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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 318 (July 5-11) Stories. Topic: Crescent Moon

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message 1: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments You have until the 11th of July to post a story and on July 11-14, 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: Crescent Moon

Thank you to Anne for suggesting the topic!

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) | 9541 comments My one-week vacation is over and I feel refreshed! Now it's time to get back to work. My story this week will be called "Chunky Puffs" and it goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

Nick Savage, Gothic Vampire
Soa, Cannibal
Tufu, Cannibal

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The party Nick went to was being held under a crescent moon, which means there’s no danger of werewolves since they require the full moon to transform.

SYNOPSIS: Nick wakes up after passing out at a gothic party and finds himself tied to a giant barbecue rack with Soa and Tufu eager to eat him. Nick is actually the hungriest person in this group, but he reconsiders drinking his attackers’ blood since due to their questionable diets. The vampire and the cannibals exchange food jokes back and forth to each other until Nick breaks free from his bondage and engages in a bloody battle with his captors.


message 3: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Welcome back, Garrison! :)


message 4: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Forgive my message just sent out to all members. For the time being you can click on "Polls" over on the side to vote for this past week's contest. Have fun voting and sorry about that.


message 5: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments CJ wrote: "Welcome back, Garrison! :)"

It feels good to be back, CJ. :)


message 6: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments I'll actually be home this week, so I'll definitely be entering this one. I've even got an idea brewing already :)


message 7: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Well done to CJ for getting the weekly prompt prepared. Good work, noobie. :D And 'Crescent Moon' - just in time for the end of Ramadan.


message 8: by C. J., Cool yet firm like ice (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4263 comments Thanks Edward! Glad to be a somewhat successful noobie. :D


message 9: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Of Ghosts and Demons

By Gashbeen Saeed


A child knelt on the sand, examining a fragile shell with unconcealed curiosity. The pale conch glowed like a crescent moon as he held it up to the sun. He held the conch in his small hands as a smile spread across his tanned face. He stood slowly, wiping the sand off his bare knees as he held the conch to his lips. He blew into it with all his might, and a low tone resounded throughout the island.

It seemed to shake the island with its intensity, and a sense of awe bloomed within the child. When the sound died out, the world seemed to give a sigh of relief as everything settled.

As the sense of euphoria passed, the boy felt bitterness creep into his heart. His grin faded as he kicked the sand into the air angrily. Nothing had happened for him. When his father had blown the conch, the hunters came running. His father had power and command over these men.

He commanded nothing. No one respected him like they respected his father. He was powerless, and he always would be.

He turned to the glittering sea, seeking peace in its tranquility. Of course, he saw right through the illusion. On the surface, the ocean appeared to be peaceful and gentle. Chaos reigned in the depths, each animal fighting desperately for its survival. The dark depths claimed the lives it wanted. It had claimed his father, and he had learned that day that the water could never be trusted.

No one could be trusted. No one but his twin brother and mother.

He scowled. His father had summoned hunters, proud and trained men. He summoned only memories best left behind.

He couldn't leave them behind. He simply couldn't move on.

His father had noticed this weakness, and the boy had been forced to endure another lecture. "If you cannot leave the past behind," his father had told him sternly, "then you will forever be haunted by your ghosts and demons." The boy gazed down at the conch he held tightly in his hand. He wanted to throw it into the water, to allow the ocean to take the pain with it, but he couldn't. He couldn't let go of the past, the pain.

Like the crescent moon, the pain the conch held would vanish into the dark and then grow anew. The pain never ended. It couldn't end. No one could let go of the pain.

His father's wisdom was worthless.

"Kyrilu!" The desperate cry shattered his bitter thoughts. He whirled around and was greeted by the sight of his mother sprinting towards him. As she grew closer, she seemed to fly on wings of terror. Fear crawled on spindly legs up his spine, and the sun's hostile heat was forgotten as the chill of terror set in. His heart clenched, and his stomach churned uncertainly.

Kyrilu's legs began to move of their own accord, and he found himself soaring above the sand in an attempt to intercept his mother's frantic flight. "Mother? What's wrong?" She came to a halt before him, gasping for air.

"It's your brother, Mstislav! His boat has been wrecked!" Fresh tears raced down her cheeks as she spoke. "He's dead, Kyrilu! Your brother is dead!"

Kyrilu's heart seemed to stop beating. The world seemed to freeze as he took in those cursed words. When the world began to move again, his mother's sobs clawed at his heart. His legs shook before collapsing beneath him, and he fell to the ground. He thought he had shed all his tears a long time ago, but it seemed that they had just been lurking behind his eyes, waiting for the right moment.

As the sand turned brown where his tears fell, Kyrilu pounded the ground with his fist. "No! No! No! No!" He couldn't say anything else. There was nothing else to say.

And as he wept, Kyrilu realized something. Mstislav's tragic death would forever change his life, but the rest of the world would feel nothing for the boy they had not even met.

His father had been right. He would forever be haunted by the ghosts and demons he couldn't leave behind, and no one else would know the pain that he would feel for all eternity.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

NIGHTWALKER (300 words)

One of her hobbies was night walking and often during the week, late in the evening she would set off dressed for a hike. I wasn't that worried about her as she looked quite formidable, a figure of strength and capability in her knee length waterproof overcoat and hat with its own guttering for rainstorms. I watched her as the scurry of her feet took her up the hill, her scarf waving in the breeze. Behind her the moon stood full and bright, unblinking. She looked happy as though she had reached where she wanted to be, like in a warm embrace. At the top she paused, hovering her shoes an inch above the pavement, considering each area of ground below, savouring every step.

While I was spending the hours reading and watching TV, with the rain lashing on the window she would be out pacing the streets. Later I would be closing the house, turning off lights and pulling the curtains to. and would stare out at the night and she'd be in it, in its depths.

She wouldn't come back for many hours and usually return in the middle of the night at four o clock. She would come in quietly enough, but then would rattle around in the kitchen jangling cutlery and putting away crockery. I would be awake with the moonlight on my face, just listening. The kettle would boil, a teaspoon would clink and then her footsteps would bump up the stairs.

Sometimes I would call across the hall 'Did you have a good walk?'

'Yes,' she'd shout back,

'No problems then?'

'No of course not,' she'd say defensively.

'Good, goodnight then,'

'Good night dear. Sorry if I woke you.' By that time I was fast asleep, I just wanted to know she was safe.


message 11: by Joy (new)

Joy Crain | 41 comments Promise Under The Moon
by Joy


"I wish you didn't have to go."

Even though Molly whispered the words, David heard her loud and clear. He moved from his place next to her to behind her and placed both his hands on her shaking shoulders. Molly reacted to his touch by leaning in closer to his chest and sighing, struggling not to cry.

Enough tears had already been shed and she was fairly certain more would follow in the days to come. David's eyes shut as he took in a deep breath of the salty ocean air and listened to the waves crashing on shore.

This was his last night home before deployment and he was determined to spend every last second of it with his beloved Molly. A sharp pain pierced his chest at the thought of leaving for Iraq in the morning. Who knew what awaited him there. But there was one thing for certain, he did know who would wait for him to come back home. Molly Taylor.

Molly was so close she could feel David breathing deeply on her neck, gently nuzzling his nose in her hair. She wished that this moment would never end. Just the two of them alone on the pier overlooking the ocean at night. This spot had been their favorite place to hide away from the world since they were teenagers and it held several dear memories in her heart.

David bent his head toward her ear. "I'll come back. I promise."

