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Fantasy Faction Writers => Archived Contests => Monthly Writing Contest => [APR 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat => Topic started by: xiagan on April 01, 2015, 03:58:33 PM

Title: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: xiagan on April 01, 2015, 03:58:33 PM
(http://www.evolver.co.uk/werevampserpentgirl.jpg)
old image:
(http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/068/a/5/in_love_with_a_vampire_by_cylonka-d4s1bzk.jpg)
"In Love with a Vampire" by Cylonka

A vampire, a werewolf and a girl. An easy formula for hundreds of bestsellers.
Most of them are novel length, though. Does that mean that it's not possible to write a good paranormal romance in short story format?
Of course not! And it's your job to prove it. A good love triangle doesn't need hundreds of pages. I have the feeling that 1500 words may just be enough. ;)

This month I want you to write a story about a romance containing a werewolf, a vampire and a girl. (The girl doesn't necessary have to be the love interest.)

Rules:

1. This can be prose or a poem.
2. Must be about a girl, a vampire and a werewolf.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.
5. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
6. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
7. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
8. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
9. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys next to the 'youtube' symbol:

Entry will close May 1st 2015 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/register/). Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/%28apr-2015%29-wvg/%28apr-2015%29-werewolf-vampire-girl-discussion-thread/new/#new).
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Werewolf, Vampire, Girl - Submission Thread
Post by: xiagan on April 01, 2015, 04:04:05 PM
April Fools! Plot twists and/or surprising endings it is!

This often is a specialty of short stories and you find them there more often than in other forms of writing.
It's about time for you to try to write one. ;)
The most famous examples I can think of aren't in literature, though.
I guess most of you have seen one or more of M. Night Shyamalan's movies: The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs, The Happening or She's All That are perfect examples of a cool plot twist - usually in the end of the story/movie.

So this month I want you to write a story containing one (or more, but too many will make the reader feel like riding a roller coaster and not everybody likes them ;)) plot twists and/or a surprising ending.

Instead of an inspiring picture you get one of my own short stories, self-pubbed in an anthology called "Fictional Times - a Fabulous Anthology of Wondrous Stories" a few years ago. [/end shameless plug]

Last one standing

I am the last one of a dying race.
I don't know why I'm writing this down, since nobody will ever read it, but it keeps me occupied and I have to talk to somebody – even if it's my diary.
I'm old. Really old. If you think about it, somebody has to be the last one alive. I don't know why it had to be me, but that only adds to all the other things I don't know, so it's not bothering me much. I always knew that our own stupidity and not some meteors, or big earthquakes would erase us from this planet but I'm surprised about the way it happened. There were so many possibilities: Nuclear war, self-inflicted climate change, lab-made viruses... I'm sure there were even more dangers we brought upon ourselves, but I'm no scientist, not even a learned man, and everyone I could ask is dead.
What happened is quite simple. Since math was always a favorite of mine, I’d like to see it as an easy arithmetic: Take some businessmen who want to make a lot of money, add some mad scientists, subtract their conscience and multiply it with bad luck and quite some 'Oops, we didn't take that into account'. Done!
There's a simple plant with astonishing features: Bitterweed, a.k.a. Ambrosia artemisiifolia. I mentioned above that I'm not a learned man and I stand to that. But since you could say that this yellow-blossomed plant was our nemesis and our doom, everything concerning this plant is absolute basic knowledge. Anyways, back to my story. Once the earth got warmer, it spread like wildfire. And one single plant can release up to one billion pollen. That was a problem back then, because it was ultra allergen - six pollen per cubic meter air was enough to cause hay fever and Asthma and they flew hundreds of kilometers far. Sounds pretty frightening, eh? Of course science got it under control pretty fast, but once it did, no one bothered anymore to remove the plants. They soon were a common sight in most countries and only the yellow dust on the windows and roofs was annoying.
Now we take two scientists from our arithmetic above. They are, as mentioned, mad and without a conscience. One is a biologist and one a geneticist. Unfortunately they were employed at the worlds largest distributor of sperm (yeah, sounds pretty weird) and in vitro fertilization, a corporate group with sperm banks all over the world and as many clinics, which are specialized in IVF.
They already make a lot of money but apparently not enough. Every normally conceived child is costing them money, they think. And then they have their groundbreaking idea. Why not try to make mankind more dependent on our services? Sounds crazy, but that's what they did. They genetically modified that plant so that its pollen had a new property. You just had to inhale a few and they discharged to your upper respiratory tract, in addition to their normal psycho-active proteins, some others which made men, not all of them but enough, infertile.
It took us a few years to notice the slowly growing infertility and some more until the corporation's big secret leaked over the tubes. By then, it was too late. We already knew from plants like Corn or Rapeseed that it was impossible to protect normal plants from genetically modified plants and the new GMO Ambrosia spread over the world. Efforts were made to exterminate Ambrosia, but in vain.
What the mad scientists didn't take into account was their own storages running low after a while. Once it got out that fertile sperm was a limited resource, people panicked and what was left got destroyed in riots and wars.
And here I am. One of the last to hatch. Writing my story down and wondering if the next sentient and self-conscious beings on this planet will be wiser than we dinosaurs have been.

Rules:

1. This can be prose or a poem.
2. Must contain a plot twist and/or a surprising ending.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.
5. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
6. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
7. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
8. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
9. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys next to the 'youtube' symbol:

Entry will close May 1st 2015 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/register/). Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(apr-2015)-wvg/(apr-2015)-werewolf-vampire-girl-discussion-thread).
Title: No lovelorn Vamipres here... move along.. move along
Post by: wakarimasen on April 01, 2015, 11:21:04 PM
I must admit. I was glad it was an April fool. It got me.
I was thinking maybe I could do a version of the old woman who swallowed a fly involving a girl, a lycanthrope and a haemovore.
 
But... plot twists are much more fun. So here's mine (getting in early I guess)..
Enjoy!

No Twist In The Tail
(1488 words @badDayHappenin)


"I never told you how I ended up in your world." Stamford wheezed.
The creature passed over the ditch, unable to overcome its momentum. Yalri looked up from where she had landed on Stamford's chest, wide eyed in disbelief.
"You really think now is the time?"
"Funnily, now might be just the right time." He replied, helping push her to her feet.
"The only time you mean, before we die." She kicked him in the side.
"It's coming back!" Estra shouted though no one could fail to miss the screaming beast as it gouged great trenches in the earth.
"Get to the edge." Yalri slapped him into motion down the ditch and the holy man stumbled into a run.
She reached down, pulled Stamford to his feet and they set off after him. Ahead they could see nothing but the stumps of ruined temple masonry marking the end of the trench.
"It was the damndest thing really." Stamford yelled. "I was about to get nabbed...er ..caught, by a kind of lawkeeper."
"Always knew you were a bloody thief." Yalri collided with Estra's back as the man teetered on the edge of the cliff. Stamford stopped too, he rested with his hands on his knees, watching the beast twist in long loops as it gained height and turned for another pass.
"Don't think I ever hid it be honest." He straightened, reached to the pouch at his back and pulled forth a box, no bigger than his palm. "Thing is, I had taken this from a museum."
"A what?" Yalri snapped as she leaned over the cliff, checking the hundred or so foot drop to the lake below.
"A museum. It's like a place where valuable artefacts are kept in my world."
The creature gave a shriek as it turned, sighting on its prey.
"Mother of the creator, what do we do?" Estra pawed at Yalri. She batted him off and looked at Stamford.
"Like a bank?"
"No, not like a ... look that's not important." He flustered.
"I'm assuming something you're saying is though? Otherwise we are about to become a bloody smear in one direction or another."
He pulled her hand out and shoved the box in it. Trying to keep her attention from the beast which was diving toward them.
"It's a twist. Open it."
Yalri had no idea what he was talking about, but that had been a familiar sensation sense they had met six months ago. She had learnt just to go with it instead. She snapped the tiny box open and suddenly laughed. Then she grabbed the two men and yanked them both over the edge.
As they fell towards the lake a sizeable section of the cliff followed them, smashed free by the screaming creature which was enraged at being denied a second time. They all knew they would die when they hit the water. It would have the forgiveness of a boulder from that height. Then Yalri stuck out her hand and began shouting in her native tongue. The gittering surface bloomed into a mist and rose to meet them. A great, soft fountain broke their descent and slowly lowered into them lake. They still plunged beneath the surface, but not so far that they could not make it back up with a few wild strokes. When Estra recovered enough wits to look around he saw Yalri was spluttering laughter, treading water with the box in one hand.
"I just remembered the water raising charm from my village." She smiled. "I used to hate the old hag for making me do that a dozen times a day. Never thought it would save my life."
Stamford did not seem as surprised as his two companions and plucked the box from her grip before nodding his head toward the cave, lying between two of the hundreds of moss covered pillars that rose from the lake where the ancient city had once stood.
"Come on, before it works out where we went." He struck out arm over arm to the entrance and the other two needed no encouragement to swim for its safety.
The cave floor was a sloping shelf, letting the three wade clumsily both out of the lake and into the shade. They stood for a few dripping seconds, looking at the doors they had seen so many times in dead Bethran's book. Outside, the howls of the guardian could be heard as it searched the cliff for its escaped prey.
"This is it." Stamford said at last. "We've made it."
"Fat lot of good it does us." Yalri said. "Without Bethran we can't open the doors. Only a princess of the lost line can. All we're doing is putting off the bit where we become dinner."
"Oh yea of little faith." Stamford replied and held up the box again, wiggling it.
Yalri found that she could not remember what had been inside. Only that it had been unexpected. She frowned and bit her lip.
"It's a twist." Stamford reminded her. This failed to dislodge any recollection and Yalri reached out for it.
"What the hell do you mean, a twist?"
He pulled his hand back, waggling his free finger at her.
"No, no, my dear. As far as I can tell it only works once for each person that opens it. For me, it revealed its nature as a magical artefact and brought me here when by rights I should have being doing a ten stretch at her majesty's pleasure right now. That was my twist. Yours is that your, much despised, upbringing as a water server should now come to your aid and save us all when, frankly, our bacon should have been fried."
The phrase brought back images of Bethran's corpse smouldering on the crystal altar. As if to add weight to the memory the creature screamed again outside, only this time closer.
"It twists people's fates?"
Stamford screwed up his sunburnt face. "You could say that I suppose. In my world we'd have probably called them plot twists. Though I daresay some clever fellows from Trinity would give you a load of nonsense about quantum."
He tossed the box at Estra, who fumbled it to a rest against his holy cloak with both forearms. His eyes looked back through the slit in his mitremask expectantly.
"Open it." Stamford beseeched with both hands as the looping body of the guardian tore past the cave entrance, its tiny feathers scattering into the lake below it.
Estra shrugged and opened the box. He turned it upside down and shook it but nothing seemed to happen.
"What the hell?" Yalri rounded on Stamford. "That was your great plan? Open an empty box? We don't need your empty promises now. We needed Bethran, we needed the last princess of the lost line."
Estra coughed and Yalri looked back. The holy man was doing something none of his order was permitted once they had taken their orders, he was pulling off the gold embroidered mitremask. For a moment Yalri thought she should look away, to save her pious friend's dignity. Before she could avert her gaze though she almost choked and stared in amazement.
"I am the last princess of the lost line." Said the tall, copper skinned woman in front of her.
Yalri sputtered and turned back to Stamford who was nodding with a smug smile.
"Of course you are old boy... or girl. Probably been hiding your identity all these years to escape persecution?"
Estra nodded and tossed the box back. Yalri gawped at her again, then back to Stamford.
"That's just not possible." She managed.
"Not probable." He corrected. "But not technically impossible. Be a dear Estra and open up the temple, I think our friend has got our scent again."
It was true that the guardian had made its twisting way out across the lake but had now looped its snaking trunk round to bring it face on to the cave. Estra bustled past Yalri and pushed on the intricately carved granite doors. They swung open without any of the ceremony and lights that Yalri had expected and the three rushed in to the cavern beyond. Estra turned to grin at her friends but was torn from the floor as the guardian smashed through the cave mouth and into the temple, jamming itself in the entrance and bucking ferociously. Rocks smashed next to Yalri and Stamford, forcing them closer to the creature's feathered tail.
"The box." Yalri yelled. "Open the bloody box."
Terror stricken, Stamford clawed the box open only to have it crumble to torn paper in his hands.
Yalri was slammed back by the garish tail of the guardian as it started to roll on to them.
"What does that mean?" She screamed.
"No more twists." Stamford's face was stricken as the leviathan began to crush them, he took his last look at her. "This story is over."
 
 
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Henry Dale on April 02, 2015, 06:14:19 PM
Can't believe you wrote that as fast as you did, @wakarimasen (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40242) ^^ Great job.

