2015 Writing Contest Entries

2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Marlo » September 1st, 2015, 8:42 am

Hi guys! IT'S HERE AND IT'S TIME!


A few reminders on rules:
- Every post that follows mine should be an entry for the writing contest. If there are comments or questions, please direct them to my inbox, Betsy's inbox or the writing contest thread.
- If you have multiple entries, please post them as separate posts. Each post should be your entire entry -- which is 1500 to 3000 words.
- Once you have posted your piece, you may not edit it, so please make sure all errors/typos have been fixed before. Have multiple people read for mistakes before you post.
- The posted piece(s) should be written by you and you alone.
- One of the "main" characters must be on grid.
- Any plagiarism will qualify as an immediate disqualification.


Prizes:
1st place - a laptop, donated by Betsy; 4 graphics of winner's choice done by Aimee.
2nd place - $100 donated by Betsy; 3 graphics of winner's choice done by Aimee.
3rd place - $50 donated by Betsy; 2 graphics of winner's choice done by Aimee.


Just a note: I will be grading each piece as it is posted, but due to the differing schedules between judges -- and the interest this contest has generated -- judging WILL MORE THAN LIKELY take a few months. Please be patient with us as we grade all submitted work!


Again, if there are any questions, comments or concerns, please don't hesitate to direct them to my inbox, Betsy's inbox or the Writing Contest thread! If you would like a character that you are writing removed, or yourself removed entirely from the contest, please send me a PM! On the flip, if you want to ADD another character, let me know! You may add or subtract characters (or yourself) from the contest until October 1, 2015. On that day, I won't be accepting anymore entries. IF YOU DO NOT POST BY OCTOBER 1, 2015, IN THIS THREAD, IT WILL BE COUNTED AS AN IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION. So please, please, please, make sure to get your entries posted BEFORE October 1, 2015.


I can't wait to read what you guys have written!

Good luck to everyone! :writing:

xoxo 。◕ ‿ ◕。
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Aziza » September 7th, 2015, 9:50 pm

Entry 1: Becoming Aziza
OOC Note: This piece is about Aziza's past when she was human, when she was a sex slave and when she got pregnant and attempted to kill herself and the baby and why. This is a warning. It's a necessary part of Aziza's history and how she became who she is, but it's not pleasant.


There had been hope at one time. Hope that this was all just an elaborate nightmare brought on by some unknown drug administered by some unknown person at some unremembered date and time back before it all went wrong.

But it had all gone wrong. And she was living both the aftermath and constant pursuit of evil. Better to pretend than to fight it; Katherine learned that immediately. Some things were better to just get over with, to endure, than to try and stop. There were worse things in this version of Hell than there ever were even in her darkest of dreams. She was becoming quite the actress. Having been there for ten years, she'd better be.

Ten years...

The time didn't fly. It didn't crawl, either. It spiraled out and away from her mind in fragments of things best forgotten for sanity's sake. Like water down a drain, the vortex continually threatened to pull her into the reality of the life she was forced to live. Somehow, though she wasn't entirely clear on how, she kept the worst memories of it at bay, just on the edge of her thoughts where they could stalk the fences of her mind that they would - hopefully - never cross back over. They didn't tease... They taunted. Always testing the strength of those mental boundaries. For now, they remained in the fog that was just out of reach and that was perfectly fine with Katherine.

It was how she survived this long. Outlasting even ones younger than herself that would come in, fresh to the world, but leave broken and mostly dead in a year or less. That's why they liked her so much. Katherine, The Enduring. They enjoyed testing the limits they imagined she imposed upon herself. Her personal limits were breached the day she arrived.

And there hadn't been time to create any new ones.

Limits... Expectations... New and awful levels of degradation... Those were things of the past... Of the present. This was her life. Every minute of every waking hour was wasted on those around her. They paid good money; they expected the best. So they got her. Because she could take it. They always mistook her grimaces for coyness and her protests for acting. She didn't protest enough to matter.

Ten years...

Today should have been just another day in the cesspool of humanity. Today should have been just the same as every other day. Different faces, same outcome. Today... nothing should have changed. But today.. Something did.

The voices filtered through the fog of her mind. Words she didn't recognize, accents that belied their true nature. They must be in France. This was a popular place, she noted without interest. The Handlers got the best money here because the most vile and wretched type of people came here to hide in the underbelly. And they paid well for the chance to make their darkest fantasies become real, even if for a night - or an hour. Didn't matter how long, not really. As long as they could get what they wanted without consequences. What they did to satisfy their darker pursuits when The Handlers weren't around, Katherine didn't want to know.

"We have one that's perfect for you! Aziza! Come here!"

Katherine looked over to The Handler speaking and steeled herself for the inevitable destruction of her soul to continue. And then she moved, she was being presented and must be accepted before moving to the next phase of this particular gauntlet of terror and pain.

As the admirer looked her over and she was made to turn so that all sides and curves could be 'appreciated', Katherine's mind tumbled down the rabbit hole; back to the beginning again. It wasn't so much a memory of images as it was of just words and emotions.. and burning, hot white pain.

She'd been far too young, far too delicate, and already so very broken having just witnessed the deaths of her mother and sisters. She had no time to recover before her father had sold her into this underworld in which she now existed. Existed, because one would be hard-pressed to call any of it living. The Handlers wasted no time getting her processed into the fold, which included being rebranded with a new name.

She knew it for what it really was. Even way back then. She knew. It was her slave name.

It made her sound more interesting, foreign, exotic.

Expensive.

Katherine vowed never to forget the name her mother gave her, to never become the thing they were trying to create. She had to stay herself, but to do that, she had to survive this world and break free from it.

Ten years later and she was still there. But she was still Katherine. They could call her what they liked; she knew who she really was. Despite their constant chipping away at her shattered spirit; piece by piece disappearing with every encounter, she clung tightly to the only thing they couldn't take away from her now matter how hard they tried: Katherine. She was Katherine.

I am Katherine.

She was being shoved. Oh, yes. The presentation. Katherine stood up a little straighter, reeling herself back to the present, but not too close. Get too close and she might actually see the truth of her world. A truth no one should ever find for themselves.

He took her. Just another faceless man, another nightmare to escape. Bought and paid for, she was made to go with him. They no longer had to force her, just had to get her started. The shove. Her feet were moving and she was following, but she wasn't seeing. Couldn't see. Didn't dare. Protect yourself.

And then they were alone and he was talking. Too fast. She didn't catch everything. Didn't catch anything. Her face contorted into equal shades of fear and confusion. None of them had ever acted this way before. Katherine had to come all the way back from the murkiness she usually took refuge in so she could hear. Possibly even respond.

"You got that?" he asked, looking frantically over at her. His eyes were alight with some kind of fire inside that she couldn't describe. She had no name for it. He wasn't afraid. Couldn't have been that. His gaze ferreted between her and the door.
"No," she answered. Katherine stared, unblinkingly back at him.
He paused, still for the first time since they'd arrived in the room. "We have to leave."

The words were so simple, but the weight of them was too heavy to hold. Katherine just smirked in disbelief. This guy was off his rocker, had to be, if he thought that was even an option. Handlers were always posted outside of the rooms. Protecting their investments, they'd say. As much as Katherine didn't believe this strange man, he seemed utterly flabbergasted that she wasn't immediately up and ready to take on the entire underground organization she'd grown up in.

"I'm here to help you," he tried.
"That's impossible."
"Why?"
"No one knows I even exist," she answered, firm in the truth of the words she spoke. No one that cared, anyway.
"I do." It was the only thing he could think to say. He was looking right at her, after all.

Katherine squinted at him, let her gaze roam him from head to toe, sizing him up in a way. She wasn't a human lie detector, she couldn't claim to have ever seen him before, and this wasn't some princess story. She couldn't believe him. As ridiculous as it sounded, she decided it was safer to stay right where she was.

"You're going to have to leave," she told him.
"Not without you."
"You're insane."
"Yeah, probably," he said, and he was grinning. Grinning! Katherine scoffed at the expression. "All right," the man continued, "I'll level with you. I didn't come her to save you specifically. Whoever I got, I was going to take them and get them out. You just happened to be the lucky woman of the day. Okay? So can we go now?"
Definitely insane, she thought, scowling at him. "No. Of course not. I can't just walk out the front door." She shook her head at him and couldn't believe she was even having this conversation, like it was an actual possibility he'd get her out of Hell. Probably into something worse, no doubt.

A hard knock sounded on the door and a loud voice declared their time to be up. Katherine didn't budge. The man sighed through his nose, the muscles in his face all tightened with frustration. "Fine!" he said in a harsh whisper. "I'll return for you," he added before he opened the door, pretended to straighten his jacket, and left.

Over the course of the next two years, Katherine saw the man a total of seven more times. It was often enough to make him a regular. Each time, he attempted to talk Katherine into running off and getting out of there, but each time they remained in the room and did nothing but argue about it. She lived for those arguments, though. They were blessed respites she doubted he understood. After the first time, she hadn't taken his word that he'd be back, but it wasn't two months later that she had seen him again. Katherine took him at his word following that second encounter.

The third year of visits, they saw even more of each other; his visits increased to more than three times a month in the beginning. Their arguments evolved into conversations and swapping stories. He stopped trying to coerce her out the door every single second of their limited time together. By the time winter was creeping upon the world above, Katherine was seeing the man a few days a week. He was following Hell just to talk to her.

And The Handlers didn't mind the money it generated for them.

His name was Jacques. Or so he had told her. His accent had been fake, his name could be, too. But so was hers. Names weren't all that important anymore. Yet she still wanted to tell him. When he came around before the new year, she was prepared to do just that.

The start of the year was a dark and somber time for Katherine and for all the other girls and women that lived this life. The only spark of light within the abyss was that she would see Jacques. As for everyone else, Katherine couldn't guess how they made it through, but she didn't need to worry about them. They weren't her responsibility. Katherine could only bring herself to care about what happened to her and her alone. And Jacques. She found she worried about what he did when he wasn't visiting her and she concerned herself with his welfare when he did visit.

The first words from Katherine's mouth when Jacques showed up that night were, "I'm not Aziza."
Jacques was perplexed by the statement, but he just nodded and said, "Okay..." It was almost a question.
"My name is Katherine." For her, this was the most important thing. The only thing that truly mattered was that she didn't lose herself to the life she was forced to live.
"Katherine.. I like it."

They talked all night. Jacques kept paying for more time, didn't want to leave. Their conversation led to silence, eventually, and then Jacques took Katherine into his arms and they made love for the first time since they'd met. And this was different. For Katherine. Tender, caring, drawing her in like a fly into a trap. Because that's what it was, really. In the end, that's all it ever was.

For the first time since being sold, Katherine's body had been completely involved in what was happening. Maybe it was because she thought she was in love or maybe it was because she'd convinced herself she could be safe with Jacques, but for whatever reason, Katherine had given up her everything that night. And she would be punished for it, for trusting in something so impossible as being saved.

It would be a couple months before she knew for sure, but by then there could be no doubt. Katherine was with child and she couldn't hide it from The Handlers. This made her even more of a commodity. Particularly depraved people would pick her out first and foremost and she would try to disappear from the world for any amount of time to protect what little sanity she felt she had left. Jacques came to Katherine again six months after and discovered her predicament. He was hellbent on forcing her to leave immediately, but she still wouldn't go.

Katherine's mind was shattered, much like her spirit, from the new ways she'd been used up, the things people would do to pregnant women wasn't something she thought existed. But every darkness existed somewhere in the world and now she knew that it was true. Katherine couldn't fight Jacques, but she couldn't assist in her own escape either. One night, Katherine got her hands on a knife from one of her clients and had attempted to rid herself and her unborn child from this world. Above all else, she didn't want her child to be born into this life and to know nothing but hard truths from day one. She knew the horrors that would await outside the womb. After that she was strapped to her bed and wasn't permitted to work until the child was to be born. A brief reprieve when all she wanted was the final release, to save her child from what was to come.

Two more months passed in this way, Katherine detained and unable to be left alone. Heaven forbid they lose their prize stallion. It made her sick. It was a quiet night to start with, but then the screaming started. The pain. Unbearable, back-breaking, brain-crushing pain. It lasted a minute, maybe two, and was gone. Katherine lay in bed panting, knowing it was too late to do anything more. She tried to will herself to die, will the baby to be safe, and her prayers - if you could call them that - were answered. In a manner of speaking.

Screams filled the hallway outside of her room, men's voices shouting, gunfire, wet thudding as bloody corpses fell to the ground. Panic-stricken, Katherine attempted to rip free of her bonds, but she was too weak, then another contraction. Somebody burst into the room just as Katherine blacked out from the sheer stress of the pain. Her body was carried out of the nightmare she knew and into a something much worse.

