1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.

    Past Contest Submissions CLOSED for contest #167 theme: "Creation and Destruction"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 5, 2014.

    Short Story Contest 167
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Creation and Destruction" courtesy of @Keitsumah.

    Submissions will be open for 2 more weeks.


    If you wish to enter the contest post the story here directly in the thread. It will show up as an anonymous author.

    This contest is open to all writingforums.org members, newbies and the established alike. At the deadline I will link to this thread from the voting thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. As always, the winner may also PM me to request the theme of the subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Entries do not have to follow the themes explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.

    Word limit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Sunday the 21st of December, 2014 1600 (4:00 pm) US Pacific time

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

    If we reach 20 entries, the maximum number of stories for any one contest, I will consider splitting the contest into two. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permitted.

    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 basis to decide its legitimacy for the contest.

    A story entered into the contest may not be one that has been posted anywhere on the internet, not just anywhere on this site. A story may not be posted for review until the contest ends, but authors may seek critiques after voting closes for the contest. Members may also not repost a story anywhere, or bring attention to the contest in any way, until the voting has closed.

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

    If there are any questions, please send me a PM (Conversation). After the voting ends, posting in the thread will re-open for comments.

    ***And thanks to even more long hours put in by our very special mod/member @Wreybies, winners are now awarded with olympic style medals displayed under their avatars.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    Be sure to preview your entry before you hit 'reply'.
    Check italics and bolding as sometimes the end code for bold or italics doesn't copy/paste affecting large stretches of text. If you need to fix the formatting, hit 'control a' to 'select all' and clear all bold and italics code. Then re-add it back in using the board's font controls before you hit 'post reply'. Same thing with extra line spaces, delete them directly from the post before hitting 'post reply'.
  2. Lancie

    Lancie Senior Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Isabella the Second (2615 words)

    Bringing her back to life seemed easier at first than just making her from scratch. Yet there was something so fundamentally wrong with her every time that after the third creation, I decided to let her rest.

    It was worse watching her gasp for air and not knowing who I was, than watching her slip away from me the first time Finally, that last time, she clawed my wrist with her brittle fingers and rasped no more.

    Sixteen years of my life dedicated to bringing her back and for what? I had nothing.

    From the window of my study I could see the ancient oak trees she loved so much leading along a path meandering between sweeping hills. In the distance I could see the mausoleum of grey stone. A tiny temple to the woman too beautiful and too clever for the likes of me. I stayed in my study, in a catacomb of books and notes.

    I couldn't leave the safety of my study. I couldn't bare rattling around my big, dark house on my own. We'd had no children. We hadn't had time before she got sick.

    As the days bled into each other I rose and fell into drunkenness, rotting away at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. I preferred sleeping because I would see her as she was. Her clear blue eyes fluttered at me. You don't need me. You just need someone.

    When I woke, her words rang around my mind. The dark was hazy. A small candle still burned at the corner of my desk, somewhere in among the piles of books. I stumbled towards the light and began to sift through my papers; notebooks stuffed full of equations, sketches and diagrams. Scientific journals muddled with religious tomes, pages intersected with my own notes and designs.

    The idea engulfed me. I sent my man servant out to fetch supplies. He was the type that didn't ask questions if I filled his pockets with enough gold. He, in turn, hired some thugs and thieves and procured me the desired materials. Clay to build a skeleton, accurately made from the latest anatomy books. Organs, skin and muscle crafted from the dead women of the city arrived at my back door. Supplies of blood and finally, electricity. Lots of vibrant, life giving electricity.

    In the midst of crackling blue and gold light, wires and tubes, glass beakers and metal domes she was born. She didn't look exactly like my wife. One of her eyes was smaller than the other; one blue and one hazel, but the nose was the same delicate, slim line shape and the lips too were a good match. I couldn't get the same hair; those unruly curls, pale like champagne, would have to haunt my dreams. Instead she now had arrow straight honey blonde hair. It was good enough.

    I slipped her silver and emerald wedding ring onto her finger and kissed her knuckles. “Hello,” I said softly as her head turned towards me. Her mis-matched eyes blinked out of sync, one then the other. “Can you speak?”

    A crinkle of a frown line appeared between her eyebrows. She croaked twice. Her mouth opened and closed as though she didn't trust the voice trying to come out.

    “Do you know who I am?” I asked her. Her eyes searched mine for a long time. “I'm you're husband,” I told her.

    “Husband?” she slurred uncertainly. I sighed with relief. Her voice was flatter than I'd have liked but at least she wasn't a mute. “Husband,” she said again.

