Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 315 (June 14-20). Stories. Topic: Stained Glass.

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

You have until the 20th of June to post a story and on June 21-24, we’ll vote for which one we thought was best.

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group. Only one submission per person is allowed.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: Stained Glass

Thank you to Garrison for the suggestion!

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject/photo but it must relate to the topic somehow.

Have fun!

message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments Thanks for putting the contest up, Leslie! And thanks for using my prompt suggestion! It means the world to me. As for my story, it's called "Vampire Empire" and it goes like this:


Michael Finn, Vampire Warrior
Paul Singer, Devil Worshiper

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The satanic church has stained glass windows.

SYNOPSIS: Michael needs a place to stay during the day so that he doesn’t burn up. Paul offers him sanctuary in his satanic church, but on one condition. Reverend Singer wants Michael to turn him into a vampire so that he can have the powers necessary to take over the world and spread satanic culture wherever he goes. Michael tries to explain to Paul that being a vampire isn’t as glorious or powerful as it seems. The reverend gets offended to where he threatens to kick his guest out of the church.

message 3: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Stained Glass and Stained Hands

By Gashbeen Saeed

The snow draped the town in a blanket of icy cold. A vicious gust of wind roared throughout the town as a dark figure trudged through the deep banks. His breath came out in short gasps as he stumbled towards the church. His trembling hands pounded frantically on the giant wooden doors.

To his relief, the doors opened before him. The young man stepped hesitantly into the church, his wide eyes taking in the beauty of the holy building. The stained glass captivated him, calling to him gently. He let the doors swing shut behind him, frozen in place by the awe this beautiful place inspired within him.

"Are you looking for something, my son?" The young man whirled around to see a kindly old man standing before the doors, holding up a lantern to illuminate his way. The young man shook his head, warily eyeing the priest. The priest took note of his suspicious gaze and smiled gently.

"There is nothing to fear here, my son. You are in a church. No one will hurt you in this holy place." The young man nodded cautiously, suspicion lingering in his tense body. He turned his back to the priest, his gaze sweeping over the stained glass.

One image nearly struck him down with the intense emotions that came with it. It was the Virgin Mary, holding in her arms the baby known to all as Jesus. She smiled lovingly down at him, and the young man's eyes began to water.

The village burned as the young man watched. He did not know who had done this. He didn't really care much for searching for the culprits. It was a waste of time trying to avenge the deaths of strangers.

As he wandered through the flaming village, stepping carefully over the ruins of houses, a child's wailing filled the silence. The young man turned to the well, for the crying came from there. He leaned in to gaze into the well and was greeted with the sight of a filthy child sitting in the bucket and clinging to the rope.

He pulled the little girl out and gazed into her burning green eyes. The pain in them broke something in him, something he'd never known existed. As he stared at the child he held in his arms, the girl ceased her crying and stared back. The two stared at each other, unsure of what to do next. Then, the girl smiled at him.

For the first time, the young man felt alive.

He collapsed to the ground, trembling from the wave of emotions that rampaged within him. The priest knelt next to him, patting the younger man's shoulder comfortingly.

"Are you all right, my son?" The young man nodded as the internal pain that had struck him down subsided. Shaking, the young man looked up fearfully at the stained glass once more. His quivering hands clutched at the scarf wrapped around his neck.

"Dragomir, why don't you smile? I've never seen you smile." The young girl, Lyudmila, gazed at him with concern flashing in her blazing green eyes. He gazed back at her, his face stony and inexpressive.

Lyudmila's face scrunched up angrily. "Why don't you answer me? You never say anything when I ask you that! ANSWER ME!" She kicked a nearby tree furiously, tears of rage streaming down her face.

She wiped her face angrily with the scarf wrapped around her neck as Dragomir came up to her slowly. His arms crept around her as she glared at the ground.

Finally, after a long moment of silence, Lyudmila finally spoke.

"I think you smile when I'm not looking. You must be shy about your smile. Don't be! I think your smile would be really pretty! Sorry, it'd be handsome. You're a guy, not a girl." She giggled before taking off her scarf and wrapping it around his neck.

Dragomir gently touched the scarf with his fingers, shocked. It was wrapped entirely over his mouth and neck, concealing any future smiles from view.

"If you ever want to smile but don't want anyone to see, this scarf will cover it. Now you can smile all you want!" Lyudmila hugged Dragomir tightly, and Dragomir finally felt happy.

Dragomir stood up hesitantly, his legs shaking as he stepped closer to the stained glass. Its inhuman beauty resonated within him, and he felt, strangely enough, dread.

An image of wolves surrounding a child caught his eye. He lifted a trembling hand to the window, touching the image of the child almost reverently.

Dragomir slowly turned the rabbit meat over the fire, roasting it to near perfection. As he cooked, Lyudmila watched silently. This was different. Lyudmila was always talking, but not this time. This worried him, although he didn't really know it.

"Dragomir," Lyudmila inquired slowly, "is that rabbit meat?" Dragomir nodded absently as he imagined the succulent meat melting in his mouth. His stomach rumbled.

He froze. Lyudmila was weeping. He turned to her slowly, his stomach twisting with concern.

Lyudmila cried, "Why did you kill it? Why did you kill the rabbit?" Dragomir got to his feet and stepped towards her, reaching out his hand.

Lyudmila turned away from him and ran.

Dragomir felt his feet flying over the ground as he chased her, his heart sinking. If he didn't catch up to Lyudmila soon . . .

Dragomir didn't want to think about what could happen.

He focused on running faster. His lead legs refused to respond. As his side was pierced by the curse of human exhaustion, a scream shred the silence of the forest.

Dragomir was not sure what happened next. One second he was on the ground, gasping for breath, and the next he was shielding Lyudmila from wolves.

They tore at him, his body burning with the flames of pain, as she screamed. Blood stained her face, and her eyes wandered without control. Her lips were stained with the cursed red liquid, and Dragomir felt the burning fingers of rage creep up his spine.

With an inhuman growl, Dragomir drew his sword and slashed at the wolves. Whimpers and yelps filled the air as the wolves fled, leaving behind their butchered dead. Dragomir stood alone among the corpses, his body trembling with both fury and fear.

Lyudmila's scream drew Dragomir back from the rage that threatened to consume him. He knelt beside Lyudmila, ignoring his own wounds as she spammed beneath him. She reached a hand out towards him, and Dragomir clutched it.

He lifted the gleaming sword and brought it down upon her. When he put her out of her misery, sow thing died within him.

The priest watched the young man caress the stained glass, a sense of pity stirring within him. This young man was beyond hope. Even the priest, who saw the good in everyone, could see that this man had broken beyond repair a long time ago. This man . . . something cruel and wicked seemed to resonate within him. An evil had invaded the church and violated the holiness within it.

The young man turned towards the priest with a glint in his eyes. He drew the scarf down, and the priest could see that he was smiling. It was a wicked smile, one that would haunt the priest forever. The young man nodded at him and walked off confidently and with a purpose.

As the young man had gone through his memories, something had changed. He wasn't sure what, but he saw the world in a new light. This was the light of the broken and the irreparable.

This light had revealed something to him. The broken have no hope. Why should everyone else be whole and have hope when an unlucky few are cursed? Why shouldn't everyone go through what he had when Lyudmila had died?

He was the Destroyer of Worlds, and he was going to make the worlds pay.

message 4: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments I made a typo. At one point it says "spammed." It should say "spasmed." I'll fix it eventually.

message 5: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments I just found another typo. At one point it says "sow thing." It should say "something."

message 6: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Gashbeen wrote: "I just found another typo. At one point it says "sow thing." It should say "something.""

Gashbeen you're a lot like me. I post a story then I spend the next seconds to minutes correcting it, going back over it, and correcting more again and again, hehe!

message 7: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments I think I've got a story but first I must finish the other one I promised for Arun. It's in creative writing. All of that is somewhat planned out, I should jump on that, edit it, finish it, then get to this one!

message 8: by Arun (new)

Arun Iyer (aruniyer) | 369 comments CJ wrote: "I think I've got a story but first I must finish the other one I promised for Arun. It's in creative writing. All of that is somewhat planned out, I should jump on that, edit it, finish it, then ge..."

Feel free to pace it easily, just send me a message whenever you are done with the chapter and I will read it :-)

message 9: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (last edited Jun 14, 2016 05:48PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Okay, sure will. :D Just to tell you this might be the darkest horror story I've told. Okay, now I'm done advertising it, hehe!

Nah here's something else about it, hehe. Has anyone seen the movie Oculus? I know it's random to say that on this thread but it is subconsciously one of the inspirations for this story. It is a warning to evil and the main character who wants to tap into it doesn't take it seriously so... well, people will find out. ;)

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Attention! The weekly winners have been posted already, please check the following links:

Week 311

Week 312

Week 313

Congratulations to all the winners, most especially to Anne for winning two consecutive weeks. Just one more and we'll give you popcorn :P

message 11: by Anne (last edited Jun 15, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Gashbeen wrote: "Stained Glass and Stained Hands

By Gashbeen Saeed

The snow draped the town in a blanket of icy cold. A vicious gust of wind roared throughout the town as a dark figure trudged through the deep ba..."

Beautifully written -- maybe one of your best that I've read IMHO -- but being a sucker for happy endings, I was hoping the man was seeking peace at the end. :) All in all though, a good story.

message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments A wrote: "Stained Glass

Stone eyes gazed downward in judgement directly onto him. Some lifted upwards as if in fear of a fiery wrath with palms outstretched toward the heavens, faces and mouths contorted..."

