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Author Topic: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread  (Read 5697 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« on: April 02, 2014, 10:01:28 AM »
This time we're trying something a bit different!
I'm going to give you two characters and your story has to be about/include one of them to qualify.


Old playing cards - wikipedia


Jake
has a unique ability. He sometimes answers questions before they are asked - not knowing what he will say until he has said it. Often things he couldn't really have known. This ability has proven disastrous more often than not, keeping him constantly on the move.
He has just arrived at a new city, hoping to manage a longer stay than in the last. Keeping a low profile would help, but his money's nearly spent and he's in desperate need of a job.


Lynn has an equally unique ability. Maybe disability is a better word though. She's unable to lie and so are people in close proximity to her. Since lies, and even more so white lies, are the grease our social world needs to work properly, she's not a person people like to have around. But she can't help it. She has to stay in the city and her job requires her to be among people.


Nothing about age, looks, personality or profession here. It's up to you to craft believable and/or entertaining characters. Bring them to life!

Rules:

1. This must be prose.
2. The story must contain (at least) one of the two characters. Not necessarily POV but not only mentioned in a half sentence either.
4. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
6. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
7. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
8. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.

Entry will close April 30st 2014 and voting will begin May 1st 2014.*

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website in June 2014.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.

*I seem to never be home around the end of month, so please excuse if I'm not always on time (which is hard in an international contest with all the time zones anyways. ;))
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline TOMunro

Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 11:45:03 PM »
Hey, I get to be first.  It is, I think just about on brief (after a couple of edits). A dark piece, but that's just how it turned out.  I could have entered it for last month's as well!  Some coarse language.  (1497 words)
I'm on twitter at to munro@tomunro

Witness Lynn

Lynn knew he would ask, though she was surprised at how quickly he came out with it.  Then again, telling the future wasn’t her gift.  The door to the waiting chamber had barely slid shut behind the departing Sentinel Marcus before the soldier chipped in.

“Hey, Lady,” he said.  “When this thing is done, what say you and I check out a local bar, maybe get to know each other?”

“No.” She kept her voice cool.  “That’s not how it works, Sergeant.”

“What, you don’t like me?”

Shit, a direct question.  She let him have both barrels, relaxed as the truth drove her words. “Your physique is not unappealing, but the body odour makes me want to retch even if it does at least mask the halitosis, however nothing can compensate for your crude humour and crass insensitivity.”

“Jesus,” he breathed.  “You are one ball breaking piece of shit lady.”

“It’s my job. It’s my nature. Get over it. I have.”

“No need to enjoy it so much though.”

“Lying is agony, even equivocation is painful.  I’d rather the truth hurt you, than a lie pained me.”

“Equivo..what,” he laughed.  “Ain’t ever tried that position, but I’m game if you are.”

“What is it with you soldiers?” she stormed.  “Do you really think you’re going to get to tell your mates and future misguided partners 'hey I went with a witness and she said I was fantastic, so it must be true. You know those dames can’t lie.’”  She shook her head violently. “We don’t do fucking endorsements, and if you were to get with me then, without a word of a lie I can say you’d be the worst I’d ever had.”  He would also be the best, but she hurried on before he could work that one out.  “A man’s going to die today, maybe you should think about that a little bit more than what’s in your trousers, which in my honest opinion does appear to be a little bit.”

The sergeant swallowed hard.  “He’s not a man, he’s a monster.  The death he’s got coming is far too easy.”

She pinched the bridge of her nose.  “The law is the law.”

“The law is a fucking circus and you’re just the star turn, lady.”

The door slid open and the Sentinel returned.  She sighed her relief. The old man quickly discerned the tension in the air.  “What’s been going on?” He rounded on the soldier.  “Have you been talking to the Witness.”

“I ain’t said ..,” the sergeant started to sweat, but Marcus quickly turned to Lynn. 

“What happened, Witness?”

“The Sergeant propositioned me Sentinel, I refused him.”

Marcus puffed with inflated dignity.  “Your superiors will hear of this.”

“Whatever,” the sergeant shrugged.

“Come Witness Lynn, they are ready for you now.”

It was a relief to leave the room, even if the real ordeal still lay ahead.  It was a small holding cell and the little man sitting in the red overalls did not look like the greatest mass murderer in the history of The Federation.  But the peace treaty had said he was, and the peace treaty said he had to die, and for every execution there must be a Witness, a genetically modified truth teller who would personally witness and testify to his demise.  In an age of image tampering, witness bribery, and remote justice, it was essential that the known worlds could trust a sentence was carried out.

Sometimes Lynn wished she’d got assigned to business contracts, hours locked in dusty rooms witnessing every detail of negotiations and contracts.  Tedious yes, but at least you didn’t have to lie handcuffed to a man while he died.

“This is ex-senator Pangor,” the guard by the prisoner announced.

“Hand,” Marcus commanded.  The man extended his manacled arms, fingers stretched out while Lynn took the genetic identity sampler from her belt and pressed the nozzle against his palm.

“This will hurt,” she said.

“If you say so, Witness,” he grinned.

She pressed the trigger. He could not quite stifle the yelp as the instrument gouged its sample from his skin, smaller than a pea, bigger than pin head.  He licked his bleeding palm while she checked the readings matched.  “Hurts like hell, and bleeds like it’s never going to stop,” he said conversationally.  Then with a smile he added, “still you’ve got ways to sort that haven’t you?”

She looked him in the eye.  “You’ll be dead in an hour; the bleeding should stop then.”

“Hey, what’s the hurry?  Don’t I get my three questions first?”

She frowned trying to work out if she had to answer, but Marcus spoke for her.  “You are entitled to ask up to three questions, yes, but only to prove that Lynn is a genuine witness qualified to attend your execution.”

She blinked. “Get on with it, Mr Pangor.”

“Mister?” he smiled.  “Jees, I have come down in the world.  OK question number one, what does it feel like to lie?”

“I don’t know.”

“No, dumb broad, I mean what is it like when you try to lie?”

“I can’t.  If I try to delay answering my mouth goes dry, my heart races, my head hurts, I feel sick.  If I wait too long I throw up.  Once, when I tried to lie I tried to say that two plus two came to five, I was so sick I fainted before I even got the first three words out.”

“Okay, question two. What does it feel like to watch a man die?”

“You know that more than I,” she said, sweat breaking on her brow.  She glanced at Marcus for help.

“These are stupid questions,” the old man blustered.  “”They prove nothing, I insist you withdraw.”

“My questions, my entitlement, it’s the law, now let the bitch answer.”

“It feels odd,” she said.  “The first time was shocking, sickening, worse than trying to lie.  The fourth the fifth, you get used to it.  You get used to anything, not happy, not comfortable, just accustomed.”

He stretched back in his chair.  “See little Miss Witness, we’re not so different you and I.  Accustomed? yeah, that’s pretty much it.” 

“Last question,” Marcus insisted.

Pangor leant forward so suddenly, Lynn recoiled in her chair.  “Last question,” the war criminal repeated.  “What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?”

“I protest.” Marcus’s cry was cut short as the prisoner reached out his manacled hands and pulled the old man’s head into the crook of his armpit, squeezing tight before the guards could even move. 

“Shut it old man, they move and I snap your neck and suddenly there’s another old fool doesn’t get to outlive me.  Now let the bitch answer my question and then I’ll let us all get on with today’s little business.”

Lynn was sweating, gripped by an emotional saunter down memory nightmare that was as sickening as the strain of lying.  But it was a short walk to the experience that haunted her still.  “It was when they told me, my foster parents. When they told me what I was, how I was made, what I was for.  I was seven years old.”

