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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 138 (September 19-26) Stories Topic: wax

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message 1: by Taliah (new)

Taliah Lagons | 77 comments This topic has a lot of cool options: candles, bees, those creepy wax sculptures... the list goes on.


message 2: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Rogers (tamrogers) | 12 comments Oh I've missed so many good topics recently! Between work and househunting (still ongoing) I've just got to find some time to write for this again (I've still got one on the go for Greek mythology which seems to be getting carried away with itself!) - looking forward to seeing all the results :) xx


message 3: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Taliah wrote: "This topic has a lot of cool options: candles, bees, those creepy wax sculptures... the list goes on."

Yeah. I was thinking about the wax sculptures too. I wonder how many more were thinking about the same thing.


message 4: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments It occured to me, but my story is about a creature who makes wax. A lot of it.


message 5: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments There's a disconcerting lack of explosions in my stories. You'd think, after more than twenty stories I'd have more than two things blow up.

Just gabbing.


message 6: by Taliah (last edited Sep 25, 2012 10:54PM) (new)

Taliah Lagons | 77 comments Candle Visions
744 words

A simple candle can do so much. It brings warmth, light, comfort… safety. A perfectly made candle can protect against the dangers of the night. Ghosts and spirits, evil doers, monsters that lurk in shadows: all flee in the presence of the tiny flame. But there are other things that can do that. Unique to a candle is the power of sight.

Sight and foresight. Things that many desire but few possess. I used to think I was just one of the many, but after gazing into the candlelight one long, shivery night, I realised I was one of the few.

I know now that candles aren’t needed to see the future. I have always had premonitions, but I just assumed they were regular dreams, then regular feelings of déjà vu. Candle predictions happen when you’re awake. It’s a lot easier to think sensibly when you’re awake.

Most of the dream visions don’t matter all that much. I see sort of random things, and they’re not always totally accurate. I once dreamed my friend showed me her Halloween costume that she made. I realised later that the dream happened before she’d actually made it. She never actually showed me as I dreamed she would show me, but the costume was spot on what I knew it would be.

But candle visions are different. They’re always important.

Once, I looked into a candle and saw a boy on a roller coaster. It was Josh, a boy I didn’t know all that well but was a friend of a friend. He was laughing and having fun, but then something went wrong. There was a glitch in the ride and somehow he hit his head on a bit of metal. There were sirens and people screaming and I just don’t know.

A week later we all went to the show. I decided to give the roller coaster a miss, for obvious reasons. Anyway, the bit of metal didn’t kill him, but he hasn’t woken up yet. The scary thing is that he was sitting next to Hazel, my best friend. If I had gone on the ride, I would have been sitting in that spot. The vision of Josh caused the event to happen to Josh.

It saved me.

Another time I saw a car accident. I was in the backseat. Mum in the front. Dad in the driver’s seat. I don’t remember the specifics. All I know was that it was painful and bad. Very bad. Bad enough for me to not want to remember.

For the next month I avoided going in the car, relying instead on public transport and walking. Mum thought it was stupid. I wanted to explain a thousand times but I just couldn’t get the words out. Eventually I broke my arm and she made me to get in the car so she could drive me to hospital. I convinced myself that everything would be all right because dad wasn’t driving. It was all right. Everything was fine. But then they drove me back.

I don’t remember the details. The shrink mum sent me to said I blocked it out. She said it was a natural reaction to traumatic events, and that seeing your father die in front of you classifies as traumatic. At the funeral, everyone cried. I guess they cried from grief, and I did too… except added to my sadness was guilt.

Last night, I lit a candle. Vanilla scented. Lovely. In the flame was a Shadow. The Shadow was familiar, it had come to me many times before. Usually it points in the direction of the prediction, takes me to where I need to be. Google searches have informed me of a ‘spirit guide’. Spirit guides are usually described as an animal or a person, but I think the Shadow might be mine.

Usually the Shadow reaches out to take my hand – not my literal hand, a hand in my mind. But this time it just looked at me. Looked and waited. And then turned away.

I understand. I’m not good enough to receive these visions. If I can’t save my own family, then how can I uphold responsibility for anyone else?

The Shadow turns back. It shakes it’s head. I’m wrong.

