Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Jul 31, 2011.
  1. mesopatamius - A Lighter Shade of Blue

    0 vote(s)
  2. ValianceInEnd - The Children Make the Parents

    1 vote(s)
  3. crossrobertj - The Fix

    0 vote(s)
  4. -oz - Check

    0 vote(s)
  5. LaGs - Sperm Donations and Ron Weasley

    1 vote(s)
  6. AxleMAshcraft - Sixteen Years

    2 vote(s)
  7. seelifein69 - Unanswered

    3 vote(s)
  8. Mark Ruyley - Untitled

    4 vote(s)
  9. Fullmetal Xeno - Blood and Discovery

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest 97: Searching For Real Parents

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jul 18, 2011.

    Voting Short Story Contest (97) Theme: Searching For Real Parents

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Voting will end Sunday 31st July to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under or over the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    mesopatamius - A Lighter Shade of Blue

    His name was Blue.
    “No, not like Sonny Boy Blue. Like the Pokemon game. What? His hair? Hell no, do you know what’s in those hair dyes? It’s just a name. We’re individuals, we get to define ourselves, right? So that’s his name.”
    Blue was leaning against the opposite wall, smoking a cigarette. His eyes flitted about the room while he listened to his friend talk to the short-haired girl. After a few moments he flicked his stub into the trashcan and walked over to the pair.
    “There he is, the Blue Magoo himself! What brings you to our neck of the party?”
    “I hope he hasn’t been boring you. He likes to ramble.” Blue extended his hand to the girl, glancing sidelong at his friend. “I’m Blue, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” She gave her name; Blue shook her hand, still without looking at her. “Really? What a beautiful name.” He smiled, making eye contact for a moment. Her eyes were hazel. He blinked and looked back to his friend.
    “We have to get going. Thanks for humoring him, see you around.”
    The girl looked uncertainly at Blue’s friend, but he only smiled vapidly in return. She turned, looking for friendlier faces, and walked away.
    “The hell was that? I had her totally set up for you, she was intrigued. I could see it, all you had to do was seal the deal. This whole secondhand mystery-mongering was your idea, and I was pulling it off.”
    “Her eyes were brown.”
    “Are you serious? First off, they were a very nice hazely brown. And what the hell does it matter anyway? ‘I’m Blue, I only like girls with blue eyes and I only vote Republican and I only eat blue M&M’s.’ I think you’re starting to fall for your own bullshit.”
    Blue looked blankly at a window behind his friend. He focused on the windowpane itself, letting the lights behind it haze and grow.
    “There’s only so many subtle, indirect ways to live your life around a color. Why can’t you just ask girls out like a normal human? This whole gimmick is getting old.” Blue’s friend leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.
    “It’s my goddamn name. I might as well roll with it. Sorry there isn’t a color called David.”
    David’s eyes opened and looked at Blue.
    “Your name’s really Blue? Like, really?”
    David shook his head, then looked sharply at his friend.
    “For real? Your parents named you Blue?”
    “They thought I’d be a girl, and then they figured what the hell, blue is for boys, right? So I’m Blue.”
    David looked at Blue again and started laughing. “I always just thought you didn’t like your real name, but that’s kind of hilarious.”
    Blue frowned at David and resumed looking at the window.
    “You’re still dumb for not liking that girl.”
    Blue smiled absently and punched his friend’s shoulder.
    “Let’s go, I’m bored.”

    They were two blocks away from the party when Blue saw a piece of paper stapled to a telephone pole. There was a fringe of phone number tabs at the bottom.


    Blue stopped and called out to David. “What was that girl’s name?”
    “Such a gentleman. Compliments her name and doesn’t even remember it.”
    “Shut up. It was Carline, right? Did she tell you her last name?”
    David shook his head and looked over Blue’s shoulder at the flier. He looked at Blue, who was reading the short paragraph again. “I’m thinking it’s the same girl. I’ve never met a Carline before. It’s probably better you didn’t like her, seems like she has some issues.”
    Blue looked back the way they had come, then at the paper again. No one had taken a number.
    “Are we gonna go? I thought you were bored.”
    Blue ripped off a tab and slipped it into his wallet. “Carry on, my wayward son.”
    David looked at his friend, a smirk tugging one side of his mouth, but said nothing. They walked from one island of light to the next, glancing up at the clouds of insects swirling around each yellow bulb.
    “Dammit Blue, now that song is stuck in my head.”
    Blue laughed.
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    ValianceInEnd - The Children Make the Parents

    They were never my real parents. Those imposters reminded me constantly that holding me back was what parenthood was about. They’d feed me their bullshit, always telling me I was wrong for wanting to do anything I pleased. Those fucking imposters claimed they wanted nothing more than to encourage my own well-being, but I knew better. My actual parents had been taken away from me when I was just a little baby. These phonies sat in the very chairs where my real mom and dad belonged every night at the dinner table. Even with this knowledge, I tried my best to accept the conditions I was forced into.

    Every damn word out of their mouths seemed to be something about how an eleven-year-old boy was “supposed to behave”. There were words I heard my bastard father whisper to himself that I wasn’t allowed to repeat. That mother would judge when I was to go to sleep and wake up, setting me like a fucking clock. If ever I did something to upset the neighbor kids, the two of them would team up, sitting me in the living room and having turns at reprimanding me. They’d switch in and out at a dizzying pace, hissing about how I was being a bad child and how I had better learn to live by their rules. It was almost hilarious how they expected me to adhere to those fucking rules.

    It was one such night, after hitting some dumbshit kid in the jaw for stepping on our yard, and they were at my throat as usual. The man who had the balls to call himself my father actually got in my fucking face and started threatening me with all sorts of nasty things. He was going to send me to a private school where they would certainly bend me into shape and if that didn’t work, he’d do it himself. I remember scoffing in his face, telling him to fucking try, and that set him off. He took his hand and slapped me right in the side of the head so hard that my neck joints popped. Pulling me up by the back of my shirt, he hauled me to my room, threw me on my bed, and slammed the door shut.

    I didn’t sleep that entire night, just lying on my back staring at the ceiling, imagining how I’d set the record straight. My father would never hit me, just pat me on the back and tell me what a good job I had been doing. The man and the woman down stairs who had stolen everything that belonged to my family had to be stopped. I would not allow them to control me anymore, slandering the names of my true parents. I fixed to amend everything the next day.