When she awoke, Katherine found herself still bound to a bed, but it was more comfortable than the bed she remembered as being her own. She had clean clothes on. Then pain. She screamed. A cool cloth was pressed to her forehead and when the pain passed she opened her eyes to see Jacques face hovering above her own. "What... did you... do?" She heaved breathlessly between her words and then another wave was crushing the air right out of her. Then it subsided, but only for a moment. Jacques shushed at her and spoke to someone else that was with them. There were voices, so many voices. Katherine cried out for hours that night, screaming and trying to tear her way through the blankets on which she was lain until she heard someone else crying. It was a higher pitch than she'd heard any adult make, and it was weak. Katherine's eyes opened to see her child in someone else's arms and being taken away. She didn't even get to hold it.

"You did good, Katherine." That was Jacques. "It's a girl. She's beautiful."

Katherine wept, demanded to see her child, but Jacques - or whoever he was - wouldn't abide. In such a weakened state, Katherine was in no shape to fight and was released from the ties that bound her to the bed. She passed out for nearly a full twenty-four hours. She was alone. No baby, no Jacques, no stranger. Just Katherine. Her child had been taken from her. For what purpose she couldn't know, couldn't guess, didn't want to think about the possibilities. Rage boiled within her veins and she fell from the bed, crawled to the door and outside on the ground, she spiraled into a despair unlike which she'd never known the depths up before. There was nothing left of who she used to be, no matter how tightly she'd wanted to hold onto herself, Katherine was gone.

It was then and there, at the peak of rage and the deepest valley of anguish, that a woman was forged anew from the broken pieces of a life no longer possible. She vowed to find her child one day and to kill those who took her, even if it took all the rest of her days. And her days would be many. She would put herself together enough to get up, get well, get strong, and get smart. It would take many years and some supernatural assistance, but she would train herself in the use of a variety of weapons. She would learn the fate of her daughter and she would take revenge on those that kept her. They would be afraid of the fire burning behind the woman's eyes as she would slaughter them. And only one would recognize her for who she used to be.

"Katherine?" Jacques, bloodied and nearly dead already, would ask of the woman coming for him.
"Katherine's not here anymore." She would reply, and then Jacques body would slump lifeless to the ground.

A slave to her anger and her plans for vengeance, Katherine would become the woman she had tried so hard to escape so long ago.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Anders » September 15th, 2015, 10:19 pm

REMOVED.
Last edited by Anders on April 6th, 2016, 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Jaenelle » September 20th, 2015, 7:32 pm

Entry 1 - Jaenelle

----

It had taken you a while to find someone, since half of the people you came across turned out to be phoneys - imagine finding out that many hypnotists were giant fakes, shock horror! - and the other half had that look, you know the one where they're sizing you up for your organs - and you kinda like your organs, useless as some of them may be, in your own body, not being carted around the streets in shady black market backdoor deals.

This one was the final shot in the dark for you, she seemed nice enough, though she couldn’t quite hide the smell of cats under the patchouli and freesia - you don’t actually know if that's what those scents are, you're just guessing, you think you heard them in a tv advert somewhere once?

So this is where you are, lounging on one of those fancy chaise longues, eyes closed as the hypnotist instructs you on your breathing. Which is way harder than it sounds, because you don’t need to breathe, and it's taken you a long time to relax into these breathing technique. Not that you're bothered about doing this “the right way”, you just need to be put under deep enough for you to do your thing.

Hell if this doesn’t work, you're going to search out an anaesthetist next, and find out if it's possible to tranq a vamp, and just how much of the fun stuff you need to bring to the party. Learning experience maybe.

But you digress, you're thinking too hard again, so you give yourself a mental boot, and settle back into the breathing trick-malarkey, eyes closed so you’ll stop getting distracted by that horrible ceiling mosaic, you tune back into the sound of the woman's voice again.

Just breathe. There you go. Nice and relaxed. Deep breath in. Hold. Let it out. Just relax. Now I’m going to count down from 5, when we reach 0 you will be in a deep state of hypnosis. As I count down I want you to go deeper and deeper, just let yourself slip further and further into your mind to find what you seek.
5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
Deep sleep. Every muscle calm and relaxed. Can you hear me?


“Yes.” This is kinda nice, almost like a mental vacation. You feel sorta … light.

What do you see?

You're in some sort of room.

Are you alone?

No. No you're not.

The voice was fading now, into an almost soothing background hum. Your consciousness now shifting from the room where your body lay to this room in your mind, non-descript as it was, couple of doors closeby, doorknobs rattling every so often - stopping whenever you stared at them for too long. Besides that you couldn’t actually focus on any of the other decor, everything had that muted-edges feel, that of a memory that was close to fading away into nothingness.

What wasn’t fading were the four figures in the room with you, all cloaked in various fashions, all familiar to you in that strange way. In all actuality, they were you, or facets of you, your emotions to be precise, manifested into an almost physical form - or at least a form you could see here in your mind. These were your Four Horsemen. The emotions that unbalance you the most: Anger, Grief, Disgust and Fear. You could feel those emotions strongly as well, as if if you were to linger too close to one of them they’d bring their represented emotion straight to the surface.

Which is exactly what they did in fact. This was what you wanted, in a roundabout sort of way, the chance to deal with these emotions that consistently lock you up tight, the ones that trigger that good ol’ fight or flight response in you so strongly. You want to be able to deal with these feelings, and not by disassociation, not by pretending that it's someone else who is suffering from these problems and emotions, not by acting as if these things aren’t bouncing around inside your head, keeping you up during the day, making you act hostile and out of sorts about everything.

So you're going to face each of these figures, you're going to allow yourself to feel, to experience the emotions, to come to terms with why these feelings debilitate you, what they’ve turned you into, and in the end, you're going to finally come to some realisation once and for all.

One step at a time, one figure at a time, you’ll soak in the emotion, come to grips with why each of these Horsemen have such a hold on you, and in the end, maybe you can figure out what to do so you can finally move past them.

First things first.

Black cloak, hood pulled low, casting almost all features into shadows, nothing but a faint flash of bright eyes and the occasional glimpse of canines. This must be Anger. No, more like rage, you don’t get angry, not easily, and that's because you are constantly carrying around this ball of rage inside you, it's small and it sits in your stomach, like a deadweight, like an endless gaping pit that is constantly hungry for … something. It feeds on the deep-seated rage you feel at your human mother, for forcing you into a coat that didn’t fit, if she’d just allowed you to be what you wanted to be, you wouldn’t be where you are now, you wouldn’t have mummy-issues, you wouldn’t have so many other issues. It feeds on the rage you have at Ella, for never sticking up for you - she was your older sister, she was meant to protect you, not stand back and watch passively as you were picked and torn apart by the crows. It even feeds on the inexplicable rage you’ve got for Jaqueline, you know none of this is her fault, you know, she was only a child, someone who needed protecting, but the instincts that she creates in you make you dangerous, to others, to her, to yourself. And it feeds mostly on the rage you have at yourself, a poisonous lump that oozes venom through your system, destroying your self control, and igniting your self-loathing. Because you have this firm belief, if your mother hadn’t acted how she did, if you hadn’t succumbed as you did, if you’d had the tiniest bit of support, you wouldn’t be this rage-filled husk full of remorse. If you’d just had someone, anyone, on your side, just to even the playing field everything could have been different, you would have stood up for yourself, once and for all, and shown them then you weren’t some weak-willed spineless sniveling waste of space.

Enough, you take a step away from Rage, mentally shaking yourself free of the emotion as you move on to the next.

Dull, blue cloak wrapped tight, a faint tang of salt can almost be tasted in the air surrounding them. This must be Grief. She doesn’t emit as strong of a pull as Rage on you, mainly because for you, grief is easier to live with than rage, because you grieve over only a few things. You grieve for the many, many, many missed opportunities you've had in this life. You missed your chance at acceptance, of being accepted for who you are, you grieve for that missed opportunity you had at love whilst you were human. You grieve for your missed chance at being a mother, a proper mother, one who was allowed to hold her child when she wanted for however long she needed, for the chance to be the protector. That grief, that sadness, it makes you distant, you struggle with trust, you can’t give it easy, and you struggle, struggle constantly and fail every time, leaving you unable to properly engage emotionally with anyone.

It's practically a sprint away from Grief you take in the end, because you can’t handle the memories she evokes in you, the emotional responses she stirs up, so you move quickly to the next Horsemen.

Dingy, gray cloak, tattered ends marked with old dirt, dust and what can only be the unmistakable reek of stale blood. This is Disgust. You are by far the most disgusted with yourself, you couldn’t shelf the rage, not even for your daughter. You are by far the worst parent ever, you couldn’t put aside your own emotions for the welfare of your child, if you’d just been able to see past your own pain, your own self-proclaimed suffering, then Jaq wouldn’t have suffered as a consequence. She wouldn’t have been shuttled between an aunt, a grandmother, all because of a bitter mother. She wouldn’t have been caught in the crossfire between two angry vampires, forced into this life through another's stupid selfish choice. You are disgusted with yourself in how you’ve dealt with everything relating to Jaqueline, both as a human and a vampire. You're disgusted at how you only ever think of yourself, of your own emotions, never on how your actions could and would affect others.

If you were corporeal you're certain your hands would be shaking right now, but thankfully you're not, you’re not sure how your physical body is reacting right now, maybe your hands are shaking, maybe your face is scrunched up in a grimace of sadness and loathing, but you're almost done, just one more.

Deep, dark red cloak, wrapped tightly around a huddled form. This is Fear. Fear is a strong emotion, almost a debilitating emotion at times, especially for you. Surprising considered the pathetic huddled form representing it. Perhaps it's because you're afraid of so much, it's hard to know where to start on the list, you're afraid of your daughter, Jaqueline scares you, you're afraid of what she’s done, what she'll do, what she could do with all of that awful knowledge that you gave her. You're afraid of what she thinks of you, what she feels about you. You're afraid of what you feel, afraid of emotions, emotions relating to everyone, not just emotions tied to your sister, or your daughter, or you, but just afraid of feeling altogether. You’re like some preteen adolescent, unsure of your own emotions, you're afraid of what you might do if you truly allowed yourself to feel, if you stopped shutting the door on your emotions. You're afraid of remembering, as well, afraid of what’s behind those rattling doors in your mind, afraid of the truths you shoved away, shutting the knowledge away deep inside yourself, so deep you forgot what those truths were, shoved so deep because you didn’t want to remember what those truths were.

You didn’t want anyone to remember what those truths were, you wanted to forget, so you made them forget too. Made them forget you.

You wanted them to forget you.

Or forget who you are now, it's why you ripped those memories from their heads, warping their perception of the person you've been for the last fifty years.

You wanted to be nothing more than a fond memory to them both.

You wanted to be forgotten.

Because you want to forget them.

But you can't, being the only one who knows, the only one who remembers, is your penance for the life you doomed them both too. So you'll shoulder the burden, and carry on.

But you're letting the guilt go. Right. Now.

You're letting all the emotions go. The rage, the grief, the disgust, the fear, you're letting them all go. Once and for all, because that's what these Four Horsemen all relate to in the end, guilt. Your guilt.

Yes, you should have stood up for yourself, stood up to her. Yes, maybe you should never have returned to "check on them". Yes, you panicked. But what's done is done. You won’t bury those memories. You won’t bury those emotions. You won’t bury your feelings anymore.

No more guilty feelings, none.

You're going to stand here and watch them blow away, like a dandelion puff in the wind, and when you believe you can no longer see those puffs of guilt in the distance, those puffs loaded with your Horsemen emotions, you're going to turn and walk off, and for the first time in all your years on this earth, you're going to LIVE.

So you take a step back from Fear, you stare at those Horsemen, and you let it all go, you wipe the slate clean.

And in the back of your head you hear the voice you’ve been waiting for: That's enough Jaenelle, times up, time to wake up.

And it is, it's time to wake up. You may occasionally get bouts of depression, you're aware this won’t be this easy, but you’ll move past it all one step at a time, because you’ve been an angry, sad, disgusted, fear ridden creature for too long.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Vex » September 23rd, 2015, 10:00 pm

Entry 1/1 - Vex
WC:1722


Present Day,
Ravenblack City, USA


----

The bottle on the table can’t tell you when exactly your life went wrong, but you've been staring at with an intensity that would have most sentient beings eager to spill their darkest secrets. This bottle is empty – you’d found it under the couch hours ago while cleaning, and you hadn't taken your eyes off it since. Like some sad relic from a long forgotten era, this one bottle – the hollowed out corpse of one Jose Cuervo – seems like a lifeline to your past. Or was it an anchor, holding you back? It’s a tether to everything you want to forget – or so you claim. No matter how hard, all those horrible memories, the events that haunt your dreams, the ghosts that won’t let you sleep more than a few hours at a time… they’re what make you who you are. They've shaped you, for better or for worse, and you wouldn't be you if not for all that pain.