    “I have missed you, so very much.”

    “Missed you...” she said. I paused. Had I succeeded in bringing my wife back, or was this creature simply repeating what I was saying? I sighed sadly, guessing it was the latter.

    “Come now, can you sit up?” I eased an arm around her and lifted her body up off the table. She looked at me bleakly. “You've come home.”

    “Husband,” she mumbled again.

    “That's right,” I took her face gently in my cupped palms. “You're doing very well,” I tilted her left and right, admiring the quality of the skin and the fine stitching around her jawline. “Much better than before.” I said. She looked at me hopelessly. I patted her cheek. “You are Isabella the Second. Can you say Isabella?”


    I shook my head. “No, Isabella.” I waited, then coaxed again. “Isa-bella.” She remained silent. “Never mind. Let's see if you can stand.” I pulled her off the table and held her upright. She was a little lumpy in the middle, her figure more rectangular than what I'd been used to, but I didn't mind. I steadied her then let her go. To my amazement, she didn't crumble. I smiled. “Good.” I opened my arms. “Come here,” I instructed. She didn't move for a moment, she appeared to be looking through me. Finally, her feet shuffled forward and her body plopped into me. I held her. She had a peculiar smell; the scent of earth after the rain. Not entirely unpleasant. She wasn't as warm as I expected and she didn't put her arms around me either, but I carried on holding her. “I'm happy you're back.”

    I managed to lead her to her bedroom and left her with a nervous looking maid. When I returned in the morning she was standing looking out of the window. “Morning, my love!” I greeted her warmly. “Did you sleep well?”

    When she didn't acknowledge me, I asked the maid.

    “She didn't sleep at all,” she said quietly, without looking at me. “I tried sir, but she just stood where you left her. She wouldn't eat breakfast, either.”

    I felt a ripple of disappointmen but I quickly suppressed it. I held out a hand. “Come along, Isabella. Let's go for a walk.”

    “Husband,” she said and shuffled towards me. I was so pleased I managed to get two legs the same length.

    “That's right!” I took her hand and led her carefully down the stairs. She descended like a toddler with little uneven steps. I found it endearing. I kept an arm around her and babbled away gleefully. Years of silence, spiked only with the words of occasional servants, bubbled forth. I told her all about my experiments. She continued to shuffle along the path. Suddenly, she stopped. I tried to ease her forward but she stuck to the spot. “What's the matter, Isabella?” she pointed at a cluster of snow drops. Pale white and green hoods bowed solemnly. “They're flowers. Do you like them?” her arm dropped to her side. “If you like them, I shall plant them all around the grounds.”

    “Second,” she mumbled.

    “Flower,” I told her again. “Snow drops,” but she withdrew into silence. We continued walking round the grounds. “You're cold, Isabella,” I said, feeling the icy skin beneath my fingers. She looked up at me, eyes wide and wondering. “Let's get you warm.” I took her inside and gave her back to the maid. As she lumbered away I went back to my study, eager to enter her progress in my journal.

    By the end of the week, the maid had left in wild rage. “She doesn't sleep, she never sleeps!” she wailed. “She just stands there, starring. All night long no matter what I do! It's vile! I can't take it anymore, sir, I'm sorry! I must leave!”

    As she fled my house, Isabella stood half way up the stairs, watching helplessly. “Snow drop,” she lamented. I went up to her and guided her back into my study.

    “Never mind, my love. We don't need her. We just need each other.”

    I placed her in the window to get a better light and inspected the skin on her neck and arms. It was starting to turn a pale green around the stitching, like the snow drop flowers in my garden. “We shall have to fix that.”

    I sat at my desk and began to think of ways to re-energise her skin. Would she need new skin graft, a new covering every few weeks? Would I need to blitz her with more electricity?

    At first, she stood statuesque like she normally did, then she began to wander about, looking at all my trappings and ornaments. She peered at a glass dome encasing black and green flowers and stuffed humming birds, frozen mid-flight. She tapped the glass, that crease of a frown appearing on her brow again.

    “Snow drops,” she said softly. She continued to tap the glass, the frown line became deeper.

    “What’s the matter, Isabella?”

    She continued to tap the glass. “Snow drops!”

    “They’re stuffed birds and silk flowers, my love. They’re not real,” I told her. Her face began to pinch in distress. I removed my jacket and placed it over the ornament. “There. All better, yes?” I held her face. Her eyes were starting to look wet and milky. I wiped them with my handkerchief and smiled, but she only returned her usual bleak gaze.