A captivating story -- I didn't see that coming! Well done!

message 13: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Thanks, Anne! I'm currently working in origin stories for the different reincarnations of the Destroyer of Worlds that I've written about and posted on Goodreads. This is the origin story of the warrior who is waiting for a hero to beat him on the silent battlefield.

I think this one is one of my best so far because I really wanted to make this story work. I'm glad for the advice you all have given me. It's really improved my writing. Thank you all!

message 14: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Gosh darn it, A. I was hoping the priest would be spared. I couldn't bring myself to kill off the priest in my story. I liked him a lot.

Your story was still really good overall. I wasn't expecting him to kill the priest. We both ended our stories with "bad" endings. I think that your ending matched the tone of your story. It concluded it fairly well, and I always like a good ending.

Good job, A! Keep up the good work!

message 15: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments I have an idea beginning for form... Hopefully I'll have something to post in the next few days.

message 16: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : The Stain (Part 1)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 2360
Rating : PG

Eunice Thrussell had been thrilled when she moved into her new home, but it seemed that ever since she’d moved in she spent most of her weekends trying to get the place cleaned up. Her husband Dennis had been no help – his idea of helping was setting up the Sky box so he could watch all of his favourite sports on their new wide-screen television. So Eunice had been left to slog alone, while secretly plotting how to get her revenge on her husband. Hide the Sky box, perhaps...

After what must have been a number of months, working on weekends between her nine to five job, Eunice had managed to clean up the living room, sweep out the fireplace, scrub down the kitchen, and tidy up most of the bedrooms to a level that she was happy with. The hallway was still pretty bad, and the carpets needed replacing, but she’d get to that later down the track when she had a bit more money saved up. For now she’d just concentrate on what could be cleaned and forget about what couldn’t.

The last rooms she’d decided to tackle were the cellar and the attic, both of which were crammed full of leftover junk from the previous tenant who had clearly decided not to take any of it with them. Either that or they had so much rubbish that they simply forgot all about it Starting with the basement, Eunice discovered all manner of goodies, including some hardback novels that looked like they could have been valuable first editions, to a long box full of comics from the thirties and forties, most of them titled ‘Action Comics’ with a familiar looking blue garbed hero on the majority of the covers. Eunice smiled as she thought about how much she might get by selling them, tucking them into one corner of the cellar as she continued to clean out the less valuable looking leftovers.

After a full two weekends cleaning out the cellar, Eunice was satisfied that she had done what she could and moved on to the attic. The fold-down stairway to the attic was stiff and it squeaked and creaked as she pulled the rope that helped to unfold it to the ground. As she ascended the wooden steps, she listened to the creaking and the straining of the hinges as she slowly and carefully reached the upper level, clambering into the attic itself. Reaching around for a light switch, she found one on the floor near the entry way and looked around at what the room contained.

The attic was very different to the cellar. It had a feel about it as if no-one had been in there for years, yet it was surprisingly clean and dust free. There were no boxes, just some old fashioned furniture set up to give the impression that some child or children had been having a tea party. There were a couple of battered looking soft toys, including a teddy bear, an old fashioned golly doll, a rag doll, and a stuffed horse. Eunice looked at them and smiled to herself – they reminded her of her own youth, when she’d held her own tea parties for her own toys. As she watched the toys, she felt a breeze coming from close by, and looked over at a window which was partially open. Crossing the attic, she leaned hard on the window, taking the strain as she managed to force it closed. The breeze and the sound of the wind stopped suddenly, plunging the attic into an eerie silence.

Eunice looked around at the toys, still sat at the little table, their backs to her and their plastic cups and saucers sitting silently in front of them. Eunice swallowed nervously, suddenly having a strange feeling that the toys might come to life at any moment and attack her. Even though they had at first reminded her of her childhood, they now terrified her, and all she could think about was putting them away.

Clambering down the ladder from the attic, Eunice collected a box she thought large enough for the toys and, with much difficulty, climbed back up to the attic with the box held with one hand. Once back in the attic she picked up the table and put it into the box then, one by one, put the toys in on top of it. Closing up the box and tucking in the flaps, she put it in a corner of the attic, smiling to herself at being rid of the oddly creepy dolls.

That was when, in her moment of rest, that she noticed the breeze in the room.

Looking to the window, she saw it was open again, and an autumnal gust was working its way through the gap. Puzzled, Eunice walked over to the window and closed it again, this time turning the bolt to lock it shut. As she locked it, she noticed something strange on one of the panes of glass.

A brown stain.

Licking her finger, and reminding herself to wash her hands afterwards, Eunice scratched at the stain with her finger nail, rubbing the pad of her finger over the scratched off pieces of the stain. She shuddered to think what it was but, judging by the fact that a small child had played in this attic, she suspected what it might have been.

With the stain gone and the toys away, Eunice decided to leave the attic for another day. It was only Saturday, so she had all day Sunday to check out the small cupboards and random boxes to see what other treasures she might find.

The following morning Eunice got up bright and early, much to the annoyance of her husband Dennis.

“Do you have to get up so early?” he asked.

“The house isn’t going to clean itself,” she told him, hoping he’d get the hint that she could do with a hand. Instead Dennis rolled over and went back to sleep.

Eunice sighed, walking out into the hallway and grabbing the rope to pull down the steps to the attic. The steps creaked again, but not as loudly as the day before. I guess they’re wearing back in, Eunice told herself.

As she reached around for the light switch, she could feel that gentle breeze once more. Flicking on the light, what she saw gave her pause.

The stuffed toys and the tea set were set back up, sat around a table like they had the day before. Eunice shivered, then called down to Dennis through the opening to the attic.

“Have you been moving things in the attic?” she asked.

“What do you think?” Dennis replied without so much as lifting his head off the pillow.

Eunice looked back at the table, surrounded by soft toys. Maybe she’d dreamed that she tidied them away. Maybe she’d been working too hard and was imagining things.

Eunice walked across the attic floor, keeping her distance from the toys, and went to close the open window. She was sure she’d closed it yesterday but, like the toys, maybe she’d been mistaken. As she closed the window, she noticed the stain again, only this time it was bigger, almost spread onto the window sill. She furrowed her brow, picking up a bottle of Cif and a scrubbing cloth and began to work at the stain. There must have been a leak or something that was causing it to stain so badly, but hopefully using something more than her finger would keep it at bay until she could figure where the dirty dampness was coming from.

Once she’d finished with the window she began on the floor, moving items around as she progressed around the room. It took her a number of hours to finish, but once she had she was very pleased with her efforts. Putting the cloth and the surface cleaner into a cupboard, she wiped her brow. Then her eyes settled on the toys at the table.

“I think I’ll leave you guys to play there for now,” she mumbled before climbing down the steps and running herself a well deserved bath.

The following weekend Eunice decided to check how the stain on the window was looking. She ascended the stairs to the attic once again and flicked the light switch.

The stain was worse.

Not only was it on the window pane and the sill, but it had spread towards the cupboard where she had put her cleaning products. Frowning, Eunice thought about how much it would cost to get someone out and take a look at this mess.

The window was open again, and the toys were still sat around the table with their plastic tea set, but something was different.

The right arm of each of the toys seems to be raised slightly, gesturing towards the stained window and wall. Eunice followed where they were pointing, looking at the brown stain on the wall. The more she looked, the more her brain told her that it wasn’t exactly brown. It was more of a rusty red colour, almost like...

Eunice jumped as she heard a noise coming from downstairs. It sounded like the front door slamming, so it was probably Dennis off to the pub already. Her heart beat loudly in her chest as the echo of the slammed door died down and returned to silence. Looking at the toys, she shuddered.

This was getting creepy.

Eunice opened the cupboard and pulled out the Cif and the scrubbing cloth. Once she’d collected a bucket of hot water she nervously and carefully began to scrub down the wall, slowly removing the brown stains that had spread from the window. After an hour of hard slog she finally stopped, looking at the now clean wall now was, and she scowled to herself. She took a look at the soft toys and the table and tea set, then looked at the formally stained wall. Picking up the bucket filled with what was left of the soapy scummy water, Eunice watchfully descended the stairs of the attic, closing the door behind her.

The next day, Sunday, Eunice went back up to the attic after a somewhat sleepless night and was disgusted by what she saw. The brown rusty stain had returned, and had spread even further across the wall and onto the cleaning cupboard. Eunice literally blew a fuse as the frustration of cleaning the same spot over and over finally pushed her over the edge.

Eunice angrily went down the stairs, out the front door, and into the garden, picking up the little hatchet which was used for chopping firewood. She returned to the attic, holding the hatchet purposefully in front of her.

“I’ve had just about enough of this,” she growled, addressing both the wall, the window, and the soft toys that seemed to watch her in mock horror, “I’m going to find what’s causing these stains once and for all!”

The soft toys almost seemed to reel back in their seats as Eunice raised the hatchet above her head and swung into the wall next to the window. It stuck there for a second, before she used her foot to lever it out of the wall. Taking another swing, she hit the cupboard door, which split off its top hinge and swung away from the wall. Eunice was like a woman possessed as she hacked into the cupboard, the wall, and the window frame, trying to find the source of the wall’s staining. Her next swing knocked the cupboard door clean away from the wall, and she continued to hack at the stained surfaces. A swing inside the cupboard splintered a number of wooden slats, then a further swing revealed a boarded up hole in the wall.