“Good answer.”

Marcus struggled free as Pangor relaxed his grip.  The Sentinel coughed and spluttered red faced while the guards, suddenly stirred from their paralysis of powerlessness, laid heavy hands on the prisoner’s shoulders.  He submitted to the rough handling with indifference, eyes fixed on Lynn.  “Let’s do this thing then, pretty lady.”

They brought in the two gurneys. Lynn lay on one, Pangor on the other, they manacled her left wrist to his right forearm so that she could rest her fingers on his wrist.

“What are you doing? That tickles,” he said.

“I need to feel your pulse,” she answered.

“That’s right lady, you count those heartbeats every little one.”

The doctor arrived to fasten the drip into Pangor’s other arm.  Brisk and business-like.

“You know, I always wanted to die in bed with a beautiful woman,” Pangor said.  “I’m not sure if this quite qualifies.”

“Ready to begin the infusion,” the doctor announced.

“Last questions, Witness Lynn,” Pangor said

“You don’t have to answer,” Marcus growled, his voice deepened by his bruised throat.

“Do you enjoy your job?”

“Sometimes.”

“What about today?”

“No.”

“Infusion going in on a count of three… two… one.. now.”

“The thing is, Witness Lynn, everyone knows the truth is what you say you see, but what you see it ain’t always the tru…”

His voice faded, his pulse, which had been steady throughout slowed and stopped.  They waited, and waited until his skin was cool to the touch, and then they unmanacled her.  She faced the video camera blinking in the corner of the room and declared, “my name is Witness Lynn, and I have just observed the sentence of death duly carried out on ex-Senator Augustus Pangor. Justice is served.”

The doctor, the guards and Marcus echoed the mantra of the federation.
   
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 12:52:17 AM by TOMunro »

Offline Wizardly-K9

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Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 04:30:29 AM »
Looks like I'm number two. Time for my debut, I guess.  :) (1283 words)

Dom's Treasure

When Soft Shoe Duncan made a visit back to his home town it usually meant that someone important was going to die. In this rare case, it meant someone was going to be caught. Posters had been plastered all over the ghettos of Rockefaw. Each potrait seemed to have been drawn by a different artist, but they all shared the image of a bearded men with lazy eyes and the name "Jake" brushed in messy letters below.

"Whoever brings me that sack of cat-shit tonight gets liquor, gold, and the best whores coin can buy!" Duncan hollered from his table in the tavern.

"What about the whores on your lap, Duncan?" one of his lot asked.

"I don't bother with the best coin can buy. I like my women cheap and filthy!"

One of the women warming Duncan's lap giggled as he rubbed his face in her cleavage. It encouraged a glorious laugh from everyone in the tavern, save for one precocious tavern girl. Duncan called out to her.

"Lynn! Come over here and enjoy the ale."

Lynn looked at him with a repulsed look on her face. "I'd rather bathe with the dogs in the boonies, Duncan."

A silence hushed over the tavern. Nobody spoke to Soft Shoe Duncan like that, but Lynn couldn't help but to. Not with the curse she bore. The silence was broken by Duncan's cackles.

"That's why I love this girl; she can't hold back that feisty viper in her throat! I'll bed you sooner than you think Lynn, just you wait!"

The tavern was filled with laughs again, save for Lynn's scowl. Her curse spread to others and caused them to speak only the truth, no matter how vile. Though there was no person she wished would keep his tongue to himself than Duncan. She refilled the cups with ale at one of the tables filled with drunken smugglers, and left for the kitchen. As soon as she entered she saw somebody else leave from the back door. It was a short somebody else. She put down the plate she was carrying and followed them.

"Feel like eating this?" Katt asked setting the plate down in front of the man slumped in the alley.

The man scooped up one of the rolls and starting scarfing it down. He ate so quick that crumbs dropped onto his beard. He nearly choked, but Katt helped him by slamming him in the gut.

The man rubbed his stomach. "Thanks, boy."

"My name is Katt, and I'm a man not a boy."

"You haven't even got hair on your balls yet, and you have the nerve to call yourself a man?" Lynn asked from the back door.

Katt looked back at her, with his sharp eyes glaring. He tried to rebuttal that he already had a full bush near his genitals, but ended up saying "My sack is as clean as it was when I was a babe," and clamped his mouth shut. Lynn smiled.

"Better keep your tongue still as stone when you're around me, Katt." She looked at the bearded man. "Who are you?"

The man took a deep breath before saying "A man in the alley."

"Ah. You're clever. You should be in politics instead of being fed scraps to a boy in an alley."

"He's going to tell me where Dom's Treasure is if I help him escape Duncan," Katt said.

"So you're the one Duncan's after. You know where the late Dom's Treasure is?"

"No, but I can tell you if you ask. I might even tell you before you ask. It's my curse," Jake said raising his hand to reveal a spade with thorns caging it.

"Join the club," Lynn said, pulling down her neck collar to show a heart caged by thorns.

Jake's mouth was ajar. He had so much to ask Lynn, but that was all disrupted by the phrase he spouted.

"Duncan's found me!"

Even he didn't know what it meant until he saw salty men mosey into the alley. Some from the street. Others from the back door, pushing Lynn aside while they passed. She saw Duncan who licked his lips at the sight of her.

"It looks like I'll be bedding you sooner than I thought." He left Lynn to her panic and focused on Jake.

Katt tried to defend him, but only got Duncan's boot in his cheek in exchange. He drew his sword and held it an inch from Jake's retina.

"It's been a while Jake. I don't know why you ran last time."

"Because you tortured me for information about Dom's Treasure!"

"Yeah. And you managed to bite your tongue, still. Luckily, I have a charm to get your gums loose."

Duncan's men dragged Lynn over to him and Jake. Jake bit his lip. He knew he wouldn't be able to lie around Lynn.

"Now, to resume our trivia from last time." Duncan grinned. "Where is Dom's Treasure?"

Lynn saw Jake's lip quivering. Nobody in her presence could escape her curse.

"Dom's Treasure..." Jake began. "Is right here."

Duncan blinked. "What?"

"The boy you just kicked - Katt. He is Dom's bastard son, who's name he chose not to share because he didn't want to bring him harm. Katt was Dom's Treasure."

The news shocked everyone in the alley, but none more so than Katt, who let the shock distance him from the pain on his cheek.

"Dom the Privateer was my old man?" he asked.

"Are you shitting me?" Duncan asked grabbing Jake's tunic and shaking him. "Some orphan brat who steals tips off of tables in a dirty tavern is the legend Dom left behind?"

One of Duncan's men grew unkindly. "What about our pay Soft Shoe?" he asked. "We were supposed to get wealthy off of this!"

Duncan sighed. These men only cared about booty and booty. They were simple minded and easy to fool. He planned to tell them that he would find another cache for them to split, but instead said "I never planned to split the treasure with you fools to begin with. I was going to take the treasure, buy the finest ship money could afford, and sail off with some freshly bought wenches."

He clamped his mouth shut. He heard Lynn giggle. It was the first time she ever laughed at anything Duncan said.

"You bitch!" he exclaimed.

He raised his sword, but before he could swing, one of his not so loyal men grabbed his arm. Duncan tried to fight him off, but the rest of the crew joined in. They pinned Duncan to the wall and began lynching him. Lynn took the opportunity to grab Katt and Jake and run off before things got uglier.

The trio left the alley, and didn't stop until they reached Lynn's home where they didn't bother to stay for the night. Not when Katt's parentage as Dom's son was going to be spread by some drunken smugglers. They needed to escape the town and escape sight for a while. A task hindered somewhat by Jake and Lynn's curses, but they managed to cope.

