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Author Topic: June Writing Challenge - Voting Now Closed!  (Read 16564 times)

Offline Mandy

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2011, 08:31:49 AM »
Heard about this contest on Twitter! Thanks for posting it!
I had a blast writing this short story. It was the first time I ever tried to write something with a prompt.

STRUCK (2,000 words)

   Quinlan, dripping wet and shivering, paused at the magazine rack, but he wasn’t looking at the half-nude, three-headed picture of someone named Lady Gaga. Instead, he was looking beyond it, focusing between the torrential rain outside and the reflection of the teenage attendant taking cash from a customer. The kid pressed some buttons on the cash register.
   A blinding burst of white light lit up the interior of the gas station an instant before plunging it into darkness, while at the same moment, a loud snap and a deafening clap of thunder were followed by the popping of blown transformers and the screams of startled customers. Quinlan crouched and ran in the sudden darkness, silently passing people scrambling to get out. He paused at the head of an aisle, waiting for the last person to leave. Alone at last, he vaulted over the front counter and checked the cash register, smiling when he found it still open.
   So he had timed it perfectly.
   Quinlan stuffed the bills into a waiting Ziploc, sealed it, slipped it into the drenched pocket of his cargo shorts, and left the station by the opposite door through which the attendant had exited. By the time he had run three blocks in the downpour, sirens had sounded in the distance.
*   *   *
   The morning sun scraped across Morgan’s exposed skin like a dull knife. The walk down their long driveway to the mailbox, empty, had been brutally hot for 8 a.m., even in early June. Beads of sweat had gathered on her forehead and above her lip so she wiped at her face with her forearm.
   Thunder rumbled. Surprised, Morgan stopped and turned in the dirt road, smiling when she saw the wall of blue-gray clouds to the west. A sheet of silver illuminated multiple times across the surface of one of the cloud columns. Finally, she thought. Months had passed with little more than a drizzle and this storm looked promising. Excited, Morgan decided to watch it come in from the family barn. Her reading corner in the loft would be the perfect vantage point.
   After a few minutes of brisk walking, Morgan reached the barn. Pulling one of the heavy doors open, she stepped inside, crinkling her nose at the stuffy air that smelled like dead grass, dust, and the faint odor of long-gone animal droppings. Walking to the shaded corner to the left of the door she ascended the ladder and stepped onto the hay-covered loft, smiling as a deliciously fresh breeze blew past her from the glassless western window.
   Morgan spread the faded quilt that she kept in the loft for reading and napping over a large pile of hay, lowered herself onto it stomach-down, and watched as the dark cumulonimbus rolled in. A thick curtain of slanting rain was pouring from the billowing clouds, blurring the horizon line. Thunder made her teeth jar as the flashes of lightning grew closer and closer, the blue sky bleeding to Payne’s grey until even the mid-morning sun was blotted out. The oak trees below shuddered beneath the suddenly stronger wind as a dirt devil panicked past the corner of the barn before dissipating at the barbed wire fence. A cloud of dust came swirling through the windows as a roaring sound rushed closer.
   The rain struck. It pounded with shrill fury on the tin roof of the barn. Cold phantom drops swirled inside, landing on Morgan’s forearms and face. Lightning struck, though she didn’t see the bolt, but the almost instantaneous crash of thunder made her nervous. That was close. What if lightning strikes the barn?
   Uncomfortable with that thought, Morgan stood, folded the quilt, tucking it away from the windows, and carefully descended the ladder into the corner.
   One of the barn doors blew open.
   Morgan froze.
   Lightning flashed, briefly revealing someone’s shadow in the rectangle of light in front of the doorway.
   The fine hairs at the back of Morgan’s neck stood on end.
   A young man, dressed in cargo shorts and a dark t-shirt stepped inside. He was absolutely soaked, dark hair wild and dripping past his eyes, water running down his nose and falling from his chin.
   Heart racing, Morgan quickly looked around for a weapon, finding only hay. She hadn’t even brought her cell phone with her. Trying to stay focused, she slipped farther into the dark corner, hardly daring to breathe as she watched the stranger’s profile.
   He swung the door shut and when he turned, Morgan caught a brief glimpse of a pale face drawn with exhaustion. He took a few steps forward and sat down heavily on the floor, slipping a medium-sized backpack from his shoulders. Then he lay down on the floor, his chest rising and falling in rapid movements, one hand draped over his stomach, the other at his side.
   Morgan’s mind raced. Is he—is he going to take nap?! No, people don’t barge onto private property to take a nap. Is he a thief? Vaguely, she noticed the rain begin to lessen until only a soft metallic pattering remained, even the wind hushing itself.
   Suddenly, the boy pushed himself up, roughly running his hands through his hair and flinging shiny drops of water everywhere. He began working off his shoes, putting them aside, then pulled off both socks, wringing the water from them before setting them lengthwise beside the shoes. Bending his head down, he began to rub both of his feet. Even with the rain still thrumming, Morgan could make out small pops and cracks, presumably from his joints.
   After he finished rubbing his feet, which looked extremely white in the semidarkness, he grabbed the backpack, pulling out a medium-sized Ziploc bag. He opened it and out came a power bar, which he ate in three quick bites. Then from the same Ziploc, he brought out a fat white pill bottle. Morgan couldn’t make out the label. He unscrewed the lid, shook the rattling bottle over a hand, and then swung his hand to his mouth, leaving his head up as he swallowed.
   Morgan didn’t know much about drugs, but that was a pretty big bottle. Didn’t addicts and dealers use small bottles or tiny baggies?
   While Morgan was recalling movie scenes involving drug use, the boy opened the backpack again and reached inside, yanking out several more Ziplocs before producing a large square object that was wrapped in plastic. Baffled, Morgan watched as he uncovered it and fiddled with two knobs before setting it between himself and his socks and shoes. The thing reminded her of the toy talking radio she’d played with as a child. He leaned towards the square object and at that angle she could make out more of his features. His face was dominated by slightly hollowed cheeks that gave way to rounded cheekbones and thick eyebrows that hung like thunderclouds over gleaming eyes.
   The boy suddenly stood, bent over and peeled off his saturated shirt. Shocked, Morgan continued to watch, eyes wide. His skin was so very pale. He was leanly muscled, but looked thin, like a runner or swimmer. He wrung his shirt out, laying it next to his socks.
   When his fingers went to the button of his drenched, low-lying shorts, Morgan blurted, ”Don’t move!”
*   *   *
   “Shit.” Lightning flared outside and in the brief light, Quinlan could just make out the girl who stood in the corner. She was petite with light hair, holding a loose fist in front of her, though he couldn’t tell what was in her hand. Quinlan silently berated himself. How could he have been so careless? The rain picked up until there was a harsh roar on the roof. “What are you holding?” he asked, loud enough for her to hear. Please don’t say gun.
   “I’m holding my phone,” she said firmly. “My dad is one call away. He could be here in less than a minute with a shotgun. Now slowly put your hands up where I can see them.”
   Biting back a few choice words, Quinlan complied, feeling his unbuttoned shorts slide lower.
   “You’re…trespassing on private property,” she said after a moment of awkward silence.
   “I apologize.” He kept his voice even. “I won’t stay long. I just needed a place to let my shoes and socks dry. Once they do, I’ll leave.”
   She was silent for so long, Quinlan began to wonder if she’d called her shotgun-wielding father anyway. “You can stay until the storm passes,” she said finally, “but not a second longer.”
   Quinlan laughed sharply. He couldn’t help it. “With the heater it won’t take long for them to dry,” he said, nodding his head at the propane heater.
   “Heater?” she repeated. “That’s what that thing is? Why do you have a heater? It’s June.”
   “I had a feeling I’d need it,” he said dryly.
   “You have a heater, but not an umbrella or—or jacket?”
   Quinlan twisted his mouth. “I lost my parka yesterday.”
   “I see,” she said, suspicion dripping from each word.
   “I said I’d leave soon.”
   She didn’t reply.
   Lightning and thunder struck again. Quinlan felt frustration steadily building, but he took a few deep breaths. Remain calm.
   “Are you—are you a drug addict?” she asked, her voice almost too quiet to hear over the thrashing rain.
   Quinlan raised an eyebrow, lowering his arms before catching himself. “No.” His tone implied the question behind the answer.
   “Then what’s in that white bottle?” she asked, her voice louder now.
   “Oh.” He almost laughed. Almost. “Vitamins.”
   “Vitamins.”
   “Yes, vitamins.”
   “Well…what are you doing here with a heater and vitamins?” She sounded hopelessly confused.
   “I’m backpacking across the south,” he answered immediately.
   She paused again, clearly upset. “I thought people only backpacked across Europe.”
   Quinlan normally would’ve smiled. Instead he frowned. “I don’t like flying.” His arms were starting to burn. “Can I lower my arms please?”
   She tilted her head, eyeing him. “Only if you promise not to put your hands near your pockets.”
   “Promise.” He slowly lowered his arms. “I’m going to button my shorts. Is that okay?” he asked sarcastically.
   She made a small noise. “Put your shirt back on while you’re at it. And no fast movements!”
   Quinlan closed his eyes. He was already fighting the chill and if he put his shirt back on, it’d be ten times worse. With a small sigh, he slowly bent down, picked up his still-wet shirt, which now felt very cold, and forced it over his head, the wet material fighting him the whole time. Then he buttoned his shorts and pulled them back up to his hips. Happy now? he thought, glaring at her.
   Quinlan went motionless. Straining his hearing, he could just make out the wail of sirens.
*   *   *
   The rain began pouring in earnest, battering the tin roof while wind howled and lightning and thunder hit twice nearby. In the same instant, the boy suddenly bent down and started shoving everything back into his backpack.
   “What—what are you doing? I’m calling my dad!” Morgan bluffed, holding her imaginary cell phone in the air.
   He laughed, but it came out more like a bark. “Go ahead.”
   “But—” she hesitated, too flustered to finish her thought. “Are you leaving?” Some part of her actually didn’t want him to go yet.
   He didn’t answer, but sat down, tugging on his socks and lacing his shoes. He stood, throwing his backpack over his shoulder. “Goodbye,” he said curtly, pushing open the barn door and stepping out into the now-torrential rain.
   Morgan ran outside after him. “Wait!” she called to his retreating back. “What’s your name?”
   But the boy just kept walking, head down, picking up his pace as he made his way down the muddy road until he disappeared into the dark haze of rain.
   Morgan stood still, watching after him for a long while. Finally, drenched and shivering from the cold rain, she turned back inside the barn.
   Fifteen minutes later, the storm passed.
Mandy
"Writer's Block: when my imaginary friends won't talk to me."