The words were meant to soothe her but Molly felt no comfort in them. There was no certainty that he would come home and she knew that. Iraq had claimed many lives over the years, including her older brother's and she had suffered through that for years. David had been a comfort when Charles had died and now he was leaving. The thought of losing him too was almost unbearable and it made Molly feel sick and alone. Hurting with nothing to comfort her.

She couldn't lose David. Not to war; not ever. Losing him would mean losing a big chuck of herself and she wasn't sure she would ever recover from that.

"I need you," she whispered, emotions filling her voice and making it crack. "I need you to stay with me."

David bit his lower lip. He wished he could but what he had done was now irreversible. There was no way around it. He was headed off to war and leaving her behind.

He stretched his arms around her and brought her closer to him, cuddling her like a wounded puppy and letting her cry into his shirt. "Shh...Molly, it's alright. I'm here." Now he was but tomorrow he would be gone and she would be left to face the world without him.

His eyes cast heavenward, staring at the stars and the moon. "Hey." He rubbed his hand down Molly's arm. "Look at me." Lifting her head off his chest, she wiped away the tears and stared into his eyes. He could see it. The brokenness of her spirit.
The sorrow that filled her.

He lifted his hand to the sky. "You see that?"

She followed his finger with his eyes and found the moon in the shape of a crescent, watching over them. "I see it," she whimpered.

"No matter where you are in the world the moon will always be the same." He turned his head to smile down at her. "Just like my love for you."

Molly's heart broke at his words and tears spooled down her face. David gently wiped them away before continuing. "Every night, Molly. Every night I want you to look up at the moon and think of me and I will be doing the same. Can you do that for me, Molly? Can you do that?" His words came out more of a plead than a question but she nodded her head anyway.

"Yes, every night."

David pulled her into a hug and then pressed his lips against hers, savoring her sweetness. This was the woman he needed to live for. This was the reason he needed to come home. He knew war held no guarantees but he needed to come home. To Molly.
...........................................................................................................................
Four years without leave seemed like an eternity for Molly who spent her days waiting for a letter to come from David. Their weekly letters had turned into monthly letters and after a while there were no letters at all.

Molly pushed herself back from the dining room table, twiddling her pen in her head and re-reading what she had already written. This was the third letter in the past three weeks and so far David hadn't sent her only one back in at least two months.

Molly let the pen drop from her hand to the table, trying to control her aching heart. She needed to get out. The house was quiet and still offering no solace. She needed air. She needed to breathe.

She needed David.

Molly grabbed her bag from the living room and exited her house, walking briskly toward the ocean to the one place that she felt whole again. The moment she stepped foot onto the pier, her lungs were able to breathe smoothly again. Even though he wasn't there she could still feel David's presence in the air.

Slowly she walked to the edge of the pier and sat, daggling her legs off the edge and finding some kind of comfort with the wave foaming at the beach. Her mind drifted back to David and his promise of one day coming home. She let her eyes shut and hugged herself trying to copy how it felt to be wrapped in David's embrace again, trying to feel what it was to be loved again.

The clomping of footsteps behind her brought Molly out of her trance. Someone was behind her, no doubt to enjoy the view. She forced back her tears and wiped her face clear, breathing slowly and deeply, focusing on sun slowly setting in the horizon, casting a glow upon the water.

"Molly."

Now she was just imagining things. Molly bit her lower lip and shut her eyes again. She could have sworn she had heard David's voice but that was impossible.

"Molly."

There it was again. Loud and clear.

Molly eyes re-opened. Maybe David was the person behind her but that was impossible and she wasn't about to turn around only to be disappointed when it wasn't him.

"Molly, turn around."

The voice was not in her head. It was coming from behind her. Molly head whirled around and her mouth gaped open. There, standing before her in his army uniform was Daniel, his own tears in his eyes.

She immediately brought herself to her feet and ran as fast as she could into him, hugging him and kissing him with everything she had. David held her close to him and promised himself he would never let her go again.

"David," she whimpered.

"Molly," he whispered.

She pulled away from him and stared deep into his eyes. "You're here. How are you here? I...I didn't get a letter saying that you were coming home."

His grin broadened to take up his entire face. "Surprise!"

Molly heart burst as she kissed him once more. "Never leave me," she whispered.

David shook his head. "Never again."


message 12: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Gosh darn it, Joy! Your story is so sad, like all my stories are, and yet so freaking happy at the same time. It's a depressing mixture of conflicting emotions, but it impacts us all in a good way. Iraq can be brutal, though. This really strikes me as personal. I'm actually on vacation in Iraq right now, near Iraq's northeast border with Iran. It can suck here sometimes, and it can be scary here. Heck, I was once in a city 30 minutes away from ISIS for a WEEK. I was freaked out every night. I really like what you did with this prompt, and I can't wait to see more!


message 13: by Joy (new)

Joy Crain | 41 comments @Gashbeen

Thank you so much for your review and I'm glad that you liked my story. I'm grooming myself to become a full-fledged author one day so your comment is really encouraging. Yes, my stories tend to deal with love and loss, (including the novel I am currently working on) but I find that although it's somewhat sad, it is relatable. I love taping into human emotions to write and in my stories, one can always count on a satisfying 'happily ever after.'

Might I suggest Paris the next time you go on vacation?


message 14: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Title: My Last Dare
Word Count : 1,718

They call it God’s thumbnail. I never really got it, I mean, that’s isn’t what I see. I see the moon. It’s just, the moon waxing and waning, like always. But I guess some people have to see God in everything to feel alive or something. I don’t know. People are weird.
I was weird, too. I liked video games and fake lightsaber fights with my buddies. I loved to geek out about sci-fi TV shows and talk big liked I’d banged lots of hot chicks in high school. Which I didn’t. I only had one girlfriend and she broke up with me because she said I was a horrible kisser. I’m sure she was right. Girls are complicated.
My favorite thing to do with my buddies was tell scary stories late at night in the abandoned parking lot down the street from my house. We would take turns, trying to one-up each other but usually ending on a funny note or with something so ridiculously grotesque that we were laughing anyway.
Then the dares started.

Shaun was the first to take a dare. Arty dared him to run out to the streetlight by the main drag and moon the next car that came by. He did it, too, and when the car slammed on brakes and backed up like the dude driving was gonna jump out and kick our asses, we all ran off into the night, laughing and thumping Shaun on the back.
After that it became a regular thing. We’d get together every Saturday night, the three of us, tell some stories, then someone would make a dare. We decided one dare a week would be enough in case they eventually became complicated or time consuming ordeals. It was fun for a while until I took a dare that didn’t turn out like the others. My last dare.

Arty was telling the story about the girl who was dared to put a knife on the grave plot. It wasn’t that scary of a story for guys our age, but it was a well-known story.
“She supposedly stabbed her own dress when she stuck the knife in the ground and when she went to leave, she couldn’t move. She was convinced that something was reaching up from the grave and keeping her there. And she died of fright. They found her dead body the next morning.” Arty was trying to do this low, spooky voice but honestly, he wasn’t much of a story teller. He had a bad habit of giving away too much in the beginning so there were no real surprises.
Shaun started yawning and Arty punched him in the shoulder. I was already laughing by the time they starting wrestling around on the broken pavement. “Come on Arty, what do you expect? That story sucked ass.”

