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  1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Short Story Contest 84: Storyteller - Flash Fiction Special - Submission & Details

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jan 4, 2011.

    Short Story Contest 84
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Storyteller - Flash Fiction Special"​



    Open to all, newbies and established members 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. Sadly, there is no prize on offer except pride. The winner may PM/VM me to request the theme of a subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Theme: "Storyteller - Flash Fiction Special" (courtesy of contest 82 winner SashaMerideth). Any interpretation valid, though it should focus on a storyteller, his/her tales or the perhaps the art of storytelling. Entries do not have to follow the theme explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.
    Wordlimit: 100-500 words
    Deadline for entries: Monday 17th January 2011 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.

    There is a maximum of 20 entries to any contest. If there are more than 20 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.

    The next contest will return the contests to the ususal word limit (500-3000 words), and it will be themed "Step Into A Picture" (courtesy of member Tessie91). The contest after that will be themed "Beyond The Surface" (The End), and the one after that "Reincarnation" (Manav). Be free to prepare an entry in advance for any of these contests, but do not submit an entry for them until instructed to do so.

    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 please.

    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. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    The Writer

    These hands of mine have done awful deeds.
    My life was always on its own path, but at some point, I must have strayed, for here I sit, my horror before me.
    It has no form; it makes no sound, but a flutter in the breeze.
    My hands are red from my dread, from the nights sat here, my sight failing from my intense stair. What time is it? What day is it? I don’t know any longer… nor do I care.
    Am I hungry? I can’t recall what hunger feels like… I’ve sat there for too long… but I must finish.
    My hands do their work.
    The pile is before me… my love… my masterpiece… my envy… my rage… This is everything that I am… but everything I’m not.
    My hands tremble… what is it? Rage? Fear? Pain?
    Why do I even ask myself these questions?
    To much time has been spent thinking… I slide the reel.
    The keys play their song.
     
  3. jazen
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    jazen New Member

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    Story Teller (370 wds)

    We all gather around when he comes, back bent, hobbling forward with his walking stick. He makes his own way forward through the crowd that easily parts for him. He doesn’t ask for help. As he sits we all watch, eyes attentive, ears even more so, wandering what we will hear today.

    It’s almost always a new story, something different, occasionally, on request, he will repeat a story – but not often, not often at all. His mouth opens, and we all lean further forward to hear as he starts to tell us.

    Just for this short period of time we suspend belief, we are no longer children, divided by petty fights, we are all observers in this web he weaves, expertly, on our willing minds. As he speaks we can see what he is talking of, as if we were there as it happened – there is no question of if he was there, as he speaks we are all aware that he must have been, and even if the events he speaks of occurred so long ago, it is still believable that he was there, he seems – to us – to be as old as the world.

    As he speaks our minds travel, they experience new sights, new smells, new tastes, things we have never even heard of before, let alone experienced, things that normally we might never believe in – dragons, unicorns, but as he speaks we do believe, we feel we are on the dragons back, we feel the wind rushing against us, we are saving the unicorns, we are dancing with the faeries, just for a while.

    As his story comes to an end, we all breathe again, not that we had noticed stopping as it is. He gets up to leave, and we beg – as we always do – for another story, he declines, he needs to be on his way, he is offered a bed for the night by one of the adults, he declines – again. He accepts no payment, no food or drink, we ask when he will come again, he doesn’t know – he never knows, it may be a week, or a month, it may even be longer, but when he comes we will be waiting.
     
  4. ffakih08
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    ffakih08 New Member

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    She Comes To Me

    Tragedy, Such a cliché it has become .The deeds of fate justified with blatant leniency.
    I have walked the beaches so many times, it feels home .It was bound to be like this one day. The day ,the word home lose its meaning , somewhere under the open sky you find a world of comfort .That is just how reality has come to be for me.
    But here she comes. I can see her silhouette from here; from a distance that has become so irrelevant since I had known she was coming .This is beautiful .My heart has become such a frantic metronome. I feel a chill somewhere in my senses, making my pain ebb away.
    Hope, such mimicry of reality .So powerful in denial.
    Over my sand land of a home, there are so many empty sand castles .All waiting in the vagueness of the twilight to be washed away, maybe rebuilt somewhere, by somebody sometime .The fragile castles are the ones I can mock today, not the other way around.
    Home. Such a haunting picture it paints. Such a meaningless pursuit.
    I can distinguish her shadow now .She walks in such heavenly grace, the worlds collides inside of me. The sound of her footsteps mingling with the sound of the crashing waves ensnares my senses.
    Temptation, Such vivid reality yet such folly.
    She is close to me now .She smells like the ocean.
    Death. She comes. Inevitably.
     
  5. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Storytime Together (200)

    She heard mumbling over the phone receiver, and lifted it from beside the radio.

    "Pardon?"

    "What a crock! I just wasted a big chunk of the minutes on my cell."

    "Oh, I don't know. I kinda liked it. I mean, what were you expecting from 'The Archers'? Bombs and bullets?"

    "They said Ambridge would be 'shaken to its core'. That wasn't exactly 'shaken'."

    "Well, you coulda waited till you got to an internet cafe next week, but no - you called me to send the anniversary broadcast down the line to you."

    "But..."

    She raised her voice a bit, "And besides – we did get to spend a half hour together, didn't we."

    A chuckle came through the phone. "Yea. Guess you're right. It was good listening to the radio with you. I do miss you – and everyone else."

