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  1. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    The parts of your soul you refuse to recognize.

    SS Comp 04

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Ferret, Jul 9, 2007.

    Okay ,guys, here goes:

    The object of the weekly writing group is to promote writing on an active basis, and, as such, this contest will go on to be done weekly. For those of you who competed in the poetry contest, or those who did the ss contest way back when (and more power to you - I hope we get the same sense of awesomeness that I did, back when I did it then), this will be a pretty much mirror image of the poetry contest.

    All those who submit will be eligible to vote in the contest in which their pieces are entered in, and the winner will get nothing but a warm feeling on the inside.

    I will be "running it", which means I make the thread, and that's about it. I will listen to anything you have to say about the contest.
    Post you entries and questions in this thread, and i'll do the rest.
    Good luck to you all.

    Theme: A duel, with a taste of love, power, and anger.
    Provided by me...
    No, seriously, guys, if you want to change that, just ask. THe last contest was more about dialog, so I chose one that deals more with action.
    Challange: convey some sort of mood to the readers.
    Start: July 9th
    End: July Jul 16th
    Voting: 16-22nd


    Length: 450-1300.

    Yeah, the winner gets sticked. I've been forgetting to do that one.
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    ...
    ...I just got the BEST IDEA EVARRR.
    ...
    ...oh my gosh I just had another.
    What do I choose?! [​IMG]
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ivan - write both, put one in the contest, and the other in the Review Room :)
     
  4. Bick
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    Bick New Member

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    At first I was discouraged about the topic, but I went out for coffee with my mum, who unintentionally helped me get an idea for it =P Yay for coffee and moms.
     
  5. Novel Novice
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    Novel Novice Member

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    Interesting, definitely! :)
     
  6. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    What exactly do you mean by "duel"? Does it actually have to be a physical duel, or can it be a duel of minds or a duel of wit, etc.?
     
  7. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    ooh a nice repartee - good thinking.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I like this. It's slightly more specific than conflict, because a duel is pretty much limited to two individuals in conflict, and also implies some parity between the parties (abuse, where there is a clear assailant and a victim, would not be a duel). But beyond that, it could be on any level - physical, verbal, even passive aggression; or a combination.
     
  9. Baywriter
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    Baywriter Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you. Can we submit something we've written already if it fits well with the theme, or must we write something completely new?
     
  10. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think submitting something old is allowed, though I think the purpose of the competition is to get you writing afresh.
     
  11. RHumphrey
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    RHumphrey New Member

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    Fog of War

    Segri sat on his horse looking across the field at the arrogant bastard he faced. In all of his experience he had never felt the pure contempt he felt for his opponent that day.
    “How dare Uli show his face here,” Segri scowled at the thought.
    It was just over a year before that he had returned from his campaign across the sea. It was before the war had ended because of wounds which prevented him from fighting. Wounds caused not by the enemy but by Uli when he retreated in the heat of battle. Segri remembered that day clearly.
    As the two armies came together in a thundering clash of shields and blows, Uli was to Segri’s left side, both of them on their war horses. They attacked with a coordinated fury, practiced often and to perfection as the two were best of friends and did everything together.
    With no warning, Uli stopped swinging his mace, shouting, “No, my lord, No!” Uli spun his horse, suddenly, toward Segri, causing him to lose balance and his horse to stumble. Seeing the opportunity, three of the enemy thrust their spears deep into Segri’s horse. As Segri fell to the ground his horse fell on top of him crushing his ribs and breaking an arm. Buried under his horse, Segri was left for dead until the battlefield was cleared that evening.
    For most of the battle Segri had been unconscious. When he awoke he could only lay there, smothering, shouting a faint whisper, calling out to his brave friend Uli for help. By the time he was found, he no longer called out for Uli. Resigned to die, Segri had become angry. Because of Uli’s cowardice Segri faced death, crushed by his own steed. The outcome of the battle was unknown to him, his contribution to the fight nullified.
    When the horse was lifted off of him Segri had passed out from pain, waking days later in back of a wagon, enroute to the ship that would return him to his homeland.
    The trip across the sea was short but his recovery was very long. It was only a month ago, a few weeks before this day’s tournament, that Segri was able to finally hold a lance and tuck it properly, steady. He had been practicing sunrise to sunset since, preparing himself for a good showing, readying himself for the tournament and the battles to follow. Practicing alone ate at him, for it reminded him of Uli’s betrayal.
    Now Segri faced the coward across the jousting field. Segri seethed, gritting his teeth, clenching his jaw.
    “I’m going to kill you, Uli, right here in front of the king that you betrayed,” Segri whispered.