But who are you?

It’s not Jose talking, but you pretend it is – the ghost of alcoholism past. Talking to a bottle seems a far cry less insane than holding a conversation with yourself. At least Ezra isn’t home to hear this fresh brand of madness. You've once again forgotten what day you’re at, and your mouth is a desert begging for rain. Even though the house is empty, you wring your hands, inexplicably nervous about confronting whatever was burbling to the surface of your alcohol-withdrawn mind.

Who are you?

“Vex de Draak.”

No. Before Drakenburg, who were you?

“Ian. Ian Warren.”

Yes, that was your name, but who were you?

You’re quiet this time, staring at the peeling label failing to cloak Jose’s emptiness. Who are you? Do you even remember? For years, you've tried to forget; you've shoved away every sad memory in the hopes of moving on, but that’s never worked. You don’t quite remember, but you certainly don’t forget. Not when you jolt awake from a half-remembered dream, drenched in cold sweat. You almost forget, but you never move on, and things don’t get any better. You just keep bottling it up until you explode. It’s not working, so his time, you try something different - you force yourself to remember.

----

April 23rd, 1944
The Red Lion
Westminster, England


Bodies crowded the Red Lion, and Private Warren could barely hear his own thoughts over the raucous chatter in the pub. After downing the fifth glass of whiskey James – AKA Harrison - had shoved his way, Ian couldn't even taste what the next round was; he was sure it wasn't whiskey this go around. That was alright, though. They all had the next morning off to sleep over whatever raging hangover they’d bring to bed along with the night’s conquest. Most of the guys had eyes only for a group of English nurses surrounding a table near the bar, but not Ian. He never had, and they’d noticed.

Thankfully, he’d ended up with a wrinkled up photo of the neighbour’s daughter in his wallet, and like every other night the group went out, that’s where Ian turned when his brothers’ eyes wandered. Ian had always played off his lack of interest in the ladies as faithfulness to his hometown love, Marie. Marie, the sweet girl next door. Marie, the farmer’s daughter. Marie, who Ian had never liked, let alone loved. He could barely stand the girl’s simpering about how many lovely children she just had to have. The sound of her voice had always grated on his nerves, but Ian tolerated her for the sake of his infatuated brother. Paul did love Marie – he’d loved Marie and proposed shortly before he left for the war. And their mother…

“If you see Paul, giv—“

“Mom… I'm not going to see him. He’s a paratrooper.”
He’s not coming home, Ian wanted to add, but it seemed cruel.

“You might! If you do, give him this.” Audrey knew deep in her bones her eldest son wasn't coming home. She’d cried long and hard when Paul left, and then again when she’d found out those boys had a 45 second life expectancy after the jump. The odds weren't stacked in any of their favour, but she pushed the little photo into Ian’s hand anyway, and then fretted over his helmet.

“Mom, stop. If I see him, he’ll get it.” The promise came as easily as the wrap of his arms around his mother’s slight frame.

“Please, God, Ian, be safe. Come home.” Audrey had been strong up until that moment, but her son’s embrace melted her resolve, and tears collected in the corners of her eyes.

“I will, mom. I’ll be fine,” With all the easy confidence of a teenager, Ian hadn't considered those words could ever be a lie. “Make sure Leo knows I love him when he comes out of hiding.”


Two months later, just after Ian landed in England, news came from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion: Paul Warren was dead after a training jump near Gloucester went bad. Ian never cried for his brother, but he’d kept that picture, grateful for the thin veil of ink behind which he could hide.

That night, the picture of Marie was out, but when Ian’s rough fingers trailed over the photo paper, it wasn’t Marie Lachapelle he saw. With every surreptitious glance up at his brother in arms, Ian imagined it was James Harrison looking back. The same James Harrison that handed him drink after drink. Every time a glass exchanged hands, the brush of their fingers lasted a second too long. Everyone pretended not to notice.

“You know what they do to people like us,” James had said, three drinks later, when the two found themselves alone at the bar.

“I don’t care.” Stubborn and naïve, Ian always pushed. “They won’t,” he added with a nod towards the rest of their group.

“You don’t care now, but you will when they’re beating the shit out of you – don’t put it past them. They don’t talk about it now, but someday they will.”

Ian didn't believe James; he never listened, especially not when drunk. As it turned out, James had only been half right. When the time came, Ian did care… It just wasn't Ian who got the brunt of their rage. On April 28th, 1944, the London police found Master Corporal James Harrison’s body at the end of an alley, brutally beaten, and the word ‘HOMOSEXUAL’ carved into his forehead with near surgical detail. Everyone knew who’d done it; those were proud of their bruised and bloodied knuckles. James had been two ranks up, and they’d beaten him six feet down; they were proud of the service they’d rendered their god, saving young, impressionable Ian from James’ sickness.

Ian never went back to the Red Lion, or any other pub in England. He spent his nights holding Marie’s picture, wishing he could love her, or someone like her. Anyone. But he never could. Never would. And all he saw inside that border was James’ brutalized face turned up to the morgue ceiling.

----

Present Day,
Ravenblack City, USA


Now, you can’t even remember what James’ face looked like before they’d ravaged him. You remember his eyes, though. Hazel. Mostly brown with flecks of gold around the iris like melting honey. It could just as easily have been you, but they’d chosen him: James was almost a decade older, which made him nearly a decade more responsible. Maybe if the age difference hadn’t have been so great, you both would have ended up at the end of that alley. He’d avoided you a day or two prior to the murder, and you've always wondered if he knew what they were planning.

The weight of that knowledge is suffocating; your throat tightens and there’s a horrible pressure behind your eyes. You know you won’t cry. You’d love to break down and empty nearly a century of frustration onto a pillow, just because it might be cathartic, but you can’t. You’d cried the night they found James, of course, but that was the last time. Drakenburg had robbed you of your tears, Bergen-Belsen and everything after it broke you in so many ways that you’re not entirely sure there are enough pieces left to find, let alone try to put back together.

Your hand snaps out, swats the bottle off the table to smash against the wall, raining shards of glass across the old floorboards. It wasn't the first broken bottle they’d seen, and it wouldn't be the last. Still, those shards mock you and your weakness; even they’re more whole than you’ll ever be.

So, Vexian… Who are you?

That memories sting the back of your eyes and it’s all you can do not to give in to the temptation to hide behind a fresh bottle. Jose brought back that pain, so maybe just this once, Jack could take it away. You know that’s a lie, one you tell yourself far too often, but you entertain it anyway even though you know Jack isn't strong enough to handle the sad excuse of a person you've become. You feel your throat constricting tighter than the noose you’d tightened around your neck so many years ago, parched for a drink you won’t take.

It’s the resolve not to give in that knocks you back to reality. The difference between now and then is that this time you have someone to live for. No, someones to live for, and you refuse to let them down. Especially Ezra. Tifereth. Willa. Anders. Hell, even Gypsy. That’s not the person you want to be anymore.

With as much dignity as you can muster, you push yourself to your feet and roll your aching shoulder. You sweep up those broken shards, the ones on the floor and the detritus cluttering your thoughts. With the slate wiped clean, maybe someday you’ll be able to give yourself another chance. For now, you pick up the phone and let it ring.

“Kutit?”

That voice makes you smile. For the first time in a long time when you speak into the phone, there’s a note of hope in your voice, and genuine contentment.

“Hey basherter, I… I want you here. I love you… Come home soon?”
FAMILIA SUPRA OMNIA
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our home was built with devil's stone, crafted by an angel's hands
raised to shelter a soldier; stranger to these hallowed lands
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Amari » September 25th, 2015, 9:46 pm

Entry 1 or 1 - Mahila-Daeva
WC:2,972
OOC Note: Amari's memory is about when she had been recaptured by her House (Clan if you will) and the consequences of her past-and most sever-transgression. It is not for the weak hearted and has a High Intensity Level. You have been warned. Otherwise, enjoy!

Translations you should know: Khahar kuchulu = little sister; Dari injuri mojazatam = you are punishing me; Khwaja = Master or Owner (Master in the context used); Aa az ham motefavet = we are different but equal; Motevajeh am = I understand


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“HUNDREDS DEAD”

The blindfold is the only thing that kept the beading sweat from falling into your eyes. It is the only thing that forced you into a nothingness of calm, a comforting device of darkness that is acceptable; you know why the world is dark with it tightly knotted against your skull. The silence, however, everything lack thereof; except the clockwork breaths you take, calm or staggered, egg on insanity.

“TERROR.”

The newspaper clippings were shown to you over a thousand times. Five years passed from that day but the cuts of those wounds from those you helped were rubbed with salt and continuously torn open as they inflicted pain and suffering upon thousands. To you, they are nothing but annoying pin pricks. Nothing compared to the resentment your peers daggered into you.

You blackout.

The door creaked open and a faint clue of light creeps from the smallest of open spaces within the makeshift blindfold. Your eyelids close tightly in expectation to a blinding, rude, awakening of light. The door shrieks shut as an obnoxious lock thunders down to rest in its special chamber.

“Khahar kuchulu,” echoes into your eardrums, echoes the wavelengths against the sweating, damp walls of your enclosure. “To think, this is what brought you back to us. After all of these years, I always knew calamity would fall in your wake.”
Footsteps heavy, they clunk against the cold floor, vibrations rattling through your bare feet and toes. The instinct to retreat plants a seed in your stomach while the chains cuffing your feet to the chair shiver in protest; the chair won’t budge. Neither will you.

He grips the blindfold, pulling disheveled hair into his fingers with little effort to be gentle, pulling it down to wrap around your neck. There is only darkness and that seed in your stomach stems into a nervous bulb, growing and swelling in your esophagus. Slowly opening your eyes, everything is gray, blurry.
Shrouded.

Instincts inflame your fight or flight response and your hands try to fight with the cuffs that are welded to the armrests. You fight to break free from the steel to claw at your face and eyes. Breathing growing heavy, you have an uncontrollable urge to emit an angry scream.
“No, no, no, no, no….”

“Be silent, Amariarah, it is only temporary.”
He opens his mouth in sadistic pleasure, you can hear the saliva un-sticking his tongue from the roof of his mouth. You can imagine his tongue rolling over his lips like a hungry dog.

“Jalil,” you scorn his name with rage, beginning to pant. Rage is better than tears, the blindness frightens you, and you know he is the culprit to blame. “Dari injuri mojazatam—”

Gripping firmly onto your jaw and dragging it upward to twinge, Jalil’s breath is hot against your cheek. His grip tightens, and your mouth purses in discomfort from the pressure of his needle like fingernails. A kind warning in his mind, surely; though kind is not why he is here.
“You do not have the luxury of simply using my first name. I said be silent, your vision will return,” Jalil lets go of your face, pushing it away as he did. “Transcranial magnetic stimulation can induce temporary, reparable, blindness. I insisted we go with permanent blindness, however the council believed that your punishment, that which was agreed upon, would be enough. Without that additional complication.
Now, let’s begin. Shall we?”

“NATION SAW EVIL”

The door creaks open at the snap of his fingers, wheels smoothly rolling across the surface rattles the sound of pulsating metal against metal from the equipment within. The assistant dismisses them self and the quick jogging of steps depart; the door shrieks as it shuts. The bolts don’t relock. A generator kicks on with a loud, jolting whir and Jalil grabs an instrument of choice, the unstable crackling of electricity spikes. Bzzz-clack. Bzz.

“You created war, Amariarah, something we have not been meant to do for a millennium. Worse yet, you abandoned what the Semnai Theai stand for, and you ran. You are what the Ahura use as examples to make us Daeva look like the Devil.”

A sudden burst of electricity bombards your senses as your muscles tighten and seize, under the current. The circuit completes; metal to skin, feet to the floor our ears and fingertips beginning to burn. Is that a sizzle you hear? You choke out a gasp when the prod is removed, saliva drooling from your mouth. Sharply inhaling, your lungs protest and ache, but you manage a deep breath, all before a stronger voltage streams into your spine, as he goads the electrical stem into your neck.

You thought you’d be able to accept this punishment, but this forceful bombardment makes you desire deaths embrace. Your breaths are taken away and for a brief moment you experience hope as you feel death sink in and your heart stops, before sharply spasming, thud-thud-thudding sporadically trying to create a proper rhythm. Digging deeply into your conscious, you try to awaken your powers under the terrible duress your body is enduring. Normally what brings the sensation of being engulfed into flames emanates… nothingness.

The generator turns off.

“Oh, did I forget to mention? While you were unconscious, we cast away your powers, your capabilities, to escape. You can heal, but I can only imagine how slow and excruciating the process will be without our assistance.”

