October 16, 2019, 01:25:31 PM

Poll

Who is your favourite this month?

Jian
3 (33.3%)
Idlewilder
0 (0%)
Simonster
3 (33.3%)
Lor
1 (11.1%)
Arry
2 (22.2%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: December 31, 2012, 11:16:17 AM

Author Topic: November Writing Contest (Voting now open!)  (Read 5689 times)

Offline Lor

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November Writing Contest (Voting now open!)
« on: November 01, 2012, 03:43:45 PM »
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell


(Picture ripped from my sister's facebook. That's Lancejack Graham.)

The soldier in the picture above turns 21 today, 1st November. This month also has Armistice Day on the 11th, when we remember our Glorious Dead, the men and women who laid down their lives so that we could live ours. So it seems fitting that this month's contest should concern war.

It's all fine and well to write a war scene, but that isn't the challenge. Your challenge this month is to write a war correspondence - it can be a letter, email, or telephone call transcript - from one of the survivors. The ones who are often forgotten, yet have to live with the biggest burdens of war.

The Rules
1. Must be a correspondence, not a story or scene
2. Must be in 1st person Point of View
3. You may have multiple PoV characters, but all must write in first person
4. You can break your piece up into several correspondences if need be
5. 1,000 - 2,500 words
6. Should contain some fantasy or Sci-fi elements (I'm not totally heartless!)

Submissions will close on November 30th, 2012, and voting will be open for the month thereafter. Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 11:16:38 AM by Lor »
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Offline Jian

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 08:45:25 PM »
December 16, 1944

Dear Mary,

For perhaps the past year, all I’ve thought of was you, and my memory of your sweet smile has kept me alive through the machine gun fire of the krauts when we first landed in Normandy to the freezing cold out in Bastogne. I don’t know if this letter will get to you, but I write this with the hope that you will remember me even when you marry someone else, and grow old together with him. Lying here in the snow, with shaky hands, it’s doubtful you’d even understand my scribbling, but it gives me peace to simply try.

The soldiers that will most likely inform you of my demise and my family will probably tell you, but I want you to know what happened from my perspective. It all started with PFC Billings and I went out patrolling by the Eastern tree line. We’d recently liberated that part of the forest neighboring Bastogne from the krauts, and it had already been cleared - so why worry, right? Well, we were talking about Major Winters in Easy Company and we hoped he’d be leading the attack instead of that bastard Lieutenant Norman Dike, pardon my French. He was our new CO, and one of the most cowardly men I’ve ever had the displeasure of getting ordered by.

I won’t bore you with the details - mostly because I’m not sure how long I can last - but Billings decided he needed to relieve himself. He went into the shrubbery, and I kindly looked away. All of a sudden, I feel the ground beneath my boots rumble, and giant clumps of snow fall on me from the tall trees.

“Billings!” I shouted. “Think they’re mounting the cannons again!” I warned. We’d been bombarded by bombs courtesy of the krauts relentlessly for the past weeks.

Billings cursed in reply, and I heard a zip. “We got any fox holes out here?” he asked me as he crouched down by a tree. I did the same.

I shook my head. “No one wants to leave their foxhole long enough to take the time digging through the frozen ground,” I replied.

“Shit, think they’ll fire this way?”

“Knowing our luck and knowing the Germans, they’ll light the entire forest up with their cannons ‘till all that remains of the trees are thousands and thousands of toothpicks,” I told him.

“You know just how to put a friend’s mind at ease,” Billings said sarcastically.

“Didn’t you know? Got a medal for it,” I said with a smile that didn’t reach my eyes. Truth was, Mary, that I was practically pissing myself at the thought of getting fired on by tanks and cannons without a foxhole. Sorry, but I can’t take the time to pretty up my language anymore. Minutes passed, and we still hadn’t become cannon fodder.

I released a breath of relief. “If they aren’t firing on us, what was that rumbling?” I asked Billings, who shrugged in reply.
“Let’s move out, and tell Dike about this.”

I stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Hah. I wouldn’t do that if I was missing a leg. Nah, let’s just tell Sergeant Lipton. Now that is a CO.”

I nodded my assent, and we moved back. Time passed, and it was dark before we even knew it.  Remember those old horror movies we used to watch at the pictures? You’d think a wolf or a howl would start screeching or something, but it was dead silent. The silence creeped me out more than a wolf or an owl ever could with their noises. We continued, but still saw no sign of our foxhole or of any other soldier.