The candle goes out, but a new candle is lit behind my eyes. I can see… everything. I have grown. I have no need of the Shadow anymore, or the tiny, wax fed flame.


message 7: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments I'm glad somebody posted. I'll read it later; I have to write tomorrow's blog post then, hopefully, finish my short story for this week.


message 8: by M (new)

M | 11042 comments Taliah’s “Candle Visions” is interesting!


message 9: by Alice (new)

Alice (cimmerian) Candle Visions was very interesting! I was really curious what would happen, and it still keeps me thinking. Very nice!


message 10: by Tim (last edited Sep 26, 2012 10:06AM) (new)

Tim Disproportion

840 words

     Jack stared into the candle flame. He didn’t blink. He observed the halo of light around the flame itself. He saw the area just above the wick where there was no light. This must mean something, he thought, but what?

     Jack had once taken an Intro to Meditation course with Savaana. Savaana didn’t appear to have a last name. Jack was OK with that. Her business card had been tacked to the notice board of the Vegan Restaurant, and Jack thought, what the hell.

     Meditation. He remembered the Beatles going to India and the photos of the Maharishi, an old guy with long hair and a beard. It’s hard to believe how shocked he’d been as a kid—not that the Beatles had gone to India, but that an old guy should have long hair!

     So much water under the bridge, as they say. Now it’s routine to see old guys in business suits with stringy grey ponytails, almost a cliché.

     Jack himself is a bit of a cliché. He wears Birkenstock sandals all year. In the winter he wears them with a double layer of woollen socks and they’re perfectly fine, even in the snow.

     He’s proud of his full head of hair. True, it has gone grey, but he uses a natural henna dye regularly enough that the roots never show.

     But maybe his younger brother suspects. “Hey, Jack, how come you don’t have any grey hair?” Gary had asked at Christmas dinner.

     “I pull them out.”

     Gary was skeptical. “If I pulled out all my grey hairs I’d be bald.”

     Jack laughed affably and changed the subject. “Have you heard from Jennifer lately?”

     Jennifer was Gary’s estranged wife. Estranged, what a great word! Jennifer was strange, had become a stranger to Gary, but her strangeness Jack found alluring.

     You’re not supposed to be attracted to your brother’s wife: that goes without saying. Jack was pretty sure there were dire warnings in the Bible about such things. Not that Jack cared much for the Bible. His memories of Sunday School mostly centred on making nativity scenes from plasticine and pipe cleaners, yet the constant droning of the teacher, like so much muzak, must have entered Jack’s brain subliminally.

     Sometimes passages of scripture would come to him unbidden. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife. That was one that popped into his head whenever he looked at Jennifer. She favoured sleeveless tops, and for some reason a strap would often slide halfway down to her elbow. Was it artful or haphazard? Jack didn’t know, didn’t want to know.

     One day, Jack bumped into her at the Metaphysical Bookstore. “Frere Jacques!” Jennifer ran at him and gave him such a big hug he was thrown off balance. They fell back against a bookshelf, setting off wind chimes and Tibetan singing bowls.

     “It’s the Music of the Spheres,” Jack laughed.

     Jennifer held him at arms length and gazed deep into his eyes. “Namaste,” she said.

     The bookstore owner looked annoyed, as if someone had stepped on the tail of his karma. “Is there something you need help with?” were the words he spoke, but what he really meant was Get out of my store if you can’t control yourself.

     Jennifer wore a sleeveless top. “We’re beyond help,” she laughed.

     She was probably right.

     “Do you have time for a cup of tea?” Jack asked, thinking that tea sounded about as innocent as you could get, especially if it was herbal.

     “I’ve always got time for tea”-- which sounded like I’ve always got time for you, Jack.

     At The Quintessential Teahouse, Jennifer order Red Zinger; Jack ordered Morning Thunder.

     They appraised each other surreptitiously while jiggling teabags. They’d both aged, of course they had. Jack’s hairline had receded and the pouches under his eyes were more pronounced. Jennifer was a bit thicker around the middle and the lines radiating from her eyes never quite disappeared after she stopped smiling. Not bad, all things considered. They passed.

     But what had they passed?

     The point of no return.

     The next morning Jack noticed that Jennifer had creases in her face from the wrinkled pillowcase; Jennifer noticed a network of broken capillaries in the skin of Jack’s ankle.

     The whole thing was a mistake, really. They liked each other, that was all. There would be no great love affair to make the world glow.

     They were disappointed, but did their best not to show it. They helped adjust each other’s clothing and hugged for an extra long time, neither sure of the correct duration of a hug after spending the night with an in-law. In the end they both broke off by gently patting each other on the back.


     Gary took a running jump off the roof deck of his tenth floor condo. He wanted to make sure he wouldn’t change his mind. He fell for what seemed like minutes.

