1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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

    Past Contest Submissions CLOSED for Contest #168 Theme: "Resurrection"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 29, 2014.

    Short Story Contest 168
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Resurrection" courtesy of @Lancie.

    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 11th of January, 2015 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'. Watch those extra line spaces. Delete them directly from the post before hitting 'post reply'.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  2. qp83

    qp83 Member

    May 21, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Three hundred seven [783 Words]

    A fifty-foot-tall hamster scuttered across the british countryside. On top of its head stood, Sally Strong, a seven-year-old who had just lost her parents. (And needless to say, despite her name, she wasn't particularily strong.)

    Sally stood with her feet firm, holding a strand of hamster hair the thickness of a rope in each hand. "Giddy-up, Benny!" she shouted from the top of her lungs and pulled his hair. "Faster, or we're not going to make it!"

    The hamster snorted and sped up a notch.

    "Watch out! Make a right!" Sally shouted, seeing an array of electicity pylons cross their path.

    A poor farmer's red tractor became the victim of the hamster's sudden turn, transforming it into a flattened soda can.

    "Sorry!" Sally called out to a house, where she guessed its owner lived.

    They ran along the electricity pylons for several miles.

    "This is going on forever. We have to jump," she said.

    The hamster pulled to a hasten stop. Facing the pylons, it backed up a small hill. There it buried its neatly trimmed nails into the ground and loaded its back legs like a spring. Then in a fearsome thrust, shoveling several cart-loads of dirt behind it, it sprang forward toward the pylons, and then it jumped. They flew over the pylons, and then some more, landing saftely on the other side.

    And they were off again.

    The city of London rose up behind a blue haze and grew larger with every step. They crisscrossed between houses and cars, careful not to repeat what happened to the red tractor.

    "We're almost there," Sally said. "Hurry!"

    They approached an intersection near Hyde's Park.

    But they were too late.

    Two hundered feet away from them, Sally's dad sat behind the steering wheel of a light-blue Skoda. Her mom sat in the passenger seat next to him, and in the back seat behind her mother, sat Sally Strong with her small hamster, Benny, in her lap. And there, from the other side of the intersection, came a large dustcart speeding along uncontrollably as its driver had for unknown reasons lost consciousness.

    Sally and her hamster could do nothing but watch. The dustcart crashed into the back of her family's car and sent it spiraling out of control until it crashed into a stone wall. A deafening boom echoed across the city and made everyone's heads turn.

    Her parents stumbled out of the car, dazed and confused. Her mom, moved to the backdoor, and tried to pry open it. But it was too indented from the crash and did not budge.

    "No, Sally!" her mom cried by the door. It was too late. Sally Strong was no more.

    Sally's head sank to her chest, tears dripping down onto her hands. "We failed, again.".

    The hamster sat down and lowered its head as well.

    Then out of nowhere, a goat in a brown Oxford suit appeared. It sat behind a desk that floated freely in the air in front of them. The goat looked busy, flipping through papers and typing on an old typewriter. As it pulled its eyes from its busy work and noticed Sally, it sighed. "Oh, it's you again."

    Sally looked up at the goat. "Please, you have to give us another chance," she begged.

    The goat shook his head and flipped through the papers and then pulled one out of the stack. "Ah, let's see. This was your ..." The goat readjusted its glasses, as if it couldn't believe what it was reading. "307th attempt!? Now, listen here little girl..." The goat took off his glasses, and used them as a threatening finger as he continued to speak. "I don't know what you think this is, but this isn't some free ferris wheel ride. Do you know how much this sort of thing costs to set up?"

    The sniveling girl shook her head. "No."

    The goat sighed and scratched the top of his head. "Anyways, isn't it time you give up? Moving on isn't all that bad. We've got naked baby angels, trumpets, clouds, all the ice-cream you can eat... did I say the naked baby angels got wings? No, I don't think so. Hm?"

    "Does it have my parents?" the girl whimpered.

    "No... I'm afraid not," the goat said.

    "Then give me another chance," Sally said. "If I don't make it the next time ... I-I'll think about your offer."

    The goat shook his head and threw his papers up in the air. "I don't know why I even bother anymore. Very well, little girl." He punched some keys on the old typewriter and hit enter. The world swirled into oblivion, and Sally and her hamster were back to where they started.
    Okon and Inkwell1 like this.
  3. misteralcala

    misteralcala Member

    Jan 30, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Mesa, Arizona
    Last Spear's Hunt (2319 words)

    A knot of three bronze-skinned men and one woman glided past, causing him to drag his fresh kill into an overgrown depression of a rocky outcrop. They had a faraway gaze to their countenance, as if in a dream, and their rough-spun ceremonial robes and belt pouches marked them as lower caste Bhokemi shamans. Last Spear would consider them dangerous even in their odd stupor. The recent influx of Bhokemi skirting the borders of Last Spear's territory, where the arboreal highlands descend into dense, dark endless jungle, had demanded that he look into the matter. He had been shadowing the Bhokemi migration for two days and had learned nothing. After a furtive scan through the thick-leaved vines Last Spear knelt before his kill and expertly removed the scent glands from the dark hyena-like sekh hound. Mindful not to get too much blood on himself, he wiped himself down with the pungent glands, masking his scent with the spoor of the Bhokemi's fearsome pets.

    Last Spear stalked silently through the tangled vines, favoring the shadows of the mossy jungle trees - his spear and blades at the ready, ever alert of the jungle's dangers. He was not so concerned about being discovered, since all of the Bhokemi he'd encountered so far had been in their induced stupor and were not displaying their normal behavior. Bhokemi were a fierce people who dealt death in the jungle shadows and were said to even savor the flesh of the other races of men. Even though their jungles hid the lost kingdoms of ages past and wonders untold, expeditions going into Bhokemi lands were never heard from again. Over the centuries, nothing escaped the jungles except smoke and shadow - rumors of dark magics and unspeakable horrors wrenched from the bowels of hell by the Bhokemi's necromancer lords. Such was their reputation.

    While Last Spear had never put much faith in magic and superstitious rumors, he had acquired a healthy respect and wariness for the Bhokemi. His father was a trader along the frontier who would, on rare occasions, trade with Bhokemi - Last Spear even knew most of their words, which is why he was chosen to investigate. The other reason he was chosen was because he was Last Spear of the arboreal highlands. Last Spear was his title, and had become his name. His was the Last Spear to end any disputes, uprisings or raids in his prefecture and he answered directly to the High Sovereign's council. Whatever was causing the Bhokemi to migrate was beyond fathoming, but he was sent for answers and he was determined to find some. He had his chance when a noise in the trees caused him to raise his spear just in time. A body descended upon him, only to be skewered on his spear as he twisted to the side and jabbed a powerful thrust upward. Last Spear grunted and fell backward into the undergrowth - the dank, spongy leaf-littered ground absorbing the shock of the assault. Last Spear rolled the weak, gasping Bhokemi ambusher off of him and grasped the shaft of his deeply embedded spear as he carefully removed the assailant's painted wooden death mask.

    To his shock, it was a woman whom he locked eyes with - her gaze feverish and intense. His surprise was was short-lived as his attention was drawn to her hands, which were weakly fumbling at the remaining knives still sheathed on her belt. With a scowl, Last Spear twisted the spear shaft, causing her to go rigid with pain. He would not chance so much as a scratch - Bhokemi warriors often used poison on their weapons. "Why do the Bhokemi travel? Where do they go?" Last Spear asked. "Our God awakens to feast on your bones, highlander." She managed a bloody smile, then weakly spat at him, pink foam frothed at the corners of her mouth. "Tell me-" Before Last Spear could form his question, she struck - quick as an adder - grabbing the spear shaft and lunging herself toward him as she swiped at him with a hidden blade. His spear erupted from her back with a sickening crunch. Last Spear managed to recoil in time and the blade's wind whistled across his face. Her lifeless body tumbled forward and Last Spear quickly stood, dislodging her from his spear with a swift kick of his boot. Sunlight was fading and the jungle was becoming darker by the moment. Last Spear did not wish to be caught in the open at night.

