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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Short Story Contest 80: Suddenly Blind - Submission & Details Thread

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Nov 9, 2010.

    Short Story Contest 80
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Suddenly Blind"​

    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: "Suddenly Blind" (courtesy of member justAphil). Any interpretation valid. Entries do not have to follow the theme explicitly, but off-topic entries may entered into the voting.
    Suggested wordlimit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Monday 22nd November 2010 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 be themed "Out Of My League" (Peregrin). Please be free to prepare an entry in advance for this contest, but do not submit an entry for it until instructed to.

    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. Sonnet

    Sonnet New Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    A Crumbling Clarity by Sonnet

    He felt his scalp prickle under the glow of the museum light. Excitement drew its way into his body. Spilling through his spectacles was yet another painting.
    Mortimer existed for the joy their colours brought. He often came, revisiting each exposition at least twice. To Mortimer all else paled in comparison to the unique sensation the presence of a well filled canvas proccured his soul. If genious could appear on a painted page, he reasoned, than surely it could also appear in the mind. This thought, and this alone, often succeeded in restoring his matured faith in humanity.

    Comforting as that thought was, it did not aid him much in his tolerence for loud noises in his environnement when he gazed upon the artwork he so loved. People had a habbit of crowding around him that he didn't like. The mere sound of their voices produced strong simmering steam in the impacient middle of his being.
    The comments some of them made! How stupid they could sound! He dismissed them all!
    They clouded the clarity of his private moments spent in the galleries, the museums. In his mind their words, which did not matter, became boring sounds, sticking together like an awkward puzzle he held no interest in diceferring. How they clouded up his thoughts, and did nothing more!

    After patiently waiting for a disturbing group of people to move along a set of paces he planted his legs before a blue painting, sighing with relief in the momentary quietude. It was one of the small paintings few took trouble to look at due to its unimpressiveness in size.
    As he marveled at the puddle-like piece, for it did remind him of a puddle, he squinted, then took a step back. Something was wrong. He took one more step back, shook his head, blinked. Stepped forward and stuck his face right onto the painting. Useless. Worriedly he removed his eyeglasses from the bridge of his nose only to discover his fear amplifying. The blur remained.
    So disturbed was he by the, inevitable though it was, sudden deterioration of his own eyesight that, bumping into a few guards and even an old lady, arms outstretched before him like warnings, he ran back home, racing the sun as it began to set. "I am old!" he stammered to himself, unlocking the door. His keys gave him a hard time--if only they weren't so blurry! Pushing himself through, running for a mirror, for further proof of his deterioration.
    He grimaced at the blur that greeted him in blotches, starring back as helpless as he on the other side of the varnished glass... "Heavens, this is a condition I will have to sleep off." he frowned despairingly. "It probably was the pink pills....After all, in the last months that have passed I have taken more of them and their labels have grown harder to read. I'm done with this s h i t e! If I want to ever see myself grow old! See...the wrinkles shape themselves upon my fingers and face."
    Resolved, he went to bed, his night bonnet tucked over his ears, afraid his hair might also start falling. Decomposing was a strange business.

    The next day he slept on until noon and took a break from the galleries, ignoring the careful clippings of current local exhibits on his bulletin board by the dresser. In his newfound sadness which crept its way onto his shoulders all too quickly and seemed to carry an eternal weight with it, he realized the unaceptable: he was going blind.
    There would no longuer be days longuer than nights.
    The next days he spent crying, and in his state of shock he found himself surprised at the tear's ability to come out of eyes which felt as if they no longuer held life in them. He found, however...that despite not seeing he knew when night and day came. He felt the hours in his body. He heard a clock ticking its desperate desire to remain alive. And as another night eased into shape he held his face in his hand, muffling a loud murmur that could be heard through the flesh: "The paintings...Oh, the paintings."

    And as the warmth of day came and went through his hands, his body, he felt a strong longing to revisit the museum. He knew a new set of pieces he'd looked forward to seeing for months before he'd lost his vision was being presented. With a "nothing to lose" attitude he had last felt as a boy, he curved his frail fingers around his umbrella handle, stepping awkwardly into the outside world. Memories made way into the darkness that had become his mind. Memories of the inside of his house, his front porch, the street and its trees. They made him wish he had paid more attention. All he had left, what he managed to remember, seemed to him only half of what had been.

