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Author Topic: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread  (Read 10775 times)

Offline Nora

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2015, 09:28:43 AM »
Here comes my own story, written in a flash 2h, after a whole month of utter lack of motivation.
A compact 1268 words without title, 3 Povs The Escape.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Escape

Keira ran silently along the dimly lit corridor, her bare feet soundlessly carrying her away from her room. She reached the first corner and halted, holding her shoes, intently listening for potential echoes of steps. All that mattered right now was to not bump into anyone.

She was terrified. It was her second attempt at running away, each time under the suggestion of another little girl.
Keira wouldn't mind staying in this institution really, with its large rooms, nice garden and gentle women looking after all the kids… But she was sad. Depressed really; bewildered that her parents could have left her there.

The other girl had told her. "They abandoned you, you know. They abandoned me, you, all of us here were left behind."
It had hurt but how could she not be right? Keira's parent's had never been back.

She darted across the intersecting corridors and into a large staircase. She hugged the walls, where the wooden steps creaked the least, and made her way down.
Voices echoed, cries in the distance. Keira didn't pay them much attention. When she'd first arrived she had been spooked by how noisy this huge house could be, now she was used to it.

She made it to the ground floor and scuttered to the meeting point, a little recess behind two large recycle bins. No one was there, she'd made it first. The little girl crawled in the tight space and sat down in the dark.
Almost immediately doubt flooded her.
What if the other girl didn't come? Sara was very determined but also a bit reckless.
What if she got caught? If they made it out, would she hold her promise to accompany Keira to her house? Sara said she knew well how to take the subway, and Keira knew at what stop her house was, but two ten years old girl waiting for the first morning subway was going to look weird to adults.
She started to fidget, her anxiety rising, speeding her pulse.

But Keira's real fear was about the reception her parents would give her. Would they be glad to see her? Or had they left her here to get rid of her?
Sara was lucky, she shared none of her worries, she wasn't trying to find her parents…

"Oh, you're here." Keira jumped at the sound, but it was Sara's voice.
"You're late," she replied.
"It's okay, we both made it, it's what matters."
Sara waited silently as Keira fumbled awkwardly to lace her snickers in the dark.
"Did anyone see you?" she asked.
"Of course not," Sara answered sharply. She was determined. Nothing would hold her back this time. She wasn't going to lose her shot at escaping by being careless.

The two little girls had few things in common, Sara realised that, and she would have preferred escaping on her own, but she needed help, and Keira was the only one who really shared her interest in the outside world. Most other kids were quite content, with the games, the classes, the hot meals, the easy life. Most of them came from bad families, and having a bit of attention and their own little room was enough to pacify them into total submission.
But Sara was having none of that. They could all go to Hell. She wasn't staying in this prison her so-called parents had abandoned her in, and she certainly wasn't going to ever see them again.
"I'm ready" Keira whispered.
"Good. Let's go then. But you remember right?" Sara put a finger across her lips, her eyes burning in earnest.
"Yeah of course..."
They shuffled down to the end of the corridor, where a service door opened into a room that featured a vent that led to the property's gardens.
Sara had spotted it during a morning break and had found it a bit loose. A first exploration had allowed her to find the other side of the panel. She'd then realised she'd be needing a screwdriver to finish opening the little trap.
She had shared her plans with Keira and they had kept an eye out for any tool that could be used to losen the rusty screws.
It had taken time, agonising days. But Sara was patient. The low burn of her rage kept her alert and sharp.

Sara took the little screwdriver out of her jeans' back pocket and started getting to work.
Keira had been the one who had spotted an instructor fixing a toy for an older kid. She'd followed her around on the pretence of asking questions about homework, and found the drawer were the tool lived, next to tape and scissors.
Sara had done the stealing.

"Is it coming lose yet?" Keira asked. Her voice was thick with anxiety. "Let me some space to work, geez!" "Maybe I can help?" Her
voice was now almost a moan. Gosh what a mistake to involve her, Sara
thought.
"Listen, you need to breath, Keira. You can't start crying now. Look, I'm almost done, next we need to make a run for it, I need you to stay with me ok?" She was answered by snivels in the darkness. "Come, help me pull it out," Sara beckoned.

The opening, once cleared, was just big enough for the thin girls to squeeze in.
The girls ran away from the lit areas of the garden, away from the buildings and toward the outer walls of the property. Sara felt breathless more from excitement than effort. So close, so close now to freedom.

The alarm came out of nowhere and startled the girls to a panicked stop and a mad scramble.

A knock at the door had John Murray look up from his documents to his wall clock. He hadn't expected to be solicited this late in the night.
"Yes, come in." A tired looking nurse entered, her uniform in disarray.
"Sorry, Dr Murray..."
The doctor took her appearance in and immediately worried that something bad had happened. The young nurse raised her hand in a reassuring gesture, and took the seat he offered her.
"What is it Sam?"
The nurse exhaled slowly and faced him.
"We caught the Collins girl trying to escape again."
"Keira Collins?" Murray asked, "alone?"
The nurse nodded. "She said it was Sara's idea, like last time."