Below's mine. A humble 581 words, so it's a quick read. Please kill me softly, critics  :P

Basil

Skipperbirds called in the distance as they tried to attract a mate. Spring had only just set in and the forest teemed with expectation. Thick bulbs on the branches heralded future flowers. A monotone hum disturbed all that, however. Basil Fabelhaft steered his elstir back from the trees and onto the open field towards the encampment. Sweat formed on the hairy striped flanks of his trusted mount as they made their way through the long grass. The animal's four hooves left a cloud of dust in their wake as they headed up the hill where the red camp was set up, overlooking the fields.

'Boy, any sign of the enemy?'
The captain sat on a stool beside his elstir. He was chewing tobacco vigorously. Something was on his nerves.
Basil nodded his head. 'Yes, captain Aldus, sir. A strange hum from within the forest.'
The captain snorted, his white moustache waved. 'Good job, boy. A strange hum, eh.' He grinned as if it were something funny.
Basil remained in place. 'Fabelhaft, sir.' He ventured, hoping that getting his name known would be an extra stepping stone for promotion.
'Name doesn't matter when you're dead, kid. The enemy is coming for us. Anyway, get the troops ready.' He got up and left for his red pavilion tent to prepare for the coming battle. Basil wished he'd been under a more ambitious commander. He shook his head. Not much he could do about it here and now. His elstir urged him by a poke in his back with its long nose. 'Haha, don't worry, buddy, you'll get your feed. We'll have to be quick. Scary time ahead of us.'

An hour later, the cavalry was lined up along the slope, hunched down on their mounts in the long grass and ready for an ambush. The plan was easy enough but had proven to be effective before. Basil gripped his reins tight and swallowed. He didn't like that hum. The elstir were uneasy. It had grown louder and louder and was audible across the plains up to this point now. A whistle sounded, enemy spotted. He looked at the edge of the forest but didn't see anything. False alarm. Then one of the men yelled. A silver edge had appeared above the trees. It grew and grew until a monstrosity of shining metal appeared. Captain Aldus appeared stupefied. 'That bloody thing is as large as a city! What is that?'
The silver object detached itself from the swaying trees and made its way forward, charring the canopy. A metal voice boomed through the air, it came from the metal thing. 'This is admiral Stephanos of the HMS Van Oranje. In name of the Federation we hereby claim this world and all its possessions.'
Captain Aldus went from pale to purple. He pulled Basil close and told him in a hoarse voice. 'Run boy. Run and save your skin. Go to the capital and tell the bloody king and queen what's happening out here.' Basil nodded, turned his mount and urged his friend south. Behind him the captain regained his composure and sat up in his saddle. 'Right boys. We're all going to die here, there's no denying that. But we'll show 'em how a real man dies, right?'
The men cried out and charged. The ship incinerated the fields with its sorcery and Basil Fabelhaft closed his eyes to that demonic light in which his comrades screamed.

That was the day the Earthlings invaded.

Edit: Added a title.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: D_Bates on April 02, 2015, 07:30:20 PM
You did ask for it. WVG with a twist. 771 words.

<DISCLAIMER: This is an original work. Any similarities drawn from any number of modern day masterpieces is entirely coincidental. The author holds no accountability for any emotional scarring that might result from reading this material.>

Breaking up.

Annabelle had a big decision to make; she had to choose between her two favourite boys. This was because she'd come into her room to find them both in a bundle on the floor, fighting... again—over her, no doubt. They each got terribly jealous whenever she gave the other attention. But even without her influence they could never be friends, because Ed was a vampire and Jake a werewolf, and it's a well known fact that vampires and werewolves just don't get along.
She was ashamed to say that Ed was probably her favourite, and as such she'd share her bed with him most nights. They'd always begin with a gentle kiss on the lips, and slowly he'd bury his soft face into her neck, making her feel all warm and tingly inside. His fangs would sometimes scratch her, but that was okay, because they weren't as sharp as most vampires' fangs. He couldn't turn into a bat either, oddly enough... but he could fly—that's what vampires do. It never took long for his tender caresses to put her under his spell and then they'd be flying naked together through the night sky. The world beneath them seemed so small... not that she ever paid it much attention. Up there her eyes were only for Ed. The way he sparkled in the moonlight was simply magical.
But as wonderful an experience as sleeping with Ed was, she was always concerned about neglecting poor Jake. So, to save face, she'd occasionally concede to letting him sleep with her instead. His hide was itchy and his tongue rough—which always made her shiver whenever he licked against her skin. From time to time she'd wake up to find him no longer by her side, and only after a panicked glance around the room did she part her legs to see that slippery tuft of fur had snuck off down there, tongue out, panting away. Whenever his course hairs tickled the insides of her thighs she'd roll her head back on the pillow and giggle before saying, "Oh, Jake. You naughty, naughty boy you."
Still, what nightly action Jake lost out on was more than made up for during the day, because vampires can't go out into daylight—not the real ones, anyway. Not that that ever stopped Ed, mind you. He could break that sacred rule for her because... why not? They were soul-mates, and nothing could keep soul-mates apart. At times she even felt like he could read her mind...
Nah, that would be silly. But still, he always seemed to be there when she needed him, especially after those long days of shopping when, tired from the hustle of people, she'd sit down, reach out both arms and call his name, and in a blink of an eye he'd appear to meet her embrace and make her feel loved. Ed was so fast. Like, super fast. Unbelievably fast, even!
Jake was fast too though, and the scamp loved to play hide and seek whenever they went for walks through the park together. She liked to find a secluded tree to settle down under where they could chat intimately until her legs cramped up and she had to stretch them. But so often he was gone by the time she returned. Just vanished! So she'd frantically run around screaming his name for what felt like hours, only to then find him lying down next to that very same tree with a cheeky grin on his mushy face.
Oh... he could make her so angry; but that was only because she cared deeply for him. He was a good listener... a good friend, and she didn't want to lose him—she didn't want to lose either of them. But this constant bickering over her affections needed to end. She couldn't carry on like this. It was tearing her apart inside. One simply had to go.
Annabelle sat cross-legged on her bed before the two culprits and frowned. Ed's shiny bead eyes stared blindly away from her with such shame—and deservedly so. And Jake's felt tongue was, as usual, hanging out—but she wasn't about to let that adorable look sway her decision in his favour.
She puffed out her left cheek. The urge to cry gripped her. Why were matters of the heart this hard?—how was she supposed to choose between them?—this wasn't fair—she loved them both so, so dearly...
But then she was almost six years old now. Perhaps it was just time to put both the toys away and find herself a real boy to play with instead?
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Atku God of Goats on April 03, 2015, 06:57:40 PM
Gosh. My first submission here.
I've been reading for months, and finally had the balls guts to submit a story.
I'm just so in awe of @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840), @Nighteyes (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=272), @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148), @Arry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8809), @ScarletBea (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32020), @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607), @Doctor Chill, @Henry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8080) Dale, @wakarimasen (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40242) and so many more.

I hope you like my story.

signed - JMack

caught you looking!

Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Lejays17 on April 04, 2015, 11:05:19 AM

Just made the word-count!  Only my second submission to the monthly contests, and the first original piece  :)


The Lady in Blue - 501 words

The morning was early enough for there still to be a chill in the air, though the sky gave promise of a glorious spring day to come, in front of her rabbits bounced around the lawns, leaving trails which had she risen at her usual time would have been the only evidence that they existed....

Penelope jumped down the two steps from the veranda, startling the rabbits on the grass into stillness. They sat upright, noses twitching as they watched her closely, before deciding she wasn’t a threat and hopping off to wherever it is bunnies go during the day.

She stood still a moment longer, listening for any movement in the house behind her. Occasionally her older brother Bobby would get up early to go fishing, but today wasn’t one of those days. Probably he had given himself nightmares from the ghost stories he had been telling last night and didn’t sleep well.

Thinking of Bobby and the ghost stories reminded Penelope of why she had woken herself up so early this morning. One of the stories Bobby had told; the story of the Weeping Lady in Blue, the ghost who showed herself to children more often than anyone else, had taken her fancy, and she was determined to see the lady for herself.

According to Bobby, the Weeping Lady was most often seen between the Parsonage and the Medical Officer’s house. The Medical Officer’s house was closer, so that was where Penelope decided to go. There was no one else around at this early hour, and she skipped merrily down the gravelly path, kicking up the stones every other step.  Closer to the ruins of the house, she slowed her skips and looked around carefully.

There! Near the doorway was a shadowy figure, in an old-fashioned blue dress, just like Bobby had described. Her hands were covering her face, so Penelope could not see if she was crying or not. She crept closer, entranced. A stick snapped beneath her feet as she strayed from the path, and the lady looked up.

The lady’s perpetual tears stopped flowing. “My child.” Penelope heard very faintly, as if it was from very far away. “You’ve come back to me.” Her hand outstretched in invitation, the lady glided down the steps.

Hastily, Penelope backed away. “No, I’m not your child. I don’t want to go with you, I want to go home,” she babbled in sudden fear.

But it was too late. The ghost had caught up with her and had laid a hand on her arm. Everything turned grey and misty, and Penelope knew with cold certainty that she was never going home again.

***

So the tales of the guides leading the Ghost Tours have changed somewhat now. They no longer speak of the Weeping Lady in Blue: she is rarely seen, and no longer weeps for her lost child. Instead they tell of the child in modern clothes who follows the adults, pleading silently with them to take her home…
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Jaeulk on April 05, 2015, 08:09:37 PM
Well here it is, I had fun with this one and tried to get both the joke and real themes incorporated. Hope you enjoy.

It's called The Contract and comes in at 1454 words.

Happy to receive feedback (useful only please don't be one of those people...)

I'm on twitter @Jaeulk (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=34893) where you'll find me mostly re-tweeting things of interest. Cheers.


The Contract

‘Watch it arsehole’ the fruit vendor spat as Dran brushed past causing the man’s box of Caya to wobble precipitously on his shoulders, threatening to spill the contents into the street. Dran paid little attention, today was not the day to be distracted by mouthy street merchants. The potential opportunities of completing the Royal contract did not escape the sell-sword, he knew a successful conclusion here would lead to other and better jobs for the Royals, enough to get him out of this Goddess-forsaken city. He quickly thumbed the copper crowns he pick-pocketed from the merchant, estimating their value. He was on task but not one to pass up a gift.

The Inn came into view once he passed the crossroads of the dying dragon and he walked cautiously towards the entrance past horses nibbling at the strung up bales of straw hanging from the awning. While fronting onto the main street the Inn was notorious for cut-throats and thieves and while Dran could handle himself in a fight, a dagger to the back of the neck was always a possibility for someone with his background. He pushed on the swinging saloon doors and stepped in, pausing once past the threshold to give his eyes a few seconds to adjust to the dimmer light inside. The Inn was quiet, most of the tables unoccupied and the bartender barely noticing the newcomer’s entrance, nothing to alarm him of impending peril. A wiry figure sat slumped in a large plush chair before the hearth. Dran walked over, and sat next to him. The pair conversed for a few minutes and finally Dran nodded and rose to leave. He had the information he needed. The girl was being held at the docks.

The smell of fish kept Dran moving in the right direction. Moving through the bustling crowd and getting slapped in the face by the tail of some large fish was all part of the journey for anyone moving around down here and Dran kept his emotions in check, focussing on the task he needed to complete. His informant provided only the pier she was being held, but not which specific shed she would be in. Fishmongers yelled out their prices and tried to entice Dran and others in the crowd to purchase ‘the freshest catch of the day’, he acted the interested shopper to a particularly overweight and pungent fishmonger, using the time to take a good look at the area behind the stalls and noted that one shed had two men laying around outside one of the large doors. They were trying, and failing, to be fishermen but were clearly military. No fisherman Dran had ever met walked with a back that straight. Dran moved on, inspecting more fish and repelling the advances of the mongers to purchase ‘the best priced fish in the land’ and other claims of similar ilk. He left the area, having confirmed where he needed to be. Now came the hard part, he only had this one night left to finish the task.

The waxing moon shone brightly, the gibbous had started two nights ago and there was enough light to provide Dran with the ability to move about confidently. Of course this mean that the guards would be able to see as well but that couldn’t be helped. Dran backed himself in a fight over the guards on even terms. He preferred seeing what he was doing than risk tripping over a rotted piece of wood or a discarded piece of netting. This one night and he would be a hero. All he had to do was get past a few guards and to a young imprisoned girl.

Rather than risk a ground assault, the pier provided little cover and a narrow approach, Dran planned to go underneath. He was shown a little trick by the Corsairs of Myeth years ago involving the stomach of a sheep which gave him an extra two or three breaths when underwater. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to allow him to swim below the surface far enough that when he came up, it was underneath the shed where he needed to be. Keeping still and listening he could hear the sounds of people inside, the wooden slats above bent downwards tracing their steps. He figured 5 in all, three inside. Dran brought himself up and out of the water to cling to the scaffolding that exists below the piers, the web of structural support assisting provide great movement for someone of Dran’s abilities and, like a spider, he moved towards the front of the doors. His plan wasn’t the most complex one ever devised. Get as close as possible to the front doors and kick them in. The most difficult part was over, the guards likely thought the openness and restricted access points of the shed was its strongest defense. Wrapped carefully to avoid getting it wet, Dran pulled out a light grenade. packed with magnesium the explosion itself wouldn’t hurt the two guards at the door but if they were staring at it during the night and it went off, the flash upon detonation would blind and disorient them for a while. Enough for Dran to swing up onto the decking and dispatch them. After that it would be all action. Drawing the guards out would also get them away from their captive.