Offline elloise

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2011, 04:49:24 PM »
Here's my storm story, really enjoyed the challenge. Great idea.

The Heart of The Storm.

It had been such a long time coming that nothing felt real anymore. ‘Find him at the heart of the storm’ the prophet had told her. ‘Where the waves break at the white horizon, the way will open’. The words were a permanent echo in her memory but she kept the prophet’s words as well – a more solid reminder. The scroll was tired; cracked and faded; battered by travel, its marks mere hints of the former ink scratches. She had spent eight years chasing rumours of a storm across all Valkala but the storm had never come.
Shahlal was the furthest port from her hometown. From here, the hardiest of sea captains made the perilous journey to Grushal, the continent in the far north where most valuable goods were found. To get there you had to sail over the Ice Break. It was a treacherous bank of icebergs and crossing currents. That had to be the white horizon the prophet had spoken of.
She had crossed bone-dry desert to reach Shahlal, trading her camel at the last outpost for dried beef and cheese that she ate now, chased down by a quart of ale. She stretched her legs out, too used to the familiar ache to mind it and sent a silent prayer for a storm.
The breeze seemed to pick up for a moment, whipping her neckerchief across her face and a tinge of hope sparked in her mind.

She walked along the docks to where a Grushal ship prepared to sail. The Captain was the tallest man Jenna had ever seen. He stood at least two heads above her and looked down with a frown as she spoke.
‘I take woman on ship, bad luck. This they know.’ He gestured to his crew. They stood behind him in a line, fifty men shaking their heads, some with genuine fear stretched across their features and some, she noted distastefully, with morbid fascination. Grushal was a primitive land, dominated by strength and men. Women did not sail and old superstitions about monthbloods on deck still held sway. Jenna bartered, pleaded with the captain but he waved his hand dismissively and walked away.
His strides were long and Jenna had to run to keep up as she unfurled the scroll. She shouted the words in their original Grushal.
‘Bruck-hal a laimi al sharaman.’ The heart of the storm. The captain stopped in his tracks.
‘Where did you hear this?’ He demanded. She backed away a little, frightened at the new edge in his voice and gripped the scroll as she spoke.
‘I have to get to the heart of the storm.’
‘These are Grushal words. Where did you steal them?’
‘I didn’t steal them. A prophet gave them to me.’ She held the scroll out and gasped as he took it from her hand.
‘There is danger and death at heart of storm. Bruck-hal a laimi al sharaman is from ancient Grushal text. It mean the door to another world. What is it you seek at heart of storm that you would risk lives for?’
‘Someone I loved.’ She stepped forward, her voice louder.
‘I have no choice. The prophet told me –’
‘Come. Follow.’ He walked away at a fast pace up the hill.
She reached the top, breathless, to find him stretched out, a strange, long, tube pipe in his mouth. She studied his face, as he puffed out short trails of smoke. His brow was creased in thought and his eyes, grey as a storm, stared far away. His skin was dark, far darker than she had imagined Grushal skin to be, and his bare chest was etched with black patterns.   
‘This mean captain.’ He pointed to a sun above his heart. ‘I Ship Captain Tholle.’
‘Tholle.’ She tried out the unfamiliar name, mimicking his pronunciation. ‘I’m Jenna.’
‘Jenna? In Grushal, Jenna mean chosen. You know this?’
‘No, I didn’t know it meant anything.’
‘You give me lot to think on, Jenna.’ The way he said her name was slow, stretching it out to three syllables, as though each held great importance. His voice was deep, its lilt hypnotic.
‘I meet prophet once too. See here.’ He pointed to a circular motif on his stomach. He say Grushal not my destiny. He say I betray my soul and my people.’ He took one last draw on the pipe and stabbed it into the ground next to him. He opened up Jenna’s scroll and turned his body sideways placing the scroll against his flesh. He held it flat against his body and traced a finger along the outlines the prophet had drawn on it. Jenna leaned forward in fascination. A series of curves flowed from his hip to the scroll and back again along his stomach as he pointed them out.
‘This say I follow my heart and the heart of the chosen and betray my people for a storm. It say I am not Grushal, I am ghost.’
‘Ghost?’
‘I don’t know how you say. I am not real. Not man.’
‘A god?’
‘No. Ghost. No gods in this world.’ 
Jenna watched as he traced the lines on his hips again, speaking the prophet’s words as he did. He moved the scroll aside and reached out to pull her body against his.
‘Jenna mean chosen. You have prophet words. You are my chosen.’ He pulled her onto him, his lips meeting hers and his arms folding around her. She tensed as he forced her lips apart. He tasted of smoke leaves and she relaxed as her body responded to forgotten urges. He removed her clothing and kissed her neck.
‘I take you to heart of storm,’ he promised and she let her mind un-tense for the first time in eight years as their bodies joined.

Later she stood beside him at the docks, balking at the sight of vicious waves breaking against the ship and wondered, not for the first time, what madness was taking her on this journey. She could barely remember her brother now. Was she was taking a ship full of men to their deaths just for a faded memory?
Tholle stood in front of his crew, his voice raised to a shout. The men shouted back at him, shrugging shoulders and pointing at Jenna. She slunk against the dock wall wishing she were on the other side of it.
‘Bruck-hal a laimi al sharaman.’ He held the scroll against his body and they hushed into nervous silence.
‘What’s going to happen?’ Jenna asked.
‘I tell them we go to heart of storm.’ He spoke louder, addressing his crew. ‘My destiny is not with them. They go home, over Ice Break, with ship and with goods they come here for anyway. No change.’ Jenna took Tholle’s hand and led her aboard the ship.
The scent of sea salt hit her first, then the deep, weathered wood of the ship’s deck. She lifted her face to the wind and caught the unmistakable smell of a storm in the distance. The air was moist with a doused fire; a wind-rocked forest; a hot spring; the heart of the storm.

As they neared the Ice Break, the winds hurled salt and sea grit against Jenna’s face. Tholle stood at the helm backing orders as the ship swayed and crashed through the water. He had strengthened, as though the storm gave him life. His destiny was drawing near, he told Jenna one night as they made love. He had given her hope she never dared to consider before. He promised they would find her brother and for the first time she believed it.
The ship lurched sharply to the left and she caught her breath, inhaling deeply.  The heart of the storm was close. She could taste it.
The sky darkened as the last of the sun disappeared behind thick cloudbanks and it groaned releasing the sound of a storm confined for years. The ship tilted sideways, a wave sloshed over the side and Jenna felt the seeping cold of the Ice Break as they entered the crossing current. The sails blew violently back and forth and the currents tugged and jerked the vessel onto a new path. For several seconds everything seemed to be muffled.
 Then Tholle shouted and grabbed Jenna around the waist as his crew all lashed themselves to the ship. Ahead, the sea was cut with jagged icebergs bigger than she had imagined. The ship sliced through small ones and bucked and fought across the larger clumps, rocking and cutting across the surface. But Jenna forgot the ice when Tholle pointed forwards. A darker shape seemed to be forming ahead of them and she stared into its centre expectantly.
‘The Heart of the Storm.’ He said.
The ship continued and the dark shape grew, looming closer. Jenna felt her stomach lurch as the thunder came again. It split the world and everything was cold and dark and hopeless, her energy and desire dissipating.
A flash snapped her back to reality. Salt stung her face, her neck and knuckles ached from tension but none of it mattered as she saw the sky light up. The lightning came in quick succession now, casting the sky in slices of gold. It etched its way across the Ice Break and as she looked into the darkness, the sky seemed to turn itself inside out. The darkness seeped into light and there were shapes where before there was nothing.
She broke from Tholle’s grasp and ran forwards. Lightning flashed again in one final flurry and the ship crested the largest iceberg beneath the light, churned to a stop and flung its crew forward.
Jenna hit her chin on the deck as she fell. Tholle lifted her and she stood wiping blood off her lip. Wind and sea swirled around the Ice Break but where the ship stood was still.
Steep steps were curved into the ice and they led up to where the darkness had previously hung in the sky. As she looked closer she saw that atop the steps was a wooden brace and from it hung a man. He was motionless, legs straight, face tilted down.
‘Jemal!’ Jenna ran forwards, clawing her way up the steps. Tholle followed her, his large body more at ease with the slippery surface. He reached out clamping arms around her, pulling her back, pinning her against him.
‘No my chosen.’
‘Let go. Jemal! Get off me. He’s my brother.’
‘No.’ She struggled against him.
‘Is he dead?’
‘The storm only give heart for heart.  You understand Jenna? If you go, you take brother’s place.’ He took hold of her arm and pushed her behind him in a swift movement. She tripped, fell several steps back and struggled up, watching as he climbed to the top.
‘Tholle! No.’
 ‘I already tell you chosen Jenna. I am ghost.’ Before she could reach him, he lifted Jemal’s body onto his shoulder. As he loosed the noose from around his neck, Jemal coughed and life bled back into his body.  Tholle’s eyes held Jenna’s as she began to weep, the realisation of the situation setting in. The storm redoubled in power, battering the ship from every side, the sky bellowing in protest, its heart no longer there to control it.
 ‘A heart for a heart Jenna.’ She watched, frozen by the pounding of her own heart, as Tholle lowered Jemal to the ice and looped the noose around his own neck.
She ran forward to her brother’s body and knelt as she watched Tholle’s face drain of colour and go slack. The glorious dark skin bled to white and he frosted into place with his hands held protectively over his heart. Jenna clutched Jemal, her tears warming his body as he looked up in confusion. She returned Tholle’s gaze as the light drained from his eyes.
‘A heart for a heart, my ghost.’