“Are we lost?” Billings asked me.

“No, we traced our steps. We shouldn’t be.”

“Look. I shouldn’t be freezing my ass off, holding in a shit. But I am, and we probably are lost.”

I laughed, despite my nervousness. The ground started to rumble, then.

But it didn’t stop after a minute or so. The ground shook so badly that the trees began to shake violently, and Billings and I lost our balance.

“What is happening?!” he shouted at me. He was on his knees about two or three feet away from me, and the snow exploded between us. The powder white flakes blinded me, and I wiped my eyes with annoyance when the ground between us cracked and split apart. A fiery red glow shined upon us, and the silence was completely gone: shrieks and moans in every single language imaginable echoed from the canyon between us, and I prayed to God, Mary, that the silence would come back.

A skeleton rose from the ground, then, and Billings and I both stared at it with terror. Only, it wasn’t a skeleton. It was a man with absolutely no meat nor muscle in his body, his skin was drawn tight across his bones, and his eyes bulged at me with fearsome animosity. More of his ilk rose from the ground soon after, but the first one staggered toward me, and in my horror, I couldn’t even raise my rifle in defense.

I heard gunshots ring out into the night, which snapped me out of my trance, and I whipped the stock of my rifle across the head of the unknown entity. Its head twisted backward, and dropped unto its knees. Still, its hand continued, and I let it tap me gently on my chest. In a flash of a second, I saw the hand go inside me, but felt nothing. I watched as my friend and comrade was dragged into the depths of a realm worse than Hell while I was helpless to help, and heard his screams and pleas till the canyon closed shut. The First One then disintegrated, and I was paralyzed for minutes.
Thirty minutes had passed before I looked down, and saw the blood seeping through my wool coat, and with my jaw quivering, I slumped against a tree, and watched the snow fall around me.

I might sound insane, and I may very well be insane, but it is my wish that I be able to tell someone about the events that have transpired, as unbelievable as they appear to be.

My dearest Mary, know that I have loved you in this life, and that I will continue to love you in the next.

Your friend,
Private Mark Hamilton
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 08:56:26 PM by Jian »
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Offline blendyface

Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 10:58:07 PM »
Edit: I take it baaack. Lawd, I am a terrible writer  ::)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 01:25:50 AM by blendyface »

Offline Jian

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 08:28:18 AM »
Edit: I take it baaack. Lawd, I am a terrible writer  ::)

Aww. Someone needs to submit in the next three days, or I win my default!  :P
Oh, I have a blog. http://dullboredom.wordpress.com/

Check it out, if you've got the time. Much appreciated.

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Offline blendyface

Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 01:54:24 PM »
Edit: I take it baaack. Lawd, I am a terrible writer  ::)

Aww. Someone needs to submit in the next three days, or I win my default!  :P

You'd win anyway since I wrote the piece rather quickly (fifteen minutes, let's say) ooonly to discover that it didn't even fit the brief at all!  8)

Offline Idlewilder

Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 07:23:18 PM »
Here's my entry. Not going to say anything about it except to warn you that it's pretty dark and downbeat.


A Correspondence in the War with the Undead


March 23rd 2013


Dearest,

The day that the zombies came, was the day that I told you I loved you. I’m not sure you’d remember, what with the looting and screaming around us. But it was. I remember.

The sounds of broken glass and white noise around us, as the news broadcasts came to an end. Oh the news. How I miss it. Almost as much as I miss you my love. Though, of course, not really close.

The news. Such a simple thing; a basic concept. We took it for granted, in the days before the undead rose from their graves. Wars in the middle east, daily problems with the NHS and pithy stories on old ladies with no warmth in the winter. The old people were the first to go, along with the children. I suppose their problems are a distant history in this terrifying world. But warmth is still a constant source of worry for us.

The last survivors.

We’ve managed to retreat to an old World War II bunker from the Blitz. I can hear the zombies moaning outside; clawing and banging against the steel. There are more than a hundred of us down here, but the food will only last so long. We each take turns to venture outside, in teams of course, for supplies. But only a small few of us return each time. Our number dwindle. But I suppose that’s for the best down here, when we’re low on food and water. The less mouths to feed the easier it will be for the rest of us.

A zombie war. Only, we can’t really fight back. It’s the sort of nonsense you read about in comic books or watch on cheap old horror films. It still seems so ridiculous, even now. So ridiculous I hope to wake from this nightmare and see your face again. Smiling, happy.