    In the morning, I waited until I heard the man say goodbye to his wife and walk out the door. I went downstairs, passing through the living room on my way to the kitchen. The woman sat on the couch, watching television.

    “Where are you going?” she snapped.

    I replied with a simple truth, “The kitchen. Didn’t eat anything last night.”

    She squinted at me for a moment, and then nodded her head slightly, reverting her eyes back to the glowing screen. I made my way to the refrigerator, grabbing a loaf of bread, some mustard, and chicken to make myself a sandwich. I set the simple makings on a plate then pulled a kitchen knife from a drawer. Cutting the chicken into thin slices, I placed them one by one on a piece of bread. I stopped to listen to what she was doing in the living room, the sound of a news station emanating from the glowing box. Her focus was on anything but me at the moment. I decided to hoist myself up onto the table and stand with my feet on either side of the plate. Listening for her attention one more time, I lifted my left foot up and swiftly kicked the plate off the flat surface of the table.

    The plate made a loud crash as it collided with the tile floor, exploding into several smaller chunks of porcelain and sending bits of chicken sandwich everywhere. The mother’s attention had undoubtedly snapped to me, the sound of her hurried footsteps on the carpet beckoning her approach. I smiled, ready to thoroughly relish the moment as she crossed the threshold into the kitchen. She screamed my name immediately upon entering, surveying the great mess I had just strewn.

    “What the hell?” she cried, “What the hell is this?”

    I was perfectly aware of my next move, having already calculated it in advance, but still allowed a flow of passion to extend my action. She stared deep into my eyes, hers widened with a mixture of shock and horror. She gurgled through the warm fluid gushing from her mouth as she slumped to the kitchen floor, lying face down amidst mustard stains and sliced chicken. Grabbing the handle of the knife, I struggled to remove it from the side of her neck, a large pool of blood already collecting below the wound. Finally freeing the blade, I tossed it aside and reveled in my work. The first imposter was dead. I was free of her oppression.

    I danced around the kitchen, taking care not to slip in the slick puddle of red. She stirred slightly, causing me to stop my celebration and look at her with surprise. Perhaps she was not yet dead? I walked up to her and took a handful of her hair, lifting her face up to see. Her eyes were blank, but there was definitely some life left in them. I laughed out loud, waving at her with my free hand. Letting go of the hair, her face slammed back into the tile with a loud crack. Giggling to myself, I repeated lifting her head up and dropped it with another resonating crack. I did this several times until I was quite sure she was dead. I then continued my mad dance around the table.

    When I had tired myself of glorifying my victory, I set to dragging her back into the living room. She was much larger than I, making the task of dragging her across the thick carpet an exhausting job. Hoisting her with all the strength I could muster, I positioned her back on the couch in front of the tv, as if nothing had ever happened. I let her head hang lifelessly to the side and went upstairs for a nap before the father came home.

    I woke up in the afternoon and set myself to preparing for his arrival. Around sunset I perked up to hear the sound of him opening the front door, fumbling with his keys and turning the lock. He stepped inside announcing his arrival, casually setting his keys and wallet on the stand next to the door. I sat expectantly by my mother in the living room, calling out for him to come and say hello. He came into the room, a quizzical expression on his face for hearing such a warm welcome home. The expression immediately melted into a disturbed grimace upon viewing the scene before him. The laceration was on the side opposite his view, so his fears were not instantly piqued, but the way her head lay limp did confuse him.

    “Hello sir,” I said with a smile.

    “Mary?” he said, almost a whisper.

    “Don’t worry man, she’s just sleeping!” I said, trying not to break-off laughing.

    He slowly walked toward the other side of the room, the blood stains down her neck and dress just starting to come in to his line of sight. I could see the pieces being put together in his head, but he was still too bewildered to make any realizations.

    “Jesus… Mary?” he asked, his voice cracking with fear.

    I just couldn’t contain myself any longer. I leapt up from the couch, pulling the shovel I was sitting on out from under me. He let out a gasp as I struck the flat end of it on his forehead. Stumbling back, I saw his hands tighten into fists, ready to defend himself. I closed in as to not allow him any time to recover, bashing him over the head again and again until his back hit the wall. He slid down to the floor unconscious, his fists loosening into limp palms facing upwards. I then pushed him from the shoulder so that he collapsed to the floor and pulled the collar of his dress shirt down, exposing the bare skin of his neck. Flipping the shovel sideways, I took aim and brought it down as hard as I could. Blood spilled from the incision I had just made, but the cut only went about a half inch down. His eyes flittered open again and I dropped the side of the shovel right back down on the forming wound. I slammed into his neck until I felt it snap the bone and connect with the ground on the other side. The eyes remained open, looking sightlessly forward. Pulling his head from his body, I kicked it aside into a corner of the living room. I then yanked my mother’s corpse from the couch and stretched out her chin to get a clear shot at her neck in order to remove her head as well.

    When that task was complete, I stood to survey my accomplishment. Both of the damned imposters lay headless in the living room, but the plan was not yet finished. I set to dragging the man’s body toward the couch, letting go of it at the base to drag the woman’s body to the other side of the room. After the great effort it took to get her across, I went back to his body and lifted it up to where the woman’s corpse sat before. I folded the hands into its lap and ensured it sat as straight as I could set it. I then grabbed the woman’s head, setting it where the man’s head had been before. After some balancing, I managed to get it to stay in place on the body, looking quite natural. I yanked the wedding ring off of the left hand and stuck it between the two front teeth of the head. Standing back, I looked the remains up and down and felt satisfied.

    “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” I said through a giant grin. The head smiled back at me, laughing silently.

    “I’m not going to bed until I’ve eaten all the ice cream left in the fridge,” the head nodded in agreement. My parents agreed with me, it was such great fun! Finally, they were on my side like they were real parents. We stayed up all night together, laughing and yelling curse words while we watched the tv shows with the most violence. By morning, I was quite tired so I bid them goodnight and went up to my room to sleep.

    Lying awake in my bed, I thought back on how well my plan had turned out. I realized something the night I conspired to destroy the two people who governed everything in my life. Parents, perhaps even my true parents, could never properly raise a child together. The fact that there are two of them and one of you makes them want to dominate you. Even in families with multiple children, the two parents can talk behind the others’ backs to figure out how to run their lives, ending with the same result.