Eunice stopped swinging, breathing heavily with the hatchet hanging from her fingers between her legs. She stared at the hold in the wall, hidden by the cupboard itself, and wondered to herself what could be inside. Pulling away the splintered wooden boards. She peered into the darkness, her breath catching in her throat as she saw what was inside.


message 17: by Edward (last edited Jun 16, 2016 02:37PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : The Stain (Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 2360
Rating : PG

The police arrived about half an hour after Eunice called them. There was no question of her being responsible for the body – it had been there for a number of years. It belonged to a young girl who had lived there with her abusive parents ten years earlier. Both parents were dead now, but no-one had ever known what had happened to their daughter. She’d been reported missing after the parents died in a car accident, but police had never been able to find her. The parents had moved house before the accident, but nobody ever noticed that their daughter hadn’t come with them, and no-one had thought to look in their old house for any signs of her.

A few days later, after the police had gone, the crime scene had been thoroughly checked, and the body of the girl had been taken away, Eunice ventured back into the attic.

It was eerie, being in a room where someone had lain dead for all those years, but Eunice knew that she had to get on with things. She looked at the stuffed toys, still sitting round the tea set, then she heard a noise.

She looked at the wreckage of the cupboard and the holes in the wall, seeing a soft white light appearing before her. The form of a small girl suddenly appeared, smiling at Eunice. She recognised her as the girl in the wall.

“What do you want?” Eunice asked nervously.

The ghost continued to smile, moving closer to Eunice. Eunice’s breath quickened as the ghost hovered by her ear and whispered two words.

“Thank you.”

And with that, she was gone.

Eunice felt her heart beating fast in her chest, her eyes wide as she stared around the room. As her pulse began to slow, she looked at the stuffed toys again, sitting with their tea set around their old table.

Maybe she’d leave them there for a little longer...

...At least until they’d finished their tea.

message 18: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments I decided to go with dragons with week but now my story is 4,000 words long XD I'll post as soon as I figure out how to shorten.

message 19: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Mental note out loud: I have got to

(as well as anyone hoping to!!) post my story in less than three days from now!

Okay now that's off my chest. It's like a affirmation or something.

Gonna go watch a flick before work now!

message 20: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Title: Quest for a Crown
Author: Angie Pangan
Words: 3,496
Feedback always welcome.

A friend of mine recently got me into Chess, the musical, so I've been on a recent kick for Russian names, if you can't tell from this story.

Part 1 of 2

The darkness was oppressive as Duke Anatoli and the knight Illarion trudged deeper into the Sovda mountain range. The roars of distant beasts ricocheted off the stone cliff faces so that it was impossible to pinpoint the direction of their source. Illarion’s nerves stretched taut and the slightest provocation could have snapped them.

“How did you convince me to come on this suicidal quest with you?” he asked the duke for the twelfth time as he swung his broadsword at a stirring leaf.

Anatoli grinned. “The promise of wealth and power! And a beautiful princess to rescue!”

“Most of which will go to you.” Illarion scoffed. “You seem convinced that the princess is still alive.”

“I can feel it in my bones, Illarion! The stars are aligned and the heavens have set aside the perfect bride for me.”

“I just want you to be cautious about your hopes, friend. It has been twelve years since Princess Alyona was kidnapped by that Korolevi knight. If she yet lives, I doubt that she has remained untouched.” Just after her seventeenth birthday, Princess Alyona, the king’s eldest daughter, was kidnapped by a warrior from the neighboring Korolev Kingdom. No note of ransom was received and the princess was never heard of again. All the king’s knights and soldiers had scoured the countryside for her. Those who braved crossing the Korolev-Akrasni border did’t returned.

It was the most nebulous and vague of rumors that suggested that the princess remained captive in the Emperor Yefim’s mountain palace, renewing the king and queen’s hopes. They presented a grand offer to their subjects: Four times the man’s weight in gold and jewels if he could bring definite proof whether the princess was alive or dead. A guarantee of inheriting the kingdom and the princess’s hand in marriage if he could bring her back alive.

“What do I care if I am not the first to have her?” The duke snorted. “She wasn’t even fully grown last I saw her, and she was already the most beautiful of all the king’s daughters, and of all the women in the kingdom. She’s likely ten times more beautiful now. If the King Gavril hadn’t promised his crown to the man who brought her home, I’d still happily marry and bed the princess, no matter how many of those Korolevi have had their way with her.”

Illarion tensed at Anatoli’s crassness. He spoke quietly. “Remember that you speak of the heir to Akrasni’s throne. Her position demands respect.”

Anatoli shrugged. “Either she is already dead or she will return as my wife. What need will I have for respect then?” Illarion sighed, knowing that he would not be able to make his understand his foolishness. “Do you regret your presence on this quest, old friend?”

Illarion shook his head. “Never. You knew from the moment you knighted me that I would serve you and your house for as long as you breathed. I will follow you on this quest, as I always have. I merely ask that you keep your promise to me.”

Anatoli grinned. “Of course! When I am king, I will name you head of my personal guard, and you and your sister may live comfortably in the palace. She and her runt will be safe. I promise you that.”

He nodded. Though the duke might occasionally be an arrogant twit, he was always true to his word. Illarion would always be grateful for everything the duke had done for his family. Examining the sky, he began calculating their position. “Based on the distance to the mountains and the arrangement of the constellations, I’d say that we’re less than a day’s journey from Yefim’s castle. It is time tread with care; we are fortunate to have escaped notice of the ogozhi. But the emperor has scores guarding his home.”

Both men grew serious.

Tales of the vicious fire creatures were drilled into the minds of every Akrasni child, lest they become foolish enough to venture into Korolev territory. Ogozhi were rumored to be more than ten feet tall, capable of flight, and made of liquid flame. There had been stories of them swallowing men whole, armor and all. But no one had ever lived to tell if the rumors were true. Illarion knew that if it hadn’t been for those beasts, King Gavril and his wife would have long taken the neighboring kingdom to war to get their daughter back.

Shifting restlessly, Anatoli suggested that they try to get some rest. “Tomorrow, we’ll try to——”

An earth shaking roar filled the air and the ground began to tremble. Both reached for their swords in an instant. They drew their shields up defensively, standing back to back, as they searched for the source of the noise. It didn’t take long to find.

Even in darkness, the beasts glowed with evil light, as if they carried pieces of hell in their souls to torment the world of men. Almost serpentine in shape, they had massive wings shimmering with heat. Black scales covered their bodies, but bright flames smoldered between their chinks. Their thin arms and dainty hands were tips with razor-sharp claws. Jaws lined with rows of glistening teeth spurted flame. Long, curled tails trailed fire as they swept the nearby trees and set them ablaze, cutting off any escape. When the pair of ogozhi swept down from the sky, the earth shook.

Illarion hadn’t even had time to be afraid before the first monster lunged for him. Ducking beneath the enormous jaws, he parried the pointed talons with his sword. He thrust his weapon into the beast’s chest, but was forced to raise his shield as heat flared around him. He backed away in panic as the fiend pulled the blade from its body with its might fangs, spitting the glowing metal onto the ground. It was almost as if the creature did not have a heart——for all Illarion knew, it didn’t. Rather than bleeding blood, magma oozed from the wound, melting the stones beneath the ogozhi’s feet.

There was no way to win.

He raised his shield to ward off another jet of flame, but already, the metal was beginning to become too hot for him to hold. Soon, he’d have to abandon the shield. He looked over his shoulder to where Anatoli fought his own beast. It did not seem that his friend was faring any better. Refusing to die without a fight, the knight began to inch his way toward his discarded weapon.

Something caught his eye.

The monsters moved with deadly grace, but their tails were twisted strangely. The long appendages were likely for balance, but keeping them wound up so tightly must be exhausting, not to mention pointless. Of all the body parts to protect, the tail was the most disposable——

He finally saw it.

Flames flickered all along the beasts’ spines before flaring blue and white at the tips of their tails. It was almost impossible to make out against the incredible brightness, but Illarion squinted against the light until it came into focus. Behind the shifting flames was the pulsing and beating of a strange piece of flesh: the ogozhi’s heart.

Praying to all the gods above that he was right, Illarion darted for his sword. Mercifully, it was no longer red-hot. He darted around the monster, narrowly avoiding disembowelment by its talons. Raising his shield over his head like a turtle shell, he tried again. Fire encircled him, and his lungs seized as the oxygen around him was consumed. Black spots began to flicker in his vision but he ran on, clumsily staying on his feet as he gasped for air. Sweat dripped down his skin as him armor began to heat.

The creature turned to keep its tail away from him, but he threw himself onto the ground to slide beneath its belly. It jumped in surprise, spreading its wings to get out of danger. It uncurled its tail for greater agility as it attempted the difficult maneuver. Illarion seized the moment.

With a wide arc of his weapon, he chopped off the tip of the ogozhi’s tail.

A shriek filled the air and the mighty beast fell to the earth with a thunderous crash that sent jets of flame in all directions. As Illarion shut his eyes and turned his face away from the blinding flash.

When he opened his eyes again, the clearing was significantly darker. The monster he’d slain lay almost vulnerably on the earth, massive chest rising and falling with labored breaths as its lifeblood/lifeflame oozed onto the rocky soil. Its glow was subdued and less garish.

Illarion turned his head to see how Anatoli was doing.

He swore.

The duke lay on his back, pinned beneath the claws of the remaining ogozhi, and desperately trying to fend off its fearsome maw with his sword. Already bruised and battered himself, Illarion sprinted for the beast’s exposed tail. Before it had the chance to sense the knight behind it, Illarion had sheared off its heart.

Anatoli screamed as the beast collapsed on him.

Quickly, the knight ran to his friend and pulled him out from under the smoldering carcass. “Are you all right, Toli?” Both of them were sweating a bleeding, their armor scorched in places, but the duke seemed to have received a much more brutal beating. Patches of his armor seemed to have melted, sometimes dripping onto his skin and leaving angry-looking blisters.