It was almost half a decade later, and the three ended right back at another tavern with unruly regulars. Jake worked in the back alley of the tavern, known as fortune teller with legendary accuracy. Lynn served the regulars with the same scowl on her face. She was popular for her frank and insulting comments, always encouraging chortles out of the customers; even if it was at their expense. Occasionally, she would ask the hawk-eyed lute player "Have you grown any hairs in your lower chambers yet?"

Katt would always strum his lute and answer with silence.


« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 03:18:43 AM by Wizardly-K9 »
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Offline Maxfield

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Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2014, 04:31:58 PM »
Written by James Parkes   

Berlynn Brown


“YES BABY – YESSSSS!” Carl shrieked out over jubilantly; orgasming into an exhausted sweat heap into my pillow. Slightly panting and filled with confidence, my sexy neighbour then asked me, “Was that good for you baby?” 
   
You idiot!

Why men must asked such a pathetic question after sex is beyond me? The only problem that I have now is - that I’m going to have to tell him the truth.

So what’s the problem with that you may ask? If they succeeded in finding that pleasurable place that has alluded most men over the centuries, then there’s no problem in feeding their tiny ego’s by telling them that they were fucking amazing, so they can exult in the fact that were able to find the clitoris. Or in Carl’s case – lie!

Because let’s face it who would tell that person to their face that they had a better chance of making a lesbian feminist cum. Step forward Berlynn Brown (me) – the girl who can’t lie.

Why can’t I lie? I don’t know. I just can’t. And before you even try telling me it’s good to be honest – you try it. Because believe me, no one likes to be told the truth.

This curse began the day I could recognise the difference between a lie and the truth. At first people laughed at the little cute girl who would own up to everything – “I did it. It was me.” But as I grew up I realised that not being able to lie was a big disadvantage in this world.

It was ok being told off for something that I did, as my parents were proud that I would own up to it and therefore wouldn’t be so hard on me. But it was my brother who was punished the most, especially when my parents would always ask me if he was telling the truth. I wanted to lie – to protect my brother, but I just couldn’t. My brother thought I was little snitch and over the years he resented me. We don’t talk anymore. 

But it wasn’t just the fact that I couldn’t lie. It was how I went about it. If someone asked me a question; I couldn’t just give them a quick response, I had to tell them how I really felt. The kind of thing that you really should keep to yourself, but no, without thinking my mouth would open and out it came: inappropriate, offensive, sarcastic, detailed, throat-cutting, go fuck-yourself – the whole truth!   

For example, if someone asked me if I thought it would rain today, instead of saying I’m not sure; I would say, “Oh I am sorry, did you miss my weather report on TV – of course you did! That’s because I’m not a fucking weather girl – dickhead. So why would I know if it’s going to rain or not? If it looks like it’s going to rain, then there’s a good chance that it bloody will.”

After a while people stop asking you questions, especially my mum. She used to say, “I’ll ask my Berlynn, she always tells me the truth.” But after a while even your own mum can only take so much honesty from the daughter who tells you that you look fat, your hair is awful and I wouldn’t go out looking like a cheap hooker. 

Of course I have tried explaining my predicament to my parents, but ironically they just thought I was lying!

I’ve contemplated going to the Doctors as I got older, but what would be the point? They would either think I was totally insane or would refer me for some scientific experiment if they did believe me. Either way, each outcome sucked.

Personally I blame my parents for this abnormal brain development. In their “rock n roll years” they have openly admitted to indulging in huge amounts of drug taking. Then like any good parent, advise their child not to do the same. Too late parents - I think you have already done the damage.

I also have to live with the embarrassment of them ridiculously naming me Berlynn. And the fact that I can’t fucking lie; I have to explain the origins when people ask (and they always bloody ask) that I was conceived in the capital of Germany and my parents loved the name Lynn – hey presto! 

But if you think life at home was hard. I might as well of had leprosy at school as no one wanted to know me, and the friends that I did manage to make - didn’t last long.

Take for instance my two best friends Hannah and Ava. We were inseparably; but that soon ended the day Hannah made me promise to keep a secret. It wasn’t until Ava asked me what the problem was with Hannah, our friendship was ruined. I couldn’t help myself, even though I knew it would crush Hannah, I had to tell Ava the truth, which was that Hannah spent every day sexually fantasying about the girl she was madly in love with.

No one ever told me any secrets again.

But it hasn’t got any easier since leaving school; my first job was a hospital nurse. People would always ask you, “Do you think I’m going to be ok or am I going to die?” I really was the wrong the person to ask.

My next job was at a retail shop – big mistake, because telling a customer that if she thought she looked fat before entering the shop, then why would squeezing that enormous balloon sized arse into a tight fitting dress would make her look any slimmer. 

I’ve had many jobs!

And if you think keeping jobs was hard work – ask me how many boyfriends I’ve had. Well actually I’ve had loads, but ask me how long I’ve kept a boyfriend for!

Nine days, four hours and two minutes to be precise.

Although I’m not sure that record should count as Ben was an alcoholic, so I couldn’t be certain if he actually knew what I was saying half the time.

But my record has to be Jacob – one hour and eight minutes. He was religious and I’m an atheist – that doesn’t work on any level.

After numerous boyfriends and many, many jobs; I do believe I’ve finally found my place – the city library.

You don’t stand out in a crowd and at work I can actually only tell the truth: “No we don’t have that book. Yes we do have that book; or it’s over there - and I haven’t got a fucking clue where it is!”

It’s the perfect job. It’s just me and two other people. My one and only friend Helen, who just happens to an impulsive lair – it’s the perfect balance. And crazy Jake the caretaker, who has this annoying knack of answering questions you haven’t even asked yet – out loud and very crudely. Let’s just say you don’t want him around when a school bus of children has turned up for a studying session and you’re debating in asking Helen to cover for you, whilst you go for a crap!

So at the age of 34, my life may be a little fucked up - but I think I’m just about passing for a sane person. Now if I can only stop sleeping with idiots.

“NO BABY, NOOOOO!” I yelled back, to the disappointment still between my legs. “It wasn’t good Carl. Even though statistically speaking by-rights someone as hot as you should be an absolute God in bed – but to be honest I only knew that your excuse for a penis was inside me when you started moaning like some deranged walrus. And the reason why I turned my head to one side wasn’t an invite for you to begin slobbering on my earlobe – because Carl honey, no women, not even the ugly ones like that. In fact, the reason why I did turn was to avoid kissing you, because the last time I smelt anything that resembled your breath was when my parent’s dog ate some shit. Thankfully you cum quicker than premature ejaculation, because if I had to have faked enjoying that - I would have received a fucking Oscar!”   

New boyfriend record: 1 minute and five seconds.
 
   

   
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 01:46:33 PM by Maxfield »

Offline Saraband

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Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 10:06:17 PM »
Here is my entry! It has an Arabian Nights flare to it, with a magical lamp and all. Ended up with 1242 words after a few edits. You can follow me on twitter @mgboronha

----

Minding what you wish for


“Mistress, where did this lamp come from?” Lynn asked.

“I don’t know,” she answered, distractedly. “If I knew from where most of this stuff came, I’d have no space left in my head for what really matters.”

The golden lamp was covered in dust, but it still looked somewhat exceptional. The sun, having just risen, glinted softly on its surface. Lynn blew some of the dust, using her sleeve to clean the rest of it.

The bazaar was coming alive by now. It was that day of the week where the city of Milgarb saw its streets filled with merchants, selling all types of wares. Lynn’s mistress owned a little tent, selling antiquities and used wares.

