeon flew into the kitchen and straight into the fryer. Standing there I watched it burning to death in oil. I didn't do anything, I just stood there staring at it. I could feel a cold force wrapping around me like a blanket. I was a in a trace. I couldn't move, talk or do anything.”

    He held up his ring finger. The tip where the nail should have been was missing.

    “Not under my own power; I sliced the top of my finger off. The pain was unreal but I stood there expressionless. I didn't curse, shout or scream; just stood there in a trance with blood pouring out my finger. I stood there for what felt like a life time with agonising pain and after a while I collapsed.”

    “Wow.” he said with no enthusiasm.

    Julius noticed the obvious tone but continued anyway. “After my experience I realised that no matter how much pain I go through, I am able to block it out completely, like the Shaolin Monks.”

    He pulled up his sleeves and revealed to Tom a garden of scars, cuts and burns.

    “I've been experimenting a bit.” he said with a smile and a laugh.

    Tom didn't laugh. He didn't really know what to say.

    “What's this project then?”

    “The other chefs here practice trying to find 'the right experience', if you will, that will lead them to the ability to block out any and all pain. That's our project.”

    Like before Tom didn't really know what to say. He didn't want to offend Julius by calling him a crazy bastard. Yet he didn't want to join the project. Fishing for something to say again, he found the obvious.

    “Show me. Show me your ability to block out all pain.”

    “Yer, I guess I could. We'll go in the kitchen.” he said after looking over his shoulder again.

    -

    Still with pints in hand, they stood before a nine foot tall 'Sampson 5000' oven. Julius turned it on and downed what was left of his pint. Setting the glass down on a work surface he grabbed a steel tray from it's holding shelf.

    “What are you going to do?”

    “I'm going to put the tray in the oven for a while then take it out with no gloves on. It will be at two hundred degrees when I grab it; and I'll stand there expressionless. Hell, I'll fucking smile. I'll hold that bad boy until it's cold as well.” he said; again with another deranged smile and laugh.

    “I'll believe it when I see it, mate.” Tom said with a sarcastic smile while shaking his head.

    There was a moment of silence as Tom finished his drink.

    “I believe that inside every one of us there is this ability. I believe that for it to surface you must witness pain in it's most intense form.”

    “Huh?” Tom replied with a distant look in his eyes.

    “As that pigeon burned to death in that fryer I was suddenly gripped by an unnatural force. I believe that that was my experience; I witnessed pain in one of it's most intense forms. It triggered this ability I have. I can't think of any other explanation.”

    Another moment of silence plagued them both. Julius looked up at the dial; it read 170 degrees.

    “It's almost ready.” Pointing to the back door he said, “In the storage shed there is some drums of oil. Can you get one for me, Tom?”

    “Err, ok.” he said worryingly.

    -

    “He's crazy, he's fucking nuts.” he thought as he made his way to the storage shed.

    Worry quickly turned to curiosity though. “What if he's right? It could, potentially, be revolutionary.”

    Then curiosity turned back to worry again; this time worry for himself. “God, I really don't want to be part of that crazy project. I wont be able to work with him if I refuse though. Shit, what a mess.”

    Reaching the storage shed he found that it was unlocked. Strange, but a good thing since he didn't have keys with him. He turned on the light, grabbed a drum and hauled it out. Sitting down on it he breathed a long sigh. He took out a cigarette and lit it.

    -

    A few minutes later he returned to the kitchen to find Julius no where to been seen.

    Setting down the drum of oil he called out, “Hey, Julius, I got the oil! The door to the storage shed was unlocked. You need to lock it before we leave!”

    “He must be in the toilet or something.” he told himself as he lent against a counter crossing his arms.

    The kitchen was almost silent; all he could hear was the oven's fan whirling. Then suddenly, 'tap tap tap.' It was coming from the oven. Stricken with curiosity he walked, slowly, towards the big 'Sampson 5000' oven. The viewing window was covered in grease but Tom could clearly see what stood inside. Curiosity quickly turned to blind panic. He darted forward, grabbed the handle, turned it and pulled the door open with more force that he thought possible.

    A burnt body fell out the oven and hit the floor with a sick thud. Julius outstretched is aching arms and pressed his palms to the floor. With his entire blackened body shaking, he pushed himself up to his knees. Breathing heavily he let out a small laugh and managed to push a grin across his dark face.

    “Welcome to your experience.” His words were torched, his body was burnt, his spirit, though, was still the same.

    Tom stood there staring. He didn't move, talk or do anything. Then he felt it; a cold forced wrapping around him. He turned around and grabbed a knife from it's holder. Setting his hand down on a work surface, he tucked his fingers back only leaving his middle finger out. With one swift move he brought the blade down on the tip of his finger. Returning to Julius he held up his hand and with a smile painted on his face he let out a sick laugh.
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  6. NathanialRobb
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    NathanialRobb New Member

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    The Complexity of Insanity (639 Words)

    “May I ask why you are here?” the doctor asked looking at his new patient quizzically.

    “I’m insane,” the girl answered unemotionally.

    “Obviously, this is a mental health facility, what led to you seeking treatment here?” the doctor questioned looking the beautiful blonde girl right in the eyes.

    “I am not here of my own free will,” the girl replied rolling her eyes at the doctor.