The temporarily formed cataracts on your pupils dilate. They took away your natural born power… they locked away all of the reservoirs? Mouth gaping open, you continue to try and let yourself breathe. Breathe, with your heart pounding painstakingly to push the blood throughout the rest of your gelatinous body.

“You’re practically mortal. Lucky you. Have a nice night thinking on that.”
Jalil departs without another word, that annoying door shrieking open and closing before swallowing the only escape route whole. The locks dead bolt shut and you are left to your agony.

Breathe. Breathe. Eyes closing, you find solstice in listening to your heart beat, as it regains a normal, throbbing, rhythm. Sleep, you have to sleep. You have to sleep while you can. 'I’m sorry, Jalil…. I am sorry… you’re the one they chose.'
Forcing yourself to take a deep breath, you scream with all your might.


Three days go by, or so you think. Truth be told, you haven’t really counted and the lack of sight, sleep deprivation has made you care little. You know you haven’t eaten in days, your shrinking stomach won’t let you forget how hungry you really are as it continuously sings the melody of hunger. Three days seems like a just right sort of number where the cotton on your tongue begins to feel like ashes.
Three days. 'It’s been longer than that.'
Three days. 'It hasn’t been that long.'
Three days? 'I have no idea.'

Jalil returns, you can tell by the way his boots heavily clink. He didn’t bring food, the bastard. Not like you are in a place where you have the luxury to ask for anything; a large lonesome prison in a large labyrinth of a dungeon.

His fingers grip your hair, soft and gentle at first. Enticing, urging for trust which you desperately want to believe in, however his grip tightens in a chunk of brown hair and yanks your head backward, until you are sure he is right before your eyes as they aimlessly shift around trying to decipher where to look.
“You are going to count backwards today by nines. Do you understand? From five thousand. We’ll see how far you get.”

You didn’t speak. Flight.
Fight. Flight… Run away. Get. Away.
You have to get away. 'I can’t.'
You have to escape. 'I can’t.'
You have to. 'I CAN’T.'


Jalil grips your hair firmly, yanking you forward. “Say, ‘Motevajeh am’, khahar kuchulu.”

Your lower lip quivers and you try to pull away even though strands of hair are being torn away from your scalp in the process. Your vision still isn’t 100%, but his face, that sadistic grin that is always twist his lips… it is branded into your brain.

“Motevajeh am, Jalil.”

“I told you once, you don’t have that right!” He sneers, spit splattering on your face. Afterward, he laughs, and that is more cringe worthy than the sneer. “Khwaja is my title to the trainees, and you must address me the same. Now. Count.”

The sound of metal scraping metal creates that twinge worthy screech, before falling with a thud into his hands. Then a clap. A sharp sound, as though metal jaws loosen. You feel him touch your fingers, and you recoil, clenching them into a fist.
Count. 'Count, Amari, count.'

Your lip wobbles. Perhaps, the blindness is a blessing. Mouth dryly opening, you try to wet your lips as they begin to crack. “Five thousand,” a pause to breathe. To stay calm. “Four thousand… nine hundred and ninety one.”

Clap.

“Four thousand … nine hundred and eighty two…”

Clap. You flinch at the sound of the metal ringing in your ear.
Clap. Faster.
That sound. 'What is it?'
You’ve seen it… 'But where?'
You don’t know… You remember.


Smack, the metal mercilessly lands upon your knuckles and you cry out. You react opposite to what he wanted, digging your nails into your palm holding your fingers tight. Smack! The metal lands again and you hear an awful crack, biting down onto your lip so hard blood forms and your fingers loosen their grip.

“Four thousand nine hundred and seventy three…”
Clap. He pulls on your fingers and you growl as you hear a crackle, and then a pop of bone as he pulls your fingers straight. You feel the metal grip your index finger and you start grovel.

SNAP.
You scream.
SNAP.
The god awful crunch, you feel the warm liquid, gooey, oozing, the blood splattering against your feet and face.
SNAP.
You aren’t counting. You’re scolded, "Count Amari count." And you count.

“Four thousand, two hundred … and eighty.” The tears stain your cheeks by now, but he isn’t done. You can’t feel what was left of your fingers. You don’t have any fingers left. He moves to your toes. Phantom pain pounding as the blood continues to try and force its way to the tiny limbs that are no longer there.

“Why. Jal—Khwaja Jalil? Stop,” you succumb, you plead. You want to give up, but you know this is only the beginning. Your memory vice-gripping the numbers, you can’t dare forget these numbers. They were the only thing—why do you have to hold onto them so dearly? “Four thousand… two hundred…” you wheeze, whimper. “Seventy one…”

“Because you deserve it, khahar kuchulu. You were always the favorite once your existence was born. You deserve to know what pain is, after all the pain you have caused others to suffer. You are not a good person, Amari…” He pulls you forward now, and you wince as his mouth touches your ear. “Aa az ham motefavet. That angers me. They still wish to give you a chance. You are not good, Amariarah, and that is why this is happening to you.”

You flinch as he closes his mouth with a small but sharp cluck of his teeth against your ear. Twitching, your arms and legs shake. Fingers unclasping the lump of hair, he splays it across your drenched perspiring face, before the heat escapes into the air and he drags his hands across the unforeseen tools at his disposal. Snapping his fingers, you recoil into the seat, making him laugh. You can’t tell the difference between the sounds; it all sounds the same. The door screeches and another person enters, a bucket of water sloshing its contents, occasionally spilling onto the floor.
“Amir, clean her up, stitch her back together. I want her healed as soon as possible.”

Amir. You knew Amir too, and your heart hurts hearing his name. He is so young, and they were making him be a part of your torture? Than again… he was originally your student supposed to be your student. Amir looked up to you even though you treated him like he was nothing but a squeaky mouse asking for a cookie. You should have done him right. But you hadn’t. Because you are a cold, selfish woman.

Jalil left, you can tell when Amir sighs and the bucket was set down. The water crashes to the floor after the top had been broken through. You hesitate, wishing the blindfold was on, you feel exposed by your tears. Amir grasps the blindfold around your neck and you’re unable to control your scream of fear and attempt to scare him away. He doesn’t let go, and made a small hushing sound. A gentle voice that is pure, without any manipulation. You feel a wet cup press to your lips.

Water. He begins to tip it upward and you shamelessly gulp it down. In seconds it’s gone and you ask for more. Second, third, fourth glass later you fill satisfied and the cotton washes down. He cleans your tears away.

“Just say you were wrong, Amari, please. Please say you were wrong.”

His words jolt your senses back into the reality that you aren’t in a kind place. That you are nothing but a slave, a toy. But to say you were wrong? That would be to admit your assistance of what was a treacherous attack, was done on purpose. You had been blinded; the prayers had been so vague yet, specific. They had been so, so, sugar coated.
It was a mistake.
But war is wonderful. 'You can’t not agree.'
It was a mistake. 'Don’t lie to yourself.'
It was a mistake. 'It wasn’t a mistake.'


Your silence causes him to sigh, and he retreats. You feel a cloth at your feet, and a brush, as he mops up the blood and whatever else is pooled and decaying. It takes a long time, before the brushes and cloth are dropped into what you can only imagine is murky red water.

“They wouldn’t give me any anesthetic for complete numbness… I’m sorry, Amari…. I only have an herbal salve with lidocaine.”

You hear the snip-snip of scissors and the pulling a string. Lidocaine. Herbal salve?
Ointment. Medicine. 'Lidocaine burns.'
“No, no, Amir, don’t use that! Please…”

You can feel his hesitation as his gasp takes his breath, as if you scolded him, but you know better. It is weakness in your throat; that pathetic plea. This vulnerability isn’t like you. It isn’t how he ever saw you; he was seeing a side of you that you never expected to exist.

He stitched you up without that salve, one piece of severed limb after limb. Eventually he has no choice but to use the salve over the finished work so it could kill any infection and encourage the healing process.

You bite through your lip trying not to cry.

“DAY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD.”

It was a mistake. 'It was a mistake you got caught.'
It was a mistake. It was a mistake. It was a mistake.
It was a mistake. 'Stop lying.'
I swear it was. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.


The cycle repeats itself in a continuum you cannot control. This time Jamil took your tongue and your hands at the wrists. Amir stitches you back up, has to use a dental gag because you can’t handle the pain of the stitches. Eventually he knocks you out by hitting you in the temple. You can’t thank him when you rouse, he is already gone, and your mouth is too swollen to even breathe through.

“Go to hell, Jalil,” you remember saying that once your tongue fully healed, spitting on the floor with golden eyes burning with rage. Your vision finally returned, but you aren’t sure how long it took.
You wish you couldn’t see.

The latest session: “How many times was that again?”
'Three thousand three hundred and eighty.' You scream, you pant for breath, you scream again. Three thousand three hundred moments where a knife digs into your flesh and needles are inserted below the nail beds. You nearly lost your tongue biting down onto it, but Amir came to your rescue, saying the council demanded you be given food. You’re nothing but frail skin and bones: emaciated with your ribs on display. Amir feeds you and eventually you looked semi healthy again.

He is your care taker as you are continually tormented. Anytime you began to show signs of breaking, as the days—were they months?—gone by, Jalil talks to you, encouraging you to listen and embrace the pain. You realize now he played you all along, his direction to count was his way of keeping you sane. A way to keep you from breaking completely into a million shattered bits.

You are a good person. Somewhere, lost deep inside the abyss that is your heart.
Pride. That’s when your power manifests and breaks its seal.

Your heart pounds and pounds as Amir’s voice frantically rings in your head, screaming at you to run away. “Get out of here, Amari, you have to run away! He’ll kill you, Amari, I won’t let him kill you! Run away!”

Pride: wouldn’t saving yourself be better than falling to defeat?
Run away, Amari. Live! You have to live!

Survive!
‘Wake Up!’

Waking up, soaked, you grip at your chest.
Survive.
You needed to survive, and you calm your breathing. To survive, you know you can’t forget that pain which constantly haunts you.
You have survived. This memory that wakes you up nearly every night reminds you that you didn’t let those months kill you.

You just need to keep on living, now. It is the only way.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Sapphira » September 27th, 2015, 12:45 am

Entry: Sapphira
This is chapter two in a six-part series entitled The Long Road Home.This was originally published on June 10, 2015, which is within the contest duration guidelines. This piece was the culmination of nearly 2 years worth of brainstorming on how to get Sapph's muse back to me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

ETA cause i'm a terrible person: Lyssa was a great support in the drafting and proofreading stages of this series. So this wouldn't be possible without her. ~Liz

Translations for arabic: Allahumma In-nee a-toobu ilayka minha la ar-ji-u ilayhaa abada = O Allah, I repent before You for all my sins and I promise never to return to the same (again).

Word Count: 2018

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Sapphira had lived out in the woods for a few months, without a trace of anything nearby that was alive, but this didn't mean she was alone.

She wasn’t aware that vampires had previously inhabited this region. Those vampires hadn’t just moved on for lack of a nearby food source. Rather, they were hunted as quarry by a ruthless band of hunters that had cleaned out the whole forest of supernatural creatures. By their accounts, these creatures were an abomination against the Creator and needed to be hunted to extinction - regardless of whether or not they were believers.

Three months after her arrival to the parklands, about February, the hunters had discovered her presence and set to work studying her. After all, if they were to eliminate her, they would need to know her strengths, weaknesses, habits, and behaviors, so as to not be caught unawares when they decided to act. Every few nights, a group of three would assess her movements, and study how she moved through the forest. Try as they might, they never spotted her attack a human during this time – though they concluded this was due to her inability to find one during the damp winter and early spring months. By their standards, this vampire seemed unremarkable as far as supernatural creatures went – she kept to herself and to passersby she would appear as nothing more than a survivalist living off the land.

Most of their notes on her were anecdotes sharing her interactions with the orange tiger that traveled with her. The vampire and the tiger hunted deer together – the carcass being held for the wild cat after the vampire had drank her fill of its blood. They played like any pet and owner would. What the hunters witnessed made them uneasy; cold blooded murderers didn’t just roll through the snow and play with their pets. Murderers were never this sort of jovial and carefree - or so the hunters thought. Sapphira herself was a juxtaposition of vampire and human. Her turning was botched to the extent that she never acquired any of the strong gifts with which others of her kind were blessed, but neither was she fully human. Both and yet neither, Sapphira simply was, caught between two worlds.

The rest of the notes came from a particular group of three hunters. They almost always caught up to her near sunrise when she would sit and meditate on the porch of the cabin, facing the lake. She would then get up and do her prayers, turning to face out over the lake towards Mecca. This infuriated the hunters; why should an abomination like a vampire pray to God? It was blasphemy. These reports claimed the vampire should be killed on sight for this travesty, but even the elders who wanted to see her dead said this was an unnecessary rush to judgement.