    There are those with just one parent, due to any number of reasons, but it still ends with the one parent being the dominant one. That, I decided, was because they were making up for the lack of another figure to rule over their children with. Any way I could piece it, the answer was always the same. So I decided that when I had extinguished those two “parents”, I would rearrange them how I saw fit, creating one parent out of the two parts. If they were indefinitely connected, they would no longer be able to gang up on me. By evening the number of people in the family, I had created the perfect parents.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    crossrobertj - The Fix

    Edward was an alley cat, a loner, a transient on a good day, but always without means. He was also addicted to heroin, in all it's forms. Though he would do anything for a fix, he had some morality when it came to dealing with women and children. Fortunately for Edward, they were few and far between in his world.

    When Edward was 4 years old, he was placed in an orphanage just across from the “Big Apple”. Daydreaming of a life without worry and a life with unconditional love kept young Edward sane for the most part. He did well in school and was well-liked by most of his peers, until his 16th birthday. That was when he was first introduced to drugs, marijuana and alcohol to be exact. Nothing too harmful at first, then came the need for more and by his 18th birthday, he'd graduated to cocaine & ketamine cocktails.

    His daydreams darkened to just that of finding a better high than the one he was currently on. This of course worsened over the days, months, and years after his first taste of temptation. One day while in an alcohol and cocaine induced stupor, he decided he was going to look for his birth parents. In his mind he believed they had lots of money and could help him with his dependency, subconsciously he needed them from the very start. They say only love can kill a demon, Edward was looking to slaughter his.

    Over the next few years, he searched for his birth parents to no avail. Scouring over hundreds of files and records at the orphanage, he could find nothing. He looked far and wide for answers to where he came from, but found only dead ends.

    In the final year of his search, he got a taste of heroin from an old coke-buddy he used to run with in his teens. The first shot into his arm took away all his worries, all his pain, his search had concluded right there. He didn't need to find his parents any longer, Edward had found his God in the mouth of a syringe.

    Months passed as he sat in a filth-laden apartment shooting up dose after dose of black tar. No love in the world was this fulfilling, no companionship was as worthwhile, no addiction was as tempting. Edward looked out over Manhattan in the moonlight, shallow waves of luminescence rocking back and forth in his head. He was in heaven and there was no better feeling.

    Once Edward had used up his last dose, he decided to cop more. His dealer was a Serbian named Raj, who immigrated to New York with his family 5 years prior. Raj had the best prices and was conveniently located just a block away from Edward's apartment. Upon arrival Raj wanted Edward to try a new shipment from Afghanistan, for free of course. Edward jumped at the chance, but only if Raj shot it for him.

    Raj readied the dose in the syringe as Edward tied off his arm. The needle penetrated quickly and without much struggle. Raj pressed the plunger down slowly, Edward released the band on his arm. Darkness began to take him....darkness.....black........

    Then light....slowly.......glowing light...


    Johnathan sat by his son's hospital bed for the 17 years that he'd been in a coma. The car accident had killed Edward's mother and turned Johnathan's boy into a vegetable. Johnathan squeezed Edward's hand lightly and gave it a kiss. As he wept along with the ring of the heart monitor, his son Edward had passed.
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    -oz - Check

    It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. I was inside a neighborhood church, enjoying one of the friendly chess tournaments held there once a month amongst the locals. I had beaten my last two opponents and was debating on whether to accept a queen's gambit from my new opponent, Pastor Thompson. I was used to losing to him; he was one of the best players here, and a regular champion. He was thankfully more interested in conversation today than the game, even though his talking was distracting me as well. He had been speaking about a mid-week bible study with people from his congregation, but now he turned his attention to me.

    "You know, Henry, you're more than welcome to join us on Wednesday, or even Sunday mornings."

    "Thanks, but I rather enjoy my sleep on Sunday mornings." I decided to decline the gambit, moving my king's pawn up one square. He instantly moved his queen's knight to reenforce his attack, and I was left debating my next move as he continued to talk.

    "You know, you might find it interesting. We're going to be talking about the end of the world."

    "I saw 2012, it was pretty good."

    The pastor shrugged his shoulders, missing my joke; he had obviously never watched the movie. "Despite whatever some Mayan calendar shows, Matthew twenty-four says, 'No one knows that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven.'"

    I moved my queen's bishop's pawn up two and let him contemplate his move. "See, that's your problem, you put a religious spin on everything. Religion is old school and just a fairy tale anyway. You know that evolution has been proven, right? That kind of throws your whole job out the window."

    I got a few glares from another table for that one, but the pastor didn't seem to mind all that much. He took my queen's pawn. I took his deeper queen's pawn, threatening his knight, but he immediately took it with his queen. My move.

    "Henry, you know they haven't proven evolution. One species might be able to adapt to a new environment, but it can't change into a completely new species. Despite the similarities between humans and apes, a fish or bird can't turn into a human. Do you really believe that starting from a single-celled organism, something as intricate as the human body can emerge by accident, even over billions of years?"

    I moved my king's bishop in front of my queen, effectively shutting the pastor up and reenforcing my pawn for the next move. "We didn't evolve from birds; we came from the ancestor to all humans and apes, and we're going to keep getting better."

    The pastor picked up his queen, knocking over my king's knight's pawn as he slid her onto its square. My entire left side and previous plan of domination was now forfeit.

    "You're an orphan, Henry. Wouldn't you like to know who your parents were?"

    I looked up at the pastor from the board and gave him a quizzical look. "What does this have to do with the conversation?"

    "You were one year old when they died, not old enough to remember anything of them. Wouldn't you like to have known them as the sweet, charming couple they were instead of calling them dirty apes that came together and randomly gave you life?"

    I barely recognized that everybody was listening to our argument at this point, chess games momentarily suspended. I slammed the table, knocking over one of my captured pawns. "I've never called them that! Don't you call me a bastard again!"

    The pastor put his hands up defensively. "I'm just showing you how you talked about our Heavenly Father. Instead of acknowledging His presence and His divine wisdom in the design of the human body and all of creation, you just denied His existence, calling Him a glorified monkey."

    "I don't believe in God! He's just part of your feel-good cult that thinks women can spontaneously combust with child, that getting flicked with water can 'save your soul', and that some guy can come back from being dead three days, which magically removes your evil urges if you try hard enough to be good."

    The room was quiet enough that you could have heard a grasshopper sneeze. My ears were ringing from my outburst and probably turning bright red to boot. I wasn't ashamed of what I said, but a church was probably the wrong place to say it, even if a community chess tournament was there. I looked down and nudged my king up a space. "Your turn."