    “You were referred here?” the doctor questioned.

    “It’s in my file is it not?” the girl replied growing tired of this game.

    “I prefer getting a feel for my patients in a formal setting rather than reading off a page,” the doctor replied, he too growing tired of the game.

    “I tried to kill myself,” the girl said sighing as she pushed her hair out of her face. “Was it really necessary to take away my hair ties?”

    “You will have to take that up with administration, I don’t make the rules. Would you like to tell me why you tried to kill yourself?”

    “I was depressed.”

    “Why?”

    “Tired of life, especially people, I tire of their games.”

    “Why would that lead you to kill yourself?”

    “What’s the point of living if you can’t stand to be around people? Every day is hell. I can’t stand men, I can’t stand women. Is there any purpose to a life locked away in your room day after day all alone?”

    “Surely you don’t hate everyone”

    “I hate everyone, the only thing I love is my dog, but she’s old and she won’t be along much longer.”

    “What about your parents?”

    “My dad raped and beat me since I was seven, my mom did nothing to stop it.”

    “Perhaps she didn’t know.”

    “She knew, she could hear it, she could see it, she did nothing!” the girl shouted angrily the first sign of emotion the girl had displayed.

    “You don’t have any friends?” the doctor asked changing the subject

    “I merely have acquaintances.”

    “It says here that you’ve been in and out of mental institutions since you were sixteen?”

    “Yes, when my father died they blamed me, my mother couldn’t look at me anymore she was convinced I did it, her solution was to call me crazy and get me institutionalized.”

    “Did you kill him?”

    “Yes.”

    “You have no remorse?”

    “Only that his pain did not last longer. Only that he couldn’t feel the way I did,” she said completely unemotional.

    “Why aren’t you in prison?”

    “I covered my tracks.”

    “Patient confidentiality only goes so far.”

    “Unfortunately you can’t be tried twice, and they already found me innocent.”

    “Why did you bounce between foster care and mental institutions for the last few years?”

    “Had problems with the other kids.”

    “What kind of problems?”

    “They ended up in hospitals a lot.”

    “Why?”

    “They pissed me off,” she said with a twisted smile.

    “You have no remorse for this either?”

    “No, they deserved what they got.”

    “Why?”

    “Why not?”

    “Why were you released from these other care facilities so quickly?”

    “They found I was beyond help and they didn’t see a reason to keep me around.”

    “Do you think you are beyond help?”

    “I think I am broken and nobody can fix me, yes.”

    “I disagree.”

    “You waste your time Doctor.”

    “Why do you think that?”

    “I’m a sociopath; there is no medicine, no cure. I cannot be cured.”

    “Not all sociopaths are ‘broken’”

    “Yes but everyone that is broken is a sociopath.”

    “That’s untrue; evil does not fit into one category.”

    “I disagree, only a sociopath could pull off evil, only a sociopath has no regard for human life.”

    “What’s your name?” the doctor asked.

    “Jenny.”

    “I look forward to getting to know you Jenny.”

    “You won’t,” she said smiling. “Now if you don’t mind I would like to get settled in.”
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  7. Erato
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    Erato New Member

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    Andrea [540 incl. title]

    The water was running. Someone was running the water. Andrea went to see who was running the water.
    "Mother, you're dead," she said, as soon as she walked in the door.
    "I most certainly am not and that isn't funny. Have you done your homework?" Mother was washing dishes. Didn't she know about dishwashers?
    "I haven't done any homework in -"
    "Go do your homework."
    Andrea laughed. "Homework!"
    Mother took her hands out of the soapsuds, leaned on the counter in front of the sink. "Do you want me to make you?"
    "Homework!"
    "That is what I said."
    Andrea took a plate from the dishdrainer and dried it.
    "You're going to help me do dishes, but you won't do your homework? Andrea!"
    Andrea took a kitchen knife from the dishdrainer and dried it.
    "What is wrong with you? Andrea, go do your homework! I don't want to have to yell!"
    "Homework!" yelled Andrea. The knife drove home.
    The kitchen was empty. Andrea put the knife away. After all, it was clean.
    "Andrea, do your homework."
    She turned around. The kitchen was empty.
    "Andrea, did you kill your mother?"
    "No! Dad, no! Don't come here! You can't, there's no time!"
    The kitchen was empty. She continued to put away dishes.
    "Good morning," said Brian, walking out of the sink drain. "Have you slept well?"
    Andrea locked herself into tight embrace with him, a deep kiss. Something was wrong. She stepped away. "You're not Brian!"
    "No," he said, perhaps regretfully, "I'm not Brian."
    "Who are you?" Andrea had never seen him before. He was dressed in a white coat, like a lab technician.
    "I'm the doctor."
    "Why are you here?"
    He didn't seem to want to answer. Instead, he asked a question. "Where are you?"
    She laughed. "Right where you see me. At home. In the kitchen."
    "Andrea, did you just see your mother?"
    "She was here a minute ago." Was he a salesperson or something? "I can get her if you want to talk to her, she's upstairs, I guess."
    "That's all right, I came here to talk to you. Andrea, who is Brian?"
    "Who?"
    "You thought I was Brian. Where can I find him?"
    "You're not Brian!"
    She ran away from him, climbed into the silverware drawer. What a lot of spoons. She tripped on a spoon handle. Behind her he doubled, tripled in size. His shadow darkened the room.
    "Andrea, what are you doing?"
    "You're not Brian!" she screamed back. Screamed. It echoed off the fork tines with a tinny, metallic buzz. She went to the side of the drawer and hit her head on it. Once, twice. It was black. No, it was red - or was it white?
    Fresh air. She turned around. It was spring. She was running, wildly. Flowers by the roadside, grass. A looming tree.
    "Andrea!"
    Impact. A dull pain; the smell of blood. Slowly she opened her eyes, stumbled back and fell toher knees, then to the ground. She could taste the dirt, feel the roughness of a tree root.
    "Five cc's," said a voice. A mosquito landed on her arm, a big one. Go away. She reached out a hand, but she didn't get there in time. The sun went out.
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  8. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Pi[540 words]