As Lynn cleaned the golden lamp, her reflection became clear. She noticed a small pimple growing just under her right cheek. The mistress caught her looking. “Watching yourself in a mirror, again? How many times must you remind yourself of how awful you look? Now, back to work.”

“I still look twice as beautiful as you,” Lynn answered. And then she realized what had just slipped her tongue, and she covered her mouth. Her face became completely red. Damn, she thought. I must think these things, not say them. Damn, damn, damn.

“That’s it, I’m done with you. Take that old lamp as payment for last week’s useless service, and get out of my sight.”

“Mistress, please, you know I have a problem,” Lynn pleaded. It changed nothing. “Even though what I said is true. Your face looks like a dried pigskin these days.” Oh… no.

As her mistress made for the closest throwable object she could find, the lamp in Lynn’s hands began shaking. She barely noticed it at first, worried about her mistress’ fury. But the lamp became hot, so hot she dropped it on the floor.

The old woman grabbed a metal plate, and threw it. Her aim turned out to be better than that of a veteran archer. As the plate went flying towards an inevitable encounter with Lynn’s head, a humanoid shape coalesced out of the lamp, taking the blow himself. He looked confused enough, but not as half as confused as everyone who just saw a Djinn being summoned in the middle of the street.

“Djinns used to be highly regarded last time I was summoned, but I guess that changed in the last few years.” He scratched his head. His body was made from the same material as the lamp, but his eyes were two glimmering jades. They looked at Lynn. “I am here to award you with a wish, Summoner.”

“Eh… I…” Lynn stuttered. She rubbed her eyes, to make sure this was really taking place. For the first time since she remembered, she was speechless.

“I get the wish, Djinn,” said Lynn’s mistress. “The lamp is mine. The little imp only cleaned it for me, but it was I who summoned you.”

“I’m afraid it was not your touch that summoned me,” the Djinn replied, without turning his head. His gaze was fixed on Lynn. “I admit I am not used to being summoned in the middle of a street, so I must beg the Summoner to be swift with her request. I’m feeling uncomfortable.”

“I don’t know what to wish for,” Lynn said.

“What do you want most in life? Ask anything.”

I’d like to like to be able to lie. At least once in a while. “A rich and handsome husband, so that I may sleep all day without having to work, for the rest of my life.” Wait… What? No. I don’t want that… Or do I?

“Are you certain?”

“Yes.” No! What the hell is my mouth doing? “Wait.”

“What’s wrong, Summoner?” The Djinn looked confused.

“You should have her mouth shut. That way we’ll be spared her stupidity,” the mistress said.

“Why should my mouth become as useless as the fruit between your legs, old crone?” Lynn retorted. A crowd had been gathering nearby, made of the other merchants setting their tents. The mistress was so ashamed she had no answer to give. So she ran out of from behind the counter, pushed through the crowd, pretending she had forgotten something important at home.

“So, what is your wish, Summoner?”

Keep my mouth from saying things I don’t want. “An easy and long life, with enough money to make a flamingo blush.” Dang it. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be too bad.

“Then, by the powers invested in me, I--”

“Are you a man or a woman?” Lynn asked, interrupting him.

“What? Well, I am neither, for I am a Djinn. Amongst my people I am counted as a male, though.”

“Your voice is very weird,” Lynn said. Oh no. Don’t do that. “It reminds me of my young brother. I once kicked his balls very hard, and his voice sounded just like that.”

“My voice sounds nothing like a beardless boy!” The Djinn made an effort to change it, which was worse, for now it was clear that his voice was indeed strange.

“And you don’t look that powerful, actually,” Lynn continued. “I mean, we’ve all heard tales of how the Djinns fought the Gods, and ended up being imprisoned for fear of destroying the world. But you look nothing like someone capable of destroying the world. I wonder if you were even able to destroy this little pimple of mine.”

The Djinn squinted his emerald eyes. A subtle glee revealed his sharp fangs. “Do you wish for me to remove that pimple, Summoner?”

“Actually, I do.” Am I going to waste my wish on a pimple? With all these people watching? Oh gods, kill me now. Kill me or the shame will.

“Then, by the powers invested in me, I grant you your wish, Summoner.” A light flickered from his fingers towards her face, although she felt nothing. The crowd gasped and applauded. She picked the metal plate from the floor, and in the reflection saw the absence of the annoying pimple. “It is done, and so I must return to my slumber.”

“I guess such powerful spell must have left you exhausted,” Lynn said. “Poor little Djinn, the Remover of Pimples.”

The Djinn wasn’t amused. His grin was wiped out. His emerald eyes turned menacing. “Do not fool with me, puny human. I am not your slave.”

“No, you are slave to the gods. They ordered you to grant a single wish, and as the cowardly lapdog that you are, you comply. What a shame. No one will ever rub this lamp again, being better off without your powerful aid.” I should stitch my lips. And learn how to write. At least I’m able to control my own hands.

“So, do you still wish for a rich and powerful husband?” The Djinn asked. The grin had come back.

Oh no. I don’t like that face. “Yes.”

“Then, by the powers invested in me, I grant you your wish.” The light sprang from his fingers once more, lassoing her body. It pulled her to him. “I’ve always wanted a wife.”

“What? Let me go, freak!”

“You’re getting what you wished for. Maybe next time you’ll wish to keep your mouth shut.”

But I do! I do wish to keep my mouth shut!

Both disappeared into the golden lamp. A mysterious gust brought a cloud of dust with it, and when it settled, the magical artifact was gone.
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Offline Danielle Angeli

Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 04:37:56 AM »
Well, I'm finally entering one of the monthly competitions! Glad I did, I had fun writing this.
Word count: 1427
___

The Fox of Ferrir

Well, it had finally happened. His ability had finally driven him out of the country. Ferrir was not so far, to be sure, but it wasn't Luthore. It wasn't home.

Jake kicked at a stone as he stalked down the high street, his hands buried deep in his coat pockets. He had been in Ferrir only a short few hours, and already a hopelessness was settling over him.

He had thought—had hoped—that if he approached the Lord Mayor of the city directly, he’d be able to secure a job. He was still young, after all, and willing to take up any work—any—that the city had on offer. But the meeting with the Lord Mayor went poorly from the start. The pink-cheeked little man had been distracted to say the least; too agitated to even sit at his desk .

"It's this Fox" the Lord Mayor explained as Jake followed him through the parliament courtyard. "He's giving us no end of trouble."

"A fox?" Jake crinkled his brow.

“No, no. Fox, not a fox," the Lord Mayor frowned across at Jake, as though questioning his wits. "Where was it you said you were from, John?"

“Jake,” corrected Jake. ‘Originally from Luthore, my lord, but I'm looking for a job—“

I’m looking for Fox,” the Lord Mayor interrupted. He gave Jake a sidelong look. “You seen him?"

"Er... who is Fox? My lord?"

"Fox,” the Lord Mayor growled with loathing, “is the leader of all the scum in Ferrir. Crooks," he added for clarification. "He has them all working for him—thieves, pickpockets, murderers—you name it."

"Er, right. See, I was looking for a job and I was hoping— "

A door burst open to the right of the courtyard and a young man came scurrying forward. “My Lord Mayor!" he called. "A letter for you. Just arrived."

"Ah, yes." The Lord Mayor turned away from Jake and stretched out a hand, accepting the letter from the breathless youth. “Must be from Hightower. I’ve been waiting all day for…” he trailed off, eyeing the seal. “Mys?” he looked up at the messenger. “Who would be writing from Mys?”

"Your third cousin Margaret," Jake heard himself say. "She moved there last spring, if you recall."

No! No, no, no...!