    The pastor sighed, his heart obviously not in the game at this point either. "It's all about what your faith is in, Henry." He tipped his king over, resigning, and stood up to get some coffee. I glared in the direction of the other two games as I stood up, and they hastily started playing as if they weren't listening. It was time to leave.
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    LaGs - Sperm Donations and Ron Weasley

    Brian Keenan was conceived in a Petri dish. He was like everybody, once a small spermatozoa who had developed into a fully-fledged human with thoughts and emotions. His father was a sperm donor and his mother was a surrogate doing a favour for Brian’s practical mother who was a close friend. His practical father had defective sperm with deformed nucleuses, whereas his practical mother had damaged fallopian tubes which shut in on themselves, preventing the release of her eggs. Technically, his real parent(s) was a young scientist who achieved a 2:1 degree at a mediocre university who skilfully joined Brian the sperm, and Brian, the egg who would later become Brian the person, in a sterile Petri dish set at the perfect fertilisation conditions.

    It wasn’t easy growing up for Brian. His practical mother and father never really liked him as a son as they were displeased, among other reasons, at the fact he was born with ginger hair. It wasn’t Brian’s fault apparently, as there was some horrible mix up during the IVF process, where some inexperienced scientist who got a 2:1 degree at a mediocre university labelled the sperm wrong. The hapless scientist marked a container “Brunettes” when all the sperm contained within were likely to produce “Auburn” or “Ginger” children.

    Shortly after Brian was born, his parents began to notice strange red spores emanating from his head, and they were extremely worried. These strange spores developed into wiry tufts of orange hair which blew wildly in the wind when his mum took him for walks in his pram. This combined with his ghostly complexion convinced them that their son was a descendant of the dreaded ‘ginger’- the colour which they vehemently communicated to the doctors they did not want.

    His mother and father issued negligence proceedings against the health trust responsible for conceiving Brian, and part of their affidavit stated: “We made continued and persistent demonstrations of our will to not have a ginger child, and the health trust has failed across the board to take our will and considerations on board. In this vein, we see them as being contractually, and in all other practicalities, grossly negligent. It is our case to seek damages given the emotional stress we have endured for having been given a ginger child, and we also seek compensation given the fact that we are now legally required to raise a ginger child.”

    Brian at this early stage of his life didn’t understand as he was still a baby. It was only when he began to form coherent thoughts that he knew something was a bit strange. The judge threw out the frivolous case brought forward by the parents, dismissing it as “A cold and calculated attempt for financial gain through the manipulation of a ginger haired child”. But the judge’s dismissal only compounded the bitterness of the parents, however, who took out their frustration on poor Brian at every opportunity they got.

    When he sought affection from his mother she would say to him things like, “Eww, get away from me you ginge!”, and at other times when Brian was being a bit naughty, as young children had a tendency to do, both his mother and father would confuse him with comments such as, “So how does it feel to be a test tube baby, huh?” and “You’re not even a real person”.

    During the summer months when the weather got hot, the young family would go to the beach and Brian’s mother would punish him for having such delicate skin by not giving him any sun cream. The young Brian would sit for hours baking in the sun building his little sand castles, oblivious to the fact that he was on the fast lane to skin cancer. In a few hours time, poor wee Brian would be peeling like an orange and his mother would tease him and say that he was an orange anyway, and that it didn’t make any difference. The net effect of not being given any sun cream meant that Brian developed into a heavily freckled child which disgusted his parents to an even greater extent, and it drove their distaste for him every time they looked in his direction.

    When Brian got a bit older, the bullying and teasing on account of his ginger hair and freckles never abated, so he began to question the reasons for this horrible torment he was enduring. By now he had reached 12 years old, old enough to gain a better understanding for his situation.

    He managed to Google the phrases “Test tube baby” and “Ginger hair” one after the other and he was horrified by what he read. The first thing that came back to Brian was a Wikipedia article that told him all about the generations of children, like him, who were made in a dish. And when he Googled ‘Ginger’ what came back were several images of people who had obviously been affected by the same disease that he had. Putting two and two together, along with added research, Brian actually became aware of his parent’s negligence case against the health trust for them having a ‘Ginger’ child, and it dawned on him almost immediately that that ‘Ginger’ child they were referring to was HIM, and suddenly it all made perfect sense.

    He plucked up the courage to talk to his mother.

    “Mummy, why am I so different? Am I an alien?”

    His mother just laughed at him and said, “You know, Brian, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were an alien”, and she continued on washing the dishes as if he never said anything. Brian then went to his father and asked, “Dad, are you my real dad?” and his Dad just laughed at him and said, “Brian, your real Dad is probably from Ireland or Scotland or somewhere”. Young Brian went away from these exchanges even more deflated, and indeed confused, heading up to his bedroom to mope in the mirror at his own appearance, all the while questioning his purpose in life. He started reading Harry potter and he straight away placed himself in Harry’s shoes, as he could fully relate to the treatment Harry often received from the Dursleys.

    And then he realised what was wrong. He needed to break away. He needed to find his own personal Hogwarts where ginger people had a place in life, a place where Gingers are appreciated and indeed, accepted. He knew there was an unfulfilled void in his life, and he suspected the main reason was that he never met his real parents. He wanted to find them, he felt he needed to find them if he were to survive. But he was clueless as to how he would go about it. He heard of an institution known as the ‘Citizen’s advice bureau’ which gave independent advice to citizens of the UK, for free, so he phoned them up as a starting point.

    “Hello, I want to find my parents, can you help me?”

    The phone operator didn’t really understand and she said,

    “I’m sorry, what is it you need?”

    “I have ginger hair and freckles, I want to find my parents, can you help me?”

    “I’m sorry I don’t understand” she said.

    Brian hung up, exasperated. He was at a loss as to where he would now turn to.

    He went back to his mother.

    “Mum I want to find my real mum and dad. Where are they?”

    His mum was watching her soaps and she wanted rid of him as quickly as possible.

    “Well, if you’re talking about your real Mum and Dad, one was a sperm donor, and the other was a surrogate mum”

    “What’s a surrogate mum, mum?”

    “It’s a mum who carries you before you’re born but when you’re born she isn’t your mum anymore. But she lives across the road so you can go and talk to her, if you like”

    “Whose house is it?”


    “Caroline is my real mum?”