    My name is Three Point One Four, but they(that is, the Coats) call me Pi. Don't ask me why. The Coats dance to the rhythm of a song of which I know nothing. They probably had a friend of a son of a cousin who liked to eat pie and looked remotely like me. The Coats are bizarre. They dislike it when I call them Coats, but yet they persist in wearing coats. Why would someone wear coats if he didn't one someone to call him(and his coated friends) Coats?

    I don't like the Coats either. They tell me the numbers are not real, thus denying the truth of the numbers, yet they continue to wear coats. How hypocritical of them. But I digress. You and I can both see numbers, the fours and eights wobbling and fading in and out in front of us. Well, I think you can see the numbers. Of course any normal person sees the numbers, but maybe you're a Coat.

    I think the Coats have, as the saying goes, "an llama and a giraffe shaking a jig". I hope that's how the saying goes. Metaphor told it to me, but he was transported three months, two weeks, four days, eleven hours, fifty-one minutes and two seconds ago, so maybe I got it slightly wrong. But for those who have not encountered this particular saying before, it basically means that they're crazy. Pure crazy. The signs are all there. Can't see the numbers, wears coats, can't see the numbers... I'm pretty sure they're crazy.

    It's unpleasant to mingle and live with crazy people. I'm afraid that one day I'll get an itch, and unshakeable itch from the bottom of my tummy, to just slip on one of those horrible white coats and become a Coat myself. I'll probably stop seeing the numbers. I like the numbers. They're my only company ever since Metaphor was transported(which was three months, two weeks, four days, eleven hours, fifty-seven minutes and thirteen seconds ago), and I don't want them to go away.

    The scariest part about the Coats is how they keep talking about me. I'll fall asleep, then wake up and hear them muttering inane things like "He's been relapsing again..." when everyone knows that "relapse" is used to refer to an apparently-cured illness re-infecting the patient. Their sentences make no sense. Then when I open my eyes, sit up and ask them what they're talking about, they go all quiet like tigers in a wedding hall(ha! I've been wanting to use that metaphor for quite a while now.)

    You know what, I think the Coats can see the numbers, but they don't like the numbers because they're crazy and the numbers don't like crazy people(I don't, and the numbers like me, which means we're friends, and friends share the same views, so if I don't like crazy people the numbers don't either), so the numbers don't talk to them and the Coats are so lonely they pretend the numbers don't exist. That sounds like I'm a psychologist, doesn't it? That Freud person with the weird talking and things like that.

    Well, it's been lovely talking to you, but I have to go now. The numbers are calling.
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  9. Norule
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    Norule New Member

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    Minor depression (567 words)

    The icy rain poured down on the street. The street I couldn’t see, but I knew was there. These roads outside of the city had no streetlamps. The only light came from a cars headlight a couple of miles away. I sat in the middle of the road. In my hands, that I no longer could feel because of the cold was my last cigarette. I wasn’t going to smoke it. It was too wet to light.

    I felt numb, there were no sounds, no smells, there was nothing, just darkness and rain. Cold rain. There were no stars, no moon. No birds, no people. Just me and the yellow dots in the distance. I could feel my chest tightening up, my heart starting to race. Tears starting to fill up my eyes. The way all my anxiety attack started. I pictured a square, looking to the upper left corner breathing in. The upper right holding the breath in. The bottom right exhaling and the bottom left waiting before I take a new breath. I did this a number of times, to control the anxiety. It didn’t help, just like the medication didn’t help. But I didn’t care. It doesn’t matter anymore.

    The anxiety had started a few months back. I had a lot of suppressed sorrow and sadness and my sister's death had pushed me over the edge, into a what the doctors called a minor depression. To me it didn’t feel so fucking minor. But what do they know. You answer some questions and they say you are only a little depressed so we don’t need to help you right away, try to think positive thoughts. Yeah right, when everything seems to turn to shit it’s hard to think positive thoughts.

    I had always been lonely, an outsider. It was not that I didn’t want to be around people. People didn’t want to be around me. I had never been invited to a party or asked out on a date. I just spent all my time thinking, I often saw myself as drowning. In an ocean of sadness and black thoughts. The medication didn’t pull me up from the water; it merely held my head over the surface. Of course the few people around me. My family, were always there to push me under the surface every chance they had.

    The car was a lot closer now. The dots were larger and I could hear it. The cold didn’t bother me anymore, neither did the anxiety. Nothing bothered me. I lay down on my back. I waited for my life to flash before my eyes. Realized it wouldn’t since I hadn’t done anything in my life. There wasn’t anything that could flash by.