Please. Wake me up.

Yours forever,

Daniel

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

April 1st 2013


My love,

The zombies have gone! We have destroyed them all.

April Fools!

Remember when we used to play April Fools jokes on one another? I used to put so much thought into them, and then they would fall flat. You could come up with something from the top of your head and have me believing it all day.

But I suppose it has to be funny, and this year’s April Fools isn’t so funny.

There are less than fifty of us left. On the bright side, we have enough food and water to last us six months down here before we begin to starve. When we starve I suppose we will be no better than the undead. I wonder who would be eaten first.

But no, that’s too gloomy. Things haven’t gotten that bad. If only you were here – you would be able to keep me grounded. You always had a knack for knowing exactly what to say.

I miss you,

Daniel

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

April 10th 2013


Someone has contracted a disease and we have no doctors among us. We are all terrified. We are sending a team out to find medicine, otherwise we could all be in danger.

I am to be one of the team.

I hope to find you out there, my love. But if I don’t, do not despair. We will find each other eventually.

I must leave. I will write as soon as I can.

Daniel

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

April 12th 2013


Ten of us left and four returned. It was a bloodbath.

The zombies attacked us as soon as we left the bunker. We lost Joe almost immediately, his arm ripped off in front of me. The others were not so lucky.

I can still feel the splatter of Amy’s blood on my hands; the look of Rich’s brains in the zombie’s mouth. How I wish you were here to tell me what to do.

I’m so scared.

I never felt it so badly before, but now I can’t shake the feeling of pure terror I feel in my guts. We are all going to die here. I never realised it before. My hope to see you again was too great. But I’ve lost that hope. We are all going to die.

We never found the medicine.

Daniel

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

April 12th 2013 – Midnight


So it turns out that one of our four had been bitten. Which meant we had two living people to throw to the undead. For all we know, the “diseased” woman may have only had the flu. But out she went, like a piece of old rubbish.

I can’t take much more of this. The constant worry that maybe the zombies will break in. The miserable people. My own miserable outlook. Please come and find me, my love. Break me out of here. Tell me what to do.

Anything.

Daniel

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

May 3rd 2013


My dearest,

I have given up all hope. My correspondence has been non-existent this last month because I believe you are dead. I write this final piece to you now, knowing that I will never see you again. The knowledge is too much for me to bear. We have lost the war with the undead. Not that we ever had the chance to stand and fight.

The others found a gun three days ago. It even had an ammo pack. Just a small revolver, but still.

I say “found”. We heard it. Well – how could you not hear a revolver go off in this room? How could you not see the pool of blood trickling along the floor from Victor’s head? It turns out he’d had it all along. I suppose if we’d found it earlier, we would have probably killed him anyway.

But since then, our numbers have dropped from less than forty, to nearly twenty. In this place a loaded revolver is like freedom. We all know it.

I just heard another loud bang. Looks as though Willow decided freedom was a better option.

I’m sorry to be so melancholy my love. But this is too hard. Without you, I can’t do this. Alone I am nothing. I wonder if there is a bullet for me?

I will find out.

Yes. I hold the loaded weapon in my hand, still warm from Willow’s shot. The blood on the handle is sticky. It was always going to come to this. It was inevitable. Only time was holding me back. Whether this way or another, it was always going to happen. Nobody will stop me. Perhaps if I had you, it would be different.

I love you. Remember when I first told you? Remember the first time? Well this will be the last.

Unless.

Unless I wake up.

Yours,

Daniel
Make Another World.

Offline simonster

Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 09:15:43 PM »
I've got to say, I really struggled with the theme this month.

It's all fine and well to write a war scene, but that isn't the challenge. Your challenge this month is to write a war correspondence - it can be a letter, email, or telephone call transcript - from one of the survivors.

I spent ages trying to think of different sorts of correspondence that might fit the theme.  (Do diary entries count?  What about a Twitter feed?  Or the error log file from an AI soldier?)  But in the end the bit that really stumped me was this:

Quote
[...] from one of the survivors. The ones who are often forgotten, yet have to live with the biggest burdens of war.

Every story I tried to write along those lines just seemed fake, dishonest, or tackily sentimental.

Thing is, I do have some experience of war.  But it's not a part of my life I like to think about.  And it's certainly not something I ever intended to blurt out on some internet forum.

I'm typing though, so I guess it's going to happen.