Elloise Hopkins.
Elloise Hopkins.

Offline Lor

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2011, 11:02:33 PM »
ok dokie, here's my attempt:

Secrets Shared are Problems Solved (1770 words)


She stood watching the storm clouds gather from the prow of her ship, knuckles going white against the rails as annoyance coursed through her. She glanced sideways at her first mate, who was busy tying barrels to the rails, and then turned to the mage trembling behind her.
   “Did you or your master conjure that?”
   “No, Captain Shil’harrel.”
Eva whirled around, glaring down at the crew gathered on the deck. “Then why in Lord Zerran’s name are we sailing into a storm?! Make ready, and someone who’s not an idiotic mage find me Master Soul, immediately!”
The crew scattered like leaves in a gale, leaving only Eva and Jem on the deck, the waves crashing against the hull acting as unwelcome harbingers of the oncoming storm. She leaned back against the rails, and took her head in her hands.
“Eurgh, what is happening today?”
“There’s a storm coming.”
The young captain lifted her head, and tilted it at her mate, who carried on his task as though he hadn’t spoken. “Alright, cleverclogs, apart from that. Why have the crew suddenly fallen apart? They’ve never been this skittish.”
A small clearing of a throat heralded the arrival of her answer. Unassuming, dressed in dark green robes and cloak and only reaching the captain’s elbow, Rowan looked for all the world like a little girl who had stowed away. Eva knew better.
“Master Soul. Thank you for coming so quickly.”
Rowan raised an eyebrow, her displeasure clearly etched on her face. “Save it Shil’harrel. I was heading up here anyway. What do you want?”
“To know why you insisted I let that idiot of a companion of your’s on the ship?” She turned to the rails again, ignoring the muttered insult and waved towards the storm. “It’s not been the conditions for a storm. Which means this one has been created.”
The mage chuckled. “And how do you know that? You spend so much of your time skulking about stealing goods I’m surprised you know how to get your ship onto the open water!”
The pirate rounded on her, her mate stopping his task and straightening slowly as he saw her hand move to the dagger in her belt, ready to intervene. “Look, missy, I’m doing you a favour here, so you can bite your tongue! I don’t care that you’re the Gods’ Unseen, this is my ship! And I’ll have you know I’ve been on the seas since I were born, so of course I know a real storm when I see one.”
“Ah yes, the big secret, Lisabette.”
“Enough!”
Jem’s voice cut across their argument, and they both looked up at the older man, annoyance on their faces. “You can argue later, we need to stop that storm!” He glared at Rowan. “And you’ll forgive me for pointing out the obvious, Master Soul, but lightening ain’t usually green!”
Master Soul narrowed her eyes at the pirate towering over, and then turned her back on both him and his captain to examine the storm looming ever closer. “That’s funny…only way he would know how to target it at me is if he was out here himself…”
Eva scoffed. “He? So you do know who’s behind this?”
Another raised eyebrow. “Probably my counterpart.”
“Counterpart….oh, by Zerran’s gunwales, the Dark Soul?”
“Most likely. And he’s most likely on a ship out here somewhere.”
Pausing only to trace the sign of Zerran across her chest, the captain dashed away, down the stairs onto the deck below, heading towards the main mast. Rowan looked baffled, but a large grin made its way across Jem’s face as the young pirate yarely skipped up the rigging, getting her legs firmly wrapped in ropes once she reached the top, and pulling a spyglass from a ring on her belt.
“Does that often, does she?”
He chuckled. “Evie was born on the seas, ain’t a man nor woman out here who could better her.”
Rowan looked thoughtful, but didn’t answer, finger absently tracing the family fishing sign tattooed on the inside of her right wrist.


The clouds groaned with the weight of the rain as they split, spilling their load onto the seas below. There was a collective wail from the crew as they dashed for cover. The lightening continued to crackle, seemingly centring itself around one point about 600 feet ahead. It was on this point Eva trained her spyglass, patiently scanning the sea. “Come on, I know you’re there….gotcha!” She waved a hand northwest, calling down to Rowan and Jem, the only two left on deck. “About 600 feet off that way, black ship, flying an Alliance flag of all things!”
“That’s just what we need,” Rowan muttered, not really with Jem in mind as an audience. “That lot joining forces with the Alliance.”
“Could be worse,” the mate replied, as Eva packed her spyglass away, unwrapped herself and descended back towards them. “Least we have some canon.”
There was a spate of cursing from below as the captain was swept off her feet by an errant wave spilling over the rails. She picked herself up, sodden, and glared at Rowan. “We need to act, fast. If that lightening reaches us, we’re done for.”
Rowan nodded, chewing her thumb nail as her mind raced. “Canon are the best option; stop his ship, stop him.” She looked around, then laughed. “Looks like you’re on firing duty, Cap’n.”
“How d’you figure that?”
The Soul waved a hand. “Your crew have fled, and Jem here needs to go steer the ship.”
He obeyed without further comment. Eva groaned, and then moved herself over to one of the canon poking its stubby nose through the side of her ship. “Got a slight problem…”
“Oh what now?”
“Bell Barrel. Great for punching holes in ships, but only if they’re about a hundred feet away. If he gets any closer…”
“Ah…I see your point.”
Rowan chewed on her finger again, deep in thought for the briefest of moments, then turned to Jem at the other end of the vessel, lifted a hand, and waggled her fingers. He stared for a moment, and then shook his head.
“What about you, Eva?”
“What about me what?”
“How do you feel about magic?”
She made the sign of Zerran across her chest again, and then took a deep breath. “It’s going to be our best option, isn’t it?”
Before Rowan could answer, both women jumped as a sheet of green lightening hit the sea about 200 feet from their ship.
“It’s fast becoming our only option.”
“Then I’m following your lead.”
“Get that canon loaded.”
Eva fell into the routine, somehow managing to salvage dry powder from the supplies caught in the downpour. Once satisfied, she pushed her drenched dreadlocks from her face, and mock saluted Rowan, one eye on the Alliance vessel creeping ever closer.
“Ready. How are we doing this?”
The small woman didn’t reply immediately, eyes locked on the ship, desperately searching for her counterpart. “Come on…one little sign…there!” She beamed down at Eva. “You fire it, I’ll call up the wind to make sure it hits.”
Eva gaped. “You can do that?”
Rolled eyes. “I am the Unseen Soul. Just ready that fuse.”
There were more muttered curses as Eva dug into a pack, pulling out a box of matches and selecting one, sticking a second behind her left ear for good luck. “Awaiting your word, Master Soul.”
Rowan glanced down at the deck, then back to her target. “Never thought I’d be trying to save a Shil’harrel…”she muttered, using her finger as a pointer to locate her target. “How long is the fuse on that thing?”
“About five seconds.”
“Ok….light it on my count of 3, then stand well back.”
“Bell Barrels aren’t that dangerous.”
“Just do it!”
The captain waved a hand, her match poised, though, as Rowan quickly noticed, she had nothing ready to strike it on. Deciding not to worry about what the pirate was up to, she held up a hand, three fingers raised. “One…two…three!”
In typical ostentatious fashion, Eva struck the match on the sole of her boot, and then touched it to the fuse, which fizzed immediately, despite the rain still pouring onto their heads. She had just raised her head to watch the shot, when the canon shot backwards with the force of magic Rowan threw behind it, shooting Eva across the deck. She skidded across the wet surface, coming to a halt only when she collided with the far rail. She scrambled back to her feet just in time to see the ball break through the wood of the target vessel…and keep going.
“What in Zerran’s…?”
“This has nothing to do with Zerran,” Rowan grinned from her vantage point. “This is all about Lady Balika’s chosen.”
Eva looked up at the small woman with renewed respect as the ball exited the other end of the vessel, effectively splitting it in two, and sending it into the turbulent seas below. “Will it be enough?”
“We’ll see about….now.”
The whole sky went green as the lightening concentrated itself on what remained of the ship, shattering it completely and sending its crew into the deeps. The Soul laughed.
“He won’t be able to concentrate on a storm if he’s keeping himself afloat.
Sure enough, as she spoke, the rain seemed to abate, the clouds, although not disappearing, growing lighter and appearing to move higher into the sky. The green lightening dissipated almost immediately.
They could hear Jem laughing from the stern. “Guess that’s why you let the crazy mages on board, Evie.”
“Shut it, monkey face!” She smiled sheepishly down at Rowan as the younger woman descended onto the deck, the crew reappearing now danger had passed. “I guess I owe you a thanks.”
Rowan waved it away, her sleeve moving to reveal the tattoo as she did so. “Don’t worry about it.” She laughed at Eva’s wide eyes, and pulled up the sleeve so the pirate could see the tattoo properly. “We all have our little secrets. Storms are not something I’ve ever worried about.” She winked, and then disappeared into the companionway towards her cabin.
Eva stood rooted to the spot for a moment, then, becoming aware of the movement around her, fixed a frown upon her face. “Call yourselves sailors, eh? Running at the first sign of a storm!” She grinned. “I’ll show you what it means to be a sailor! All hands hold fast, full sail, we’re going to make it to Turpoli in record time, or my name ain’t Eva Shil’harrel!”
"Technically it's not."
"I swear, monky face, one more time..."
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 11:05:40 PM by TipsyPeaches »
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." - Miss Piggy

seedyculper

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2011, 04:18:47 AM »
Conterrif by Seedy Culper