The two guards did indeed look directly at the grenade, they did get blinded by the flash and Dran swept up over the ledge of the wharf. The first guard he struck down with a throwing knife and, not even looking to see if the knife hit, he rushed the second while drawing his rapier, and stabbed the man through the heart. The bang and the cries of the guards had already alerted their comrades and Dran could hear them coming. The doors slid open and he shoved the dead body into the first man out the door. The two fell, collapsing on the floor. The distraction worked on the next man out who acted as if the body of the dead guard was the assailant. Dran moved forward quickly and slid the point of his sword into the base of the skull, an instant kill. The fourth guard had drawn his sword and came out swinging. Dran pivoted and blocked the thrust, drew a dagger and stepped inside his opponent’s guard to thrust it into his chest. That left the last guard, now on his feet after untangling himself from the dead body thrown at him only moments ago. The guard entered into a proper fencing stance and lunged at Dran who blocked with ease, riposting immediately. The guard had clearly been trained properly and that was his downfall. Dran knew proper fencers, many of them, tournament and ribbon winners but all lacked one thing. They didn’t know how to fight for their lives. Dran assaulted the guard with speed and ferocity. Against a proper, street-wise fencer this would have been a mistake. Against a rent-a-guard it caused enough panic that a glaring opening in the defence became available and Dran struck lightning fast. The guard went down. Dran took a breath, this one might live through such a thrust - it didn’t take anything vital. He turned back to examine the scene. All up it was only a few moments but 4, maybe 5, dead. Not bad.

Dran stood still for a moment, if anyone else had seen the fight there would be sounds of alarm. Silence indicated he was safe. He walked slowly into the shed, a few candles stood flickering light over where the guards had kept their equipment. Moonlight pervaded the many cracks in the ceiling and walls where wooden slats and rotted away over the years. At the far end he could make out the cage where the girl was being kept. Picking up a candle he walked over to the bars, the light bouncing strangely off them. The lock was a standard tri-tumble, an easy pick for Dran. The door swung open silently and could make out the sleeping form huddled into blankets. He reached out and shook the figure. Yellow eyes opened to look at him.

In hindsight he should have been alert to it. A full-ish moon, and prescribed night attack, and if he had paused, only for a single moment, he would have considered the implications of a cage made of silver bars. The vamps had won the night-wars long ago but a Lycan on the loose in the city was enough for the night-king’s subjects to remain loyal. Too bad all this only came to mind as a huge set of jaws wrapped around his throat.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Idlewilder on April 06, 2015, 01:42:14 PM
I've reworked a story idea I was working on for a University course I'm doing that otherwise wouldn't go anywhere for this month's contest. (FYI, for those who're regulars and don't recognise the name, I used to be heavily involved in this contest but had to take a step back due to other commitments, so I'm not a total random!) It's not really SF in any way, unfortunately, but hopefully someone finds something to like! 

The word count is 802 words.

Twitter - @the_idlewilder

The Long Road


Laura Freeman is about to die.

She’s so sure of it by this point that she wonders why she’s running. She’s been on this road all day and there’s not been one other vehicle. On either side of the long, never-ending road are old ditches, like something she’s seen in films about the First World War. She imagines lying down in them, taking cover and getting ready to go over the top. They’re so overgrown now they could never be trenches, but the seemingly infinite length of the road puts her in mind of something terrible and impossible to overcome.

Her mouth is parched and Laura can’t help but kick herself for throwing away her half-empty bottle of water a few hours earlier.

She’s hungry, too. Starving even. She’s running on empty but can’t help wondering – some would say obsessively – if she left a half-eaten Snickers in the glove compartment of her car.

And the car! Well, if it wasn’t for that hunk-a-junk she’d be sipping sweet, luscious cider by now instead of praying to god for just one drop of rain. Laura thinks back to the morning, trying to start the run down old piece of shit in the hotel car park while munching on that Snickers bar and knocking back a glass of ice cold coffee. Coffee like liquid silk swimming in her mouth instead of the cloying, glue-like remnants of saliva filling it now.
 
The car had spluttered into life on the third try, right as she was about to call a mechanic. And wasn’t that damned unfortunate? Maybe if she’d have called them she’d have spotted her phone’s battery on 15% and thought to charge it. But now here she is on a desolate roadside miles from anywhere with no way of calling for help.

Yes, Laura Freeman is about to die.

No doubt about it.

‘Take this road by the farm track, my love,’ the old hotelier had said. ‘Bit out in the sticks, maybe, but the old road’ll see you halve the journey, mind my words.’

Laura keeps thinking about that conversation. If only the old woman’s husband had been on the desk; maybe he’d have kept his mouth shut and she wouldn’t be out here in the middle of nowhere. Instead, Laura’s about to die, and all because of that old woman.

And her phone.

And her car.

Laura thinks back to the journey, bumping and grinding along the old farm track until out she came here, on this road. The Beatles were on the stereo, the track buzzing and jumping; she’s never been sure if it’s the stereo or the CD that’s the problem, but she gave it a whack anyway. Twice for good measure, and Hey Jude blasted out like it was the first time it had ever been played.

Laura belted the words out, ‘Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah, Hey Jude!’ She was in the middle of nowhere after all. Who the hell cares?

The song cut out again and she thumped the dashboard, but something went lumpy under her feet and she hit the brakes, the car spinning as she tried to correct it.
   
Thrown forward.

Seatbelt catches.

Ditch.

Laura’s car was in the ditch – hey, it still is - and she couldn’t do anything about it. She tried and tried but it wouldn’t budge, so she got out and set to walk, grabbed her phone and her water bottle.

She’ll wave down the first car she sees.

Well, we know how that turns out, don’t we? Laura chides herself again.

But there’s something she’s been putting out of her mind. It’s only been a few hours, if that. Laura’s been running for what feels like forever now, but when she first set out she was walking at a steady pace.

This is panic.

Laura looks down at her jeans, smeared in mud and torn in several places. Her hands are grazed and covered in cuts and drenched in something wet and hot and sticky.

Her face feels tender to the touch, but it’s her side that hurts the most.

Laura feels the long, sharp shard of glass (or metal, she’s not sure) twist in her stomach and knows she’s about to die.

She looks behind and sees the car, a mangled wreck wrapped around a tree in the ditch. Glass peppers the road and blood smears run all the way to where she stands. Only Laura isn’t standing. Laura’s been running all day but not with her legs. She’s been running away from the very thought of something. Something terrible and impossible to overcome.

The water bottle lies half-empty in the ditch half a mile back and Laura feels inside her jacket for the shard again, but finds only her dead phone and a sticky, half-eaten Snickers bar.

Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: SJBudd on April 06, 2015, 02:23:14 PM
My entry is about Pirates in honour of my homeland - Cornwall!

It's called - The Hunt for Silver-Tongue and is a short and sweet 901 word tale

“Is this what you’re looking for, Sir?” She bared her ample chest to him. James looked at her, and then at the couple fornicating beside her.

He spat at her feet. She hissed at him, baring sharp canines before retreating back into the darkness of the

narrow stinking alley way. James smiled grimly with distaste at finding himself in Silver-Tongue’s home city.

“Tis truly the place of pirates.”

The harbour was filled with an array of ships, all of ill repute, their captains all wanted dead or alive . Could one

of them belong to Silver-tongue himself? And where would be the best place to find him? James had spent a

long time hunting down the infamous rogue, but this time he knew he was getting close. He had almost done it.

His intuition had kept him alive on the seas, granting him safe passage through countless storms and krakens.

And now it told him that Silver-Tongue was here.

But where was best to start looking? James looked up from the harbour to the many ramshackle and dilapidated

inns along the quay. Silver-Tongue had a penchant for rum. He jangled his purse, there was just enough coin

for a few drinks and information to find Silver-Tongue.

His leather boots clapped down as he made his way through the curling sea mist. The first inn he came to was

too busy. It was a place to drink and fight. He needed somewhere where people came to sit and think.

The third inn he found was more sombre and dark inside. Perfect for his mission.

“Oo-ar me hearties!” Came a little voice accompanied by the rattling of a near empty begging bowl. James

looked down, his brow furrowed then softened slightly. He took out a big coin and dropped it in.

“Are you a pirate?” The little girl asked hopefully.

James spat again, “No little Lady, I’m looking for one.” James glanced around him. This was clearly no place for

 a child. Who would be careless enough to leave their daughter amongst pirates, thieves and lowlifes? He looked

down at her tattered dress, it was warm now but soon winter’s harsh grip would be coming and so he dropped

her another coin.

“Oh, I was hoping to meet one here.”

“You wouldn’t be wanting to meet one, they’re a dangerous folk. Why are you out here all alone? And why do

you have a goat with you?”

“Papa says I’m too young to go inside. The goat is keeping me company.” The girl with red hair and freckles

looked up and flicked him a cheeky grin, “One day I want to be a pirate.”

James chuckled, “Is that so?”

“Of course, just like old Silver-Tongue.” She slapped her thigh hard. “I hear that he is totally immune to a

Siren’s call.”

“Well I know he robbed me blind and stole my fortune. I used up my last coins getting passage to here to come

and find him.”

“Why?” She asked as she cuddled up to the goat stroking its head softly.

“Because there’s a large reward on his capture, dead or alive. It’s not nearly as much as what he stole from me.

 But it’s a start, something to leave my grandkids.”

“Imagine being the one who caught him,” She whispered dreamily, “You’d have a magnificent reputation to rival

 his.”
“It’s not about reputation little girl, it’s personal. He’s taken everything that I worked for.”

“I heard that Silver-Tongue is the smartest pirate alive and learned to circumnavigate the seas before he had

learnt to talk. That his mother was a mermaid queen. Once he had plundered so much gold that his ship could

not carry so he…”

“Aye, that was my gold.” James muttered bitterly.

“Oh,” She looked down, “Did you hear about the tale of him living on a remote island that is neither East, West,

 North nor South? It can only be found by him.”

“Tis rubbish!”

“What about that he drinks only rum and mermaid tears? That he can control sea storms by simply raising an

eyebrow.”

James laughed, “Where do you get your information from girl? You’re filling your head with nonsense. Silver-

Tongue is just a normal man with a lot of luck.”

“They say he has the sharpest tongue and can outwit anyone, that’s why I want to be just like him. Because if

you’re clever you won’t need to be strong and tough like a man.”

The door of the inn opened and out fell a drunk burping man, he took one look at James and lunged forward.

“Ere what are ye doing talking to my bairn? Clear off with you, find someone your own age.”

James lifted his hat and bowed slightly, “Good evening to you little lady,” and quickly went inside where it was

warm and cosy. Now he only had enough money left for a few drinks, most of what he had he’d given to the

little girl. If he wanted to find out where Silver-Tongue was hiding he was going to have to use his wits and

wisdom.

“You wouldn’t be saying that if Silver-Tongue was ere,” the landlord said in warning to one of his customers.

“Silver-Tongue?” James spoke pushing forward one of his last coins.

“Aye, but you’ve just missed her,”

“Her?”

“That’s right,” With his hands he gesticulated, “She’s this tall, this wide and has a strange fondness for goats.”

Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 11:55:51 PM
Here is my April story. 1,500 words exactly, not counting the title, which is:

GOOD DOG

Disclaimer: There are no goats.  ;D

GOOD DOG

Bard is a good dog. Bard does what master says.

When Bard is bad, Bard is punished.

Bard sleeps in master’s room. Master has a big room, and many dogs sleep in the room with master. Shep is a dog. Shep has a nice bed by the fireplace. Bard sleeps by the cold window because one time Bard peed on Shep’s bed. Master made Bard stand in the corner and didn’t give Bard any dinner.

Shep is a very bad dog. When master was traveling, Shep chewed the magic shoes that fly. Shep hid the scraps in Archer's bedding. When master came back, he was very angry at Archer. Master sold Archer to a bad man who hurts doggies.

Bard does not want to be sold to a man who hurts doggies.

Bard would like a nice home, so Bard is good when wealthy people come to buy the doggies.

***

There is a lady guest! Bard likes the lady. The lady smells like lavender and secrets, like home and holidays. All the doggies like the lady, but Bard wishes he could tell her that he is the one she is looking for.

Bard hides outside a doorway and watches the lady and master. They sit at the long table, which is filled with many foods that doggies are not allowed to eat. Except sometimes master throws scraps on the floor, and laughs so hard when the doggies fight for the pieces.

Master says: "I have created so many of these children, and each one can be taught to do whatever you desire."

Lady says: "How can this be possible?"