"Cut some holes - let the darkness out," I imagine Night Terror saying.

Apologies for spamming the thread with these guilt-strewn confessions.  I guess a mod can delete this easily enough if it really doesn't belong.

I suppose the story starts with us all together.

So, there were seven in my unit, six of us new recruits.

The veteran introduced himself as Overlord (no, not that Overlord ;) ).  He told us we had to pick names for each other - new names to mark our new lives in the unit.  It was pretty good as a bonding exercise, and went naturally with the other task he gave us: the assumption of a physical form.

Kitten got her name because of her ginger fur and viciously pointed teeth.  Night Terror got his because of his glowing red eyes - the only part of him that wasn't midnight black.  Bloodlust and Knives were all claws and fangs.  Both had an obsession with "getting down to business," although in Knives's case at least I think it was mostly just tough talk.  Dragon Queen copied Overlord's wings and tail, and seemed to make a start at copying his personality too.

I ended up as Rabbit, thanks to a disastrous first attempt at growing horns.  I think I might have rejected the name if it had come from Bloodlust or Night Terror, but it was Kitten who named me, and coming from her it was like an offer of friendship, which I desperately needed.

Overlord gave us a bit of a motivational speech about why the war was happening, what we were fighting for, blah blah blah.  I didn't really listen.  We were all in high spirits, joking and interrupting, more nervous about fitting in than fighting.

Then word came down that other units had departed already, and that we were next.  That shut us right up.

"You're gonna make me proud, boys and girls," Overlord said.  The darkness was starting to fade around us.  "Humans have had it easy too long.  Let's bring 'em war!"

We came through into the light, all green under foot and blue above.  The human world smelt clean, new, and innocent.  We were there to change that.

Bloodlust was pissed when Overlord said that we couldn't kill any humans to start with.  "They're not scared yet," he explained.  So we scared them.

The humans were living in small, scattered farming communities back then, with seemingly no aspirations beyond raising crops and livestock, and making more humans.  If we'd just walked up to some and declared war, I don't know what they'd have done.  Invited us in for porridge maybe.  It took some doing but we made them suspicious of each other, jealous of their neighbours, and afraid to go out at night.

When Night Terror and Dragon Queen goaded a man into killing his wife and children, Overlord said we were ready for the next stage.

We weren't allowed to kill everyone in the village - Overlord said that some had to escape to tell what they'd seen.  But still, it was glorious.  That night, celebrating in the blood-drenched ruins, with Overlord grinning and hugging each of us again and again, was the happiest time of my life.

I wish I'd had a camera to capture it all.  Dragon Queen screaming at the fleeing children...  Night Terror imitating the cries of his victims...  Kitten and Knives dancing among the bodies while the rest of us stamped out time...  I can't bear the thought of losing those memories, but every year they get fainter.  I think maybe that's why I read fantasy stories - because from time to time in the pages of Weaveworld or Tolkien or the Brothers Grimm, I catch a glimpse of my old comrades.

We travelled the human lands, spreading chaos and death on a whim.  From time to time we'd meet up with other units and share stories of our exploits.  We never really noticed that the humans were starting to fight back.

Overlord was killed by a scrawny lad with a pitchfork, on which his head was then paraded through the town.  We should've gone back and killed every last one of them, but the truth was we were too shocked and scared to think that way.  Even Bloodlust just wanted to get as far away from there as possible.

Dragon Queen brought us back to our senses.  She took over leadership of the unit, and started making changes.  "No wings.  No horns.  No tails.  No decoration.  No bright colours."  We changed our bodies into pure killing instruments.  "And no survivors!"

But even then it was no longer easy.  The humans were making weapons, training as guards and soldiers, and learning warfare.  They built fortresses and assembled armies.  And when they couldn't find any of our kind to kill, they fought each other.

They caught Bloodlust when he went too close to a watchtower.  We heard his screams out in the forest.  In the darkness I couldn't tell for sure, but I think Knives was crying.  She and Bloodlust has been close.

I think that was when we realised: we were losing.

Word reached us that the battle plan was changing.  "We're gonna fight the way the humans do," Dragon Queen explained it.  "All the units are joining up, everyone that's left.  We're gonna be an army."

When I saw us all assembled there in the valley, I really believed it was going to work.  We were so many, and we looked so fierce.  "This'll be out world yet, Rabbit," Kitten grinned at me.  At sunset we were going to storm one of the humans' great cities, and when that was ours we would start driving the humans back until there were none left to fight.