    Uli steadied his mount, checked his helm, and gazed across the field to identify his opponent. He smiled, suddenly aware that his best friend was not dead. He lifted his face shield, still smiling broadly, and raised his lance toward Segri. Segri sat motionless. Uli realized the sun was at his back and figured Segri simply didn’t recognize him.
    The last time Uli had seen his best friend was on the battlefield. They were heavily engaged after charging the enemy, both of them swinging maces, hitting, blocking, crushing helm after helm. Uli had looked to his right after smashing another foe to the ground, and saw the king.
    The king sat on his horse atop a hill behind the battle, observing and directing reinforcements into the attack. Uli watched as four enemy knights made their way toward the king from behind, the king unaware.
    Uli shouted, but the noise of the melee was simply to deafening, so he backed his horse and swiftly turned away, headed toward the king’s position. As he turned he saw his friend fall. He charged toward the king. Looking back, Uli no longer could see Segri. He turned back to the king and focused on the horsemen riding up behind his lord.
    As Uli grew close the king took notice and saw his attackers. He spun his horse and met the knights face to face, as Uli thundered in. Together they defeated the riders in pitched frenzy.
    With the king now safe, Uli turned back to the battle, charging in where he had last seen his friend. The bodies were piled high, though, and neither Segri nor his horse could be found.
    When the enemy retreated from the field, the king ordered his knights to pursue. Uli was unable to search for Segri and had lived with regret since that day. He felt so ashamed; he was reluctant to approach Segri’s family in the two short months since his return.
    Now, however, Uli knew his friend was alive and could barely contain his joy. The last thing he wanted to do was oppose Segri in the tournament.
    “My friend, what a time we will have after this day’s tilting is done!” Uli knew they would drink themselves to stupidity that night celebrating their reunion.

    The flagman approached the barricade center and stood holding the signal high in the air. He looked to the pavilion and awaited the king’s nod. The king looked at each opponent. When they both saluted him, he nodded toward the flagman. The flagman turned away; gripping the flagstaff firmly, he raised it as high as he could and dropped it forward with some force, running toward the side.

    “I’ll give you a big target, my friend,” laughed Uli as he spurred his horse forward.

    Segri seated his lance, dug in his heals, and took aim.
     
  12. Baywriter
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    A Friendship at War

    Note: These are two characters that I have previously established in an eariler novel. Cheyenne is one messed up teenager, and Neill is her best friend. In this particular addition, they are going through an extremely rough situation that puts them in an emotional duel with each other. Enjoy.

    Cheyenne stepped lightly over mahogany wood, her breathing faltered and heavy. She ran her hands along her face softly, turning in small circles. Her mind was wavering in nonsense as she paused. There had to be a way out of this. Breath hitching, her eyes fixated themselves on the only open corner of the room. A metal baseball bat was propped carefully against the navy wall, whispering to her tales of escape and relief. As she moved slowly toward it, a smile passed over her.

    “I’m sorry, Cheys,” Neill said suddenly. He was sitting with his back against the dark headboard of his bed, his shoulders raised and head low. He watched her curiously, leaning forward. She seemed utterly entranced by his wall, her movements leisurely and hypnotic. Clearing his throat, his eyes narrowed. “I don’t know what I was thinking…I…” He bit back a gasp as her hands curled around his old baseball bat. “What are you doing?”

    Cheyenne turned around quickly, swinging the bat aimlessly by her side, her eyes frozen as if holding back tears. “I am your best friend,” she murmured through a stifled sob, letting her gaze borrow his. “You do things that you shouldn’t have to for me. You stand up for me, and you are always there when I need you.” As her knees brushed the edge of the bed, she set the bat in front of him. “I need you now. I need… I need you to hit me with that.”

    “What?” Neill felt himself choke as he shook his head furiously, sitting upright. “No! Cheys, why would you even—”

    “Please!” She let her hands grasp each side of his face, leaning to meet his eyes as her cheeks flushed over with the heated glaze of tears. “Please, Neill! I’m pregnant, and I can’t… No one can know. I need you to help me end this…” Her palms gently fell to his shoulders, her thumbs softly caressing them with touches like falling rose petals. “Do this for me,” she pleaded, voice brushing inaudibility. “Just do this for me.”

    Neill was at a loss. He swallowed the growing lump in his throat, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. “Cheys, I… Yeah, you’re my best friend.” He took a deep breath. “I can’t hurt you.” Seeing her torn expression, he pulled her onto his lap, his arms binding her tightly to his chest. “We have to tell someone,” he said as he ran his fingers slowly across the back of her head, letting her body relax against his. “We can’t just face this alone—you can’t. We can talk to your mom or to mine if you want—”

    “No.” She pushed herself back to look at him. “Don’t you dare say anything about this to anyone,” she pressed firmly, forcing her way out of his nearly impenetrable hold. “And if you’re not going to help me, there’s no reason for me to stay here.” Taking a quick glance at him, she hurriedly grabbed the bat, holding it as if it would shatter at the lightest of touches. “And if you’re not going to help me,” she said again, “I’m sure I can find someone who will.” She moved toward the door.

    “You’re not leaving!”

    “Oh, really?” Cheyenne shot him an incredulous look, daring him to stop her as she cautiously turned the silver doorknob, her eyes never leaving him. “I didn’t think so.”

    “So which are you going to do now?” Neill asked with a feeble laugh, rising to his feet. “Are you going to use drugs or have sex with your father?” He watched in triumph as her mouth dropped, and he stepped slowly in her direction. “You tell me over and over that there’s nothing wrong. You’re fine. You’re not scared. Everything is great.” He shook his head. “You’re thirteen,” he said. “You’re thirteen, and you’re pregnant. You’re telling me there’s nothing wrong with that?”