    There was a pause.

    "I miss you, too. I'm glad you could have your adventure and all, but ... I still miss you."

    "Aw – I'll be back before you know it. Well, I should get going. I'll email some new photos the first chance I get. Love you."

    "Love you, too. Bye."

    "Goodnight."
     
  6. yellowm&M
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    yellowm&M Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just Like You [484 words]

    The wind was still, the animals quiet, the waters calm; the earth itself seemed to be sleeping. Up in the velvety purple sky the moon was sliding towards the horizon as the stars remained in place, watching the silent world below them. It was into this world that the little girl and her father walked.

    The instant they entered the clearing, the father began examining the plants around him; writing observations and drawing sketches in a small notebook with the aid of a flashlight. Unlike her father, however, the little girl remained standing next to the trees; transfixed by the pearly moon and glowing world around her. Stars were reflected in her eyes and her mouth was open in wonder, for never before in her life had she seen a place as wild, alien, and beautiful as that pocket of silent forest. Slowly she began to move forwards, her eyes still fixed on the stars that she was convinced were angels, for what else could shine so brightly? It was then that the toe of her shoe hit something on the ground with a small clatter. Startled she reached down and picked the object up. Holding it to the moonlight she saw that it was a faintly blue rock, worn smooth with age and bearing a perfect imprint of a seashell.

    “Daddy! Daddy! Look at what I found!” Her young voice was barely above a whisper, but it carried easily in the stillness.

    “What is it sweetie?” Her father turned and reached for the stone in her hands before examining it. “Do you know what this is?”

    “No…what is it daddy?”

    “It’s a fossil.”

    “A fossil…” The girl was silent for a moment as she tasted the word, then she burst into speech, “it’s so pretty! Are there more of them? Is it magical? It looks magical!” She gazed at her father eagerly and he found that he couldn’t resist grinning at her innocent curiosity.

    “Yes, I suppose it is magical, because fossils are how the world talks to us. They tell us many things about the planet and its past.”

    “They do?”

    “Oh yes. Each fossil is like a story. The earth makes them and then puts them everywhere for us to find and figure out the stories they tell us about places, and animals, and people. The earth is just like a storyteller in that way.”

    “And people like you find the stories and tell them to people, right daddy?”

    “That’s right.”

    The little girl contemplated this for a while then looked at her father earnestly, “So you’re a storyteller then, just like the earth?” Her wide eyes and solemn question made a slow smile stretch across her father’s lips.

    “Yeah…I guess I am a storyteller.”

    “Like the earth?”

    “Like the earth.” And the storyteller hugged his daughter as the sun rose, illuminating the great face of the waking storyteller beneath them.
     
  7. fish1
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    fish1 Member

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    The End (408 words)

    The storyteller sat hunched over his workbench, on a stool so disproportionate to his size that he appeared comical. A single lamp illuminated the dank, dark room in which he sat: a basement no less. It bore a naturally musty smell, but this odour was overpowered by one far more potent, probably emanating from the rats' nest concealed behind the seldom-used, ancient washing machine. Perhaps a member of their clan had met its fate.

    His eyes were bloodshot, his laps cracked, his skin the colour of a man's who had seen nary a wink of daylight for months. In the time he had spent in his basement, he had ate, slept and drank only what had been absolutely necessary. Only a man in pain had the ability, and more importantly, the right, to weave a tale of true anguish. That was the storyteller's ethos.

    In his basement, his voluntary cell, all the inspiration he required locked away in his skull, and free of distraction, he had hand-written page upon page of his odyssey, only to become ensnared in a net of uncertainty, so close to the all-important victory over himself. Was it even possible to end such a story? "What will people think when they come to the finale of such an epic journey, only to discover a lacklustre conclusion?" The thought tormented the storyteller so.

    Then the infernal cogs began their relentless grinding. "This is the only thing you have ever been good at, the only true talent you have ever possessed, you cannot screw this up!" he berated himself fiercely. "But you will!" screamed another voice from within his head, and he knew it to be correct.

    Terror seized his heart with an iron chokehold, his pulse raced. His eyes darted wildly around the room, as if an intruder had reached into his core and afflicted him with such torturous agony. Pain shot through his arm. "NO!" he shrieked what he thought had been a blood-curdling howl. Alas, not a sound escaped his lips.

    With all his might, he willed an emaciated hand to lift the pencil, but perseverance was no match for reality. At last, he submitted to his unfortunate destiny and toppled from the stool on which he had been seated for so many moons, orchestrating his one truly flawless fable.

    Finally, as he lay dying on the cold concrete floor, the storyteller thought to himself, "Perhaps this is the best ending after all".
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Story of the Greatest Love Story. (245 words)

    She is wracking her brains. What to do today? Staring at the stack of papers lying on the desk. Drumming her fingers on the hard walnut surface. Will anything come. 'Anya, how ambrosial to greet you this fine morn.'

    'Abbot my old pal. Where have you been hiding?' Anya, smiles.

    'You presided over my demise remember.'

    'Yeah silly of me. I missed you.' She pauses the fingers drumming. An idea is brewing.

    'How terribly congenial of you.'

    'Do you have plans for me today?' She chews on the end of her pencil.

    'Since my demise and your forgetting of me ...'

    Anya looks hurt, stops chewing for a moment. 'Oh Abbot I could never forget you. You are just not in my latest story.'