Dr Murray sat behind his desk heavily and rubbed his eyes. This girl was so much trouble, yet there was no getting angry with her, the poor thing. He reached in his desk's drawers for the K.Collins file.
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"The guard on duty caught her a few minutes after she triggered the alarm. She put up a big fight until we got her inside the building."
This would explain the smeared, crumpled uniform.
"Then she broke out in tears and explained Sara's master plan of escape, she's so smart, you should see how she prepared." A grim smile flickered on her face. "It looks like the solo teenage version of Ocean's Eleven."
"So you caught Sara, really, but Keira spoke? Sara never communicated directly?"
"Exactly. Now she's just crying. She'll need medication..."
Murray was already up and opening the doors of his cabinet, fingers carefully picking vial after vial. He was worried.
They would have to take special measures after this new incident. Keira's situation was growing worse since she'd been interned full time, but her parents were too irresponsible to be left with the guardianship of who was, ultimately, the most impressive case of split personality disorder any of the St. Absind Hospice's doctors had ever seen in their careers.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 05:57:10 AM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Carter

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2015, 09:13:43 PM »
Here's mine for the month, coming in at 1671 words all told.  Enjoy. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
Above Trackless Seas, Beneath Empty Skies

The sky was clear.  The air was calm.  Only the faintest whiff of the raging storm lingered.  From horizon to horizon sapphire sky kissed diamond-crested waters.  He revelled in the emptiness, in the beautiful stillness.  A miniscule tilt of his wings, a minute adjustment of his tail and the thermal surged between his feathers.  Propelled upwards, he spiralled in a wide, leisurely arc, content to remain but a passenger.  The salty spray could not reach him as he rose to touch the roof of the world.  With an almost lazy movement, he wheeled away from the current and glided south towards the blazing sun. 

*

Ishmana had never imagined waiting for death could be so boring.  After the sudden, goddess-damned storm, the inevitable was all that remained.  If she closed her eyes she could still feel the rope tight around her stomach, the rain lashing into her face and the winds straining every plank of the felucca.  If she listened carefully, she could hear the echoes of the mast tearing itself in two, the sail soaring away into the darkness.  After the adrenaline-fuelled survival, the day was unfathomably dull, still and silent. 

“Goddess, why did you not offer me the choice?” she said, the words croaking through cracked, salt-blasted lips.  “Why let me linger here, waiting for your call?”

Her eyes scanned the deck, searching for something, anything to occupy herself, anything to keep her mind from dwelling on her family, on Kamil.  Amidst the almost bare deck, she spied something.  Lodged between warped planks, a single shaft of wood had become wedged.  With careful fingers and tense muscles, she extracted it.  Small as it was, fitting into the palm of her hand, it would normally have been hardly worth the effort.  Now, with nothing else to hand, it was all she craved. 

She pulled her gutting knife from the loop in her belt and set to whittling away the pliable wood, carving simple whorls and designs.  Although nothing extravagant and far from the graceful work her village favoured, it nevertheless focused her mind, absorbing every scrap of her attention. 

When her straining eyes could take no more, she looked away, sending her gaze towards the empty skies. 

And she wished she hadn’t. 

Framed against the dazzling, sapphire expanse, black-bordered wings stretched wide, a white underbelly exposed.  Even from a distance, she recognised the albatross.  She looked away, her fingers suddenly still.  Lingering, treacherous defiance stirred.  The bird spoke of her impending choice, of her soul being carried away on its vast wings unless she took the Goddess’ offer of eternal servitude.  The carving now felt pathetic and puny, little more than an attempt to give in and delay the inevitable.  Now something longed for survival, to resist the Goddess and Her waters.  Ishmana cast the splinter overboard, eyes tracking its tumbling arc into the ocean. 

*

Clouds chased him across the sky.  Winds buffeted him.  He twisted and flapped, every movement sapping his reserves.  After days gliding through serene air, the incessant corrections annoyed him.  Part of him desired rest, to drift down to the surface and ride out the inconvenience.  But he knew how capricious the currents could be.  If he gave in now, he might easily regret it.  So instead he banked once more, seeking a patch of solace in the restless sky. 

Below he spied a pinprick of disturbance on the waves.  A tiny object alien to the vast ocean.  He had seen such things before and knew what followed in their wake.  He became aware of the churning hunger deep in his stomach.  Stretching his wings back, he dived. 

*

Farra’s muscles bunched and strained.  The rope dug into her calloused palms, the encrusted salt stinging raw flesh.  Alongside her, Brahmina matched her, the net creeping inch by painful inch over the railing.  Fish and crustaceans thrashed within the tangles, exposed and flailing as they spilled across the slick deck.
 
And still no sign of wreckage, of Ishmana or her felucca. 

As ever, Brahmina moved first, sloughing off any dashed hopes and wrapping herself in the task at hand.  Moving through the netting she extracted their catch and tossed them into the waiting containers. 

Farra longed to fill the heavy silence, to utter some reassurance but she found it harder and harder to believe her own words as each day of fruitless searching passed.  Not for the first time, a prayer whispered through her teeth.
 
“Goddess, grant me a sign.  Please tell me what is become of my sister.”

A flash of white caught her eye, streaking from the sky and plunging into the water.  Dormant hope ignited as the albatross rose from the sea, its wings flapping furiously as it wrestled its way free of the ocean’s clutches, a silvery fish in its beak.
 
“Brahmina, look.  The Goddess has sent us a sign.”

Brahmina’s gaze followed Farra’s pointing finger.  When she saw the bird her face paled. 

“She is telling us that Ishmana wanders.  But she will return.  She will come back to us.”

Her exuberance surged through her.  She felt invigorated.  Effervescent.  Even Brahmina’s scowls could not banish her certainty. 

“You are a fool, Farra.”