The human attack took us by surprise.  As arrows rained from the sky, they charged us with spears and swords.  I saw Knives fall with an arrow in her throat.  I don't know what happened to Dragon Queen, but the last I saw she was charging alone at a line of armoured men.

When Kitten ran, I followed.  In all the confusion I don't know how we stayed together, or at what point Night Terror joined us.  We just kept the sound of battle behind us and ran.

Eventually we stopped to listen for pursuers.  When we tried to move on, Kitten couldn't stand, and that's when I saw all the blood.  I must have known she was dying, but I kept babbling about how our army would regroup, how we still had a chance.

Kitten smiled at me.  "War's over, Rabbit."  Her breaths were becoming painful gasps.  "Gotta look out for yourself now.  Join the winning side."  She nodded at Night Terror.  "He knows."

When I looked at Night Terror his body had changed.  The red glow in his eyes was fading, and the face they stared out of was human.  Only his hair was still black.

"You're gonna need clothes," I muttered inanely.

He grinned, and gave me a jokey salute.  "Keep fighting the good fight, Rabbit."  I watched as he disappeared into the night.

I couldn't hear Kitten's breathing any more.  For a moment I stood there with my eyes tight shut, thinking about everything that could have been.  Then I followed Night Terror's example and changed my body.  I walked away without looking back.

Since then it's all been about blending in, keeping a low profile.  I'm a software engineer at the moment, which works well.  I can keep to myself, and no one pays attention to the occasional bit of odd behaviour.

I don't know what became of Night Terror, or whether there were other survivors.  I go through phases sometimes of hunting the internet for signs of them.  Maybe one day I'll find a forum or a Facebook page.  Would that be so crazy?  There's so much weird stuff out there that I don't think anyone would notice.  I mean, let's be honest, this post is a case in point. ;D

But then some days I think about what we were and what we did, and I wonder if maybe I won't make contact even if I do find someone.

Offline Lor

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2012, 09:23:45 PM »
Dude, if you read from below the last quote you put in your post, that's your entry right there. I didn't say it had to be a nice letter home saying "oh well, we lost, but hey". You've done exactly what the brief was. It's harrowing, but for someone writing home with the truth about war, it's perfect :)
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Offline Arry

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2012, 09:33:36 PM »
Dude, if you read from below the last quote you put in your post, that's your entry right there. I didn't say it had to be a nice letter home saying "oh well, we lost, but hey". You've done exactly what the brief was. It's harrowing, but for someone writing home with the truth about war, it's perfect :)
I think the whole post was his entry. :)

It was a forum reply correspondence. Quite clever, and I have to admit I enjoyed it (as well as the other entries, and am eagerly awaiting more)
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Offline simonster

Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 09:50:13 PM »
I think the whole post was his entry. :)

It was a forum reply correspondence. Quite clever, and I have to admit I enjoyed it (as well as the other entries, and am eagerly awaiting more)

Well spotted ;D (and thanks!)

Offline Lor

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 09:50:42 PM »
I think the whole post was his entry. :)

It was a forum reply correspondence. Quite clever, and I have to admit I enjoyed it (as well as the other entries, and am eagerly awaiting more)

Well spotted ;D (and thanks!)

Apologies, I'm having a dim night :D
"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

Offline Lor

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 10:35:06 PM »
Mate,

Remember back when we went to sign up, and they told you you couldn't get in, 'cause you're a midget, and you were well jealous of me? Returning the favour bro.

You wanted me to tell you what it's like here. You're a writer, bro, and I don't think even you have the scope for this.

You'll be glad to know I have internet access to send you this, so I'm obviously in a safe zone. Yeah, in the fucking med tent. Bastards got me bro, lost a leg. My fucking kicking leg, so there goes the rugby when I get back. They always take the things you love most, eh?

Ha, I shouldn't really complain; there is worse than me in here. Limbs flying everywhere, eyes popping out of faces, burning skin...this shit is gnarly, bro. But none of it as bad as the screams. The fucking screams, that's what gives you the nightmares, the images, the sense of the pain. I'm on morphine for my leg, but every time one of these poor buggers gets stretchered in, howling til his lungs burst, nothing can prepare you for that.

'Spose you'll want to know how I lost the leg? Was I the clumsy bugger I always was, and stepped on an UED? Did I get run over, like that winter when we were ten and we thought it was funny to build the snow wall behind the car, and your dad didn't know we were behind it? Nah, nothing that simple.