    After hiding the warrior's body, Last Spear found a large hollow tree stump overrun with stinging vines. He decided it was as good a place as any to pass the night. Once he was settled in, sleep was slow to come and was fitful at best. Every rustle was an unseen enemy and every ominous animal call was a warning of imminent danger. Last Spear tried to calm himself, but he could not shut out the jungle and the death masked warrior's words unsettled him. When sleep did come, it was filled with dreams of the Old Ones - the storied dark gods that were said to have been defeated in the forgotten ages of myth - tales told by superstitions zealots and mothers to frighten misbehaving children. With the sun went the heat. The jungles were hot and humid by day, causing one to sweat profusely and drip from head to toe. When night descended, the humid air became cold clinging mist and fog, rolling through the thick vegetation, smothering what little moonlight may have filtered through the canopy above. Curled up under a his cloak, Last Spear could not stop the tendrils of cold mist from finding their way under his clothes and leeching the warmth from his body.

    Soft footsteps and the distinctive panting of sekh hounds snapped Last Spear awake. His hands instinctively went to his spear shaft and the long knife strapped to his hip, knuckles whitening as he slowed his breathing, eased his knife free of it's sheath and waited for the killing to start. It sounded like at least three people walking past, perhaps as many as five, with at least two sekh hounds. He said a silent prayer to the gods that he had the forethought to mask his scent from the sekh hounds. When it had grown quiet, he carefully surveyed the area. There were no more Bhokemi in the area, so he set off after them. Looking out for hidden sentries like the one he had skewered slowed Last Spear down a little bit, but he was able to spot and avoid two more ambushes - the sentries didn't seem to be in the same trance the others were in. Winding his way along a sparse trail behind this latest group - which happened to be five Bhokemi warriors and three sekh hounds - he came to the edge of a well-guarded clearing. Staying far enough back so as not to alert the sentries, Last Spear ducked off the trail and decided to lay in wait. Covered in vegetation and buried in a litter of leaves, Last Spear watched five more groups pass in front of him until he finally found what he was waiting for - a lone traveler.

    As the warrior walked past him, Last Spear thrust forward, tangling the man's legs in his spear shaft. The man fell with a grunt, and before he could make a sound Last Spear was on him, shoving his knee in his back as he choked him. The Bhokemi reached for one of his knives and Last Spear pulled up sharply as he drove his knee down. The warrior was silenced with the pop and crunch of his neck and spine breaking and fell lifeless to the ground as his death rattle escaped his lungs. Last Spear took care not to draw blood that would attract sekh hounds or other animals, besides - he killed this man for a reason. After dragging the warrior's body into the undergrowth and hiding his tracks, Last Spear stashed his weapons away and soon emerged on the trail wearing the Bhokemi warrior's garb. Being of lighter skin, he had cut a watervine with his knife and mixed the juice with mud until he was able to approximate the Bhokemi's darker complexion. His ruse would not hold up to close scrutiny, so it was important that he avoid the sentries - at least he had inherited his father's brown eyes and not the green eyes of his mother - one less thing to worry about. Last Spear walked toward the clearing with the same gait and blank expression of the migrating Bhokemi. He was mindful of the dead man's weapons on his person and wondered which were poisoned, if any. He felt naked without his spear, but the many knives of the Bhokemi warriors were less unwieldy and better suited to stealthed attacks in the thick jungle.

    After successfully shuffling past the sentries, Last Spear broke into the clearing and saw a sight that made him falter and threatened to send him scurrying back into the jungle to hide. Steeling himself, Last Spear willed his feet to continue as he entered the largest Bhokemi camp that had ever been assembled - one that could rival many cities in scale. Elusive and secretive, Bhokemi were not hospitable to outsiders, so very little was known about their villages and customs. This camp was cleared to the dirt and the dwellings were thatched timber and vine huts, the slatted walls packed with mud and mulch. The camp was made in a circle, with avenues radiating like spokes from a central stone temple. As soon as he beheld it, Last Spear knew the temple was ancient and primeval. The steps and door appeared to be carved out of a single colossal stone without joints or seams and before it stood a huge stone bowl ten paces across and a man-height deep. No doubt the jungle had kept it hidden from the full light of day for ages before the Bhokemi cleared the land around it. Sentries ringed the temple and flanked the stone bowl, which was being tended by Bhokemi high shamans, which were rumored but Last Spear had never seen one before. The high shamans were covered in scars and horribly disfigured, missing ears noses and some even appendages. They carried sacks of white wood and emptied them into the huge stone brazier. Last Spear shuffled forward, watching as they dumped their hauls. As he got closer, he saw femurs, skulls and ribs spilling forth. They were filling it with human bones.

    Last Spear stopped short of the temple, for it was ringed with guards and he was unsure how much the humid heat and the sour sweat of fear had washed the mud off his skin. He saw that most of the warriors were sitting around camp fires, staring blankly into the flames, so he warily sat at the nearest fire. Something was amiss, but preoccupied with the overwhelming situation he was in, he could not fathom what it was. Looking at the Bhokemi across the flames, he suddenly realized what was wrong - the fire! It gave off no smoke! Looking down, he saw bones neatly arranged in the fire pit. Some he recognized as human and some were animal bones, and he quickly deduced that they were in fact sekh hound bones after realizing that there were no signs of the dark, sleek jungle hyenas to be found anywhere. The bones were untouched by the fire's heat and the air did not smell of smoke. Furtive sideways glances showed him that every fire in the camp was the same. A shiver ran up Last Spear's spine - maybe the tales of dark magic were real after all. As the sun began to set over the tree line, the fog rolled in but, perhaps sensing the evil in that place, it did not enter the clearing of the camp. As the sky darkened and the chill descended, the high shamans finished filling the brazier. Last Spear resisted the urge to get closer to the sorcerous fire - his shivering was not caused by the cold anyway.

    The unnatural silence was finally broken by a voice booming down, rolling across the camp. The Bhokemi all rose to their feet and faced toward the temple. Last Spear got up with them and turned to see an imposing figure atop the temple steps. The thickly muscled man stood head and shoulders above the tallest of the Bhokemi and was dressed in black robes chased with gold symbols. All at once, Last Spear's knees weakened and his will crumbled as the full weight of realization came crashing down upon him. The necromancer lord let out a hellish scream that threatened to bring down the very stone of the temple, and soon his inhuman wail was accompanied by the screams of Bhokemi high shamans as they threw themselves into the massive bone-filled brazier and burst into flames. Each high shaman sacrifice caused all of the camp flames to climb higher until the clearing was filled with pillars of flame that burned away the clouds and streaked toward the winking stars in the night sky. It was as if the flames tethered the constellations and ripped them from the very heavens. The earth trembled and heaved, knocking everybody down, leveling the huts and causing birds and beasts to burst from the cover of the jungle and scatter across the open ground and sky. A rumbling deep in the earth rose in pitch until the temple was tossed into the sky by an unimaginably terrible, immensely vast writhing tentacle. Eruptions exploded in the jungle around them, each one heralding an identically behemoth and grotesque appendage. Last Spear's final thought before his mind broke was that their god had indeed awakened to feast on their bones.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
    misteralcala likes this.
  4. Gawler

    Gawler Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Australia via Hawaii via Australia via England
    Choices (1229 words)

    Naomi’s eyes blinked open to inky blackness. She squinted and waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness.

    “Where am I?” She gazed, in every direction nihility spread its tendrils and only the sound of her whisper broke the silence before it faded off into oblivion.