Her cousin’s voice was desolate.  The emotion set her aback.  It was more than Brahimna had displayed in days and its stark contrast attacked Farra’s own with swift, shallow cuts. 

“It means Ishmana has chosen.  She is dead.  Her soul drifts on the winds even now.”

“No.  You are wrong.  I asked for a sign – ”

“And got one.  This one.  The albatross brings only loneliness and pain.  That is all there is to it.”

Brahmina turned away.
 
“You are wrong.  I know it.  We will find her,” Farra said to her cousin’s shuddering back.
 
*

Land rose from the sea, majestic and welcoming.  After so long with sapphire waves for company, even the dullest edges gleamed golden in the sunlight, the beaches sparkling.  Winds hurried him onwards as he manoeuvred his wings to catch every breath possible.  He could smell it as well as see it now.  The earthy, heady scent of sand, dirt and rock wormed its way into his senses. 

And pervading through it all was the pungent aroma of the colony. 

He opened his beak and honked his exuberance for the ocean to hear.  After so long alone, after so long adrift, he was finally returning.  At last his heart was within reach. 

*

The wind whipped Kamil’s hair away from his head, setting it dancing in agitated movements.  Every day since the storm he had kept his vigil.  From when the sun’s first rays crested the horizon, he scanned the waves for some sign; some hint of what had befallen his beloved.  Day after day, his hopes became splinters of boats dashed against the rocks far below.  Yet every morning, he refused to give in to the pragmatic despair that held others in a vice. 

The fishing vessels sent out to discover Ishmana’s fate all returned with the same dearth of news.  Yet still he climbed the narrow path to the cliff’s edge and refused all arguments telling him to stop and move on with his life. 
The air turned cold and biting, slicing through his kaftan.  His body longed to shiver but he would not allow it.  He had to be as stone, solid and immoveable in his resolution.  If he let his body rule his heart, all would be lost.  If he gave in, he might as well listen to the whispers around the village; of how he had abandoned himself in grief, how he could not accept the truth.  But he knew Ishmana lived.  Somewhere, somehow she lived and she would come back to him.  He could not afford even the thinnest sliver of doubt. 

He swallowed hard.  Even considering such a thing, even allowing the thought to pass through his mind brought on the memories.  Of his friends deserting him, of everyone shunning his company as he sought the solace of the ragged cliffs, of the glances that told him he wallowed in grief instead of aiding the village.  Compared to such pressing matters, Ishmana could easily become lost, relegated to the ghost of a memory when she deserved so much more. 

A flash of movement drew his gaze skywards.  White wings scythed through the air, a giant albatross wheeling and gliding on the thermals.  His heart clenched.  It was a sign.  After days of emptiness and loneliness, the sight of the solitary bird was a reward.  Here, in this place at this time, it could mean only one thing.  However far and for however long they might journey, the albatross always found its way back to land, to its mate.  Here, on the cusp of descending darkness, the Goddess had granted him a vision of his future. 

For the first time in a lifetime, a smiled cracked across his lips. 

*

The grass all along the clifftop teemed with albatrosses.  Those as yet alone slept or waited in small hollows.  The colony was raucous, the noise almost deafening after the quiet of the open ocean, the musky, oily scent suffusing the air.  As he circled, he watched the couples continued their courtship dances as birds flung their heads backwards and stretched out their wings before clacking their beaks together and beginning their timeless tango.

Of his heart he saw no sign.  Not for the first time, he had arrived before her. 

Spotting a clear area on the outskirts, he landed with as much grace as he could muster, the solid ground peculiar and somehow unsteady beneath his feet.  He ignored the brays of his nearest neighbours, refusing to acknowledge their challenge as he settled into the thick, spiky grasses. 

The setting sun sprayed brilliant iridescence across the sky and rippled across the resplendent wings of the dancers.  He turned his eyes away from the colony and looked to the skies, content to sit, watch and wait for his heart to return to him. 

Offline Henry Dale

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2015, 10:52:47 AM »
1699 words
Only 2 POVs. Was hard to trim this one down :3

Book your dream vacation today!

Spoiler for Hiden:
"YOUR DREAM VACATION IN ANOTHER WORLD? BOOK TODAY AT GOLD TRAVELS!"

Donald Harrison tucked away the brand-new brochure between the other papers in his briefcase, accountancy and lawsuits. He looked idly out of the window to see the clouds pass by when the pilot of the chopper addressed him. 'We're commencing our descent, sir. I estimate the edge of the Titandark is only 20 miles off now.'
Donald nodded. 'Just get us safe to the resort. I don't feel like getting gobbled up by a dragon or some other ludicrous creature.'
The pilot snickered. 'No dragons in these parts, mate.'
Such a shame. His father had told him all about the beautiful creatures he'd seen in the distant worlds during military time. It'd been a dream since he was a kid.

Lloyd Zimmer quickly grabbed a sandwich, bit it and left the rest on his table. Cursing, he looked among the pile of clothes for a fresh enough shirt.
Apparently there was some auditor type on his way to the resort to check on stuff. Of course the execs had only warned him early this morning. He looked back at the bed where one of the receptionists was sleeping still. Sure, he had a wife and children at home, but it was far away and days got lonely in this forgotten place. He looked up at the mirror and straightened out his bowtie. Latest fashion back on Earth apparently, hopefully that would be enough.