    “Look, go away, I’m watching my soaps.”

    Brian bounded out the front door in the direction of Caroline’s, fantasizing along the way of her embracing him at the front door with open arms, where she would immediately adopt him and take him in and allow him to eat ginger cookies every day of his life until he was 18. He knocked on the door.

    “Caroline, mum, where have you been all my life? Why have you abandoned me?”

    Caroline, a confused look on her face and a little embarrassed, doesn’t know what to say.

    “Brian, where’s your mum?”

    She pokes her head out the front door in the direction of Brian’s house.

    “But you’re my mum, I don’t understand?”

    She takes Brian, an arm delicately but firmly wrapped around him, in the direction of his own house. .

    “He’s a real live one that”, she says, handing him back to his mother, “…Must be the hair!”, and they both laugh as Brian sulks in through the front door.

    He felt like crying up in his room as he looked at a computer screen. He did a little more Google research of ‘Sperm donor’ and he found others in a similar factual situations to himself. Brian sought out, and found, the local clinic nearby where the aforementioned sperm is extracted in pokey cubicles and then donated. Brian, a rucksack on his back, is feeling full of adventure as he heads in the direction of the clinic looking for his father. Even though there was nothing in the rucksack, he just felt it was the appropriate thing to do in keeping with his sense of wonder and adventure.

    When he reaches the clinic, he sees an old man standing at the entrance holding a placard that says “Sperm donation, is it right?”, and at his side lies another sign that says “Sperm are people too, you know”. Brian decides to lurk around the entrance alongside the old man vigilant for any flame-haired rogues going into the clinic to make a donation. But initially, all is quiet save for the self-righteous monologues of the old man.

    “And the Lord will judge all those who recklessly donateth their sacred life-giving sperm to heathens and non-believers. For HE KNOWS when sperm has been given to those who do not deserve it. Put away your tissues and repent!”

    Brian feels like telling the old man to shut up but then he sees someone who could fit the criteria for his father walking out the door. He’s walking nonchalantly, like he just released some tension, as he puts a cigarette towards his mouth to light it. Brian approaches him.

    “Hi there. Umm, would you be my father by any chance?”

    The man, shabbily dressed whose age is somewhere in the mid-thirties, looks slightly taken aback.

    “Man, I’ve got so many children ‘round this area you’re probably just another notch on the belt…That hair of yours though, it has to be my bloodline. Look at how vibrant it is! It’s like fizzy fanta, it’s amazing!”

    He goes to stroke Brian’s hair but he moves away.

    “So you donate lots of sperm then?”

    “Hordes of it kid. I’ve been donating sperm since you were but a mere sperm yourself”

    “So you are my father then…”

    “Could be, could be…but what do you want me to do about it?”

    “Adopt me, dad. I need a dad to look after me, to protect me, to listen to my cries when someone teases me for being ginger.”
    Furrows of worry materialise above the thick ginger eye brows of the prolific sperm donator, and he doesn’t seem impressed.

    “Look kid, I’ve got no obligations towards you. I donate sperm for a living, you got that? This is how I make money!”

    Brian is looking extremely disappointed, his puppy dog eyes searching for a sympathetic tone from the sperm donator/father.

    “Look, I give the sperm and that’s it. I don’t want to see what the sperm later becomes. That’s not how I roll. If I wanted to see what they grew into I’d start my own family, kid”

    Brian is devastated. He can’t hide how hurt he is as he walks away with tears welling up in his eyes, back in the direction of his step-house, to his parents who weren’t his real parents. Parents in name only. He couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of anti-climax. His search to find his proper ginger roots started with a void in his young soul, and that void, far from being fulfilled, had been ripped to an even greater extent and he felt like dying. It was like he had opened up a can of worms. He’s giving little sobs to himself as he walks along the pavement, contemplating, and accepting, the idea that his situation will never change. He walks in through the front door of his non-ginger-appreciating parents’ house and he heads straight up the stairs. He buries himself in Harry Potter.

    But the more he reads, the more his mood changes. The more inspired he became. He was awed by the character of Ron Weasley and he resolved to become more like him. Ron Weasley taught him to be proud of who he was. Ginger pride. Ron Weasley may not have been the smartest of people, but he was strong, and resilient. He wouldn’t let people put him down on account of his hair. Brian especially loved the scenes in the Burrow where the ginger Weasley family congregated and discussed everyday things, almost as if their ginger identity was nothing to be worried about. It was, after all, who they were and they embraced it.

    Brian understood better now. The only difference were that the Weasleys were a ginger family, and he was on his own. But he could accept that. His parents, real or otherwise, may not have appreciated him because of who he was, whether their lives were too engrossed in donating sperm or watching the soaps- but if they wouldn’t appreciate him, he would. He would not let their petty torments put him down. He was ginger and proud. He didn’t need parents, fake or real. He was a lone wolf ginger. And always would be.
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    AxleMAshcraft - Sixteen Years