    “I have to go,” she let out quickly, backing away from him.

    “No.” His hand snaked around her, his eyes meeting hers sharply as he pulled the door shut. Seeing the tears cascading down her face, his heart grew heavy. “What would you be going home to anyway?” he demanded meekly, softly brushing a hand across her cheek. “You need to get help. Stay… All you’ve got at home is a father who hurts you.” He tugged lightly on the bat, chills coursing through his spine at the feel of the cold metal. “Let me have this, and we can figure out what to do. Please…”

    Cheyenne bit her lip, evading his penetrating gaze, hesitating. “He’s not hurting me… He loves me.” Her face was stern, emanating perfect confidence, but her voice shook fiercely. “Stop trying to come between something you don’t understand!” She ripped the bat from his grasp, gritting her teeth as her chest quaked with each stuttered breath she mustered out. “Don’t get involved!” she said hotly. “It’s not your business, okay?”

    “How is it not my business? We’ve been friends for three years! Are you saying that I can’t be involved until you’re found dead by the hands of someone that doesn’t even care about you?”

    “He does care!” Cheyenne insisted, shaking her head slowly, her back leaning forwardly against the door behind her. “He does…”

    Neill’s voice dropped to a poisonous murmur, each word slipping off his lips with the sole purpose of devouring the seething sense of grandeur his friend held. “If you’re so sure that he cares about you,” he began, “then why are you trying so hard to make sure he doesn’t find out?” He nodded knowingly down at her stomach, stepping back, nearly pausing at each movement he made. “You’re afraid of him, Cheyenne. You’re afraid of what he’ll do to you if he figures it out.” His eyes distant and glazed, he smiled in spite of the moment. “You’re running.”

    She said nothing at first, swinging the bat intently at her side, her foot tapping against the hardwood floor in tempo with her racing heartbeat. He had done it—had lit a smothering fire that was now blazing throughout her body, charring her insides like worthless brush. She could only stand there and let it burn. “I’m sorry,” she let out unevenly as nausea quickly overtook her. “I just… I can’t stay here. I need to leave…now.”

    “Cheys, let me have the bat if you’re going to leave,” Neill said, his face weary and infused with thriving disappointment.

    Her eyes darkened, and she tightened her grip around the bat. “Just let me use it for a little while… I’ll give it back.”

    “No,” he spat out firmly, his hand reaching for the bat.

    Cheyenne didn’t know what to think. Everything was shot to an embracing blurriness that filled her mind like a driving mist of perpetual clouds. She swung the bat, clenching her eyes shut as if to keep what she knew was coming from happening. The hard metal slammed into Neill’s right side, and Cheyenne felt her heart stop, if only for an instant. She dropped the bat.

    “What…was…that…?” Neill struggled out, his hand rushing to his throbbing side.

    Watching him intently, she smiled. “Wow. I didn’t think you were so weak,” she said quietly. She paused. “You’re stronger than that, right?”

    Neill was standing straight up now, having regained his footing. A glare struck his face. “I’m not weak.”

    “Then hit me back.”
     
  13. Novel Novice
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    Novel Novice Member

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    Oh I see... just write up a little somethin' and smack it right here in a reply?

    Gotcha.
     
  14. Novel Novice
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    Novel Novice Member

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    (Yeah, so it's not something to judge me on... and I probably should've made a better first impression. But, what the heck. Here goes.)

    At Peace

    “What can I do?”
    “You love them. Look at them. Reach out to them.” The voice answered back, matter-of-factly and without fault.
    “I can’t do it. There is no way. I’m too scared.”
    “You must. Forget what has happened, and move on.” The voice teetered and taunted.
    “They are waiting for me, aren’t they? I can feel they are waiting for me. But I cannot do a thing about it. I am hopeless.”
    “No. They aren’t waiting for you. They want you. Make them see how you care about them, how you love them—like they love you.” The voice was getting more confident now.
    “If I could just move. Please, someone help!” There was a yell.
    “They cannot hear you now! You must get past that, and fight. Longer, stronger, harder.” Another yell. The voice was prepared for this, and answered back with conviction.
    “They are here for you, but you must be here for them. Show them.”
    “I am not ready. They know that. They know I cannot handle this, yet they want me to and are forcing me to try this! What kind of love is that? I have failed earlier, and yet they prod at me to succeed this time. How do I respond to that? I am getting weaker.”
    “No! They are here for you, and are wishing you well, but you must see them. You know they are here, but you’ve yet to see them.” The voice was right.

    We love you so much, and want you to look at us. Just touch us, glance at us. Mom is here, look! And Dad will be with us shortly. We need you here now, though. We have stayed here for so long it seems, and have prayed and prayed that you’d find us. We know you are searching, but we need you to search harder! I pat your head, but you are not watching. There is nothing more we can do, but we hope. Hope has led us this far, and we do not wish to abandon that yet! You haven’t moved, yet we know you’re on a journey. Come back to us.

    Beep.

    Come back to us, and everything will be alright!

    Beep.

    It is alright to be nervous and scared, but remember we love you. We just need you to love us again.