    Naomi floundered for a wall or any object that she could touch and follow in the hope it could lead to a way out. She groped but only found the empty void. Hesitantly she tapped her foot to try and locate ground but only found emptiness, she drew the foot back to stand and was stunned by the absence of any structure on which to gain a foothold. Glancing down to try and make sense of the situation she was confronted by a pitch black abyss. The all-embracing dark swallowed every image so completely that it denied any opportunity to even see her own body.

    She paused to muster her thoughts. No drafts or breeze, she was struck by how stale the air was, she exhaled onto her hand expecting a warm gust to invigorate the dead air but it remained inert. Only the sound of her own voice breaking the silence prevented total sensory deprivation, no sight, smell, touch or taste, the void consumed everything.

    The total isolation of any sensory experience set alarm bells ringing in Naomi. “This is unnatural, so wrong.” Instinctively she tried to wrap her arms around herself for comfort but found no body to clutch.

    Panic now swept across her like a tsunami across a tiny atoll. “What have you done to me?" Her anguished scream drifted off into the darkness before it was swallowed by the silence. She spun in a desperate search for anything of substance, her eyes darted at every angle only to find the cocoon of black staring back.

    Naomi’s bottom lip trembled as she acknowledged the total isolation, her soft whimper pleading. “Help, is anyone there, please?”


    Startled, Naomi swallowed to push her heart back down as the voice emerged from obscurity. She jerked her head around, desperate to locate the source of the voice. But the owner of the voice remained locked away unseen. After the initial shock of the voice she felt a sense of tranquility for the first time since she opened her eyes. She was no longer alone.

    She gasped. “Where am I?”

    A second voice roared. “Nowhere. You are nothing.” The deep malevolent growl made Naomi recoil in fear.

    The first voice responded. “You are in the place that does not exist.” The serenity that the voice first invoked evaporated. Its calm tone no longer a comfort from the terror induced by the hateful second voice.

    She shivered, frayed nerves slamming Naomi’s flight response into action. Her mind raced. Where are they? Don’t look, run, just run. She bolted into the void, blind into the night and the second voice laughed. A full hearty laugh that enjoyed her futile attempt to escape. Her legs pumped to drive her forward but with no leverage she remained in place like a woman frantically treading water. The abhorrent, evil mirth surrounded her, neither getting closer or more distant. Her legs slowed to a walk and then to a stop, her ineffective attempt to flee drained all hope from her.

    Her voice quavered. “Who are you?”

    “I am the one who does not exist.”

    The laughter of the second voice grew louder at the answer.

    “Stop talking in riddles, how can someone not exist?” Naomi struggled to make sense of the answer as she fought to overcome the hysteria growing inside her.

    The laughing stopped and the second voice snapped. “The bitch is mine, she will be my whore, to fornicate for my entertainment.”

    The second voice achieved its desired effect as Naomi’s fear rose and broke ranks from her confusion, taking total control as she crouched down, cowering to make herself as small as possible.

    “No.” For the first time the calm voice held a hint of anger.

    The second voice snarled. “You do not exist, the harlot denies you. She comes with me.”

    Naomi listened to the argument between the two voices, one seeking to take possession of her, the other to do, she did not know what. In desperation she turned to the most unlikely explanation she could think of. “God?”


    The second voice snapped. “No, god does not exist, he is a trickster who wants to lure you into his lair.”

    Naomi did not know what to believe. “This cannot be possible, there is no god.”

    Gloating, the vile second voice stated. “See, she tells the truth.”

    The calm voice answered. “Let the woman decide her fate.”

    The second voice snapped back. “No, she has had her opportunity and spurned it.”


    The second voice growled in anger at the likelihood a soul was drifting from its grasp and then fell silent.

    Naomi gulped, confused and frightened. At the mercy of two beings, one with a clear motive, to do her harm, the other, ambiguous, had asked her to make a choice. “Choose what?” Not sure she even wanted to know the options, she still asked, anything to escape this place.

    “Light or dark.”

    Naomi had no doubt what her decision would be, the short time she had spent in this desolate vacuum, the eerie feeling of consciousness without form was too much. She begged. “Light, I want light!”

    Naomi closed her eyes to wait for the outcome and felt herself tumble, she no longer knew which way was up, was she standing, upside down or on her side, she could not tell. Space and time had lost all significance.

    A sound, shuffling somewhere, she opened her eyes. A diffused white glow appeared beneath her feet. Natural instinct told her to expect to fall but she remained still, shrouded in darkness except for the white light. Fear returned and the light began to move towards her, or was it she that moved. Had they come to take her away? Naomi froze, every question brought no answers, only thoughts of dread. Touch, she felt contact against her back and she straightened her body against it. Disorientated, she tried to push back but her feet still had no purchase. Could she feel so they could now punish her and hear her screams of pain for her denial of God? The light grew closer, after the pitch black darkness it was bright, too bright, she closed her eyes and waited.

    More sensation, she felt movement in front, a soft touch on her face and then sobbing. The tears of someone suffering, not from physical pain but a deeper more profound agony. Have I made the wrong choice?

    “Yes.” A woman, a familiar voice.

    “I am so sorry for your loss Mrs. Williams.”

    Naomi opened her eyes. It took a brief moment for her eyes to focus. Her mum’s tear streaked face looking down came into view, her mum clasped her hand over her mouth as grief evaporated into shock and then elation. On the other side the morgue attendant raced around the end of the gurney to call an ambulance.


    “Yes.” Her mum nodded and stroked her forehead as tears of joy now cascaded down her face.

    Naomi then done what she never thought she would do. She signed the cross and said a silent prayer.
  5. lustrousonion

    lustrousonion Senior Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Cold Fish (1,885 words)

    S'not a thing to take lightly, the raisin' of the dead.

    Tis a dangerous world out there, for certain. One don't circumnavigate this here gobstopper of a globe as many times as I have without finding something what scares ye. Tain't found the sailor yet who don't shiver just a little while a sea burial—be it a religious to-do with with all the trimmings, or whether it be caused by a sinking hull givin' the crew an unsolicited foot bath—plays out afore his eyes. Death is a cold fish to have for supper, but in time is a meal we'll all gnash between our teeth. Wise be to save up a hunger for it so as it tastes something like good.

    Aye, danger is the route and death be the destination. Or is it now? Suppose we'll see 'bout that afore the night's end.

    “Cap'n!” Ayers called from the deck. “They be arrivin'!” Hearing this, Captain Ely closed his worn, leather-bound log and left his cabin.

    Above, the sky was a never-ending swath of purest blue. The islanders were already huddled on the beach, their son-bronzed skin shining like new pennies, their raffia skirts dancing in the wind.

    The captain called for the row boats and leaned against the rail.

    “It's a dark spell these natives be castin',” Bullbock whispered anxiously in the captain's ear.

    Bullbock was a long, stringy sort of fellow with hair so red it was shocking. Thin was the normal state for a sailor, but Bullbock was the extreme. Any meat he had to spare got eaten away by his constant nerves. Ely suspected, though he would tell this to no one save his log, that the young man would not last out the remainder of the year.

    Ely picked his teeth. He glanced sideways at Bullbock. “We all be natives, laddie, of some land or another.”

    “Not us, cap'n,” Ayers chirped, as high-flying as he ever was. “We're born of the sea. Salt be flowing through our veins. And should any of us here be having souls, I reckon they be covered in barnacles.”

    That earned Ayers an appreciate slap on the back and a gruff, liquor-coated laugh from his captain. “Aye. I reckon they do at that.”

    Bullbock's face grew tight. “We all be having souls!” He said to Ayers. The first mate grinned wickedly in return. “Cap'n, we oughtn't be giving fuel to their fire.”

    Ely dismissed him with a single glance. “Come now,” the captain said, raising his voice so the crew would hear. “Let's get our briny bodies ashore. Today we be seeing somethin' to tell the little 'uns for years to come. Today, men, if those natives be true to their word, we're in for a tale.” Bring up body, Vooatoo had said. Bring up dead. “So roll those barrels, lads! And don't forget the geedunk!”