“It is an honor, to have done something so profound, it requires your presence, Chancellor Exic.”- Hanzo Cretus
Twenty years later, thunder clouds, though faint and far, bellowed, flashing lightning across the eastern summer sky. Three dark gray figures scurried out of the grass. Craw, Slim, and Hovu, ran shirtless, weaving from trunk to trunk, with silver tipped mohawks and buckskin pants. Their race was known for their whale-like skin, strawberry noses, and spiritual tattoos, some of which covered their entire arms and legs. Each darted like a shark on the hunt, clutching a spear, as bottles of oil, holstered knives, and stone hatchets clanged from their belts. They ran silent, knowing the orders given to them by their women. Tonight, they were to burn Dumon Torna to the ground.
Dumon Torna sat on a hill, looking out above vast farms in the valley below. Little paths wound around grain silos up to a road outside the city’s great wall. The wall was truly a testament of montadore engineering, made of chiseled purple stones, fitting into one another like thick puzzle pieces. The porous rock was known as Monta Stone, used in the construction of montadore show pieces, towers, outposts, and temples, displaying the glorious and untouchable power of their empire. The stone was very rare, not found anywhere else in the land of Conterrif, and only montadores could us it. Any other being caught with even a pebble was soon sentenced to death.
There was no mortar holding the giant wall together, making it one of the most wondrously designed structures known to Conterrif. Its sides were craggy, four times higher than any hume, with the only entrance on the western side, by the Moz River, guarded by lookout towers and ships from the river navy. However, the wall did come with a minor flaw. Its sides were filled with many cracks, even the most novices of climbers could find their way over it, if they successfully snuck past the droves of guards on patrol.
Inside the wall, Dumon Torna was filled with stone buildings and houses with elegant wood trim, sitting in rows under clay shingles. Streets were narrow, speckled with bricks, sided by well kept yards and mastahorse pens. Oil torches hung from overhanging posts and out the tops of canopy beams, reflecting off the wash of buildings. No structure was more than two stories high, except for the towering stronghold in the center of town.
In front of the stronghold a lush courtyard sat, filled with well watered shrubs and flowers. Montadores loved yard work and plant maintenance. They saw the control of plants as a strange comfort, but they had no use for giant trees, other than lumber and a place to hang their enemies. Grass was not something montadores were accustomed to. So, they grew it, fed it, watered, and trimmed it wherever they could in the city. Even the prison had a large unfenced quad, with blades curving over the bars on the ground level windows.
Near one of these windows, two empty weapons crates labeled “Arms of Valen’s Point” lay staggered, killing the grass underneath them. An order was in the process of being issued for them to be moved, out of simple respect for the yard. They were two of thousands, used by the montadores for shipping and distributing weapons to their satellite fortresses, the two largest were Fort Geda in the northwest, and Fort Kaken in the south. They lay end to end, nailed shut, built to hold spears, halberds, and crossbows. Several captives inside the prison had managed to stick their arms through the bared window and move the wooden boxes, giving them a better view of the outside world. They had done this without being caught by the browbeating montadore guards the world of Conterrif had so named “Rufa Thugs”.
Rufa was a secret insult many used for describing any montadore soldier. Its first two letters stood for Really and Ugly, while the last two seemed to have been lost or forgotten over the years.
Down in a musty cell, mold grew in tiny patches out of cracks in the ceiling. Rain water dripped in a constant rhythm, leaving a small puddle in the center of the floor. Thunder, the worst part of the storm, had passed over. It was calm, filled with late summer humidity. Cells inside the prison were lined with rows of worn metal bars. Their walls were made of a limey gray stone, cleverly called Limey stone. Etched into them were the different names, signatures, and symbols left by the previous residents. These marks were most likely the end of their legacy. On the floor, eleven brown skinned humes sat with their backs against the wall, legs tucked in front of them, avoiding the splashing puddle in the center. In a corner farthest from the window, a man named Hanzo Cretus slouched next to his sullen wife. He felt content in the cell, tracing over the etchings of the name Nosadah Heartuum with his fingers. He wished to be free, but he knew he wasn’t in control of such things. Dreaded hair draped over his nose like thin monkey fingers. Wrinkles in his face were deep, creeping under his childish eyes. His shirt was muddled, saturated with stains with leather strings laced up the front, below his matted beard. His left sleeve rested around the shoulder of his wife with a knot tied into the end of it, for Hanzo was missing the lower part of his left arm. He had had a previous run in with the montadores a few years back, and always kept his stub hidden beneath the knotted cuff.
Men and women in Hanzo’s crew were dressed similar to him, broke and barefoot, for that is how they traveled. They were a shabby lot, in rags, with scraggly hair, oozing with the stench of sour milk. They awaited execution for their magnificent crime, aiding the race of blites, as they defended part of their territory from montadore apprehension in the city of Bar Neve. It started a great amount of hostilities between the blites and montadores, which was sad, since their races were so closely related (as the story goes). Those humes in the cell, had fought off the strongest of the montadore attacks inside a rocky pass on Swan Song Mountain. They did this for eight days and were finally captured on the morning of the ninth, uninjured, unharmed, in the healthiest shape ever.
Down the prison hallway, rows of oil torches glowed, giving some light to the walls. A rufa guard with a purple smear over his eyes would waddle past every so often, scrape his machete against the bars, and force the prisoners to look away. He had once been a henchman to Rax Exic, but he was moved from his position on account of his body odor, which seemed to follow him up and down the hall. The window was the only source of comfort for the captives, bringing in a light wave of sweet air now and again, mixed with the sounds of singing crows.
They were not afraid, for the humes were with their leader, their heads were held low, but that was due to the boredom. It had gotten so thick that some of the prisoners began to count the drops of water as they fell from the ceiling. Hanzo cracked a soft smile as he looked around the cell at his followers.
“Well, at least we are all in good health,” he said.
They lifted their heads and looked back at him, releasing some light chuckles, as the guard passed by, starring through the metal bars.
“Only a group of humes would be laughin’ on their death day!” he said, raising his lips. “You won’t be seein’ the red shores of Antok. I hear a ringun’s in the air.”
Most montadore prisoners were shipped out to the infamous penitentiary isle of Antok for the rest of their lives. What happened at Antok was unknown to a majority of mainlanders, for no one who goes to the dangerous isle ever returns. It was a wretched place where large game hunters, bored with slaughtering the wild beast of Conterrif, would steer their boats onto the isle, trying to pick off a wandering prisoner or two. Being sent to Antok was a far better punishment than being ringed. Ringing was a process of execution. Those accused were to have their arms threaded into two small rings with large weights tied around their wrists to ensure no escape. These victims would then be hung from ropes on overhanging posts and trees until they passed away. There was a montodore somewhere in history who was paid a lot of money for his horrible invention. Death, to him, had become a science. 
The guard turned and walked back down the corridor, clomping in his boots. He was indeed a creature of routine. He would make his way to one end of the hall, stop, turn, adjust the collar of his purple coat, pick his gooey nose, and walk back. This was his ritual, and it became so predictable that some of Hanzo’s men -- those who weren’t counting the drops of water -- were scratching a tally of “nose digs” into the wall.
He walked out of sight, even though his presence could still be felt, his smell still lingering. A prison door at the end of the hallway opened and slammed. Another montadore lightly conversed and then snaked down the corridor, standing amidst the shadows in front of the cell door.
“Hanzo,” said the figure. “Where is the hidden city?”
Hanzo looked up through the bars and cracked a smile.
“It is an honor, to have done something so profound, it requires your presence, Chancellor Exic.”
Exic moved his twisted face out of the dark, allowing the torchlight to glow upon it. He was much older now, with a milky white head and crow’s feet dug into the corners of his eyes, dressed in an ashy black vest and shirt with rolled up sleeves. His ponytail was white cotton.
“Hume, you are nothing special to this world. You are a fool among idiots. You are no Saker,” he hissed. “I will ask you one more time. Revena, on which coast does it lie?”
 “Revena is nothing your foul kind can find on a map, Exic. It is more than a mere location,” Hanzo said.
Chancellor Exic tilted his head and smiled, as he moved his devilish face closer to the bars. He had once cut out a hume’s tongue for saying such insults.
“So, are you alluding that it doesn’t exist? From the information my soldiers gathered, you are aware of its location. Hanzo, speak now and you and your people will die a painless and honorable death. We will find out where the city is eventually, and your stubborn games will be futile.”
Hanzo lowered his head, knowing his next words were of great importance.
“I’m the only one here who knows what river to follow. The rest of the group is…futile to you. Let them go, and I will tell you. Death is not something I fear.”
“Ah a proposition of the hume genus,” said Exic taking off his hat and scratching his chin. “Just a river eh? How quaint. What river I wonder? However, I’m not interested in bartering with your lies. You Hanzo, are the only hume out of thirteen who knows what river leads to Revena.”
Hanzo’s wife put her face in her hands and sobbed. Exic scanned over the group of humes sitting in the cell as Hanzo sat silent.
“All humes, and not a single one afraid to die. Strange don’t you think Hanzo, but I’m sure in your age that you’ve had plenty of time to lead a full life. I bet so, you being the oldest in the bunch and all? Do your cell mates know how old you are?”
“I’m old enough,” Hanzo replied.
In a fit of rage one of Hanzo’s men stood up and yelled at Exic.
“Hanzo has done too much good to be talked to by a…”
Exic’s white hand lunged into the cell, like an albino cobra, grabbing the man by the throat and busting his walnut forehead against the bars. The man gasped and fell to the floor, holding his bleeding dome. A few of the other humes rushed over to aid him, but the wound was already closing. It was as if his blood had already fixed the gash. Hanzo slowly pulled his arm from around his sulking wife and stood up.
“By a what?” replied Exic, as he pulled back his hand, checking it for blood. “A pale face? A sallow soldier? A purple pirate? A rock worm? And I thought Old Sonue was foolish. We are about to exterminate you humes and you are still too stupid to realize it. Once we make an example out of your weak defiance, all the other races will have no choice but to bow to Vindakar.”
Hanzo pushed his face against the bars and locked eyes with Exic.
“We do not fear you,” he said. “You cannot control us.”
Exic put his hat back on his ponytailed head and placed his fingers in his vest pockets as if trying to calm himself. The rufa guard stared from behind him, knowing better than to ask if the chancellor was alright.
“So Hanzo, you know only of a river, and nothing of any sacred water?” Exic said with his head low, as if speaking to the floor. “Our navy floats on every river. We will find it.”
Hanzo stared through his dangling hair, and raised his left arm and knotted sleeve.
“You tried long ago, and still my words remain the same. I know nothing, and I will say nothing,” said Hanzo.
Exic paused.
“Well what does the falner know? Why was he looking for you? I hear he is trying to fly back to Revena. Is that true?”
“Chancellor, I do not know. Like I said, Wishop did not meet us until the morning we left Bar Neve. The bird is not with us. He’s just some dumb feather that floated in at the wrong time.”
“Ah I see. I see.” Exic replied, taking a hand out of his pocket and resting it on his hip. “If I’m not going to get any information out of you then what good are you to me? You and your crew have taken up our valuable cell space for long enough.”
“You could let us all go?” said Hanzo.
Exic looked down to the knot tied in his left sleeve. The chancellor was feeling far from self-conscious and cracked a wide smile, exposing his chipped fang.
“Do you miss your arm, Old Hanzo? It’s got to be a difficult adjustment. I mean, who is to know who you are without your little tattoo?”
“The people know who I am and where I come from. Do you miss your fang, Exic? The fangs are the pride of every montadore aren’t they, and yet it must be a pity to have something so valuable, such a status among your culture, ruined forever.”
“They are not ruined!” Exic shouted.
He took a breath and pulled on the front of his vest, rolling his shoulders.
“Hanzo you have fought well as a hume male. Your life ran a good run. I only wish you could give yourself a round of applause as the curtain finally closes.”
Exic shut his smile.
“You are all to be dealt with accordingly and ringed in the morning,” he said looking at Hanzo. “If we can wait that long.”
Exic started walking down the hallway with the guard following close. He paused and then turned back toward the cell.
“How about you put that in your book, Hanzo?” he said.
He stopped at the door and put on his coat and gloves, gave the rufa guard a quick and quiet order, and then left. Hanzo pressed his shoulders against the cell wall and slid down, taking back his seat next to his wife. The air turned colder as the guard rolled back down the hallway.