    I let her carry on wandering about my study and I returned to my books. “I could probably bring those birds to life as well, you know, if that would make you happy,” I told her, flicking through another anatomy journal. “I don’t see why not. Many years ago I reanimated some frogs for a short while. And then of course doctors managed to revive a dead hanged man, shortly before the first Isabella died. I've come on leaps and bounds since then.” I found a page with some original designs for my second Isabella and smiled wistfully. “In you, my love, I have given birth. I have defied nature and the God who stole my first Isabella away.”

    “Second,” she said.

    “Yes, that’s right. You are my second Isabella.” I pointed to a painting that hung over the fireplace, of my first beautiful Isabella. “That’s her; my first wife. I based you on her but obviously you are quite different. You are completely unique, my love.”

    She looked up a long time, tilting her head. “Husband,” she whispered uncertainly. And then, oddly, she looked at her hands. She held them to her face and studied her fingers. They belonged to three other women. I’d wanted to use as few donors as possible but sometimes the tissue and fibres wouldn’t fuse together.

    I didn’t know how aware she was of the things I said, but as she inspected her mismatched thumbs she seemed a sad figure. Maybe she understood perfectly well I had made her.

    Her arms fell and her attention shifted. Something had caught her eye. She walked towards the fireplace where my antique pistols sat mounted and began to reach for one. I leapt from my chair and pulled her back against me. “No, Isabella. You mustn’t touch those. They’re very dangerous.” I turned her round to face me. “Do you understand?”

    There was something new in the way she looked at me, a sudden spark of recognition. For the first time, an intelligent being seemed to inhabit my second Isabella. “Do you understand me?” I asked her again. Her mouth opened. It was so hard to get good teeth that would fit her frame and some were not the best quality; too big, too yellow. I made a mental note to fit her with better teeth.

    I thought for a moment she would say something profound. But all she managed to utter was, “Second.”

    By the following week, I was starting to do patch up work on her. Her hands were proving especially problematic. The skin cracking and flaking away.

    She had developed a habit of wandering off in the house. It was like playing hide and seek with a child unaware of their size. I’d find her standing in odd places in my big house. Then, one evening, I lost her completely. At first I wandered about with a candle calling her name but after an hour of this I needed a new candle and was beginning to worry.

    “Isabella?” I called out, walking up the stairs to my study. “Isabella?”

    I opened the study door and scanned the room. She stood at the desk, her back to me. “There you are Isabella, I don’t think you should be in here on your own,” I strode over and touched her arm. She turned. Had she been looking at the notebooks splayed on my desk? I noticed she held something black.

    I recoiled and shot a look at the fireplace. One of my antique pistols was missing. She had it, finger poised on the trigger.

    “Isabella, give me that. That’s very dangerous,” I held my hand out to her but she raised it. I frowned. She couldn’t possibly know how to use a pistol, and yet, she held it perfectly well. “Isabella, put that down immediately!” I commanded. As usual I got no response. “I made you, Isabella. You must not disobey me! Give that to me at once!” She took a step back and pointed the gun at my head.

    A cold dread began to fill my stomach. “Isabella, no…”

    “Second,” she whispered, a tear fell from her hazel eye.

    “Isabella, don't be upset with me. I didn't mean to shout at you,” I raised my hands to show her I meant no harm. “Shall I take the painting down? Is that what's upsetting you? Look, I'll take it down right now,” I backed away and waited for her to lower the gun. Her body was shivering yet she held it firmly. “Put it down, please?” I beseeched her as calmly as I could. Finally, she responded and her arm returned mechanically to her side. I smiled. “Good girl.” I turned around and reached towards the painting. “How on earth did you know how to hold a gun, anyway? You are fascinating,” I mused, shaking my head. “Maybe we can do some cognitive exercises once we've all calmed down.”

    As I balanced myself and tried to lift the heavy oak frame I heard a crack, followed by the smell of smoke.

    Pain exploded in my side. My balance faltered, my body began to topple backwards against my will. I clawed at the painting for support but it had already come away from the wall. A shrill wail escaped my lips. My first Isabella and I landed with a crack. I rolled over, trying to get the weight of the painting off my bleeding torso. I grunted, glaring across at my second Isabella. “What did you do?” I bellowed at her. My hands flew to my side. Thick, dark blood was oozing from my waist. I pressed hard against it. “Isabella!”

    She threw the gun to one side and turned away from me. I called to her again and again. Scrambling to get up I kept slipping, the volcanic pain erupting every time I moved. All I could do was double over and hold my wound.

    She lifted the candle I kept on my desk. “Isabella!” I howled at her.