    The real geedunk, butter and cakes and the like, were nothing but foggy memories. The sailors had been at sea a long time and had long since run out of any food worth envying.

    On shore, the sailors gave their gifts. The exchange of food was a gesture only, symbolic, and the islanders were very aware of this. In return for the salted meats much past their prime and the hard crackers that had to practically take residence in one's mouth before softening up enough chew, the sailors received a cornucopia of fruit, baskets of shellfish, smoked meat and jugs of local alcohol to store in the galley, as well as anything else, it seemed, the islanders had to spare. They would have given the shirts off their backs if they'd had any to give.

    “Rock, rock,” Vooatoo said while pressing precious stones into the captain's hand.

    “No.” Ely firmly shook his head. He gave the glittering jewels back the would-be translator and tried, for the islander's sake, to look regretful. “'Tis the way must be. There'd be a curse upon us if we took these gems, and we don't be wantin' that.”

    Vooatoo wrinkled his soft, expressive brow, turned to his kinsfolk and delivered the bad news, or some version of it. They had been through this before—many times before. Yet the islanders wailed as if in surprise and gestured pleadingly to captain. One word. “Take,” they must be saying. “Take! Take!”

    Ely shook his head vigorously until some of the protest quieted. It was unfair exchange and both sides knew it. The captain wished he could take those pretty rocks, if only placate the people. But the sea was already too dangerous a home; there was no need inviting a hex on your head. You don't never take nothing shiny from a native, lad, old Captain Paget had told Ely on his very first voyage, so many years ago.The further ye go, the more dangerous those morsels become. Tain't no sailor's ever seen the benefit from it.

    “Ye barrels.” The captain gestured at the pile behind him.

    It was a pity to part with the goods, and he was sure all the men felt the same. Through no small perils had they sailed and into no small dangerous had they plunged to now see the fruit of those labors essentially given away. It helped to see the jolt of excitement run through the group of islanders upon this news. Reverently, each brought a hand up to stroke the battered wood casks. Their gift was appreciated, that was clear.

    “Sank you,” Vooatoo said, something the captain hoped wasn't a prediction. Hearing these words, the islanders took them up and began a chorus, bobbing their heads up and down in thanks. ”Sank you. Sank you.”

    With their prostrating finished, the islanders led the men into the forest of their island.

    Found there was a skeleton, stranger than any Ely had ever laid eyes upon. He had, in fact, seen many.

    “A fish?” Ayers asked. For indeed it did look like a monstrous fish with its egg-shaped body and three fins. If it was a fish, it was a fish with only one eye. “They be odd remains. As though the beast still be wearin' its skin.”

    Bullbock spoke up then, his voice wavering like a piece of raffia in the breeze. “'His back belike rows of shields tightly afixed together.'” The captain paid him no heed.

    While the sailors pondered this dead shape, the islanders rolled the barrels towards the behemoth and peeled back a piece of its skin.

    “Tis not a fish, laddies,” the captain said with his eyes fixed upon the great body. “No fish at all.”

    “Cap'n?” Each asked.

    Ely faced his men. “Tis a ship.”

    Vooatoo stood near the large body. He smiled widely and waved to the captain. “Come,” he urged. And so the captain came, went to the body, the hull, and put his hands upon it.

    The sailors, fixed where they were, saw their captain, their leader, a man who had weathered many storms, shake. Then the sound of his harsh laugh reached their ears. Their captain was laughing as he had never laughed before.

    “Metal! All metal she be!”

    Ayers was the first to step forward, quickly followed by the rest of the men. They too reached and pet her smooth skin, skin that was hard as nails. All followed but one.

    Bullbock was wringing his thin hands. “'His rows be tightly sealed. His chest be hard as rock...'”

    Using roughly made tools, the islanders cracked open the barrels. The familiar smell of sperm oil filled the sailor's noses, bringing up memories of flaying and boiling on deck, while the islanders used a funnel to pour the precious oil into the belly of the beast.

    “Leviathan,” Bullbock mumbled. “The devil's animal.”

    Ayers spun to him. “Did ye not hear, ye great pillock? This be a ship of old! Made of metal!” He took Bullbock by the shoulders and gave him a shake. “She don't belong to the sea.” Then, lower, “Ye two have that in common.”

    Bullbock snarled, his face twisting with hatred. “Fool! It is a monster. A horror! 'A club be nothing to him.'” Quicker than Ayers could follow, Bullbock picked up a fallen log and wielded it against the metal body. A thunderous boom issued forth, hollow and weighty, echoing inside the hull. Bullbock screamed and raised his weapon again.

    Islanders descended on him from all sides, shrieking in pain as if their own flesh had suffered the blow.
    “Idiot!” Cried Ely as he pushed through the throng. Bullock was flat on the ground and held by an abundance of arms. The islanders were gentler than called for, in the captain's opinion. He grabbed the madman's face and gazed into unseeing black eyes. “In a swoon. Too long at sea, I reckon. Ayers! Bind our wayward matey to that tree and feed him a swallow of fresh water.”

    “Aye, Captain.”

    “Vooatoo,” Ely looked to their translator, wondered how to express that sometimes a man could travel too far. Sometimes it was as if the line connecting his anchor to home snapped, and the man had to face himself for what he was: adrift. There was no way Ely could communicate this to Vooatoo, so he didn't try. Instead he bowed his head, shook it. Vooatoo smiled easily, open.

    Free of Bullbock, the islanders gather around the ship. They stroked the place the wood had struck it. But it was a good ship, and the only damage it showed were a few light scratches.

    Each barrel had been emptied. The fruits of the sailor's labor now resided in very different ship indeed.

    “Here,” Vooatoo explained. “Here bones. Now come upper.” And yes, there he was, a middle-aged man painted from head to toe. “Upper go in.” And yes, there he went. The ship opened in a new place near the single eye. The painted man closed himself in. What terror! the captain thought.

    The islanders began a chant.

    “Bring bones life,” Vooatoo said. A terrible exhale, a whine. The sailor's gripped one another's shoulders, and the chant gained speed. “Bring up bones,” Vooatoo whispered. He said it again, like a prayer.

    And then it happened. The fish of metal became a bird. It rose shakily, hovered above the ground. The captain had stopped breathing. The chanting also stopped. In this silence, Vooatoo fell to his knees. The ship rose a little more, a little more, until it was high above, until it was over the water, until it was a spot on the horizon.

    Fixed to his tree and without notice, Bullbock fell out of this life.

    That night, back in his cabin, the captain wrote down his tale.

    This is no salty yarn I be tellin', and not a Poseidon fairy tale, neither. The globe is wide as it is tall. There be no end to the mysteries it holds or the ancient relics it preserves. Tis a lucky sailor that finds a stone when walkin' on the beach, and in that stone the shape, perfectly imprinted like a flower petal in a book, of a creature ages passed. I confess to ye, never would I have thought much of it. But now I wonder-- What fuel will awaken this shape from the sleep of death? What blood be flowing in its veins?
  6. Firebreath

    Firebreath New Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Eden (1,726 Words)

    It was cold, windy, and tired. I had walked for miles now with my father and brother. We were headed to the nearby village right next to our village past the dark woods, but our course was stalled by one of our horses falling to the ground suddenly. It was dead. Now what seemed like midnight, we make camp, and head to the village after a good nights rest.

    "Victor" called my father, he was an old man around the age of 48, but he was built, hands made of steel, he could cut down a tree within minutes. His hair was dark like mine and had a scruffy beard to go with his cut face. "Check on the horses would you?" He asked, then turned to my brother, he was younger than me, 16 years of age and i was 18. My brother had an unusual shade of hair than me and my father, it was blonde, instead of dark black, he had gotten it from my mother, which was probably reading a book by the houses fire-place, half reading and half wondering if we were ok.