    My Father was a real son of a bitch. That man hit me near every day I lived under his roof. And my Mother? She wasn’t much help. She liked to think that she was helping but she really wasn’t. After he was done, up my stairs she would go, cloth in hand, and fix me up good, but nothing ever really made me feel better, nothing that she did ever made me feel good about myself. Nothing that she rubbed on those cuts and bruises and scars could ever make them go away.
    When I was six years old she brought me in to a special place because she was scared that I had a low level of confidence in myself. She was worried about my development and thought that talking to a specialist would help me out some. I guess it’s safe to say it didn’t work.
    When I was eight years old I killed a spider and cried for three days because I was scared I was turning into my violent father. My heart was broken as I looked at it’s smashed little body. My Mother held me and told me it was ok, but I knew it wasn’t.
    It all changed soon though. Everything that he was doing to me started getting worse. Every night, it seemed, the beatings would arise for no reason at all.
    It was a bad day at work. My father was unemployed.
    I did my chores wrong, when they were finished to the best of my ability.
    I got too good of a grade on my test.
    I had hurt the dog, which we didn’t have.
    I made him look bad in front of people that weren’t home and would never come to our home.
    My mother finally got the balls to leave him after twelve years of putting up with this nonsense.
    I was barely eleven when she did. The court case was long, I was dressed up in my Sunday clothes that we had even though we didn’t go to church. The custody battle was divided to be conquered and I was with my Mother Monday through Thursday and with my Father Thursday though Sunday.
    The first few years she tried really hard. She would drop me off a block from my dad’s house and I would walk the rest of the way because she had a restraining order. I guess he hit her too. I would walk inside and the first words out of his mouth every time were “When are you getting the hell out of here?”
    I was happy that he didn’t use more colorful language.
    I guess it was longer than a few years. It was around four years that they tried really hard, but after a while my mom started caring less and less, about everything. She would forget I was at my dad’s, and she would leave me there, day in and day out.
    I started smoking while I was at school. So he wouldn’t find out and yell at me. Turns out, he didn’t care. He’d like me to die.
    I went from bouncing around homes to lingering in them.
    I met Jessica Fairly that summer. And I broke her heart. Because her parents didn’t approve of me. Because I smoked. Because I “got in fights”. I guess that’s an urban explanation for coming to school with bruises you just can’t hide.
    I took those beatings without saying a word. If I would have said anything it would only have gotten worse. But after he was done, up my stairs my mother wouldn’t come to fix me up good. Because she wasn’t there.
    She let me down just as much as he did.
    When I finally got out, I was sixteen.
    I was a good looking kid. Long and lanky, skinny as a rod but bulked up as much as possible. I had a few scars, a few good sized perment bruises but I could hide them for the most part. I guess my hair was black but it looked dark brown in the sun. And I guess that my eyes were blue but sometimes they almost looked purple.
    I couldn’t hold a girlfriend for longer than a week, I’m not sure why, that’s just the way it happened. So when the other high schoolers were having high school romances, I was having high school heartbreak.
    As soon as I got out, I got a car, and I drove. And drove. And drove.
    The bar was something from a bad movie. Smoke hung low because no one around here seemed to care that smoking inside was against the law. A few people milled about. No one seemed to notice that I was underage. In the corner, a woman was dancing in front of a man sitting silently in a chair. I was curious, but kept my eyes down. The place was far from busy, and when I walked up to the bar and asked for a beer, he didn’t care to look at my license.
    It was about then that I turned around, something I should never have done just then. Because what I saw was probably worse that all those years of beatings my ol’ man put me through. The woman who had been dancing turned, and was walking back toward the bar. Her shirt was half buttoned with bills hanging like prizes from skinny black straps and the heart shaped crevices that covered just the bottom of her breasts. She was a stripper. She had all the attire of a stripper. She had the walk of a stripper. But she had the eyes of someone who had seen too much. I didn’t feel pity for her though. She was a stripper.
    My mother was a common whore.
    I was sitting in my car, driving in the opposite direction now, that I noticed I never had good parents. They had a shaky start, my bastard of a father knocked up my mother when she was my age, sixteen. Honestly, they didn’t have any more of a chance than I did growing up in that home.
    I pulled over at the side of the road and slammed my head into the steering wheel.
    All I wished was to have real parents.
  8. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    seelifein69 - Unanswered

    The pungent smell of incense stung the nose and eyes of a young man who sat in the ceremonial chamber of the Oracle of Athens. A tender body writhed on the cold stone floor that chanted and called to the Gods in a language the young man didn’t understand.

    "Son of Poseidon," the voice of the Oracle acknowledged the beautiful man that sat before her. She rose and stared at the traveler "You will find what you are looking for with the help of your Great Father; he offers to give you the aid you need. When you return to Mallia you will be a worthy hero on whom the Gods will smile." She sounded like Athena herself and continued to speak in a tongue that the divine only knew. He almost felt stronger after the promise of success. His heart pumped furiously, and echoed through his chest, lighting seemed to run through his blood. He was high with power and lust. Through the smoke he could see the naked body of the Oracle moving, her beautiful face contorted from the connection to the heavens. He moved toward her and watched as she writhed to the rhythm that came down from the heavens, his hand grasped her hip and the trance began to envelop him. They ascended into another plane of consciousness together where memory couldn't be recalled. A godly melody rang through the temple as demi-god and Oracle embraced in an intense intertwinement of the other world.

    When the lovers had come back to the human side of being, he proposed offerings to the Oracle; wine from forbidden grapes (from Dionysus’ own vineyard), the heart of a fetal goat, and one gold emblem of Medusa’s shrieking head. He wore the symbol of the monster on his breastplate and often gifted the symbol for protection.

    Outside the great temple walls he made the deep decent, and cascaded down through the rigid trail of the dark mountainous roads where he met his caravan. His large ship could be seen at the shore in the distance.

    "Kallikrates, my lord, we must leave now, before the tides lower." The ship’s maker, Solon, handed over the reins of one of the large bred horses to the prince. Solon didn’t bother to ask him how his encounter went, as the sweat that dripped from his brow and steady good mood spoke well enough for him. The crew made the remainder of the steep trail on horse back, while Kallikrates’ mind was brewing with his expedition.

    He was a demi-god in his own right; fathered by both the kind Titunas, King of Mallia, and the righteous Poseidon, God of the Seas. A tale had come to him, from the sacred women in the Parthenon, that there was a sword on a mystical island of nymphs that would help any man conquer the world and a helmet that grants immortality; placed there by the God of the Sea himself. Kallikrates would make the long journey with twenty skilled men from his father’s kingdom to help him, to sail towards an island claimed to be the one of myth. The son knew there would be danger to face and accordingly made sacrifices to his Great Father to ensure the safe passage to and from the island. The plump man who rode next to the prince had built the boat with the harsh waves and storms in mind that the journey would surely promise; it took two years to finish the structure and personally Solon was gloriously proud of it. ‘Creusa’ had been painted on the side of the boat in white letters for good luck. They left in the dead of night to avoid any mystical monsters that may roam the bay on edge of Athens. The winds seemed to blow them in the right direction and the seas lapped up at their strong vessel. Kallikrates could no longer see his homeland of Mallia after a day or so, which made him unnerved and excited. He knew that after this voyage he would be recognized as the true son of Poseidon and a demi-god. In his thin imagination he felt the heavy iron helmet on his head and an attractive sword in his palm that shined an exquisite blue. He pictured himself conquering in that attire; slaying Medusa herself. His thoughts seized when the ship threw him off balance; then he was no longer this hero and was again the captain of his ship.

    After two weeks at sea a disaster occurred in the form of six men that dropped dead in the matter of two days, with no explanation. Albas, who was a blacksmith in Mallia, claimed that it was the Gods cursing us (he was known to be very religious).