    'If I am not being transcribed to parchment it feels like being forgotten.' Did Anya just hear a sniff from him? No can't be the Abbot isn't a man given to great emotion.

    'Go on Abbot what would you like from me?' She places her elbows on the desk using her hands to prop up her head.

    'The most delightful gift, I could ever receive from my author is for you to tell the story of Tom and myself.'

    'What are wonderful idea, you are perfect. I could almost kiss you.' As she says the words Anya reaches for a piece of paper, she grins thinking about the parchment. Licks the end of her pencil and begins. Once upon a time …
     
  9. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    The Storyteller (238 words)

    I have no more time today for more tales.” The Storyteller said, “That is my last word.”

    The crowd that had gathered and sat on the ground to hear his tales slowly got up and went back to the bustling market. Two children sat and stubbornly looked at him. Their tattered clothes were caked with all manner of filth. The boy took a piece of bread from his pocket, tore it in half and handed the other piece to a younger looking girl. His little dirty fingers left streaks of dirt and God knows what on the bread, but he ate it anyways. The girl was less certain but started eating, while giving the storyteller sad, pleading eyes.

    Oh, little children, I have more tales, but no time for them today. Tomorrow, I will tell you tales of dashing knights, maidens and the beautiful dragon; of a wizard and a horrid witch. Tomorrow, you will hear such tales of glory and fear, love and woe that you will be able to bathe in your own tears.” The Storyteller told the children. They smiled at him, and ran off, eager to hear the magnificent tales the Storyteller would bring.

    The Daisy Scout leader stopped her tale and looked at the throng of little girls clamoring to hear more. “Everyone, settle down, and I will tell you the tale that our Storyteller told the next day.”
     
  10. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    Progress (481)

    Progress (481)


    “This is preposterous! You doubt my integrity? I'll have you know that I am descended from a long line of storytellers. Indeed, I can trace my lineage back over two full centuries. And throughout all those years, my ancestors have risen to their callings and entertained. And that is exactly what I've been doing for these past two weeks. Now, I demand that you release me at once.”

    “I'm sorry, but I can't do that,” I said.

    “You can't do that? I'll have you know that this is kidnapping, and I'm going to press charges.”

    I sighed. “No, this is not kidnapping.”

    “Of course it is. Forcibly removing me from my home, where I was quite comfortable, is definitely kidnapping.”

    “No, it isn't. Now this may tingle a bit,” I said before making an adjustment that ended in a popping noise.

    “Hey, that hurt!”

    “Well that didn't work,” I muttered, pointedly ignoring the exclamation.

    “Of course, it didn't work. And you call yourself a doctor?”

    “That's just part of the company name. I'm not a real doctor,” I replied, starting to get a little irritated.

    “So, Jack the Television Doctor is a misnomer? To think that a businessman would attempt to mask his ineptitude behind the respectability of such a title is appalling. I demand to be put in touch with the Better Business Bureau immediately.”

    I glared at the television set, catching my reflection in its darkened screen. Then I made another adjustment which ended in a sound that was a cross between a pop and a sizzle.

    “Egad, man. Do you actually know what you're doing or are you just flailing around blindly?” the television exclaimed in a voice that was a few octaves higher than normal.

    “Yes, I know what I'm doing,” I snapped. Then I relented and took a deep breath. “Well, normally I do, but you new televisions with the Raptor A.I. chip are kind of tricky.”

    “'Kind of tricky?' Let me guess, that's a technical term that you came across while learning how to fix televisions in prison, right?”

    Instead of replying, I just repeated the last, failed adjustment and was rewarded with a sizzling-pop.

    The television proceeded to issue a loud series of beeps, which meant the parental controls had been set to block out swearing. Then it calmed down. “Your first name is Jack, right? I don't suppose your last name is 'the Ripper' by any chance?”

    I rolled my eyes. “Very funny. . . . Now if you don't mind, I'm going to place a call to your manufacturer and see about getting a copy of your service manual.” Then I rose and headed for my small office, all the while being belittled by an intelligent television. Who says progress is always a good thing?
     
  11. Willowgreen
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    Willowgreen Member

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    Deleted. will enter another time. :redface:
     
  12. babsieblu
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    babsieblu New Member

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    The Magical Place in the hills


    She was an unlikely visitor to the storytelling night at the little bookstore in our town. Hearing the ring, ring, tinkling of bells we all turned to look at where the sound was coming from. It was a little girl about 10 years old wearing a red denim backpack with bells, little dolls and several tiny knitted socks of different colors and strips dangling from the zippers. She came over to the platform in front of the crowd and dropped her noisy backpack on the floor.


    She sat down in the old comfy chair to face the crowd. At first she was silent. She just sat there looking at us, looking back. She waited patiently for all of us to quiet down. None of us knew what to expect from this little girl. She seemed far too young to engage this crowd of grownups, most of us women, taking a night out from our families.


    The pretty little girl rose from her chair and stood behind it holding onto the backrest, she flipped her silky brown braid to fall down her back and gave all of us a big wide smile. Hello everyone, she said. My name is Annie and I have a story to tell. Everyone in the crowd clapped and hooted “go Annie, tell us your story! “ I want you all to know that my story is not always happy. It might make you cry and it might make you laugh. You might even want to know me better when I tell you my story.