    I scale the bushes and branches that covered the forest, getting past it all i meet the 3 horses tied to a huge wagon full of farming surplus. Two barrels of ale, two crates of about everything we grew at the farm, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, peppers, corn, and apples. This years spring was a good year for the Valentine family. With all the extra we decided to head to the next village and sell all of it to the merchants, coming back home with a pouch full of silver and copper coins. Patting the horses to see if they were fine, i decide to turn back, the air around me getting colder and colder.

    This time going around the bushes using a path i did not see at the time. A fire was going and my father and brother were sitting on opposite sides of it. I sit in between the too and put my hands in front of the fire like the others. The two were talking about when whether we were getting a new horse or not. The conversation didn't last long, following an awkward silence. After it had gotten warm enough for all three of us to get more comfortable, my father was giving off a grin I've never seen before.

    Before i could ask what he was on about, he spoke up "Do you boys fancy a story?" His grin became more evil-looking. Me and my brother glanced at each other for a second before we faced our father again. "We didn't know you even had a story to tell" My brother spoke up. "Oh Aeon my boy, it wasn't the right time at the right place" My father said his eyes grew bigger. Aeon quiets down, both of us waiting for our father to tell his tale.

    " I'm sure you two have heard about the Destoryer. The Lore about Eden?" Our father asked.

    "The God?" I ask, my attention started to rise, this was one of those stories that even your parents didn't tell you about. The only reason Victor knew about Eden, was when he was spying on the village council talking about it.

    Aeon looked confused, looking at his brother with wide eye, he turns to his father, waiting for him to move on.

    "Yes. The God." Victors father said, his voice was getting smoother, he was setting the mood.

    "It is said that the Destroyer is to way last to all the land. To show up one day, to cause havoc, to cause destruction. One way or another, born or summoned, grown or instant. Now. For such a story to exist, he must have been here before. Well he was, its been assumed he caused the great war centuries back, and ended with his Death. The slayer, was called Drake The God Slayer. Rumors about saying the man is immortal, waiting atop the peak of Dread Mountain where he slayed the God. Waiting. For its return.

    "Return? I thought he was dead?" Aeon asked. I was also confused.

    "Yes. The Destroyer is to come back one day, whether it is today or a thousand years, governed by the rules of everything, Eden is to resurrect, at a time when the world is at great peace, at its highest peak, where in the shadows, there is more evil than before. Where there is prosperity there is judgment."

    The two brothers were speechless, such a story it couldn't be true. "How did Drake slay The Destroyer?" Aeon asked.

    My fathers eyebrows shot up, as if he was waiting for the question. "He wasn't. Protected by the Laws of Everything Eden is immortal as well, and can not die. Trapping its soul into the void, defeating the monster. But yet, he stays, sitting, waiting, hand on sword and eyes on the skeleton of what was the destroyers previous body."

    A moment passed, giving them the notion that the story was over. Both of them turned to the fire thinking about the story. To their surprise their father laughed, louder than any laugh he had laughed before. "But whats a mere story of fantasy to life." He got up and started to enter his sleeping bag. "Best you boys head to sleep as well, we have a big day tomorrow." His father explained.

    The boys followed. Getting into their sleeping bags Aeon fell a sleep instantly with his loud snoring as an indicator, but Victor stayed awake for an hour with his thoughts on Eden. Not leaving his mind he thought about Drake, he thought about how he had trapped his soul, and how Eden would resurrect.

    Unaware of when he fell asleep Victor awoke to a storm, instead of the sunlight warming his face. Noticing his brother nor father were to be seen anywhere, he called for them. The wind being fierce, the trees bending from the winds force. Victors voice didn't even reach an inch out of his mouth before it disappeared with the wind.

    Victor dropped to the ground, trying to go against the winds force. It came from the North, where they left their Village. Crawling to a tree he started to raise himself up, having a better grip now, he was trying to figure out what was happening.

    A tree next to him, started to rise up, the roots beneath it were starting to show, as the wind suddenly boosted in strength. Sending the tree flying across hitting other trees, causing those trees to break and come off the ground.

    Turning North Victor couldn't see anything, the wind was too strong.

    All of a sudden, the wind stops. As if nothing had happened the trees went back to their original shape, the leaves and bushes returned to their regular positions. Victor let's go of the tree and starts to walk towards the North, where the wind came from. Not walking as much as 50 feet, Victor started to see broken down trees, damaged wood everywhere. And what was the forest, was all stuck into the ground or somewhere across the land.

    The sun was bright, blinding Victor for a couple of seconds before his eyes adjusted, looking straight he could see a figure. Victor started walked forward getting closer the figure. It looked like a man, the closer he got the more detail he could see. The man was wearing all black armour, outlined with gray lining, the man had a very sharp face. His hair was black spiking up towards the back, his eyes were black and as cold as ice. The nose was sharp, and he had a small mouth compared to the regular men. For some reason Victor felt like he knew the man. One of his hands was on his swords handle. His handle was full black with a black emerald sphere at the edge.

    "Hello Destroyer!" The man screamed. Taking his sword, the blade colored black with a gray outline, and double-edged, it seemed a heavy hitter.

    Victor instantly confused. "What do you mean? I'm not the destroyer?" Victor yelled back.

    The man laughed "But you will be." His voice was as dark and soothe as maple syrup "Easy to kill you before you become dangerous, maybe even more powerful than last time. With the blink of an eye the man disappeared. Victor looked around but he didn't seem anywhere, until a large shadow appeared suddenly behind him.

    "But i-" Victor stopped talking as the man placed his hand on his back.

    "Let it be known my name is Drake. The one who has defeated you before and will defeat you the next time." Drake said.

    Victor didn't know what to do. This was all happening so fast, he didn't know how to react to any of this. He didn't know what to do. Was he really the destroyer, he never even killed a fly, his life was flashing before his eyes, the whole time living as a normal boy, living as a regular boy should. Not acting out. Not doing anything out of the ordinary like Aeon. he was the trouble maker in the house, and for all Victor knew he could be dead as well as his father.

    Drake's hand started to glow, soon following Victor. Looking at himself he could see his arm and legs glowing pure white. Soon his legs started to fade. From bottom to top his body was slowly fading out. Closing his eyes before the light passed his face Victor waited for his death, realizing he never lived his life truly.

    A moment passed, realizing everything around him has grown quiet, and he could hear his heart beat. Opening his eyes up slowly he looked around. Suddenly glad he was still alive, it didn't change the fact everywhere he looked there was white. Nothing else, the ground below him was white, everything was white.

    Drake clenched his fist. Looking at it for a moment. "We will fight again, but you are not ready. One day we will fight to the death, at full power and truly see who was the true winner. Untill then, lay in the realm of endless white, where no mortal has gone, except for the chosen ones, and the unlucky ones."
  7. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

    Aug 1, 2013
    Likes Received:
    A New Beginning [1155 words]

    “Are you sure about this?” Casey looked down at Emily, but she was staring straight ahead at the battered house. “Emily?” The little girl lifted her head to meet his gaze and nodded before turning back towards the house.

    He offered his hand to her and she clasped it gingerly. With only the drone of cicadas filling the air, they walked along the sidewalk leading up to the house. The doorknob turned without impediment, and he pushed the door open. Feeling around the wall for a light switch, he flipped one up and a light above them fluttered to life. “Looks like the power still works,” he muttered as he surveyed the suburban home. They stood in silence as each excruciating second passed by.

    Emily tugged on his hand and looked up at him. “My mommy and daddy said they’d be here. Do you think they left?”

    There was still a chance that they survived the storm. A small chance, but it was still something. At this point, there was no use in believing otherwise. “I don’t know,” he finally answered. Her eyes didn’t leave his own, so he added, “What do you want to do?”

    “I don’t know. What do you think we should do?”

    He sighed. He could only think of one response to that question. “Maybe they left a note for you saying where they went. We can look for it.”

    “Okay,” she replied. “We’ll stick together, though, right?”