The descent was swift, albeit a bit rough, you could tell the pilot had flown this route before as he skillfully circled around the towering hotel towers of the resort towards the landing pad. As they hit the landing pad the chopper was dragged a bit forward by the sea wind, scraping along the concrete, but the pilot managed to steady it. He put up a smoke, very uncommon these days. 'Thank you for travelling with El hijo terrible, we hope you enjoyed your flight. Donations can be put in the bin on your side.' He spoke hopefully. Donald ignored it and climbed from the chopper where he was greeted by an air control assistent.

Lloyd strode through the lobby and barked comments at the staff. 'Anton, keep that sand out of the porch, use a broom. Mary, you can do your nails later. We have a guest coming.' After a brief wink at the maid, he rubbed his hands nervously. Let's do this. He could deal with any stuck up accountant or lawyer or whatever those exec bloodhounds sent for him.

The lobby of the hotel was in the largest tower of the resort, it dwarfed everything else triplefold and the glass appeared to be made of pure gold in the morning sun. The dark jungle behind them seemed threatening and contrasted with the hospitality of the resort. Donald looked up, an enormous blue diamond chandelier adorned the entrance. 'Lloyd Zimmer, first manager of Goldsprings Resort, I take it you are Mr. Harrison? I hope you had a pleasant flight?'
Donald found himself shaking hands with a man he didn't know- the manager? 'Uhm, yes, very pleasant, yes.' He said as his back still hurt from the cramped helicopter that had brought him here. 'Do you have a place where we can discuss business? I shouldn't take too long. My superiors-'
'My good man, you can tell them everything is fine. The shareholders, the lawyers,... They will see their invested money returned once this jewel starts attracting people. After all, this is Your paradise in another world, isn't it?'
Donald sighed, this was vexing. The man was a bit of a nuisance. Perhaps he was great for running a hotel, but this wasn't just any hotel.
'I represent our shareholders and the lawyers office Miles and Erkens Co. I give you three days to convince me it was worth investing money in this project or we close this place down before it even started.'

Lloyd's hands were sweating. He had stopped rubbing them together. This wasn't good. His entire reputation depended on what some measly lawyer type thought of his work here. Better show him the great attractions. After checking Donald in at his room, they'd gone up to the quay. Harrison looked up at the massive pink coral rising up from the ocean. 'What am I looking at?' The man said.
Ugh, wasn't that overly obvious? The guy was a nuisance for sure. 'Our clients will be able to walk on the quay in the evenings, to look at the different shops that will come over there.' He pointed at an open stretch of land. 'During the day, there will be opportunity for guided surfing between the coral.'
Donald raised his eyebrows. 'We've already received complaints from the eco community regarding our footprint on this world.'
Lloyd handwaved this criticism.
'Those academics would complain about anything. We have already  cancelled the construction of an artificial island. Now it's this? Unbelievable.'
'I have to report this regardless. We can't have anything disturb the opening in a month.'
Lloyd ground his teeth together at the behaviour of the man. This was just unbelievable. Maybe he could convince that stuck up the nose suit with the big attractions tomorrow.

Donald got up at 8am local time the next day. He was feeling the pain in his back from sitting stuffed in that chopper yesterday and the howling wind all night hadn't helped. A groan and stretching his aching body would have to do. Not all of the staff was on site yet and unfortunately that included masseuses. So far, the resort had been everything a resort usually was back home: chaotic, unsurprising and the one size fits all kind. This wasn't just a resort though, it had to do better in every way and that's where the disappointment lay. Nothing otherworldly to be seen so far from home. As he got down to the lobby and being greeted by the cute receptionist, he was welcomed again by a brushed up Lloyd Zimmer. The best they had...right. 'I hope you slept well, Mr. Harrison? Good. We're going to the beach today. There's a jeep waiting out front.'
The jeeps were mastodons, black all-terrain vehicles that could brave everything nature could throw at them. 'The company logo isn't on them yet. Jim's bringing the stickers with him on the next flight.' As they set off, Donald looked at the black jungle. Were those yellow eyes in that bush? The sweep of a green tail? Must be imagination.

Lloyd tapped his fingers on the dashboard. They shouldn't miss the tide or the sea would swallow the golden sand and the salt flats. He urged the driver on. The man knew what was at stake here.
Luck wasn't on their side though. The wind last night had toppled a tree which blocked the road to the beach. It was being removed but it'd be hours. Maybe if they got lucky... T'was no avail though.
The ocean threw itself at the upper promontory.  A pile of seats and parasols indicated the beach crew had been in time to remove them, but the flood ruined his career. Only one day left to prove the hotel was worth the money. The last card he had was the jungle cruise, an all or nothing gamble. He turned to Donald Harrison who watched the ocean's turmoil. What was going on in the man's head? He didn't want to know. 'I'm afraid our trip to the beach just got washed away, quite literally. My apologies for the mess.'