    “I want to! I want to!”
    “Yes, you do. Listen to them. Love them!” The voice, again.

    Beep. Beep. Beep.

    “Are they there? Where are they? They have left.”
    “No.” So subtle.

    Yes, he is here. We know it. We can see him, but he can’t quite see us. Believe us, though, and guide us through this now, because we know he will be alright. What? No, of course not! We have stayed here throughout it all. We don’t know what’s wrong, or how we got here, or how he has shown up like this, but we know he will find us.

    “I will! Right?”
    “Yes. Wait. Time and patience are what you need right now. Follow them. Listen.” So powerful.

    Beep. Beep. Beep.

    Don’t worry. He’ll find us. He can’t miss us, we’re right here. Just listen! I think he’s coming now. We can hear him a little, but he sounds different.


    “This is so painful. I can’t go. I can’t do it.”
    “Stop that. Look at them. You’ve only one thing to do. Go to them.” The voice was so calming, so reassuring.

    Here he comes! Here he is! I, we, knew he’d make it! He found us, right? Over here!

    As the little boy opened his eyes, he was in a world unlike any he’d ever seen. Released from cords and loud, beeping noises—he was free. All around he saw those he loved so much. His parents. His brother and sister, both younger than he. As he reached out to his kin, he realized that he could interact with them only ever so slightly. This frightened the young boy, and he started to cry.

    Then, the voice returned.

    “My Child, do not cry. What comes of your sadness? You are free, yet you are still in the company of the ones you loved.”
    “I don’t understand,” said the boy. “How can I be free, leaving behind so much that brought me joy?”

    The voice did not respond, and the little boy understood why. For the moment he asked the question, each person, now in his sights, gathered around that hospital bed, stopped shedding their tears and placed a hand on their chest. With this, the little boy calmed and understood his new role in their lives.

    He smiled to himself and realized then the courage it took to listen to the voice instead of settling for what was easy for him, and knew right then that his father would be so proud.

    And with that, the young boy had one last thing to say, “I love you all.”

    He looked up just in time to see his family embrace as one, and leave the room silently, smiling content as they let their son move into their hearts forever.
     
  15. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I think I'm going to have to sit this one and probably the next one out. My computer is kind of dying a slow death, I don't have access to a decent computer for very long and have no way to save my work.
    If things change I'll stay in the competitions but I can't promise anything.
    So good luck to everyone, I will at least be voting.
     
  16. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Cherubina de Gabriak

    On the banks of the Chernaya in 1909, two poets dueled over the honour of the Baroness Cherubina de Gabriak; neither man died. What became of The Cherubina is unknown.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Across the Black River a throng of voices chattered at length. The smoky haze consumed their words’ relevance as I steadfastly attempted to pierce the gloom with my inadequate senses.

    I flinched. At my side stood a hooded silhouette. Turning to face me in slow suspicion, I rooted to the table. A fringe cut across half of the advancing face, full lips visible beneath her disguise. Silently she passed, revealing nothing more. Everything seemed to disappear with her. ‘Cherubina, …’ I breathlessly whispered to myself long after she’d gone.

    I ordered another absinth and sunk into the dark wood paneling, pushing a selection of small coins in the direction that the bottle came from. The Black River sat on a busy junction in St. Petersburg: a former theatre and current haunt of the artiste, addict and bohemian. There were no windows and hence here time stood still. Smoke vortexed outward from my cigarette, distorting in the air.

    ‘Qui êtes-vous?’ She returned brusquely. Raising my face to hers I sought an answer to her question but none came. In my lucid moments I was Nikolai Vasiliev - and she was my green-eyed muse.

    The heavy drone of traffic punctured my reverie and I tried to focus. My manuscript loomed toward me from the table, then clouded in its corners, next an inkwell, then the familiar verte. They all crystallised as I lost her again.

    She only came to me in one place and in one city. And I couldn't’t control her even then. I loved her and the ideas she brought unto me. I often tried to invoke her. Convinced she wanted me to tell her story, to let her live in publication, I looked down at my manuscript and saw nothing.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I hadn’t known my parents and had grown up in a draughty schoolhouse. A solitary, wheelchair-bound matron had been attentive if distant in my upbringing. I now scratched out a living writing propaganda for the local papers. I lived alone a couple of streets from the river.

    She teased me, flitting in and out of my conscious. I strove to corner her and demand clarity. I flicked through our meetings in my mind for clues only to find nothing but romantic comparison and desire. ‘Suivez-moi …’ she often cooed, and I followed. I always woke alone.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I finished the bottle and hiccupped. My eyes soon drooped and the spoon fell from my left hand in sorry echo to make an inaudible clatter on the floor. Her hood lay strewn on the floor. She lay exposed to a late autumn breeze by the banks of the river. The water slapped on the shore. I went to her immediately, raising her head with my arm and then finally knew her.

    A crescendo of horns peaked outside of the Black River. I grasped the pen, sunk it in the ink and began.