“I’ll live.” He straightened with a grimace. “Do you think these scars will look impressive or grotesque?”

There was a moment of silence before Illarion let out a startled snort. “I hardly think it’ll matter. If the princess is alive, you’ll already have a bride. If now, you’ll be one of the few people alive who have seen an ogozhi up close. I’d say that’s fairly impressive.”

“Not as impressive as being the man who slayed two of the beasts, single-handedly,” Anatoli replied with a grin. “Thank you.”

“I think we should continue traveling through the night. I’m not eager to weather another attack like that.”

The duke nodded. “If we hurry, we might be able to reach the castle by dawn.” Using his foot, he tentatively tested the temperature of the still glowing severed ogozhi heart and pulled back with a wince. “Too hot to take as a trophy. What a shame. Maybe, if we pass through here on our return, you can retrieve them.”

“But we could use the light,” Illarion murmured as he appraised the darkness around them. With only slight hesitation, he sawed a spindly arm off the dead animal. Its blood had cooled and its scales no longer glowed with monstrous light. Stiffness had begun to settle on the muscles, but the knight was still able to wrap the long claws around the smoldering heart. Offering the torch to Anatoli, he quickly prepared a second for himself.

The pair set out on foot, carefully navigating the increasingly treacherous mountain terrain. More than once, Illarion found himself wishing for a pair of wings himself——it would certainly have saved them all a great deal of trouble.

The far reaches of the horizon had begun to lighten, by the time the Yefim’s palace came into view. It was carved into the mountain face, black stone towers and parapets reaching higher yet into the cloudless sky. It cut an imposing and ominous silhouette in the distance, its darkness interrupted only by a smattering of stained glass windows bedecking the innermost walls. The windows were large enough to be visible more than a quarter mile away, and only grew more intricate and lovely as the men drew near.

Illarion wondered at what sort of people these Korolevi were, to have tamed the frightful ogozhi to their bidding, to have carved a palace from the very bones of the earth, and then to have created such delicate and fragile beauty to adorn an otherwise hostile homeland.

message 21: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Part 2 of 2

They came to a towering gate, fifty feet tall, and made of stone. Along the wall above, a dozen guards stood watch in armor fitted with ogozhi scales. “State your business.”

Anatoli lifted his chin and squared his shoulders. “We seek counsel with Emperor Yefim.”

“Lay down your weapons if you seek entrance.”

They complied, knowing full well that their battered swords would do them little good in close combat with trained warriors. The doors scraped opened slowly, as if reluctant to move from their resting place so soon in the day. They stopped when the space was just wide enough to allow men through, one at a time.

Warily, Illarion stepped through first, in case it was a trap.

It was.

Hands grabbed them and dragged them down a mazelike series of halls, and up an countless staircases. Illarion was grateful for the respite of being carried. It had been almost two days since he had last slept, and the ogozhi attack (combined with the leagues they had crossed to arrive at this castle) had left him thoroughly drained. He allowed himself to relax, knowing there was nothing more he could do, and examined the stained glass windows they hurried passed. They really were quite lovely. They added splashes of vivid color to the bare canvas of the black stone palace.

After what seemed like days, the pair was dumped unceremoniously onto the cold floor of a gigantic throne room. One entire side was kept completely open to the world outside, and a single glance at the peacefully slumbering ogozhi around the room revealed the purpose of the open wall.

Directly across the room from the newcomers was an ornate silver throne, flanked on either side by a smaller pair of thrones. The emperor appraised the knight and duke placidly, murmuring quietly to the woman on his right. The chair to his left was conspicuously empty. Both the emperor and empress were well advanced in age, hair white as snow and skin crinkling jovially at the corners of their eyes.

“What brings you to our home?” His voice boomed in the cavernous room, but the sleeping beasts did not stir. Even from a distance, his brown eyes sparkled with a joy that made him seem decades younger. “What could be so important as to bring a pair of young men such as you from the safety of your kingdom?”

Anatoli rose stiffly to his feet and approached the throne. Exhausted, Illarion stayed where he was. “Majesty, my friend and I have come to inquire about the fate of the Akrasni princess, Alyona.”

The room burst into a frenzy and the pair found a dozen knives pressed to their throats. The emperor’s eyes had become cold and he stood from his throne to tower over the duke. “My wife and I had heard whispers that King Gavril was seeking his daughter again, but we didn’t believe them. It’s about twelve years too late.” He smiled humorlessly. “Why have the Akrasni resumed their search?”

When neither man answered, the knives pressed harder until trickles of blood ran down their skin. “There were rumors,” Illarion forced out, “that the princess might yet live.”

Yefim considered them thoughtfully. “I suppose I’ll have to kill the source of those rumors. I assume the reward Gavril is offering for his daughter is also true?” Anatoli nodded. “Which of you came here with the intention of winning her hand?” Neither man answered. “No reason to be shy. It’s not as if you’ll be leaving here alive, and I’m sure Alyona would like to know.”

“So she is alive.”

Yefim turned his sharp eyes onto Illarion. “Yes.” The old man tilted the knight’s chin up to get a better look at his face. “Your countenance is much gentler than your companion’s. How did you get involved with such a brute?” The knight did not answer and the emperor sighed. “Yona, my darling, come look at these men.”

From the behind the high-backed throne, a tall woman stepped forward. A long rapier forged from a glistening white metal hung casually from her hip. A close-fitting coat of ogozhi skin hung from her shoulders to the floor, but unlike the guards that had greeted them, the scales had been painted scarlet, accentuating the raven hair that hung in a loose braid over her shoulder. Bright blue eyes watched them disapprovingly. Anatoli had been right about one thing: the princess had become ten times more beautiful since she’d disappeared.

“We’ve come to rescue you, Your Highness,” Anatoli called out brashly.

The princess laughed, the sound tinkling like a bell against the stone walls. “I don’t need saving. I came here of my own free will.”

“I realize you were young when you were taken, princess,” the duke pressed, “but you mustn’t believe the lies you’ve been told. Your family misses you.”

Alyona slid her weapon gently beneath Anatoli’s chin. “It’s a shame you’ll have to die with such delusions. Let me try to set those straight for you; after all, everyone deserves to know the truth, the best they can, before leaving this life.” She pulled her blade away and twirled it with a deadly grace, pacing around the strangers. “I was fourteen years old when Yefim and Klavdiya contacted me. They were childless, and they’d heard tell of my father’s violent anger. Until that point, it was something I had never been on the receiving end of, though I had seen my mother bear it more times than I could count.

“They offered me the opportunity to become their heir, the opportunity to rule a kingdom without being forced into marriage. They gave me six years to consider the offer before it expired. By the time I was sixteen, I had grown tired of hiding from my own father. I swore to myself I would never let myself be married off to a man like him, just for the sake of continuing the line. Yefim sent their best man to rescue me. Here, I have finally found freedom. And you are sorely mistaken if you think I would let you take it away from me again.”

Anatoli laughed grimly. “You started this trouble because you were power-hungry? Because you weren’t content to share your rule?” He forced himself to his feet. “I hate to break it to you, but your place is to serve. Princess or no, you were born to obey your husband, to dress as he wishes, speak as he commands, and bed him as he desires. You have no place——” He cut off with a gurgle as Alyona beheaded him. She turned to Illarion.

“And you, knight? What have you to say?”

“Nothing, my lady. I didn’t come here for your hand.”

“Then why did you come?”

“Anatoli was a dear friend.”

“But what would he have given you, had he won my father’s crown?”

“A position in his personal guard and a safe place for my family to live, Your Highness.”

“Surely the family of a knight lives comfortably enough?”

“My nephew needs special accommodations. He was born with a twisted leg, my lady. He struggles living on our family farm.”

“Yefim is right. You are gentler than your friend’s.” She withdrew her weapon. “You may live.” She presented the knight with a bloodstained pendant. “But only if you use this to convince my father that I’m dead and do not return. Go to your family.”

She turned away without a backward glance.

Illarion couldn’t believe his luck.

message 22: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Vampire Empire
GENRE: Vampire Horror
RATING: Somewhere between PG-13 and R for violence, blood, language, and sexual content. Read at your own risk.

Michael Finn could feel his flesh getting hotter with every passing second. All he wanted was some goddamn shelter from the sunlight. He dashed through the forest at a frenetic pace, jumping over logs and slashing thick foliage out of his way with his razor-sharp claws. A small cave, a hollow log, some dense trees, any one of those things would have been nice to hide out in until daylight passed. His mind raced as fast as his powerful legs, so much so that he almost passed by his one shot at shelter.

He couldn’t see it well in the dim light, but it was a stone building with large double doors and stained glass windows. Without thinking clearly, Michael burst through the double doors with his shoulder and shut them behind him. In the darkness of the church, he was safe. He knelt down and breathed huge sighs of relief while allowing the sweat on his skin to dry up. He stripped off his black leather jacket and laid back first against the cold stones floor. It felt so good against his pale skin. Even his sweaty hair felt like heaven against the cool stones.

Several flames burst to life and startled Michael enough to leap to his feet in a single bound. Those flames were merely there to light the torches mounted on the side walls. Not only did those torches reveal the wooden pews on either side, but also the devilish and demonic artwork in the stained glass windows. There were ogres chewing off the heads of goats, devils sodomizing angels with their tridents, and hooded snakes devouring the insides of diseased rats, to name a few.

“Where the hell am I?” asked Michael as he looked around with a mixture of confusion and fear.

“That depends on what you’re looking for, my friend,” said a shadowy figure at the podium. He slowly ventured into the light and revealed himself to be a horseshoe-pattern and pony-tail haired priest in black and red robes. He sported a creepy grin and kept his fingers together in a triangle shape. “Welcome to the Church of Satan. My name is Reverend Paul Singer. Technically, the sermon doesn’t start for another hour, but you’re welcome to stay here nonetheless.”