The hunters were torn. This vampire seemed less like a cold ruthless murderer than had previous specimens – specimens they had exterminated. Many of the watchers described her as an anomaly, while others stated this creature was just as human as the rest of them. The elders, however, insisted that it was only a matter of time before death came at this vampire’s hands. Once the tourists returned in the summer to take in the beauty of the parklands, she would strike. Thus, the decision was made that, despite not witnessing anything to prove her guilty, the vampire would be executed to prevent future deaths.

A party of six hunters was dispatched the night after the sentence was handed down. After they saw their target depart for the lakefront, they embedded themselves among the vegetation and trees along the path towards her home. The sextet waited for a little over an hour before the lead gave the signal. The creature was returning.

About fifteen yards before Sapphira reached the hunters, she stopped in her tracks. Her sharpened senses picked up on her stalkers. While Sapphira wasn’t the most astute observer, it was impossible to miss the humans’ mental noise: they were all staring at her, thinking most unpleasant thoughts. Sapphira motioned for Jade to retreat to the underbrush alongside the path and wait before speaking, loudly and clearly, through the forest.

“You who lie in wait, come and show yourselves,” the vampire said firmly as she drew both swords from their holsters on her back. “If you come to do me harm, let us fight as equals. It is only fair as I am outnumbered six to one.” There was a pause, long moments of tranquility before four of the men made themselves known to her, with weapons drawn. Sapphira made a mental note - two of them remained hidden - before she charged the pair closest to her.

As Sapphira reached the first man, he used his cross bow to block the downward slash from her right blade. She came in with the left on the cross bow as well, the additional force on the wood bringing it back into the man’s face. She caught the other man coming at her out of the corner of her eye, and managed to duck under his fist, turning with the motion to bring the hilt end of her sword up into his chin as she was crouched. He staggered before falling back, limp as a ragdoll. She smirked; that strike was pure luck. Sapphira was admittedly a terrible fighter and was just attempting to survive long enough to get away or chase them off. The other charged at her, and so she dove feet first, sliding past him and using her right foot to pop up at his back. Sapphira lunged forward and enclosed both arms around him, putting both scimitars in towards his body until the blades bit at his skin. “Allahumma In-nee a-toobu ilayka minha la ar-ji-u ilayhaa abada.” As Sapphira recited the dua, she brought her right arm down in a slash, cutting the man wide open and dropping him onto the forest floor, dead.

She stood looking over the man she had disemboweled, giving the unconscious partner a shove with her boot to remove him from her path. As she went to turn and take on the next two that were looking at her in shock, the vampire was stopped by a sharp, burning pain shooting up her back. Sapphira yelped from pain as she tried to wrench the embedded arrows out of her back, but it was no use; they were barbed, and were now affixed to the muscles of her back. She managed two more steps forward before dropping onto her knees as the pain grew exponentially, encouraged by more shots piercing her skin. As her vision clouded over from the pain, Sapphira was convinced that this must be what the sun felt like to vampires. She gave a faint smile at the two ahead of her. “Well… I would have liked to have this dance but someone behind me is a spoilsport.” With that, the Saudi woman fell forward, unconscious and bleeding over the dirt path.

“I’m through with your sass, vampire.” The elder hunter spat at Sapphira as she crumpled to the ground. Jade scrambled out of the brush and growled at them, sending the hunting party scrambling backwards before they could finish their prey. The tiger dashed through the remaining hunters and stood over Sapphira. Everything about the tiger’s stance said she would hold her ground over her master, and the hunters better not get any bright ideas.

One said, “Come. Let us leave this place. The vile creature is unconscious and bleeding out anyways. Sunrise will wipe her tainted existence from our planet.” Seeming pleased with this decision - or at least eager for an excuse to avoid engaging the tiger - they left through the brush, just as quietly as they came.

Jade sat down next to Sapphira, laying her head against the vampire’s ribs, just above where the arrows feathered her side. Jade nuzzled and pawed at her owner, trying to get her to get up, before resigning herself to just stand watch over Sapphira. Ten minutes ticked by before a small rustling was heard to the left. Jade growled, jumping up and prepared to attack the tall, elderly man that emerged from the brush. He extended his hand, stopping short of the angered tiger and attempting to gain its trust before proceeding. “I just want to help her. Those closed-minded purists know not what they do.” Jade contemplated the hand a moment before relenting, returning to lay aside Sapphira. The man quickly came over and seemed to triage Sapphira on the spot after giving her a quick once over. His demeanor quickly went from emotionless to a scowl as he hefted the petite woman over his shoulder and started to walk off with her. “Quickly now, we haven’t much time.”

Jade watched the man pick up his master, and followed immediately behind him as they walked through the trees along no obvious path, but eventually led to a cabin in the woods less than a mile from where Sapphira had resided this whole time. He took Sapphira into the study, and laid her in front of a crackling fire. The old man got her a blanket and pillows, trying to make her comfortable before he set about sealing the light from the room. The old man took a seat in the chair nearby and started to read on poisoning and vampirism while he waited for her to stir.

Several hours ticked by as Sapphira lay unconscious, the necromancer taking samples from the small pool of blood growing under her frame every thirty minutes or so. Lawrence thought it was rather odd that she hadn’t stopped bleeding yet. Odder still that the blood he was collecting was more and more discolored, almost a brownish green instead of its original vibrant red. He was going to need to wake her soon – something needed to be done, and quickly. Just then, soft groans escaped the woman and he turned to see the large cat licking at her face, trying to soothe her. Lawrence rose from his desk chair, going over to squat next to the vampire, and looking her over as she attempted to determine where she was in her bleary state of pain.

“Vampire, you are dying,” the necromancer said to Sapphira as she looked up at him from her position on the floor.

“My name is Sapphira. What would you know old man?” she spat back at him as she sat up, trying to hide her shock at his prognosis and ability to clearly see what she was behind a mask of vehemence.

The man looked curiously at her for a moment shifting to sit next to her on the stone floor. “If you want to even have a chance at surviving this poison, quit the act.”

Her blue eyes narrowed at him as she pulled her knees up into her chest. “Okay. So if you know so much about me, how can you help me live?”

“My name is Lawrence, and I am a scholar of the dark arts. A necromancer, if you will. You are an undead creature, so it follows that I can attempt to repair you.”

Sapphira’s eyes narrowed further, seemingly stunned that there was a necromancer out here, of all places. “Well, just patch me up and we can both go home!” she pleaded. She could feel the toxin winding through her veins, pain pulsing through her blood stream as the poison circulated.

He shook his head he looked at her. “Child, your body is being eaten from the inside. Whatever they shot you with, you have not fought off in six hours. We must act quickly and drastically if I am going to prevent you from bleeding out."

Sapphira looked as if she was going to say something, but stopped. She knew what he said to be true, but still she was flabbergasted. How do you even reconcile that you are a dead woman walking in less than five minutes of discussion?
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Jaenelle » September 30th, 2015, 8:25 am

Entry 2 - Jaede.
OOC: I don't think this backstory impedes on anyone else's, but if it does in any way, please feel free to contact me about it.
-------------

This wasn’t exactly what you were expecting.

Actually, the fall was exactly as you remembered it: that sensation of falling, falling so fast you could barely see, could only imagine the sights that would be on display around you. That first moment of weightlessness was exactly how you recalled it being from before, right before the rush started - man, that rush! - it was like that giant surge of adrenaline you experience just before things get real. Then comes the freefall, and it all begins again, plummeting, plummeting, plummeting, so fast you can’t help but worry that you’ll hit the earth so hard you’ll knock it out of orbit - or something equally ridiculous like that.

You always liked to imagine that the humans down below could see this happening, eyes wide as they watch this celestial ball of light fall from the heavens above, this divine light coming to earth to help guide the beings below.

Except you aren’t here this time to help others, no, you're here to help yourself. You are here to ensure your own survival, not that of the human race. There are no orders this time, no one’s authority, no one's watchful gaze - well you hoped there would be no one’s watchful gaze. Because in reality, you are technically a fugitive this time around. You disobeyed. And eternity spent in a cell isn’t a fate you're willing to accept.

Back to the fall, everything was pretty routine, you accepted the Fall, you plummeted, and you zeroed in on your chosen vessel. You didn’t get an answer like you usually did though, there was no answering response from your vessel, they didn’t say yes, they didn’t say no, they just didn’t respond. But you were still being drawn in. You still entered your body's vessel, despite there being no confirmation of approval.

Over the last few hours you’ve pondered this, walked these strange city streets trying to understand the feel of your vessel. Why she was empty, but still alive? There's nothing here, no one here, it's as if this body has been remaining active by sheer instinct. You can’t feel any lingering sources of tiredness, or pain. Just...nothing.

Except when you let yourself drift, when you opened yourself up to the Source, when you were listening, then instinct took over, and your vessel seemed to take control. For example, you felt the vibration, deep within yourself, you knew exactly who it was, knew exactly who they were searching for, you panicked for a moment before you regained control, and remembered to hide yourself from them. Then when you came back to yourself, opened your eyes again within your vessel, you weren’t where you’d last been. You were in an alley, pinning some poor man by the throat against a building.

There's no one here with you though, you can’t feel any remnants of Jaede. Yes, you could trace her history through this body, find out when her soul departed, but that amount of power would light you up like a beacon for them to find you, and you can’t risk that yet. Not this soon, not before you have safeguards and failsafes in place.

You let the poor man go, fumbling apologies about not quite being yourself at the moment, there was the faintest stirring within you, something that watched that man hurry away, watched not with anger, or sadness, or guilt, but with hunger. But the more you focused on it, the faster it slipped away, until you were left just standing staring at a wall feeling confused.

Something has changed with Jaede during the time you left her, and now, but a lot can happen in a decade, and you haven’t got anything you can go on besides the strangeness.

You wish you could seek out answers to some of your more pressing questions, but the even more pressing need for shelter has been niggling at you, because you need a place to hide, it's why you're down here in the first place. You have no idea where Jaede lives, as she doesn’t seem to carry anything with her, no documentation anyway - and you highly doubt she’s stayed at the same address for the last decade - and the worry is mounting inside you about being on the streets come morning.

For some reason Jaede’s instincts are urging you to get indoors before sunrise, some unsettling fear driving this need. But none of the street names seem familiar to you, you don’t think you’ve ever been in this City before, your not sure whether to seek out a Hotel, wander til somewhere seems familiar, or just appropriate somewhere for the day. The latter seems the most sensible, and with your extremely heightened senses - hell of a fright that gave you as well, you’ve never experienced anything quite like it - you find somewhere closeby thats empty in no time.

You can’t exactly be fussy considering this is technically breaking-and-entering, but you did a not too bad job with finding this place, its dark, its not damp, and the furniture looks pretty comfortable. Especially that sofa, that is conveniently located by a loaded bookcase.

Which takes you back to the extremely heightened senses, because no human should have this extreme level of night vision, there are big heavy drapes covering the windows - deep dark red, by the way, which you could tell even in utter darkness! You’ve also already catalogued all the other occupants in the building, two snores a few floors up, a pacing set of steps a floor below - which happen to be a mother holding a sniffling baby.

You’ve never had senses this heightened before, at least not whilst hiding, you’ve effectively shut yourself off from the Source to avoid detection, so you should be encumbered by limited senses, but your not, these senses are almost better than your own. The settling process was horrible though, everything was too loud, noise, noise, noise, so much noise blazing in your head, you could hear everything, everyone, you could even hear the skittering sound of what had to be some insect nearby - all the while you were screaming inside Jaede’s head to silence her mind, just another noise adding to the mix.

Then there was your eyes, seeing far and near at the same time, almost making you cross-eyed as you struggled to focus on a single thing. Not to mention this notion that some of the people around you weren’t plain old ordinary humans, like the fellow in a long coat lurking at the edge of an alley just waiting, armed and waiting - and you're not sure how you knew he was armed either.

The worst though was your sense of taste, your mouth was watering as people flowed around you - not paying attention to the woman squatting with her head in her hands, as if this was a common occurrence at night in this city - you could feel that stirring in your stomach again as you listen to the people in this building with you, that faint niggling hunger for sustenance. You can smell food nearby, in the next room, but it doesn’t seem to be inciting your hunger, it doesn’t seem to be tempting you to head through to the kitchen to consume it. But the smell of the people in the room below you…

You can hear the woman’s heartbeat, the child's too, and that makes you ravenous.

You’ve been trying to kid yourself that this whole situation is just a bit abnormal, you’ve heard stories about soulless humans, the ones that are born that way, no soul, no conscience, but you’ve never heard of humans losing their souls though. Not without becoming monsters. A human body shouldn’t be able to survive without a soul. Yet here you are inside one. The dissonance is unsettling.