    His walk to the museum was slow, unsure. Each step as hesitant and wearisome as the last. But he used his umbrella cane wisely and his patience brought him to his destination unharmed. An exploit in itself.
    With a flutter in his stomach he climbed the last step made in stone like a child, almost waltsed into the precious rooms. Though he could not see them he felt them at once, felt the strong feeling in his breast that he was back. A weight lifted from him. He felt more at home in a gallery as a blind man amongst paintings he couldn't see than he did anyplace else. With pride he walked up to the first painting, unable to see it, but feeling it near him.
    Breathing the same air as it.
    Was that not enough? For hours he stood there, next to the mysterious image. Forming brushstrokes in his mind, imagining what it was like. A few people came and went in silence. Finally, a stranger stood next to him and spoke of the work of art hung on the wall. Brightening up the image in his mind a great lengh. And oh, how he listened! How he listened carefully! Appreciating each syllable. For the first time, he heard. He finally saw their words.
  3. Whisp

    Whisp Banned

    Jun 19, 2010
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    None so Blind

    My brother Silus slouched into the sitting room and slung his rangy body onto the couch. I recognised the gormless grin on his face as the one he gave when he’d done something he was pleased about, but thought I wouldn’t approve of. I wasn’t about to make it easy for him so I went back to checking my emails on the laptop. He shuffled around behind me - picking things up and putting them back down with sharp clicks and thumps. I smiled at the screen and counted slow, betting he couldn’t hold out to twenty. Fifteen, sixteen….

    ‘Er – you gonna talk to me or what?’ he said.

    ‘I’m busy,’ I replied.

    ‘I want to tell you something.’

    ‘Go on then.’

    ‘I’m not talking to the back of your head – look at me.’ he said.

    I gave a pretend sigh, and legged the swivel chair around to face him. ‘What?’

    The sheepish look was back on his face. ‘I got engaged last night.’

    Butterfly wings beat in my chest. ‘Who to?’

    ‘Who’d you think – Tracy of course.’

    Bat wings flapped. Could he mean the Tracy with two grubby children of unknown fathers, Tracy of the dark hair, minuscule skirts, and overload of Rimmel mascara?

    ‘You’re having a laugh aren’t you?’ I said.

    ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

    ‘Christ, Si, you said she was just a leg over.’

    ‘No I didn’t.’ His tone reminded me of when he was ten and we argued over some small matter.

    ‘Yes you did. You said she came on to you, and you thought what the hell, it’s on a plate.’

    ‘I never said that.’ Silus’s face turned a dull red.

    ‘Well maybe not those words, but the same thing.’

    ‘Look, I didn’t know her - I’d only just met her.’

    ‘Were you drunk when you asked her? Everyone knows that doesn’t count?’ I tried to keep my voice light.

    ‘No I wasn’t. We talked about it and she said okay.’ He’d put on his stubborn scowl.

    I stayed silent for a moment searching for a reason why he wanted to marry her. Silus was handsome and had a great sense of humour - he could have the pick of a dozen girls. I was always getting told what a gorgeous brother I had. Had he suddenly gone blind? Tracy certainly wasn’t pretty, didn’t have a figure men might drool over, and from the few conversations I’d had with her she was boring. Something clicked in my brain and at that moment I knew I would be defeated whatever argument I put forward. I was up against the biggest adversery anyone could come across. It nestled in his trousers and led him by the nose.
    An Eagle beat its wings.
  4. skeloboy_97

    skeloboy_97 New Member

    Oct 26, 2010
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    @Whisp to much speech in a row without enough detail and other things. There needs to b more info between speech and description of the setting and characters. also describe the way the character said it eg, exclaimed, yelled,screamed etc. etc.
  5. yellowm&M

    yellowm&M Contributor Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    between the pages of a good book

    Stranger [828 words]

    From upstairs I hear the door open then slam shut, followed by the thud of heavy bags dropping to the ground.