“Um…thanks?” said Michael while shrugging his shoulders.

Paul’s smile widened enough to show his demented dental work as she slowly made his way toward Michael and placed a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “Those are some lovely fangs, my friend,” the devil worshiper said. “I’d kill for a set of those. You must be a creature of the night. Your kind is always welcome in my house of worship.”

“Uh, listen, I’ve got to get going now…”

“Nonsense! Stay with me for a few hours! We can talk all about the dark magic that surrounds us all. We can talk about your new role in the Church of Satan. Vampires are especially important to our cause,” said Paul. He wrapped his arm around Michael’s shoulder and led the shaking nerve-wreck to the darker end of the church.

The vampire reluctantly sat down at the front-most pew and gazed around at the artwork in the stained glass windows one last time. “Lovely place you’ve got here, Reverend,” he said both sarcastically and fearfully.

“Thank you for the kind words. This church has been in my family for many generations. I’m surprised it’s holding up as well as it is,” said Paul. He sat down next to Michael with a bottle of red wine in his hands. The demonic priest wrapped his arm around the vampire once more and took a gigantic swig from the bottle. “Mmmm, that’s good shit!”

Reverend Singer looked almost lovingly into Michael Finn’s eyes, making the vampire quiver even harder. Paul said, “It’s no accident that you’ve decided to use my humble church as a place to stay away from the sunlight. Satan brought you into my arms, so I’m going to make sure you’re safe today. But there’s only one thing I ask of you.” Paul leaned closer to Michael and Michael leaned backwards. “Make me into one of your own. I wish to be a creature of the night as well. With that kind of power, I can have total influence over the world. Satan’s way is the only way. What better way to prove my prophecy than with a good set of vampire fangs?”

Michael could feel that evil grin on Paul’s face and it was ripping at his soul like a pack of hellhounds on a wounded angel. The vampire brushed his arms off and jumped away from him. “Listen, man,” he said. “Aside from the fact that you’re creeping me the fuck out right now, I really can’t help you become a vampire. There’s nothing glorious about being one of us. Hiding from sunlight, constantly killing people for fresh blood, staying young while all of your friends get old and die? You’re not going to have influence over your congregation. You’re going to be lonely, just like me. Is that what you really want?”

Paul sighed, stood up, and said, “I suppose not. Maybe there’s something about my teachings that I overlooked. Maybe that’s the answer I needed to hear the most. I was so greedy for power that I…” The Reverend kissed Michael on the mouth and spit a poisonous tablet down his throat in the process.

Aside from reaching the height of his fear, Michael clutched his throat and coughed incessantly. Paul pulled out a hammer and silver stake from his robes and nailed both of the vampire’s hands to the wooden pew. Blood flowed from his hands like a raging river. The combination of coughing and screaming brought up red bile from Michael’s throat as he was now spitting chunks on the floor. Once he was done gurgling his life juices, he breathed in a raspy tone and looked down on the stone floor, purposefully avoiding eye contact with his creepy captor.

Paul grabbed Michael by the hair and lifted his head up while glaring at him with the most sinister, angry smile. With gritted teeth, he said, “Now you listen, you little shit! I offered you a place to stay out of the sunlight, so you’re going to give me payment whether you want to or not! What shall I do to you next, little boy?! Shall I sacrifice you?! Shall I throw you out into the sunlight?! Or maybe…”

Paul retried a ball gag from his robes and shoved it in Michael’s mouth. The vampire let out a muffled cry as the priest tightly strapped the sex toy around his head. Michael’s weakness from the poison and bloody pain from his nailed hands left him in a doubled over position over the pew. The sinister minister’s smile was even wider and creepier than before with his jaw fully clamped.

Still with gritted teeth, he said, “You’re going to give me your vampire powers whether you want to or not!” Paul reached around for Michael’s belt and unloosened it so that he could pull his pants down and expose his posterior. Paul then clutched at his own robe and ripped it in half to reveal a hairy, muscled body underneath only covered by leopard print underwear. “I’m going to enjoy every minute of your sweet little ass!”

With that much fear built up in his system, Michael’s short burst of adrenaline overrode the poison in his blood as he yanked on his hands to try and free them. The instant Paul put his hands on the vampire’s butt, Mr. Finn threw a back kick and nailed the priest in his testicles. Paul let out a screech of pain and doubled over before plopping to the stone ground below.

Michael used his remaining adrenaline to tug at his hands once again. The more he struggled, the more he bled. He even fought back the urge to vomit with the orange ball in his mouth. He couldn’t keep it down any longer. With one powerful rip, he pulled his hands free from the silver stake and chewed through the ball with his powerful fangs. It was at that moment that the poisonous vomit flowed from his mouth and the excessive blood drooled from his broken hands.

Michael Finn exhaustedly dropped to the floor, the coldness felt good on his sweaty, bloody skin. This place would have made an excellent hotel if it didn’t have a creep running it.

Speak of the devil, pun definitely intended, Paul grabbed the limp vampire by the hair and pulled him up once again. There was no smile this time, only an angry burst of threatening words. “I am sick and fucking tired of your rebellious shit! I should sodomize you on the altar right now! I should crucify you out on the front lawn for all of my worshipers to see! I should set you on fire with these torches! I should…”

Michael used his last burst of energy to bite into Paul’s wrist and drink his blood like a keg of beer. He paid no mind to the Reverend’s agonizing wails. Instead the vampire drank like a desert traveler dying of thirst. The cool coppery blood felt good on his aching throat. His stomach was soothed from the excessive vomiting. His hands began to heal until their wounds were closed over. The orgasmic dinner was over quicker than it started, so both Michael and Paul plopped on the cold stone floor unconscious.

After feeling refreshed from this thirty minute power nap, Paul began to open his bloodshot eyes. His pain was soothed. His wrist wound had healed over. He even pressed his thumb against his teeth to see if he had vampire fangs. They were so sharp that they drew a tiny drop of blood from his thumb.

Paul was laughing like a lunatic as he slowly rose to his feet. He held his hands out Jesus-style and spun around in happiness. He dropped to his knees, still laughing, still wide-eyed, and still grinning like a monster. “It finally happened! Satan will be so proud of me when he sees my new powers! I shall live forever in your grace, fiery one!”

“You want fire? You got it!” said a familiar voice. The shadowy figure opened the front door and stood behind it to protect himself from the glaring sunlight. Paul yelled, “No!” in classic cinematic fashion as the sunlight set him ablaze and reduced his body to a crispy black corpse. He was screaming, shaking, and spinning around during his execution. He wanted to join Satan in hell and now he had his wish.

The door was slammed shut and the church was dark once again. The instigator, Michael Finn, stood over the burned carcass and said, “I told you being a vampire sucked. Church has been cancelled, you sick prick!”

message 23: by Sofia (last edited Jun 19, 2016 05:55PM) (new)

Sofia | 15 comments While We Wait for the Moon to Fall
By Sofia Spencer
Feedback is welcome!

If life is a metaphor, then nothing is without meaning. As a result, fate is not a question, but an ultimate certainty that ensures destiny and fulfillment. Though most of the time, we have to fit the pieces together ourselves. While uncovering my pieces, I’ve discovered that life holds its secrets tight to its chest. Yet, the truth is revealed in the most unlikely of metaphors.

Noah and I are two pieces that find a way to fit: impossibly different and remarkably the same. Noah, the piece that continuously changes, as he inspires every individual in his midst to find themselves, while never losing himself in the process. I am not yet sure how I fit into our puzzle, only that I do. I’m irritating and persistent, hopefully hiding some good qualities. I know that I care for my friends in every way possible. Perhaps our pieces fit because we agree about everything important and disagree about everything else.

On a spry evening in June, as the twilight began to envelop us, life was revealed. Noah and I were lying on a scratchy concrete blacktop; my head was cradled in his arm. Michael was sitting on a nearby bench, indulging his harmless addiction as he plucked sunflower seeds from their shells, one by one.

As I waited for the stars to appear and the moon to rise, I asked Noah, “ If you could go anywhere, do anything, where would you go?” I expected him to say something like New York or college- he wants to be a Broadway star after all. But he surprised me.

“Away” he replied instantly, looking up at the light blue sky.

“That’s not very specific”

“Life doesn’t need a destination. I want to enjoy the journey. I know where I want to go, who I need to be. “ Noah is sure about himself, something I wished desperately to be, as he had made a life plan at the age of 12, and it fit him still at 17.

“I hate this house,” he said “my parents harping, my brother’s clinginess. I need to start my life”.

Close as we were, Noah and I came from opposite worlds. Noah from an empire of assimilation and fleeting activities, a world littered with removed parents and defined by self-sufficiency. He was living life as a prodigal son who strayed from the classic plan, presenting an air that allowed for few fears, though they were bottled underneath. In contrast, I was from a start up of overprotective parents and typical expectations, a world built upon conformity and silence. I was living life as an obedient daughter, a catalyst who lost her thirst for life by following every rule. My greatest fear was becoming like my parents, rooted and steady without a spark of spontaneity.

“That’s a beautiful thought, and a true one” I admitted, “I drive home every day, and I feel the urge to keep going to see where the road leads. But I always stop, I don’t have the courage to continue”

Noah surprised me again; “ I feel the same way, there are a million places to go, and I’ve barely discovered any of them”

While we may have believed in our dreams, neither of us was without uncertainty. The path of life could take us somewhere drastically different, somewhere we had never wanted to go. In that moment, I saw my future laid out like the blacktop: scratchy and painful, cutting into my dreams until I became a withered husk. I was scared to face the harshness of reality, for I knew Noah's arm could not protect me from the blacktop forever. His resolve and spontaneity was not my own.