They have fucking weapons of God knows what. All I know, is get bit by one of those bitches, you're gonna hurt.

It's like something out of that weird ass video game you play, y'know, with the aliens and MasterChief dude, Halo? Fucking lazers man, weird shit somewhere between nuclear and magic, far as we can tell, and causes utter destruction.

We were out on patrol, old-school style, dog out in front of the truck, sweeping for UEDs. Guess who had the delightful duty of accompanying him? Guess I shouldn't have been slagging Sarge off in the mess tent, eh? It was quiet, too fucking quiet, which probably should have set all sorts of alarm bells ringing, but we'd been up for coming up to 48 hours by that point, and man, we were getting sloppy.

Digsby was up in the truck, whoever thought it was a good idea to let that doofus drive needed their head seen to, but so far we hadn't been run over. We were within sight of base, only about half a mile to trudge, and then dinner and bed. It was going to be the best night's sleep ever, after the hell we'd been through the last two days.

I don't know what they've been telling you on the news back home, but these fuckers are anything but subtle. Screams came out of the bushes, and they jump down like fucking monkeys, waving their guns about like sticks, the arseholes.

Normally, you just shoot, right? You've played enough games, you know how it goes; these dicks ambush you, they mean you harm, you fucking harm them right back. After two days of no sleep though? Dang, I don't even know what we were doing, but next thing we know, the place is fucking lit up with green and purple light, and when it was over, Digsby had no head, the truck was on fire, Benzo and Walla are staring at the sky, and Raffle and I are on our knees, guns at the back of our heads.

How they missed us firing like that I do not know, but I guess it means I owe you an apology; seems your God exists after all.

I don't know how much else I can tell you in this; I don't know if the bastards in admin are still reading these before sending them out. Ah, fuck it; I'm injured, might not walk again, these buggers owe me one.

All those accounts you get of the civvy hostages they get back? Nothing even close. I wasn't joking when I said even as a writer you wouldn't get it.

I have no idea how far I was dragged, I had a bag, how stereotypical, thrust over my head when they nabbed me, then Raffle and I were hauled off, up the hill, and into a truck.

Two weeks it took the idiots at base to find us. Two weeks. That long, and they might not have bothered, state we were in.

We spent our time changed to a radiator, starving, being battered with rifle butts when we couldn't answer the questions they wanted. Raffle...eurgh, what they did to his face, that poor bastard. He's had to have it rebuilt, metal plates everywhere, new teeth built, and all he's worried about is scaring his kids.

As for me...you remember when we were ten, and obsessed with Houdini, and how we wanted to be magicians? Well, I never really lost the habit of getting out of handcuffs...

They shot my leg off for it, to stop me running. It didn't bleed, not with those freaky fucking lazer guns they have, but it burned. Oh god, the smell, even now, makes me want to hurl. It's beyond the school dinners old MiseryGuts used to cook, and that is saying something.

A week now, my leg's been gone, and it still stings like a bitch. I should be grateful though; the docs reckon they can repair the remaining stump, and then I'll get fitted with one of those robotic prosthetics, those ones we used to giggle at on the tv at 2 in the morning when stoned. I'm going to be a cyborg dude, bet you're wetting yourself in excitement already.

So that's that; honourable discharge, and home as soon as I'm fit to travel. 23, and my career is over. I was always a bit hopeless at getting my shit together, eh? Chloe ditched me too, by the way, I used my phone call home last week to call her, say happy birthday, and she put her sister on the phone instead. Bitch. Told me that Chloe "couldn't deal with the stress", and "didn't think we could last much longer anyway". She's shagging someone else then. No luck there either, eh bro?

So now I have filled you full of doom and gloom I'm going to sod off and sleep. Need to give the laptop back anyway, I'm getting evil looks from the matron. We have to call her matron, just like in those daft Carry On films Gran used to watch. So fucking stupid.

Take care of yourself bro, and give my love to Rory and Soph, tell them Uncle Jer will be home to see them soon. Tell Rory I'm going to be a robot, he will flip his shit.

Give my love to the others too; I'd write to them too, but, well, you know how computer illiterate they all are.