    Cherubina de Gabriak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hunger​


    Those who knew him at all knew him as Snake. He had shed the dried husk of his birth name long ago, and his look was cold and dangerous. Silently he slid out of the alley, and surveyed his surroundings. An empty ache in his gut reminded him that he needed same fast coin. It was time to go to work. One last drag, then he flicked the stump of the cigarette away. It bounced off the hood of a parked BMW, and sparks scattered across the carefully polished surface. A valet nearby glared at him. Snake returned the glare coldly, and the valet took a step back and looked away. Snake brushed by him and headed for the nearby Back Bay subway entrance.

    Hunter crossed the Boston Commons and descended the steps to the Green Line platform at Park Street. The platform was nearly empty, and he heard the metallic screech of a train receding down the dark tunnel. He found a relatively clean spot on a wooden bench, and sat there to wait for the next train. He had just finished dinner, Mexican, and felt content but almost uncomfortably full. While waiting, he stared at the sooty, graffiti-decorated ad posters lining the station. Soon, another train rattled into the station, and scraped to a stop. Hunter boarded the train, ignoring the few passengers already seated. The doors hissed shut, and the train lurched out of the station.

    Snake thumbed through the wallet, and extracted the cash and the Charlie card, but left the credit cards and other crap. He always took the anonymous Charlie cards for free MBTA travel anywhere in the greater Boston area. The owner of the wallet was doubled up in a dark corner trying to catch his breath after the beat down Snake had dropped on him. Snake was small, quick, and wiry, and was always long gone by the time his victims found help. He sat across from a fat, soft looking man who was dressed like he had some green.

    Hunter glanced warily at the tough looking kid who had just sprawled in the seat across from him. The kid was wearing a beat up black leather jacket and dirty ragged jeans, and new-looking running shoes. He seemed to be sizing Hunter up as well. Hunter decided to ignore him.

    The tinny voice announced something indecipherable, as the train swayed and screeched into the Kenmore Station. Hunter waited as long as possible, then stood and stepped through the doors as they began to close. He heard the doors open and close again, and knew the kid had followed him.

    Moving faster than most would expect for a man of his bulk, he hurried through the exit turnstile gate, then turned and jammed it from turning with his foot. The young man was right behind him, blocked for the moment. Hunter met his glare with one of his own.

    “Don’t be stupid!” he warned in a deep growl. The young man continued to stare for a moment, then headed off toward the gate at the other end of the platform. Hunter wasted no time running up the steps, then crossed the street and hurried up Huntington Avenue.

    Snake was seething. No way he was letting that smug suit get the better of him. He saw his target hurrying up Huntington, and followed cautiously, staying out of sight. Soon his prey was far from the brightly lit Kenmore Square, and approaching the dimly lit wooded trails near Simmons College. He rushed silently ahead and blocked the fat man. His knife was out and pressed against the man’s bulging stomach.

    “Don’t be stupid, asswipe,” Snake hissed with a wicked grin. “Now gimme everything.”

    Hunter looked back at him, but it was not fear Snake saw in his eyes. Snake felt his knife hand sliding into the man’s flesh. He tried pulling it back, but it was held firmly. He looked down and saw his arm trapped nearly to the elbow. He looked in terror at the face of his former prey, and it was changing before him.

    “What…what ARE you?” he screeched

    Hunter’s smile widened, revealing a row of razor sharp pointed teeth.

    “Hungry.”
     
  18. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    ( ok, so this is my entry for this week. sorry it took so long to write. this is wrote from experience, and everything wrote here is authentic, excpet the age of my sister, i made her slightly younger. but, i hope you enjoy. :)
    Heather)


    Monkey Tree Park (1241 words)
    [ contains violence and bleeped out sweraing ]


    Act 1: The Day Before

    “Who the F**k do those ‘mad dogs’ think they are?” Booby raged, his face going red with anger. I watched him carefully, making sure that he ad calmed down slightly before speaking. My little sister sat next to me, and at only seven years of age I didn’t want her hearing too much.

    “Come on now Booby, it’s only a little bit of writing. We’ll write all over it and that’ll be sorted.” A tried telling him, but hearing my words just flamed the fire.

    “No, those dirty little c**ts better learn that this park is ours!” he shouted, spitting a huge greenie on the graffiti wrote upon the metal slide. “We are going to sort this out, once and for all on Friday night. Winner gets the park.” He bellowed, before storming off towards Salters Lane. I left him to it, and turned to Rachael.

    “Are you all right?” I queried, smiling at her freckled little face. She nodded and then paused for a moment as if in though.

    “Heather?” She asked. “What is a ‘mad dog’?” I smiled at her innocence.

    “Well, a mad dog is an Eastbourne Mad Dog. They are the name given to people form Eastbourne. You know how we are the TWE, The ‘Wick Elite, well it’s the same for them.” Rachael nodded, and then asked another question.

    “What is Booby going to sort out on Friday?”

    “Well, see this park we are sitting in, it is called Monkey Tree Park. Now, because this park is half way between Eastbourne and The Wick, all the people from each estate claim that it is theirs. Now, Booby here saw the some Mad Dogs have written their name on the slide, see here, and he is not happy about that, as he thinks it is our park, so he is not very happy and wants to have a bog fight with all the Eastbourners, which we be held here on Friday night.”

    Rachael looked as though she understood it all, and asked one final question.