    “We lost a few men, yes, but we will prevail. We are all fortunate that the waters of Charybdis did not swallow us all up. Douse them in oils and throw their bodies into the ocean, for a sacrifice if you will.” He paused, “Quickly." Kallikrates took out coins from his satchel and threw it towards the men. "They will be missed." he said dully and took back to his map.

    Men quickly prepared the bodies, they doused them with a sort of mineral oil; then finally the dead men were thrown off the boat with coins carefully concealed in their pockets for the dreary ferry ride to Hades. In reality, Kallikrates had the men dump the bodies to avoid any illnesses being passed to the remaining crew. He could not waste another man and certainly would not risk his own life due to infection. On the horizon the sun set behind ghastly figures of clouds that resembled the stairway to Olympus.

    ‘Oh Father, protect my ship with your strength. I know I am the hero to obtain your sacred weapons, so guide me to this island and I will conquer nations in your honor.’ Kallikrates ritualistically rubbed the Medusa head on his metal breast-plate, his mind filled with the doings of Peruses. Slaughtering beasts and keeping the company of nymphs filled his adventerous dreams that night.

    He woke in the dark as the ship tossed to and fro, not sure if he was still dreaming. A crack of lightning snapped the captain to reality and illuminated the men that barreled through the ship in an attempt to stable the boat. Hectically, the prince jumped to the helm and struggled with the massive force of the ocean beneath him. He shouted orders for his men to take down the ship’s sails, another crash of light flashed brilliantly, this time closer than the last, men scurried around like ants frantically trying to save themselves.

    "Poseidon, help me!" Kallikrates shouted to the sky.

    Waves had begun to crash upon the deck of the vessel and they knocked the strong men to the floor as if they were straw dolls thrown carelessly by a child. There was no intervention from the heavens, and the sea continued to beat upon the wooden ship until the morning.

    The whole team was able to get some coveted sleep at around noon the next day, when the ocean was calm enough to take a break and the men were collapsing with fatigue. The prince wearily shut his eyes with furious questions that brewed in his head. When I cried to him, he did not help me. Why, I am his son?

    All slept until the sun rose again, wearily they inspected their battered boat. Much cargo was missing, along with a man who had disappeared under the black when he fell off the ship the night before.

    "I thought you were the son of Poseidon, Kallikrates! Can you not call on him to stop this?" cried Allexios, the brother of the ocean's latest victim.

    "Silence," The demi-god lashed out, striking the young man down. "Curse you who doubt my divinity. Poseidon, hear my cry!" He threw his hands up to the sky and breathing heavily he boomed "I am your devoted son; Help me and guide my ship safely through your sector, my Father. Help me!"

    The men looked about to see if anything happened. Even the demi-god waited for some sort of miracle. But yet there was nothing. The sky then got no darker and no lighter and the ocean waves continued to crash upon the wooden ship for days.

    Father do you not hear my cries? I am your son, I was begotten by you when you came to my mother, Hersephone, in a dream. Do you revoke me? Why do you brush us aside? Will you not help your devoted son, Father?

    Maybe they were but a game to the Gods. Maybe that is why the currents sucked the ship farther out to sea and the ocean waves jumped higher than any of the men had ever seen before. They were tossed about like playthings.

    “I fear we will not return to Mallia.” Solon mumbled as he stood next to the muscular Kallikrates.

    “Nonsense Solon, every great journey has its perils. Was Odysseus not tossed about the world for fourteen years? I will find that sword, and with it I could take down Sparta if I so choose to.” The prince scanned the horizon for any indication of land.

    “My lord, the seas continue to get rougher; I think we are on a suicide mission, perhaps we should go back. We will tell the people we found the island and there was nothing there. We can still be heroes.” The older man, round with years of healthy eating, placed his hand on the shoulder of the demi-god.

    Kallikrates shooed the hand off of him, “We will continue.”

    The clouds seemed to roll in, black as coal as they inched closer. The ship was surrounded by the billowed overcast.

    Perhaps this is all a test, to see if we would cower and run home. No, I will show my Father how strong I really am. After some thought, “Head North, that is where we will find the treasure.”

    “Are you mad?!” Shouted one of the men, “That is the heart of the storm, do you want to kill us?”

    “Poseidon is my father and he has told me the way, we go North.” Kallikrates said, thinking about the vast riches that awaited him.

    “Kallikrates, you must be ill.” Solon came to him and lowered his voice, “Surely you know what our fate will be.”

    “My Father will protect us, I am the true son of a God and I will prove it.” The prince looked around at everyone that starred at him, “Now!” he roared, glad to see the men jumped back to their positions and turned the boat towards the part of the horizon where the black of the ocean met the black of the sky.

    Once, twice, and three times in what must have been moments, Zeus’ mighty fist struck the sea in anger. The heavens opened up in a twist of sky and spewed violent drops of rain. The celestial plane had begun to turn green; Kallikrates swore that he saw Poseidon’s deadly trident between the thunderheads.

    “You will see,” Laughed Kallikrates, “We will be spared, you will see! We will be famous when we return home.”

    The sails tore in the turbulent wind that rendered the ship helpless, that left the shredded white pieces to flap madly behind them. Air seemed to whirlwind and the clouds spun in a horrible way, being sucked in by something up in the sky.

    A great waterspout had begun to form, the men yelled and pleaded with their own Gods, in response Kallikrates laughed.

    “I am the son of a God!” the Prince’s volume increased on the last two words as he shouted to the deathly sky above, “I am invincible, pray to me! Poseidon is my father, and he will save us.”

    The currents from the cyclone pulled the bow slowly in its direction, and slowly it sucked the vessel nearer and nearer.

    When the boat started to break apart, Kallikrates faith and hope turned to panic. He felt himself slowly being pulled into the tornado.

    Am I meant to die? To live in Hades hereafter?

    Suddenly a chilling thought pierced his brain.

    Am I not the son of a God? Am I just a man?

    Among the panic he was knocked to the ground, landing on a jagged piece of wood thrashed off the boat. He looked down to his forearm, where a wound gushed openly. He rose to his feet, grabbed the side of the boat for stability. Blood mixed with water and suddenly he is covered in his own red.

    I am no different from these men around me. The thought was murderous to his conscious. They were maybe twenty feet from the waterspout, closer and closer, the noise ripped through the psyche of the crew. Some abandoned ship to drown, and some prayed, uselessly, as they were sucked from the ship.