Master says: "Enchantment is a craft like any other. I am like a potter, who starts from man instead of clay, but makes something much more useful. Or a sculptor, who sees the animal nature inside each and simply brings it forth."

Lady says: "Clay? Nature?"

Master says: "You are shocked at my children. They upset you."

Lady says: "No, no. This is exactly why I came to you. I have come a very long way to find just the right one. I can pay a great deal. When may I see them?"

Master says: "Tomorrow. You have arrived late - an unexpected guest. You must be tired."

Then master sees Bard, and Bard runs away so he will not be punished for listening at doors.

***

There are kitty cats in the cellars. Sometimes master comes to bed smelling of them. When this happens, he leaves the doggies alone. He snores and forgets to lock the door. When this happens, Bard thinks about home and running away.

Tonight, master spends many hours in the cellars. Bard sneaks down the stone steps just far enough to watch master mix the witching wine. Bard remembers the taste of it, but he cannot remember more no matter how he tries. Shep sneaks down too, and we crouch shoulder to shoulder. The kitty cats are gathered around in the candlelight, singing magic into the wine.

"She wants just the right one?" says master. "I know what that woman wants. But we won't let her have him, will we my girls, whichever of my boys it is."

Now master is snoring and the door is not locked. Down the hall goes Bard, sniffing for the lady’s room. Up to her door goes Bard. Scratch, scratch goes Bard, with Bard’s heart pounding.

Lady must be sleeping.

Whine, whine goes Bard. Here is Bard up on his legs, thumping on the door even though he only likes being on all fours. Whine, whine, thump, thump.

Sound! There are footsteps coming to the door! The door opens just a crack, and Bard bursts through!

Lady screams and jumps backward! Bard is sorry! But Lady looks at Bard, and she is happy! She grabs Bard and pulls him close, kissing all over his face.

Lady says: "It's you! Thank God I found you! When you didn't come home for so long, I didn't know what to think. But then I heard you'd stopped to sing at this awful place. Why did you think to come here, you daft man?" Lady is weeping, and Bard is licking her face so she won’t be sad. "Stop that!" she says. Lady looks into Bard's eyes. "Billy, oh Billy," she says. "We have to get out of here."

But that is not my name. My name is Bard. Doggies do not have their old names. Bad people call doggies by their old names, and master's magic says we must hurt bad people.

I punch the bad lady in her face. Lady screams "Stop that! William! What are you doing?" I push her down. "No! Stop!" I want to stop. I cannot stop.

Lady yells: "Bad Dog!"

I stop. I am a bad dog.

"Bad dog," says Lady. Bard wants to climb into the lady's lap, but Bard is too big now. Lady sits on the side of her bed, crying, and shaking, and holding her face in her hands.

"What am I to do?" says Lady. "How do I get through to you?"

***

"Wake up."

Bard wakes from a bad dream. Bard dreamed that master was making the Lady drink the wine with spirits in it. All the kitty cats were watching with their green-glittery eyes. Bard tried to tell lady it was bad wine, but all he could do was bark until master yelled and Shep grabbed him by the neck.

"Wake up, dog" she says. Her voice is low and pained, but she is standing straight and tall over Bard. "I've been thinking and I understand. I mustn't call you by your name, must I, or the enchantment takes control of you. I know you would never hit me. Never."

"Come," she says. We step into the hallway. Lady has a lamp that smells like sunlight and pushes back the night. And there is a kitty cat there, listening. Bard barks and chases, but the kitty runs away. "This place is a nightmare," says the Lady. "Men who think they're dogs. Girls who - oh, I don't even know what they think."

They think they are kitty cats.

Lady looks at Bard with a special secret in her eyes. She holds up a knife. It has spirits in it too. "I spent everything," says Lady. "Everything we had for this. There's more than one wizard in the world, but they all want money. And I don't even know if it will work."

She doesn't know how to find the front door. It is hidden by wizardry, unless you're a doggy.  Left, then right. Left again and down stone steps. Through the wall that isn't a wall.

"Stop," says Lady. "I can’t see you. All I can see is stone." Bard goes back and takes her hand in his mouth and leads her. She is shivering, and Bard can tell how very afraid she is. Bard wants to protect her. From master. From green-glittery cats.

There is light up ahead, and the kitty cat is spying from around a corner. Lady stops, then we go further, but we stop again. If we can see around the corner, they can see us too.  Lady takes a deep breath, then reaches down and pulls me up.

"Stand straight", she says. "You're a man. Hands, feet, the brain you were born with, if you just knew it." Lady reaches up and smooths Bard’s face. "Let's go." She holds up the knife again. "We only use this if we must."

I look at the knife. It is wooden and sharp, with strange letters burned on its blade, and spirits that move and sing to me. They sing of home. My mind clears suddenly and I reach for the knife. From my mother. Her eyes turn bright, and our hands touch as she pushes it into my hand. Together we walk toward freedom, but as we turn the corner a tide of dogs and cats roars over us - punching, tearing, barking, screaming. The master stands at the great iron door, laughing, with Shep by his side.

The kitty cats claw Mother down. She is screaming. I cannot reach her through the crowd of dog-men. I cannot reach the master either. But the power of the knife burns in my hand.

I hurl men and women off me. I yell, "Shep!" and throw him the knife.

Shep catches it and looks at it strangely. The knife sings, and his eyes go wide.  He turns, and with a howl plunges the knife into the master’s neck. The master’s eyes go wide with shock. The kitty cats yowl and spin away from Mother, leaving her broken on the floor. They pull Shep down.

And master pulls the knife from his throat, laughing even while red hot liquid pours from his mouth.

"The heart," whispers mother. "It has to go in the heart, William."

But William is not my name. My name is Bard. Bard is a good dog.

Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Elfy on April 12, 2015, 01:07:17 AM
I promised, and I have delivered. 1485 words, including the title. Can be found as @Elfy (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1153) on Twitter occasionally.

It's called Creatures of the Night.

Creatures of the Night

The moon was a silver disk high in the velvet black sky as it hung suspended over the hamlet of Darkwood on a summer night.

In one of the village’s stone houses, a girl awoke in an upstairs bedroom. She rose from her bed, took a blood red cloak from a peg on the wall and wrapped it around herself.  She opened the window, breathing in the fresh night air. She slipped out the window, flowed through the dirt streets, only stopping briefly by one of the cottages near the well, before floating into the forest that gave the little town its name.

                                                                  ****

Cloaked in the shadows thrown by the wall he leant against, Jakob watched the girl disappear amongst the trees. He sighed, spat and settled the rifle slung across one shoulder. He checked that his powder horn was full and that the pouch of musket balls at his side felt fat and heavy. Then he set off in pursuit.

Anna and Stefan had worried Jakob for months now. The three had grown up together, and been close friends for as long as anyone could remember. Anna had always been a pretty girl with rosy cheeks and ready smile, but that had all changed this summer. She never left the house during the day, Jakob had only seen her at the occasional dance, where she sat still and silent by the wall, watching the dancing with pale cheeks and fever bright eyes.

Stefan hadn’t changed as much. He had always been taciturn and prone to dark moods, but this summer that had intensified, and he seemed to actively avoid Jakob, whereas before the two often went hunting and fishing together. He should have been with Jakob, but tonight he was nowhere to be found, as he had been every full moon of late.

Jakob did not know if his friends had anything to do with the rash of livestock deaths that had blighted Darkwood this summer, but he was going to find out, and part of that meant following Anna on her midnight journey. Her crimson cloak made it easy for a skilled tracker like Jakob Hunter to find even in darkness, but it was a clear night, and the moon gave him some light. As Jakob moved silently, making sure that he stayed close enough to keep Anna’s cloak in sight, but far enough away that the girl did not know she was being followed, he reflected on the mysterious deaths. Some of them did look like wolf kills, and that was something that the people of Darkwood were used to living in a forest, but the others, the ones where the blood had been drained, those were not the work of a wolf.

                                                            ****

The old lady’s body lay sprawled untidily next to a neat vegetable patch. She was on her back and her sightless eyes looked up into the night sky. Her stomach had been ripped open, and the blood spreading around the body looked like a patch of night in the moon’s silvery rays.

A large black wolf removed its muzzle from the hole it had torn in the stomach cavity, pushed at the body listlessly with its nose, whined once, then turned and loped towards the stream that ran past the lonely cottage deep in the woods.

The wolf knew it shouldn’t have killed the two legs, but she was there and the silver haired ones could never run fast. A wolf never knew where its next meal was coming from, so it took its chances when it could. Despite that, and its full belly, the wolf still felt troubled by its last kill. However it had an appointment that it knew it had to keep, so it washed its muzzle off in the clear cool water of the stream, watched the crimson blood wash away and then slaked its thirst.

                                                           ****

Anna stopped in the clearing and looked around. When she first left Darkwood she had the feeling that she was being followed, but she had lost whoever it was. Her senses were so much sharper now, and especially on nights of the full moon, when she met Stefan.

The girl lay her burden down and looked at the child’s face. The little blonde boy looked so peaceful, if it weren’t for the twin puncture marks on his neck, and the paleness of his face, she could have imagined him asleep. She knew she really shouldn’t have fed on him, but he was outside at night, and he shouldn’t have been. Plus human blood was so much sweeter than animal blood, even now remembering the taste as it flooded thick and hot into her mouth when she put her fangs to his tender neck, made her salivate. She hoped Stefan didn’t mind that she’d already had a taste.

Lost in her thoughts, Anna didn’t even realize that she was no longer alone. A tall lean boy with tousled dark hair leaned casually against a tree and watched her, a lupine smile playing across his lips. Anna’s eyes travelled up his naked body, lingering at his groin and then she looked into his dark eyes and lost herself in them for a moment. She broke the silence between them by asking, ”Hungry?”

Stefan chuckled. “Looks like you’ve already eaten, Little Red Riding Hood.”

“Don’t call me that!” Anna snapped. “I couldn’t help it, I was hungry, and he was so delicious.”

“We don’t have long,” Stefan said, looking up at the moon through the branches of the trees.

“I wish you didn’t have to change so soon,” Anna pouted, throwing off her cloak and melting into Stefan’s powerful arms.

                                                              ****

The two lay entwined in each other’s arms at the base of the oak, basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking. They knew that their love was forbidden, even though by the terms of what they were they were young. It had been a night like this when Anna and Stefan on their way to this sort of assignation, had crossed paths with a werewolf and a vampire. Stefan still bore the marks of that encounter, the creatures claws and teeth had left deep scars. To look at Anna no one would know that she was dead, save for the deathly pallor where roses had once bloomed, the bruises under her eyes, and the small fact that if she went out in the daylight she would burst into flames.

Anna disentangled herself from Stefan’s arms and put on her cloak again, she stood by and watched the boy change from man to wolf. She whirled as she heard a twig crack behind her, loud in the stillness of the night.

The wolf leapt past her, its hackles up and teeth bared. For a moment Jakob froze, his eyes not believing what they had seen, then a lifetime of training took over. In an instant his rifle was cocked and primed and at his shoulder as he took a bead on the giant wolf in front of the girl in the crimson cloak.

“Jakob, no!” Anna screamed, but it was too late. The lead ball took the wolf in the heart, and in front of Jakob’s stunned eyes, the animal changed from a night time marauder to his lifelong friend Stefan.

Anna let out a choked sob, then she realized that dawn was coming and she turned and fled the clearing.

She couldn’t go home. Darkwood was too far, she’d never make it in time. Her grandmother’s house, that was closer, she could get there before the sun rose.

                                                                 ****

The girl hammered desperately on the door, shouting, “Granny! Granny! It’s me, your granddaughter Anna! Little Red Riding Hood! Let me in, please!”

Had the old woman still been alive she would have heeded her granddaughter’s desperate pleas and opened the door to her, but a wolf had come upon her that night and killed her, her body still lay at the back of her cottage.

Anna’s last word was an anguished shriek as the sun speared through the trees and struck her in the back. In an instant the girl was a flaming pyre, before collapsing as a pile of ashes on the doorstep.

                                                              ****

Jakob buried the body of his friend and the poor unfortunate village child that Anna had killed, he later found the ashes that had once been the laughing girl that dressed in a red cloak, and also buried her grandmother.

The young hunter was shattered by the part he had played in the deaths of his best friends, and so left the place of his birth. He changed his name, married, settled in Hanau and raised a family, amongst his children were two boys named Jacob and Wilhelm, who loved the stories their father told them, especially the one about Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.
                         
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: RussetDivinity on April 14, 2015, 05:00:52 AM
This story kind of comes from the Camp NaNoWriMo novel I've been working on, Cloverdrift, because it's been eating up enough of my time that I don't have the energy to make a new setting for this contest. This particular story doesn't appear in the novel, though; it's more a taste of what the world feels like, and the twist is tied to what I've been trying to play with.

Anyway, here at 947 words is "Drifter".