"Ah yes!” the Lord Mayor nodded. “Margaret! I..." He froze, and turned slowly to stare at Jake. "How...?"

Jake swallowed his irritation at his ability that brought words past his lips without his consent, without even his knowledge—and always, always at the most inconvenient of moments. "Lucky guess," he shrugged.

The Lord Mayor’s eyebrows were hitched high on his forehead. He stared at Jake with new interest, and perhaps a hint of fear. "Yes, well... er, I must be off... witch burning to... oversee... at er, sunset! No jobs going at the moment, I'm afraid… well, good day, John!”

And that was that. Jake sighed, looking up at the setting sun as he dawdled down the cobbled high street. Night would soon fall, and he didn’t have money enough to pay for a bed. With that crushing realisation, he veered his footsteps away from the bustling street and down a long, sloping alley, not knowing or caring where it led.

He wondered how long he would survive as a beggar in this city—he wondered if he would survive the city at all. The folk of Ferrier were rumoured to be curiously superstitious, particularly after the freak fire that destroyed half the city a decade ago was put down to sorcery. Jake was never good at remaining inconspicuous, his ability had seen to that. But he had nowhere left to go...

Distracted, Jake never noticed the gangly man leaning discreetly against the alley wall as he passed, or the plump woman with the partly-torn gown and missing teeth— until the latter tugged firmly on his coat sleeve. Jake nearly jumped out of his skin.

“Didn’t mean to frighten yeh,” said the woman, smiling with what few teeth remained to her. It was all Jake could do not to cringe. “But yeh look like yeh could do with some…comfortin’.” She squeezed her enormous breasts together, as though this might somehow tempt Jake.

"No, thank you." He shrugged her off. "I have no job, and not a penny to spare."

The woman paused, her hands still cupped around her breasts. "Yeh from Luthore?"

"Does it matter?" Jake replied glumly.

The whore looked up at him, a question forming in her light eyes, and just as she opened her mouth to speak, Jake unwillingly blurted an answer. "No, that was a different man."

The whore stepped back in surprise, staring at him wide-eyed. Jake didn’t even bother reaching for a plausible excuse—or any excuse, for that matter. He simply turned to keep walking, but the woman grasped hold of his coat again. "How’d yeh know I was gonnae say that?" She glanced over her shoulder at the gangly man half-hidden in the shadows. "Mevs! E’ knew what I was gonnae say!"

The one named Mevs stalked over. He crossed his arms and jerked his chin at Jake. "How’d yeh know what she was gonnae say?"

Jake, defeated, not caring what they would make of it, merely shrugged.

"E" can read my thoughts, Mevs!’ the whore hissed loudly, "E’ can read my—"

"Hush, woman." Mevs shoved her out of the way and stepped a little closer to Jake. He bent forward, watching him closely. "Who else knows abou’ this?"
 
"In Ferrir?" Jake shrugged again. "Just the Lord—"

Firelight bloomed suddenly at the top of the alley. Jake heard a distant voice shout, "I think that’s him!" … a voice that sounded suspiciously like the Lord Mayor.

"Ah," said Mevs, straightening. "That’d be abou’ right."

"What’s this?" Jake asked shakily, but he needn’t have bothered.

"Sorcerer!" came a second shout from the oncoming thong of bodies and torchlight. "Burn him! Burn him!"

Jake felt his blood turn suddenly cold.

"You still wantin’ a job, then?" Mevs asked him, as though half the city weren't currently marching toward them shouting for his blood.

Jake wasn’t entirely sure he could breathe, let alone answer. I should run, he thought. The alley was long and the mob still far off; he might’ve had time to escape—if only his legs would cooperate.

Mevs looked at his expression and said, "Take tha’ as a yes." He took a few steps backward and rapped hard on a short wooden door in the alley wall. "Rowe, we got a man ‘ere who can read minds. E’s looking for a job, only there’s a mob wantin’ to kill ‘im."

"Send him down," said a bored voice beyond the door.

Jake stared at Mevs in bafflement. He could hear the mob growing closer behind him. His heart was beating unimaginably fast.

"Go," said Mevs, gesturing down the alley with a jerk of his head. "Hurry—we’ll distract ‘em. Erma, get yeh tit’s out."

"Again?" the whore complained.
 
Jake didn’t wait to see if she would comply. He finally remembered how to use his legs, and he ran—well, stumbled, mostly—as fast as he could down the sloping cobblestones. He had almost reached the end of the alley when he was jerked savagely off the road and into a space of complete darkness. A hand clamped over his mouth before he could think to cry out, and another had him in a firm grasp by the back of his coat. Somewhere in the blackness in front of him, a door closed with a soft thud.

Jake, mind whirling, heard the sound of a hundred footsteps rushing passed that closed door, the hungry shouts fading with distance. Behind the clamped hand, he breathed a short-lived relief.

Then, as the din of the mob faded into silence, a new flame bloomed. A candle flame. And in its small pool of light, Jake saw a hooded figure move slowly toward him.

"You are the one who reads minds?" it asked.

Having freshly escaped a burning at the stake, Jake weighed his answer carefully. He could not—of course—read minds… but could the lie keep him alive a little longer?

Silence stretched. Jake finally gave a nod.

The hands on his mouth and coat withdrew at once. The cloaked figure lowered his hood, revealing a young face—younger even than Jake’s—and a mop of unruly orange curls.

"Welcome, mind reader." The young man grinned and held out a hand. “My name is Fox.”
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 11:20:31 AM by Danielle Angeli »
"Make them laugh; make them cry; make them wait" - Charles Dickens

Offline ladygreen

Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 10:04:32 PM »
The Artisan's Mask

Word Count: 1499

--------------

I lay the wet strip across Sir Jobel’s face, smoothing it over his straight features.  It was no use – the plaster rose, molding to some unseen truth.  My heart sank.  Behind me, Master coughed.

“Does it look like me?” Sir Jobel asked, straining to sit.
 
Master worked his jaw.  “No,” he said, and hurried from the room.

Jobel’s eyes followed the swish of his cape.  “But will it be as wondrous as they say?”

“Yes,” I said sadly, resuming my task.   
 
When Sir Jobel left, he promised to collect his purchase upon his return from Orlan.  They were all in Orlan these days – all the fighting men.  The war had been raging for as long as I had been alive; because of it, the city was beggar poor.  But despite the constant gnawing hunger and empty coin purses, a fierce love of the arts flourished in Kora, keeping us alive and hopeful. 

In the evenings, both the high and low born donned glittering, colorful masks fashioned in their likenesses.  These were wild creations of the imagination, with only subtle hints of the wearer’s features.  Most artisans made the masks as beautiful as they could.  If a man walked in to a costume shop with an unusually large nose, we would shave the plaster down.  Pointy chin?  No problem - gone. 

But my masks were different.  They told the truth, and I along with them. 

Master came in to the workroom as I was cleaning up.  He lifted the finished mask from its hiding spot beneath the table.  It looked nothing like its owner.  “Lynn, what is this?”

“It’s the truth,” I whispered.  “Well, what am I supposed to do?” I spat when he gave me a withering look.  “It’s his soul – I can’t help it if it’s ugly!”

Master sat down on the bench next to me.  “If I had my way, you’d be out of here.”

“Tell me how you really feel, please,” I said wryly.

Master smiled and shook his head.  “But they do seem to have a strange fascination with you.  And these.”  He turned the mask so that its lines gleamed in the firelight.  “You still make them beautiful, despite the horror…impossible to look away.”  After a moment he put the mask down.  “I just wish that we were not compelled along with you.”  He sighed and got up, pausing at the door.  “Just try to keep away from the others.  We’ve several new patrons…we don’t want to tell them about their inner warts if we can help it.”