    Kallikrates sunk to his knees in defeat and just watched as the cyclone destroyed his mighty craft, ripping through every plank of wood, inch by inch. He closed his eyes, soft tears fell from the man as he waited for his death; he did not pray or cry out, for what good would it do? As his limbs were being pulled in different directions he felt himself being sucked in all ways and vaulted into the sky. His last thought was a want; it was to be in his kingdom, hunting with his real father as they had so loved to do.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Mark Ruyley - Untitled

    It was hot that day. And not just ordinary hot, because it was always hot where we were from, but the kind of heat that caused waves of burnt air to float up from the cracks in the earth. Sweat ran down the back of my neck and tickled me like a hundred hungry ants.

    These were the sort of details I could still recall from my childhood. As few as they were, I remembered them vividly. The muddy taste of the brownish water from the well. Oh, and that filthy, fetid smell. The feeling – like snakes in my stomach – when the militia took me away to fight. I remember the pitiless kick of the 1947 model Kalashnikov rifle as it recoiled against my shoulder. These were the details I still recalled from my childhood. But this day, this murderously hot summer day, I remembered best.

    I was only fourteen. My soldiering days were over on account of the bullet I had taken in my now useless left arm. I returned home to see my family after I was discharged. My mother was not home that day. She was nowhere. I felt my chest rise up into my throat, and choke me. Though I was deeply hurt, I was not surprised. I knew she would not be coming back. I was a child born of rape. I always loved my mother very much, but she held little room in her heart for me. I went inside our one-roomed home and I found my brother asleep on a bed of old American newspapers. He was only eight years old, and he was very ill. Too ill to speak, and nearly too ill to stand. I sat down beside him. That night, we quietly left our little village.

    We spent the next two weeks at a Red Cross refugee camp about two days walk from there. Every day was as inhumanly, miserably hot as the first. My brother was still very sick. Everyone at the camp was sick. That’s what I remember the best – the coughing. All day and every night, the wet hacking coughs. And the faces, too. I looked around at the faces of the bereaved and hopeless, the down-trodden and deplored, the hungry and the despairing. It was surreal.

    Most of the people were either very old or very young; the war had swallowed up almost everyone in between. And the food? Oh, it was almost as bad as what I had to eat in the army. Not quite, but almost. The unspoken agreement was that the refugee camp was a place where one resigned themselves to wait out the rest of their wretched lives. “It’s better than starving,” they would say, justifying their defeat. No, I couldn’t surrender, leaving my brother to die like that. Not when he was the only person I had left. And so we waited.

    By the fourteenth day my brother had become deathly sick. He could hardly open his eyes and I winced as I saw his ribs poking through his sides. I waved away the flies that had begun to gather on his face – it was finally our turn to see the doctor.

    And so they came to us that afternoon. There were two, a man and a woman. I remember first being stricken by how pale they were, just like in the newspapers. Their hair was light and fair. The man was tall, broad and walked in that way that commanded attention; the women’s cheeks were a soft and red and she had two eyes like pale glass.

    They came to us, and took us to the tents. I remember the cool metal of the stethoscope as it touched my chest and the funny, ticklish feeling of the blood pressure meter as it released its grip on my arm. They spoke to each other in a language I didn’t understand – American.

    Years later I would learn that their names were Matt and Helen and they were from a smaller town in southern Minnesota. They were in their early thirties, back then. They had met one afternoon in medical school after Matt had stepped on Helen’s toe in line at the library, and they were married soon afterwards. When she was 23 Helen was in a car crash. The doctors told her she would never have children. They took a mission trip to central Africa after that.

    I will always remember the day we met them; their voices, their scent. The soft, deliberate way they embraced each other, like a breeze cutting the violent desert heat. We left the refugee camp that day and were sent away on a plane. Helen gently stroked my good hand while Matt and the other doctors worked feverishly to save my brother. I remember the needles and cords and tubes, the sound of urgent desperation in their voices. He would recover, soon enough, but they weren’t sure back then. No one was. “We’re going to St. Paul,” Helen said, with a smile “We’re going home.” That much I understood. Really, that was the one thing I was sure of - I would remember this day. The day we found our real parents.
  10. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Fullmetal Xeno - Blood and Discovery

    The air was cold. The misty fog covered up the sights of the few people who were scouting the area. Emri watched as the fog continued to interconnect in the air, and quickly thickening. Her dark cyan hair swayed in the heavy wind that had gusted around. Soon after she noticed the air gusting stronger , her feet became colder. She stared at her feet shaking and struggling to stay up. She soon collapsed to the cold, hard grass. Two men quickly run toward her, making sure she was ok. They soon carried her back inside the Kingdom. After a few moments of silence, the two men left the sickbed she was on and a dark figure came through the door. As the candles sparkled around the the top of the wax, the reflection hit the dark figure's armour. Emri soon realized it was the Captain. He had been looking for her all day, worried he asked her:
    "What have you been doing all day? I have been worried sick about you!"

    Emri felt too weak to react properly. Her bones soon began to stiffen. She hesitated in her voice for a few seconds, then spoke. "I-I have been watching the Scouts pick up the dead bodies all morning. Everything seems too dark for me to be going along with the day. I feel too weak to respond to you, alltho..." Her voice started to tremble.. "I-I-I really want to explain why everything seems so gray." Her throat itched and she began to cough. The Captain just sat there and watched quietly as she suffered from her throat problems. "Poor girl" he said. "I know the Kingdom has been at War for a consecutive 17 years. and not one good thing has came out of it! But as of right now, im safe to say we have found your parents." Emri half-open eyes began to widen. Her hands try to rise, but it resisted. She tried to speak, but her voice sounded too weak to speak clearly. Then, after a few attempts she had a decent voice. "You-you found my--my parents? Her body began to shake more then normal. The Captain just nodded. The Captain soon got up and didn't say another word. His boots made the only sound and for a few moments, he stood and watched Emri's facial expression. He nodded again, and the door made a big boom afterwards. Emri could recall the day she lost her parents. The day when one of the great cities of her Kingdom was invaded and the villages were destroyed. After a few more hours, Emri fell asleep. She soon began to have a dream, a dream where these parents weren't her real parents. Or it was just a mishap. After many visions of unpleasant fates, she awoke the next morning. When she thought it was just her, a small gleaming particle of light went to her eyes. The gate roared, and all she heard was: "Emri, we have a surprise for you." Her jaw dropped and her eyes grew wide.
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