    For a moment her eyes met mine. One blue, one hazel. One bigger than the other and yet, to me, she was still perfect.

    “Snow drop,” she said sadly, then hurled the candle down onto my papers.

    My work. My life work. Everything catching fire. The flames grew quickly, licking up and engulfing my books.

    I reached to her with bloodied fingers. “Isabella, please, don't.” She crouched down in front of me, the fire giving her fair hair an orange halo. “Please,” I whimpered. She stroked my face with a gracefulness I'd not seen before.

    “Snow drop,” she said softly and shuffled from the flaming room.
    SMP likes this.
  3. qp83

    qp83 Member

    May 21, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Troublemakers [1800 words]


    Another glass shattered into a million little pieces. They rained down from the window and glittered like stars as their hard edges captured the early summer sun. The sparkling display didn't last long however, as it disappeared behind a tall hedge that protected the old house and its lawn from prying eyes; it did't protect the second floor window from stone-throwing youngsters, though.

    John searched the dirt road, that passed by the old abandoned house, for another pebble.

    He should've been at school at this time of day, but today he wasn't. He was a real troublemaker, or at least that's what he had heard over and over again ever since he could grab something with his little baby hands, such as his mom's hair, or even his father's beard.

    He found the perfect pebble. Its edges were many and sharp, sharp enough to almost cut you. Perfect for destroying things.

    He never really bothered to aim before throwing it, his natural gift for destroying things would make sure it made the most amount of damage. And that's exactly what happened. Another glass shattered into a thousand pieces. He could even hear something inside the house crash and break too.

    Too focused on appreciating his work, he didn't notice the young woman on a bicycle stopping behind him, until she said: "That look's like fun!"

    His heart almost jumped up into his throat.

    The woman began searching the dirt road for a pebble of her own.

    Meanwhile, a black cat jumped out from the wicker basket. It sat down on the road and began licking its legs and chest, ignoring them.

    "Aha!" The woman exclaimed as she found a rock.

    It was a useless rock however. It was small, no hard edges, and completely smooth.

    John snickered to himself. Obviously this woman didn't know the first thing about destroying things.

    She bent over and began aiming. It looked ridicolous. Her bottom was pouting out and up into the air, and she moved like a crab, left and right, like something from a cartoon.

    But despite all the effort put into the aiming, once she finally threw the rock, she closed her eyes as she summoned all her strength from the bottom of her feet.

    The speed was impressive, and had it hit its target it would've been an impressive sight, but instead the rock hit the wall and bounced off and hit something black and furry.

    The poor cat didn't see it coming at all, too busy cleaning itself. It hit him right in the head. Now had it been a rock John had chosen the cat would've most certainly died or at least had to make a visit to the vet, but this rock was small and smooth, and it mostly just scared it. The cat darted around the house, leaving only a black trail of haze behind it.

    The woman bent over laughing. She laughed so loud and freely, it even infected John and made him make a few chuckles.

    "Aw. That poor thing." The woman wiped a tear from her eye. "But he certainly deserved it. He's been completely ignoring me lately. I don't know what I did wrong." She turned to John. "I'm Anna by the way." She reached out a hand.

    "John," John said and shook her hand.

    Suddenly his cheeks grew warm, and butterflies began multiplying and flying around and tickling the inside of his belly, eagerly looking for a way out.

    The woman was incredibly cute. She had dark brown bob cut hair. The left side of her hair was pulled back behind her ear where it was kept in place by two hairpins. Her eyes were emerald green, and their shape were round and made her look playful and probably a bit younger than she was. Faint freckles were scattered around her face, but most gathered around her nose. She was wearing a white short-sleeved blouse, and a long dark blue skirt that ended just above her bare ankles. On her feet she was wearing a pair of black ballet flats.

    "Want to come in?" Anna asked.

    "W-what? Come in?"

    "It's my house. I bought it a couple days ago and I just finished moving in the last stuff this morning."

    Wait, what? She's moving into this old rubble? Is that even safe, it looks like it could collapse at any moment.

    John suddenly found himself bowing and apologizing. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know anyone lived here."

    She giggled. "Don't worry. The window was already broken when I bought the place. Of course, it's a little more broken now, but that's okay. Anyways, you're feeling better now, right?" she said.

    John didn't know what to say or where to look.

    "So are you coming or what?" Anna kicked the bicycle stand and began leading the bicycle.

    "O-okay," John said. He couldn't believe he just said that.

    Anna lead the bicycle through a gate in the tall hedge, and John followed.

