1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Winner AxleMAshcraft Short Story Contest 102: Pre-Written Scenario

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Oct 10, 2011.

    Note: All participants in this contest were required to start their stories using the same pre-written paragraph. Congratulations to AxleMAshcraft, the winner of this contest with the entry "Because Lies are Dangerous".


    I’m what they call a drifter, but this wasn’t always the case. Now they call me Wolfhammer, and I loosely call the circus home. For what it’s worth, back in Germany, I used to be called Gerhard. I bide my time because I know what is to come. It’s all happening exactly as she said it would.
    I was sixteen when she had called me over. Had looked me in the eyes, looked in the eyes of a budding teen and told me things that I would never be able to forget. My intoxication with the circus arose then. There wasn’t even a spark before she had told me these things.
    “Son.” She muttered under her breath, the skin of her sagging neck moving with every word she spoke. Old blankets covered her old body when roughly weighed down a rocking chair on the back of one of the carefully colored circus wagons. “Gerhard.” She repeated, picking my name out of what seemed like thin air. “What do you want with your life?”
    I stood blank for a moment. What was there to say to something like this? What could I possibly say that would sum up the entirety of what I wanted my life to be in but a few sentences? I knew it was wrong, that this wasn’t the answer I should be responding to her, but my youth caught hold of me and took the adult words away: “Success. Love.” I paused. “But mostly love.”
    I sensed her looking at the straight brown hair that cascaded over my face. At the freckles that covered my flesh. At the brown of my eyes, so average, so normal. I sensed her glancing past me, at a group of other teens that I was supposed to be with. They stared in shock, unable to cope with that fact that I was indeed talking to this woman who had beckoned me up to her.
    “The red-head, in the back. With the black skirt. Yes?” She said, carefully scanning the group.
    The one she spoke of was Helene. She knew my secrets, we talked for hours and at one point, we had kissed. But the moment was lost. Because she was leaving soon and unlike her, I would be stuck here forever. In the no-man’s land I called home. Where German hills rolled on for miles with nothing to obstruct the horribly boring view. Helene was leaving…the rationality was more than I could dare to rationalize.
    “A good friend…” I trailed off, looking at the woman again. Her wrinkles reached up, creating what some might mistake as a smile across her face.
    “She will be your life.” I smiled, the prospect of this wasn’t something I horribly dreaded. I liked her. “But not in the way you think.” She continued, her voice growing lower. “You will follow her, but not as a husband and hardly as a friend. You will be her protector. Because what could happen to her in the real world, outside of this quaint village, is enough to kill her.” My mouth when dry. “But you’ll be with her forever. Your graves will sit next to each other, the date bore on the front will be the same. Down to the very last of moments.”

    “Helene!” I screeched, racing down the hard packed dirt of which they called a road. The lights and sounds of the circus in the background rattled in my head like a nightmare, like a taunt. Everything was supposed to be better here. Everything was supposed to be better than that little village but in this moment, there is nothing that I could want more. Nothing that sounded more appealing that that little village full of people with open doors and no secrets.
    But Helene had secrets, she had a dark side. Everyone does, but hers was violent and reached out of the depths behind her beautiful little eyes and hauled down her soul.
    “Helene!” I said again, watching the wind whip past her, fanning out her hair behind her back, closing her eyes and making her face melt to one of calmness. Her toes inched more over the edge, the rushing water under the bridge loud and black in the night.
    Her eyes opened, she looked toward me, her mouth falling open but a little bit. I felt like I almost heard her call, “No.” But I couldn’t be certain.
    I was still running, yet nothing I could do could propel me forth fast enough. I was breathless, my chest raging against me. I reached for her arms but she was already falling downward. The cold black water seemed to jump up toward her, welcoming her with icy cold, welcoming arms.
    My breathing almost stopped, the wind taking it away, the expression in her eyes haunting as I leapt to where she was standing but moments before.
    The rocked slipped from under my foot. The world tilted violently. My times flashed before me, the voice of the elderly woman ringing in my ears as loud as the carnival music behind me. The air rushed past, the water rushed up. My eyes closed, my lungs released all their air. My mouth filled with cold water.
    “You will find that what you thought you loved this very summer is a creature that you will never know. You are like a wolf, protecting it’s child from the cold world, but nothing you do can ever protect this child from itself.” She had taken another breath, the pause wearing on. “Your confusion is understandable, but in time, you will understand something other than confusion. You will understand the dangers that lurk in your own soul. The temptation…”

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