     At least that’s the way Mrs. Cho, the witness to the event, would remember it. Every time she closed her eyes.


message 11: by Susanne (last edited Sep 25, 2012 11:34PM) (new)

Susanne Figure It Out

1445 words


Hans stood in the back of his shop staring at the shelf of wax figurines admiring his handiwork. He had created everything from a winking hippo to Abraham Lincoln.

I need a Marilyn Monroe, he mused as he went to his computer and started looking for a good picture of her face.

“Excuse me, how much are these candles?” asked a female voice.

Irritated, Hans glanced up, surveyed the young woman who came into the shop at least once a week, and returned his gaze to his computer screen without even taking notice of the candles she was holding.

“Twelve dollars,” he said absently having found the perfect picture.

"What about the hippo?" the woman asked. "I just-"

"I've told you before that the figures are not for sale," Hans snapped.

The woman sighed and laid the money for the candles on the counter and hurried away. Hans followed her to the door and flipped the OPEN sign to CLOSED.

“Now I can get some work done,” he muttered as he strode back to his computer.

"Mistake," hissed a voice. "You are making a grave mistake."

Hans glanced around the shop. No one was there. He shook his head supposing that he had been working too hard. He pressed the print button. Just one more wax figure and his collection would be complete.

Two nights later, Hans was congratulating himself on having created the perfect Marilyn Monroe.

“I truly am a genius,” he smiled as he got into bed and drew the covers to his chin. “There is nothing I can’t do.”

He had no idea how long he had been asleep when he heard someone calling his name.

“Hans.”

He pulled the covers over his head.

"Hans,” the voice called, louder this time.

Hans did not move.

“HANS!”

Hans jerked bolt upright and nearly fell off the bed. Standing beside him were several of his wax creations, and they were all staring at him.

"We are extremely tired of sitting in your shop all day and having to watch all the candles be sold," said the wax Abe Lincoln.

Hans slapped his face. He surely must be dreaming. When the figures did not disappear, he took a deep breath and said, "I do not sell you because I am so proud of the way you turned out."

"Well, if you are so proud of us, then you should prove your dedication," said the winking hippo.

"Prove my dedication," repeated Hans. "What are you talking about?"

"If you won't sell us, you should at least do something for us," said the hippo. "It is only fair."

"Well, I-I suppose…"

"You shall make a human candle sacrifice," the hippo announced. "And you will be using someone of our choosing."

Hans stared at the hippo in horror. A human candle sacrifice did not sound like a good idea. On the contrary, it sounded like murder. This was insane. When he looked up again the figures had gone and he was once more alone in his room.

The next day, the young woman who came into his store every week was back. Somehow the wax hippo had appeared on the counter next to him.

"Her," it whispered nodding toward the woman. "You will use her for the candle sacrifice."

"I can't do that," Hans muttered.

"You can and you will or we will haunt you for the rest of your life," the hippo replied. Now Hans couldn't have that, but the idea of making a candle sacrifice was just ridiculous.

Hans sighed and walked over to the woman who was looking at tea candles.

"Excuse me," he said feeling somewhat awkward. "Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight?"

The woman stared at him with wide eyes, mouth gaping. She cleared her throat. "Dinner with you? I-I don't know. I mean, I don't even know you."

"All the better for us to go out," Hans said smoothly. "By the way, I'm Hans."

"Andrea," she said, her face turning red.

"So, Andrea, will you accompany me to dinner?" Hans asked giving her a big smile.

"I-uh," she looked from Hans to the door and back again. "Okay."

"Great," said Hans glanced to the hippo on the counter who was nodding approvingly. He took Andrea's hand and led her to the back of the shop.

"Where are we going?" she demanded nervously.

"To the back room," Hans replied, “where all the magic is made. I just thought you'd like to see it."

"Oh."

Hans opened the door then hesitated.

"Go on," came the hippo's voice from behind him. "Get it or it will be you who is sacrificed.

`Hans gulped and pulled Andrea into the room and shoved her onto a chair. Without turning on the lights, he went to retrieve the hot wax.

"What are you doing?" Andrea asked.

Hans didn't answer, but stuck up behind her with the bucket of molten wax. He froze a few feet from her knowing he could not go through with it.

"Do it," snarled the hippo who had appeared on a nearby desk.

Hans stared at it. "How did you-?"

"Do it."

"Who are you talking to?" asked Andrea.

"Myself," Hans said taking a step toward her.

He stopped again. He must be losing his mind. He was taking orders from a wax hippo.

"DO IT!"