Unlike me, Noah believes in the literal. He believes, while a random assortment of events forms a complex web of broken strings, that everything has the capacity to be unraveled and understood. On the contrary, I believe in the ethereal, that all events are inherently simple and metaphoric, as I try to form a stained glass window out of clear panes.

He continued, “I want to leave everything behind”

I responded with, “ I want to find where I belong, a community where I won’t be left behind”. Noah does not acknowledge this comment, he knows about my paralyzing fear of abandonment from many meltdowns behind closed doors.

The strangest part is, less than a year ago, we barely looked below the most superficial of details. We had become close at an exponential pace, a friendship developing three months, rather than the entirety of its three years. Blossoming into a bizarre co-dependency, as much as I was annoying and he was cynical to life. Talking till two or three in the morning at the tail end of junior year, I helped Noah speed-write his English papers, usually aided by his boyfriend, Michael. In return he coped with my massive meltdowns, helping me to emerge from a simple box with greater morals, as I pondered my life’s purpose by crying into his shoulder. Somehow, we understood each other by respecting our uniquely similar motivations that led to entirely different goals. He was finding the strength to hold on for another year before beginning the path to Broadway, I was trying to discover my courage in order to fulfill my wispy dream of writing.

Noah abruptly changes the subject, “You know, I love driving down your street. It’s full of green, big beautiful trees swooping down, normally linger in the shadow of buildings.”

Perhaps he was attempting to placate my fear though a fairly obvious metaphor. However, he did not realize the more significant allegory: sometimes, like the path of a road, the world creates its own connections. The moon lingers in the sky even when we can’t see it. Stars emerge from the boring blue and the bitter blackness. Yet, it is the sun that supports all life. Noah is a sun, a boundless energy that brings light and wisdom, revealing secrets tucked into long forgotten crevices, and gradually wearing away the dark. But as he commented on looking for his natural path in an impossible world, the moon began to rise, yellow and eerie, yet comforting all the same. All we had to do was wait, wait for the inextricable future that stretched before us to commence.

“Look, the moon finally came out” I exclaimed, becoming philosophical as I pointed to the sky. Noah quickly pulled away his arm as my tears fell onto his skin. I smiled through them, even though Noah was ready, in his words, to “homicide” me for this demonstration-because yes, to Noah, homicide is a verb, even though he realizes it's actually a noun. Despite the playful aggression, Noah understood I wasn’t crying for the moon, I was crying because it came back to me. The moon is the only thing everyone has in common after all. No matter the location or time zone, every individual gazes upon the craters of the moon, believing in its beauty. Most importantly, the moon always comes back.

Lying on the blacktop, watching the moonrise, I began to understand that loyalty is uncertain. After all, what is the use of waiting for someone to stay? Waiting at the edge of a seat for them to bolt? Since the moon always rises, what’s the point of waiting around for it?
Lying on that blacktop, I learned to trust the metaphors I so often preached. If Noah and I somehow break apart, as I search for words and he searches for stardom, we will find our way back together. Friendship can withstand the greatest of distances. Dreams can withstand the greatest of turmoil. No matter what happens in the future, Noah and I are forever linked from our mutual experiences, unable to forget the dreams we held so close. Therefore, I refuse to relinquish the sun. My dreams and my friends will forever shine within my soul, changing and evolving with me. For, we are still on the blacktop, waiting for the night to end and trying to enjoy the moon while it shines in this last year of containment. However, in the morning, it will leave nothing but its impression behind.

I am still learning to trust the fragility of my dreams and the magic of my experiences. That night on the blacktop, I discovered that nothing ever truly ends. The sun will eventually rise and the moon will fall for Noah and I. We will begin our lives and never look back. But, we will not forget the gleam of the moon in our eternal night. My dreams are attainable if I believe in metaphors, because they connect us together to ensure that no one is left behind. Perhaps that is how I fit into our intricate puzzle, I connect the metaphors to form a greater whole.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi everyone! I'm so sorry I haven't been in on all the conversations this past week. My husband and I went on vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico and I promised him I would stay off my phone. Vacation was wonderful but it's always nice to get back home! Time to get back into the swing of things! :)

Thank you to all who voted for my story last week. I really appreciate it and also welcome aboard Jane!! I know you will love it here.

message 25: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments Melissa wrote: "Hi everyone! I'm so sorry I haven't been in on all the conversations this past week. My husband and I went on vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico and I promised him I would stay off my phone. Vacation ..."

I'm glad you had a nice time in New Mexico, Melissa. It certainly is a marvelous state. :)

message 26: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Welcome back, Melissa! It's nice to get off the internet and enjoy the world every once in a while. Vacations don't happen nearly as often as they should, so you should definitely enjoy them. I'll be spending next week at the Grand Canyon myself :)

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Garrison and Angie! We love it in New Mexico! When we lived in Lubbock (for 11 years) we used to go all the time, even just for a weekend. Now that we live in Fort Worth again it's tougher to get there because it's much farther but in a way, it makes the time away that much more precious.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Arrival by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 1,030 words
(Feedback Welcome!)

“Slow down. Slow down,” my step-sister cried. “I can’t run anymore.” She wrenched her tiny fingers from my hand and wiped blonde ringlets from her moist forehead.

Fear kept me from remembering that she was only six-years-old. Her short legs were no match for my long, muscular limbs.

“Here, hop on.” I crouched down in the tall grass, offering the once fun piggy-back ride.

Wiping her nose with the palm of her hand, Piper complied.
“Where are we going anyway, Dylan?”

“Just up ahead. Just a little bit farther.” I hated to lie to her but actually, I had no clue at all. Where were we going and what would we do when we arrived? We had nothing. No food, no water. Just the clothes we were wearing. When you escape chaos, you don’t think about things, you just go.

And that’s what we did. As fast as we could.

Shifting Piper’s slight weight around my hips, we trudged along over fallen logs and around large rocks. Trying to be as quiet as possible; trying not to attract anyone’s attention. Anyone.

My hand flew to the pocket of my faded jeans when I heard the noise.

“Dylan!” Piper’s scream echoed in my ears. “Oh, God!”

White-knuckling the small knife, a gift from Dad after he and Mom divorced, I swung around to find a copper-colored terrier mix. He was wagging his tail but took a step backward as I stepped forward.

“How cute,” Piper squealed as she slid from her perch, moving tenderly toward the canine. “He looks hungry. We should feed him.”

Did this girl understand we had no way of feeding ourselves? How were we going to feed a damned dog? Before I could voice my thoughts, Piper had the mutt in her arms, cuddling and cooing.

“No,” I said. “A dog will just slow us down. Besides, he has a collar. He must belong to someone.”

“He’s probably lost his family, just like we have. Please, Dylan?” She elongated the word ‘please’, knowing she would get her way.

I reached out and read the silver tag on the dog’s collar. Fowler. I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Oh, okay. C’mon, Fowler.”

Piper squealed again.

“But if he falls behind we’ll have to leave him, understand?”

“Uh huh. He won’t though. I promise.”

Fowler barked once as if in gratitude. I swear the dog was smiling. Hell, I guess there was safety in numbers. Now I was lying to myself.

As we continued to move, the trees became denser. Sunlight barely filtered through the leaves. Claustrophobia threatened to consume us. A stale dampness assaulted our senses. This had to end soon. We had to find shelter. We had to find somewhere to rest and regroup. I needed to formulate a plan.

Dad had a plan at one time. He met and married Piper’s Mom two years prior. We were going to be one big happy family. Yeah, right. Some plan that turned out to be.

With their arrival, everything changed. Everything.

“Look. Look over there. A wooded house.”

“It’s a cabin and it’s wooden; not wooded,” I corrected.

“Whatever. Let’s go see if someone there can help us.” She took off running, Fowler at her heels.

“No, Piper, wait!” I hollered but she ignored my warning.

Something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but something just didn’t feel right. Something in the air. A quietness. Too quiet. I looked up into the trees. No birds. There were no birds at all. No chirps. No chatter. No movement. That could only mean one thing.

I sprinted toward the cabin, scooping Piper into my arms just as she reached the porch. “Shush now. Don’t you make a sound.” I covered her cracked lips with my fingers as she squirmed in my grasp.

Fowler stood by my side, silent; tail between his legs.

Pushing the cabin door open cautiously with my elbow, I set Piper upright on her feet, one finger to her mouth. “Ssshh,” I whispered.

Lacing her fingers into my own, I could feel her tremble. I was doing a bit of trembling myself.

Roaming from room to room to room, it was evident no one was occupying the residence and probably hadn’t for some time.

“Let’s see if we can find something to eat,” I suggested.

Back in the kitchen, we both opened cupboards and drawers. A feast of canned goods – beans, soups, corn and carrots stood before us. A few simple turns of an old, rusted handheld opener and our stomachs rejoiced. Fowler was appreciative as well.

“What do you think happened to the people who lived here, Dylan?” Piper asked around a mouthful of tuna.

I shrugged. “Maybe they got old and moved into a nursing home.” There I was, telling another lie.

“Can we stay here until we’re old?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. We may have to go somewhere else. Probably soon.”

Piper swallowed. “Do you think there are any of them like us? Kids, I mean?”

“I’m a teenager, not a kid.” I stroked the dark peach fuzz on my upper lip for emphasis.

She moved her blue eyes toward the ceiling and made a funny face.

I laughed.