“Fine then,” Arty huffed as he gave Shaun one last shove and got to his feet. “You do it. Go stab a grave with a knife and come back.”
“Too easy!” Shaun laughed.
“It has to be that old graveyard by the bridge, the one no one is buried in anymore,” Arty said. We knew exactly which one he meant. There were a lot of graveyards surrounding the town but this one was famous for being decrepit and in need of a serious mowing. Not only was the grass as high as my chest, but the headstones were all broken and falling to pieces. It was a creepy place to walk by at night, especially with the shadows from cars going over the bridge nearby falling on it.
It was a perfect, spooky dare and I was so up for it.

“Hell yeah, I’ll do it!” I exclaimed, standing up tall, searching my pockets for my Swiss Army knife that my dad gave me before he skipped town. But of course, I’d left the damn thing at home.
“Great, what am I supposed to use? I’m not going back home to get it.”
Shaun pulled a Bic pen from his pocket and shoved it under my nose. “Here, use this.”
“It’s not a knife!”
“So what?”
“So, a knife is cooler and goes with the story.”
“It doesn’t matter what it is,” Arty said. “As long as you walk all the way there alone, find a grave in the middle of the graveyard, stick it in the ground firmly, and walk all the way back, it’s fine. It isn’t the tool, man, it’s the idea of the thing. Just do it, you puss. Or are you looking for an excuse to back out?”

That settled it. I shoved that crappy pen in my back pocket, saluted them goodbye, and started off before they could question the size of my balls or something. The crescent moon was nice and clear in the sky as I walked across railroad tracks and down back alleys towards the bridge leading out of town. Dogs barked and parents smacked their kids around behind closed doors but I was all in my head, thinking about what I was gonna dare Arty to do the next weekend. I was already hatching out a plan involving snakes, which he’s terrified of. I could just see him screaming like a girl if I whipped one out in front of him. But who did I know that had a pet snake or where could I catch one?

Before I knew it, I was outside that warped metal gate of the graveyard. See, most graveyards have a name but this old piece of crap doesn’t. Nobody in town even knows who is buried here anymore. You sure as hell can’t read the headstones, even though I tried as I easily hopped the gate and strolled off towards what I guessed to be the center of the place.
I tripped over a lot of crap in the dark. Stupid grass was so tall that it was really hard to even tell what my toes were slamming into before I was sprawling forward and trying to catch myself. Sometimes I did, sometimes I hit the ground. My knee slammed into a chunk of rock or something at one point and cut my jeans open. Great. Now I would have to get a tetanus shot.
By the time I got far enough in to a point I think is the center, I was cursing and limping a little. My stupid leg hurt, the dark was so complete here that the passing headlights could barely shine through, and I had no idea what time it was because I left my damn phone at Shaun’s house earlier. I was ready to get out of there.

I picked what’s left of a headstone to stab my pen in front of. It looked like there used to be a marble angel or something resting on this one but somebody smashed it so it only had half a face and one wing. Maybe some kids years ago doing a stupid dare like me. After shoving the knife in the ground, which isn’t hard since it rained recently, I stood there and wondered at the truth of that old story. I mean, how dumb can a chick be to not realize she stabbed her own dress to the ground? My throbbing knee reminded me that I needed to get out of there and back to the boys so I could boast a little, get some sympathy for my knee, then drag my ass home to try to explain it to my mom. Hopefully, she’d be three sheets to the wind by now and wouldn’t even notice.

It’s when I was turning that I heard the noise. It sounded like something moving through the grass but a second after I hear it, a car goes bumping over the bridge, the sound echoing out here. I couldn’t tell where the sound I just heard came from. Shrugging it off, I started limping back the way I came. At least, I think it’s the way I came, I was heading towards the stupid bridge so it must be right.
I was grabbed from behind. Something yanked the back of my shirt so hard, I fell on my back without my knees even bending. My head smacked the angel on the headstone and I saw stars, my body going limp, my arms and legs sprawled out on the ground. Then I saw the real stars above me and that yellow crescent moon just hanging there. Like it was winking at me.
I heard snarls and smelled blood. Something was ripping my chest apart. I couldn’t move. I could only lie there and stare at the sky above me. I still don’t know if I was already dead and just hadn’t left my body yet or if when I hit my head, I crushed some part of my brain that kept me from feeling and moving. All I know is that I was just lying there as the thing started eating me.

Even now I don’t know what it was. A dog? A coyote? A fricking werewolf? Some kind of rabid beast? It doesn’t really matter now. All I know is that I’m here in this crappy graveyard and I can never leave. I had to watch my friends find my body the next day. It didn’t take me long to realize that they couldn’t hear or see me. Once they spotted me, Shaun started puking his guts out. I got to hear Arty scream like a girl after all.
They didn’t bury what was left of me here but apparently that doesn’t matter. I’m stuck here. I’m not alone, but the others are hardly worth mentioning. Most of them have gone kind of crazy from being here so long. They tell stories about how the ground here is cursed and monsters stalk around on the full moon. They’re as bad as me and the boys were telling our tales on Saturday nights. I haven’t seen any monsters.

But on nights when the crescent moon shines clearly with no clouds obstructing the view, I sometimes hear snarls and throaty growls around that grave with the angel on the headstone. Not that I hang around long enough to find out what is making the noises. I learned my lesson the last time, thanks.


message 15: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Gashbeen wrote: "Of Ghosts and Demons

By Gashbeen Saeed


A child knelt on the sand, examining a fragile shell with unconcealed curiosity. The pale conch glowed like a crescent moon as he held it up to the sun. He..."


Wow, such a sad story. Heart wrenching and well written.


message 16: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Leigh wrote: "NIGHTWALKER (300 words)

One of her hobbies was night walking and often during the week, late in the evening she would set off dressed for a hike. I wasn't that worried about her as she looked quit..."


Reminds me of the nightly walks I used to take, even in the rain. The night was quiet and peaceful and all mine. Nice story!


message 17: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Joy wrote: "Promise Under The Moon
by Joy


"I wish you didn't have to go."

Even though Molly whispered the words, David heard her loud and clear. He moved from his place next to her to behind her and placed..."


Such a sad and touching story. I could really feel her loneliness when he was gone and the joy of his return. Great job!


message 18: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Chunky Puffs
GENRE: Creature Horror
WORD COUNT: 1,523
RATING: PG-13 for bloody violence, sexual jokes, and coarse language




That Crescent Moon Party was some badass shit. Lots of drinking, lots of dancing, lots of fucking, and not one werewolf in sight. And then Nick Savage wondered why the hell he was tied to a barbecue rack out on the beaches with a spitfire underneath him. He wondered why the hell he had a golden delicious apple in his mouth like a ball gag. The biggest question of all was why were two chubby cannibals with afro hair and grass skirts looking on at him with the most romantic eyes. They made Nick shiver like a naked Eskimo when they licked their fat lips.

In the end, none of those questions mattered to Nick. All he had to do was get the hell out of this contraption before daybreak. With his vampire fangs, he chewed through the apple and swallowed it whole, giving off an obnoxious burp after enjoying his snack. He looked at the confused cannibals with a crazy smile and said, “Well, you know what they say: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. So as soon as the two of you are done checking each other’s prostates, I’d like it if you’d untie me.”

The cannibal on the left started screaming in a tribal language while his friend was holding him back. During their petty argument, Nick could hear them call each other Soa and Tufu. He laughed like an evil clown while the one called Soa angrily asked, “What’s so funny, you pathetic little creature?!”