    Last year, it was a Friday night and I was very excited because the next day my older sister was taking me to a magical place she found one summer in the hills behind our new home. My sister’s name is Cassie. She is very pretty, and smart too. She likes to take hikes in the hills. We had only been living on our farm for a few months back then. We eat all of the food that we grow in the garden and we have a milk cow named Jack. Yes, I know that cows are girls; she smiled showing her dimples and the playful twinkle in her eyes. Jack is short for Jacqueline. We have 16 chickens and a very loud and aggressive rooster named Sue. Yes, I know that is a girl’s name. That is probably why he is always so angry. He wakes us up every morning a 3 am. Mom says his clock is broken. After a while I just stopped hearing him and slept until Mom called me for breakfast.


    Here is the sad part. My grandpa and my Daddy died last year. Our farm belonged to my Grandpa. We became homeless when our home burnt down in San Francisco. We had to live in a homeless shelter for almost a year when Daddy got the nerve to call Grandpa and ask if we could move in. While Daddy and Grandpa were driving into San Francisco to pick us up it was very icy on the road and they skidded into another car and off of a cliff.

    You are probably wondering about that magical place behind our farm. If you want to know about that you’ll have to come back next week!
     
  13. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Storyteller

    (488 words)

    “Where is my good umbrella?” Our mother‘s voice broke like a seething goblin as she came rushing into the kitchen, her maroon dress suit soaked with rain.

    At the breakfast table, I mutely played with a piece of cold toast. I knew where the umbrella had been, but I didn’t want to reveal where it had gone.

    “I don’t know, Mummy. I don’t know, Mummy,” Arnold said, nodding his head instinctively.

    Mother convulsed in a shiver that resembled a mangy wolf, but her clothing wouldn’t release the droplets. “Boys, it was beside the front door yesterday,” she said bitterly. “What has become of it?”

    I looked to Arnold for guidance. He was two years old, not much younger than me, and even with a few encyclopedias acting as cushions, he still had difficulty reaching the toast. What little hair he had on his head was slicked into a smart, blonde crown, and all of him was dressed in white. He gave me a worried eye and, looking back to Mother, suddenly fell silent too.

    We both knew the umbrella had been high in the cherry tree, which stood in the back lot of the house. Arnold had convinced me the afternoon before that it was a good idea to bring it up there. It had been raining only slightly, and we wanted to stay among the blossomed branches uninterrupted to count the fine, spring clouds.

    Mother with her dark, wind-swept hair dripping rainwater stared at me skeptically. “Where is my umbrella, Vincent?” Her arms touched her hips as she sneered, “You must know.” Behind her livid expression, I saw a faint but desperate plea. Thunder echoed lightly from the kitchen window. I didn’t know when the downpour would stop to be honest.

    I tried to answer, but quavered, “Please, Mummy, I don’t know where it went.”

    We had been left it in the cleft of the treetop, nestled safe in soft, cherry blossoms, but before I could hurry back to retrieve it, a stormy gust of wind had surged the tree and carried mother’s black umbrella far away.

    After a momentous pause, she drew closer to the table with outstretched fist, poised to box my ear.

    “Father took it! Father took it!” Arnold shrieked.

    “What?” said mother, stalling her palm.

    “Father took it.” Arnold repeated excitedly in his usual, scratchy monotone. “Took it to work, he did.” He was hopping in the chair uncontrollably, his hair standing on end.

    Mother turned her raw, imposing face on me. “Is this true, Vincent?”

    I nodded limply.

    She turned away with a low snarl and headed into the front hall, complaining fitfully about the rain.

    Once the front door had closed behind her heels, I breathed a nervous laugh and smiled gratefully at Arnold. He squeaked with giggles and nodded, while lifting his crest with delight. He could tell any story. He loved to tell stories. For sure, he was my pet Cockatoo.
     
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  14. JohnathanRS
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    JohnathanRS Member

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    Hey YOU, yeah you, come over here, could you spare some change?

    Oh come on now, surely you can?

    Well how about this, can you spare a second?

    For what purpose you ask? Well, you intrigue me.

    To tell you the truth, you sort of remind me of someone. That person.

    Who's that person? Well, this was a long time ago, but you see, those times were quite different then these. Do you really want to know?

    Well, it is quite the interesting story, in those times, humans weren't advanced as they are now a days. Boy those days were fun. It's funny though, you guys never recorded them! And the other days, well, your records are all wrong.

    Oh, that's right you don't know what other days is?

    I am talking about in the past, you know not the present?

    Ah, I can tell by the puzzled face of of yours you are trying to guess on what I am talking about?

    Here, I'll make this simple, in your record books, you guys forgot some of the most important stories throughout your species history. Jesus Christ? Buddhism? Aztec? The real greek gods? Templars? Man! I could go on! All wrong!

    How could I possibly know that?

    Well, I remember those days, I was sorta...there.

    Those times were a lot different from now. You humans weren't so, weak. Wow, I am being rude aren't I? Well here, come closer, take a seat, this might take awhile.
     