That last day they gathered for the jungle cruise. Donald was getting fed up with the manager's stressed behaviour and general presence. Thank god the jungle guide they were with seemed to keep his cool. Regardless he had to sit this through. It was his job to deal with these painful circumstances.
Donald swatted another bug out to drink his blood. The boat of the river cruise was an old thing, chartered off some ancient Disney ride. They would be replaced by the time of the opening but served good enough for now. A lot of curious birds made their appearance. One had a tail so long it was a miracle it didn't hang itself while sleeping upside down like a bat. Nothing really that exciting though.
Lloyd looked at the lawyer yawn once more. Good god, they were in another world. Exclusive wildlife to be seen and the man was still bored? He would- but whatever he was going to do was lost in the moment as the boat rocked violently and Donald toppled overboard. This was so not happening...
The jungle water was murky and thick with algae. Donald's clothes became heavy which dragged him down. A hand from above caught hold of him just in time. He looked into the face of Lloyd Zimmer as he was pulled up. Then he looked back. A long row of sharp teeth snapped close to his face. The owner was a large crocodile with a long tail and fins. A dragon! The creature disappeared back into the depths after its failed initial attack. Two shots from the tour guide's tranquilizer made the beast flee the scene. Back in the boat, Donald shuddered from the cold water and the thrill of the attack.
Lloyd was waiting outside Donald's room for the man to finish changing. After everything that had happened he had come to terms with the sudden end of his life's work. Ah well, he could always go back to running a Marriot. The door opened and Donald came out with his travelling cases. He handed him a form.
'You pass. Never in my life would I have thought I'd see a live dragon.'

Donald looked back at the resort as the chopper rose from the concrete platform. He would hear more from Lloyd Zimmer and his work, that was for sure.

Lloyd Zimmer walked back to the lobby with the guide.
'Shouldn't we have told him that was just a drake instead of a dragon, sir?'
Lloyd laughed as if he thought the question was funny.
'I like my job too much for that, you?'
'Same here.'

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2015, 09:59:30 PM »
Okay, here's my little piece called "Survivors".
Only two POVs.
1112 words, including the title.

Hope you enjoy it.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Survivors

This is the day I die. I’m sure of it now.


I was going to do some foraging in the forest, or what was left of it. As if the couple of weeks of drought weren’t enough to put a strain on everyone’s lives, the forest fires finally stole all hope from everyone living here. I and my family were fortunate, I suppose. We managed to find a sufficient hole in the ground were we could huddle up in safety for the half a day that the fires needed to burn up nigh everything. Nevertheless, one of our children was lost in the chaos. I doubt she had any chance of surviving on her own.

The air was still hot when I finally dared to come out of our refuge; some small fires were still burning, and everything else was black or ash grey, smouldering. I saw absolutely no life anywhere, no animals or plants, nothing. The undergrowth was all gone, and the trees were charred and leafless, most of them nothing but stumps. It felt futile, but I had to try and find something to eat for my wife and for the three children we still had. I needed to find something even for myself, although I didn’t want to admit it.

I dug the ash and the ground here and there, and in hindsight I should have spared more thought to my surroundings. But I was desperate, in a hurry, and the only place where there could have been any food was the ground, so that was where I turned my full attention. There was no one around, so I thought I was safe.

I remembered a place where a hazel tree used to grow. I found my way there even though the devastation had transformed the landscape quite a bit. After a few moments of digging under a thick tree trunk that had fallen over where the hazel had been, I came away with three nuts. Looking at them, I chuckled. The nuts were better than nothing, I suppose, but would they give us enough strength to endure the long walk to the lake and the river? There the fires would in all probability have ceased. A trek of many miles with small children along seemed daunting.

There I was with my nuts. I can remember pondering, whether I should head back with what I had or try to find some more, when I heard the sound behind me. It was a quiet swoosh, barely audible. And by the time I heard it, it was already too late. I tried to run and catch sight of my assailant, but I only managed to take a single step and see a ghostly figure veiled by an ash cloud rising from the ground. The attacker screamed, and I felt sharp pain in my flanks; there were deep punctures, two on each side.

And so I now lay on the fallen tree trunk where the attacker dragged me, and she is standing right next to me. Her dark eyes stare off into the distance, and her fair face is turned slightly away from me. She knows I’m not going anywhere. I would like to think that she doesn’t take pleasure in killing me, and that is why she averts her eyes from mine; out of shame. But there is no shame in this. She is doing what is in her nature: Surviving.


The burning pain from the attack and the dragging is passing, and that is how I know that so am I.



****



Today I survived. The wheezing of my dying victim tells me that.


Forest fire really did a number on everything living here. Every critter tried to flee, running or flying; some made it, some didn’t. Even my partner panicked and fled, and I don’t know what happened to him. But I chose to stay. I wanted to see if my home, where I had lived for years, would be spared. It wasn’t. I hoped that I would have a place for the life which I soon give birth to, but there’s nothing left here.

It was easy for me to avoid the fires. I know the winds and have seen the forest ablaze before. Sure the flames were bigger this time around, and there was more heat and smoke, but they weren’t too overpowering. I spotted all the places that were clear of smoke and where I could rest for a while. All that was so simple for me when comparing it to the panic I saw in others. I guess they just weren’t ready for something so horrible, so sudden.

After the fires had died down, I sat on a branch of the tallest tree I could find. It wasn’t all that tall, but at least it was still more or less intact, only charred. I was watching the dead forest, thinking how full of life it had used to be, when I heard it; something moved underneath me. I should have noticed it earlier, but I guess I didn’t expect anyone else to be here, alive. Still, I was ready to attack right there and then, but my clueless victim slipped under a fallen tree trunk. So I waited to see what he was doing. It took a while for him to emerge back into my sight. He had found something; nuts, I think. And I could have sworn that I heard him sniff or snort as he was looking at his catch. He stood still, so I swooped down on him.

He never saw me coming, there was no fight. He tried to run, flailing at me with his limbs. I even caught a glimpse of his teeth, but I don’t think he made a conscious effort to bite me. My strike was swift and true, and quickly I felt him go limp under me. I knew he wasn’t dead yet, but I also knew that soon he would be. I lifted him on the fallen tree trunk and waited.