    “Whose park is it like?” I watched her face for a minute, with her brown freckles covering her cheeks, and her curly brown hair falling around her face. She was so cute.

    “That, my darling, will be settled on Friday night.”


    Act 2: Friday Night

    At Salters Lane people crowded round, drinking Cider and Lambrini, singing and prating around. I stood among them, this time with my mates instead of Rachael. She didn’t need to watch this. In my left hand was a 2litre of Cider, nearly empty now, and in my right hand, a metal pole. Booby had given my and Katie, a mate of mine, one each. “Just in case” he said.

    Everyone was nervous. There was about 100 hundred people from The ‘Wick at the moment, with more to arrive shortly, but we knew not how many Eastbourners would be there. My heart raced as I though of the fight ahead, and I jumped as my phoned buzzed from inside my pocket. I was wearing my trackies, so it was easy to remove the phone, and I flipped open the lid to be greeted by the sound of Nicks, my lad, voice.

    “What the hell do you think you are doing?!” he screamed down the phone, obviously angry.

    “What,” I said innocently, although I knew he must have found out about the fight. He lived in Hartlepool, a good half an hour drive away from The ‘Wick, and so he heard little of what goes on down here. However this time, someone must have told him.

    “What?! Don’t try and pretend you are doing nothing Heather! I don’t want you fighting with them, it is brutal. Do you know that the lads don’t care about hitting lasses, three of them will gang up on you and beat you till you are nearly dead Heather.” I could hear him struggling for breath as he talked fat and furious. I felt sorry for him, and slightly glad that he cared so much.

    “I know, but this is my estate, and I am a member of the TWE, and I have to fight for them. I promise you, I will not get hurt.” I told him, before hanging up the phone and turning it on silent. I did not need him guilt tripping me, not now.


    Act 3: The Fight

    At 8 ‘o’ clock on the dot we started walking towards Monkey Tree Park. It was only across the road, but the walk seemed to take forever. People on each side of me staggered to the entrance of the park, armed with poles and planks of wood and broken bottles. It was the people without any weapon that I felt sorry for.

    At the gates of Monkey Tree Park we could see all of the Mad Dogs lined up at the other end. Checking that there were no other people around, the first line of lads ran forward, their weapons held high in the air. Watching the fight begin I felt adrenalin surge through my body, and I was ready for a fight. Most of us lasses were told to wait towards the back until we got all the Eastbourne lasses coming over, and so we waited patiently for our turn to begin. It didn’t take long.

    After a few minutes a crew of about 30 Mad Dog lasses ran at us from behind, hitting my mate Katie hard over the head. The must have ran around the outside of the park. Fuming at their betrayal and dirty fighting, I swung around and cracked one of them over the head with my pole, knocking her flat on the ground. Suddenly there were four on me, their feet and hands laying into my body. I screamed for help, my body hurting all over. After what seemed like an age Bobby saw that I was in trouble and ran over with several lads to help me. Even though they were lasses, the grabbed hold of them and knocked then red raw, with a little help form me.

    Over the screaming and shouting of everyone, I could hear the siren of a police car. Stopping my mates around me I shouted,

    “Bobbies, Scatter!” In a mad rush everyone ran in every direction in an attempt to get away from the police. I ran towards Salters Land with the others, my legs burning and blood dripping from my nose. But I ignored it all until we got to the safety of Booby’s house.


    Act 4: The Aftermath

    Sitting in Booby’s bedroom I felt shocked at what I had done. Yet again, we had caused another fight, and hurt many many people. And yet again the fight wasn’t won by anyone. The park would remain land to be fought over for many years. I knew from experience that for the next few weeks everything would remain calm. Each estate had gotten a good beating, and they would remain quite until they were healed properly. Each party would stay away from the park for a while, but soon, and sometimes sooner than we all expected, it would all start again. The arguing, the graffiti, and then eventually, the Big Fight. It was the way that we worked, and even though I heated it each and every time, I stand up for the TWE, and I fight as a proud member of my Army.
     
  19. chase42
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    chase42 Member

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    A/N: the best twist on a duel I could come up with. It does run a little long, at a full 1780 words. :eek: I don't know if that will DQ me, but I wanted to post it anyway. Hopefully its not late and you guys will take the time to read it!

    Reflexes
    by Chase42

    Corporal Bradley Smith had been walking backwards in front of Sergeant Doyle, his rifle clattering against his load-bearing gear as he laughed raucously. Private Virgil “Jesus-Freak” King had just made the dirtiest joke that any man in the infantry squad had ever heard, but they were laughing not just because of the humor. Private King had just broken a barrier, a rite of passage, a coming of age for any religious soldier; the ability to turn off their god-loving side in combat. That alone was cause for celebration.

    Smith had been on point. He should have been watching the area ahead of the squad, but he had decided that a quick glance away from his domain would not be harmful. Among the laughter, his duties, worries, and guilts disappeared, if only for an instant. He was the happiest he'd been since arriving in-theater earlier that month.

    The last four weeks of combat had been hell on the First Platoon, Bravo Company of the 303rd Infantry, and First Squad was showing the strain. The men, who had only a month before virgin to most sorts of violence, were rapidly forged into precisely-honed weapons. Smith's edge had dulled momentarily, a mistake he would regret for years, if not the rest of his life.