When he left, I wiped away angry tears.  It wasn’t my fault that I saw these things inside of people.

I made a girl cry once or maybe twice.

I choked and looked up.  The room was empty. 

A slap or two is all you need to make ‘em play nice.

Sir Jobel’s mask.  It lay flat on the table, grotesque bulges coated in golden swirls, intricate patterns and bright beads.
 
Slap, slap, it laughed, pearlescent teeth shining.  Oh, the things I’ve done would make your lovely insides curl.  Come closer and let me tell you how much blood you let from a crying girl.

Horrified, I slammed my hand down, cracking the mask in half.  A sick moaning came from the pieces, so I gathered and tossed them into the fire, shivering as they crackled and burned.  The mask had done something none of the others ever had.  It had not just shown the truth of the man, it had spoken it. 

The sound of trumpets flooded the shop, making me jump.  Red banners fluttered, visible through the windows, the unmistakable laida blossoms of King Marondy waving in the dusky light. 

“Hoooy!” a man called.  “The king wishes to commission a mask from the artisan Lynn of the upper district, in our beautiful city of Kooooraaaaa….”

----------------------------

King Marondy lay in my chair, dark eyes crinkling, perfect teeth flashing.  I held the plaster strip aloft, and tried to keep my hands from trembling.

“Go on,” he encouraged.   

Please…don’t let him be bad inside too.

To my dismay, strip after strip buckled.  A misshapen beast soon stared up with disconcerting human eyes.  I pulled the dry cast from the king and quickly hid it under the worktable.

“I only share when I’m through,” I protested when he demanded to see it.  He looked amazed, so I added a polite, “If you please, your majesty.”

“Fine, you will cast my son.  Come here Jakendra.”

The prince was no more than four, with a cascade of midnight black curls.  To my relief, the strips remained smooth and quiet as I lay them on his rosy cheeks.

“Beautiful,” I murmured, and brushed back his hair.  His eyes danced beneath the plaster.

“You look like my mother,” he whispered.  “She’s dead.  Do you know how she died?”

Surprised, I swallowed.  “Yes, young prince, but it is not for telling.”  I looked back at the king, who was distracting himself with one of the artist girls.

“Father says the gods took her, but that’s what you tell babies.  I’m not a baby, I’m a man.”  He puffed out his little chest.  “Will you tell me?”

I balked and pressed my lips together. 

“Tell me,” he demanded.

I tried to stop the swell, but the words tumbled out.  “Your father sent her to the chopping block.”  I clapped a hand over my mouth.  Would he say something to the king?  Panic flooded my mind and I looked at the boy wildly.

To my surprise, he reached out and touched my cheek.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.  “I won’t tell.”

--------------------------------

The next morning, I sat worrying for hours.  I held one mask so beautiful it made me want to cry and another so grotesque it made me want to hide.

“What.  Is.  This?”  King Marondy demanded, clutching the mask when I showed it to him.

“The truth,” I said, fear ripping away at me.

He stared at the gold and cream painted bulges.  The few men he had brought shifted and coughed.

“Sire…,” said one, “it is…fascinating.  And we know she does not make things as they truly are, but always with some…imagination.”

“No,” I protested, wishing I hadn’t.  “It is the truth of your soul.”

The king darkened.  “And you?  What does your soul look like?  I want you to make a mask of yourself.  You say you tell the truth of people’s souls - well I want to see yours.”

A small crowd had gathered in the workroom.  I felt myself grow hot.

“Well?” the king boomed.

“I – I can’t,” I said, surprised at my own words.  “I am nothing but truth.  A mask will look as I do now.  Like this.” I raised a hand to my cheek.

Anger rippled across King Marondy’s face and his men leaned forward.  Feeling faint, I struggled to keep my breath even.

“Please,” I began, but he flicked his wrist and two men lunged forward.  “No!  Please, look at your son’s!” I held up the other mask.  Cruel fingers bit into my waist and I cried out as they dragged me from the shop. 

“Father, stop!” called the prince.  He was seated on a chestnut pony, his round face aghast.

A sudden howling ripped through the air.  The king’s mask, still clutched in its owner’s hand, was shrieking.

I have it all, it screamed. 

Horrified, the king stared at it. 
 
Sacks of grain fill my hall!

People stopped to stare.  A murmur ran through them.

You go hungry, the mask cawed.  And I eat.  As it should be – I will always have my meat!   The mask began to make disgusting slurping noises.

“It’s not true!” the king protested wildly.  “I am just as hungry!  I suffer with you!”

The crowd thickened, murmurs turning in to angry muttering.

Starve out the poor so the army has more!

“Make it stop,” the king commanded, turning to me.  The crowd began to shout and someone threw a handful of garbage.  “It lies!” he screamed.  “Can’t you see?”

And the flesh of the poor?  Serve it up, serve it up!  You know not on what you sup.

As if they had gone up in flame, the crowd screamed and pushed toward the king, enveloping him.  He reached out and grasped his son’s boot, but the boy recoiled, kicking out. 

“The prince!” someone shouted.  A guard took the little boy’s reigns and pulled his pony away.  The king gave his son an imploring look. 

“No, take me home!” the prince squealed.  “Now!”  Two guards wheeled their horses, and shielding the prince, galloped away.

For a moment it looked as if the king had disappeared into the rioting crowd, but then a limp form was hoisted and carried down the road.  There was no missing the glint of gold beneath the bloodstained clothing.

He deserved it, said a small voice.  I looked down, feeling myself blanch.  The prince’s mask smiled, revealing tiny pointed teeth.  Do you know how he killed my mother?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 10:08:35 PM by ladygreen »

Offline LisaElle

Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 09:46:19 PM »
The Seer of Sanzeem 1337 words :)

“Hello there my little friends. It's been too long. You're looking very well this evening, I must say.”

Jake giggled at the handful of coins in his palm as he wandered back to his tent. He'd spent the night celebrating his new job in the camp's pavilion with Mazzie The Blaze and The Human Mantis. Every member of the stage troupe known as Bresham's Menagerie was required to have a title and Jake was its newest member: The Seer of Sanzeem.

Jake had been performing at the Markeshian bazaar answering the unspoken questions of his audience for a couple of weeks. His act was an instant success and today it was finally pay day. He'd lived so long without a copper to his name that the promise of wealth filled him with unspeakable glee. Becoming the star act of a freak show hadn't been on his list of dream jobs growing up but it sure had its merits. Jake finally had a real use for his troublesome talent, one that would earn him more wealth than he could shake his begging cap at.

“Hello Seer.” A young woman in a flowing skirt stepped out between two tents and stopped on the camp trail ahead of him. The moonlight flashed off her white teeth as she grinned in delight. Jake remembered her face in the crowd at more than one of his performances. “I'm Estra, a trader from the Markeshian bazaaar. I'm sure you've seen me there. Your next performance is tomorrow, yes? I'm really looking forward to it.”

Jake dropped his coins back into his pocket and flashed his fan a charming smile, affecting a pompous air, as he did when he was on stage. He wasn't in costume – he had no beard, or crown, or serpent scepter with its cut glass ruby on top – but the Seer of Sanzeem was always ready to entertain. “Why yes! I thank you for your kind words my dear but I really must insist that you return to the city. Our camp is off limits to visitors at the time of night. Perhaps in the morning I will see you at the baz--”

“Yes!” Estra clapped her hands in front of her, as if she'd been praying he'd suggest it. “Of course I'll be at the bazaar in the morning. You're so sweet to invite me. I've been to every one of your shows since your opening night. You have such a special talent, Seer. By the gods, what a unique gift! Every question that I've held in my mind you've answered without flaw. How can it be that you don't know my questions but you can still give me a truthful answer every time? How is that possible?”