  15. Aussiewriter
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    Aussiewriter New Member

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    they ride the boat cruis together as the waves are crashin she points out a dolphin as they both look over and she points she looses an earing , the first earings he bought her the day they met in an act of sprerodict he jumps after the ring as she screams no he dives into the water he hits the water as te ring hits the gold glow as he goes under seeing it float he swims and swims the cold water o
    impact changes to warm body all over as his body is one with the ocean he swims as a golden fish pases the ring like a sign as he squints almost missin it he grabs the gold earing , and latches on to the back of the boat climbing with the ring in his mouth unable to speak she is steal calling his name on the side of the boat my love as everyone rushes over as he climes over teh boat behind her and
    walks up the crowd see him comin with a grinj but have no sound as he puts his finger to his mouth in a shshs sounds as she still is lookin
    ove rthe end of the boat oh no almost about to dive in herself after himj he puts his hand on her shoulder and she turns around and cuddles him so hard dont ever do that again she said and he said i would do it again as he puts her earing on her ear as she sobs and gives him a kiss wer going inside she says as she grabs his hand takes him inside and they are the talk of the boat as they dance away
    all night he still drippins with some sea water in a romantic kiss as the music and all the passangers make a circle for the romantic couple, a someone that didner her the comotion getting a drink from teh bar tender saying whats going on whats so special about that couple dancing and the bar tender said there in love, he said but people are in love he said i thought so to but u never no until u r
    really see it
    as he sips and watches them dance as the bar tander cleans the glasses walks away
     
  16. Wicked
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    Wicked Member

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    The Foxhole [337 words]

    Another explosion flung dirt and clumps of dry grass at Bill's face. He closed his eyes, then brushed the dirt away just in time for the next explosion to rattle him and his squad mates in the dusty foxhole.

    The explosions were getting closer by the minute, but this artillery barrage could not last forever - if they can survive the next couple of minutes, he was sure, it would stop, and the order to counterattack would be given.

    His thoughts were confirmed as he glanced at Lieutenant Wentworth, and saw him taking out the binoculars and peering through them at the enemy forces ahead.

    He checked his remaining ammo. Only about forty rounds left for his rifle, and no grenades either. That wasn’t good.

    "We're going to attack, aren't we?" he suddenly heard. It appears that Bob "Wacko" Bartel reached the same conclusion as he.

    "Probably so, yes"

    "Oh great storyteller, please make us live", Wacko started to mumble. Bill spat aside in disgust. As usual, Bob was praying to his pagan deity, or whatever. The crazy bastard. Bill didn't really mind the guy, but many in their unit were Catholic, and they couldn't stand his mad ramblings.

    "Stop it Bob", he said. "This 'storyteller' of yours isn't going to help".

    "But he is!" Bob replied, his eyes wide. "He is writing our fate as we speak, scheming, conjuring the plot of our lifeline in his vast mind. He is sharing his work with others like himself, on a vast Domain located in an intangible Web of worldwide lines. I have foreseen it all, by his will. We can only pray that our lives would entertain this powerful being more than our deaths..."

    Bill has had enough of this. "Stop it! Stop your insane ramblings!" he grabbed Bob by the collar and shook him hard. "There's no storyte..." his shouting was cut short by an artillery shell exploding right inside the foxhole, scattering his, Bob's, the Lieutenant's and six other people's intestines to the four winds.
     
  17. Marmalade
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    Marmalade Member

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    A Believable Story (490 words)

    So there was me, Igor Stravinsky, and Winston Churchill on one side of the river, and a hundred salivating baboons on the other. These were vicious animals, I tell you, and wanted our blood for breakfast. Canines like knives. Nasty, and I mean rabid, teeth-baring, mortgage-lender types. You’d never forget the look in their eyes--eyes of fire.

    We had a dilemma: Stravinsky, in his panic, had dropped the fabled Hand of Osiris during our frenzied crossing of the river: we would not leave without it. Naturally, when it came to decide who would go back to retrieve it, Stravinsky lost the vote two to one.

    Churchill vailed his bowler to the Russian: ‘N’est-ce pas?’, and surveying the baboons said, ‘after you, mon copain.’

    Stravinsky held his ground stridently. ‘Why should I be the one to go?’ His eyes flared, and he pointed to me with a damning forefinger. ‘Why not him? I am an artiste. I am loved. He is a nobody. Who will care if he does not return?’

    Churchill, surprisingly, had managed to hold onto both his hat and his cheroot fording the crocodile-infested reach--for some odd reason I found this impressive--, while Stravinsky had not even made it with his dignity intact. Poor fella.

    He wasn’t exactly our first choice of companion either. Ol’ Bogey didn’t have the legs for walking and was too tight to chip in for gas money. He was content when we left him in situ back at that spittle and daub goat shack cum den of iniquities somewhere in the heart of Congo, toasting himself red, white, and blue on palm wine while the skate-breasted native girls straddled his loins like a Roy Rogers wet dream. Some people are terrible drunks; Bogart was a terrible sober. I mean blah. Stravinsky, on the other hand, was all ire. A born-again Cynic. And could that man whip the skin off a dead filly’s back with naught but the tongue in his head! But I digress . . . .

    Churchill, ever the diplomat, had this to say: ‘We have come this far together. We will all go. That way if one of us . . . does not return, there will still be two who have a chance. Fair or fair?’

    The Russian clearly did not like his options, and he stamped the ground like an unruly child deprived of its favourite toy. ‘This is madness! It is just an object, a thing. It has no value beyond currency.’ He started gesturing reciprocally, at himself and Churchill. ‘We are important people. The world needs us. Surely you are not going to waste your life now that we are so close to home?’

    To this day I still do not understand the meaning of what Churchill said next:

    ‘That is precisely the time when it matters most!’

    He loosened his tie. ‘We will fight them on the--’

    You know the rest.
     