Hans jumped and moved the rest of the way to Andrea so that he was standing right behind her. He lifted the bucket over her head.

“That's it," cried the hippo. "Almost there."

Hands shaking, Hans began to tip the bucket then stopped.

"What are you waiting for? Do it already. Before the wax dries."

Hans made as if to dump the wax on Andrea then, at the last second, turned it onto the hippo who screamed with fury.

"What do you think you're doing? Arrgh! You'll pay for this foolish human. Nooo!"

The hippo's cries faded replaced by an eerie silence. Hans snatched up a box of matches. "No," he said lighting one and tossing it on the blob of wax that was the hippo. "You will be the one who pays."

Andrea stood up and turned to stare at him. "What the…" But Hans grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the room and through the shop to the door.

"Hurry," he cried, "before the others find out what I did, before they come after us."

Andrea stared at Hans uncertainly as he yanked her through the door and out into the street. "Are you okay? What just happened back there?"

"No time, run. They won't be happy," Hans said pulling her with him as he jogged down the street.

A few blocks away they heard a loud boom. Hans turned to see clouds of gray smoke billowing into the air coming from where his shop used to be. He sighed with relief. It was over. He didn't have to sacrifice anyone and the wax figures were gone.

"You are really scaring me," Andrea said pulling free of his grip. "I'm out of here." She turned and sprinted away not daring to look back.

Hans shrugged and started walking in the opposite direction.

"What's the matter with you? Aren't you going to follow her and try to get her back?"

Hans spun around and saw the wax hippo grinning evilly up at him.

“No!” he screamed covering his face with his hands. “No, no, no, no, no.”

“Hans.”

“No, leave me alone!”

“Hans, wake up.”

Hans slowly opened his eyes and saw a woman with frizzy hair standing over him.

“What? Who are you? Where am I?”

“My name is Andrea. I’m your charge nurse for today. You don’t remember me? Now sit up so I can give you your pain meds.”

The hippo,” Hans wheezed. “It wants to kill you.”

“Hans, that hippo over there is made of wax. Your niece gave it to you several weeks ago. It’s not real.”

She pointed to the five inch wax figure that stood on the window sill. There was no doubt. It was a miniature replica of the one he had sculpted.

“I’m going to try to figure out which meds will work best for you, because we want you to stop having these visions. I will be right back. I promise.” Andrea said.

“No, don’t leave. Stay here with me,” Hans reached out for her scrubs, but she was out of his grasp. His eyes were full of tears.

Just as the door closed, a feeling of shrill terror swept over Hans. He turned his head and made eye contact with the hippo.

“There’s no escape now.”


message 12: by M (new)

M | 11042 comments I just read Tim’s “Disproportion” and am sitting here laughing. The narration and dialogue are smooth and realistic, the wit masterfully controlled. Jack, the old hippie, comes vividly to life. There are too many great lines to list, but this is one of my favorites: “The bookstore owner looked annoyed, as if someone had stepped on the tail of his karma.” The last paragraph is one of the best story endings I’ve ever read.

Hans sells candles and creates wax sculptures. What he doesn’t know is that the wax figurines in his shop have an agenda! Susanne’s “Figure It Out” is written with verve and has an ending that took me completely by surprise.


message 13: by Tim (new)

Tim Glad you liked the story, M. I'm never sure when I write these things whether anyone else will find them amusing, or whether it only appeals to my (perhaps) warped sense of humour. Thanks for the feedback.


message 14: by Tim (new)

Tim Thanks, Alex. Now I'm blushing.

Susanne, I enjoyed "Figure it Out." Very smooth. The story wouldn't be out of place in "The Twilight Zone," (though maybe I betray my advanced age by even mentioning such a show.)

Taliah, there was something so authentic about the narrator's voice in "Candle Visions" that I started to wonder if the writer herself had had a similar experience. Nicely done.


message 15: by Taliah (new)

Taliah Lagons | 77 comments The bit about the Halloween costume is true. It was probably just a coincidence, but the creepy feeling I get when I think about it is great for inspiration!


message 16: by M (new)

M | 11042 comments Hear ye! Hear ye! All pirates of the W.S.S. The Week 138 polls are up. Cast your votes!

http://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/72...


message 17: by Susanne (new)

Susanne Thanks, M, Alex, and Tim. I'm glad you liked my story.

Tim, great story! I really like your writing style.


message 18: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Rogers (tamrogers) | 12 comments Nice work this week, enjoyed them all, nice to read a bit of creepiness in "Figure it Out" - mines still a work in progress but one week I will get round to finishing one!


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