    The sniper's bullet zinged without pretense through the thick air an inch away from Smith's right ear, and cracked loudly as the sonic boom that it dragged behind it clapped forcefully on his eardrum. The hot steel projectile continued downward along its arrow-straight trajectory, towards Sergeant Doyle. Smith remembered for the rest of his life the look on the Sarge's face as the round passed clean through his Kevlar body armor before tumbling through his torso cavity, the expression changing from happiness to surprise to pain. The Sergeant fell to the ground, half due to weakness and half due to trained reflexes. The gunshot, sluggish in comparison to the bullet, finally reached Smith's ears.

    Smith's world snapped into fast forward and is now adrenalized. He no longer thinks; his training thinks for him

    The rest of the squad reacts quickly, bringing potent rifles, submachine-guns, grenade launchers, and pistols to bear on any and all possible sniper's nests. None of the soldiers shoot. Smith remembers the rules of engagement, and fights his own urge to spray his ready ammunition into the house across the street. As he takes cover, his eyes dart from window to window, ledge to balcony, abandoned shop to parked car. There are no traces of the sniper.

    His reflexes have done their job, now he can use his mind again. Which way did the shot come from? From the direction he's looking at, from the west. Smart bastard! The sun is setting to the west, but it is not so late in the afternoon as to be blocked by the building from which the sniper was firing. The advantage is now the sniper's with First Squad staring into the bright sun. Either he planned this well, or he's is one hell of a lucky Hajii.

    Somebody finally yells out: “Sniper!”

    There is a wall to Smith's right, separating the street they were patrolling from the apartments. The rest of the men are already falling back through a gaping hole in the stone barricade. Remington .223 rifle rounds ripple out of gun barrels with an abrasive series of crack-pops as the squad lays down suppressive fire. Someone has just broken the RoE, but the Sarge could bust their balls later.

    The Sarge. Corporal Smith jumps up suddenly and grabs Doyle by the jump handle on the back of his vest and drags him behind the cover of the wall. The sturdy nylon loop holds up well under the Sarge's two hundred pounds, performing the duty it was designed for. Smith props Doyle against the wall.

    “Yer in charge, kid,” mutters Doyle from behind lightly closed eyes. The corporal already knows that, he just hasn't consciously realized it until now. Smith can see that the Sergeant is holding back the pain having his torso carved out by the bullet, but he is also attempting not to put strain on the wound.

    The medic, Private First Class Sheets, dashes over from the side of the apartment building, where the rest of the squad has assumed position. The angle of the wall provides very little cover against the sniper's building, but it is enough for the Sergeant and the two other soldiers. The medic slides the last few feet on the back of his thighs. He flips onto his knees and unslings his med kit in Smith's direction. With haste, the medic rips open the front seam of the body armor and locates the entrance wound in the Sergeant's side.

    The sniper must be using a pretty powerful gun if it went through that armor.

    The Corporal tries not to look at the blood-soaked patch on Doyle's fatigues. It is the medic's job to treat the Sarge, Smith's is to command the beheaded squad before the green men can panic. He looks over at the corner of the apartments, which Private King is peaking around to get an angle on the sniper's position.

    No!” is the only thing that Smith can think to shout at the foolish move. King flinches at the command just as another high-powered bullet rips into the corner. The squad is peppered by tiny fragments of concrete. The Private is standing wide-eyed and stunned.

    “Hey! Think before you do that **** again!” King isn't listening. “Hey! I said think, dammit!” King snaps back to reality, and nods with a gravely serious look on his brown face. “Now give me a smoke!”

    King puts his left hand over his shoulder, where he is promptly handed a smoke grenade, much in the way a nurse slaps a scalpel into the hand of a surgeon. The combat-baptized Private yanks out the pin with un-trembling fingers and allows the spoon to leap off the canister before he tosses it underhand at the gap between the wall and the apartments.

    Smith pauses to think. He needs a way to dislodge the sniper, a way to break the inevitable stalemate. With the range of combat operations happening in his proximity, he knows that he is not able to get artillery support to eliminate one sniper. With the remainder of the squad's platoon no doubt fighting only a block away, reinforcements are out, as is Close Air Support. There is no easy solution, he has to find a way to do the job himself.

    He looks around him and takes in his surroundings in the context of combat. There is a complex of small stores to their rear, but it is too far from their position to retreat to. The closest building in front of them is the apartments, and after that there is a wide dusty street, and then the sniper's building. To the south, to Smith's left, is a wide open-air plaza that extends for at least 150 yards before it contacts another building or even another hint of cover. Smith thinks: This guy is really lucky, or he's even smarter. Indeed, the sniper has trapped them just right.

    “Cover me!” whispers the Corporal to his squad. “Watch for him.”

    Smith knows the sniper is watching the smoke. If he feints, maybe he can buy himself a few seconds. He darts out from the wall on the south side and runs all-out at the base of the building. There is a brief pause, then a bullet moans past him and into the dirt just a yard from his feet. The American squad returns fire. Several bullets lace themselves through Smith's footwork. A machine gun is shooting at him from a roof to the north. Streaking tracers embed themselves around him, enshrouding him with a small moving cloud of dust. Smith slides the last three yards of the distance to cover with his best base-stealing thigh-slide.