Offline Autumn2May

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2011, 05:12:40 AM »
Last day everyone!  Get your entries in! :D

Offline H.O.Charles

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2011, 02:47:15 PM »
Here's mine! 1,999 words...

Peace in a Storm

The harsh summer sunshine clattered between the soft waves of the Feryth Ocean on all sides of the ship, echoing down into the blue-green depths. The wind blew a favourable fifteen knots northwest, and its volume rounded the parched, red sails of the Destrier such that they resembled a gathering of women made great with child. Tarion swept the sweat from his brow and leant over the side of his vessel to check the starboard cladding once more. The curve of the Charrahan boat meant that the bottom-most boards were hidden from his viewpoint, but no flaws or flexes of the upper layers of black oak or untoward eddies in the water below indicated a problem with the structure. The men had reported strange noises coming from that part of the ship: creaks that did not sound like wood bending and moans that did not sound like metal twisting. “Master Kafhar!” he shouted.

The grizzled First Mate appeared by the bulwark with his usual prompt formality. With skin the colour of weathered cedar, sharp grey eyes and a dark beard that reached down in a curled V to the opening of his shirt, Kafhar looked more like a prison inmate than a respected sailor.
Tarion nodded to the hull below. “See anything that I do not?”
The First Mate peered over the edge for a moment, before returning his regard to the captain. He shrugged, “Looks fine to me. Mind you, is Grafam’s words ‘bout the noises. Lad’s always making up stories.”
But something was not right. Tarion knew his ship, and that look in Grafam’s eyes had been far from imagined. “I want a man lowered down the side to take a better look. Find someone light.”
 “Aye, captain.” Kafhar twisted his mouth with the words and walked to the bow.
Tarion scanned the blue horizon closely for the hundredth time that day. Coralian ships had been reported in these waters not four days previously, and he did not want to be caught weakened and unawares if one decided to fight him.

He stepped up to the aft deck and loosed the helm from its ties. The age-worn wood, polished by over a century of captains, sang softly against his hands. The ship was less than a decade old, but the wheel had come from the legendary Green Pacer: a twenty-cannoned ship, once the pride of the Charrahan black-fleet. And now its wheel steered the fastest vessel ever built. He turned the rudder once to bring the ship onto a square run, straightened and re-tied the wheel. The horizon darkened suddenly, and the air felt close. “Master Colviere? Weather report!”
The second mate lowered the gilt telescope from his youthful face, where a short sprinkling of downy fluff had begun to sprout. “Clear skies, captain. Far as I can see! I... what is that?” He pointed to a patch of water on their port side, and Tarion moved quickly to see it.
The water blackened suddenly, and the darkness grew outwards into a long shadow. Its hue deepened further, and the Destrier began to list as its men gathered to watch the spectacle. Tarion was about to shout them all back to their stations when something emerged from the black waters. It was a wooden post, and as it rose it revealed a sodden flag, and below that was yet more post. The beam widened farther down and was soon haloed by a round wooden structure: a crow’s nest. It was a wreck, Tarion realised, and their passage had disturbed its slumber on the sea bed. Except... it moved through the sea with them. Were they caught on it somehow? “Brace the yards to port!”
The men were slow to leave the spectacle.
“Now!” He ran to the wheel to unleash it and make ready for the turn, and yelled several curses at the men to get them hauling faster. He did not want his ship going down with this wreck. The Destrier groaned weakly as it angled away from the winds, while a dead silence descended upon the men. The wreck’s main mast had by now reached the level of the Destrier’s quarter deck, and its ripped sails dripped with the weight of algal growths and fronds of seaweed.
“Wrath of the gods!” the First Mate murmured.
The wreck continued to rise from the depths, with mizzenmast and more rigging becoming apparent. The ancient ship shuddered noisily as it wrenched itself from the white-peaked waves and then, with sickening torpidity, the full weight of the sea poured off the fo’c’sle and aft decks. Tarion steeled his breath as numerous dark figures poked through the surface like blackened fingers of rock. Only, they moved. Their blackened and bloated bodies walked in spite of the death apparent on their faces. One by one, they advanced to the windward side of the ship. Towards the Destrier.

Tarion wasn’t entirely sure what order he gave his men at that point, but they were soon running quickly about the deck and withdrawing swords. Below came the sound of canon wheels and hatch hinges. At least five of his canon could reach the wraith ship at this angle. He turned the wheel farther to starboard, hoping to gain some distance from the hull of the dead ship before going broadside, but his efforts seemed in vain. Now fully-emerged from the water, the wreck sailed parallel with them. Its gnarled and rotten canon hatches opened menacingly, black holes filling with rusted eyes.
“Fire!” the captain yelled to the decks below.
The Destrier shook with the force of seven its canon loosing their volley, and the projectiles crunched through the hull of the wraith ship. But the dead crew on the top decks seemed unperturbed by the assault, and rapidly set about climbing their rigging. With the dead vessel closer, it became apparent that the hull floated in spite of a gaping tear at the bow. Tarion swallowed hard and let go of the wheel as he watched the ghosts moving higher and higher. The wraiths planned to board his ship!
A series of booms followed by splintering cracks hailed the arrival of the wreck’s return fire. It shouldn’t have been possible if their gunpowder was wet! What hope did his men have against a wreck that rose rather than sank and sailors who were already dead? The captain gritted his teeth and barked orders anyway. “All hands on deck! Swords at the ready! Now!”
His men were good to his word, and they assembled their shaking bodies on the main deck with appreciable discipline. Tarion strode as confidently as he could to the port side of the quarter deck and waited with his blade ready.
“Captain – to the port aft!” One of the carpenters pointed at the horizon. “It’s The Reprisal. We are dead men, this day!”
Four broad masts crowned the great ship, its wood painted brilliant blood red against the blue sea and its sails tanned brown. It was exactly as the tales had described it, and was captained by the most ruthless Coralian captain of all the seas: Arode’an. He was known to burn sailors alive on their ships, but save one and a lifeboat to tell the tale; he was known to have taken five of the finest black-fleet ships in as many weeks; and he was known to drive his own ship full into the broadside of another when his canon had run dry of ammunition. The Destrier’s crew did not have a chance against both wraiths and mad Coralians.

Tarion had been too young for command, he realised now. Too young and inexperienced and arrogant; too bull-headed to believe such things existed. His father would be so terribly disappointed in him. He gripped the hilt of his sword and raised his voice above all the whines and creaks and screams. “Fight, men! Do not give up. Fight these monsters for Charrah!”


***

Larinetta Sebrodin lifted the telescope to her eye and looked through it a second time. The wraiths had already boarded the Charrahan ship, and were cutting through the frightened crew. But they wouldn’t kill many, that wasn’t what the wraiths wanted. That wasn’t what dead men wanted. She lowered the telescope and looked to her own men. Good men. Tough. “We help the Charrahans,” she said. “I don’t want the wraiths gaining a cutter. And we can use the men.”
“Captain!” Geddard Fordan shouted through gritted teeth and pulled at his First Mate’s pendant. “We have a reputation to keep! And what’s to stop them taking from us once we’ve helped them?”
“They are sticklers for honour, Master Fordan. We will broker a deal with them.”
“But, captain!”
“No buts. There are already enough wraiths on the seas. I’ll have no more.” Larinetta clambered on the rail of the quarter deck. “We take the leeward side of the wraith ship. Lower the mainsail to half! Quickly now!”
The crew set to their tasks with confusion and frowns upon their faces. But she knew she was right. The Reprisal bore down upon the two ships with the good wind and soon Larinetta was calling the order to loose fire upon it. And that’s exactly what they did. Great, flaming balls of tarred wood flew from the bowels of The Reprisal and landed on the dead ship. The flames took well upon the curiously damp and rotted timbers, and even better on the crooked forms of the dead sailors below. It was the only thing that could finish a wraith and its ship. She untied one of the nearby yards and made ready to swing it across to the dead crewmen. “Steady, men...” A hot wind whipped out from the dead ship, and streaks of lightning thumped at the waves nearby.

