Monthly Short Story Winner: Time Travel
It’s time again to reveal the winner of our monthly short story contest. Each month we pick a theme and ask our members to write a story based on that theme. Anyone can join and anyone can vote for the winner.
April’s contest theme was: Time Travel.
This month we’re going to do something a little different – a little bit science fiction. This past weekend saw the return of that ever-eternal, face-changing, companion-shifting, blue-box wielding rogue we all know as The Doctor. So, in celebration I thought we could do something that involves the past (and the future), big (or small) machines and the distortion of space itself. That’s right – this month’s writing contest theme is…Time Travel.
As the man himself puts it, “Time isn’t a straight line. It’s all…bumpy-wumpy. There’s loads of boring stuff. Like Sundays and Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons. But now and then there are Saturdays. Big temporal tipping points when anything’s impossible.” – Eleventh Doctor
Your challenge this month is to write a story, in whatever combination of genre you like – but it must include time travel as a core element. (Fan fiction is not allowed.) Once again, I’m going to open the contest to both prose and poetry as I’m excited to see what you guys can do!
1. This can be prose or a poem. Be creative.
2. ‘Time Travel’ must be a core element in your piece.
3. Prose must be 500-2000 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.
You can see all the contest entries here. And our winner this month is Arry! Congratulations!
– – –
It began with silence on a black screen that was replaced by pumping, high energy music and a barrage of colors swirling, shifting until they formed the words “Havoc Battle Time”.
The music faded, the screen changed to show a colorfully dressed man running across a black stage, pumping his arms above his head.
His strong booming voice bellowed, “Welcome to this week’s HAVOC!” The man raised an eyebrow, his face showing he was eagerly anticipating what was to come. “All wagers are now CLOSED and the contest will BEGIN!” Cheers erupted from an unseen audience. “As you remember, last week our contestants were chosen.” A drum roll replaced the music.
“Contestant One this week…” The drum roll quickened until it became a steady thrum.
* * *
Gunnar stood solemnly in front of the newly raised runestone, remembering his fallen comrades. The air around him began to shimmer and everything had the look of being seen through water. The scenery was warping and moving until the ground beneath him fell away.
Gunnar began to twist and turn, arms waving, reaching for anything, legs swinging, searching for ground. The air thickened. It pressed in on him, then abruptly the maelstrom of colors subsided, the ground found his feet, his arms lowered and his breath became less frantic. The world reformed, but his eyes widened as nothing appeared as it had before.
Gone were the fields, the trees, and the runestone. His eyes tried to focus on his now stationary surroundings, but a bright light blinded him as he cringed and squinted trying to make sense of the strangeness.
Gunnar heard a voice so loud he cringed again.
Turning in a circle, Gunnar took on a fighting stance; he tried to determine where the voice came from. He also heard a mass of people cheering and screaming, but they were nowhere in sight. It seemed to be everywhere all at once making him look up to what should have been a cloud filled sky.
“And Contestant Two…” The Voice paused to allow himself a quick laugh.
Gunnar shook his head, unsure of what to make of the dark space above, when he saw a shimmering in the distance. Instinctively, he took a step back. From the shimmer appeared a creature unlike any he had ever seen before.
He gasped and cried out, “Dreki!”
The omnipresent laughter stopped and The Voice returned, “A Pteranodon!”
Gunnar now focused on the dragon, unnerved by The Voice and the foreign surroundings. As the creature spread its wings and let out an ear piercing cry, Gunnar took another step back and looked for cover.
Light appeared, displaying oddly colored bright objects scattered about an otherwise black room. There were balls and cylinders and other things he could not begin to guess. He heard a humming noise to his right. Looking he found a strange metal sculpture of sorts about the size of a dog moving towards him as if it were a boat on water, but there was not water to be seen.
Then a voice, not The Voice, but a voice, came from the faceless sculpture. It spoke in his language. “Greetings, Viking! Welcome to this week’s Havoc! As you can see, your opponent has just arrived.”
Gunnar looked at the dragon to see it struggling and thrashing as it tried to unfurl its wings.
“At the completion of the battle, if you succeed in defeating your opponent, The Pteranodon….” Cheers and laughter rose again forcing the voice to pause. When they subsided, it began speaking again, “…you will be returned to your time just as you left with great stories of how you slew the beast! If you do not….”
Gunnar heard the laughter surrounding him again, still unable to locate the people it was coming from.