    I had often thought about death, about what happens. About how the people around me would react. I have now realized that I don’t give a fuck. If there is nothing. If death is the end. Then it’s still better than this shit. And all the people around me. You can all go fuck yourself.

    The car was close. Really close. It wouldn’t see me, it was too dark and the car was going too fast. The last thing I pictured before the car reached me was my own tombstone, how fucked up is that. It read:

    John Dunne
    1993-2012
    Lived a nobody, died a nobody. Missed by no one.
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  10. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause New Member

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    Countdown

    Countdown - 1,241 words

    Ryan flicked his wrist up to his eyes. He glanced quickly at the display of his watch, which was in countdown mode. Seventeen-minutes and forty-two seconds, it read. Just as swiftly, he pulled his arm away and continued running. The people around him blurred as he propelled himself through the crowds of the high street. Hundreds of people just living their lives as if nothing was wrong. They were nothing but obstacles to him now. The burn in his legs rose to the upper-thighs, every step felt like emptying a kettle of boiling water over them. Ryan didn't slow down. He couldn't. He had gained nearly a second on his previous time. Maybe it was enough.

    It was all like a well-choreographed dance to him now. Man in grey suit with blue pinstripes exits the newsagents, rushes straight into the street, his briefcase swinging in front of him. Ryan propelled himself to the left of the pavement, weaving between two old ladies pushing their shopping trolleys and dodging the suited man. He crossed the road which was jammed with traffic. There was a lorry parked farther up the street outside the hardware store. The tail-lift had malfunctioned, grounding the lorry, forcing the busy rush hour congestion to use a single lane between them. He slipped between a white van and a red estate car whose occupant was pushing his horn repeatedly, as if one more blast of sound was going to make the problem go away, to make it all disappear, to get him home to his wife.

    A wife. He imagined Michelle's beautiful green eyes. He imagined the way she would look at him when he'd had a bad day, as if there was nothing else in the world she wanted except to make his sorrows disappear. The way she would hold his hand in hers and gently stroke her finger in circles. She could save him from anything. Merely the sound of her voice could still make all the evil vanish, even after seven years of marriage. Ryan wasn't sure if he believed in soul mates, but she was compelling evidence.

    Benches littered the street as he passed the posts marking off the pedestrianised zone of the street. People stared at him as his mouth grimaced in pain, as his feet thundered against the floor, each contact with the ground sending ripples throughout his flesh. People stepped backwards out of way, leaving a channel through the middle of the street.

    Twelve-minutes and four seconds, boy wearing headphones steps into the channel with his back to Ryan. Collision seemed imminent, but Ryan was ready. He pushed his arms out and diverted the boy back into the crowds, the boy fell to the floor and yelped in surprise and pain. He would be okay. He turned around and yelled out his apology. The channel loomed ahead, a vast chasm of emptiness where people lurked on the sidelines. Sometimes they said they wanted to help, but it was just mild courtesy. Nobody was truly willing to help him. They could never understand. It was only her. The eyes, the touch. The way she always pretended to be mad about the little things so that he would have to surprise her, have to make up for his forgetfulness, or his insensitivity, or his ignorance; the way she'd pretend not to be mad if it was something major, so no matter what they faced, they faced it together. United.

    The shop-fronts changed from chain stores to local shops. "Karen's Boutique," "The Photo Shop," "Tracy's Corner." They whizzed past like everything else - a blur - but they were all in Ryan's head. Every single one of them burned into his mind alongside a time-code. "Suited and Booted," time, five-minutes and two seconds. He was still only ahead by two seconds. Maybe it was enough.

    The buildings fell away and gave themselves over to lush grass embankments, dotted with tiny saplings wrapped in protective plastic. It would keep them safe, no matter what happened, those saplings would weather it.

    Weaving in through the banks, the canal turned on itself and began to run parallel to Ryan. The murky brown water swallowed all light, revealing nothing of its depth. Shopping trolleys, cans and empty beer bottles lay strewn on the pathway which flanked it. He looked up, his body dripping with sweat. Yet he made no effort to wipe it from himself, nothing would slow him down. The bridge across the canal came into view. Watch, forty-five seconds. There was barely a single unit of energy left inside him, he pushed himself even harder.

    The bridge loomed closer and closer, his destination was almost upon him. As the watch ticked to zero he watched it all happen. Some say the world ends with a bang, others say with a whimper. Ryan's ended with a splash.

    The water soothed the burning of his limbs as he dove into the canal. Swimming to the middle he wrapped his arms around the fragile object, wrapped in blue, dragged it to side, lifting it onto the canal pathway. It tumbled over with little resistance. Ryan pulled himself out of the water and gazed down.

    Her beautiful green eyes stared back at him. No, they stared through him. They looked upwards through the clear sky and pierced right through to the heavens.

    "Wake up!"

    There was no response. He screamed it again, over and over until he felt like his vocal chords were being torn apart, falling in on themselves inside of him. After the twenty-fifth scream, his body refused to give voice any more.

    "Michelle, baby. Wake up," he whispered into her ear as he caressed her within his arms.