“Nothing, nothing at all,” said Nick. “I just didn’t think my night was end with me getting eaten alive by two idiots named Soda and Tofu. I suppose that can’t be worse than Gwyneth Paltrow naming her daughter Apple, but hey, who am I to judge?”

Soa was even more aggressive with his thrashing and tribal screaming, but Tufu was there to hold him back. As soon as Soa calmed down, his cohort pulled him aside and the two of them talked in their native language out of ear shot of Nick.

“Hey, retards!” Nick shouted. “If you’re going to try and eat me, do it already! I have a nice juicy ass that you could nibble on. Or if you’d like an even bigger slice of meat, flip me over and I’ll be happy to help.”

Soa and Tufu came back with a gigantic pot of brown gravy with a ladle inside. While Soa was rubbing his hands together and smiling deviously, his friend drizzled the brown sauce all over Nick’s bare chest.

“Wow, that looks appetizing,” said Nick. “You know, if you feed me some Taco Bell, I could do the same thing to the two of you in about half an hour.”

Tufu slammed the pot of gravy down on the sand and pinched Nick’s cheeks together with his massive thumb and fingers. “You want to be a smart ass, little man?” said Tufu. “Keep talking. We’re still going to devour every square inch of your pathetic little body!”

“Every square inch?” asked Nick sarcastically. “Including…you know…those places? This wasn’t exactly how I envisioned getting laid tonight, but if you two want to lose your virginities that bad, I guess there’s nothing I can do.”

Tufu raised his meaty fist in the air and brought it down upon Nick’s mouth. The vampire spit out a fountain of blood in his captor’s face. The two cannibals grinned evilly at their prey while Soa said, “I think our meat needs to be tenderized. We’ll see how tough he really is. Punch him again! Knock those disgusting fangs out of his smart little mouth!”

The second time Tufu went for a punch to the mouth, Nick chewed through the cannibal’s hand and started drinking his blood. While Tufu screamed, Soa tried to pry the vampire’s fangs off of his cohort’s hand. Instead of releasing his alligator grip, Nick took one last bite at his captor’s wrist and swallowed the hand whole. Tufu fell backwards and rolled around in pain while blood squirted from his stump like a volcano.

While Soa knelt beside his friend to try and stop the rapid bleeding, Nick thrashed and struggled in his bonds. He could feel the ropes coming slowly apart with every jerk and twist. Tufu shouted at his partner, “Never mind me! The little bastard is trying to escape!”

Soa looked into Nick’s eyes with fire, fury, and tightly clenched teeth. As the vampire wriggled around, the cannibal picked an axe off the ground and slowly marched toward his victim. Soa drooled so much that he was aggravating the fire underneath his victim. Nick hollered as the rising flames scorched his bare back and burned holes in his blue jeans. The tribal warrior raised his axe and roared like a lion as he brought it down for one death blow to the gut.

While the rising flames turned Nick’s back crispy, they also weakened his bindings. As the axe came down, the vampire hastily brought his now liberated knee into Soa’s hand and caused him to drop the blade into the fire. While Nick’s back was completely blistered and red, the last few ropes were weak enough to break easily. He jumped off the barbecue rack and got in a rapid fist fight with Soa.

The two warriors smashed each other in the face so many times that they bled and bruised instantly. Fists turned to elbows. Elbows turned to knees. All eight limbs were being used to smash the shit out of each other and the resulting bursts of blood built up the fire even more.

The tickle of fire caused Nick to jump into Soa’s arms. Though slightly dizzy, the cannibal looked bloodily and romantically into his victim’s eyes. Nick looked at his tormentor the same way. When both men leaned in to take a bite, it was the vampire who clutched a hold of the cannibal’s jugular vein and drank blood like he was doing a keg challenge at a frat party. Soa’s body became as limp as a noodle, thus signifying his death.

After treating his victim’s blood like an open bar, Nick stumbled around clutching his chest while saying, “I don’t feel so good. I think I’m going to…I think…Jesus Christ…” He coughed violently before dropping to his knees and eventually plopping down on the sand chest first. The coughing became softer until he could no longer move.

Tufu, who had scrambled off to the side with a pile of leaves covering his stump, had finally gotten his bleeding under control to where he was no longer screaming in pain. He looked down at the lifeless Nick Savage with heavy breathing and clenched teeth. Little by little, he trudged over to the corpse while on his knees and started ranting under his breath.

“What’s wrong, little man?” said the last remaining cannibal. “Did you drink too much? Did you have a heart attack? That sucks for you. Too bad there’s nobody out here to give you CPR. I’d give it to you, but your mouth smells like shit and I don’t want to taste it. If you want a kiss so badly, give it to one of your gothic vampire boyfriends!”

Nick began to stir ever so slowly as he reached his hand for his chest once again. “Please…take me to the hospital. I’m having a heart attack. I’m dying!”

“Oh, you’re going to die alright. There may be a crescent moon out tonight, but that doesn’t mean I’m going home hungry. Crescent Moon Party? How insulting is that? We would have hunted your kind down no matter what the skies forecasted!”

The vampire breathed weakly and looked at Tufu with a confused expression. “You’re…you’re a werewolf?”

“Surprise, surprise, little man!” said Tufu with a hearty chuckle. “Just because I don’t walk around with fur everywhere, doesn’t mean I can’t chow down on your disgusting body anytime I want. I’m sick of waiting around for a full moon! If Mother Nature doesn’t give me what I want, I’ll just take it from her filthy, rotting hands!”

A tired smile formed across Nick’s face as he said, “Thank you, Tofu. Thank you…for giving me Soda as a delicious meal…and for showing everybody here what idiots you werewolves really are. Crescent Moon Party? Give me a fucking break. We’re not scared of you. On the contrary…” The suddenly healthy vampire floated in the air and aligned his feet with the sand to stand upright. “You should be scared of us!”

Tufu looked around in the fiery light and saw that Nick’s vampire friends were surrounding him in a circle. The trench-coat donning creatures of the night licked their lips and bore their fangs. Some of them started touching their own bodies in a sexual manner to signify how hungry for blood they really were. A fat-ass like Tufu would feed them well.

“No…no, no, no! This is ridiculous! I’ve been set up!” shouted the fearful werewolf.

“You’ve been set up alright, Chunky Puff. Let me ask you a question: who’s the real cannibal around here? Creatures of the night, dinner is served!”


message 19: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Trust me, Joy, I'd love to go to Paris. I only came to Iraq on vacation to visit my relatives. It's been a lot of fun, though!


message 20: by Joy (new)

Joy Crain | 41 comments Oh, okay. That makes a lot more sense now. Lol.


message 21: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments The weirdest thing is, everyone's so casual about ISIS. "Oh, by the way, ISIS is about 30 minutes from here." "WHAT?!" "Yeah, just ignore them." It's so weird.


message 22: by Joy (new)

Joy Crain | 41 comments Well, you'll survive. Have a safe vacation and good trip back.


message 23: by Daniel J. (last edited Jul 07, 2016 08:51AM) (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 139 comments Gashbeen: The last comment I gave you - several months ago - was to control your descriptive imagery, and you did that here. I really like this piece; the two opening paragraphs are a great introduction to the story. Also, I feel like you have a nice set up for a longer story, if that's your intention. My only suggestion: it would benefit the reader if the Slavic history (or wherever the names come from; my Google search of Kyrilu offered nothing) was implied earlier in the piece. If you didn't intend to reference anything, then I change my suggestion to a little more description of the world Kyrilu lives in. Either or, this is a wonderful story.