The plains of the Dakotas were just about the most desolate things Clover had ever seen, even if she couldn’t see much of them. Everything around her was grass, stretching out to where the horizon blurred the line between land and sky. She suspected that horizon was much closer for her that it would have been for a good many other people, but that wasn’t all bad. She didn’t have to feel the crushing weight of all that space around her.

She had her great-grandmother to thank for that, or to blame, as her father said. Whenever he talked about her, he described her as nothing more than a sinner, someone who had sold her body to the stage and to a man, and so God had struck her half-blind. Whenever Clover had gone to her grandmother, she heard a different story, that of an artist who had done what she had to in order to stay alive and feed her daughter. The important part of the story, her grandmother always said, was that she had been half-blind long before she sold her body to anyone. It was a family trait, dating from even further back in their history.
   
Clover had once cared very deeply about whether her great-grandmother had been a sinner or a saint, but now that she was alone with only a covered wagon and her mare for company, she found that dwelling on the past didn’t much matter, especially when that past was generations old. The best thing to do now was to make sure she stayed alive long enough to reach her destination, wherever that might be.

Dinner that night was prairie dog, roasted and sprinkled with a little bit of thyme. She’d traded a silk ribbon for a small collection of herbs about a week ago, and it was the best trade she’d ever made, better even than when she had given a dollar for a pouch full of bullets. She didn’t need her pistol to hunt, and if something was far enough away that she couldn’t get it without her pistol, it was either too small for her to hit accurately or too large to be brought down with a little handgun. Herbs, though, kept her from getting bored with her food, even though most of the time she was hungry enough that she didn’t have to worry about that.
   
No one had ever told her that traveling was such hungry work, but then, no one would have expected her to travel. If she had been born a boy, then her parents might have had to worry about having a runaway child, for there wasn’t much to do for the fourth-born of six (everyone said five, since Dandelion had died when she wasn’t even a year old, but Clover still counted her younger sister), but girls weren’t supposed to run away. They were supposed to be sweet and dutiful, and marry a good man who would take care of them and give them children to bear.

They certainly weren’t supposed to kiss boys behind the church at their older brother’s wedding.

She smiled at the memory, but her cheer vanished quickly, along with her appetite. She didn’t often think of Ned, and when she did, it wasn’t often fondly. It wasn’t anything that she held against him; he had always been kind, and if she had gone through with their marriage instead of running off the night before, she had no doubt he would have made an excellent husband. The trouble was that thinking of him always reminded her of Imogen and Eve.

Imogen was the girl everyone had expected her to be. She was sweet and dutiful, and no doubt she had already borne Isaac a son. Clover’s parents had no doubt been thrilled to have her as part of the family, and even more so when they found out what their own daughter had done.

Clover supposed she ought to still be mourning her older sister. Hanna was no doubt still mourning her twin, and she suspected her parents were still heartbroken from losing a second daughter (and now they’ve lost a third said a sharp voice in the back of her mind), but Clover only felt bitter. It wasn’t her fault Eve had been fooling around with her sweetheart and gotten pregnant, but it was her fault Eve had died. She had been the one to find the medicine for her to drink, and she had been the one to measure it out instead of getting a doctor to handle it.

Was it any wonder she hadn’t wanted to face the chance of getting pregnant herself?

She’d had plenty of time to think about it, enough to know that she wouldn’t necessarily face the same dangers her sister had. She wouldn’t need to abort the child to avoid the social shame, and there was even a good chance she wouldn’t die giving birth. Medicine wasn’t nearly as good as it had been before the Burning Times, when they’d had ways to see inside the mother’s body and spot troubles with an unborn child, but it was getting better by the year, and maybe someday there would come a time when no one in Portland died of childbirth.

That time would be long in coming, and by then Clover had plans to be far away. There was another city that she’d heard of, one where they’d managed to hold on to old technology, and as she lay down for the night and looked up at the stars, she smiled again, dreaming of a place that somehow held both the past and the future.

She was going to Chicago.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Nora on April 14, 2015, 03:27:15 PM
Okay, here is my tortured piece...
Let it be said that I still consider this an easy PG13, but we french put "The Wolf of Wall st" as PG13 in theatres, so you might better not take my word for it!  8)
It contains references of course to the original april fool subject, as you'll see.

Explicit gore and violence, sexual connotations.  :-X

It comes at 1181 words but is likely to change before the end of the month.

The Wolf.

The smell is pungent. Rank.
The darkest side of organic, decay brought on by violence.
It clings to a wandering anomaly. Death in a drab fur coat, matted with lives long spilled. The wolf hunts with a will unknown to its kind. Possessed, he haunts the forest that birthed him. His fetor spills around him in the night, catching in the boughs and rattling the senses, an olfactory bell ringing a warning. A challenge to those who think of running. The wolf of these woods is a playful creature. Like no animal ever should, he has learned at the table of Man the meaning of pleasure.

The little girl knows not to trust. She has paid the wolf in loss and tears. It is the lot of those who linger at the edge of the forest. A cruel price, but a wise choice. Life is rich here.
Until the wolf feasts.
The trees care nothing for the perversity of the prowling beast and its murder of men. They grow and thrive and deceive, lure the wandering stranger into them.

The little girl realises the danger. She has lost her uncle, her friend, her mother.
Her uncle fought, he was a challenge. Her mother the wolf must have liked, she was never found. But her friend they did recover. Mangled, naked. Clad only in russet ribbons of old blood and peeled skin. Teeth marks like so many bracelets of somber beads, bestowed by too ardent a lover.
She’d been a toy to him.

The little girl has a knife. Her father took her hunting and taught her to kill.
Never look in his eye. Pity is for the weak. Hesitation makes you dead meat.

"Grandmother, do you think I will meet him? I am afraid, but still I long to gut this murderer. To pare his pelt with my own hands and lay in his fur."
But no child could ever kill the wolf. And no child should sleep in his accursed skin. It is whispered that this is how the wolf endures, cloaking their hatred and lust for suffering.
Her grandmother begs her to be at peace. She doesn't want her to be reckless, she doesn't want to live to see the last of her line extinguished. But they know that each time she visits, the little girl gambles her life.

That week she killed a goat. She cures its flesh and fills her basket. She will bring her grandmother food, news and filial love. She has her knife, her hood and her courage. With luck, she will survive once again the forest where death each night lurks.

The wolf knows her. He has smelled her, time and again. He knows them all, his enemies, his playthings, his prey. The men he feeds on, who flee and leave hanging the heady scent of terror, the delight of his nights.

She runs, light and silent, a little red mouse through the mist. She thinks of things to say, news to spread and tasks to be done. She feels her pulse quickening; she relishes the future. She is young – her hatred never leaves her, but she can’t fathom the destiny that is calling her.

The smell swells abruptly around her. It burns her nose, scorches her tongue. It comes from every direction, as if she had waded into a shoreless sea of rot. Her basket lies discarded, her blade, dull in the grey light, trembles in her hand.
He comes forth, velvet paws silent as the fog itself. She sees him, sees his size and wonders.
What had she expected as she dreamt of her knife slicing tendons and those muscles so bent on destruction?
The monster in front of her is no wolf, no child of nature, no animal lost to its pack.

He returns her stare, his eyes level with hers, his haunches quivering with impatience. He recognises the anguish distorting her features. He drinks it in each time, be it in hare or man, this disbelief at his size, his form, his potential.
He circles her, with each step he grows nearer, with each stride the sickening click of his malformed joints grows clearer. He smells through his own stench the sweet perfume of her panic. She stands her ground frozen by terror, and waits.

The force of the impact knocks the wind and the sense out of her. They crash onto the ground, her knife grates his ribs, fails to sink in.
He looms over her. Another blow shatters her scrambling mind. She's on her belly, her blade lost, clothes torn, bleeding. Blood is everywhere. Her blood.

This can't be happening.
But it is.
Pain consumes her senses. The wolf moves slowly; tearing the skin from her neck, sliding into her. He gouges her arms, crushes her, presses her face in the clammy humus. His chest rumbles against her in a sick imitation of laughter.
She feels him everywhere, in all the searing shame and mindless despair of one who thought to conquer and is crushed instead.
She looks into his eyes and sees her death, avid and expectant, laced with lust and glee. Saliva tendrils snap and trail across her virgin flesh. His fangs tease her bleeding throat. He is resisting the natural temptation of an easy kill. Trapped within his jaws she can barely breathe.
Her father's voice is in her ear, murmuring to her as if in a dream.
Don't be a daughter to your mother.
Rather be a good niece to your uncle. Fight.


Fingers meet metal. She whimpers, and tries to pry her hips free of the frantic animal. Succumbing to her ruse, he adjusts his grip. Her freed arm flies upward, fueled by desperation.
Metal meets flesh. He shrieks and pulls off. She sits up and scrambles away, pressing her stained weapon to her breast. The sight of him is ghastly : coiling in the leaves in throes of agony, the wolf moans and yelps as his own blood mixes with hers on the decaying leaves of the rotting forest floor. It oozes, ruby red and thick, from an eye burst to a pulp.

His disappearance is as sudden as his arrival had been, and it leaves her hollowed, defiled, numb.
It has happened. He has come and he is gone. Despite her state, she can count herself lucky. No one has fought the wolf and lived to tell the story. This realisation is what makes her stand then makes her run. She needs to get home. She flees, careless of the noise, pushing the pain, crushing her shame. She needs to reach home.

Finally it is in sight, the safe abode where light pours out in the foggy night. Tears run down her face as she rushes to the door and crashes in her house, sobbing, ready to be comforted and healed.
Yes, her father is here, and turns to her as she enters. He too, is disheveled, his chest bared. Again that night they stare at each other. She gapes at his one eyed, bleeding face.
Blood oozing from an eye burst to a pulp.

If anyone is curious, the two tracks I morbidly listened to as I was writing this were from Converter. It's Industrial techno, so not for everyone. Down There is the true "soundtrack" of the piece I believe :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkDvs5mNTF0
But I wrote a lot while listening to Gateway Rite, same band : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dErAkgHTXrY

Proper spoiler, here is a little picture of one of the many story related doodles I made while struggling with this short. Don't open it till you're done reading. Can't resist sharing it with y'all ^^
(http://i.imgur.com/HtRomlQ.jpg)
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Giddler on April 22, 2015, 10:12:00 PM
Hi, everyone, here's my story for April, and my 10th entry into the monthly writing contest. 

Hail to the King, 1491 words

The convention of the Thames Valley Doomsday Preppers was in full swing when Russell got there. He and Amanda had gotten lost on the forest track to the campsite and arrived an hour late, to discover that nearly everyone else had driven there. The main group had made a campfire, while the rest hovered self-consciously about.

Talk had moved onto potential apocalypse scenarios and, inevitably, the conversation had jokingly turned to zombies.

“I’d probably base myself rurally, if it was Zee’s, you know?” said Tim. “There’s less people, and therefore less Zee’s.” The gang around the campfire nodded and murmured sagely.

It’s ‘Zeds’, you dickhead, thought Russell.

“Also,” continued Tim, “you gotta think in terms of potential danger from other survivors, you know? I mean, Zee’s are slow, right? But someone with a knife can kill you just as easily. You’ve gotta make yourself a hard target.” He indicated Russell’s bright red fleece jacket. “Stuff like that will just get you killed, mate. You need to go tactical.” He pointed at his own expensive camo-pattern paintballing jacket.

“Hang on, Tim,” Russell interjected. “What if it isn’t ‘Walking Dead’ zombies? What if it’s ‘28 Days Later’ zombies?”

“What difference does it make?”

“Well, they’re a lot faster, for one. There’s a lot of open space in the countryside for them to run after you.”

Tim nodded. “Granted, Russell. But that doesn’t automatically make living in the city preferable to the countryside.” A few sycophants around the fire made noises of agreement. “Where would you go?”

Russell’s mind raced as he tried to think of a suitable answer. “The sewers,” he finally managed.

The group exploded with laughter.

“The sewers?!” sneered Tim.

Russell felt his face grow hot. “Well, not the sewers, necessarily, but underground. A bunker, or a safe room or something.”

Tim laughed derisively. “Oh, yeah, you can’t move for bunkers round here! They’re like Starbucks!”

The group howled even louder.

“Oh, piss off, Tim,” muttered Russell, stomping away from the group and grabbing a cider from the bag. He noticed Alan staring at him, working up the courage to speak. Russell’s mood darkened. The outcasts had noticed his expulsion from the main group, it seemed, and were taking him for one of their own.

 A slap on the backside distracted him.

“Alright, ninja turtle?” asked Amanda. Russell let his expression reply for him. He cringed as Tim’s group whispered behind him.

“Are you okay?” asked Amanda. “We can go home, if you like. Oh no, wait, we walked here, didn’t we?”

Russell became aware of Alan creeping nervously closer in his peripheral vision, as though about to defuse a pipe-bomb. He swung around on him.

“Yes, Alan?” he snapped.

Alan flinched nervously. “I’ve got a safe room,” he stammered shyly. “I’ll show you if you want to see it.”