    "Wake up." Even the whispers failed him now. His body started to quake. The crowd which had formed around him may as well have been a million light-years away. His world was in his arms, and it was slipping away. Sirens began to stab through the air, growing louder with every second. Time, it was so precious before, now all it did was to stretch on infinitely. Nothing had any meaning any more.

    He let her head rest back on the ground and looked at her. Blood covered her forehead where she had banged it on the bridge. Her blue dress was torn where the cyclist had caught her, sending her toppling over the edge. All he had to do was to look back, to say he was sorry. He didn't, nor did he see her slip quietly into the water.

    Ryan opened his eyes amid the darkness of his house. A small glass filled with whiskey clutched in his hand. Dishes and cartons and empty glass bottles lay strewn around the room. The air was empty, the sirens faded from his ears as the image of her vanished into nothingness. Attempt number eight-hundred and forty-five had failed. He had let her down again. Let her slip through his fingers once more. He closed his eyes after taking a sip of whiskey, he felt nothing of the burn as it slid down his throat. Next time things would change. The results would be different next time.

    The street stretched out ahead of him. Ryan flicked his wrist up to his eyes. He glanced quickly at the display of his watch. Seventeen-minutes and forty-two seconds, it read.
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  11. deeperblue
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    deeperblue New Member

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    The Heart Child (2267)

    Reader, you hold in your hands a love story, but not a happy one. It begins in the year 1945, with a young woman searching for Sanctuary. She never found it. She was pregnant, and soon after arriving at the small town of Seven Oaks, gave birth to a baby girl. She loved her, from the very moment she saw her, or perhaps even before, when mother and daughter lived and breathed as one. She named her baby Leila.
    Let us skip a few years, to 1948, when the baby girl was three, and it was Mama, Teddy, and Leila. Although from Mama’s perspective, there was only Mama and Leila. There had been a Papa once, but Mama never mentioned him, and Leila had never known him.
    Leila was two when she first met Teddy. He came to her through an open window in her nursery, much like how Peter had first met Wendy. It was night time, and he had sat on the window sill watching the rise and fall of the covers as they waltzed in time to her breathing. Although no introductions were exchanged, and Leila stayed sleeping, in her dreams where they both share, on an island of their own making, they danced together as only children can.
    They met every night, though it is more accurate to say that he never really left. He had been waiting there from the beginning.
    Teddy can be summed up in the essence of one word. He is loyal. The kind of loyalty that comes from knowing what can truly make another person happy. Because this is all anyone really wants: to be happy. You see, Reader, from the moment Teddy was born, his world was Leila.


    Leila and Mama lived at 149 Erb Street West, in a little brown house. Ms. Caraway was a single mother, and she and her daughter were often the topics of discussion for their neighbours. Mama had simply come to town one day. Nobody knew who her family was and who she was friends with.
    It is detrimental that a little about Mama is understood. Their neighbours’ gossip stemmed from a certain fear. The Caraways were different, if only because Mama was a woman who had not lived her whole life in Seven Oaks, a place where status is equivalent to how long a person has remained unchanged. Perhaps their behaviour is justified, because this was a form of protection. They feared they were inferior.
    Ms. Caraway often brought her daughter to town meetings, and it was there that Leila first conceived of the idea of injustice. It was a Monday. Mama and Leila had just stepped inside meeting room three. The mayor, a bearded man in his 40’s, stood behind a podium, a plastic smile on his face. The men and women in attendance were so alike they could have been family. They did not like Mama coming here, and they did not really understand why they did not. But Mama was a sharp woman, and she was very aware of her status in the town of Seven Oaks. She knew that this step was crucial.
    “Please, Sarah, will you set up the refreshments outside?” the Mayor said.
    “Of course, Mayor,” Mama never failed to reply. This was a job someone else should have done, and everyone in the room knew. But Mama went about her task like it was a privilege. Leila sat on the floor in a corner of the hall outside meeting room three, watching as Mama glided around, magicking stacks of glassware and assorted baked goods out of nowhere, and elegantly setting them out on the buffet table. It seemed to her wrong that Mama was out here, while everyone was inside.
    “Why do they make Mama set up table, Teddy?” Leila asked. “Mama told me town meetings were for discussing if parks should be built and where to build them.”
    Teddy’s next words were careful. “Leila, your Mother is fighting a battle.” Leila frowned.
    “But Mama’s just putting the food out,” she said. Teddy mused.
    “It isn’t a battle you fight with fists, Leila. Your mother’s battle is with the town’s misconceptions.” There was a pause, and then finally, “Leila, these people don’t know who your Papa is, and because they don’t know, they think that your mother gave birth before she married him. Do you understand so far?” Leila pondered for a moment before nodding slowly.
    “I think so,” she said. Everything was a sort of battle.
    “In this town, for a woman to have a child before she marries is a sort of social taboo.”
    “I don’t understand,” Leila said.
    Teddy watched Mama set some buttered scones on a delicate rose print plate. The rose print tea set was one of many new trivialities the mayor had purchased expressly to impress the young mother. “I wonder,” he said, quietly.
    “I don’t understand,” she repeated.
    “I’ll tell you when you’re older, Leila,” he said.
    When Leila was old enough, Mama took her to Seven Oaks Elementary School. It was here that Leila was first exposed to conformity. Or more accurately, that conforming is the desired behaviour. It is through parents that children first learn how to interact, and so it was, with the children of Seven Oaks Elementary.
    There is one particular child that is worth noting. Lee Marcel was a thinker. The Caraways fascinated him. He couldn’t understand why his mother always talked about the Caraways, never to them. Why she would snap at him if she caught him watching Ms. Caraway at church, like he had done something much worse than stare. Reader, this is the pursuit of moral truth. It is what protects our humanity.
    Lee thought that Ms. Caraway was beautiful. And this was one reason why his mother disliked the Caraways; because Ms. Caraway’s beauty came from class. Not in the sense where class is directly proportional to power and family, but in her intelligence and something inherent.