    The open kitchen and dining room to their left was mostly untouched. Besides the broken window adjacent from the dining room table, the room could have passed as a part of any normal house. Emily approached the table and scanned its length. “It’s not on the table.”

    “Yeah, I know.”

    She stood still for a few seconds and then abruptly crouched down, dragging his hand and shoulder down with her. “Emily!”

    She released his hand and gave him an askew look of apology. “Oops. Sorry.”

    “What are you doing down there?”

    “I’m looking for the note,” she replied before disappearing behind the embroidered tablecloth that draped down under the table.

    Rolling his shoulder in an exaggerated circle, he said, “I’m going to head over to the kitchen to prevent my shoulder from being almost dislocated a second time.”

    He checked the front of the refrigerator and the kitchen countertop for a note, but found nothing. On a wine rack, a single bottle of wine sat facing him. He reached for it and turned it over to read its label. Tangerine Chardonnay. Daniel always did prefer the nauseating flavors. It was Melinda who had the better palate for wine, and he always insisted that she choose the bottle rather than Daniel when he visited them here. They would sit around the table to play board games and talk, and Emily would pretend to follow their conversation. The memories felt like they belonged to a different lifetime.

    “What are you looking at?”

    He spun around to find Emily behind him. “Uh … it’s nothing.” She watched him as he placed the wine bottle back onto the rack.

    “Maybe we should check the living room next,” he suggested.

    “What about the bathroom?”

    “Okay. We can check there, too.”

    She clasped his hand, and they advanced down the hallway to the bathroom and stepped inside. She inspected the bathroom cabinets while he stared ahead at the note-less mirror in front of him. The absence of a note so far was not a good sign. If they had left a note, it almost certainly would have been on the dining room table. And if they hadn’t left a note, what were their chances of still being alive?

    “Did you find anything?” Emily asked.

    “No. Sorry.”

    Unlike the rest of the house, the living room had not fared so well. Dark splotches of mold had sprouted from the ceiling, and the oblong window that stretched the length of the room had severe cracks that covered its entire surface. A slow, but consistent, drip of water fell from the ceiling to the carpet below every few seconds.

    “Casey, look. It’s my toys!”

    Across the room sat a play kitchen set and a clear storage bin full of toys. She took two steps toward them but stopped. “The floor is squishy.”

    “It’s okay. It’s probably just the water coming down from the ceiling.”

    She glanced upward and then hurried over to the corner of the room. Scrounging through the bin, she fished out plastic food items and dolls and piled them on top of the kitchen’s stovetop. She looked just like a regular kid. He didn’t want to end that, but what were his options? Just pretend everything was alright? No; this had to be dealt with.


    She turned around to face him, doll still in hand.

    “Just so you know, there’s a chance … we won’t find a note here.”

    “Why not?”

    “Well … your parents …. Never mind—just forget what I just said. We should probably check upstairs now.”

    He offered his hand to her, but she hesitated. Casting her face downward, she let her doll drop onto the waterlogged carpet before grasping his hand.

    They walked to the base of the stairs and plodded up the steps. As they arrived at the top, she asked, “Why wouldn’t they leave me a note?”

    He didn’t have an answer for her. “Why don’t we split up to check the upstairs? You can check the bathroom, I’ll check your parent’s bedroom, and then we’ll meet in your bedroom.”

    She faced the bathroom and then back towards him. “It’s okay. I’ll be right over there,” he said, motioning at Daniel’s and Melinda’s bedroom.

    After she entered the bathroom, he slipped into the bedroom. A cursory glance at the bed, nightstand, and chests of drawers revealed no note. Is that what he’d tell her? Just tell her there was no note and leave it at that? Or maybe he’d tell her the truth—that she would probably never see her parents again.

    As he sat down on the bed, a picture frame on the nightstand caught his eye. It protected a wedding day photograph of Daniel and Melinda. He reached for the picture frame, opened its back cover, and pulled out the photograph. There was still a chance that they survived the storm. Maybe that was the truth.

    When he entered Emily’s bedroom, he found her sitting on her bed. Sitting down next to her, he extended her the photograph.

    “You’ll probably want to take good care of that.”

    She clasped her hands around the photograph, and then looked up at him.

    “Are my parents dead?”

    Silence filled the room as the question deadened the air.

    “I don’t know,” he finally replied. “I’m not sure what we’ll find, but we can keep looking for them.”

    She nodded her head. “So what should we do now?”

    “We’ll figure something out.”
  8. Storysmith

    Storysmith Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    Likes Received:
    The Ritual [995 words]

    Hamuphant touched the taper to the last candle, bringing it guttering to life. Stepping back, he saw the crypt jumping in the flickering light as the flames danced in the draft from the broken doors. The corpse of Gilbert Gulring seemed almost alive on its altar in the centre of the circle of candles, despite the decay that occurred in the two years since his death.

    “Are the candles needed, or are they just for effect?” asked a harsh voice from the back of the room. Simon Catcher, Hamuphant's … client.

    “The candles are necessary, sir,” said Hamuphant with a bow.

    Catcher took a drag from his odious cigar and threw back the hood of his jacket. “And the thunder and lightning? It's like something out of a camp horror movie.”

    Hamuphant forced a smile. “That is not my doing, sir. Ask the weatherman if you want to know why we have such weather today.”

    Catcher just grunted. “As long as this works, I don't care what you do.”

    Hamuphant turned back to his disciples, but Catcher wasn't finished. “I'm paying you well for this. And did I ever tell you how much work it was finding you in the first place?”

    “Yes,” answered Hamuphant immediately, but it didn't stop Catcher telling the tale yet again.

    “First I got a clue from a mystic in the Pyrenees. That led me to a madwoman in Salem. From her rantings I was led to a long-lost temple somewhere in South America; by the time I'd found it in my wanderings, I could have been in any of a dozen countries. My compass and GPS both kept changing their readings even when I stood still. A mouldering, crumbling parchment in the temple led me back to Europe and a buried chapel. There I found a book bound in human skin. From there the trail led to Tibet, and, well, you know the rest.”

    Hamuphant certainly did. Catcher must have told the full tale at least a dozen times. But now perhaps he could continue with the ceremony. A clap of his hands brought forth his acolytes for the recesses in the walls, each swinging a bronze censer. The acrid smell wafted towards Hamuphant, warring with the pungent offence that was Catcher's cigar, and for a moment Hamuphant swayed. But he regained control of himself and continued the ritual.

    For two hours Hamuphant and the acolytes chanted and danced around the corpse. By the end Hamuphant's throat was sandpaper and his back felt as though a white hot poker was lying along it. But at last he was done. He beckoned Catcher to stand up and join him.

    “You have been through much to raise you friend from the dead, and have offered much, much more in the future. You must have loved this man very much.”

    Catcher stared at the corpse for a long while before answering. “We were best buddies through school. Then we went into business together. Imports, you know? Then two years ago a business deal went bad, and Simon was knifed through the heart. I couldn't let it end like that.”

    Hamuphant nodded. What should he says or do? An arm around Catcher's shoulders, perhaps? A lifetime of study of the mystic arts had not left him able to empathise well so he decided to finish the ceremony instead. Catcher walked sinuously to a position behind the altar where he waited, his pink tongue darting in and out of his mouth in anticipation.

    “Gilbert Gulring, I summon you back. Across the grey gulfs, from the lands beyond dream, I summon you. Return to your body, resume your life. In the name of that which cannot be named, I summon you.”

    Hamuphant ended the summons in a wild, exultant shriek. Almost immediately, the body on the table sat up and looked wildly around.

    “He will take some time to remember his past life,” explained Hamuphant to Catcher. Turning back to Gulring, he asked “What do you remember?”

    Gulring pondered for a moment. “I … I think I remember. I see a woman with the Sun in her hair. I think she is my mother. She smiles are me.” He went quiet as though he had lost track.