“I mean, there might be some here that don’t want to be here. Maybe they don’t understand stuff. Maybe they just want to go back and leave us alone.”

“Maybe.” Highly unlikely.

“Not all people are bad, Dylan.” Piper threw her empty cans in the trash and placed a bowl of water on the floor for Fowler.

“I know.”

“Maybe they’re not all bad either.”

“Maybe.” Highly unlikely.

Just then, as if on cue, we heard a bang. Almost like a gunshot. The kitchen window rattled. Fowler darted beneath the table. Piper crawled into my lap.

We stared at the three long fingerprints on the glass. Bright neon green oil tinged with a purplish glitter oozed slowly downward, staining the pane and our minds.

“The aliens are going to get us too, aren’t they Dylan? Just like they did Mom and Dad, aren’t they, Dylan?”

Highly likely.

message 29: by Anne (last edited Jun 19, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments I stopped reading the stories last week after I realized I was actually going to write something this week! (I wasn't sure about it...). So hopefully I'll get back to reading soon - Glancing through, looks like there are some great ones! (of course! :) )

message 30: by Anne (last edited Jun 19, 2016 03:03PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Title: Sanctuary
Word count: 1245
Genre: Sci-fi
Comments, critiques welcome.

I didn't want to believe they were real.

Or alive.

But the fact that they were moving – albeit stiffly – made me wonder.

Perhaps they were automotized beings, roboticized. They moved like they might be. That would be a more palatable consideration. Like life-sized wind-up toys; pretty to look at, fun to play with. I could deal with that.

Or. . . maybe a mirage brought on by the hot desert sun I had just escaped from. That would be okay, too.

Somehow I didn't think it was that simple.

They perfectly matched the stained-glass behind them in every detail – it was as if they had stepped down out of the windows. However, the figures provided a stark contrast to the old, faded and dusty glass embedded in the window frames. They were bright, so bright, I had to squint to see clearly. They were painfully beautiful to behold.

Just as in the windows, their three-dimensional glassy features were firmly held in place with thin lines of solder, perfectly etching the iris and pupil of each eye, nose, and delicately shaped pink lips. The solder emphasized the high tan cheekbones and locks of brown hair that hung stiffly down to the man's shoulders. I call it a man because of the tuft of brown hair sprouting from the chin, also held together with the solder.

The two women, on the other hand, had shards of golden tresses pulled back from their faces, ribbons of shiny solder allowing the locks to spill down their backs.

All three figures were robed in rich colors; ruby red, emerald green and sapphire blue that twinkled with silver and gold threads. Or perhaps that was just another type of solder weaving its way through the glass folds. The three crystalline bodies could have been wealthy kin of the faded biblical images displayed throughout the old near-deserted church. The church that I had begun to consider my own.

Then the man spoke.

Like rusty nails scraping over porcelain, he screeched out strange sounds. He stretched out a hand with cog-wheel jagged movements, pointing one finely etched finger towards me. I dismissed the urge to see if I could snap it off.

My heart raced and stuttered as I backed away, the heels of my dusty black shoes stumbling up the altar steps of my church. Drops of sweat dripped down the back of my neck, dampening the ragged edges of my cassock. My throat, so dry, was cinched too tight to speak.

Was this my doom? Judgment day's reapers come to collect payment for my sins?

I rubbed the round well-worn wooden rosary beads between my trembling fingers as if I could squeeze out a different vision. My stunned alcohol-hazed brain could not even grasp the first words of a prayer – any prayer. Prayers had once so easily tumbled off my lips like well ripened fruit from a laden bough. But I knew this was no wine-induced hallucination. And prayers would not help me now.

I teetered back, flinging my arms out to keep my balance and accidentally swept a brass candlestick off the altar on my way back. The candlestick rolled, following my footsteps until we were both wedged at the far end of the sanctuary – the apse – such as it was. And still they came. In spite of everything, it was fascinating to see these inhuman beings navigate the steps in stilt-like fashion.

The woman – the one wearing red – spoke with different sounds. A different language? It seemed so, but the sharp crackling, snapping syllables sounded just as foreign as the man's.

I sunk to the floor, resting my back against the wall and glanced up at the ceiling. Once, some would-be artist had tried to re-create the Sistine Chapel's Creation of Adam. Now, the skewed hand of God seemed to be pointing at me in deadly accusation.

Had I really thought embracing priesthood would allow me to escape punishment? That my murderous past would never catch up with me? That this desolate outpost could be my sanctuary? That if I said enough rosaries and kept a respectful distance from people – people that even to this day set my blood to boil with a lust to kill – that this would be adequate penance?

Apparently not.

I clutched the candlestick, a pathetic object of defense, as they stood only a few feet away, wondering what doom was in store for me.

The woman in blue now spoke, her tinkling words evoked a distant memory of hundreds of people tapping champagne flutes together to salute a bride and groom. But her speech was just as alien as the others.

Seized by a sudden urge, I threw the candlestick at the man that stood between the women directly in front of me. The sound of breaking glass echoed throughout the church as he disintegrated into chunks and fragments that rained down on the floor.

I stared in amazement, then re-focused on the two women. How would they react?
But they stayed motionless after shifting position to turn and look at what was left of their comrade.

Paralyzed, I watched in horror as the pieces began to re-assemble themselves. Each segment of solder seemed to seek out the colored bit that belonged to it.

A sob escaped from my parched lips. This, then, was my destiny. Death or madness or maybe something worse.

I needed a drink. Desperately. I wanted to drown in the depths of intoxication so I wouldn't know what came next. Let madness or death come as long as I felt soothed.

Whimpering, I edged sideways, groping for a bottle I always kept under the altar that sat between me and my unwelcome visitors.

They continued to stare at the renewing form piecing itself together. It was almost as if their gazes helped it along. They ignored me.

Barely breathing, I felt the first twinge of hope. Maybe there was a chance after all. Maybe I was destined to escape, to do other penance elsewhere. Yes. Penance. More penance. And a final relief from the torturous, homicidal cravings inside me and these unnatural presences without.

Escape and penance in the desert.

Others had done so, hadn't they? And then. . . and then. . . Well, I didn't need to plan too far ahead, did I?

The words thrummed through my mind in a maddeningly irresistible cadence as I rose, and clutching my bottle to my chest, began a hobbling scamper to the side door, then out and into the desert.

Forty days. . . forty nights. . . forty days. . . forty nights. . .

Restoration complete, the three figures inside the church talked among themselves in their own language.

That didn't go well, did it? Blue-robed woman mused.

If he had at least talked to us, we could have identified his particular language, the man spoke.

Still, didn't you say that this planet's beings worshiped these forms? That's why we appeared as we did – we expected him to bow to us, to embrace us eagerly. Red lady accused the man.

Obviously, our data was woefully outdated, he responded. We shouldn't expect instant success with our first effort.

I wonder what he thought we wanted, the woman in blue considered.

Let's go. The red woman was impatient. There are bound to be others elsewhere that would welcome us.

They drifted out through the stained glass portals, disappearing as spirits in the wind.

message 31: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments Gashbeen, the phrase “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” doesn’t apply to everyone and you’ve proven that with your story. Instead of rising from the ashes, Dragomir became a bitter and evil soul intent on spreading his anguish across the world. He’s comparable to the many serial killers we’ve heard about in the news who grew up with abusive circumstances, Henry Lee Lucas being the prime example. While I would have liked to see Dragomir grow stronger from his past demons, what you’ve presented is a realistic example of what could happen when those demons fester out of control. Sometimes realism is the answer instead of fantasy. Great job with your story! The descriptions were wonderful!

Alex-Pie, it’s nice to see you go back to your psychotic killer roots with your story this week. At first I wanted to root for the small child. He seemed to be just another struggling soul in a church full of creepiness. And then he drew a gun on the priest and shot him, right after confessing there were others he killed. You’ve done a wonderful job if getting inside the child’s head and showing us what sociopaths are really made of. I’ve said this countless times in the past, but it always bears repeating. If you want to embark on a thriller-writing career, you could be successful at it. I know you keep dismissing that idea with giggles and smiles, but I really do think you could pull it off. You’re that damn good!

Edward, what you wrote was classic horror cinema right there. The ghostly occurrences kept coming back for more until the climax at the very end. It turns out the little girl was looking for a way for someone to free her soul. I’m glad she found her justice and peace after all of that. Hopefully, Eunice can find hers now that she knows the cause of the big brown stain. I’d hate for her to have to clean the attic once again after several weekends of hard work. But you never know, it could happen and it could be a huge source of frustration for Eunice. All in all, it was a great story that had me guessing until the end. You did a fantastic job of building up tension towards the climax, just like all horror stories should do.

Angie, as a dark fantasy addict, I’m seriously considering voting for your story this week in the polls. You were a woman after my own heart with the fast-paced battle choreography, the creative monsters, and the surprise ending when the princess didn’t want to come back to a controlling father and maintained her independence. There were so many things that clicked with me in this story that it was a pleasure to read from beginning to end. You’re only eighteen years old, but you have a lot of mileage on your career as an author. It shows tremendously. Congratulations for writing an overly awesome story and bringing me plenty of dark fantasy creative fuel!

Sofia, I completely agree with your story’s message of following your dreams despite the turmoil you may go through. The pressure society puts on all of us to conform and get “real” jobs can be overwhelming as the need for a stable income grows. Noah felt more pressure than a compactor coming down on a car. He turned into the most beautiful diamond as a result of it. I like the fact that he plans on going out in the world and making a name for himself. The narrator had to learn individuality through her tears and many talks with Noah. She indeed learned it and is a better character for it. Thank you for sharing this awesome message with the group. Never give up, never conform!