There's so much history documented in the Source, documents ranging from folklore to science fiction, annals of time documenting the dawn of the ages, and the time before. Archives on all the species, races, dynasties, and all the groups of great powers that ever existed, all knowledge ever known is held in the Source. In there, there are Chronicles that tell of a league of hunters, ones who descend to earth when the need calls, they constantly stay attuned to the Source, listening for dissonances on earth, for anything interrupting the natural flow. They have access to all of the knowledge documented above, constantly within reach, so they can tackle all issues that could arise, any and all problems that could disrupt the harmony of life.

You joined one of their hunts once, a thousand or so years back, back when civilisation was beginning to bloom into what it is today. These hunters were sent to investigate a string of abnormal occurrences, a series of almost ritualistic deaths, there were fears it was someone trying to revive an old deity, but what they discovered was worse.

A species that had slid under the radar since the beginning of time, from before, when darkness ruled the land, before the Source had swept light through the earth. This species went against the natural flow, they created dissonance wherever they touched, they swept through time unhindered, leaving behind nothing but death and decay.

The hunters admitted that they hadn’t been sure they’d found and exterminated all of the species, the endeavour drained their connection with the Source too rapidly, they couldn’t remain connected and on earth long enough without the risk of burning out, and that wasn’t an accepted action, they would have to return back above to regenerate before they could finish what they started. The damage these beings had sustained during the hunt was substantial, they were greatly weakened, and it was agreed that no other group would take on the task out of safety. The hunters knowledge was too vast for any other group to obtain, the risk of other individuals bringing about unforetold harm to the human race was high. The hunters would have to regroup before they could return to earth, so a timeframe was implemented - the hunt would occur once a millenia. When that time came, the hunters would descend and wipe out whichever creatures of darkness had remained, but they would have to settle with returning only once every thousand years to hunt these creatures.

As a failsafe, these hunters passed on a measure of knowledge to the human race, giving them the skills required to hunt down these creatures in their absence, before they ascended back above.

A lot can happen in a thousand years though, a lot of evolution can take place in that time, so every time the hunt descended they met with larger hosts of these creatures, and when they ascended again, the remaining members of the species would come out of hiding. Sometimes the human hunters would be able to pick off the remaining numbers, sometimes the creatures would somehow continue to slip under the radar.

Evolution always wins. They evolved from the nightmarish horrors they began as into an almost picture-perfect representation of the human race. They integrated, becoming almost invisible, learning to blend with humanity, making finding them like finding a needle in a haystack. Thousands of years of evolution honing instincts in a species, creating powerful beings capable of great destruction.

You're pretty sure your vessel, your Jaede, is one of these creatures. A result of thousands of years of evolution integrating with the human race. You’re pretty sure that Jaede is a vampire, that she is an evolved offshoot of some of those immortal nightmarish creatures, that she is hungry, thirsting, for the blood of humanity.

You may have chosen to fall to escape, to survive, but you didn’t chose this, and with no way for you to find another vessel, you are trapped. The clock is ticking, you can’t remember how long it's been since the last hunt, and you may end up with more than just Michael to hide from. You don’t know when the last time Jaede fed, how long she can go between feedings, you still have your wings, but if you allow Jaede to give in to the hunger, allow yourself to give into the thirst, you will truly Fall.

The baby upstairs is crying, you can hear the mother's elevated heartbeat, can imagine the pulse beating at that thin veil of skin at her neck, so thin you could puncture it with a single bite. A single bite from the fangs in your mouth that have elongated from hunger, your mouth is watering, you can almost taste the blood, the metallic tang that will hit your tongue from the first drop.

If you give into the hunger, you will Fall, and you don’t have to know what they’ll do if they find you. Whether it's the hunt or Michael, if you Fall, they will hunt you down.

But the hunger is strong, and you are so, so, thirsty.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Aria » September 30th, 2015, 5:37 pm

Aria - Kim
Entry 1: The Lullaby
2299 words
_____________

sleeping beauty
- - - - - - - - -


Never throughout my childhood was I granted such unbroken slumber as this. The ghosts of my sorrow and torment no longer haunted the cavities of my subconscious, now that which are saturated by a pristine stillness, an infinite abyss of undisturbed equilibrium. I was coaxed in like a tempted child with only the promise of something sweet. And oh, was it ever so sweet! A taste that could never be absolutely sated, that despite my overindulgence, I still hungered for the sensational flavor. For three years, I zealously savored every lick I could garner of such a succulent existence. At times, I devoured it whole. I stripped the bones of all flesh and meat, picked the remnants from my teeth, and soaked my palette with the warmth of their blood. Some would say only an ungodly creature could commit such horrific crimes like those I have shouldered — “truly barbaric!” But I doubt they sleep as soundly as I do.

And yet even in consideration of the filth I have imprinted on this Earth, there are worse scum-suckers than I that crawl on their bellies in the sludge and the grit of the world. Although the blood I bear on my palms is permanent, I have shaken hands with men who could merely smile and chill the very marrow in your bones. These men — I use this term slackly, because even their own kind longed for their extinction — were larva biting at the teat of perversion. A loathsome existence with only the purpose to cause agony onto others for no additional reason other than to just do so. I can smell it on them, when they crowd the pavement on the streets at night in tailored suits. They creep along the edges of the alleyways in clusters, like scavengers, and pollute the air with unuttered stench. Most of these men skulk through life unnoticed, buried beneath the soil, until their face appears on the evening news. These abysmal vermin especially do not sleep as profoundly as I do.

But it is true that this exact day I was overcome with a ravenous fury I could no longer keep captive in the depths of my chest. Four days prior, such assurance of unparalleled slumber was robbed from me by a man that went by the name of Alonso. Such a name sets my molars to grind! He had slick hair that shined like the bronzed husk of a cockroach, and to this day, I have yet to meet a man who stinks of cologne as much as Alonso. He kept his cuticles clean and polished, his trousers ironed, and his shoes buffed to an immaculate sheen. His face was equally groomed and shaven, but villainously angular in structure with a pointed chin and hallowed cheeks. He was luxuriously debonair and articulate in language for being what he was, but even more absurd is how he did not crawl on his belly, not like the rest of the infestation. He rose up and walked and talked like man. If I were to be truthful, I would even admit to being impressed by the plausible likeness, but believe me when I say he was only the shell of a man. Any humanity that had once breathed within his corpse had long since been suffocated, and all that remained now was an unruly avarice with a grotesque fixation. Though that same greed was embedded in my own self, rooted in the vessels that carried my blood and it, too, was exceptionally parched.

Someone approached my door on quick footfalls then struck their knuckles upon it.

“Come,” I allowed in a low, frictional tone. I didn’t open my eyes, inflamed from the absence of sleep, when the courier entered and he was out of breath.

“Claudia sent me. They’ve got him upstairs,” in his definite elation, he dared to take a few steps inside my quarters where the floors were stained with blood. “Did you hear me, Aria? I said they caught the fuckin’ bastard!”

With those final syllables, the fury seized me in a swift, condemning plunge. I was anchored beneath the raging waves with my lungs oppressed by an insufferable pressure, but I had no need for breathing. I had no thrilled pulsation beating from the center of my breast, no secretion of sweat over my brow, only the sudden abundance of my appetite, and like an ulcer, it engorged within me and nearly ruptured, an oozing desperation to feel relief at last.

Alonso.

After the upcoming confession, you might think me mad but I implore you my sanity remains unscathed and that any indication of malevolence directed at the person condemned, as you will come to agree, is exceedingly justified. Occasionally, I dreamt of taking an axe to his head. I’d split him open —crack!— and dismember the corpse. I cut off his arms, then his legs and disfigured his face. I’ll apologetically admit to you that sometimes I even ate parts of him, like his eyes to snuff out his ominous stare. Those despicable eyes, I could not bear for them to aim their glare upon me and so I ate them. But no longer would it be necessary to entertain myself with those ghastly reflections, I could finally liberate the havoc that eclipsed my mind. The tremendous fever of desire obsessed me and my hunger was bottomless. I was a rabid hound, let loose off the leash.

In a guttural, feral noise from my gullet, I spoke: “Bring him to me.”


hush little baby
- - - - - - - - -


Three years earlier...

When she was bestowed onto me, her head was donned with short black hair, which was freshly trimmed and washed. A dismal expression burdened her pastel features, an exhibition that was meant to make me feel ashamed at her purpose but guilt did not possess me. I noticed the fullness of her cheeks and the youthful pink that blossomed under her skin. I noticed that when I approached, an anxious swallow charged a spasm in the muscles of her neck, such a musical compilation of fragile instruments in which every quivering appendage made itself known to me. She was dressed in all white fabric and crowned with florets. I gazed upon personified innocence, a glorious temptation for dirty hands such as my own.

Uninvited, my fingers explored the mapping of her collar. I laid claim to her jaw — potentially structured but not yet matured, and bent her head so as though I could keenly inspect her neck. Then a singular sound, a crescendo boomed within my ears! You wouldn’t believe how thunderous a noise. It grew more intense, more vocal, but no lyrics were explicitly heard. It was a vague thumping mantra, a frantic tempo, and as I grew nearer, a distinctive harmony fluttered forth: a succession of strumming twine, you couldn’t dream a more sinuous lullaby. It occurred to me then where this gossamer melody transmitted: from within the child, a heartbeat.

She revealed to me with mumbled bitterness that her name was Daisy.

“Is that your real name?” I asked.

“No, my real name—”

“I don’t need to know. If Daisy is the name you were assigned, that’s what I will call you.” When I prepared myself a cigarette, sought out the pack from my shirt pocket, I offered her one. “Do you smoke?”

A hesitation, “I’m only seven...”

“And yet here you are,” I said and I leaned toward her, reached out to swab my thumb along the swell of her pout. I pulled down her bottom lip and examined her pearly canines, all of which were baby teeth omitting the lower incisors where there were no teeth at all, just a pair of empty gum holes. The lullaby within her chest still sang out to me, with the shriek of violins, the bellow of the drums, the gentle hum of the flutes, an orchestra conducted by the angels pounding within my ears. I was engrossed with that delicate sound, the very sound that induced my illustrious slumbers and sedated me on to oblivion.

“You’re no ordinary seven-year-old, Daisy. Not anymore.”

There was nothing sweeter than her taste. I gulped and I swallowed until she filled me up and I drowned in everything that was her: the coconut shampoo she used in her hair, the slight tremors of her muscles when I dug in my teeth, her great big sad eyes like toasted almonds with speckled honey, I was submerged. The birthmark on her shoulder and how it made her self-conscious, the way she held my hand, the way she remembered my birthday. I sunk deeper, ever deeper, when she squished her toes in the sand at Revere Beach like it was her first time feeling, the gap in her smile, how she thought she was broken but she made me whole. But most of all, that harmonious noise caged between her ribs, that fragile birdsong, and I was totally intoxicated, evermore cast under the spell of her heart’s lullaby.



the frog king
- - - - - - - - -


I will never know how it really feels to be breathless, for it is something I go without heedlessly. The phrases “short of breath” or “out of breath” are used commonly enough in conversation to be overlooked and never have I given it much deeper thought than a flippant acknowledgment. But to be entirely at a loss of breath, suspended and out of your reach. At length it would loom, like a noose above your head, it would linger. And you’ll fall sick with the slow agony, sick unto death, and there will be nausea blooming in the pit of your belly like a gaseous poison, it will clog every pore, and you will sweat. Then you will weep for those you loved and those you had yet to love, and all the warmth and joy you had ever felt will bubble up your throat like bile until you start to choke and spit up. Then the terrible agony will disperse, the desperate squeezing in your chest will subside, and you come to fully appreciate what is approaching. It occurs to you what sweet sleep must await beyond the grave, a gentle thought, and you will cling to it when judgment comes forth in black robes, and your nausea dwindles, and the noose lowers, and you will be out of breath.

“Keep your head up, Alonso.”

He was bound and blindfolded, in some chair, in some room, in some building. What surrounded him was unknown, and even with the cloth rendering him without sight, he was not certain if he wanted to see what lurked in the void beyond it. His arms were behind his back, secured at the wrists, and he had been stripped naked. He dared not budge in fear of spurring his own doom, this room, wherever he was, could very well be his tomb. The dreaded panic ensued and when he tried to swallow, his throat was greeted with the touch of something metal, two pinpricks beneath his chin and a duplicate pair against his collar. He harnessed his breath and suffered for many minutes to remain desperately still.

“Keep your head up, Alonso,” the voice repeated, like a thick fog it wafted in and loitered. It begged for recognition and he was sure the lips that passed those words were smiling. Slow footsteps on concrete paced nearer, bare feet, and his teeth tightened. Pain surged in torrents through his jaw, for where molars once employed his impeccable mouth were exposed nerves. Blood gushed forth, painted his tongue and lips but he could not scream, the metal at his chin reminded him with a sharpened force. He could not scream, but even if he could, he realized there would be little purpose in doing so. Wherever he may be, there would be no help or mercy awarded to him. Whomever – or whatever – was the composer behind his torment wanted him there precisely as he was.