    “And I remember school. The fun I had, with my friend. Oh, what was his name? Simon – Simon Catcher.

    “After we left school, we lived a fine life. We started smuggling drugs, and the women and money kept flowing in. But there was a shadow on the horizon. What was it?” He rubbed his temples, as though trying to free up the memory.

    His eyes lit with a horrific mixture of insight and shame. Pain ravaged his face. “The police. They were on to us. They offered me a deal if I'd shop Simon. I took it.”

    Hamuphant waited. Finally Gulring spoke again in a thin monotone. “Something, something went wrong. Simon found out. He confronted me. I remember the feel of the cold steel as it took my life. How can I be back again?”

    Hamuphant smiled. “My powers and knowledge brought you back. But also the wish of Mr Catcher. He must truly regret what he did to you in the heat of the moment.”

    “Simon's here?” asked Gulring, and in answer Catcher walked around to stand next to Hamuphant.

    “Welcome back, Gilbert” he said.

    “You killed me Simon! I can't believe you could do that to me.”

    “Because you betrayed me,” hissed Catcher. “But I realised that I couldn't leave it like that.”

    “Do you expect me to forgive you for what you did?”

    “You misunderstand,” said Catcher with a smile. “I didn't bring you back because I regretted killing you. I brought you back because killing you once wasn't enough.”

    Swift as a cobra, Catcher produced a blade from his pocket and buried it deep in Gulring's heart.
  9. BeckyJean

    BeckyJean Member

    May 4, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Corpus Christi TX
    Madeline (2992 – explicit content and language)

    Madeline was shivering. The spray from the showerhead struck like BB’s between her shoulder blades, tiny beads of ice pelting her skin. She turned the cold all the way OFF, the hot all the way ON and waited. Nothing. How can there be no hot water already? It was that damned water heater again; the one she’d nagged and nagged Sean to fix. She was about to yell at him from the shower, the tone he despised already cocked and ready; the whiny one, the tone that wormed its way under his policeman skin.

    But she stopped herself. He wasn’t here. How could she forget he wasn’t here? Sean had died two days ago. How did he die again? Wasn’t it a fatal shooting? That’s how most policemen die, isn’t it? That or cirrhosis of the liver. They’re all alcoholics. That’s what Madeline thought, anyway.

    She pulled back a corner of the shower curtain and looked at the clock on the wall; nine twenty. Damn. She’d started her shower sometime around eight. The frigid water meant she’d used up all the hot by just standing there.

    Strange. That missing block of time was just a big black hole in her brain. She couldn’t recall what she’d been thinking about, if she’d soaped up, if she'd even washed her hair. It was a blank slate; nearly an hour and a half of nothingness.

    Not sure what else to do, she squeezed a palm full of Herbal Essence from the green bottle and worked it into her hair. Heavy clouds of suds fell onto her shoulders and down her back, warming her skin. She rinsed quickly and reached for her towel, deciding she was clean enough. She needed to get out. Her skin was practically blue.

    Once dry, she pretzeled the towel into her hair and donned her fluffy robe from the hook on the door. Stepping into slippers by the hamper – the bunny ones; the slippers Sean always made fun of – she walked to her room and sat on her bed.

    She stuck her feet out and admired the pastel pink fur, the fuchsia tint inside the lop ears, the smooth, ebony colored marble eyes. She particularly liked the long pipe-cleaner whiskers, even if they tended toward catching dust along the floor as she walked through the house.

    Why did Sean hate these slippers so much? They’re innocent, benign; they do nothing but keep her feet warm and make her laugh. Where’s the harm in that? And for that matter, where’s the harm in the pink comforter on the bed with little bunnies all over it? What could possibly be wrong with her collection of ceramic bunnies on the book shelf in the corner, the painting of a cartoon rabbit in a tux on black velvet over their bed, or the bunny lamp on the nightstand?

    What the hell is wrong with bunnies?! It made Madeline mad at Sean all over again. Why did he have to be such a jackass about it? She felt the familiar weight in her chest; the one she always felt when she was aggravated with her husband of seventeen years. She was all set to yell at him when she remembered once more; he wasn’t here. He would never be here again.

    She wondered why she wasn’t crying. Shouldn’t she be crying? Isn’t that what a wife does when her husband is killed? Wasn’t she supposed to be sad, destroyed even? She scrunched her face, tried to contract her lungs, make her chest tight. Nothing. Could grief be manufactured or sadness produced? Because she wasn’t feeling any. Just like that hour and a half spent under the cold shower; any sorrow or pain was just a blank slate. More nothingness.

    Pulling her pink robe rightly around her, she decided to just go to bed. Maybe after a good night’s sleep she’d feel more like herself. Her brow furrowed at that; “more like herself”. She had no clue what that was even supposed to mean.

    She’d been losing time a lot this last year, perhaps even longer. It was one of the things that annoyed Sean so much. He claimed she did it on purpose; said it was because she was irresponsible, inconsiderate, lazy. He thought she was lying; didn’t believe she couldn’t remember. That made her mad, but she mostly kept her mouth shut. She always strived to be respectful toward her husband. Even when he’d had too much whiskey, which was often.

    Suddenly her head hurt. She stepped out of her slippers and lined them up at the foot of her bed, bunny noses and whiskers pointed out. She took the towel off her head, shook out her wet hair, folded down her bunny-covers and crawled in. Rest. I just need some good rest, she thought.

    Yes; maybe she was just too tired to grieve. That must be it. And oh God, how her heard hurt. She reached over and turned off her pink and white bunny-rabbit lamp, closed her eyes, and slept.


    Sometime after midnight, Madeline flung back her bed covers. Her eyes were open, but she wasn’t seeing. Not anything in the room, anyway. Or more accurately; she wasn’t aware of anything she was seeing.

    That fact didn’t keep her from changing out of her robe and into jeans and a black sweatshirt. She laced up some old hiking boots, took something out of her nightstand and tucked it into her purse. Then she grabbed her keys off the coffee table and left the house.

    Madeline drove with a purpose; as if she knew right where she was going – to a seedy part of town a woman like her, someone that giggled at bunny rabbit slippers, had no business going, especially alone.

    Parking her car at the corner of Leopard and Ayres, she reached into her purse before tucking the bag under her seat. She got out and walked around the corner, the thing from her purse clutched tightly in her grip. Quietly, stealthily she approached the black and white parked behind the Blue Moon Saloon.

    Inside she saw movement; the back of a curly head of hair bobbing up and down in the lap of the man in uniform. His eyes were closed, his mouth ajar.

    Madeline tapped on the driver’s side window, startling him. His face was all wrong at first; pot marked and narrow with a ski-slope nose. Then his black hair morphed, becoming lighter, into the strawberry blonde she was accustomed to. His pitted face grew smooth, and his nose; it was no longer long and skinny. Instead it flattened, its bridge melting into his face, becoming the nose she knew – the nose broken three times in adolescence.

    Sean. It was Sean.

    Fury surged from her feet into her throat. She knew he’d be here. She knew it! The cocksucker was hiding in his cop car, getting his cock sucked. Murderous red fury filled her up. Sean turned to look at her; his dark eyes squinting through the glass. His moustache wiggled like a struggling caterpillar glued to his face as he mouthed words she couldn’t hear.

    Her husband was a man full of secrets… twisted, warped secrets; secrets too recklessly kept. Madeline learned of them last year while looking for an email from her aunt on their computer. It was all right there, on the PC’s desktop, not even hidden, right out in the open in a folder marked “Work Pics”.

    They were all selfies, taken with his phone and an outstretched arm. The first one was of Sean – his hair tousled; his normally bright blue eyes misty, lustful. He was posed with a pretty blonde woman who was laughing, playfully sticking her wide, pink tongue in his ear. It almost looked sweet, like they were having fun – and it infuriated Madeline.