Leigh : This is a great little character study. The information the narrator gives us is just enough to keep the reader wondering by the end of the piece (and I am still wondering about her). My only - very nitpicky - critique is: the phrase "return in the middle of the night at four o clock." feels a little redundant, and saying she returned in either "the middle of the night" or "at four o'clock" would improve this already intriguing piece.

Will read and over analyze the other entries later.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Moondrop by: Melissa Andres
Feedback Always Welcome!
Approximately: 1,055 words

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Jump.”

Rigel held tight to the rim of the crater. “That was a close one.”

Vega laughed. “One of these days you’re not going to jump far enough and a crater’s going to swallow you up.”

“Swallow you up whole.” Charon licked her lips, looking back toward the compound. “Shouldn’t we be getting back now? Mom will be mad if we’re late for supper again.”

“Don’t be such a goody-two-shoes.” Rigel scolded his sister as he bounded from the shallow hole. “Gee whiz.”

Looking down at her bare feet, Charon shifted her weight from leg to leg.

Vega laughed again. “You have a lot of things to learn.” She rolled her green eyes.

“I’ve learned lots of stuff since we moved to the Moon Colony. You guys shut up.” She stuffed her thumb into her mouth and shuffled off through the sand.

“Maybe we were a little rough on her. What if she tells on us?”

“Get real, Rigel. Charon’s done it too. She won’t tell.” Vega puffed out her budding chest, exuding confidence.

“If you say so.” Rigel shrugged at his older sister’s hopeful prediction.


Moon colonization had been available for years but very few people could afford the opportunity. Fewer people had the desire to leave their families and friends, homes, pets and/or daily, comfortable, routine lives.


The Deimas family happily co-existed on the moon with only two other families. The Bellatrix’s had four children. The Polaris family boasted six. Vega, Rigel and Charon rarely saw or played with their neighbors. Those moon kids kept to themselves or close to their parents.

“You know, I was wondering about the question she asked,” Rigel said as he and Vega walked home.

“Who?”

“Charon, silly. She asked why the other kids don’t play with us. I didn’t know what to say and you just ignored her. Why?”

“I ignored her because I didn’t want to worry her. You know how she is.”

“No, I mean, why don’t the other kids play with us?”

Vega stopped and looked at her brother. He seemed so small, so innocent, so emotionally hurt.

“I think they’re scared.”

“Scared? Why would they be scared of us?”

“Not of us, goofball. They’re scared of living on the moon. They’re scared of the unknown. They’re scared of the mights.”

“What’s ‘the mights’?” Rigel’s eyes darted from one crater to the next and toward dark shadows. He trembled.

“The Bellatrix’s and the Polaris’ are scared of things that might happen but it’s the parents mainly.”

“Why do you say that?” Rigel scratched his head.

“’Cause parents influence kids. Our decisions. Our way of thinking, right?” Vega grabbed her brother’s hand, saving him from another hungry crater.

“I guess.” Confusion creased Rigel’s forehead. “But sometimes when Mom and Dad say not to do something it makes me want to do it anyway.”

“I know. You’re dangerous.”

The pair laughed as they sneaked into the back door and washed up for their evening meal.


“Charon, is everything okay? You seem awfully quiet.” Mom spooned a mound of mashed potatoes onto her youngest daughter’s plate.

“Yes, ma’am.” She lied and cut her eyes toward her brother.

“I’m starving.” Rigel reached for a bread roll.

“Everything looks delicious, honey.” Dad patted Mom on the bottom as she served the pot roast.

“Don’t forget to talk to the children, dear.” Mom kissed him on the cheek.

“’Bout what?” Vega mumbled around a mouthful of green peas.

“I was talking to Mr. Bellatrix today and he reminded me about the Phase Change.”

“It’s very dangerous; the Crescent,” Mom announced.

“Yes. As of tomorrow you’ll need to play a little closer to home so there will be no fear of anyone falling off the moon.”

Rigel laughed.

Charon gasped.

Vega sat in silence.

“This is no laughing matter, son. Promise me you won’t go past the perimeter fence.”

“For how long?”

“I’ll let you know. Now promise.”

“Oh, Dad, c’mon.”

“Promise.”

“Okay. I promise.” Rigel placed a napkin in his lap, hiding his crossed fingers.


Early the next morning, Rigel slipped from his sleeping quarters and padded his way to Vega’s room. “Let’s go jump.”

Wiping sleep from her eyes with one hand, Vega smoothed down her tousled hair with the other. “But Dad said …”

“Where’s your sense of adventure? Where’s your dangerous side? Are you gonna be a goody-goody like Charon too?”

Sitting up, Vega crinkled her nose. “Umm, no, but I …”

“What good is living on the moon if we can’t explore it; if we can’t have fun?”

“That’s true.” Vega threw off her blankets, shoved her feet into slippers and followed Rigel down the hall.

Charon, hand over her mouth, watched from her doorway with a heavy heart.


“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Jump.”

Vega giggled.

Rigel landed just beyond the crater, tucked his arms close to his body and rolled. He giggled. “Your turn.”

Bending forward slightly, Vega stretched her legs and sprinted toward the crater. At the last possible moment, she leaped. Her right foot banged on the edge of the far rim and she fell, flat on her face.

“How are you going to explain that to Mom?” Charon asked.

Vega sat up, blood oozing from her cheek.

“What are you doing here?” Rigel shouted. “It’s too dangerous for you here.”

“I’m not a goody-goody. I can be just as dangerous as you. I’ll prove it.”

“What about the Crescent?” Rigel asked.

“What about it?” Anger rose in Charon’s baby face.

Suddenly, a dark shadow crossed over the trio. The moon’s surface began to shake. Pebbles danced in the sand, falling into surrounding crevices.

“The Crescent! It’s starting!” Vega screamed and reached out for her sister.

“Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Vega. Rigel. Help me!”

Charon Deimas clung to the bottom point of the crescent. Her heart pounded in her ears. Sweat glistened on her upper lip.

“Hold on, Charon,” Rigel shouted. He stretched his fingers, trying to capture her hand.

“I don’t like this game,” she cried. “We should have listened to Mom. We should have listened to Dad.”

“We’ll get help. Hold on.” Tears flowed down Vega’s face.

“It’s … too … dangerous.” Charon’s voice became fainter and fainter as she dropped from the moon and floated out of sight.


message 25: by Daniel J. (new)

Daniel J. Nickolas (danieljnickolas) | 139 comments Joy: great piece. May I suggest: the last paragraph before the time elapse is a little too informative. “This was the reason he needed to come home. He knew war held no guarantees but he needed to come home. To Molly.” I feel as though you have already said this indirectly with what is seen of Molly’s and David’s relationship; I believe you could be a little more poetic here – if you wanted to keep this section – because everything that is expressively said here, has been said in the rest of the story. Not to sound cliché, but the reader needs to see David’s reaction here, rather than have it explained. Otherwise, I think this is a wonderful piece. Also, the opening to part two “Four years without leave seemed like an eternity for Molly who spent her days waiting for a letter to come from David. Their weekly letters had turned into monthly letters and after a while there were no letters at all.” Is simply beautiful.


message 26: by Joy (new)

Joy Crain | 41 comments Thank you for your comment, any constructive criticism is appreciated.


message 27: by Marie (last edited Jul 07, 2016 05:19PM) (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Chunky Puffs
GENRE: Creature Horror
WORD COUNT: 1,523
RATING: PG-13 for bloody violence, sexual jokes, and coarse language



A vampire that eats fruits and meat? That's different! Crazy story, man. Crazy funny!


message 28: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments Crazy is the only way I do things, Marie-Pie. Thanks for the wonderful feedback. :)


message 29: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Melissa wrote: "Moondrop by: Melissa Andres
Feedback Always Welcome!
Approximately: 1,055 words

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Jump.”