And they were there, too, in that very room, watching him and again they said: “Keep your head up, Alonso.”

“Why? What have you put around my neck?” he asked and the prongs pushed tighter to his skin, they bit into the hollow at the center of his clavicle and threatened to impale within. Blood rushed to his heart in bursts, his palms grew damp, but his chest did not heave, could not lift, and he struggled to breathe.

“It’s a device that was used during the Spanish Inquisition. Don’t worry, it is not intended to kill you. It’s called a Heretic’s Fork... there’s two pairs, one under your chin and the other just above your sternum. If you bend your head forward or open your jaw too far, it is meant to puncture your trachea. But this one in particular is special because I made it myself. I made it just for you.”

“What do you want from me?” And the blindfold was lifted, and only with great horror did he finally unclose his eyes and lay glimpse upon what monster prowled in the shadows, and my hand leaned on the rod of the device bolted to his neck, I pressed the skewers in deeper and punctured the skin beneath his chin, metal prongs delved into the soft cushion of his breast and the rich redness of blood spilled over him and I yelled, “Do not play the fool, Alonso! It will do you no good. Do you want to know what it is I want? What it is I crave? What drives me to inflict this pain upon you and derive such pleasure from it? You took my little girl, Alonso, and I grow impatient. You want to know what I want and I will tell you. I want… to make you breathless.”
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Herron » October 1st, 2015, 11:34 pm

Title: Off the Record
Character: Herron [William Bellgard]
Writer: Jason
Word Count: 1691 words [according to wordcounter.net]

________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Upon oath, I, the undersigned Police Officer and affiant, affirm that the following is true to the best of my knowledge and belief:

    OFFICER'S NAME: William Bellgard
    BADGE NO.: 405

    On Saturday, September 5, 2015 at approximately 1830 I, Sheriff Deputy William Bellgard, was dispatched to Murrs Lake located outside the city limits of Ravenblack, on reports of a vehicle found underwater. At arrival I spoke with a Joseph Owens (DOB 6-16-1959). Owens notified myself and Deputy Jarred Lamb that he found the vehicle while fishing in the lake. Due to the amount of people in the area, myself and Lamb taped off the area and I called Stalling's Wrecker who promptly removed the vehicle from the water. At removal it became evident to myself and Deputy Lamb that the vehicle was a Sheriffs Unit assigned to Deputy Michael Bandy (DOB 12-12- 92) reported missing 1-8-15. Bandy was inside the truck. EMS was dispatched.

    Bandy was removed from the truck by myself and Lamb and I administered CPR after a pulse was detected. Bandy was unconscious. There was noticeable bruising around both eyes, a puncture wound on lower left stomach and an apparent stabbing wound to his shoulder. It is unknown how long Bandy was underwater although the truck showed obvious signs of deterioration from possible months of exposure and his uniform also showing signs of deterioration. EMS arrived on scene and transported Bandy to St. Edwards Hospital for his wounds. The vehicle was impounded. The above constitutes probable cause of a willful and harmful act having been committed against Deputy Bandy and prompts cause for an investigation.

    Signed

    William Bellgard


Something woke him weeks later, a wafting heat over his face, making him wonder if a fire had started in the apartment somewhere. Then he realized there was no fire. It was dark, and the television whined behind a figure at the end of the bed: Bandy. Except it wasn't Bandy, not really. His lips were purple, and his skin was white, a dead, awful white like when they pulled him from the truck. His soaked uniform dripped water on the carpet. His eyes were black. He was grinning.

"Come on, Herron," he said. "Shouldn't you be helping me?"

It's not real, Herron thought. Bandy was at home with his grandparents. He had been out of the hospital for a little over a week now, stuck on bed rest. Herron rolled on his side, and buried his head into the pillow.

"Come on, Herron," Bandy repeated. Herron could see the TV flicker through his eyelids. He felt Bandy leer over the bedside, and suddenly a hot wetness spread over the bedsheets, water enveloping the mattress whole, and swallowing Herron. He choked into the blackness.

Coming to, he first realized how bad the lake smelled. There was an awful pain in his side and temple, blood pooling into the water flooding fast inside the truck cab. Distantly, he saw through the fogging windshield two man standing shoreside. One man lifted his hand to wave the truck off, now settled mid-way into the deeper end of the lake, sinking backend first. The front lifted upwards, tires halfway out of water. The metal body whined in its gradual descent. Herron screamed.

"Oh, Baby. Baby, stop crying," a voice soothed. Not Bandy this time but Tamara. The truck stopped its fall, and the water stopped its flood. Herron opened his eyes to the vision of her, comfortably straddled nude around his waist. The water leveled over her nipples, and her black hair was drenched, hanging down her back and swaying in the water like thin black eels. Like when alive, in dreams Tamara was beautiful. Her smooth brown skin. Her pretty little smile. But those eyes-- the eyes were not Tamara's eyes, but a complete, consuming black, black like Bandy's had been, and black like her hair. Like a demon, he thought. I'm being stalked by demons.

Herron squeezed shut his eyes. He felt Tamara's cold, wet thumb run along his jaw. She kissed his mouth. She smiled.

"Don't ignore me, Herron, Baby," she whispered. "Look at me."

His eyes opened to her two black ones staring coldly. Her smile was gone. Her hand lowered, and gripped tight on his shoulder. He realized he was in uniform, but Bandy's uniform, name sewed into the pocket. Blood ran in his eye from a wound on his head. She licked her blackened tongue from his eyelid to temple, following the trail of red. "Don't you miss me, Baby? Don't you miss me." He flinched. He tried to shut his eyes, but she gripped his shoulder tight enough nails broke through shirt and he felt her fingers dig into his flesh. He cried out.

"Wake up. Wake up. Wake up." He said.

She dug in until blood collected from his shoulder into her nails. He clenched his teeth.

"You're awake," she said. Her hand raised, and she wiggled bloodied nails in front of his face. "Look how you bleed."

"I know what you are," Herron said. "I know all bout you kinda things. You can't scare me. You can't."

"I don't plan to scare you, Baby, no, not at all," she purred. She touched his shoulder again, and he winced. It was a dream, or a nightmare, or a vision, but he felt the pain so physical. The water was warm, and real, and the lake had started to slowly envelop the truck again as it had Bandy.

"What do you want?" He asked.

Her head gave an excited list to one side, and her grin broadened. He saw grass in her teeth. Her breath smelled like something dead. But when she spoke again, it wasn't Tamara's voice he heard, but Bandy's, deep aand playful: "I want you to help me, Herron. Help me, Herron. I'm trapped, Herron. I'm drowning, Herron. Help me. Help me. Help me. Help me. Help m..."

The truck gave way, and started to sink again. She dugs her nails into his face, and forced rotting blue lips to his mouth as the waters surged in, drowning them both. He choked, screaming.

He woke with a start, drenched in sweat. The pillow and bed sheet were damp but not wet. The TV still was on, broadcasting some church service that could have been from the '80s judging by the video quality. An old, frail looking minister pressed a Bible to the forehead of an elderly woman who cried out for Jesus while the unseen church congretion praised the moment with a painfully rehearsed "Amen!" He shut the TV off, and turned back over in bed. Forget sleep. He needed a drink.

***


The investigation went cold. The Sheriff, Luther Buchannon, an older man in his late fourties, took over in Herron's stead. "You're too invested in this emotionally," he told Herron. "You can't get anymore involved." The two sat together in his office at the department, Luther in a big leather chair, elbows on the desk and hand clutching Herron's incident report. He had read it four times over, and his eyes ran over it again, as if seeking something that wasn't there.

"All do respect Sir, I think I can help, if you'd let me," Herron said.

"You can't handle shit, Herron," Luther replied. He had a cigarette in hand, and smoked indoors despite building policy against it. "You've got enough on your plate. The truck was clean. There's no witnesses. And Bandy can't remember a thing. If something comes up, I'll let you know. But for now, consider the case closed. End of story. Be happy he's alive as it is. It's a damn miracle."

A miracle was right. No one had a real explanation about how Bandy was pulled alive from the lake. Luther said it was probably a freak air bubble in the water, although if Bandy was underwater as long as Herron assumed he would have at least starved to death. Something about Bandy wasn't right, and he planned to get down to it.

***


Weeks blurred. Dreams returned with a vengeance-- the truck sank further into the lake, and he'd find himself locked into the cab, drowning. Tamara was there and Bandy was there and two faceless, blurry men on the shore, laughing as the water caved in on him. Perhaps it wasn't a nightmare, he realized, but an honest, truthful vision, a vision he could talk to.

As if on repeat, the vision came again the next night, although Tamara was missing. He was strapped into the truck, half-way sinking toward the lake bed. Bandy was there in the passenger seat, an awful blue tone to his skin, as if he already drowned. The water was at their upper chests, unmoving.

"I don't know what you're tryin' to tell me," Herron said. "I don't understand. I just drown again and again and again. How's that goin' to help find out anything?"

Fake-Bandy, demon-Bandy, or whatever the hell he was, sat quiet, and stared absently out the foggy windshield. It always was night in the vision, the water very black and warm and the air chilly above it.

"Pay attention," Bandy answered. "Pay attention."

Again, the truck swayed, and started to sink further into the lake, water pouring in. Herron struggled. Bandy was still, calm and waiting. He told him to pay attention, and Herron tried not to panic. He looked over the truck cab. The dashboard was empty. The windshield was cracked over the driver's side. The water flooded in, but instead of drowning freely, Herron held his breath and went under. Something was in his hand, something he had never noticed before, clutched tight between his fingers for all life.

A sheriff badge, he realized. A name was carved into the metal piece.

There was an "L," he felt, and a "B" and a "U." He was losing his breath, and fought to read the letters with his fingers before the vision would end. L U T R B C N N.

Luther Buchannon. Bandy was holding the sheriff's badge when he went under. Now it was all a question of why.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Pure » October 2nd, 2015, 12:11 am

(omg this is 10 minutes late but my laptop crashed when i was trying to format it on here)
Title: Under The Sea
Character: Pure
Writer: Jackie
WC: 1500


October 31st, 1993

The saddest thing a child could see when they were at the ripe, young age of ten years old would be the neighborhood children running up and down the lit street, collecting candy in costumes their parents had made. Jackie, of course, was resident to the one house on the street that didn’t have the outside lights turned on, let alone a single candle in a window. Her mother and father declared Halloween a tradition of Satan; therefor she was not allowed to partake in any of the fun. That meant no carving pumpkins, trick or treating, bobbing for apples and absolutely no dressing up. Jackie wanted more than anything, in the whole word, than to be a mermaid for Halloween.
She wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons, unless they were deemed “safe” by her very Catholic parents. Though in 1989, when she was just six years old, she begged and cried to be taken to the movies to see the premier of “The Littlest Mermaid”. Enamored by the red hair of Ariel, and how determined she was to get what she wanted. Of course, halfway through the movie Jackie was pulled from the theater with a very angry mother, driving straight to the church and forcing her to pray for her mind to be cleansed of the sins she had seen. It was tough.
Four years later at ten years old, she still yearned to be a mermaid like Ariel.

I wanna’ be where the people are


She watched various witches and train conductors pass by, not even noticing her there in the window. Her window watching was short lived of course, because it was time to pray, brush her teeth, and go to bed.

March 15th, 2000

It had been one year since she left Sweden and made her way to the United States. Being a 17 year old with a fake ID that said she was 21 was definitely a luxury in the worst way possible. After running away from home and doing many ‘odd’ jobs that scored her passage on a ship over to the States, she finally felt free enough to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted.
The boat she came in on docked in Florida, so that’s where she had been for the past year. She knew it was well time she finally went to the place she had been dreaming of for years and years, Disney World.
Shortly after she arrived in the very hot world of Florida, her world was expanded threefold. Living such a sheltered life, she was unaware of half of popular culture from the past 16 years, which there was a lot of between the years of 1983 and 1999. With no money to her name except for enough to feed her for a few weeks if she was sparse, the library became her home. Unlike most teenagers, Jackie didn’t get to have magazines or books on the things she was interested in. Thinking about it, the only book Jackie had ever gotten to read was the bible and the books assigned for classes. Of course it bothered her, but there were very few things she knew about that normal little girls or teenagers would be obsessing over. That’s one of the reasons why Ariel was so close to her heart, because she was one of the only memories of something other than Jesus that she held close to her.
She found a magazine, from sometime back in the 60’s, that had pictures of the attraction at Disney, with Ariel and her mermaid sisters laying in giant pools, looking in shell mirrors and brushing their hair. Jackie had never seen anything like it before, a bunch of people dressed as beautiful mermaids just enjoying some time in the sun and the water.

I have to do that. I NEED to do that.