    “Machine gunner! 2 o'clock!” shouts Smith into his microphone to the squad. They could handle the gunner; Smith has to get to the sniper before he could move. The belated anger finally sets in. He has to get him, he has to kill him, he has to pour hot lead into his body. Nobody messed with Sergeant Doyle, nobody messed with First Squad. Smith looks towards the door next to him, pulls the magazine out of his rifle, and checked it's capacity. He whacks it against the door frame for good measure and blows into it to clear out any dust.

    Corporal makes his way up through the building, kicking down doors, searching empty rooms, shooting off locks. He finally bursts out onto the roof and back into daylight. He has to get that bastard, he has to make him pay. There he is.

    The sniper is cowering in the north-east corner of the roof, waiting for him with his scoped rifle leveled. He sees Smith and hesitates, flinches, and attempts to drop his rifle. He shouts something in Arabic.

    “Put the gun down!” Smith shouts at the top of his lungs. The sniper is still holding his rifle. “Put that goddam gun down!” Suddenly, tracers lace across the roof, slicing the air around Smith. A machine gun bullet bites into his thigh, another clips his helmet and throws him over backward. The sniper levels his rifle again before Smith even hits the ground. He doesn't scream: he can't feel the pain. The anger, the shame, the frustration, the tension of past weeks bubbles over. He raises his M16 and sights in on the sniper's head.

    The machine gun nest explodes in a dirty fragment cloud of a 40mm grenade. The tracers stop. The sniper fires. The bullet moans past Smith's other ear, skimming the lobe and burning the tender skin. He still doesn't feel it. He squeezes his rifle's trigger, loosing three successive rounds from the M16's muzzle.

    It is the best shot of Smith's life; all three land in the sniper's head. The result is not pleasant.

    Sergeant Doyle's gravelly and weak voice comes over the radio. “Did I get that sonuvabitch?” Smith assumes he is referring to the machine gunner, incinerated by Doyle's grenade launcher.

    “Yeah, you got him Sarge.” Smith pauses, then stands up, wincing at the stinging bullet in his leg. “Let's pack it in. We got a long way home.”

    Sergeant Doyle asked, with a hint of humor in his horse voice: “You givin' me orders, kid?”

    --The End!--
     
  20. Whitejd
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    Whitejd Member

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    Night Fog

    Just a little S&S. Could turn in to a longer story if it gets any attention here and I rework it - criticism is welcome and what I come here for. Thanks JD.;)

    The sword hung in the air at the top of its arc. It had been moving fast until that last moment. The big man holding the sword looked down first into my face and, with a look of astonishment, his gaze travel down to my shoulder, then down my arm and just before his eyes clouded over they rested on the short dagger in my hand.

    The blade of the dagger had vanished into the mans chest and rested somewhere within his heart. Blood streamed down its hilt, onto my hand and then to the wooden floor. The sword slipped from his hand and, as it fell to the floor, neatly clipped a notch from my ear during its decent. I am faster than I look but sometimes not fast enough.

    The weight of the man pushed against me as he started to fall forward. I pull the dagger from his chest and sidestepped. His nose crunched when the floor did not give under him. The bar was quite. I looked from one face to the next attempting to determine if the man I had just killed had any friends that might demand revenge, or in some perverted way, justice.

    Each man and woman turned their head away as I looked into their eyes. No one seemed to be concerned with the slab of meat cooling at my feet.

    The fight had not been fair. The dead man, in an attempt to impress, had picked me as I crossed the threshold, the night fog still clinging to my cape. The top of my head, even with my tattered leather helmet, came only to his armpit. His first attack was a childish attempt to trip me. I stepped over his out stretched foot. He then shot out a ham hock that, at that moment, was passing for his hand. I moved aside and, with a bit of leverage I had learned in the streets of my youth, helped him to a seat on the floor. A few laughs echoed through the bar only to die when the big man growled from low in his chest. He got up, his face brighting to crimson, and charged me like a mad bull. Again he found himself seated on the floor for his effort. Rage had taken over his mind and body. Pulling his sword he stepped forward, intent in making the one of me two. The dagger that had rested under my sleeve, held in place by strips of cloth, came out into my hand. Moving forward I drove the knife upward into the charging chest. Like I said, the fight had not been fair.

    I dropped to one knee next the body and used a clean part of his shirt to wipe the blood from my knife and hand. On a leather cord around his neck was a small bag. I took it. Standing, I again looked about the room as I moved to the door in the back of the bar.
    Stepping into the darkness of the alley I move a few feet along the wall. My back against the wall, I take control of my breathing and will my heart to slow. Standing in the shadows I give my eyes and ears time to grow accustom to the fog and the night. No one follows from the bar. No one is in the street. I move into the fog. I know a good bar a few streets away where a little girl can have a quite drink with out having to kill anyone.
     
  21. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    The parts of your soul you refuse to recognize.
    Voting in a few...
     
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