    Unlike the outside, the inside wasn't that bad—if you ignored the many cobwebs, the broken and missing floorboards, the wallpaper that hang loose in some places and was completely missing in others, and the white ceiling that had yellowed and begun cracking and spreading its whitish dust over the floor.

    They entered the kitchen. And the first thing that caught John's eyes was a big black cauldron sitting on the old rustic kitchen table. Something was brewing inside, sending out small puffs of green smoke. If he didn't know better, it looked exactly like something you'd expect to see in a witch's house.

    Anna must've caught what he was looking at. "I'm making a potion for the King of Caspiel. Once its finished it should have quiet an interesting effect. Actually, now that I think about it, it should be finished right about now. Do you want to try it?"

    "What? You want me to drink that? No way," John said, ignoring the stuff about some king.

    Just then, the black cat jumped up on the table. It laid down next to the cauldron and began licking its legs again, as if it wasn't clean enough already.

    "Aha! We got a volunteer!" Anna grabbed the cat and held its limp body firmly under her arm. She grabbed a spoon and scooped up some of the green liquid. She plunged the spoonful of green liquid into the black cat's suprised mouth. After making sure the cat had swallowed the liquid, she let the cat go, and the black cat jumped back onto the table.

    John couldn't believe his eyes. This woman was crazy!

    The black cat gave the woman the evil eye, and then ploof! Its belly and chest puffed out as if it had swallowed a ballon, and then its head!

    John took a step back, he knew exactly what was going to happen, he had seen it many times on The Walking Dead.

    But instead of exploding and painting them and the room with blood and intestines, like John was certain it would, the cat suddenly started floating.

    It floated up into the air like a helium filled baloon. It looked ridicoulous, and John was sure the poor cat was dead. But then it started moving its legs, and as they moved the cat floated forward. After just a few moments the cat seemed to have grown acustomed to his new form and seemed rather happy about floating around in the kitchen, probably thinking it would now have an advantage over the mice that were also living there.

    "Spectacular!" Anna exclaimed. "What do you say? Want to go next?"

    John shook his head. He still couldn't believe what he was seeing.

    "Then I'm going next!" Anna slurped a spoonful of the green liquid.

    A moment later her belly began growing, first making her look pregnant and then as if she'd swallowed his mother's fitness ball. Once her belly couldn't expand anymore, her face suddenly puffed out into a round ball. Never before had John seen such a cute woman turn ugly so fast. So ugly in fact, that he actually began questioning his new found crush. But then as she began floating up off the floor, just like the cat, any thoughts about her appearance seemed to fade away.

    "This is amazing!" Anna yelled as she began making breast strokes into the air. Unfortunately the kitchen was a bit small, so she couldn't get very far. "Open the window!" she shouted.

    John didn't care anymore. Obviously he was dreaming, so he went over the window and opened it.

    Anna and the cat swam out the window, and just as they got outside, it was as if a strong current of wind swooped them up into the blue sky.

    John ran out of the house and watched the two balloons disappear into the sky.

    "Come over tomorrow!" He heard one of the black dot's in the sky shout, Anna's he'd guessed, but right now he wasn't sure of anything.

    But that's just what he did. The next morning he returned to the house. But no one was home, so he sat down on the doorstep and waited.

    He didn't get any sleep the night before, so as time went by, his eyes slowly went shut and he fell asleep.

    "John ..."

    He heard a voice calling to him behind the black void.

    "John, wake up!" Anna yelled.

    John woke up with a startle. Anna's green eyes, bobcut hair, and cute face filled his view. Thank god, she's back to normal. He almost hugged her, that's how happy he was.

    "Did that really happen?" he asked.

    Anna tilted her head and knit her brows.

    "Yesterday-did-you-really-turn-into-a-balloon-that-flew-out-the-window-and-up-into-the-sky?" John gasped for air, he said the words so fast he found himself out of breath.

    Anna's lips pursed into a smile. "Of course I did. You were there, weren't you?"


    "Magic, of course, silly!" she said.

    "B-but that's ..." Impossible.

    "Here, let me show you," she said and cupped his hands. "Hold them close, as if you were holding a frog that wants to leap out into the air."

    John did as she said.

    "Now, close your eyes and try not to think about anything. Just concentrate on the void between your hands, and imagine something filling it."

    John tried not to think about anything, but the feeling of her hands around his, and that faint fragant of flowers coming from her hair made it next to impossible.

    But then, he felt something.

    John opened his eyes and looked down upon his hands. As he uncupped them, there was something there. A small light was floating in his hands. It looked like a small sun, but despite being just as bright, it didn't hurt his eyes.

    "What is it?" John asked.

    "Anything you want," she said.

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