Rigel held tight to the rim of the crater. “That was a close one.”

Vega laughed...."


Wow, a nice piece of fantasy! Kids always have to challenge their parents and make their own mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are deadly.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Marie wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Moondrop by: Melissa Andres
Feedback Always Welcome!
Approximately: 1,055 words

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Jump.”

Rigel held tight to the rim of the crater. “That was a close one...."


Thank you, Marie! I appreciate you reading and commenting. Glad you liked it. I've had a lot of family issues going on lately so I haven't been able to read everything thoroughly and comment like I would like. Hopefully I will be able to soon!


message 31: by Sofia (last edited Jul 08, 2016 02:34PM) (new)

Sofia | 15 comments The Travesty of Small Decisions
By Sofia Spencer
Feedback welcome and greatly appreciated-especially since this is a very short piece for me

There are two types of people: people who drink milk, and people who drink water. There seems to be little in between.

Milk drinkers are heartier, bigger boned on occasion, and always full of life. Many times they are trying to strengthen their bones, as they attempt to mend the fissures and cracks that threaten to crush their foundation. Maybe one day they'll succeed.

Water drinkers, like my family, are weaker. They refuse to acknowledge anything strong: fear, weakness, and often love. They believe that people are whole and untethered; that the damage we accumulate is a figment of the imagination that no pieces are missing. This is a facade, so they choose to forget the past and embrace the future. However, while they are big believers in moving on, they never do, as they do not respect the importance of closure.

I like to think that I am one of the rare in between, a water drinker with the tendencies of a milk monger. I understand both types of people; I see my family fall apart, because the water is not strong enough to soothe their wounds. In contrast, I see myself shiver on my foundation, the water weakening its structure every passing day. Eroding my strength to continue.

I have discovered that the world lacks simple truths, but this is one of them: every single person is damaged. It doesn't matter if you live in the biggest mansion or the smallest hovel, we have all endured pain. That's part of my frustration you see, most of the water drinkers I know are well off people who believe money prevents sadness. As a little girl in a nice house my hurts were never acknowledged, bullying friends and mealy school lunches deemed too pathetic over the eternal cups of water. As I grew older, I realized that the clean cups of water were laced with dirty secrets, secrets that rivaled arsenic in their potency. Grandpa was sick with lung cancer. Sister cut herself at night. Mom was a closet dictator. Dad dreamed of leaving during the witching hour. The secrets will be forgotten of course, eroded as life picks us off one by one.

My secrets are far less dramatic, though my still waters lack purity.
I am afraid of everything, most shamefully of my family falling apart.
I am a milk drinker clouding the water, a swan in a line of ducks, and a girl afraid to change. A still girl in a rushing world, frozen, in a world of gusty winds and raging seas, while the moon hides behind the clouds.

So if the world is composed of two kinds of people, where do I fit? Am I destined to ignore the past? Or possibly the future? Humanity is not predisposed to good, but our choices change our interpretation. After all, the feelings speak louder than words. Behind the fair facade, nothing is whole.

So perhaps we all have our shortcomings, milk is thicker than water, and water runs through our veins. I am not a girl with cracks toppling the foundation or secrets eroding my happiness. I am just damaged. There are pieces missing. Most importantly, there is no reason to find them. After all, a crescent moon does not mourn the suns shadow. One day all of our hurts will be forgotten, and out of their ashes a third group may emerge. So, perhaps one day there will be a third group of people, people who drink all beverages, simply because they are thirsty.


message 32: by Grace (new)

Grace Crandall | 299 comments Title: Son of Sun, Son of Moon
By: Grace Crandall
800+ words
feedback and suggestions more than welcome! :)


I didn’t know if I liked the thing that was hanging in the sky--sharp and silver and curved like a harvest sickle. Like a Death’s Reaper, poised to strike; a great threat of judgement suspended indefinitely over the earth.
“That way--he went that way!” someone below me shouted. Swift feet rustled through dead leaves as the figures sped past. High above my hunters, I still shifted on the tree branch that held me--making myself small behind it in case searching eyes decided to look upward.
I traced the line of my teeth with my tongue, feeling the sharp set of ridges that protruded--like a wolf’s teeth, or a viper’s, and wondered if I’d done the right thing.
In my hunter’s eyes, I’d done the unthinkable--the unforgivable, even. I’d betrayed my own kind.
They--the humans--the children of the sun--had done nothing to deserve my loyalty. And I, a son of the moon and the night--I had denied my father. For them.
I belonged to no one now.
Unthinkable, unforgivable, foolish as it may have been, I couldn’t regret what I’d done. They had looked so helpless--caught, caged, waiting to be fed upon. They are not mere animals, the humans; not mere food. They were what I had been, once; and it had hurt to see them trapped and frightened. Hurt worse that I was what they were frightened of.
So I’d set them free.
I’d set myself free as well. Free from home, and family, and a place in the world. Free to run, and free to die.
I stared at the moon. His pale light loved me no longer, and I wondered what lay in the dark beyond--perhaps there was something out there who would claim me now; something better, or perhaps something worse. Something to hope for, or something to fear, I did not know--but there had to be something.
I shrank against my branch as the footsteps came again, disturbing the rest of the leaf-corpses as the leaf-ghosts made the branches tremble in the still and silent dark.
But no, not silent, I realized; someone was talking--or crying?
Leaning down to see, I realized it was both. She was crying. He was talking--not to her, but to the one that walked beside him.
“At least we’ve got one of them back.” he pointed out, attempting optimism. The woman, slung across his shoulders and tied tightly, tried to elbow him in the face. Sobbing with panic and weariness, her struggles were useless in setting herself free, though they did distract the man from whatever he planned to say next--forcing him to focus instead on walking straight.
Sliding silently to my feet, I balanced lightly on my branch, letting the solidity of it seep into my bones for a moment. They were directly below me now. I jumped.
The first of my former brothers crumpled beneath my sudden weight. I went for the dagger in his belt; surprised as he was, he tried to stop me. But I was faster; seizing it, I rolled off him just in time to meet the second of my brothers. He’d dropped his living burden to rush at me like a demon in the dark. I darted aside, jabbing the knife into his ribs--the unexpected sting of it was enough of a distraction to allow me to slip past and behind him to stand between my brothers and the woman.
She was worrying at her ropes, attempting to pry apart the knots with stubby peasant’s fingers. Our eyes met for a split second--the daughter of the sun, and the son of no one. She was not a young woman; more than likely she had sons as old as I. They would not be orphaned today; I tossed the knife to her, and she caught it awkwardly in her bound hands.
“Run.” she had a stout, practical face, without any trace of reckless heroism; run she would. Gratitude in her eyes, she began hacking away the bindings on her feet. I spun to face my brothers--my enemies.
The first of them, the one I’d leapt on, pulled a dead leaf from his hair and bared his teeth at me.
“Siding with the sun now, youngling?” he growled. “We’ll see you meet your master in the morning. We’ll see you burn.”
I heard the woman’s footsteps beating a fading retreat into the forest, and smiled even as I tensed my muscles to fight.
“Perhaps you shall.” I said.
I did not know who or what I belonged to now--not sun, not moon, not man.
I did not even know if I could survive until morning.
But amongst all the confusion, I know what is right--
And for now, that is enough.


message 33: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Title: The Nightmist
Author: Angie Pangan
Words: 2,978
Feedback always welcome

Part 1 of 2:

The ocean breeze swirled around Oseya as she crept along the town-fleet’s spindly masts. She pushed her hair out of her face impatiently, hoping that the black tendrils wouldn’t give her away to anyone below.