  18. TheTomStrange
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    TheTomStrange Member

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    Storyteller Versus Critic (500)

    ‘MAX FRAWLEY!’ screamed Amy, the deranged woman who was trying to run towards me with that horrible obese swordfish pressed between her thighs.

    ‘Y-yes?’ I said, hoping conversation might save me.

    ‘You thought we’d forget you?’

    ‘Well I, I’ve forgotten you… to be honest’

    She stopped. Unfortunately, this was only so she could cackle manically into the air, while I remained trapped in the dead end of the corridor.

    ‘Honest? HA!’

    ‘I’m serious! I swear, I don’t remember anything from last night, I’m sorry if I did anything that might’ve offended you and your…pet’

    ‘You…you…’ her gaze remained fierce but there was doubt in her eyes, as if she might be able to believe I had forgotten. ‘…You criticised my short story!’

    And with that she burst into tears, giving the swordfish some much needed nourishment.

    ‘I… well, look’. I was clearly very drunk when we met last night, yeah?’

    She nodded slowly, wiping away her tears, hugging her swordfish.

    ‘Well I’m better now; I was probably to out of it to read your story properly. I’d happily read it again if you like, and give you some honest feedback.’

    ‘Really?’ she said, her eyes widening with pleasure.

    ‘Sure. I bet you’re a great storyteller’

    She took out a few pages from her satchel, pierced them with the swordfish, and then dangled it towards me dangerously. Slowly, I took the pages from the swordfish’s nose (or should that be sword? I’d check Wikipedia if I survived) and started to read.

    THE LION AND THE MOUSE
    BY AMY HEWITT
    AGED 18 AND THREE QAURTERS
    1

    ‘ROAR’ roared the lion.

    ‘How original’ sighed the mouse.

    The lion sighed as well. Lately the mouse’s depressing attitude had started to depress him too.

    ‘Oh stop moaning’ said the lion. ‘You and I live wonderful lives’.

    ‘It won’t last’ the mouse sighed.

    The lion shook his mane in disagreement.

    ‘Then tell me Peter, what could possibly happen to us?’

    ‘I suppose your right Jim’ said Peter the mouse, starting to cheer up.

    ‘WOW!’ said a tourist watching Peter and Jim. ‘Talking animals!’

    And so Jim the lion and Peter the mouse were thrown into the back of a van, and taken to a secret laboratory in the south of France.

    2

    Clive and Peter woke up in a pitch black room.

    ‘Where are we?’ said a scared Clive.

    ‘Maybe we’re in a secret laboratory in the South of France’ guessed Peter.

    ‘Don’t be stupid. Help me find a way out.'​


    I stopped reading. Amy looked at me expectantly.

    ‘What’d you think?’

    ‘Uh… it was very good’

    ‘What’d you like about it best?’

    ‘Uh… Peter the mouse. Good character’

    Amy’s expression went from one of joy, to one of thunder.

    ‘Peter wasn’t a character. He was a metaphor for the holocaust’

    ‘Oh… really?’

    Amy stabbed me with the swordfish. Oh sure, bleeding to death in such an unusual way hurt, but sometimes you should be more constructive with your feedback. I only had myself to blame.
     
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  19. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    The Path

    (530 *Gulp*)

    I told Pip not to stray from the path. Our preceptors reminded us after every dismissal. But you could tell Pip a hundred times not to stick his hand in a fire and he'd ignore you even after the first blister.

    It was Pip's unfaltering curiosity that led us to the old man's cave. I would have missed the entrance had I not decided to chase him through an endless array of branches and thorns. The cave, which looked more like a crumbling odalisque, was nestled at the base of the Perimeter fence. It was a forbidden place, and had we been caught, we would have certainly been punished by the Elders. I grabbed Pip by the collar and cradled him underneath my arm. It wasn't much of a struggle. Pip earned his nickname.

    "Come on, Abby," Pip shouted, kicking his feet in protest. "Don't you want to see what's inside?"

    "If we're caught this close to the Perimeter we're going to be in bi-"

    It was too late. Some of the guards had spotted us and were already rallying a containment crew. Suddenly Pip's idea didn't seem so unreasonable, and as terrified as I was to go into that rank cave, it was better than facing an Elder tribunal.

    We ran into the pitch black as unwelcome guests. Pip's speed wasn't up to par with his compulsiveness, and I considered carrying him again. There was a faint flicker of light in the recesses of the cave and I wouldn't stop until we reached it.

    The light grew and revealed a homely den with a stoked fire. Bookshelves surrounded us, dozens of them, filled to the brim with dust-laden books. They were the remnants of an ancient civilization long before Eden, a civilization our preceptors assured us transcribed only words of sin.
    Sitting beside the fire, in a decrepit wooden rocker, was a sallow old man with an ancient leather book on his lap.

    The old man cleared his throat, then spoke in a low hum. "Welcome to my home, children. Forgive the appearance of the place, I never expected to ever have any visitors. But come, sit."

    Pip sat on the carpet next to the old man. The first time he ever listened to anyone. But I didn't sit. I'd never seen a book before, and since no one in Eden knew how to read, I removed one from the shelf and ran my fingers across the spine and pretended I understood its buried truths.

    "That's one of my childhood favorites," the old man said, his eyes wet with a nostalgic gloss. "A Brave New World. I loved books when I was your age. When they destroyed them all after the war, I hoarded what I could down here, with the foolish hope that storytelling would find its place in the world again. Would you like me to read it to you?"