Peace bro,

Jer
"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

Offline Arry

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Re: November Writing Contest
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 07:27:11 PM »
December 21,3214

Attn: General Manestorm

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We have finally taken Planet Ares within Galaxy Bridge cluster Abell 399. Our troops were met with great hostility and the creatures that live here decimated our forces. They are unlike anything we have encountered before. I guess the hostile conditions here were bound to breed hostile, savage inhabitants. I have enclosed images for the your files. As you can see, they have hardened exoskeletons, elongated heads, sharpened beaks and pinchers on their left hands. These almost insect like qualities gave them a huge advantage in combat, their natural armor was almost impossible to pierce, and their beaks and pinchers could both slice through man. Like I said, these were creatures born for war, they don’t even need weapons and it took the use of entire supply of plasma warheads to clean them out. Our scientists were unable to perform adequate studies of the species, because their interior soft tissue rapidly rots when exposed to the elements here.  While they appear to have large brains, we feel they were of low intelligence and were occupied mainly with war and violence. We are still working to locate any signs of potential fuel sources that may be tapped to support a refill station in this region. Our losses were massive, we have only one remaining prospector, and he is currently claiming that he feels there is no fuel to be found. I do not believe this. I think he must be suffering from a head injury. Surely with the price we paid, there will be a benefit to this mission other than annihilating the local inhabitants. Those creatures were fighting to protect something, I suspect it is the fuel. The planet will at least be safe for future exploration teams now that they have been exterminated. Attached are some documents found in what we believe were the commander’s rooms. We are hoping you can decrypt and translate. Perhaps they will contain the location of the fuel sources we so desperately need.

The remnants of my team, about 8% of the force we brought in, are taking the last physical samples, and will be returning to the Intergalactic Space Station DKEN-892 where they may be sent to a proper lab for analysis.

Captain Hilburn
Special Forces Exploration and Resource Prospecting Unit 387


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December 28, 3214

Attn: General Manestorm

Our team has determined the language for the submitted documents was closely related to Skerpunal, spoken in nearby galaxies to where these were located. We have attached our translations based on this.

J. Polkar
Intergalactic Language Specialist
UPE Linguistics Center



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Translated Journal Entries recovered from planet Ares. Dates inserted by transcribing linguist based on known chronology of corresponding events:



December 14, 3214

A foreign ship has landed not far from here, just outside of the city’s protection shield. We hope to parlay with the visitors and find news of the outside world. Our planet has been isolated for the last thousand years, and we are desperate to find ways to rebuild our culture and people, and make contact with those long ago sent to a neighboring galaxy to search for. Perhaps it is them, finally returned.



December 15, 3214

We have sent a team to welcome the visitors. We do not know if we will be able to communicate, but hope that an envoy of unarmed men and women will show them we are a peaceful people that mean them no harm.



December 16, 3214

Grave news. Our envoy was attacked before they even had a chance to try and communicate. My people had to fight to try and preserve their own lives. It pains me that there were losses on both sides. I only hope that tomorrow we will find a way to work together, to find out what it is these people want. They appear to be descendants of earth based life. I am hoping to send one of our scholars who specializes in Milky Way lifeforms and languages to speak with them. Perhaps there is still time to work together with them.



December 17, 3214

I don’t understand. We tried to approach peacefully, tried to communicate, but these are invaders, not visitors. I can not fathom their reason for being here. Ours is a dying planet with little to offer. Our ancestors set out to try and find resources to rebuild and survive here or a place to relocate our people before we run out of time. But it looks like that time may come quicker than we thought.



December 18, 3214

The killing of others takes a toll on our people. This is not why we are here, this is not what we want to do. But in an effort to protect ourselves, our families, we have had no choice. I won’t say we are winning. There is no winning with the loss of any life, even those that would take ours. But it appears we may survive. These invaders do not appear to be as intelligent as we first thought, and their bodies are fragile. Because of this, despite our lack of military training, they are falling in greater numbers than our own. We have hope, but the situation is dire.



December 19, 3214

It appears our weak skinned invaders have a weapon like none we have imagined. They are horribly effective at killing, melting large numbers of my people in a single blast. If there are more of these, I fear this will be my last entry. To anyone left to read this, I am sorry I was unable to save us. My people have been too focused on working and studying to elevate our culture, to find ways to survive in this planet of diminishing resources, trying to retain what we have. We were too narrow sighted, never thinking of how to protect ourselves from a violent force such as this. I am sorry I could not foresee the intentions of those who came here. I wish things could have been different. I so wish we could have talked to prevent this. Anything would have been worth saving the lives lost on both sides.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

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