Jake swept out his arm and bowed to Estra. “As you say, it's a talent of mine. I'm so glad you enjoy it. Now if you'll please excuse m--”

“Wait.” Estra grabbed Jake's arm. “I need your help.”

Jake's eyes flew wide open. Estra's were fixed on his, burning with a passion that was both alarming and strangely compelling. “You owe me,” she stressed. “I want an explanation. Do you remember the answer you gave me at your performance today? I held my question in my mind and you said the ravine. You looked right at me and that's what you told me.”

“Yeeees.” Jake narrowed an eye at her. “But I don't know what you asked. What was your question?”

“I asked you where you thought we should meet tonight when I came to see you. Were you planning a trip to the ravine? We should go now, together, and find out what you meant.”

Jake stared at Estra. He frowned and shook his head, reaching for her hand to lift it from his arm. “Listen, lady. It's been a long day and I'd rather just get some sleep if you don't m--”

“You weren't planning to go there?” Estra said, releasing Jake and throwing up her hands. “Then how can you dismiss this so easily? It must be fate. You wanted me to come and find you, don't you see? There's something important waiting for you at the ravine and you're going to miss it if you don't come with me right now.” Estra held out her hand to him. “Please Seer. We have to go. The hour is late and it won't be tonight for much longer.”

Jake looked at Estra askance and then heaved a sigh. “Alright. I'm giving it ten minutes. If this something important doesn't show up after ten minutes, I'm coming back here to get some rest.”

Estra grinned and linked her arm around Jake's, leading him towards the boundary of the camp so they could pass into the desert.



They stood beside the ravine, listening to a distant chorus of wild dogs as they sang to the moon. Estra looked up at the stars. “What a beautiful night to meet your destiny Seer. The reason that you're here must lie in a question that I have to ask you, don't you think?”

Jake frowned at Estra. “I wouldn't know. Maybe you should try it and find out.”

“Oka--”

“No.”

Estra blinked. “No what?”

“You had a question just now, didn't you? Whatever it was, the answer's no.”

Estra smiled. “Think carefully Seer. Are you sure that's what you want tell me?”

Jake rubbed his eye with the back of his hand. “Look, it's been great and all, but I've really got to--”

Oh. Oh well. What a pity.”

Estra lunged at Jake, shoving him backwards off the edge of the ravine. Jake cried out and slipped over the brink, his hands grasping for anything that might stop his fall. He caught a fistful of dead roots at the last moment and hung, twisting in the air, from the lip of the cliff. “Whaaat the fuuu--”

“Yours isn't the only freak show in town Seer! I'm from a rival troupe.” Estra grinned and turned her hand with a flourish. A glistening sphere sparked into view, crackling with threads of pink energy. “I just asked you if you'd leave your troupe for ours and you gave me an honest answer. It's nothing personal really. If we can't have you then we can't let you live. You're all that the city talks about these days and it's bad for business. You want to know what my real question was earlier today? I asked you where I should dump a body so it would never be found.”

Jake twisted back to face Estra and stared up at her, his jaw slack with disbelief. “Wait, wait! Hold on now... Maybe... If you just... Made me an offer...”

“Goodbye Seer.”

Estra blew the crackling sphere at Jake. It exploded as it hit the roots and they crumbled in his hands, dropping him into darkness.


Jake awoke with the sun beating mercilessly on his face. He had fallen into a thorny bush half way down the cliff – he could feel the bites of the needles through his clothes. Jake groaned and lifted his head, testing his arms and legs. Nothing felt broken so he glanced up the cliff to judge the climb that awaited him. He knew enough by now to trust his own answers. If he continued to lie in that bush and wait to be rescued, he'd never be found.

Jake pushed himself to sit up and the gold coins jingled in his pocket. He recalled his delight from the night before and giggled again, this time for the sheer joy of being alive. “Bad mistake lady,” he muttered to himself as he reached for his first handhold. “Here I come. Next time make sure the body is dead first – I know I will.”
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov

Offline Carter

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Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 07:48:52 PM »
Shackles 1465 words

The courtroom fell silent as she made her way forwards flanked by two of the court’s guards.  She looked down at the manacles around her wrists rather than the eager, expectant faces of those gathered for the trial.  Better to look at the raw skin and the cold, rough metal than at the hunger of the crowd.  At least this time there was no howls of derision.  At least this time no one called out for her death.  Perhaps she had earned that much at least. 

Only once she approached the judge’s chair did she raise her eyes from her hands.  Looking into the masked face of the Prelate, she suppressed a shiver.  The implacable, impassive golden mask cast in the image of the Creator always had a profound effect on her.  She wished it could be otherwise, wished it with almost as intense a desire as her devotion to the Creator, but on such wishes were hopes forever wrecked. 

“Name.”

The dull monotone matched the visage; without inflection, without humanity, without passion.  One face to look down on all, one voice to dispense justice to all.  Once she had heard something else from the lips behind the mask.  Now she was just another woman, tried and judged. 

“Lynn Parialla,” she said, trying to sound confident. 

“Really?  That the old hag?”

The words slid off her back.  She had heard much worse from many more.  Now she pretended the scorn meant nothing, that the accusation and venom had no effect.  Thankfully the voice had nothing further to add before she was forced to lie any further. 

“Crime.”

Being born.  Being different.  Being an ardent follower of the Creator.

“Witchcraft and heresy.”

She felt an inevitable stirring at her back. 

“I object.  She cannot be allowed to speak in this court.”

The voice rang out loud and true behind her.  The priest chosen to represent the accused could hardly have done otherwise.  Always they had to make the attempt to defend the indefensible.  Without it their service could not continue, their belief would be questioned and their service would cease. 

“On what grounds?”

Did she detect a note of boredom in the Prelate’s voice?  Of humour?  It was impossible of course.  Just her imagination running away with her yet again.  With a conscious effort she suppressed it.  Lynn turned to look at the priest.  He looked younger than the others, full of righteous indignation, his blue eyes bright with the Creator’s fire.  Yet with the Prelate’s gaze on him, with Lynn’s sin surrounding him, all his bluster fled.  His mouth worked in silent movements, forming words he could not utter, syllables that could not breach the bubble of her sin. 

Eventually his mouth found its way to the truth. 

“Because her sin will damn all others.”

“You question my judgement?” said the Prelate. 

Wisdom and prudence kept the priest’s mouth shut.  Instead he sat, lips pursed and every muscle tense with petulant anger.  More than once she had witnessed the result of an ill-advised outburst and she felt almost relieved. 

“Then we continue.  Brennan Farlan, you are accused of heresy and deviancy.  Let the court hear your plea.”

Only now did Lynn allow herself to look at the accused.  A man of middling years, he stood with stiff-backed defiance, staring out across the courtroom, muscles tense and rigid.  It was a stark contrast to all the others who had slumped in the stand and pulled at the shackles that held them in place.  A stirring of compassion long suppressed blossomed within her.

Don’t feel.  Don’t think.  Be impartial as you role and your punishment demands.

Anger twisted Brennan’s mouth into a grimace and he sucked in a deep breath.
 
“I am guilty only of being born.  I am guilty only of being able to understand more than any of you, to see a glimmer of the future.  Yet it is not I who is the monster here, only you.  All of you and the fear that consumes you.”

His words rang with the fervency of true belief.  A note sounded within her, some communal thought perhaps, some hint of what might have been had her life turned out differently.  One look, one glance at the Prelate’s mask and it all tumbled down. 