    A click of the mouse showed him with a brunette; a not-even-pretty brunette. His head was bent over her breasts. She could only imagine what he was doing there. Another click and a second blonde – this one with very short, cropped hair; like a boy, short. They were kissing. Kissing in a way Sean had never kissed her.

    The next picture puzzled her at first. She couldn’t decipher what it was. The angle was odd, and the flesh tones and splotches of hair looked familiar, but she couldn’t place why.

    Then it clicked. It was a close up of his crotch, a woman’s red painted lips wrapped around his penis. She knew it was his because of the dark mole on his stomach. It made her want to vomit.

    Every picture after grew increasingly more explicit, more vulgar. And there were so many; so many pictures… so many women. Were they all women? She couldn’t tell.

    Suddenly, as if an electrical cord had been jammed into the base of her skull, her head began to pound. It felt like her brain was being fried; overwhelmed and deep-fried from all those horrible images.

    Then something snapped, or crashed, or shattered. Like a large pane of glass being smacked with a tire iron, the innards of her mind split into pieces, scattering, settling into dusty corners she never even knew were there.

    Madeline wasn’t aware of any of this, of course; not as she stood outside that cop car. She only knew she’d caught him. The son of a bitch was right here, making a fool out of her – again; shitting all over their life. The life she’d built for him as the respectful, loving, constantly supportive housewife, making him as comfortable as possible after his long day of protecting the streets from creeps and pervs. She never knew she was married to the biggest, creepiest perv of all.

    The head in his lap stilled; the woman attached to it sat up. In a flash Madeline had the door open and her husband dragged out of the car as the curly haired woman recoiled to the other side. She was screaming "Todd! Oh my God, Todd!" but Madeline didn’t hear her. She heard nothing but the blood pumping through her ears, and then the sound of the gunshot as she placed it under her husband’s chin and pulled the trigger.

    That’s what you get, you fucking asshole! There… that’s what you get!

    She ignored the hysterical woman and walked calmly to her car. As if on autopilot, like a programmed android, she climbed in, turned the key in the ignition and drove away. In less than twenty minutes she was home. She went inside, changed back into her robe and crawled into bed. Her lids drifted closed and stayed that way until well past sun up.


    It was hot in her room. Her face was sweaty. In fact, Madeline’s whole body felt sweaty. Why was she so hot? She pulled back the comforter and saw she was in her thick bathrobe. Did she sleep in this thing? Swinging her feet to the floor, she rubbed at her temples. She remembered something about having a headache and needing to sleep. But the rest was a big blank.

    Damn. Another blank. There’ve been a lot of those lately. Too many. Even Madeline knew there were too many. But she couldn’t remember what she couldn’t remember, could she? And she didn’t feel like pondering it, so she got out of bed and started on a list for the grocery store.

    Sean would be home from his night shift soon and would want his breakfast; two eggs over easy, two sausage patties, two strips of bacon, and two slices of sour dough toast with huckleberry jam. She was out of jam and eggs. He’d be pissed.

    Wait. She just remembered; Sean won’t be coming home. Sean’s dead. She struggled to remember the details of his death, what his partner had told her when they found him. Was there something about a mysterious shooting? She wasn’t sure; the details were hung up in an equally mysterious place she couldn't reach.

    She must be in shock; some kind of memory lapse due to extreme stress and grief. Only she didn’t feel grief. Maybe that was part of the shock too, though. Complete and total numbness.

    And anyway, she needed to get the jam and eggs for Sean’s breakfast. He’d be angry if she were out of jam again. She didn't want him to get angry. It wasn't good for anybody when he got angry.

    She collected her bag, slipped into shoes and grabbed for the keys. Only they weren’t there. She searched her coat pockets, looked on the kitchen counter, in the bathroom, on her dresser. Everywhere she might accidentally leave them if they weren't where they were supposed to be; in the ceramic dish on the coffee table.

    But they weren’t in any of those places. Maybe she’d left them in the garage refrigerator. She found them there once, right next to a twelve-pack of Diet Coke. Another time she found them in the washer, having gone through an entire cycle with the whites. She should look there, in both places.

    First she peeked into the washing machine. Opening its hatch like door, she was hit in the face by the sour stench of forgotten wet clothes. She picked through them but found no keys. She’d check in the fridge.

    She opened the door between the laundry room and the garage and her heart leapt to the back of her tongue. Her car was parked where it always was, but the garage door was standing wide open. What the hell? Sean would be furious. She glanced inside the car, through the driver-side window. Shit. There they were, dangling from the ignition. Why were they in the ignition? She hadn’t gone anywhere; hadn’t driven her car for days. This was getting bizarre. And scary. Yes, it was getting very scary. But Sean wouldn't like it if she didn’t have what she needed to make his breakfast.

    Wait... he wasn’t coming home - would never be coming home again. Why couldn’t she remember?

    She was very confused. Her brain felt like a super highway of empty roads full of random detours and stop signs in a four foreign languages. She shouldn’t go anywhere; it wouldn’t be safe. Lord knows where she might end up.

    Yes; she’d stay home. And besides, she was starting to get one of her headaches.

    She walked straight into the bathroom, reached into the medicine cabinet and took out two of her pain pills; the ones Sean hated her taking. He claimed they made her act goofy. She wasn’t sure what that meant. Just that he didn’t like it. She would have to hide them again; make sure he didn’t see them. She told him she’d stopped taking them. He’d be mad.

    Sean’s dead, she suddenly remembered. He’s gone, gone, gone. Stop forgetting!

    She shed her clothes and crawled into bed. With the help of those two Percocet, she was asleep within minutes.


    Madeline’s Toyota Camry weaved through the streets on the south end of town, deep in ‘the cut’. A part of her brain she didn’t recognize, the part that woke up when she fell asleep was looking for something, looking for him.

    There, in the Krispy Kreme parking lot, was his car. She thought it was his car; it had to be his car. She parked in the lot next door and turned off the ignition. Pulling something from her bag, she got out and crept toward it.

    In the driver’s seat was a man in uniform. But something wasn't right. His hair was bright orange, his face round, freckled, young. She recognized him. And then it blurred; his hair grew lighter. Yes, into that strawberry blonde she was accustomed to. He turned to look at her, questioning, curious. He rolled down his window, a surprised smile lighting up his face.

    “Hi, Mrs. T!” he said cheerily.

    Why was Sean calling her Mrs. T? He’s trying to trick her, that’s why.

    “What are you doing way out here? This is a dangerous part of town. You really shouldn’t be here.” He paused, studying her. “Hey, are you okay? Need me to get you home?” And then softly, “I was very sorry to hear about Lieutenant Thomas. He was like a father to a lot of us right out of the academy.”

    But Madeline had stopped hearing. Sean was speaking – but she could hear nothing. His face drifted in and out. Something in her core was struggling, like a bound calf in a rodeo ring trying to break free. A single thought emerged, thrashing against the bones of her cranium.
    Sean is dead! This isn’t Sean!

    She heard the voice, wanted to believe it. But there he was again, looking at her, a glint of humor – a sickening, perverse humor in his blue eyes. It brought forth the rage – the red, red rage.

    He’s dead-he’s dead-he’s dead-he’s dead! Wake up, Madeline - Sean is dead - this isn’t him!

    Only it was. Like a devil resurrected from hell, Sean’s face was all she could see. Before the man could move, she put the gun barrel against his forehead and pulled the trigger. Then she walked back to her car, started it, and drove herself home.

    The petite, trembling Asian woman behind the Krispy Kreme counter that had seen the whole thing took the phone off the wall and pushed three buttons.


    Madeline awoke to the sounds of knocking on her front door. Groggily, she got to her feet, stuffed them into her soft, bunny slippers, and went to open it. She peeked through the peephole and stopped breathing.

    Police … the police were on her step! Oh God, this could only mean one thing; something had happened to Sean… something terrible must have happened to Sean!

    She steadied her breathing, trying to be brave, and opened the door.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015

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