    Lee couldn’t help thinking about Leila, and the decided dismissal of her by their classmates. It was something he couldn’t put his finger on. It was because these children had never known something other than their reality. They have never known another town or another existence. How can they know to compare? All they know is what has always been.
    Lee was a boy who was very conscious of behaviour. His parents had taught him that one had to always act with good manners. They said that a person’s manners reflect their upbringing and gave a person class. He wondered about the idea of class.
    Lee was, regardless, what one would call a respectful boy. He listened more than he spoke, even though in the end he did not always agree. It is important to mention here that although Lee might not always agree, he never voiced his disagreements. The truth is, that was all they wanted, anyway: someone to listen; the motions of appearing.


    “Hello,” he had said that day.
    “What do you want?” she had asked. Lee was surprised, for he had not expected to hear irritation from Leila’s tone. In fact, he had thought she would have appreciated his act of pity. He had still sat down on the grass next to her, undefeated. The truth was, for a long time, he had made up conversations with her in his mind, generated responses. But when he had finally exchanged words with her, it was not about Elizabeth the Second, or the war in some place called Korea. Instead, it was about how he and his family had gone to the park last Sunday, all six of them and a big yellow lab. It was perhaps fate that this was what he began with, because she listened.
    The Heart Child looked on, as Leila watched, more than listened, to Lee. Teddy stood in a remote, shadowy corner. A look of loss crossed his face. “The beginning of the end,” he whispered.
    “I’m glad you found a friend, Leila,” he had said afterward. He had smiled then. In the empty spot that should have held his heart, he knew he should be happy for her. But when he had looked at his fingers, they were slightly transparent, shimmering. Like butterflies, like something insubstantial. Somewhere, a clock was ticking, an hourglass rotated, and the sands of time began to fall.


    Leila and Lee were twelve when the world finally ended. A prediction had come true. “You have to do something about this,” Lee had said then.
    “Why can’t you just leave it alone, Lee? It’s none of your business.” But it was his business. It had eaten away at him for far too long.
    “One day they’ll become serious, and they’ll do more than write messages on your desk! Don’t you understand?”
    “I do understand,” she had finally said. And she did. She did understand. It was about what you were willing to give up. Lee knew it then. Someday he would lose her.
    “I can’t help you,” he finally said. “I want them to like me.” And then she finally asked the question that had gone unasked for so long:
    “Why?” They had both known the answer. Leila stood watching as Lee walked away. She played the encounter over in her mind, where she was lord and master, but even in her simulations she had never won once.


    “You know that Caraway girl’s mom?” Jimmy asked Lee. They were in the classroom now, his voice hushed. “You know what my dad said?” Jimmy’s eyes were wide with a secret. “He said she’s a whore,” he whispered, not really knowing what it meant, knowing just enough that he should not be repeating it.
    It was the way he said “that Caraway girl,” more so than “whore” that had finally done it. Someone had pulled the trigger.
    Lee gripped the edges of his chair. “Don’t say that again,” he said softly. He couldn’t look at Jimmy. There was something dark that weighed at his heart. For a while, they just sat there silently, neither boy moving. Finally the silence was broken by Jimmy’s challenge. He had lost face.
    “What are you saying, man? Are you in love with that whore?” he bluffed, like that was explanation enough.
    Lee finally turned to look at the other boy. There was a look of instability about him. He searched Jimmy’s eyes, for something he knew not the name of, and he never found it. Maybe it had never been there. Lee stood abruptly, his chair falling over in the process, interrupting the class. He stepped backward awkwardly, away from the other boy. What he had not found had stunned him beyond anything else he had ever felt. He had realized in that moment how different, yet at the same time how similar, how human, they were. We want to think that our thoughts have beauty, have some form of nobility. We want to think that humanity stands for justice. But how do we define justice?
    “Lee Marcel!” the teacher yelled. “Sit back down immediately!”
    At the inkling of unfolding drama, all eyes in the classroom turned to look at Lee.
    “I won’t.” Lee said. Ms. Woods was taken aback by this determination. Lee had never been a trouble student. The classroom was mute. No one knew how to react.
    Leila watched Lee from her seat. Teddy stood beside Leila in a shimmer, like glass. His hands sought hers out, and he held them tightly, but Leila didn’t notice. She hardly noticed him anymore.
    “Who are you people?” Lee suddenly asked. “I don’t know you!”
    “Stop this nonsense immediately and sit back down!” Ms. Woods repeated. Lee didn’t hear. He was gripped by a deep fear that he was the same as Jimmy, the same as everyone in this town; a fear that man wasn’t really man. He swirled in a circle, searching the eyes of his classmates. What makes him who he is?
    “Lee!” Ms. Woods commanded, one last time. Finally he looked at Jimmy, who he had only a moment ago hated. He did not any more, no more than a man can truly hate a dog. “What makes me different from you?” he asked. Jimmy never answered this question, and in the years to come he never had an answer.
    It was at that moment that Lee realised that he had failed something he never knew he had started. Something had been lost in the journey between his thoughts and theirs. All he wanted was some beauty in the world. Anything would have been fine. He looked at Leila. She, too, never said a word. He had done something unspeakable. He had been ungrateful. He had dared to think that what they had was not the best.