Another giggle from the campfire made up Russell’s mind for him.

“Let’s just go.”

————————————————

Amanda hadn’t been drinking, so she drove Alan’s car while he rode shotgun. Russell sat cramped, barely containing his annoyance at Tim’s presence, who had been getting a cider from the bag when Alan made his revelation, and had insisted on coming.

They drove into the city, passing busy restaurants and pubs. There was more movement on the streets than usual, and an ugly charge to the air that made Russell glad he was in a car and not on foot. As they drove past a bar, they saw a man fighting two huge doormen, thrashing against them furiously. As they lifted him into the air, he twisted like a cat and sank his teeth into the cheek of one of them.

“Oh my God!” gasped Amanda. “Did you see that?”

“Just drive on,” said Tim. “The police will deal with it.” Russell had been amused to hear the nervousness in his voice.

Amanda drove them out the other side of the city and into the industrial district.

———————————

Alan told Amanda to park outside a building and they got out of the car.

“This is it?” asked Tim, underwhelmed. For once, Russell agreed. It was a self-storage unit.

Alan nodded. The squat, yellow, corrugated-metal building before them did not scream ‘safe house’.

“It’s a Lok-n-Store,” said Amanda.

Alan nodded again, as if that were, indeed, obvious.

“I think we were all expecting something a little more…” Tim tailed off. “Safe?”

“You can’t get much safer than that,” Alan said. “And I work here, so we’ll have no problem getting in here when there’s Zeds everywhere.”

“Zee's,” corrected Tim, although Alan had already endeared himself to Russell, who put an arm around him.

“Tell you what, mate, why don’t you show us around? Are you coming?” he asked Amanda, pointedly ignoring Tim. She smiled and shook her head.

Looking faintly proud, Alan swiped his card in the door, and he and Russell entered the building.

————————————

They were in the basement.

“So, here, we’ll keep chainsaws and stuff,” Alan was saying, pointing to a locked storage closet. “And here I keep tinned food.” Alan was far less shy when he was discussing the zombie apocalypse.

Russell was starting to regret humouring him. “Look, mate, this place is great, in principle, and I’m really happy you’re enjoying prepping, but there’s a lot more to it than fantasist zombie crap.”

Alan looked at him in vague alarm. “Like what?”

“Well, what if the World Economy collapsed? What if an electromagnetic pulse event took out all the world’s power grids? What if fossil fuels run dry? These are the sort of things preppers should be planning for.” He sighed at Alan’s uncomprehending expression. “Look, I know you probably haven’t seen many preppers yet except for delusional wankers like Tim-” Alan giggled guiltily, “-but Doomsday Preparation is a mature responsibility to ourselves and our families.”

Alan smiled sadly. “I just wanted to be part of a group…”

Russell felt bad for the little man. “You’re part of the group, Alan, and you’re my friend. Now, why don’t we get outside before Tim converts your car into a Mad Max roadster?” They both laughed and headed for the stairs.

————————————

“So how did you get into prepping?” Tim asked Amanda.

She shrugged. “Russell likes it. It’s something we do together.”

 Tim nodded. “My girlfriend used to do it, too, but she reckoned I was too into it so we split up.” He looked around, scanning their surroundings.

“Wow, you’re really… keen,” frowned Amanda.

Tim caught her tone, and shrugged. “When I was in my first year at University, I got beaten up by some guys. One punched me to the floor and his buddies kicked me until my ribs broke and punctured a lung. I was in hospital for seven weeks and I had to retake my first year. I couldn’t leave the house, you see?”

Amanda didn’t know what to say.

“When you’ve seen what people are really like,” murmured Tim, “once you really know; you can’t do anything else with your life other than be ready for the next time.”

Amanda turned to face him. “Tim, I’m sorry…”

He wasn’t listening. A man was at the end of the road, lurching drunkenly under the sodium lights, too far away to make out individual details.

Suddenly, he spotted them, and began to run towards them in a frantic sprint.

“God,” said Amanda, “he’s running really fast.”

“Amanda,” said Tim in a flat, terrified voice. “Get inside.”

——————————————

Russell had his hand on the door-handle when Amanda came crashing through in a state of blind panic. His first thought was that Tim had attacked her, but then Tim came through himself and slammed the door behind him.

“Lock the door!” Tim screamed, pressing his back against it. Russell just stood blankly. Amanda threw herself against it to lend her weight to his. A howling screech came from outside and the door shook under a tremendous impact, almost knocking Tim and Amanda back.

“Help us, you stupid bastard!” shouted Tim. Russell snapped from his daze and leaned his weight against the door.

“What the hell is going on?” he cried.

“He’s dead,” stammered Amanda. “I saw his insides hanging out.”

“What!?”

“She’s right,” said Tim. “No-one like that could be alive.”

The door shook again, jolting the three of them. Russell cursed. “Alan, help!”

Alan had disappeared.

The next impact cracked the wood, straight down its centre. The door folded like a curtain, and the zombie thrashed its way into the corridor in a frenzy, loops of intestine dangling from it’s yawning stomach cavity. It caught sight of Amanda and hissed, crouching ready to spring.

With a boom, it’s head exploded like a pumpkin, spattering brain matter and blood across the corridor. The three turned to see Alan behind them, holding a shotgun.

Screeching came from the street outside. Russell could hear distant sirens.

“Do you know, Alan, we may need your safe room after all,” he said.

Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Rukaio_Alter on April 23, 2015, 07:05:27 PM
Finally got around to finishing mine off. And, for the first time, I didn't have to try and shave it down to fit the word limit!

Anyway,coming in at 1333 words is A Twist too Far.

The warehouse was dark. Gloomy. Silent. The only sign of life was the occasional rat or cockroach scattering across the floor, dodging between the many stacked crates littering the room.

A loud clank cut through the silence. The warehouse door creaked open and Welshy Simmons crept in, a flashlight in one hand and a crowbar in the other. He scanned the shadowy room carefully before creeping over to a crate surreptitiously tucked away in a corner. He quietly placed the flashlight down before beginning to pry the crate open.

His heart was beating fast. The detective must’ve been lying. There was no way he could’ve seen Michelle walking around. But if he wasn’t… If that blow to the head hadn’t been fatal…

He finally managed to rip the lid off the crate and peek at the contents. He let out a relieved sigh. She was still there.

“So this is where you hid the body then?”

Welshy spun around at the sound of the voice. Behind him stood Tex Taylor, the private detective who had so rudely stuck his nose into Welshy’s business. The detective had a flashlight of his own and a gun aimed directly at Welshy.

“Put the crowbar down.” Tex said. “It’s all over.”

Welshy did as he was told with a resigned tone.

“This was all a trap wasn’t it?” He said. “You never actually saw Michelle alive.”

Tex nodded. “And I know all about the smuggling operation you ran behind the books. The only thing I needed was for you to expose yourself and show me where you hid her.”

Welshy gave a weary smile. “Looks like you worked it all out then.”

“Almost.” Tex smiled back. “The only thing I couldn’t work out was ‘why?’ What made you decide to kill Michelle? Did she stumble over part of your operation?”

Welshy began to chuckle. “That’s not something I can so easily tell you.” He took a step to the side and gestured to the crate with Michelle’s body in. “Perhaps it would be better to show you instead…”

Suspicious, Tex took a step forward and shined his flashlight into the crate. What he saw shocked him. A mess of slimy purple tentacles. Six black, lifeless eyes. A humanoid form that absolutely could not be human.

"Wha... What is this?"

“I could tell as soon as I saw her.” Welshy slowly let out a low laugh. “That so-called Michelle was none other than a Venusian spy, sent her to foil my dirty deeds! My internal mecha-scanner confirmed she was wearing a fleshsuit!”

Tex could scarcely believe the words coming out his mouth. “She’s an… alien?”

“Not just she…” Welshy reached up to his neck and began to tear away his own skin, revealing a horrific green fleshy substance beneath. “For today, detective, you deal not with a mortal human vagabond.” In a single smooth motion, he ripped off his fleshy outside to reveal a mound of wriggling inhuman tendrils that vaguely consisted a face. “I AM GLARTOK, THE DEVASTATOR!!! VWAHAHAHA!!!!!”

Glartok’s eight glassy eyes focused on the stunned detective as his laugh turned guttural and grating. 

“WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY NOW, TINY HUMAN!!! YOU FACE A BEING FAR BEYOND ANYTHING YOU CAN COMPREHEND!!!”

Tex stared up with his jaw dropped at the humanoid monstrosity, a creature far beyond his own lifespan and comprehending. Then he asked one simple question.

“What the hell do you think you’re playing at?”

Glartok laughed at this. “I AM HERE TO LAY WASTE TO YOUR PALTRY-“

“No, not you.” Tex interrupted. “You. The writer. What do you think you’re playing at?”

Glartok looked confused at the simple human detective. Obviously the shock of meeting a being from another world far beyond his own had-

“Hey, don’t ignore me! I want an answer!”

Wait, are you talking to me?

“Yeah, you.” Tex nodded. He gestured at the confused Glartok. “What the hell is this?”

He’s Glartok the Devastator. A member of an intergalactic race bent on world domination and-

“No, I don’t care about that. What I want to know is what the hell is he doing here?” Tex asked. “This is a detective story, not Battlestar Galactica! Admittedly, it’s not the most original detective story, but at least it was vaguely consistent. Why did you introduce aliens out of nowhere?”

“FOOLISH MORTAL!! GLARTOK COMES WHEREVER HE PLEASES!!”

“Shut up, Glartok!” Tex snapped. “I want an answer!”

Um… I thought it would make a neat twist.

“A neat twist?” Tex gestured to the giant alien. “This guy? Really?”

Well, you didn’t see it coming.

“True, but that doesn’t make it a good twist. If everyone in the world suddenly turned into gummy bears, I wouldn’t have seen that coming. And it would’ve been equally stupid.”

Now you’re just exaggerating. It’s not that bad.

“Really?” Tex raised an eyebrow. “Name one piece of adequate foreshadowing you laid for this scene.”

Er… Well, when you investigated Welshy’s room, he did have that space planet mobile hanging from his chandelier.

“So?” Tex said. “My 5-year old nephew has stars painted on the ceiling of his bedroom! That doesn’t mean I’m expecting him to turn into a crazed Martian in Act 3!”

“ACTUALLY, I’M FROM A SMALLISH PLANETOID ROTATING THE LESSER MOON OF-“

“Nobody cares, Glartok!”

All right, look, you may have a point. But what do you want me to do about it? It’s already happened.

“That’s not my problem.” Tex said. “But you need to fix it and fast.”

“IF IT’S ANY CONSOLATION, I THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD TWIST.”

Shut up, Glartok. Okay, how about this? He’s not an alien, he’s a demon king or ghost or something supernatural. We had some weird cult elements in the first third as a red herring remember?

“OOH! A DEMON KING! I LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT!”

“Hmmm.” Tex thought on this. “It’s better, but it’s still a fairly big shift in tone. We didn’t really have any kind of supernatural elements before.”

How about some kind of powerful hallucinogenic gas?

“What would a petty smuggler be doing with powerful hallucinogenic gas?”

He was… smuggling it?

Tex scratched his chin. “I suppose it could work. The whole Glartok thing still seems a little on the nose, though. Even as a hallucination, it’s impossible to take that walking cliché depository seriously.”

“SNIFF. YOU GUYS ARE HURTING MY FEELINGS.”

Maybe if I made him like an internal reflection of your own latent personality traits? If I throw in some psychology-sounding mumbo-jumbo, people will probably praise it as ‘deep’.

“Do you actually know anything about psychology?”

No.

“Are you just going to use the word ‘Freudian’ a bunch of times?”

A little.

“Then I’m going to pass.”

“WHAT ABOUT A COMPLEX ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON OF BOTH THE ENVIROMENTAL AND BIOLOGICAL FACTORS THAT LED TEX TO BE THE MAN HE WAS TODAY AS A WAY OF EXPLORING THE IDEA OF NATURE VS NURTURE.”

“…”

...

“WHAT? I TOOK AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGY ON GLOVOK IV.”

Okay, this is all getting to be too much of a pain. I know exactly how to sort this.

“Why do I have a bad feeling about-“



Tex woke with a start. He sat up and looked around. He was on his apartment couch. The entire place was quiet except for the dull chatter of the TV in front of him.

“And that concludes this week’s adventures of Glartok the Galactic Conquerer.” The announcer blared. “Please tune in next week where Glartok will-“

Tex switched the TV off and sighed. Obviously he must’ve accidentally fallen asleep on the couch and accidentally dreamt about that TV show. After all, the idea of aliens existing was just silly. Absolutely ridiculous.

But there was no point dwelling on it. For now he was going to have to put his mind back to solving that important case. He lay back on his couch, deep in thought.

Finally, he spoke.

“You know, this is still a fairly cheap twist.”

Bite me.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Carter on April 28, 2015, 10:01:02 PM
Here's mine for the month, coming in at 1500 words all told.  Enjoy. 