Larinetta dipped her tarred sword into the flame of one of the oil lamps, sending sparks along its shaft. The broadside of the ruined and now flaming ship edged closer. Beyond it was clear that the black-fleet cutter had fallen to its enemies. “Now!”
The greater part of the Reprisal’s crew swung across the breach and onto the hole-ridden, empty deck with flames about their heads, and Larinetta right alongside them. They ran across and leapt again onto the deck of the Charrahan ship, this time meeting the swords of the wraiths. Larinetta cut and thrust and parried at every rotted and bloated corpse that dared to challenge her, setting fire to their putrid bodies. The dead first mate wore a pendant not dissimilar to Fordan’s, and Larinetta’s throat tightened as she realised these had been Coralian men at one time. Her foe was a viciously accomplished swordsman, and his rusted blade cut her shoulder within five moves. She reacted with cunning, and launched a heavy looking sheave full into his purple face. It caused one eye to pop out, and Larinetta only stopped to grimace briefly before setting the wraith alight.

Her crew made short work of the dead sailors, and before long their bodies burned in black heaps upon the deck. The Charrahan crew were nowhere to be seen.
“Captain!”A young Ordinary with blond hair in a ponytail and an angular jaw jogged to her. “Captain, the Charrahans are locked below deck.”
“Let me speak to them.”
“But you can’t,” Geddard Fordan protested with a muscular, bloody arm. “Your identity is our secret, not theirs.” And so it had been. Geddard was the right shape and height for a fearsome privateer, but he was not the true Captain Arode’an.
“If I am to enlist their help, then they must know me,” she said, turning to the steps.
“You want their help?” Geddard spluttered. “We just gave them ours!”
“Come with me, Master Fordan.”
They stamped down to the brig, with Fordan grunting and huffing all the way. He would come to see the meaning of her intentions soon enough. After a thousand years of war between Coralian and Charrahan, these two ships could buy their peace.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 06:58:11 PM by H.O.Charles »
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Offline Overlord

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2011, 03:58:16 PM »
Sadly had to rush mine in my dinner hour =(

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

Targus sat in a meditative state atop of Mount Vigance.  Around him thunder cracked and lightening struck, illuminating the landscape. Although aware, Targus was unresponsive. To make a sound now would be blasphemy beyond all measure. The same was true for the hundreds of Storm Slaves that surrounded him in every direction. The others, like him, forced to prove God’s favour to them as individuals.

Targus began to contemplate his life. As a Storm Slave, I don’t deserve to live... that privilege is reserved for the Day Born. I must be happy for my 15 years. Thankful. But... No! Stop! SELFISH! SELFISH! He suddenly felt a need to thump the sides of his head in frustration at allowing himself to think. The rage bubbled within him. So strong that forcing it back down took every ounce of his inner-strength. He tried to focus on nothingness but it just made his thoughts more powerful. He was allowed to think he told himself. Thinking was OK. It was moving or making noise that he would be killed for.

He quickly realised though that just these simple thoughts had opened a gate within his mind. More and more thoughts began to flow now. The same thoughts that always entered his head during the storm ‘It’s not fair’. He knew to voice these thoughts to another would result in his death, even after the storm... but he couldn’t keep them subdued. Thinking was OK. Thinking was OK. He allowed them to continue. The Day Born would be sitting warm and feasting right now... I’m waiting for a lightening Wraith. A creature sent by God to drag me to the centre of the storm.  The pain of a death that would serve as the introduction to eternal suffering.

Why should I die? BECAUSE OF THESE DAMNED QUESTIONS! THAT’S WHY! Out of the thousands that sat in collective waiting, 5 would die. It was always 5. How many of these 5 asked these questions though?

Suddenly a thought occurred to him. It was a wild thought. I disgusting thought, a thought that led him to wonder why he had not felt a Wraith’s icy grip on his shoulders and its pull already...

I’m going to walk away.

His body tensed at the thought. But no... 15 years. He had not been claimed. God favoured him. He knew he did. Born within seconds of the sun having disappeared behind the Mouth, his mother had always argued his right to be a Day Born.

Targus did something he had never done during the storm... he flexed a muscle. Granted... it was just a finger. But the feeling it gave could only be described half way between suicide and epiphany. Suicide because he expected to die, epiphany because God hadn’t struck him down.

That single finger now became the instigator. He allowed it to trail down slowly to the ground. It touched the soft, wet mud that he was sat upon. To touch something during a storm... The feeling was foreign. He suddenly felt study. The cross legged position that religion had demanded he sat in would make staying upright a continual struggle. Wind would blast the Storm Slaves from every angle and the torture of the storm would be added to with the nausea from motion sickness.

As he slid the finger down and flattened his hand onto the ground his heart thumped so hard that he could feel it in his ears. The air seemed colder around his shoulders. Were the Wraiths circling him? He wished to open his eyes... but no... not yet.

He rocked his weight back ever so slightly onto his right hand. He slid his left legs out from its crossed position and began to edge up. A Wraith screamed above him. He froze. The screams were not unusual... but the coldness was. He felt the coldness of his shoulders, he sensed a presence lingering. Each breath he drew he was sure would be his last and yet nothing happened.

A scream. The third he had heard this night. That was another Storm Slave being dragged to his death. It was said that to scream was to sin. Storm Slaves must not feel sadness or anger from their deaths. They must simply be grateful to their God for letting them experience life.

But... The word ‘but’ in that context should have been enough for a Wraith to take him. Why had it not taken him? Why? Targus let out yet another breath. The cold remained but... incredibly, so did he.

Should I open my eyes? He knew the thought was an awful one, but he had already done more than enough to guarantee death. Slowly he opened his left eye. Everything was dark and fuzzy, a result of having closed his eyes so tightly for the past few hours. Slowly the world began to focus and the scene he saw chilled him to his very bones. The wraiths that he had only seen on painted pictures and within sketchy illustrations were there. They were swirling with the storm. Around and around the storm slaves that sat beneath them.

Forcing his focus onto one wraith he studied it intently. Its long black wispy form was unlike any creature he had ever seen on this Earth. At the head of it was a skull like head. It had no distinctive human qualities though other than its shape. The eyes within it were simply black sockets that emitted a faint blue light. Almost like a cloak, a black mist like substance trailed behind it. Targus guessed the creatures, if they had legs, would stand at around 9 foot tall. Their terrifying form was made all the worse by the two long, skinny arms that grew from where a human beings hips would be. The green limbs seemed to emerge from the mist as one would reach from under water. Upon the end of each limb were two fingers as wide as all four of his closed together. He instantly recognised these from pictures he had seen. They would be the last think a storm slave felt before being torn into the very centre of the storm and taken from the world to their death.

Targus followed it with his eyes until it was right above him. Its shadow fell upon him as the thunder clashed again and caused him to close his eyes. Suddenly he felt comfortable again, he was in the dark, where he was meant to be. He considered sitting down again and praying, praying that the Lightening Wraiths and the guards had missed his momentary disobedience. Although there were hundreds of guards around, only a few were posted on his section... it was possible that they were gambling, talking... even sleeping under cover somewhere... he wouldn’t know... he’d never opened his eyes before today...



But no... he could not. He couldn’t go back now. Not when he had taken such a risk. So slowly, carefully he opened his eyes. He was staring directly above and quickly found the Lightening Wraith was gone. He revolved his head slowly around in the circular motion the Wraith would have taken. Already he knew why he couldn’t find it, it was behind him he knew. He spun rapidly, dreading the possibility of finding himself face to face with the thing, but... it wasn’t there. He spotted it about 20 feet away, kneeling behind a Storm Slave. The Storm Slave seemed oblivious to its presence. He watched it as it waved a finger over the Slaves shoulder. He wondered whether the Slave felt it... did he know? No... thought Targus. The Wraith was playing with him. He is teasing him, making him wonder.

The Wraith’s blue eyes seemed to burn brighter as it continued its little games. Whether the man felt it or not was impossible to know. Storm Slaves were obedient. God had told them to sit and await judgement, which is what they did. Until now... thought Targus with a shudder.

The Wraith suddenly looked up. It looked straight into Targus’s eyes. They suddenly flashed bright in time with the lighting. Targus blinked involuntarily as he threw himself back away. The brightness of the wraiths eyes left an essence upon his eyelids that was still there when he opened them. The blue remained until he managed to rapidly blink it away. As it faded though the Wraith was still there. The blue of its eyes seemed to dance and study him. Then, from behind the slave he began to rise up. Slowly, the head seemed to float above the mist as it grew. Its thick green limbs began slid from its form and began to reach out in-front of it. For a terrifying second Targus thought the limbs were meant for him... when suddenly they slammed down and with its two fingers latching down upon the unsuspecting slaves shoulders.

The scream was deafening. In his 15 years, this was perhaps the closest he had been to a Storm Slave having been ripped away from the Earth. The Wraith flew towards him and rolling to his right was all he could do to avoid the Storm Slaves legs hitting him in the face. He whipped his head around and watched as the Wraith pulled him into the centre of the storm. The Slave kicked his legs and screamed out again and again. As it hit the epicentre of the storm there was a mute explosion where the air disappeared. The forth Wraith of five had chosen his prey... now all he had to do was avoid the final taking. Then... he would know... he was truly not destined to be a Storm Slave, for movement during the storm had not been judged as a sin. God had declared that Storm Slaves were taken for even a flex of a finger during a storm... it was the very greatest profanity to God.

Suddenly he dared a thought - Mother was right... I’m Day Born.