    Lee never left Seven Oaks. He is what the children call “Chug” and the adults call “Drunkard.” They said his mind was scattered.
    Leila had gone to a university out of state. She became a famous lawyer, and although she never returned to Seven Oaks, they heard about her all the time. And they told their friends, “I went to school with that girl.”
    On nights when the sky is calm, and even those who have long since grown up are able to find the way, a boy waits for a girl. Reader, perhaps I have been hasty in saying that this is not a happy story. I do not understand happiness any more than I understand love. It is with this thought that I leave you, for we’ve reached
    The End.
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  12. Force
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    Force New Member

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    Rogue

    Rogue [1925]

    The photographs were all the same. The Master browsed through perhaps fifteen or so images of the different victims before stopping. He had barely dented the pile in front of him but he had seen enough.

    Each victim had died the same way: A small thin slash in their neck. Some were at weird angles, but most were horizontal and clean. As if there had been no struggle at all. They lay there, in pools of their own blood, eyes open with a surprised expression on their face.

    A small gasp escaped from Five. His face was pale as all eyes in the room focused on him. He slid a photograph towards the center of the table. This one was vastly different. There was no clean cut. Instead, the man looked like he had been stabbed several hundred times. His eyes had been gouged, stab wounds were present all over his body and his arms looked like they had been through a shredder. The Master winced inwardly at the sight. Despite the mutilation the body was distinctly recognizable - instantly recognizable in fact. After all, he had spent many years of his life instilling fear of this man into the younger adepts.

    His name was Xelanir. A champion from a guild that prided itself on its life-like weaves. Creations fabricated into the form of beasts that had a will of their own. Xelanir was considered the prodigy of his generation, able to conjure illogical beasts, supernatural creatures that were impossible to predict. However it was not his genius that made him famous, but his twisted mind and sadistic cruelty towards his opponents.

    “Well that’s a face we haven’t seen in a while,” said Six, the newest and most junior member. He too looked a little pale.

    “Didn’t he end up in Counter-Intelligence?” asked Three.

    “Lead the damn department for them,” Two snarled. “We don’t see him because they say he never leaves anymore.”

    “Hold on,” Three said holding up a hand, “That would make this place-”

    “Yeah,” Two cut in. “Headquarters. Well they’d have moved it by now, what’s left of them anyway.” She pointed towards the photographs on the table. “Weavers,” she said, “every last one of them.”

    “But who would be capable of-”

    “Oh, I think we all know the answer to that,” the Master said quietly. He clicked his fingers and the room dimmed. “If nothing else, this construction from the tapes we’ve been able to piece together goes to prove beyond all doubt who was responsible.”

    A small hologram glowed from the center of the table. It showed Falcon Tower: A skyscraper that reached into the clouds. One of the most famous land marks in the world. To think that it had also been the central hub for their espionage activities. Not knowing was an embarrassment they would have to deal with later.

    The hologram rotated and zoomed in towards the revolving front doors. Two guards stood on either side. Something must have distracted them, for they looked up in unison. In that second, the cameras caught a dark streak flash through the pair and into the front doors. There, the cameras captured the silhouette of the young man as he slowed to the speed of the revolving doors. He glanced back to make sure the guards had seen nothing, inadvertently allowing the camera to catch his face. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days. There were dark bags under his eyes and his face was as pale as a ghost. Still, he looked more worried than tired as he disappeared into the Falcon Tower.

    “That was Sarek!” exclaimed Six.

    “What’s he doing this far north?” asked Four, “I thought he had been assigned [noparse]that[/noparse] job in the East?”

    “We received confirmation of success on [noparse]that[/noparse] this morning.”

    “But what’s he-”

    “Be quiet and watch,” the Master said as he pointed towards the corner of the projection. There was a small digital display that showed the time of the constructed footage. But instead of ticking normally, it was behaving erratically by jumping forward every few seconds. Sometimes it was only for a few seconds but sometimes entire minutes went missing.

    “What’s going on?” asked Six, “Don’t we have tapes from the inside cameras?”

    “Unfortunately not, we’ve only been able to harvest data by intercepting transmissions from their satellite,” said Two, “Getting the photos on top of the sky cam is amazing as it is.”

    Naturally, every camera throughout the building had its own internal clock that synchronized wirelessly with the others every few seconds. It was a development that had originally been intended to detect intrusion and feed looping from outside attackers. It had worked – for a while before crackers wizened up. This wasn’t one of those cases though, and flashing red lights could be seen from the outside slowly climbing down each floor as the system detected the glitches on the respective floors. The Master assumed that Sarek had simply taken an elevator to the top without being challenged. Something had happened up there. He had a vague idea, but it was completely ridiculous.