I don’t want to look at him. I feel bad for the hapless little fellow. After all, he was like me, a survivor; he lived through the blaze. And still, I really shouldn’t feel any remorse. I’m a hunter and a killer. This is what I do. This is what owls do; they kill and eat mice.


There’s no more wheezing. Now I eat, and then I leave this place. I need to find a new home and survive for the sake of my unborn children. Maybe I return some day, who knows.

There’s nothing left here now...

But there will be.

One day.



Everything I wrote above is pure conjecture. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm a perfectionist but not very good at anything. That's why I rarely finish things.

Offline Giddler

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2015, 11:16:11 PM »
Evening all, this is called 'Charlie' and it's 1680 words.

Spoiler for Hiden:
“And that’s what happens when you forget the safe-word,” murmured Soren.

The famous ventriloquist Charles Hine had been gagged and bound to a bed by his wrists and ankles then stabbed repeatedly in the throat and torso by persons unknown.

The Grey Lotus Parlour was a renowned haunt for those whose vices were too specialised to indulge at any of Tithegate’s other brothels, something the press would be sure to pounce upon when writing Hine’s obituary.

Soren swallowed as the butcher-stink of the room made his gorge rise. It would ill befit the first Investigator on scene to vomit against the wall like a sailor on shore leave.

Madame Zho, owner of the Grey Lotus, stood in the doorway imperiously, seemingly unaffected by the atrocity which had occurred under her roof. A boy and a girl in matching silk outfits stood next to her. They were barely out of their teens and both had the slender, androgynous builds of acrobats.

“None of your people heard anything at all?” Soren asked as he knelt down by the bed. There was something under there, a dusty tangle of wood and cloth. He pulled at it, cursing as the object snagged on a protruding bedspring.

Madame Zho clicked her tongue scornfully. “Hear what, Investigator? Screaming? Sound of struggle? Ha! We kick down door every time someone raise their voice, I lose half my customers!”

Soren conceded the point, returning his attention to the object under the bed. With a loud ripping noise, he pulled it free and looked down in bemusement.

It was a ventriloquists doll dressed in a fine evening suit - now with a rent in the fabric - and a tiny top hat. Its porcelain face had the leering, diabolical expression that seemed to come as standard, as though doll-makers were a society of recluses who’d been misinformed about what people find amusing.

The eyes were particularly sinister. They seemed to glimmer malevolently, and Soren nearly found himself apologising to it for having ripped its fine clothes.

“I’ll probably wish I hadn’t asked,” said Soren, “but what is this for?” 

The young girl took a half-step forward. “We kept it under there for when he visited. It was what he liked. He’d put the doll on his knee and make it order me and my brother to… serve him.”

The boy spoke up, his voice surprisingly high and clear. “Neither of us saw him tonight. He was meant to send for us. We were waiting all night for him to call.”

“You have someone who can vouch for this?” asked Soren.

The boy gave him an amused look, then shook his head.

“Not for the whole night, no.”

The stairs outside creaked as Gyte, the police doctor, huffed his way up to examine the body. The old man lumbered into the room, nodding affably at Soren to signal an end to his time there.

“I’ll need you to come to the station,” Soren told the twins.

The girl looked taken aback, but the boy nodded.

“Then we’ll see you again, Investigator,” he said, coyly.

————————————————————————

I’m hiding now, lurking in plain sight.

In the whorehouse, as the Investigator turned to leave, I found myself gripped by a compulsive urge to laugh. He looked at me, the blind fool, but he didn’t see me.

Oh, it was priceless, just priceless.


————————————————————————

The last of Soren’s colleagues had left for the night and the station was nearly empty.

The interview room was cold and illuminated only by a gas lamp set high in the wall. The twins from the brothel, Angelin and Godric Kester, were more appropriately dressed this time.

Soren had questioned them separately, and then again together, making them go over the previous evening again and again. He had asked questions about their life in the pleasure house, trying to unsettle them into slipping up if their story was false.

They were a strange pair. The girl, Angelin, was introverted and distant, clearly uncomfortable discussing the depravity they engaged in for money. If either of them was going to make a mistake, it was her.

Godric, on the other hand, was all too open about their work in the Grey Lotus Parlour, going into sordid detail about what he and his sister did on a nightly basis. He had a strange manner when he talked. Soren, to his alarm, gradually realised the boy was flirting with him.

As the hours wore on, Soren had to admit that the story they were telling him checked out in every way. Even if Godric was capable of lying that convincingly, Soren doubted his sister was.

He had run into a dead end. There was no evidence, no witnesses, no next of kin and no motive beyond the tenuous link between Hine and these two.

“My thanks to both of you, that will be all,” he said. A half-smile of relief flickered across Angelin’s face.

“Will we see you again?” asked Godric. There it was again, that sly, inviting tone.

“I think not,” said Soren, flatly.

Hurt anger flashed across Godric’s eyes but his smile didn’t twitch.

“Oh well, never mind.” He stood up to leave, then stopped as though remembering something. “By the way, what did you do with the doll?”

——————————————————————

The fat man made a noise I’d never heard before when I killed him, something between a sob and a whimper. It took a great deal of effort on my part to hang him up, but I’m much stronger than I look.

—————————————————————

Soren took the stairs down to the forensic wing. The noise from the upper floors was muted by the basement walls, lending the whole place a sepulchral hush.

The doll sat on a counter, leaning against a bell jar. Gyte had mentioned bringing it back to the station. He’d naturally assumed it was part of Hine’s personal effects.