He craned his head up and looked for that final Wraith. He would watch until that last Wraith took the last Storm Slave and then he would run. Instinctively he looked to the storms centre and allowed his eyes to search the sky...

At that moment he felt a tickle upon his shoulders. He instantly he knew... but would not fight it. Slowly he began to turn his head. He was ready.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 04:13:28 PM by Overlord »
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Offline deejrandom

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2011, 11:17:00 PM »
Totally forgot about this.  Ah well... I'll read and enjoy what is here.

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2011, 02:37:12 AM »
Here's mine!  Came in at 1999! :D

**********************

Kadri sat on her parents’ front porch, kicking her feet over the side of her mother’s rocking chair and grumbling to herself.  The summer air was hot and thick.  The light breeze that normally whistled through the trees around the farm was strangely silent that afternoon.  In the distance, clouds were beginning to gather and it seemed the whole world was waiting for something.

Kadri barely noticed.  She liked storms and normally enjoyed sitting on the porch and listening to the rain beat down upon the roof and watching the lightning carve slices out of the sky.  But today was different.  Today she was being forced to sit there; once again excluded from things that she wasn’t ‘old enough’ to be a part of.

Not like Mela, she thought grudgingly.  Mela always gets to do everything and she’s not a real grown-up yet either.  But Mela was inside helping their mother and Kadri was banished from the house.  Kadri threw an acorn she’d been holding, and bounced it off one of the railings into the grass.  It’s just not fair.

The sound of a fast-approaching horse momentarily distracted her and she looked up just in time to see her father’s cart pull to a sudden halt in front of the house.  He jumped down almost before the horse had completely stopped and rushed around the cart to help his passenger down.  Kadri stood up and waved as her father helped the old woman from her seat.

“Good day Mistress Reet!” Kadri said with a smile.  “How are you today?”

Mistress Reet was the town healer and had always treated Kadri like a young lady, rather than a little girl.  But today all Kadri got for her troubles was a quick wave and a smile before her father ushered the woman into the house.

“Papa?” Kadri said, grabbing her father’s shirt sleeve before he could follow the healer inside.

He turned to Kadri with an aggravated sigh.  His face was flush from the heat and he didn’t look very happy.  “What do you want Kaddie?” he asked, looking into the house as he spoke.  “I’m very busy right now.  Why don’t you go play in the barn with your kittens?”

Kadri screwed up her face into a scowl.  “Please Papa!  I’m not little anymore.  Mela is helping, can’t I help too?”

Her father’s face lightened a bit and he gave her a quick smile, kissing her on the forehead.  “I’m sorry Kaddie, but not today.  Go play my little one.”  Without another word he walked into the house, closing the door behind him.

Kadri’s shoulders slumped as she marched solemnly back to her chair.  “Stupid Mela.  Thinks she’s so smart,” she said, scooting back up in her seat.  “Why does she get to do everything?  It’s just not fair!”

“What’s not fair?” her brother Teryl asked as he came around the corner of the house.  He spotted the cart parked haphazardly in front and stopped walking.  “Papa’s back already?”

Kadri nodded but didn’t look up or give any indication she was interested in talking.  But as usual that didn’t keep Teryl from continuing anyway.

“He must have flown into town if he got back that fast!” Teryl said, rather impressed.

“So?” Kadri put in as grumpily as she could.

“Here now, what’s your problem this time?” Teryl said climbing onto the porch and sitting on one of the railings.

“Papa and Mama won’t let me in the house,” she answered with a pathetic sigh.  “I wanna help, but they keep saying I’m too little.”

“You are too little, squirt,” Teryl said, looking up at the gathering storm clouds.  “You’re barely eight summers old.”

“I’m exactly eight summers old!” Kadri said jumping to her feet.  “And Mela’s not a proper grown-up either and she’s in there helping!”

“Mela is much older than you are,” Teryl said.  “Besides, what would you do if you were in there?”

“I’ve helped birth sheep before,” Kadri answered proudly, “helping birth a baby can’t be that much different.”

Teryl let out a laugh which he quickly stifled when he realized his sister was serious.  “Kadri, people babies are a lot different than animal babies.”

Kadri walked over, leaned up against the railing and looked up at the clouds without answering.  The storm was still a long ways off, but the clouds were steadily rising from the forest, forming a mountain of white that seemed it would topple over if it got any higher.

“You think the rain’ll come before the baby does?” Teryl asked absently.

The storm cloud flashed in the distance, sending a cascade of light from one end of the massive formation to the other.  But no rumble followed.  It was still too far away.

“That storm looks angry,” Kadri said, staring intently at the sky.

“That’s silly,” Teryl said, swinging his feet, “storms can’t be angry.  They’re just clouds.”

“Well how would you know?” Kadri said turning to her brother.

Teryl shook his head and was about to answer back when the front door flew open.  “Kadri where’s Pedr and…” their father started.  “Teryl!” he exclaimed. “What are you doing just standing around like that?  Get Pedr from the orchard and get those horses into the barn!  Double quick now!  Before the storm hits!”

“Yes sir!” Teryl said, jumping off the railing and tearing off into the apple orchard.

“Can I help with anything Papa?” Kadri said hopefully.

The sky flashed and a low rumble of thunder sounded in the distance.  At the same time through the half open door, Kadri heard her mother moan.  This time when her father left all he did was pat her head.  He didn’t even smile.  They don’t even care that I’m out here.

A moment later she heard a small tap on the wooden steps.  She peered over the railing and watched as here and there big drops of water plunked down from the sky making perfect circles on the dry ground.

The clouds were much nearer now but there was still no wind.  Kadri could almost swear she saw the storm drawing closer, but if it was, then it was moving on its own.  The wind seemed to have abandoned the valley.

Her brothers, running in from the orchard, interrupted her train of thought.  Kadri waved to them as they got close, but both were too busy to notice.  She watched as Pedr climbed up onto the cart and drove it off to the carriage house while Teryl jumped on the back, kicking his feet as they turned the corner.  Maybe I could help them with the horses, Kadri thought as they pulled out of view.

She started towards the steps when a huge bolt of lightning shot from the sky and hit a tree so close the farm she could hear the wood splitting as it fell.  Kadri let out a surprised cry and jumped back against the house, plastering her body to the front window.  I’ve never seen lightning hit that close before, she thought, her heart skipping beats inside her chest.  Maybe I should go inside and watch from my room instead.  Her hand was on the door latch before she remembered she’d been exiled to porch.

The sky flashed again, and Kadri instinctively pressed her hands to her ears, muffling the sound.  But this time the lightning stayed in the cloud, its rumbling seeming to cross from one end of the farm to the other.  I don’t like this.  I’m going to talk to Papa.  I’m sure he’ll let me in with the storm so close.  Another flash and Kadri opened the door, now unconcerned with the consequences of her disobedience.  The thunder rolled just as the door opened and in the same instant she heard her mother cry out again.

“The baby’s crowning,” she heard Mistress Reet say, her voice floating in from the bedroom.

“Papa?” Kadri called through the open door.  But her words were lost as another clap of thunder sounded from behind her.  Hang it all!  I’m not standing out here any longer!  She ducked into the house and pulled open the drapes in the front window.  Another bolt flew from the sky, striking the large oak tree in the middle of the farmyard and setting the topmost branches ablaze!  Kadri opened her mouth to scream, but it was her mother’s voice she heard instead.

Kadri had never heard anyone scream like that in her whole life.  Afraid to stay by the window but too afraid to move, Kadri could only watch as the flames on the oak tree spread lower with each passing second.  The fire burned red and blue and seemed to sparkle in the growing darkness of the storm.  Kadri was sure as she watched it that it would consume the whole world if something didn’t stop it soon.  I’ve never seen fire like that.  I have to tell Papa.  She started to turn and call her father’s name, when the rain came.

It came like a curtain, pushed forward as if by an invisible hand.  The water quenched the fire and turned the dry earth dark and muddy.  It fell so hard that fire barely had a chance to send up smoke as its multicolored flame was quenched by the pounding rain.  It was then that Kadri heard the baby cry and the rain whip past the window as if that simple sound had caused the wind to return to the still valley once more.

Her brothers rushed in shortly after, soaked to the skin and dripping all over the front room floor.

“Did you hear that last strike?” Teryl asked has he stripped his wet shirt and threw on the floor by the door.

“I was afraid it hit the house!” Pedr replied, removing his boots and throwing them on top of Teryl’s shirt.  “Is everything okay in here?  Did the baby come?”

Kadri looked back out the window at the burnt leaves at the top of the oak tree.  “The baby brought the rain,” she said in a faraway voice.

Their father walked out of the bedroom.  His hair disheveled, his face wet with sweat.  He paused when he saw his children and gave them a relieved smile.

“The baby is here,” he said, his voice tired and strained.  “It’s a girl.  Would you like to go see her?”

“Can we?” Kadri squealed, every bit of the storm forgotten.

Her father nodded and Kadri bolted past him into her parents’ room with a huge grin on her face.

The rain was tapping steadily on the window and a light breeze blew the curtains back and forth.  Mela was helping Mistress Reet wash something in a basin and her mother was lying in bed holding a tiny bundle close to her heart.

“Mama!” Kadri cheered as she ran into the room.

Her mother held one finger to her lips, but her face was aglow with smiles.  Kadri slowed her pace and tiptoed the last few feet.  The tiny baby was snuggled in a soft blanket, her little fists balled up tightly against her chest.  A thin wisp of blond hair lay across her forehead.

“She’s kinda funny-looking,” Kadri said with a giggle.

“You were funny-looking too when you were born, my little one,” her mother said affectionately.

“I’m not little anymore Mama,” Kadri said with some pride.  “I’m a big sister now, and I can do all the things grown-ups can do.  Just like Mela.”

Her mother gave her a knowing smile.  “Is that so?”

“Yes,” Kadri said with a nod.

The baby yawned and stretched, startling herself awake.  As she did, Kadri pointed at her chest.