    I sat next to Pip and listened to the old man's words eagerly as the warmth of the fire beat against my face. I told Pip not to stray from the path because it was important to obey the Elders. But maybe the Elders only made the paths to lead us nowhere.
     
  20. Doctor Tao
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    Doctor Tao Member

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    The Haunt Fox

    “The forest is haunted.”

    The words pulled at Sura’s thoughts as the evening wind licked her displaced hair. She turned, looking for the speaker, her gaze falling on an old woman with milky eyes.

    “The men are afraid, and rightly so,” the woman rasped, her breath wheezing over blackened teeth.
    “How do you know?”

    “I was born to know.”

    The words were spoken with such conviction, such omniscience, they created their own truth. It took nearly all of Sura’s will not to advert her gaze.

    “What is in there?”

    “Everything you fear.”

    This time, the pure certainty of the old woman’s voice sent danger swimming through Sura’s skin. The moment was shattered by the clatter of falling crates, the cacophony forcing a sharp gasp from her throat. The other prisoners gathered near snickered at her reaction. Sura’s face went red from the attention.

    “It is just superstition,” she intoned, her voice weak with uncertainty.

    The old woman just smiled and turned her attention to the forest. As if on cue, a sentry, posted near the forest’s only road, blew a warning note through his horn. Moments later a horse burst from the trees, eyes wild and mouth white with froth. Men leapt up from meals and dice, running to secure the panicked beast. The camp quickly turned into chaos as the horse, terrified beyond reason, turned upon the men with teeth and hooves. immediately, two men fell, one with a smashed wrist the other with a crushed-in skull. The men changed their tactics.

    When it was over at least five men were wounded and the man with the fractured head lay dying. The horse, covered with a myriad of sword slashes and peppered with arrows, stumbled and collapsed to the ground. The combatants collectively breathed a sigh of relief and moved in closer.

    A blood curdling scream erupted from the gathering around the fallen horse, the guards scattered in all directions, with most of them making signs against evil. Curious as to what could cause such a reaction, Sura moved closer. Revulsion stopped her in her tracks. The horse was dissolving, its flesh melting away in noxious green rivulets. Sura fell to her knees retching, but found herself unable to look away. She was transfixed by a macabre vision. Lying in the middle of the horse’s rotting flesh was the perfectly intact head of the horse’s rider.

    A touch on her shoulder brought Sura back from the edge of madness. She turned, once again looking into the ageless eyes of the old woman. The woman held out her hand pulling Sura to her feet.

    “Come with me,” the old woman commanded, “and I will tell you a story.”
     
  21. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The story of them (496 words)


    “Tell it to me again!” Melissa said. “One more time, mummy. One more time.”
    Her mother smiled.
    “Sweetness, I have told you this story so many times before.”
    “I know…”
    “But you’d like to hear it again?”
    A hefty nod and grin.
    “And you will be a good girl and go to sleep straight after?”
    Melissa nodded again.
    “I will hold you to that! Now let’s get comfortable and warm. It’s freezing out.”

    Mother went to fetch a fuzzy blanket and they cuddled together on the couch.
    Melissa grabbed her mother’s cheeks playfully.
    “Now tell me! Tell me about how you met dad!”
    So her mother told her the whole tale again. How they’d met at a glamorous party. How handsome he had been, how kind.
    Again came the usual questions.
    “Mummy, will I meet a Prince like that?”
    “You will. All in good time.”
    “But when?” Melissa asked earnestly. “When will I meet him?”
    Her mother smiled.
    “When you are good and ready. It may take many years, but then you will meet him and will live happily ever after.”
    Melissa’s eyes lit up for a moment. Almost instantly the flame died.
    “So why did you and daddy not live happily ever after…?”
    “Sometimes things happen…”
    “Why don’t I remember him?”
    “You never met him, sweetheart. But he’s a part of you. Always.”
    “Do you miss him?”
    “Always.”
    “Did he love me?”
    “He would have loved you very much.”
    Melissa felt strange inside. Something hurt somewhere, although she didn’t know where for sure.
    “Mummy, I’d like to go to sleep now.”
    “Okay sweetness. Why don’t you go and brush your teeth and I will come tuck you in in ten minutes?”
    Melissa left the room without saying anything else.
    She just wanted her blankets and warm pjs and Snuffy Dog.

    Her mother leaned back on the couch and stared at the whitewashed wall in front of her. She wondered how many more times she’d tell the same story. She would have to be careful. Melissa was alert. She’d notice any slip up, any inconsistency.

    Maybe someday the time would come to tell her…or maybe not. Maybe it would be better for her to keep that eternal image of the kind father.
    The truth was too ugly. How could she ever tell someone so beautiful that she was alive only because of an act so evil?
     
  22. WorldEdit
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    WorldEdit New Member

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    Let me tell you a story:

    There was once a school where every student would kick and bang on the door as they went out to the playground.

    The door was wooden, streaks of yellow stain embeded on it like the wrinkles of an old man. The hinges were barely hanging, and there were many dents in that door. The principle often had to change the door, everytime its hinges failed to uphold the old door.

    The teachers were very angry at the students, and were deciding to change it into a metal door. "Let those kids kick it" the teacher said, "Let them hurt their own feet!" But the principle only smiled and said: "No."

    The next day, something miraculous happened in the school. Every student was amazed at the new door, and no one dare to kick it.

    What happened, you ask?