 Godric, however, had insisted that it had been a gift to them from Hine, and since it hadn’t been classed as evidence Soren saw no reason to deny them.

He walked through to the office, trying to ignore the sensation of glass eyes burning into his back.

Gyte was not at his desk. That was unusual in itself. The doctor did nearly all of his work there, only begrudgingly accepting fieldwork if there was no other alternative.

Soren checked the corridor leading to the dissection area and laboratories.

“Dr Gyte?”

A strange trick of the light caught his eye, halfway along the corridor. A patch of shadow was creeping out from under the door to a storage closet. Soren crept closer.

It wasn’t shadow at all. It was blood.

He tore the closet door open and there, hanging like a butchered pig from a hook on the wall, was Dr Gyte.

Soren took a step back, reaching to his belt for a weapon that wasn’t there. He’d left everything in his office.

He cursed and made his way steadily towards the stairs, fighting an overwhelming urge to run. He rounded the corner and walked past Gyte’s desk.

Although Soren would have described himself as a rational man, it came as no real surprise to him that the doll was no longer on the counter.

He hated himself for it, but he still ran.

———————————————————————

I can hear the Investigator blundering around the empty station, bellowing for help. Time to hide once again.

——————————————————————

Soren crashed through the door to the Interview room, walked up to Godric and grabbed him by the throat, pinning him against the wall.

“What just happened? You know something, you little shit!” he roared.

Godric swallowed nervously. “What are you talking about?” he stammered.

“Don’t give me that crap! ‘By the way, what did you do with the doll?’” Soren snarled. “You knew what I’d find down there!”

Godric’s composure was melting fast. “I don’t know what you mean!”

Soren felt Angelin’s hand on his arm. “I know what’s down there.”

Godric flashed a look of fury at his sister.

“It’s Charlie,” she said.

——————————————————————

When Charles Hine used to play his doll-games at the brothel, he would always insist on being known as ‘Charlie’, like the doll he carried on stage.

Charlie, to him, represented the freedom he couldn’t find in his life. He was a timid man, hen-pecked by his over-bearing wife, laughed at on stage nightly. The sad little freak came to envy his puppet.

After all, Charlie could say anything, no matter how shocking.

Imagine the things he would do, given half a chance.

I see the boy, the sly one from the doll-games. The one who would dare Hine to think of worse and worse degradations.

His back is turned to me.


——————————————————————

Soren had locked Angelin and Godric in the interview room, gone to his office to fetch his gun, then headed down to the basement to apprehend Dr Gyte’s murderer, assuming they were still in the building.

Angelin’s talk of a possessed doll had unsettled him, he knew himself well enough to admit. He was a pragmatist, and knew that a knife wielded by an imaginary haunted toy was no more or less dangerous than one brandished by a drunken ruffian, or any other assailant.

But still…

The door was still ajar from before, when he had recoiled from the sight of the doctor’s corpse. Gyte was still there, suspended like a thief from a gibbet.

A noise distracted him, low and scuttling. He span around, raising his pistol.

Charlie, his sneering eyes burning with madness, flew out of the shadows towards him.

———————————————————————

The Investigator shoots wildly, his face twisted in panic, the bullets tear through me and I drop my knife fall. The floor feels comfortable, like a feather cushion…

———————————————————————

Soren over to where Angelin lay and tried to staunch the bullet wounds in her chest. It was no good. One of the bullets had clipped her heart; she didn’t have long.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, although she couldn’t hear him.

He looked at Charlie, lying shattered where Angelin had thrown it at Soren.

It was only a doll.

Offline NightWrite

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Re: [Jun 2015] - Multiple POVs - Submission Thread
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2015, 04:51:07 AM »
Good evening everyone. I found myself enjoying this prompt more than I thought I would as it pushed me to try writing more than one POV for the first time.

Coming in at 1,592 words I hope you enjoy my story "A Warrior's Sacrifice."