The ringing of children’s laughter mingled with the calls of fishermen as they pulled in their hauls, accompanied by the constant tinkling of the shell-bells marking the borders of each family’s ships. Men and women went about their business: cooking meals, mending shelters, sewing clothes, drying fish, and weaving baskets from dried seaweed and fish bones. This endless bustle inevitably filled the days when their town-fleet idled in open ocean; people liked to take advantage of their neighbors’ proximity and the increased mobility that accompanied the Stillness. Clumps of people nimbly crossed anchored planks from one flat-bottomed family-ship to another, exchanging goods, news, and gossip, and speculating when the trade ships would return and the town-fleet would set sail again.

Oseya hated the Stillness, almost as much as she hated the Sailing. Whether the town-fleet was in motion or idling, everything felt small and confined. She had known these same five hundred people her whole life, could call them each by name. And she wanted so much more. Open water stretched for miles in every direction, clear and unobstructed, yet she still felt trapped. She wanted to be out on the trade ships with her brothers, meeting new people, sailing above the waves, and possibly even setting foot on land. Oseya had only seen dry land from afar, as a dark line on the far horizon, hazy in the setting sun. She wondered what it would be like to walk without the rhythmic rocking of the waves beneath her feet, without the sharp salt of the sea tickling her nose.

Knowing full well that her father would never allow it, she sighed discontentedly.

Directly below her, a group of boys her age were sparring with wooden poles. She tried to imitate their stances and parries, fighting an imaginary opponent. She had felled two dozen imaginary pirates with her stolen pole when a particularly large wave crested directly beneath the ship. Having spent her entire life at sea, it normally wouldn’t have given Oseya any pause. But high in the rigging, in the midst of executing an unfamiliar maneuver, she lost her balance.

Her hands grasped desperately at empty air, but all the sails were rolled during Stillness and there was nothing to break her fall. She braced herself for impact with the hard deck.

Oseya might have broken her back in the fall if a ropy pair of arms hadn’t caught her. The young boy looked down at her bashfully, pink tinging the sun-kissed skin at his cheeks and the tips of his ears. “Are you alright, miss?”

She nodded dumbly.

“That’s Elder Metsi’s daughter!” someone nearby hissed.

The boy holding Oseya hastily set her down, eyes wide. Almost in one breath, every boy in the group took a step away from her, hands behind their backs, eyes averted.

All except Lanmé, who met her gaze with self-satisfied smirk. He wrapped a possessive arm around Oseya’s waist and led her away. At fifteen summers, he was only a year older than Oseya, but dwarfed her by more than a foot. “Let me walk you back to your family-ship, Oseya.” He made sure his voice rang out clearly enough for the others to hear him. “You really shouldn’t be away from your family, alone.”

She tried to shrug his arm off as they turned a corner. “Let go of me! I don’t want you to touch me.”

He pulled her even closer, practically lifting her off her feet until their noses were almost touching. “You had best get used to it. You won’t have much choice when we’re married.”

Oseya spat on his face. “I refuse to marry you.”

“It isn’t your decision.” He laughed. “The marriage contract is signed and will be final once you reach marrying age next year. Then you’ll be mine.” There was something dark in his eyes as he looked at her, something predatory in his grin. “Besides, no one will want you once they know you’re ruined goods.” Oseya struggled to free herself from him as he forced a kiss. She yanked at his hair, clawed at his back, and kicked her legs——anything to force him to release her.

A cough.

Lanmé quickly set her on her feet again and Oseya tried to get as far from his as she could on the narrow deck. She saw her sister-in-law, Ilma, watching them with mild amusement.

“Now, children, surely you’re old enough to know to save such affections for your marriage bed. In plain sight of the entire town-fleet is hardly the time or place. You’ll be able to get at it all you wish when the contract finalizes.” Ilma shooed Lanmé off with a laugh before wrapping a tender arm around Oseya’s shoulders. “I know he’s handsome, little one, but you must exercise more self-control than that. Your virtue is a treasure to bestow your husband on your wedding day. Neither your father nor Elder Tengem would approve of your behavior.”

Oseya said nothing.

“You’re very lucky, you know. I wish my father had matched me with someone from our own town-fleet. I would have loved to stay with my family, to have watched my nieces and nephews grow up. Now, all I can do is read the letters my sisters send.” She sounded wistful as she stroked her child-swollen belly. “I love your brother, and he’s so kind to me, but I wanted with all my heart to stay in my town-fleet. I even sent dozens of tar capsules onto the currents before my wedding, begging the spirits of the sea to let me stay.”

Oseya had floated a few of those herself. She’d often snuck to the edge of the town-fleet in the middle of the night, sealing the kelp envelopes with tar to keep the sea water out, throwing out the messages onto the swiftest current, and only returning to her bunk once it was far out of sight. But instead of begging the spirits to let her stay, she begged them to take her as far from her town-fleet as possible. To save her from a life as Lanmé’s wife.

The stories had always said the sea and her spirits were kind and benevolent, that they would grant the wishes of an earnest heart if they were entrusted to the care of the waves.

But Oseya had been sending out capsules for two years and no one had come to rescue her yet.

Screams shattered the air, starting from one end of the town-fleet and sweeping from across the family-ships.

“What’s going on?” Oseya got onto her toes to try to see what the commotion was about. She could see bobbing heads and flailing limbs, but little else. A shark maybe? But no shark would be a danger for anyone out of the water. Perhaps a sea serpent had be pulled aboard with the fish?

The cries became clearer. “Scavenger ship!”

Oseya felt her heart drop to her stomach. Heart pounding, she grabbed Ilma’s arm and dragged her the rest of the way to their family-ship and slammed the door shut behind them. “Barricade the door! A Scavenger ship has been spotted!”

Her other sisters-in-law scrambled to help and soon all of the furniture had been moved in front of the only entrance.

When she felt that the danger had been forestalled, Oseya pressed her face up to the nearest porthole and tried to catch a glimpse of the ship through the smudged glass. Reports of scavengers hitting other town-fleets had grown more frequent in the past years and was the reason that trade ships were no longer allowed to come near neighboring town-fleets. Instead, they would meet in neutral waters two or three days away from either fleet before exchanging their goods, and returning home. It was a development that only served to reinforce Oseya’s sense of confinement.

A shadow passed overhead and Oseya swore as the dark-hulled ship’s black sails and broad wings soared past. Ropes hung off her bow, swinging as black clothed figures climbed down to the town-fleet’s decks. Sunlight glinted off their fearsome scimitars.

Oseya couldn’t believe her eyes——it was insanity to sail a cloud ship over a town-fleet. If the wind faltered for even a second, the ship would come crashing down and kill everyone in its path. Granted, keeping it airborne would allow for a quick getaway. But the practice was borderline suicidal. She could see it circle back around, presumably waiting for the invaders to finish their robbery.