    The old wooden door had been replaced with a glass door, transparent and shining, just like the hearts of the children who desired something beautiful.

    (invulnerable fragile)
     
  23. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cheap-Socks (485 words)

    “Cheap-ass Socks!” Wally yelled. “Anybody want some ****in' cheap-ass socks?”

    The traffic light on his corner ticked green, yellow, and then red.

    “Cheap-ass Socks, anybody now, anybody wanna buy some really ****in' cheap-ass socks? Twenty cents a pair.”

    The looks he got wrote him off as crazy quicker than a cracked Freudian Psychologist. He didn't care. A graduate from Reed College, he was supposed to be crazy. Suppose to look like a heroin addict, but apparently not supposed to sell top-shelf socks at just over one and a half percent of their actual value.

    “Jesus, doesn't anybody want any of these cheap-ass wool socks?”

    A homeless man down the street looked up from his bottle. “You shoulda said they was wool before.”

    “**** you, you got twenty cents?”

    “Naw, speakin' of twenty cents. Wanna lend me twenty-cents? I can trade you these shoes then I could buy a pair of them socks.”

    Wally thought for a second, then dug a nickel and two dimes from his pocket. One of the dimes, nineteen-seventy-eight, must have been cozy with a penny. A crescent of copper formed where it said UNITED STATES. He flipped the nickel, watched it land heads, settle like a small-scale hula hoop dropped just right.

    “Lucky day, you have to pay interest.”

    “You some kind of shark or somethin'?” The homeless man asked.

    “No man, everyday you don't pay me back, I owe you a penny.”

    “Yer crazy.”

    “Only between the hours of 6:43 and 7 am, That's when I cut myself off.”

    “Booze?”

    “No man, books. Real ****in' books. Ever heard of Paradise Lost? Milton's the **** dude.”

    “Yer crazy.” The homeless man looked bemused.

    “Fine, don't take the deal,” Wally shifted the coins back in his pocket.

    “No.” The homeless guy looked worried. “I need the socks.”

    “Well then, how about this, every day you don't pay me back, I give you a story.”

    “What?”

    “You're so dense you couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.”

    “Don't be like that, what you mean 'story'?”

    “What do you think I mean story?” Wally cast a glare. “A series of words arranging action with a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

    “What's the point?”

    “You don't know who Milton is, you need the damn culture.”

    Wally tossed a pair of gray socks towards the homeless man still slouched against the curb.“Ready?”

    “You said, for every DAY I didn't pay you back.”

    “This is the first day.”

    “Fine,” the homeless man snickered.

    “Of man's first disobedience, and the Fruit of the Forbidden tree...” Wally paused, cleared his throat, then laughed. “I'm just messing with you, now sit-up and I'll tell you a real story.”
     
  24. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    The Evolution of Storytelling

    Storytelling is an old art, and yes, it is an art. Nobody really knows when or where it started, but it has been around for a very long time. It has evolved, just like humans. From Aesop's fables under an oak tree to horror stories exchanged across the campfire to wonderful tales of magic and adventure told through the words of a book.

    But although it has evolved much, to fit modern technology, some of the origins and traditions of story telling still remain the same. The techniques of storytellers have not changed much. Regardless of whether it is an Ebook, read on a computer, or through someone's mouth, the basic principles are similar.

    Almost everything else has morphed, shifted to better fit today's machines. But storytelling has not, for it is as old as Man himself.
     
  25. Sackninja
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    Sackninja Member

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    Story time (428 words)

    Day One
    “The big furry monster was so very hungry,” the teacher said. One child sat shuffling his feat and listening contently. The room’s hamster even seemed content.
    “The little bird was friendly so she dropped some berries down for him, but he was still hungry,” the teacher continued. The children were completely silent mesmerised by whether or not the monster would ever be full.
    “The squirrel heard that the monster was hungry so he brought him some nuts. He ate them all up but still was not full,” said the teacher. Ring-aling-aling-aling the bell chimed.
    “That’s all for today,” The teacher said as she closed the book. All the talk as they walked out of school was would the monster ever be full.

    Day two
    They all walked into school the next day, waiting for story time. When story time came they all quieted down waiting to see would the monster be full.
    “A human walked past the monster holding a burger. He was scared of the monster but soon realised he only wanted his burger. He gave him the burger but the monster wasn’t full,” read the teacher. The children sat with there head held up by their hands.
    “A fox was running by with a chicken in its mouth. It decided the monster deserved it more so he gave it to the monster but he wasn’t full,” Ring-aling-aling-aling the bell chimed.
    “Home time,” the teacher said. That day the children were thinking the monster could never be full.

    Day three
    The children were hoping story time would come early that day. They wanted to see how the story would end. They all thought he wouldn’t get full by the end. When story time came they all got comfortably and listened intently.
    “The Monster was walking by a river one day when a fish came swimming up to help feed him. The fish jumped into his mouth but still he wasn’t full," The children still couldn’t think of any way he could be made full.
    “Then the wise owl came and asked the monster, “is it knowledge you really want?” The monster nodded. “Ok I’ll teach you a new word. Ravenous the owl said. It means really hungry.” Then the monster was full,” the teacher said and closed the book.
    “BOOOOOO!” all the children roared, disappointed by the ending of the story. Some even started to cry. The chaos overwhelmed the teacher.
    “Calm down children,” the teacher shouted. Then the bell rang and they all walked home disappointed with the end of the story
     
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