Melissa, that was quite the twist you put on the end of your story. I didn’t know what to expect up until that point, but I knew it had to be something bad since the kids and the dog were traveling with no money or food. This almost reminds me of the “War of the Worlds” album by Jeff Wayne, where Martians took over the world and there was nowhere for the journalist to run. There truly is nowhere for Piper nor Dylan to run. The animal lover in me makes me feel for poor old Fowler-Pie. The aliens will no doubt do something horrible to the puppy-duppy and that makes me sad. Bottom line: you put out a wonderful story this week as you always do. I can’t say it enough: it’s good to have you back!

Anne, this was a delightfully creative story you’ve pumped out. At first I felt sorry for the man who was cowering in fear at the stained glass intruders. Turns out he was a mass murderer who was trying to get away with his dirty deeds. I’m glad those three beings drove him nuts. Maybe someone will pick him up as he’s traveling across the desert and put him in a loony bin. I also love that twist you put at the end of your story. The glass figures were just aliens trying to make contact with the earth. Too bad they had to have a conversation with a psychotic killer. All in all, you did an excellent job with your story from the tension build up to the climax to the twist. Everything was pieced together with perfection. Great job!

message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Edward wrote: "Title : The Stain (Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 2360
Rating : PG

The police arrived about half an hour after Eunice called them. There was no question of her being respo..."

I like your take on the "stained" glass theme. Nicely done, kept my interest throughout and I like that it ended on a positive (& cute) note.

message 33: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Angie wrote: "
Part 2 of 2

They came to a towering gate, fifty feet tall, and made of stone. Along the wall above, a dozen guards stood watch in armor fitted with ogozhi scales. “State your business.”


A sweet, delightful story, Angie. I enjoyed the characters you brought to life (especially the princess and Illarion), and that it ended on a good note.

message 34: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Melissa wrote: "Arrival by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 1,030 words
(Feedback Welcome!)

“Slow down. Slow down,” my step-sister cried. “I can’t run anymore.” She wrenched her tiny fingers from my hand and wiped b..."

Good story, Melissa! I had no idea where you were headed with this as I was reading it and so I really enjoyed the surprise ending. (looks like we had a similar idea this week! :) )

message 35: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments You're always welcome, Alex-Pie! Thanks for clarifying that for me. :)

message 36: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Gashbeen wrote: "Stained Glass and Stained Hands

By Gashbeen Saeed

The snow draped the town in a blanket of icy cold. A vicious gust of wind roared throughout the town as a dark figure trudged through the deep ba..."

This is such an improvement on your previous stories. I enjoyed the descriptions and the eventual lead up to the revelation that the subject of the story is your Destroyer Of Worlds. As for typos - you can just edit your post and correct them, buddy. :)

message 37: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "Gashbeen, the phrase “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” doesn’t apply to everyone and you’ve proven that with your story. Instead of rising from the ashes, Dragomir became a bitter and evil s..."

A wrote: "Stained Glass

Stone eyes gazed downward in judgement directly onto him. Some lifted upwards as if in fear of a fiery wrath with palms outstretched toward the heavens, faces and mouths contorted..."

Another of your tales that feels like the opening of an Alex Cross novel. :D Great fun to read.

message 38: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (last edited Jun 21, 2016 03:52PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments ----------
Well, looks like I can't post! Had trouble posting last night because a lot of people were over and they usually like to use their tablets and I thought that was the cause for my PC to be so slow.

I wanted to get up earlier but I do want to choose getting the right amount of sleep over rushing a story that was only typed out about 20 percent so far. And could have posted on an earlier day but because of working that is becoming slightly tougher, oh well.

Sorry guys. Good news is I will read your stories.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison wrote: "Gashbeen, the phrase “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” doesn’t apply to everyone and you’ve proven that with your story. Instead of rising from the ashes, Dragomir became a bitter and evil s..."

Thank you so much, Garrison. I actually wrote this in the car on the way back from our vacation! I tweaked it a little once we got home. I got the idea as we drove through Roswell -- the most famous place for UFOs!

Loved your story this week!!

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Arrival by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 1,030 words
(Feedback Welcome!)

“Slow down. Slow down,” my step-sister cried. “I can’t run anymore.” She wrenched her tiny fingers from my ..."

Anne, we did kind of have a similar idea, huh? Great minds think alike! :) As I told Garrison, I had my idea as we drove through Roswell, New Mexico. The UFO museum and alien signs just jumped out at me and I had to run (or fly!) with it! Haha! I loved your story and your descriptions. I always love your stories! So well written!

message 41: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 655 comments Any comments or feedback welcome.

Title: Final Breath
Author: CP Cabaniss
Length: 471 Words

As a warning, this story revolves around someone bleeding to death. It's not gory or anything, but what caused the wound is unknown and up to interpretation.

Glass crunched underfoot, jabbing painfully into Evangeline’s legs as she fell to her knees. Glass, so much glass. Moonlight spilled across the sharp fragments, reflecting throughout the room. Somewhere in the night—the sound magnified in the still quiet, carrying through the broken doors and windows—a bird took flight, wings rustling, a call issuing through its beak.

Drip, drip, drip. Evangeline glanced down, watched the red drops fall on the clear glass, staining it pink. Her eyes did not widen in shock or fear, she just blinked, trying to make sense of the crimson drops. The shards bit into her palms as she fell forward, catching herself with hands that could barely feel. More red stained the floor, mixing with the flecks of glass.

Evangeline had always wondered, in some morbid way, what it would feel like to bleed to death, to have a gaping hole in your stomach or chest, knowing you could do nothing to stop it from killing you. She wondered if rational thought would flee or pain consume your body. Her breath was coming in sharp gasps. She tried to crawl forward but her fingers were stiff, numb, barely responding to the signals she was trying to send. She crashed forward, arms underneath her, red stained glass shards filling her vision. The beats of her heart were like thunder in her ears, starting to fade.

She wondered, in a vague, absent kind of way, what had led to this moment. If she traced her life back would she find some moment, some decision that set this path in motion? Or was it all out of her control? Her breaths were slowing, heartbeats pounding, blood flowing out and away. The glass poked her legs, arms, stomach, face. It created only a dull sense of pain. It was more that she knew it should cause pain than that it actually did.

There, was that the moment, she wondered. Was that what set her course toward this bloody end? Or perhaps this was not an end at all, she considered, but the beginning of something greater. She could not be sure if she believed that, but it was a nice thought all the same.

Groans and whimpers filled the space around her and it took Evangeline a moment to realize they were coming from her. Strange not to know what your own body was doing. She blinked one long, slow time, suddenly feeling like she should be on her feet and moving. Her arms straightened beneath her, wobbling under her weight, before faltering and sending her back to the floor. One more gasped breath, a twitch of her fingers, and she moved no more. Her eyes stared, unseeing, at the red blooming around her, staining the glass with her life essence.

Outside a siren wailed, shattering the stillness of the night.

message 42: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments Melissa wrote: "Thank you so much, Garrison. I actually wrote this in the car on the way back from our vacation! I tweaked it a little once we got home. I got the idea as we drove through Roswell -- the most famous place for UFOs!

Loved your story this week!!"

Inspiration can literally come from anywhere, including Roswell, New Mexico! :)

I'm glad you enjoyed my story this week! :)

message 43: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Angie wrote: "
Part 2 of 2

They came to a towering gate, fifty feet tall, and made of stone. Along the wall above, a dozen guards stood watch in armor fitted with ogozhi scales. “State your business.”


It's great to have your imagination back in the fold, Angie. I'm sure it will only be for a couple of months until schools back in, but we'll take what we can get. Great job.

message 44: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Vampire Empire
GENRE: Vampire Horror
RATING: Somewhere between PG-13 and R for violence, blood, language, and sexual content. Read at your own risk. ..."

Dark yet funny. And I love the rhymes - vampire empire, sinister minister- very clever. Good one, G-Man!

message 45: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Sofia wrote: "While We Wait for the Moon to Fall
By Sofia Spencer
Feedback is welcome!

If life is a metaphor, then nothing is without meaning. As a result, fate is not a question, but an ultimate certainty that..."

This was so well written. I love the thoughts running through the nameless narrators mind as she considers her unique friendship with Noah and how their complimentary differences make their friendship ever stronger. Nicely done.

message 46: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Melissa wrote: "Arrival by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 1,030 words
(Feedback Welcome!)

“Slow down. Slow down,” my step-sister cried. “I can’t run anymore.” She wrenched her tiny fingers from my hand and wiped b..."

Yay! A twist ending I didn't see coming. Great job on making those kids feel so real, Mel! :D

message 47: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Anne wrote: "Title: Sanctuary
Word count: 1245
Genre: Sci-fi
Comments, critiques welcome.

I didn't want to believe they were real.

Or alive.

But the fact that they were moving – albeit ..."

Like Mel, you've given me an unexpected twist. Have you ever seen 'Young Sherlock Holmes' from the 80s? I imagined one of the hallucination scenes when you described the aliens. Good work.

message 48: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9321 comments Edward wrote: "Dark yet funny. And I love the rhymes - vampire empire, sinister minister- very clever. Good one, G-Man!"

I'm a poet and I know it. I make a rhyme every time. I don't sing it, I bring it. Hehe! Thanks, Edward! :)

message 49: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Courtney wrote: "Any comments or feedback welcome.

Title: Final Breath
Author: CP Cabaniss
Length: 471 Words

As a warning, this story revolves around someone bleeding to death. It's not gory or anything, but wha..."

Very dark, Courtney, very dark. It left me wondering what exactly happened to your narrator...

message 50: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 655 comments It left we wondering the same thing, Edward.

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