A Masquerade in Three Acts

Act One

He smiled within his vulpine mask as he surveyed the ball.  The colours of House Cultator hung from the rafters of the Guildhall, every decoration drawing on its azure and eagle for inspiration.  From flower arrangements to frosted windows, all was resplendent in the cerulean-tinted alchemical lighting.  A string quartet played mellow, lilting refrains for the gathering of the great, the good and the corrupt of the Bruanic League.  The eddying, swirling current of humanity swept him through the throng as he exchanged pleasantries with each wealthy, influential, bestialised individual.  Porcine tusks and ursine claws ushered him towards the waiting podium.
 
Four years ago they had shunned his advances.  Three months ago each family had clamoured for his attention.  And two hours ago he, Captain Oric, owner of a ship and a new spice route, had married into their illustrious company.  All his hopes and bribes, all his scheming and his luck, had brought him to the cusp of his dreams.  Arms spread wide in welcome, the giant, lupine figure of Merchant Cultator drew him into an embrace.  His new father’s grey muzzle matched the bristles beneath and his dark eyes glittered with devious intelligence and burning ambition. 

“Oric, my boy,” Cultator said.  “Isn’t this the finest celebration you ever saw?”

The jovial tone hid the knife thrust but he felt it all the same. 

On my journeys I dined with chiefs and kings, you oaf.  I witnessed marvels and miracles your land-bound mind cannot imagine.

“You have outdone even your own standards, father,” he said. 

The honorific was as deliberate as wearing a canine mask to highlight their new familial bonds. He imagined the riposte striking home.  It reminded Merchant Cultator that, however much his House gained in exclusive trading rights, it was humble Captain Oric who had climbed furthest and emerged victorious.  The grin stretching his lips strained his cheeks. 

The musicians fell silent and a hush spread across the room.  Lucretia’s entrance spared him further conversational sparring as all eyes turned to get a glimpse of the bride.  Atop the stairs, she had abandoned the traditional, virginal tabard she had worn to the ceremony in favour of a sumptuous lapis lazuli gown.  Graceful, elegant hemming created the illusion of feathered wings as she held the flowing split skirt apart to ease a fluid descent.  An aquiline beak was studded with sparkling, frosted glass beads, her necklace dazzling with sapphires.  Her mask and headdress were constructed of real, dyed down, stitched so tightly together and so close to the skin, it looked melded to her skull. 

Suddenly she stumbled.  A caprine-masked man dashed from the crowd as she toppled.  The crowd gasped in unison as he swept Lucretia into his arms.  A high, piercing scream tore the air.  Oric’s heart stopped.  He could only watch as his future dripped scarlet down the stairs. 

Act Two

Friedrich’s heart ached as he waited for the sight of his beloved.  The waiting grated at his nerves.  The need to remain constantly civil and courteous was becoming increasingly unbearable as others celebrated Lucretia’s marriage to seaborn scum.  Thinking about the captain enraged him beyond belief.  All he had done was sail around until he stumbled upon an island or two and it had somehow been enough to snatch Lucretia from his arms. 

Only one thought warmed him.  By the end of the night Oric would know just what it felt like to have his world cruelly ripped away. 

Someone bumped into him, jostling him out of position at the foot of the grand, sweeping staircase.  He spun around, hand clenching involuntarily into a fist.  A splotched, skewbald, equine woman stumbled backwards, reaching out a steadying arm.  A hand covered in a stretched, hoof-like cuff covered her mouth. 

“I’m sorry, my lord,” she said, granting him the deference he deserved. 

“It is forgotten,” he said through gritted teeth, banishing the woman from his mind as she retreated into the crowd. 

He turned back just in time.  Full of harsh, aquiline magnificence, Lucretia glided down the stairs.  Beautiful and perfect, her stitched wings spread wide; she descended with the innate grace of the landborn.  Something the base Captain with his rolling swagger and coarse breeding could never hope to emulate.  The very fact that he tried to ape Merchant Cultator’s outfit made him squirm. 

Almost he missed his moment.  He cursed Oric for the distracting thoughts as, partway down the stairs, a poised foot slipped across polished oak.  His muscles, aching with suppressed nerves, reacted.  Within a heartbeat he caught her, the small knife drawn from within his costume and gripped carefully in nervous fingers.  As Lucretia fell into his arms, he punched the blade through the folds of her dress and into her stomach, a smile creeping across his face for the first time that day. 

Her scream was shrill and pained, musical and perfect.  Blood flowed between his fingers; slick, pungent.  Warm. 
Panic flared.  His heart stopped, paralysed in his chest.  This wasn’t part of the plan.  A bladder she had a told him, a nick from the trick blade and pig’s blood would flow.  A tragic accident, a quick, straightforward charade and they could be together far from the machinations of their families. 

Lucretia’s life fluttered beneath his fingertips and she slipped away from him.  The crowd screamed and cursed.  Hands hauled him away. 

“No!  Lucretia!  Lucretia!”

Act Three

Like most daughters from the merchant houses, she had spent much of her youth planning her wedding day.  Every aspect had been carefully plotted in meticulous detail.  The guest list, her outfit, the music, the decoration, everything within her control she arranged so that the moment her father announced the date and the groom, she would be prepared.  And now, with the ball underway excitement threatened to spill out of every pore.  Only deep, roiling anger held it in check. 

A seaborn captain.

The thought still made her skin crawl.  Despite always knowing her life was nothing but a pawn in her family’s games, trying to marry her off to some pathetic explorer infuriated her more than she could express.  Seeing him move through the crowd as if he could possibly belong among the Houses made her want to scream.  If not for her preparations, she might have railed against the decision like so many merchant women before her. 

The first act of the evening had been simple.  Sneaking into the party with a cheap, forgettable equine mask was laughably effortless.  Careful placement of servants and heralds and her unannounced entrance caused barely a ripple, everyone keen to ignore a seemingly poverty-stricken young woman.  Now, she slid through the packed room, twisting her way unrecognised between her father’s contacts, family members and merchants towards where Friedrich waited in eager readiness.  Long hours practising in front of a mirror, coaxing her fingers into dextrous precision ensured the second act went unnoticed.  A bump with her shoulder and she swiftly removed the trick dagger at his hip and concealed it within the folds of her cuff.  A carefully placed, steadying hand and she replaced it with one of her blades. 

“I’m sorry, my lord,” she said, the mask muffling her distinctive, throaty voice. 

“It is forgotten,” he said, every muscular line of him tense. 

A meek, hasty retreat as befitted someone of low station and she blended once more with the faceless crowd.  Her heart fluttered with exhilaration, any residual guilt at Friedrich’s inevitable fate quashed beneath pragmatism.  For everything to work, to sever her ties to her family and gain the freedom she craved and deserved, sacrifices were essential.  What was one lovesick fool in comparison?  After all, the kisses and trysts had only been a means to an end. 

Silence fell but she moved on.  She did not need to watch Anabella’s glorious moment.  The memories were enough; the clandestine rehearsals preparing her maid for the ruse, Anabella’s flushed cheeks as she mastered each step, the surprising ache as Lucretia realised she would never wear the magnificent gown.  The hush, the gasp, the sudden scream that sent shivers down her spine assured her of success.  Hot, sweaty bodies surged against her as she threaded her way to the exit, Friedrich’s desperate cries ringing in her ears. 

The night’s chill crept along her arms as she breathed in heady, damp scent of freedom.  Lysander waited for her, unconcerned and bathed in the soft magenta glow of a lamppost, the alchemical liquid within splaying distorted shadows across the cobbles. 

“Done?”

His voice was bland but she saw his slight smile, the smuggler’s stony façade cracking.  Because of his knowledge of the city’s secret routes, she had carefully cultivated his friendship, winning him with promises, bribes and the frisson of forbidden romance. 

“Once we get out of the city.”

As she followed him into darkness, her fingers caressed the filigree handle of the stiletto at her hip, the familiar tracery emboldening her for the final act to come. 
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Saraband on April 29, 2015, 04:20:16 PM
Yay, I actually made it!  :)

After much thought, and having thought of actually giving up this month, I ended up with an idea. I took a well-known story and gave it a twist, hope you enjoy it.

Innocence Lost (900 words)

It is not in our nature to trust outsiders. Each clan has its own affairs, each clan should look to its own. However, on this occasion, all the wolf clans of Brynjar howled together when it was time to make a decision.

The huntsman would have to pay the ultimate price for his crimes against the infants of our species, and I, Silver-Shadow, was the one chosen to do it.

***

Men and wolves had respected each other for millennia. Our worlds met at the border of Brynjar Forest, where the darkness of the woods opened up to a sea of green grass and golden pastures. But the sea kept growing wider, and even before my own father was a cub, men had stolen land from us. They came with claws of iron and took down our trees, some of them as old as the northern mountains.

The clans tried to adapt as our world shrunk, but there was fewer game for each generation, and hunger made us turn into kinslayers.

Father Blue-Brown-Eye told us the forest itself twitched in pain each time a wolf killed another. When the woods slept under the embrace of the moon, we could hear the wind crying for the dead. But how could we stop? Our children cried too, their bellies empty and their bodies too slim to keep warm. To feed our own, the cubs of the other clans had to go hungry.

But Brynjar kept growing smaller. Half of the old clans were left alive after our own wars, before Three-Legged was able to bring together the leaders for a peace agreement. But peace, like war, had a price.

“The claws of the two-legged ones never become blunt, nor does their greed”, Three-Legged announced. “They have no fur, and so they must turn our wood into fire, and the skins of our children into their shelter. We are pack, but the humans do not understand what that means. We must end the life of their leader, and they will run in fear.”

And then Three-Legged came to me, touching the end of my muzzle with hers.

“Silver-Shadow has hunted the cunning fox and the sapient owl,” she said. “He has kept his clan safe, and provided for them. He has met all challenges with guile and strength, and with the moon’s blessing he shall accomplish this task.”

There was silence. And then White-Eye howled, and so did his clan. Blue-Tongue, the proudest of all the clan leaders, was the last one to howl in favor of Silver-Shadow’s decision, but when he did, the clans became one. We were pack once more.

The hour of the wolf had come.

***

No other wolf knew the woods of Brynjar like I did. I stayed for days near the border, hidden, watching the humans. Their leader was very different from the heads of our clans. To lead a pack was to go first. But the leader of the humans stood back, howling, forcing his kin to do his work for him. He was smaller, weaker, yet the others seemed to obey without baring their teeth at him. They respected something other than strength, for the huntsman leader seemed to have none of it.

From the shadows, my eyes met his, but he did not see it. He wore a strange fur, all covered in the color of blood. No one else had such color, and I saw how it made him feel powerful.

The moon grew thinner as the nights went by. I did not leave my cover to eat or drink water. The blooded huntsman would have to die, or my kin would die. That was no choice for me. This was a prey I could not fail to capture.

Chance finally presented itself to me. On the morning of the thinnest moon, before all the humans came to sharpen their claws on our wood, I saw the blooded cape moving towards the forest.

My muzzle was dry, my paws ached, and my sight had lost its edge. But it was impossible to miss the huntsman and his fur, stained with the blood of the pack.

The human carried something in his hands, a hollow stone made of hundreds of small strips of wood tied together, and I could smell human food inside. But never had I seen the huntsman coming this close to the edge of Brynjar, and my muzzle kept telling me something was wrong.

Fear, I thought. I’m afraid. I never killed a human before. If I do this, I will never have to kill another. The pack needs it.

The huntsman entered the woods, and I prowled behind him, silent as a shadow. He kept to a straight path, howling a tune similar to that of birds. Even clad in his bloodstained fur, it was as if he went unburdened by the lives of my kin. As if he was innocent.

It was time. I got closer, nauseated by the human smell clawing at my nostrils. And, just before I jumped on him, I howled one last time.

I was halfway through the air, with my jaws opened, when I noticed that beneath the blooded fur was not the pack leader of the humans, but a small cub. The huntsman’s cub. In that moment, much like a human, my innocence was lost.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: Raptori on May 01, 2015, 03:18:22 PM
Just in time!  :P

The Race (1441 words)

Adrenaline pulsed through Ayatton's veins as he soared ahead of the pack, whooping with joy.

The landscape below him surged and rolled, the valleys flushed with green and the hills splashed with a riot of colour. Creatures dived for cover, betrayed by flashes of silver and gold where the sunlight glanced off their polished backs.

Aya focused on the cliffs that rose in the distance, searching for a glimpse of the gorge. He had to reach it first. Most of his opponents flew on smaller wings, and once they were in the canyons they would be able to outmaneuver him--but first they had to catch him.

This time. This time I'm going to win.

Aya looked back, taking a moment to check how much breathing space he had gained. The light glinted off the wings of his adversaries, marking their positions like gems strewn across the faded horizon. With his superior speed he had left the pack far behind, although a few others were scattered in the space between.