    Though they had continued to cast worried glances inside, the two guards at the front doors had remained steadfast at their posts. No doubt they had been trained to do so. It could not have been more than twenty minutes, but two and a half hours had passed on the digital display before Sarek stepped out through the revolving doors.

    His face was the same pale hallow mask. In his right hand, he held that same dagger he always carried with him. It was coated with fresh blood that slowly dripped onto the floor forming a trail behind him. He looked like Death personified.

    The guards made a move towards him and on the camera he shimmered. The picture of Sarek simply went out of focus. He became a blur. The display jumped forward several seconds again as both guards collapsed to the ground at the same time. They clutched their throats as they thrashed weakly on the ground, like fish out of water. Blood pooled on the ground around them.

    The room erupted in excited babble.

    “Did he just-”

    “No, that’s impossible.”

    “He said it himself. You cannot time weave while committing acts of violence.”

    “Well, he just did it. Repeatedly.”

    “How?”

    The Master raised a hand and the others fell silent. “How is not important. What is important is that it happened. What are we going to do about this?”

    “If we have this information, you can bet every other guild has it too,” said Three, “The North will demand retribution.”

    “The North just lost close to five hundred Weavers, including Xelanir,” Five said. “What would their word count for now?”

    “That isn’t the problem, and you know it,” Four replied. “It has been five millennia since Time Lords last walked amongst other Weavers.”

    “So?”

    “They had forgotten…,” Three paused and corrected herself. “We had forgotten just how dangerous a Time Lord could be. It will not take another exhibition tournament to see the shift in power now. Not after this. The others will rally behind the North simply as a matter of principle.”

    “So what can we do?” There was silence.

    “We disown him,” Four said softly.

    Six spluttered. “Are you insane?”

    “He is our last remaining pillar of strength for the next generation,” Five interjected quietly. “Are you sure this is wise? Without him we are-”

    “I agree with Four. Perhaps, now we know why the Time Lords were all killed off,” Two said quietly. “They are simply too dangerous to let live.” He turned towards the head of the table. “Your thoughts, Master?”

    The Master watched as all eyes turned to him. Both Four and Five had spoken the cold harsh truth. There was once a time when he would not have hesitated in his choice. There was a time where the future of the next generation in the guild looked as bright as the sun. But those times were gone, and now without the Time Weaver, they were nothing. However, if they supported Sarek, they were looking at war against every other guild in the world. They would be exterminated. It was a no win situation. He really had no choice.

    His eyes scoured the room to gouge the reactions of the others. Two and Four had clearly seen through his thinking already and agreed. Three seemed resigned. Five and Six would be the problem. But they were younger, they would come around.

    “We disown him,” he said finally.

    They reacted almost exactly as he expected. He relaxed his arms and started to weave.

    “Are you a politician,” spat Six standing up, “or are you a Weaver?”

    “I will have no part of this! What are we if we turn our back to our own,” roared Five.

    It was a simple shroud, the element of air to constrict or enforce movement. He reached out with it around Six’s shoulders and forcibly pushed him back down.

    “If a hound turns rabid, you don’t try to cure it. You put it down. Regardless of how loyal it was,” he said, attempting to reason with Six. “If Sarek has gone insane, and there is no evidence to point otherwise, then we will put him down. Besides, Sarek was never truly one of us was he?”

    “How can you say that,” Six shouted standing up again.

    “SIT DOWN,” he roared. “It has already been decided by majority. This is the guild’s position on the matter. If you have a problem…” he left the sentence unfinished but nodded towards the door.

    Without hesitation, Six turned and left. Silently, the others watched him go. Due to the nature of the matters they dealt with for the guild, there was only one true way to resign. He was a dead man and he knew it.

    Then something unexpected happened. The sound of a chair scraping back sounded throughout the room as Five also started towards the door.

    “What are you doing Five?” called Two as she reached the doorway. “Have you thought this through?”

    Five turned back and looked at the four remaining members of the Council. “The leadership has no courage,” he said. “No trust. No loyalty. No wonder we have grown so weak. I see that now, and I want no part of it.”

    There was a stunned silence as Five left the chamber.

    Two looked uncertain as he spoke, “Might she have a point?”

    “Don’t be ridiculous,” laughed Four, as he grabbed Five’s untouched drink and gulped it down. “When Six dies, she’ll come to her senses.”

    “You say that like she’s not stronger than you,” Three said quietly.

    Four choked on his drink as he struggled to reply, “Why you-”

    “Enough!” the Master said. “What’s done is done. We will move on.” He reached for a button in front of him and paged an officer.

    “Guild Master?” asked the officer over the line.

    “Sarek has gone rogue, Captain,” he said, “I’m sure you know what to do.”

    “Yes sir,” the officer said. There was a pause. “Wait, did you say Sarek?”

    “Yes Captain, I did.”

    “But that’s impossible sir, Sarek is as-”

    “Just do it, Captain,” he insisted.

    “Very well, at what position sir?” the Captain asked hesitantly.

    The Master leaned forward and placed both palms on the conference table as he glared at the others. His eyes challenged the other three to contradict his next words. The room remained deathly silent.

    His words echoed throughout the room.

    “Mark him most wanted.”
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