If only.

“You deny the Creator?”

“I deny any god that allows the death of any born different.  I spit on your Creator.  I spit on you all and I spit on the woman who has made this possible.”

He tried to be true to his word but the Prelate’s guards stepped in, their actions swift and practised.  A gauntleted hand clamped around Brennan’s mouth before he could so much as dribble.  Another punched into his gut, bending him double.  Lynn knew better than to show her revulsion, to show her anger at the treatment of another like her. 

No.  Not like you.  You have your faith.

Once the thought might have calmed her.  Once it might have granted her perspective.  But the past years had eaten away at her, leaving an empty husk in its place filled only with dust and empty questions.

“In sight of the Creator you have condemned yourself.  You will be executed in the morning.”

The sentence elicited a satisfied murmur from the assembled crowd.  A few individuals even cheered.  Lynn felt only drained while the priest whose job had been to defend Brennan now looked only bored by proceedings and by his failure.  Brennan himself glared at the Prelate, his breath coming in gasps as he struggled to regain his composure and his fire. 

“Your tyranny cannot continue.  There are more of us than you know.  More than you can imagine.”

Brennan’s words were barely above a whisper yet they quietened the room quicker than any shout.  None could deny the true belief behind the words, not with Lynn present.  They might spit on her as she passed and curse her name, yet they all understood the manifestation of her sin.  All looked to the Prelate to await his response.  The tension in the room, the fear it engendered was almost palpable.  Lynn’s heart began to beat faster and she held her breath, torn between terror and hope.  The promise of others like Brennan, of more like her and an end to the persecution was something she both craved and dreaded.  The very notion tore at the heart of her, at the root of her faith and the very struggle to survive and to escape her punishment.
 
The Prelate lent forward, his fingers steepled in front of him; a picture of eagerness and delight even with the mask.  Almost she detected the first hint of emotion in his voice. 

“Then by the Creator’s will they will not be allowed to survive.  By the Creator’s will they will fail and they will perish.  So it is written.  Take them both back to the cells.”

She released the breath she had been holding, unsure if she felt relief or disappointment.  No longer could she distinguish between the two.  The guards once more took her by the elbows and led her meekly away.  In the dock Brennan struggled, his efforts weak and ineffective as the courtroom digested the Prelate’s words.  She spared a glance for the Prelate, hoping perhaps for another glance, hoping to see some faint glimmer of something, anything of the past or the future. 

As always she saw nothing.
 
*

Lynn barely had time to register she had been taken to a different cell before he came to visit her that night wearing the Creator’s mask as always and speaking with the Creator’s voice. 

“Do you like your new quarters?”

Was it her imagination or did he sound almost meek, almost as if he longed to please?

“They are more than I deserve.”

Not for the first time she cursed her sin.  She longed to lie, to demand more, to plead for something, anything else.  Yet her faith shackled her to the room as firmly as the manacles around her wrists.  As firmly as the man before her. 

“Is there anything else I can do?  To help?”

Almost she detected a note of sincerity, the slightest crack in his demeanour. 

“Free me.”

The words escaped her before she could hold them back. 

“Do you repent then?  Do you recant?”

“I cannot,” she whispered. 

“Do you deny the Creator then?”

Her shoulders slumped.

“I cannot.”

“Then I cannot free you, mother,” said the Prelate.

He turned and left her alone once more to get used to her new cell.  At least this one had a thin window high above letting in a sliver of light that allowed her to see her shackles.  At least this cell had the faintest of breezes to dry the tears on her cheeks. 

Offline psuppak

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Re: [Apr 2014] - Write about Jake/Lynn! - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 12:24:23 AM »
-- This is 757 words in total. A bit small, I guess, but it ends on its own!--

“I punched my last manager-- Fuck!” was not a common sentence you heard during a job interview, but Mike Perloff just heard it.

Five minutes ago everything was almost normal. He was interviewing a new candidate for a typical graphic design job in a Starbucks. Jacob Stiles did not look that bad. He moved a lot and never really held any job for long, but Jake answered the question almost before it was asked. It was uncanny how the guy can read his mind. Graphic design was an intuitive job, and Stiles seemed to proof that he had intuition.

Mike was pondering a reason of why he should not hire the man when a lovely woman walked in with her flower printed summer dress, and now his potential employee had gone loony.

“Pardon?” Mike said. He was going to say that he did not here Jacob out of politeness, but when he opened his mouth, it came out as: “Jacob, I—d---did hear you and I am not sure if you’re crazy. I am giving you a very last chance to explain.” Mike clamped his mouth. What the hell was wrong with him?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you! Uh, I mean, I d di—didnn—NI punched my last manager.” Jacob said. He hacked like a cat with a hairball. That did not help.

The awkward silence allowed Mike to look around. It seemed that chaos was erupting around them too. A woman in the corner stood up and splashed her stale coffee at a man. She stormed off while he looked confused, pressing his hand to his mouth. A customer looked at the barista angrily. Someone was on the phone, and he kept correcting himself.

“I don’t know what’s going on.” Jacob commented.


Amidst all the chaos, the one least affected was the woman in the summer dress. She just looked very uncomfortable.

“She’ll be okay. She’s the reason of all these weird shit.” Jake turned around and looked at her. Again, the intuition he had on Mike was getting uncanny, well, MORE uncanny.

“I was cursed in the ability to answer questions. I can’t control it either. Sometimes it’s the stuff I should not have known. But most of the time, I just end up saying ‘I don’t know’ a lot. ” Jake said out of the blue, answering the question in his mind. Flabbergast but curious, Mike was wondering…

“Four and a half inch is shorter than average.” Jake said. Then he made a face“Ew, man. Gross. Ew. Why did you have to ask that?”

Mike grinned. He was going to make up the reason, but he noticed he could not lie anyways, so he shrugged. “Didn’t ask anything.”

The strange lady just got her coffee from a sobbing barista. She sighed as she walked pass Mike’s table. Mike walked over and tapped her shoulder.

“Excuse me, miss, my friend here said that you made this happen?”
“What are you talking about?” She asked.
“All these crazy things—how I couldn’t lie, that couple, the barista—did you make this happen?”
“Yes.” Jake, who followed, said.
“Nobody asks you, Jake!”
“I know.”
“Goddammit.”

“Do you think I know what’s going on?” The lady spoke again. “Why would you think I do it? Couldn’t it just be a strange phenomenon?”

“Yes. I don’t know. No, it’s you.” Jake said.
“Nobody asks you, Jake.” The lady said.

Then she started crying. Tears streamed down her eyes, muddled up her mascara.
“Why does it have to be this way?”

“You lied to a fairy who wanted to teach you a lesson. Nobody asked me. I know.”
She sobbed some more. Now she looked like a size-zero panda in a blonde wig.

“La—last month. There—there was this homeless woman. She asked if I had some change. She was r—really smelly. So I said no. I l-- lied. And she c—cursed me. You know what being cursed is like?”
“Unhappy. Horrible. Losing a lot of friends. Bad for getting jobs.”
“Uh, Nobody—gee—never mind.”

Mike felt very uncomfortable. He wanted to leave, but then the woman looked at her with cornflower blue eyes. She sobbed gently. “Thank you for lis—listening to my story. Not many people noticed. You would imagine a lot of people would care.”

She reached her arms out like a lost child. Instinctively, Mike stepped in and hugged her. He did not know this yet, but it was the hug that changed his life forever. 
“Shh… it’s okay. What’s your name?”

“Lynn. It’s Lynn.”

Mike sighed.

“Nobody asks you, Jake!”
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 12:38:02 AM by psuppak »
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