“Mama!” she said, pointing at the baby.  “She got a heart on her chest!”

“Yes she does, sweetie,” her mother said, soothing the baby back to sleep.  “Mela says it’s a gift from the fae and she will bring us all good fortune.”

“She already did,” Kadri said with some authority.  “She brought the rain.”

Offline Overlord

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2011, 12:49:58 PM »
Here is Paul's he sent it me on 30th, but I was not online:


The Man On The Hilltop

He was a terrible womaniser, enticing ladies in to his arms by showing off his tricks. If they rejected him he might send a tiny gust of air up their dress to embarrass them or perhaps he would create a personal rain cloud to follow them home. This rarely happened though, they all iked his tricks. He might create a tiny storm in their tea cup while they stirred in the sugar or he might claim he was Jesus and fill his hand with water. His favourite trick was to massage their shoulders.

'You're too stressed,' he would say while his fingers caressed, all the while sending tiny bolts of lightening in to their skin, them mistaking it for the adrenaline rush of lust.

He had quickly discovered the benefit of massaging just a little too low while sending out those tiny hits of electricity as soon he would find himself being dragged to a dark corner, her eyes rolling and her underwear already sodden.


“But mother, it's pouring outside.” Claire knew her complaints would do no good; the foals had to be penned and fed else they they might get out where they would be sure to die in the evening storms even if they weren't eaten by squints first, but it was worth a try.

“Now, child.” Her mother shouted from her bedroom just as Claire was reaching for her wellington boots. “We can't afford your insolence. What would your father say if he heard you shirking your chores?” Claire didn't reply, she knew it was useless when her mother had been drinking. It's not that she blamed her mother, on the contrary, Claire felt guilty for causing her paralysis, (a point of which her mother often reminded her).

The young girl sighed loudly as she pulled her jeans over her waterproof boots before grabbing the old rifle and opening the creaky metal door of her house.

Outside, her house the hail hit the muddy floor like opaque cannonballs. The sight of the evening weather always made her taste her last meal but tonight was the first night in a long time that she could feel Death's lonely scythe. She had forgotten to check the telescope but Claire guessed that the Deits must be angry as the Evening Storm had not raged this hard in days. The young girl sighed once more.

'Come on,' she silently willed herself. 'It's just a bit of rain...'


Like every unsuspecting girl he had ever met, Marliette had loved his tricks. She giggled as the tiny cloud formed atop her cup and even jumped when the minute echoes of thunder chinked around the old china making it vibrate in her hands. He quickly moved to the massage and his little bolts of stimulation, but unlike the others, she didn't squirm in orgasm at his touch, in fact she hardly reacted.

Occasionally, even he would get a quiet one.

“How does it feel baby?” He whispered.

“It's nice.” Marliette's flat reply made his confidence sink. Just nice? Could she not feel the electricity he sent from his finger tips? He upped the volts from his fingers, massaging harder and moments later she was moaning softly... Score.

“How about now? Loving it?” He whispered, closer this time so she could feel his breath on her neck.

“Well, you're just.. you're pressing too hard with your fingers.” She wriggled her shoulders.

“You mean you can't feel that energy between us?”

“What are you on about?” Marliette turned to look at him, shock on her face. “I've only just met you, you stupid nefrit.” She laughed but he recoiled slightly at this, his hands fell to his lap and his head fell into his chin. He was rarely rejected, (let alone be called a nefrit) when using 'the magic'.

He sheepishly avoided her gaze while clouds gathered in the sky above them; their world quickly turned markedly darker. Marliette made to remark on the strange weather when she suddenly saw his sullen face and realised that her calling him a nefrit had actually insulted him. 'For neff sake,' she thought. 'I was only joking.'

“Look,” she said. “I'm sorry, I just... you just need a bit of practice and... perhaps we could just, y'know, talk a bit?”

He looked up at her with a confused smile, stood up and took her hand. Above them, the clouds began to dissipate.


Biting her bottom lip, Claire pulled the hood up on her jacket and ran from the porch towards the barn. She ran for seconds before, as if in answer to her insolence to the night, a crack of thunder boomed above her and threw down an angry burst of lightening which exploded the ground metres from her. Claire screamed as mud from the impact spattered her. Despite the rain, green flame singed the ground where the lightening had hit.

Gripping the gun tightly, she kept running, covering her ears each time the thunder struck. Lightening and hail continued to bombard the earth around her and once she felt a sting on her back but gave it no thought, instead she remained focused on the barn door finishing line. Eventually she reached it, pushed open the dented door, slid inside and fell back, collapsing against and closing it. Her breathing was laboured and her face was as sodden with tears as it was with rain but she had survived once again. Smiling to herself she eyed the room, gasped at what she saw and tears once again fell. At the back of the barn, debris littered the floor where the neighbour's tree had collapsed and smashed through a window, the only architectural weakness in the huge metal barn. Squints were small and would have easily made their way through. The animals never had a chance.

“Neff.” Claire muttered. She rushed to any remaining animals to try and calm them then kicked the soiled hay in to small bloody piles to be picked up later. She fed the still anxious animals and decided to wait out the storms inside the barn.

It wasn't until the next morning she noticed the hole burnt in to the back of her jacket. For the life of her she couldn't understand where it had come from. The edges of the burn were singed green, like the lightening.


He shuddered violently as he continued to thrust, desperate to eek out every last delicious second of this orgasm. He had always had to hold back with other girls for fear of letting the storm loose from his body and electrocuting the poor woman but Marliette was different. She didn't feel the electrical burn, instead she felt a tingle, an erotic vibration. Right now, Marliette's eyes were bulging but fixed with his, she was gasping for words while her hands pulled at his back, willing him in deeper. The lights in the nearby farmhouse flickered.

She kept her back against the apple tree, panting in ecstasy while he picked up her damp underwear.and handed it to her.

“Thank you my darling.” She smiled as she took them. He returned the smile and turned to pick up the other clothes.

“Fack! Awww no. Neff, fack!' He began to shout.

“What?” she asked, quickly concerned.

“Fack, fack!” He kicked one of his shoes angrily. “But the rubber makes it doubly safe...” he muttered to himself.

“Darling, what?” Marliette asked him again. Juices dribbled down her inside thigh as she walked over to him. “Darling?” He did not reply, instead he stayed crouched and held a small ring up to her. In the moon light she felt excitement wash over her before realising that this was not a proposal.

“The neffing rubber broke.”

“Oh...” She stroked his hair as if to comfort him. “Well, would it be so bad if...” She began but he we waved her hand away.

“Shut up! We've talked about this. We're not having children.” He walked away and began collecting up their clothes, wiping himself off in her skirt.

“Would it be so bad?” She pleaded. “We love each other and... look, I can't feel the electricity so maybe I'll be okay.”

She couldn't see the expression on his face but Marliette watched his shadowed outline approach before grabbing her sharply by the hair. She cried as he shouted at her.

“So was my mother you idiot! She couldn't feel my papa's before I was born and I managed to facking kill her with electricity didn't I! I neffin' told you this. You could end up dead or paralysed. Is that what you want?”

“No...”

“Is that what you want?”

“No,” she cried. “I just...”

The slap sounded like a crack of pure Fogland thunder. She fell to the floor as he recoiled in horror at his actions.

“See,” he choked. “See I'm not like you. I love you but I'm a facking Deit for neff sake. We hurt you people and... even I can't change who I neffin' am..” He swung a kick at nothing before looking down at her and sighing. “We can't be together, I'm... I can't risk hurting you.” He sighed again. “I'm returning to the mountain with the other gods.”

Marliette cried there in the orchard all night, hugging her belly, too afraid to return home. Her face already swollen and darkening. At some point, a little after sun rise, she found herself shivering. She couldn't remember a cold morning since she had met him.

Her mother had always told her that she couldn't be hurt by the storms. “But what about Jack?” She had asked her mother. Jack was a boy from her school. He used to make Claire laugh by squirting yoghurt out of his nose but two weeks ago Jack had been struck down during a fierce storm. Claire had cried for hours. “What if it happens to me mother? Do you not worry?”

“Of course I worry you silly, but you're different my darling,” her mother cooed softly while stroking her daughter's hair. “You're not like the other children.”

“Yeah mum, I know, you say it all the time. I'm different,” Claire sniffed, wiping her eyes with a sleeve before looking up at her mother. “We learned about it in morning class. Boys have a wiggly weasel and I have a snail shell and...” As Claire continued to tell her mother about the difference between boys and girls her mother smiled, still stroking her daughter's acrylic red hair.

“Mother.”

“Yes my darling,” her mother replied. Claire liked it when her mother was sober because she would call her darling. She understood why her mother drank though. The burns may have healed but she said the sting would always remain. Her mother said that the old midwife suffered the same debilitating pain in her hands which is why Claire must take food and feed it to the old crone each afternoon. Claire didn't like the old midwife, she was miserable and her house smelled like fish.

“When's father coming home?” Claire asked. Her mother let out a small sigh and smiled.

“Bring me a pot of tea and I might tell you.” Her daughter lit up and jumped up from the bed. “And don't forget to check the hill top. If the storm Deit is in a foul mood you might want to get the washing in off the line.”

Claire ran to the kettle, checked it for water and lit the burner beneath it. She then skipped to the telescope and peered through it to the hill top. Often the man would be stood up, sometimes she could swear he was staring at her mother's house, but for the moment he was prone, perhaps sleeping or just relaxed. The sky was clear. The washing would be fine to dry outside.
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Offline Autumn2May

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Re: June Writing Challenge
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2011, 03:28:18 PM »
And the contest is closed! :D  I'll be setting up voting shortly!  ;D

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June Writing Challenge - Voting Now Open!
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2011, 03:37:37 PM »
Voting now open! Please read all the entries before voting! :)

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Re: June Writing Challenge - Voting Now Closed!
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2011, 03:21:25 PM »
Voting is now closed!  See a list of all our winners here:

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/writers-corner/writing-contest-winners/