Jackie could see herself as a mermaid, too. Her long, blonde hair that fell in waves over her shoulders was practically perfect for it, not to mention she was thin and filling out her chest pretty well for a sixteen year old.
When she had enough money and could finally make her way to the happiest place on earth, the first thing she would do is go to the mermaid palace and figure out how she could be just like them. She went alone, surrounded by thousands of people with their families, wearing Mickey Mouse ears and taking pictures with the various characters. It was overwhelming, since there was nothing like this at all in Sweden. She had never even been to a theme park before, let alone anything this social at such a caliber.
And there she was; the red headed mermaid with a bright green tail that shimmered as she sat in a damp cave, taking pictures with children who all insisted they touch her scales. In awe, Jackie stood and stared, star struck. She knew she wasn’t a real mermaid, obviously, but she couldn’t help thinking that she was meeting an idol. She started thinking about if red hair would actually look okay on her, maybe she could even be the most popular mermaid of the 21st century some day.
Finally gathering herself together, she got the courage to walk up to Ariel. She didn’t want a picture, not that she had a camera to take a picture with her regardless.
“Hey, uh… How do I become one of the mermaids?” She asked, not really knowing any other way to express herself. It was pretty obvious that Ariel was confused, but the actress in her was able to play along.
“I’m the only mermaid here!” she said with a big, fake grin.
Jackie didn’t really know what to say, so she walked over to the side where the pool was, and she didn’t see a single mermaid. There must have been obvious shock on her face because the woman standing next to her spoke up.
“They stopped having the girls in the tank a while ago because men were jumping into the pool. It became a safety hazard so now they just have Ariel”. The woman walked away, trying to wrangle her children to go to another area of the park.

No mermaids?


Crushed. That’s the only way to describe what Jackie felt at that moment. It’s one thing when a kid has a dream job and doesn’t quite get to it, but at least they can try. Jackie’s dream job she would never be able to have, because there wasn’t a job to be had.

September 28th, 2009

Jackie had her fangs sunk into the neck of some guy she had met at a bar. She had just gotten off stage from her third performance that night at the Foxy Lady strip club, and she was starving. She was still learning to control her hunger, having been a vampire for only a few years and still getting the hang of things.

Fuck, he’s almost dead.


She had to be careful, living in a big city like Las Vegas, where it would be hard for her to hide a body and get away with it. She forced herself to stop, even though she was still starving.

C’mon Jackie, you can get something else to eat later.


Leaving the guy in the alley behind the bar, where he would probably wake up and think that he had just drank too much; she headed back inside before it was time for her next dance. She wore a red corset that was covered in Swarovski crystals, complimented by gold booty shorts and a pair of golden colored fishnets. It was a typical outfit, something that didn’t quite follow a theme but was still thought as sexy outfit at the club she was at.
Jackie had started stripping after she was picked up on the streets, where she was working primarily since she left Florida and had no other way to work. She still didn’t have papers, living as an illegal immigrant in the land of the free without a dime to her name. The pimp believed that she actually had some dancing talent, what with her background of ballet. She made her way up the ladder; from shitty clubs to a much more prestigious strip club. That meant bigger tippers and better treatment to the girls, for the most part. She always would have altercations with drunk, old, white men, but she had grown accustomed to it.

“Coming up next, we’re going to have a special Disney tribute from our girls. Starting with Miss Pure!” she heard over the intercoms, letting out a deep sigh.

Four performances, six nights a week. It was a tiring job, but she was good at it. Once she heard the beginning to the song, a remix of Under The Sea, she started to make her way up the back steps to the stage and toward the pole.

Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter. Take it from me!
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Scarecrow » October 2nd, 2015, 1:01 am

(so late...totes understand if it doesn't count.)
Entry 01
Character: Phin
Writer: Nita
WC: 1541

Fall. Leaves fell from the trees in a flourish of colorful death. It was yet another reminder that the world was changing, people were changing, but he would remain the same. He'd remain this mass of flesh and bone, unable to shed himself from his unresponsive body or the reality at hand – he was a prisoner. Moisture dripped over his chapped lips, the sensation drawing him out of himself and into the now. He had expected to see her - smiling that sad but apathetic smile, a glass of water in hand, and whispering softly to him, explaining once again their situation and why it was that she had to leave him again. It'd only be for a few hours she'd say knowing he couldn't go anywhere or protest.

With every passing moment, he thought about the quiet – marveled at it. Morning had eased in with the sigh of dew lifting from the field. In the country, there was nothing special about silence - it could stretch on for miles at a time like everything could drift off on a dream cloud.

This silence, however, was special. He held his breath as if he could somehow prolong the world's deafness just before the birds picking their day's hymn until he died of asphyxiation. He would have been content with this. Alas, reality had very little concern for his contentment. The reality was that lungs burned when they were deprived. They shuddered and convulsed until their muted struggle to take a breath overwhelmed his need for an escape. He gasped.

His room, as always, was empty with its bed decorated in pink for a girl that no longer existed. It was all for the better that the material had been ruined in the wash rendering it more of a corpsey pink. Another drip turned his glossy eyes to the canopy that boxed his world in. At the center a stain spread. Another drip. His lips parted to partake vaguely aware that this bit of hydration could possibly be the only hydration for days to come.

Maybe she wouldn't come back. The idea was mildly comforting, appealing even at the expense of marinating another day in his own shit. There would be no more baths, no doctors, no more nurses, no more convoluted lies at his expense.

He'd be no more.

“Phinie~” Her call broke his train of thought. For all his contemplation of death, he was ashamed to find himself elated that she hadn't left him behind. “Phinie~” She cooed again as she made her way through the living room on a heel and a half. The noise of her tripping over herself inspired movement in the vegetative child. Then she came stumbling into the room reeking of alcohol, seminal fluid, and the faintest touch of urine. He decided then he hated her, this creature wearing his mother's skin.

He rolled at the last minute in an effort to elude her relying on the shortness of his escape route to play in his favor. He braced for impact and still yelped when he hit the floor. His shoulders had taken the brunt of the fall and made sure he was well aware of it. Fuck you, gravity. Phineas rode out his body's complaints half sprawled on his neck behind the bed. Just then the door groaned its surrender - not that there was much fight to put up. He wasn't allowed a doorknob, let alone a lock.

Her steps stalled at the door then again as she neared the bed. “Phinie?” Confusion colored her words. Agitation followed soon after. “Are you fucking kidding me?” It was more a complaint than a question. Either way, Phineas wasn't sure what the answer would be. Surely he looked comical with his legs jutting from the side of the bed still rigid in the splints that kept them from shriveling from disuse. For several minutes she stood there soaking in the sight of him, the smell of him. She didn't have to come any closer to know he was soiled.
“Disgusting.” She muttered as she turned away leaving him with the sensation of waste slowly creeping along his spine.

Recollection caused him to sit straighter in his seat and sniff at himself. Everything smelled of shit nowadays. Everything was shit. Twenty-one years from that wretched day and he could still feel it – that trickle of neglect. No one paid attention enough, no one took time enough and often time enough he was left wanting – for what, he wasn't sure anymore. There was no higher power to right the many wrongs in his life. Even so it would have been hypocritical. His very existence was a travesty.

Inspiration was fleeting.

He ate when Obi offered food - hating the Englishman for every mouthful.
The foreigner hated everyone who offered. They were too generous. Too ready to serve. He'd seen documentaries about how the civilized folk domesticated heathen creatures, creatures like himself. He didn’t want that, but deep down he didn't want the alternative, either.

His only option was to eat. It was hard to recall a time before then.

It was late and the club was trying to wind down. The bar had closed in hopes that a dry well would encourage stragglers to start heading to the main exits. No one had to go home but they had to get out of here. The method had proven effective before but tonight, a group stubbornly lingered. There was a hype man in the building. He sat somewhere in the crowd, out of reach of security for the time being, taking over where the DJ had left off. He conjured songs and their rhythms, popular tracks that the crowd approved of with renewed cheers and gyrations. Another bouncer jostled was another second gained. They'd think him a lucky drunk though he hadn't come to this watering hole for drinks. He moved through the crowd at a calculated pace grabbing dance partners along the way. He'd leave them re-situated, pawns to slow down the pursuing muscle as he made his way to his target.

Phineas had spotted her two hours ago dressed in stars with her hair done in dark ringlets that teased her freckled cheeks. Her lips were red and her eyes were the color of perfectly mixed chocolate milk. She had commanded the room when she arrived, almost completely oblivious or perhaps comfortable in the way conversations hushed and eyes trailed after her. He bent to whisper what she already knew – she was beautiful. The suddenness of his arrival granted a momentary swish and sway of hips and groin before she whipped around with a frown on her face. It was narcissism at first sight. He watched the swell of vicious retort on her cherry stained lips and didn't flinch. She faltered. When she finally spoke, it came out shy and unnerved. “Th-thank you..”

“You're welcome~” He said warmly and gave the crowd a quick scan. Time was short. His brows knitted as he looked back to the beautiful stranger. He played it off as disbelief. “So what's a beautiful woman like yourself doing all alone?”

“Enjoying the free drinks.” She batted her eyes as she answered with a saucy smirk.
He chuckled. “Care for a few more?”
Her brows lifted at the offer. She made him wait but eventually rewarded him with her name. “Quincy.”

“Phinie.”

Quincy drank like a fish. It was costly but it played in his favor. She was back at his apartment within the hour, spent and sprawled comfortably somewhere between what should have been the bedroom area and the living room. He watched her face as she slept and breathed in the scent of alcohol, seminal fluid and the faintest hint of urine. He smiled softly and lifted his fingers to gently trace his finger over the lace of her lashes. As his hand pulled away, he lifted himself up and over her again this time straddling her. He sat heavy on her tummy as he reached for the hunting knife he kept in his back pocket. The blade came to rest on his jean clad thigh.

Thoughts went to his apartment with a mild hesitation. The floor was newly polished and the walls painted, free of charge following his terrible ordeal. The restoration had been a rude reminder he had no true ownership over his den. If he made a mess...His head canted as if it could spill his disjointed thoughts into a more forthcoming arrangement. Below him Quincy had begun to stir.

“Hey wut're'y--” He cut off her slurred words with his empty hand. The other bought his unfolding blade to his lips in a silence hush. A certain level of satisfaction came about watching her eyes swell with tears. Dull pain started at his temple like someone digging a rod through his temples and into his eyes. What the discomfort lacked in sharpness, it made up for with pressure. It built in his sinuses and clawed at the roots of his teeth. His mouth pulled into a sour grin as he leaned forward to touch their noses together.

“Thank you for your meat.” He whispered.
Once you've seen the freakshow you can't unsee it.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Marlo » October 2nd, 2015, 7:34 am

The Writing Contest 2015 is officially closed and any entries posted after THIS post, will not count!

THANK YOU GUYS FOR PARTICIPATING!

Expect to know the results in a month! (It could be by mid-December at the latest, I'm thinking, between all of the judges schedules.)
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Marlo » December 3rd, 2015, 12:00 pm

A quick update!

Sorry to everyone that has been waiting! Our schedules have been up and down, back and forth and for me, this next week coming up is finals for the semester, so I'm super busy coming up.

BUT! HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS, FAIR PEOPLE!

Expect to know the results of this contest by December 18th!

I want to thank everyone for being so patient and waiting for us to get this together!

xoxo
Aimee
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Marlo » December 18th, 2015, 10:51 pm

Sorry for the delay guys, but I'm waiting to receive a few more scores. So I'll let everyone know the results as soon as I'm given the rest!

xoxo
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby ophelia » December 19th, 2015, 12:20 am

I really appreciate you guys
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Marlo » December 27th, 2015, 8:04 pm

ophelia wrote:I really appreciate you guys


I APPRECIATE YOU!


The moment everyone has been waiting for is here! First of all, I would like to thank everyone for being so patient with us in getting the pieces graded between all of our busy lives! Second, I want to let everyone know that all entries were wonderful and the grading was fairly close between each piece, BUT, WE HAVE WINNERS! The top three places (and third place is tied between two people!) are as follows:


Image Ashley's piece for Mahila-Daeva!




Image Kris's piece for Anders!




Image Natalie's piece for Janelle and Liz's piece for Sapphira!





Thank you everyone for your participation and patience! This was very successful and there will certainly be many more contests hosted by myself! All winners should contact Betsy and I for your prizes in PM, please!

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday!

xoxo
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Sapphira » December 27th, 2015, 8:18 pm

:oops:

Gosh. I'm simply astonished and really happy. Thank you guys so much.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Liski » December 27th, 2015, 8:24 pm

Congrats to the winners and all who participated.
A big thank you to those who hosted and managed this contest.
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Re: 2015 Writing Contest Entries

Postby Delta » December 27th, 2015, 9:05 pm

Congratulations to the winners! :D
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