The undulating hills gave way to rougher terrain as Aya headed toward the cliffs. He still couldn't see the gorge. Navigation had never been his strong suit, which was probably why he hadn't won a race yet. If he had picked the wrong bearing he'd lose his lead while he searched for the right spot.

Shit.

Aya climbed a little higher, giving up some speed in exchange for a better view. No luck--he was still too far from the cliffs to see their details through the haze. He growled, then took a deep breath and unleashed the fire in his heart.

The flames became an inferno that raged and swirled through his body. He stilled his mind and waited as the pain sharpened into exquisite agony, the power building into a tempest within. The world seemed to fade, his senses wavering under the onslaught, then he channeled the fire and bent it to his will.

At once the world brightened again, thrown into vivid detail while the fire fuelled his senses. His peripheral vision blurred, but straight ahead he could see every gully, every tuft of grass, every piece of rubble strewn across the tops of the cliffs.

He could see the gorge. His aim had been good, but not perfect. Shifting his trajectory, he accelerated again, calming his fire now that he knew the right heading.

Judging by the faint sounds of their flight the others were still far behind, but they had closed the gap. He chanced another look back, his vision still sharpened by the dying embers. Halfway through a swift count of his competitors, a shape in the sky drew his attention.

A dark bulge loomed above the vista, the long blade at its center piercing the roof of the world. Aya faltered, disbelieving. As his senses returned to normal the vision faded behind a silky veil, making him wonder if the thrill of the race was playing tricks on his mind.

Concentrate on the race, idiot. Forget the bloody ghost stories.

The last of the greenery quivered in his wake as he sailed into the gorge at last. Speckled walls loomed on either side, a river of blue flowed overhead, and the ground was lost in shadow. After a brief straight section, the canyon split and became a dizzying labyrinth of passageways.

Aya dived and corkscrewed around the jagged outcrops that threatened to knock him out of the race. His instincts took over as he jinked and swerved through the winding alleys, always taking the straightest path, letting the shortcuts and side routes fly past in a blur. He clenched his jaw, aware that every turn brought the others closer to his tail.

A patch of colour to one side flitted in and out of view, hidden by the walls and revealed by the gaps. Someone had caught up.

Aya snarled and sped up recklessly, flying through the maze in a blur, trusting to the lords of luck that he would make it through unscathed. His opponent kept pace, falling behind on the straights, clawing back in the turns, refusing to give him a moment's respite.

After a sharp corner their paths converged. Their wings clashed, and Aya's rival darted in front and took the lead. Aya yelled in frustration, his face a furious mask as he fought to avoid the looming walls, desperately trying to keep his speed. The other flyer took advantage, clipping Aya's wing again to keep him off balance before disappearing down another branch of the canyon.

A chorus of shrieks rose up from behind. A chill ran down Aya's spine, and the fire in his heart swelled into readiness. He chanced a glance backwards, but couldn't see a thing. Whatever was panicking the others was far behind him now. He saw no reason to turn and help--the race was more important. The pack could defend itself from the horrors that skulked in the caverns.

They were dragons, after all.

A patch of colour darted through the maze ahead of him. Aya chose a passage that angled to one side, aiming to overtake his adversary and reclaim the lead.

Their paths merged and they collided with a crunch, cannoning into the wall in a tangle. Aya dodged the falling rocks, kicking out at the other dragon and launching himself off the cliff to take flight once more.

A deep shadow blocked out the light.

The dragons froze in the midst of their fight, terror driving all thoughts of the race from their minds. They cowered, desperately wishing for the hunters to pass over and leave them alone.

Sharp impacts peppered the cliffs above them, the loud cracks echoing through the gorge.

Aya recovered first, diving just before the darts found their target.

The other dragon let out a furious roar, heat pouring off her as she thrashed about. Her struggles lasted mere moments before she stilled.

Aya watched in a state of panic as her silhouette floated upwards.

Oh shit. They're real. Ohshitohshitohshit.

More impacts pelted the cliff around Aya. He lurched into motion, weaving through the maze at breakneck speed. The shadow followed, a dark shape sliding across the surface of the sky.

Aya dived, hiding in the depths. Following the twisting passages by touch more than sight, he almost didn't notice the markers--he was close to the end of the labyrinth. Ignoring the urge to break for the finish line, he concentrated on the threat from above.

They were still following. Aya trembled, holding still in the hope that they couldn't see him in the gloom.

A spark of light flashed next to the hunters' ship. Aya sprang to one side, narrowly evading the darts. One of them dealt him a glancing blow, its tip snagging on his scales before its momentum carried it away.

A ripple of poison spread from the wound, sharp and icy, leaving paralysis in its wake. It petered out quickly, the dose too small.

Aya's fire surged, purging the poison, the pain fuelling his anger. He let it grow, building its heat, until he felt like a creature of molten wrath. His rage lent him strength against the pain, sustaining him past his limits as he refused to let the raw power tear him apart.

Aya launched upwards in a wave of heat, scorching the walls as he passed. He dodged the hissing darts and arrows, the fire lending him speed, aiming to one side of the hunters.

He breached the surface with a roar, a fountain of water following him as he flew into the air. The new sky above was impossibly vast, and the surface of his world spread out beneath him in all directions.

A shout below snagged his attention. The hunters swarmed atop their ship, a whirl of chaos and noise, scrambling for boxes containing strange sticks and packs of darts. Smaller boats tended to a dark mass that floated behind the ship--the other dragons, frozen by the poison, their bodies gathered into a huge net.

Aya attacked, releasing the full force of his fury onto the evil creatures, bellowing flames, teaching them to fear the wrath of the timeless. Irked that the ship still floated, he tucked his wings and plummeted, crashing into the flimsy metal and tearing it to shreds.

His rage began to cool, his lust for vengeance satisfied. He freed the frozen dragons from the net, lending his heat to help them burn off the poison.

The small boats sped across the waves, attempting to make a swift escape.

Aya let them leave, bearing a warning that the dragons of the deep would cower in fear no more.
Title: Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread
Post by: ArcaneArtsVelho on May 01, 2015, 03:27:49 PM
Phew, finally finished. :)

Contains some slightly gruesome parts. So, animal lovers and very squeamish people beware.

Exactly 1500 words (including the title).

I hope it's not too much of a drag to read.  ;D

The skinner

The town bell tolled once, resonating low with no sense of urgency. It didn’t tell of marauding warriors approaching the gates, nor it rang because of a fight erupting between inebriated peasants. No, it merely marked the time for midnight’s watch to begin. No evil deed was afoot.


A steady clop of boot heels hitting the cobbles of the main road’s bridge echoed from the walls of darkening houses. The man wearing the boots sliced through an eerie, waist-high mist roused by the cool of the night from the thundering waters of the River Thundring which parted the town bearing the same name. The walker, named Breas, was a soldier in the town watch and, as such, not easily shaken. He had seen his share of cowardly thieves and belligerent drunks, and usually he had dealt with them hands down. But recently the night shifts had come with an added dread, for there was a murderer on the loose. Rumours whispered of killings in villages to the west. ‘More beast than man’, they said, and right they were. The slayings were senseless throat-slitting massacres, always happening in twos: two farmers in one night or two maids. And by every victim’s body there was a skinned animal: two similar dogs, two rabbits. Such atrocities left no man at ease, especially when they kept happening ever closer to their home.

Breas took an uneasy glance over his shoulder, almost expecting someone to jump at him from behind. But there was no attack. In fact, Breas didn’t see anyone, and only the disturbed, dancing mist followed in his wake. He heaved no sigh of relieve, however, not until he reached the west gate and turned into a narrow corridor in the town wall. An allayed smile appeared on his face when he saw a familiar figure lit by a light emanating from a small lantern.

The other man didn’t smile. “You! ’Twas about time you got here”, he grunted, peeking skittishly from a man-sized recess on the corridor next to steps leading onto the wall.

“The bell just rang, Cahal. And in truth, I was already hurrying here when it did. So don’t you start with me.”

“Whatever”, Cahal said, relinquishing his place. “This fucking fog...”, he muttered as he left.


Quickly Cahal’s footsteps became ever harder to hear, and soon the dim, quiet passageway seemed even more menacing than the mist veiled main street Breas had just trodden. Occasionally the fluttering flame in the lantern crackled, and whenever that happened Breas quailed, his right hand anxiously gripping the mace on his belt. A few times he even thought about tugging the alarm bell pull that dangled next to him, but the storm of complaints in the event of false alarm stayed his hand.

This jittery watch continued for many moments, then a sudden shriek made Breas shrink into his alcove. As the same noise hit him again, the watchman felt his legs buckling. He looked south, towards the sounds, but the dusky far end of the corridor seemed too baleful to reach in his distraught state. He grabbed the alarm rope but couldn’t pull it, not without really knowing if something bad had happened. He staggered up the stairs and peeped down from the wall, but sadly a large building obstructed his view. He needed a better vantage point, and, being a curious mind, Breas knew one that not many others, if any, did: the spire that housed the alarm bell rose a few feet higher than the wall. There were no steps, but the rough sides of the belfry, with bricks jutting out, made it possible to scale it up, and the low walled flat near the top was large enough for a sitting man.

After gathering his courage, harried by the intermittent shrieks, Breas started climbing. His hands shook, and he had more problems finding a footing than usually, but eventually he wrenched himself over the parapet, hitting his shoulder on the bell. He seized the bell and its clapper so they only managed to let out a muffled clank. Letting go of them and moving very slowly, Breas poked his head over the low wall to see the mist engulfed town. For a moment he heard nothing. Then the sound reached his ears again, but this time it was clearer and didn’t awe him. “Goats! Really!” he sighed at the bleating that had unnerved him. He smiled and took a deep breath, closing his weary eyes and rubbing them with his palms. However, when he opened his eyes, Breas was faced with yet another shock, for a cat had jumped up onto the low wall bordering the platform. Startled Breas fell on his ass, hitting the bell again, but not enough to toll it. Since it was evident that the feline wanted him no harm, only his company, Breas laughed and welcomed it to take a place on his lap. Stroking the striped, white and orange fur, the watchman, for the first time that night, was at peace.


Breas flinched awake from his slumber when the cat decided to leave him. “You’re right, can’t sleep on the job”, he said, following the animal carefully back down onto the wall. From there they went their separate ways, the man to his post and the cat northbound along the wall. Breas shook his head when he saw that the mist had sprawled even more, dwelling even in the gloomy corridor. The goats had fell silent, but the night still held the town in its frigid grasp, and the petite lantern in the passageway did little to ward off the chill plaguing both the body and the mind. Breas scanned the ends of the corridor and, at the same time, tried to keep calm with deep breaths. He saw no movement, even the mist lay still, but once again a strange sound terrorized him. It sounded like a knock, maybe from the wooden gate. Breas pulled out his mace, still fighting the urge to wake up the town with the alarm. “Who’s there!” His shout came out as a yelp. It was unlikely that any decent person would be out at this time, but still Breas hoped that maybe his brother had come to check on him before finally relieving him at dawn.

Nobody answered. Breas took two hesitant steps towards the north end of the passageway. Then, a sensation more powerful than a mere feeling hit him. It was like he could see in his mind’s eye feet gently reaching for the cobbles of the road somewhere near the gate where his real eyes couldn’t gaze from the depths of the corridor. As a child, Breas had possessed ‘the gift of seeing’, but without the tutelage of seers it had waned away. But even back then, Breas had never gotten as vivid a premonition as he did now, not without being in a feverish stupor, not while awake.

Then came a confirmation for his incredulous mind: the mist danced across the end of the corridor, imparting a movement that had disturbed it. Breas lifted his mace, preparing himself for whatever was about to befall him. But only a cat of white and orange fur crossed the end of the corridor with its soundless gait. A smile was about form on Breas’ face, and the cat had only just passed from his view, as he heard a panicked meow turn into a gurgling groan. With trepidation the watchman inched towards the sound that ceased as suddenly as it had began. His mace held high, Breas took a few breaths and jumped from the relative safety of his passageway onto the street. There, on the cobbles in the mist, he saw a sullied, white and orange pelt, and beside it, a bloody gob of flesh and bones. Aghast Breas stumbled backwards in to the corridor, his eyes wildly searching for the perpetrator. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and a sharp blade travelling across his throat.


An alarm bell tolled somewhere, not once, but continuously. Breas grasped his throat, opening his eyes. “A dream?”, he laughed. It was almost dawn, the mist was mostly gone, he was still in the belfry, and the cat was stretching itself next to him. Only then Breas noticed the alarm, and had barely pinpointed its origin to the other side of the town, when a voice called from the main road.

“Breas!” It was his brother, Unas.

“Here, brother!”

“Thank the gods!” Unas panted. “How did you get... never mind. The guard at the east gate was killed. Peasants found him, throat slit, and an animal skinned nearby. I thought that it’s the killer people talk about and feared that you were the second vict...” His jaw dropped as he saw the striped cat jump on the parapet of the belfry. “White and orange,” he muttered, “just like the skin at the east gate. You really were supposed to be the second victim!”