    “I’m home!” The shout carries through the open door of my bedroom and I leap up from my bed as though electrified. Within seconds I’m thundering down the stairs
    “Jasper!” I’m about to throw my arms around him in a hug, then stop myself remembering that he hates hugs-or rather the “un-manly” feelings he says they represent. To my surprise however, he grabs me in a giant bear hug.

    “Andrew! I missed you little brother!”

    “I missed you too!” We step apart smiling hugely at each other, “Do you want help bringing those upstairs?” I point towards the bags on the floor.

    “That would be great.” He picks up a bag, slinging it over his shoulder. I follow suit, staggering slightly under its unexpected weight. Jasper glances back and chuckles. I scowl but it doesn’t last for long as the happiness of having him back home takes hold of me again. He’d been gone for nearly a year training and serving under the country’s greatest general-General Renlends.

    Renlends was known for his unflinchingly racist and brutal views and many hated him, but no one could deny his military genius. However it was strange that he had personally sent for Jasper since our family was well-known for our ancestral history of openness and advocacy for rights. Not everyone in my family was an outspoken activist against racism, but growing up all of us were taught to be tolerant, caring, and open. It was widespread knowledge that Renlends vehemently hated people like us. We all, therefore, were surprised that Renlends had asked for Jasper and assumed that he had overlooked our family views due to the fact that Jasper had long shown that he possessed an astounding level of potential at becoming a brilliant general; perhaps even as brilliant as Renlends himself. Regardless of his personal views, learning under Renlends was the opportunity of a lifetime for someone like Jasper and he had jumped on the chance, causing him to be gone for a year.

    Soon we reach the door to his room. Dumping the bags in the middle of the floor, I heave a sigh of relief and rotate my shoulder. Jasper grins at me then begins to unpack his bags. I survey the room then sink into the desk chair.

    “So…how was it?” Curiosity and uncertainty color my tone as Jasper turns slowly around, his face serious.

    “It was...amazing,” he pauses for a moment, then continues, “Help me unpack my bags, then let’s take a walk.” Jumping to my feet, I oblige and within minutes we find ourselves walking out the front door towards the woods out back. I remain silent, too scared to ask the questions that are burning inside of me.

    As if reading my mind, Jasper turns to me with a smile, “Go on, ask.”

    “What’s Renlends like?”

    “He’s brilliant. He’s not like anyone I’ve ever meant. He’s harsh, and brutal, and impatient, and absolutely brilliant. Training under him was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.” Jasper’s voice is awestruck as he talks.

    “But what about his…you know…politics?” I’m hesitant, but dying to know.

    “He’s actually not as bad as you’ve heard, Andrew. He’s really not.” We continue on in a temporary silence. Suddenly a blast from a horn rents the air, making me jump in surprise.

    “What-“but I stop midsentence as a terrified man wearing dirty, torn clothes that are more like rags, hurtles out of the nearby trees.

    “Help me! Please! Help!” his voice is weak and hysterical and he clutches at me with boney, bloodied hands.

    “Jasper, come on we have to hurry!” It’s obvious to me that this man is an escaped slave who is being pursued. I help the man up and look at Jasper. He’s stationary, an odd expression on his face. “Come ON Jasper!”

    “Don’t help him, Andrew.”

    “Don’t-what?” I’m taken aback; we’ve helped many slaves before; why wouldn’t we help this one?

    “He has run away from his rightful master. He deserves no help or sympathy.” Jasper’s expression is cold and disdainful. I feel nothing but shock. I had grown up with my older brother as my hero because he always helped people. He never stood and watched. He never refused someone in need.

    “Jasper wha-“Then the horrible realization hits me. I abruptly know why Renlends, who rarely personally mentors someone, had specifically called for my brilliant, but freethinking brother. “He’s made you just like him.” Sickened, I stare at the cold face of the man who was once my brother. “Renlends has made you blind, suddenly blind, to your own beliefs and the good of humanity. You’ve become blind to who you are!” With a last look of mingled horror, sadness, and anger I pull on the poor slave and help him spring towards our house; leaving the stranger alone in the woods.
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