Spoiler for Hiden:
There is nothing one should not do for family. It was a lesson Knetos' father had raised him on his whole life, and it was the reason he had signed his life away. Fire had torn through his family's farmland near the western edge of Orylon Hold when he was 15, and his family would have starved the coming winter. His parents wouldn't have been able to feed all three of their children. So he had given himself up to the local warren, becoming a Dawn Warden as an apprentice. It was one less mouth to feed, and new recruits from outside the warrens were granted a small amount of money for their families. The money had been enough to survive the winter and buy needed supplies for the following year, though the winter had been lean. The following years had been some of the longest and harshest of his life, the life of a farmer had not been the easiest of starting points for the life of a warrior.
   Three months ago he had passed the Rite of Joining, becoming a Warden proper, and had been assigned to a team with two others as all Wardens were. Two months ago his team had been sent to join the two other teams assigned to the waystop known as Dawn's Landing between Orylon Hold and Lethe Hold to the east. Feelings of self-doubt were compounded upon with feelings of being exposed, the protective wall feeling inadequate. The stone wall of Orylon towered over the city, while the warren was entirely underground, invoking feelings of safety from his past. The wall around the Landing, however, barely stretched over his head, even if it was stone with silver inlaid to deter Shadows. If enraged, any of the larger Shadows could get over the wall despite the pain the silver would cause them. It was part of his job to protect the people of Orylon Hold from the dangerous creatures lurking in the Night Mists, and the wall wouldn't make it any easier.
   Knetos turned his mind from the past to focus on his current task. Dusk had come and gone, and with it the Night Mists had rolled over the land like a blanket. He and his teammates Menkios and Kale had been assigned border patrol for the night, and something to the east had made a loud noise. They had come to investigate, yet found nothing. In the moment of peace his mind had drawn itself once more into the past, something it had been doing a lot of since his assignment to the Landing. Thoughts of what he had been through so far in his life, and thoughts of what his life could have been.
   Movement to his left caught his attention, and his chest felt heavy as a massive tapered leg appeared next to him. Every fiber of his being wanted to let out a deafening scream as a Mistfiend emerged through the cloak of the Night Mists, towering over him. Yet to break one of the Silent Laws would surely draw its attention, and he stood little chance against such an ancient Shadow. His mind became a flurry of thought, all focusing around this Mistfiend and the Landing not too far away. It was moving towards the Landing slowly, and Knetos knew with its height it could easily walk over the wall. With its height it could surely walk over the buildings if it wanted. Many of the customers would panic, their sense of security in the waystop shattered. Even if they survived the Mistfiend's visit Knetos doubted many would return to the Landing in the future, ruining the waystop's flow of customers. He couldn't let that happen. Even if it wasn't his job he would do it for the sake of repaying Klekios' kindness from the past two months. Looking into the other's eyes Knetos found a similar series of thought playing out.
   “What should we do?” Knetos questioned with his hands, using the sign language all at the Wardens had to learn. It reduced the risk of breaking the first of the Silent Laws, and so all from the warren were expected to know and use it.
   “We need to lead it away from the Landing,” came Menkios' slow response.
   “Only one of us are needed, you need to warn the Landing,” which was true. Only one of them would need to risk themselves. Knetos knew he probably wouldn't make it through the night, dawn was too far away for it to save him. Yet he was willing to take the risk so the others would be safe.
   “You're not doing this alone,” came from Kale who looked like he was handling his fear the worst out of the three of them, none of them ever having seen a Mistfiend before.
   “Someone needs to alert the others, and I'm faster. I can out run it longer so don't argue with me.”
   “I hate the thought of this, but I can see your logic,” Menkios signed back as a defeated look entered in his eyes. How many others had Menkios seen in his age go off to die, leaving him behind Knetos wondered. Despite only being a Warden for less than a year, Menkios himself was one of the oldest among the Wardens. More than enough time to experience the sting of loss, the loss of his wife and son amongst them.
   “Thank-you, now go, and be careful,” with one last look the three parted ways, Menkios and Kale slowly returning to the Landing while Knetos moved away from it. Giving himself a good distance for a head start, Knetos waited until he couldn't see his team before blowing out a shrill whistle. The sound echoed around him as the Mistfiend's head snapped around to face him. Its eyes glowing a fierce crimson red instead of a usual soft blue as it let out a piercing cry before charging at him. With one final prayer to the Silent One Knetos took off, accepting his last night amongst the living would be spent protecting his charges.
~~~
Klekios sighed as he tried to calm his patrons down from the loud shriek which had echoed from the Night Mists around them less than half an hour ago. Six of the nine wardens his waystop hosted as its protection had been eating in the corner at their usual table when it happened. Since then they had been whispering and discussing the potential sources of the noise. As they were preparing to leave and help the current team on patrol search for the source the front door opened and in stumbled old Menkios supported by Terkaletos. Menkios clutched at his arm and his face was full of pain. Patrons began to whisper as the other Wardens moved towards them.
   “What happened,” one of the younger Wardens, Hekaperos, questioned as two of the others moved to help Menkios.
   “A Mistfiend appeared not to far to the east of the wall. It was headed this was,” Menkios struggled to breath as he gave his short report. Though a barely above a whisper it sparked panic throughout the room, the whispers becoming louder as the thought of a Mistfiend so close to their location.
   “Silence,” Klekios' voice broke over the rising din like a wave. “Remember, panic will simply attract unwanted attention. Now, continue Menkios.”
   “Knetos sacrificed himself to draw it away from the Landing, and he sent us back here to warn of the danger,” Menkios continued to struggle, and his body sagged at the mention of Knetos. Klekios' own body began to seize up at the mention of the youngest Warden amongst them. Pain resonated through him at the thought of loosing one so young, just barely twenty. Klekios tried to calm himself as Menkios continued, “We made our way back here the fastest we could without risking danger, but the ground caught me unaware. I tripped and injured my arm, but thank the Silent One there was no blood.”
   “Are you injured Terkaletos?”
   “I thought I told you to call me Kale,” Terkaletos let out a small huff, “and I'm fine.”
   “Very well, when dawn breaks and the Night Mists have receded we should send a group out to try and find Knetos' body,” Klekios said as he watched Menkios be seated so his injuries could be tended. “If the Silent One is merciful we will have a body to send back to his family with his last letter.” Klekios sighed, both hating and finding solace in the concept of the last letter. A tradition born almost a century ago by the Dawn Wardens, Wardens would compose a letter meant for their families should they die. Knetos had been updating his own just this afternoon after waking up before he left on his patrol. It would offer his family some peace, but would not mask the pain of loosing one of their own so young. Klekios himself would be adding Knetos' name to the tablet in the Silent One's shrine his family maintained at the Landing. It was a family tradition started long ago by his great-grandfather, to record the names of those who died protecting the waystop. Such a tradition often help bring Klekios his own sense of closure and peace. It allowed him to awaken each morning despite the terror and bleakness in their lives, this tribute to those who died so others could live.