“Well, you know. No need to worry about that. Since the odds are currently stacked in your opponents favor, we will start you with this.” A metal arm extended presenting to him an axe, held as an offering. “You may find other things of use scattered about the course.”
Gunnar’s eyes kept racing from the axe and the sculpture holding it, to the dragon and occasionally up at what should have been sky. He got a hold of himself and snatched the axe. He retreated, scrambling behind one of the brightly colored cylinders. Leaning against it, it was a strange material, smoother, slicker than any leather he had come across.
Peering around the side, he could see the dragon’s wings were no longer hampered and were spread to a mind numbing width. Gunnar glanced at the small axe and decided to attack the wings first while wishing to wake up from this impossibility.
The sculpture had retreated, a large bell sounded and The Voice spoke again, “HAVOC TIME!!! Contestants GO!”
Gunnar watched as the dragon took off, but it flailed as it hit an obstruction above. It appeared to be looking for a way out, testing various spots on the ceiling and sides. The space was wider and taller than any castle Gunnar had seen. At the moment the dragon was too preoccupied with finding a means of escape to notice him.
The Voice returned, “It seems the Pteranodon needs a little help finding his opponent.” The Voice dripped with disappointment. “Dinosaurs…no wonder they are extinct.”
Laughter and cheers erupted again. Gunnar, still squatting behind the cylinder felt the ground shift beneath him. The cylinder rolled away and he was hurled up in the direction of the dragon. A brightly colored log appeared from above and rammed the dragon, causing it to look to where Gunnar now lay just yards away.
Gunnar rushed to his feet, disoriented and unsure what had caused him to be thrown across the arena. He didn’t trust his footing but scrambled away, keeping his axe between him and the dragon. He tried to put some distance between them while he formulated more of a plan. He looked down at his axe then up at the dragon. Its wings looked quite huge. His axe looked quite small. To use the axe, he had to get close. Very close. Something he had no desire to do. His heart racing, he decided to break to the right in hopes of being able to get a clean strike. The dragon flapped its wings in a display of fury. It took flight, eyes keen and focused on Gunnar.
Gunnar spotted a large blue cube nearby. He ran towards it, the dragon swooped down with its talons extended towards him. Diving behind the cube, one of the talons sheared his shoulder, as the other caught in the cube. While the dragon’s wings frantically flapped, trying to break free of the cube, Gunnar tried to swipe at its wing. His axe barely made purchase as he was knocked to the ground. He was waiting for fire to reign down upon him when he saw glint of something metallic and long. He raced towards it as the dragon continued to struggle to free itself.
After testing the weight of the newfound javelin in his hand for a brief moment, Gunnar took his shot. The dragon was speared in the eye, up through to his brain. Blood and fluid oozed from around the shaft, and it let out one final scream before it collapsed into a broken pile.
The battle was over. Gunnar raised his arms in victory to the sound of cheering (and some booing). Then the shimmering returned and he once again found himself in the in-between before landing in front of the runestone. He was below the cloud filled sky he had left just moments, hours, or perhaps seconds ago. He was unsure. The only proof that the bizarre battle happened was the damage done to his shoulder.
* * *
The scene with the downed Pteranodon faded to black, and the colorful announcer ran back on to the stage, arms waiving wildly. “The Viking wins it! Who would have guessed, huh? Those of you that did made out very well. And those of you that didn’t…well, at least you can watch your Contestant up next as teams of chefs compete to create the best Pternanodon dish! Ohh! Sounds delicious!”
Cheers from the unseen crowd erupted.
“And now, before we call a close to Havoc Time, let’s see who our contestants will be next week, shall we?”
Two giant colorful wheels appeared from behind him and moved to either side. He reached out with both arms and spun both wheels at once. As their spinning slowed, the music quickened. The man moved in front to watch and called them out as they ground to a halt.
“Contestant One will be…Conquistador!”
Cheers erupted again, but silenced as the second wheel came to a stop.
“Contestant Two will be…Gigantopithecus! A 10 foot ape, weighing in over 1,000 pounds!”
The crowd oohed and ahhed at the picture displayed.
“Wagers for next week will open in an hour, so think carefully! But in the mean time, while we wait for our cleaning crew to prepare the meat for our chefs, it’s time to?” The man cupped a hand to his ear as he leaned forward.
Music blasted and the crowd exploded in a glorious chant, “DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!”
– – –
Congratulations again to Arry! If you’d like to enter our monthly writing contest, check out our forum for more information. Happy Writing!