Her sister-in-law, Omi, peered over her shoulder. “It’s the Nightmist,” she whispered, voice trembling. Its flag was easily recognizable: a single crescent moon overlaid with a curving scimitar. Reports of this Scavenger ship and its vicious Captain Masino had been coming in for months, telling of countless robberies, and even the kidnapping of women and children. So far as they knew, the Nightmist had yet to shed blood, but that could change in an instant.

Oseya looked over her family—at her mother, with greying hairs and weary bones; at her brothers’ wives, three of them pregnant; at her nieces and nephews, young and innocent. She prayed to the sea spirits that none of them would be hurt today. Ilma and Omi took her hands and her family knelt in a circle to pray together.

It seemed like an impossibly long time before someone began pounding on the door. The incessant impacts became more aggressive; the door began to splinter and their makeshift barricade began to tremble. Omi and her mother began to cry softly. They pulled the youngest children into their arms as if they could shield them from what was to come.

Steeling her nerves, Oseya rose to her feet and faced the door, arms outstretched in a vain attempt to protect the other women. She hid a flinch as the door finally gave way to a monstrous pair of men. Their muscled arms with thicker than her torso and their tendons bulged as they stepped into the crowded room. Behind them followed a leaner man, dressed in long, billowing black clothes that made it impossible to get any real idea about his physique. Dark cloth masked most of his face, with the rest effectively hidden by a wide brimmed hat. Despite the third’s ambiguous figure, his massive sword was enough to send a shiver of terror down Oseya’s spine.

The one nearest to her smirked. Even his voice hinted at amusement. “Is this Elder Metsi’s family-ship?”

“And if it is?” She lifted her chin higher and did her best to meet the intruders’ eyes.

“What is your name, little girl?” When she did not answer, the man pressed his sword beneath her chin. “I asked you a question.”

“Oseya.” She couldn’t hide the small tremor in her voice.

“Oseya what?” The blade pressed more firmly.

“Oseya Metsi.”

“Perfect.” Satisfaction glinted in the man’s eyes and rough hands grabbed her wrists before she could react. He handed her to the thin man while he and the other man relieved Oseya’s family of their jewels.

“Please,” she begged. She flailed her legs against her captor. “Don’t hurt them.”

“Be still,” he murmured to her. When Oseya continued to resist, the man dragged her out into the daylight, doing nothing to muffle her screams. When the Nightmist drew near, he threw her over his shoulder and began to scale one of the ropes. “It will be your fault if I drop you,” he warned. His voice sounded strained, lighter than it had been before.

Remembering her near fall that morning, Oseya stopped struggling, watching helplessly as her family-ship shrunk beneath them.

Aboard the Nightmist, the man tossed her into an empty, lightless brig.

Oseya was alone.

Distantly, she could hear the screams of her neighbors, the people she had known all her life. I’m sorry, she thought. This isn’t what I asked for. I wanted to leave, but not like this. She imagined what horrors faced her family below and began to weep.


message 34: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments The Nightmist: Part 2 of 2:

It was dark outside by the time Oseya was finally brought out again. The ship was still airborne, sails and wings taut against the wind. Up close, she could see that the Nightmist didn’t have two long wings like most trade ships she’d seen. Rather, it had four shorter ones: two at the bow and two at the stern. It also had two masts, tall with billowing sails as black as its wings.

She peered over the edge and saw why her captors hadn’t bothered to bind her arms: a fall from this height would surely kill her. The waves roiled and churned beneath them, and she had to step away from the railing. She’d never been so high up before.

Hands steered her toward the helm. “Captain Masino, we have the girl.”

Against her better judgement, Oseya raised her eyes to appraise the notorious captain. It was the lithe man who’d dragged her from her family. In the darkness, it was even harder to make out any details about him. The two massive men that had also invaded her family-ship flanked the captain.

“We’ve been looking for you for a long time, little girl,” said the one to the right.

“Why me?” She had meant to sound more defiant, but her voice broke. As the captain peered down at her with his sharp green eyes, she wished to all the currents that she had just learned to be content with Lanmé, that she’d never asked to be taken from her family.

The captain reached into his coat and extracted a surprisingly large envelope. He pulled out more than a dozen sheets of paper and handed them to the men on either side of him, calling each man by name. “Kavo. Maro.” They took turns reading. Her heart sank. They had her tar capsules.

“My name is Oseya Metsi and I’m twelve-years-old. I live on the Heron Fleet. Please, please save me. I don’t want to marry Lanmé Tengem. Please, I’ll do anything to get away from him.”

“Please take me away from Heron Fleet. Lanmé Tengem forced me to kiss him today…”

“Take me away from Heron Fleet. I turned thirteen today and Lanmé Tengem dragged me to the edge of the town-fleet today and ripped off my blouse…”

“Please save me. Lanmé Tengem broke my arm when I wouldn’t sleep with him. I had to tell my father I fell off the rigging…”

“Please take me away from here. I would rather die than marry Lanmé Tengem.”

The men broke off and Oseya knew that they had reached her last capsule, the one she’d sent two weeks ago. She squeezed her eyes closed in a futile attempt to shut out the memory. The feel of Lanmé hands as he dragged her away. The smell of his clothes as he pinned her down and gagged her mouth. The sound of her tearing clothes——

A gentle hand tipped her chip up. The captain crouched in front of her and Oseya realized that she had fallen to her knees. “Please just kill me,” she begged, voice barely a whisper. “I don’t want——not again——please, not again——” Tears slid down her face. “I know I’m not pure, but please, please…”

The captain shushed her and pulled her to her feet. “We won’t hurt you.” The rest of the crew crowded near. The captain pulled the cloth mask away from his face and Oseya was startled to see that he was in fact a woman. A long scar curved from the corner of her eye, across the bridge of her nose, and down to her lips. Somehow, she was still beautiful. “We came to save you.”

“Why?”

“Because you are not the first, nor will you be the last. My husband gave me this scar when my first pregnancy failed. He broke my legs the second time.” Her face became hard. “I came onto this crew as a girl without any choices, barely more than a child. After six years, I became its captain.” Captain Masino stalked to the railing and looked out at the endless sky, haunted by whatever demons she still wrestled with in her soul.

A young woman, no more than nineteen summers, tenderly wrapped a cloak around Oseya’s shoulders. Her right ear was missing, a gaping hole and a ragged scar the only indication it had ever been there. “Our crew picks up any tar capsules we come across. Whenever we hear of a woman or child in need of rescue, we try to find their town-fleet as soon as possible. We raid the fleet to search for them and bring them here.”

The captain spoke without turning back to them. “You have the option of staying on the Nightmist as a member of my crew. Or if you wish, we can leave you at a town-fleet where no one knows you, and you can start anew. Regardless, Lanmé Tengem will never be able to hurt you again.”

“I—I don’t know what to say… I—Thank you, Captain Masino.”

“You have time to decide. It will be weeks before we pass any suitable town-fleets. For now, you can help Farrai with navigation.” She jerked her chin to the pretty woman with the missing ear. “And you may call me Thalassa if you wish. We are equals here. A crew of the world’s forgotten and abused…” She trailed off.

“Yes, Capt—Thalassa.”

Oseya followed numbly after Farrai. It wasn’t until she was halfway up to the crow’s nest that the weight of it hit her.

She was free.

She was truly, finally, irrevocably free.

Oseya let out a whoop.


message 35: by Anne (last edited Jul 09, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Title: Cursed
Word count: 580

Hilal looked up at the moon as he had every night since he'd been cursed. Tonight the waning moon was displayed as a lean crescent, it's concave feature a harbinger of the emptiness that would soon consume him.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

He'd heard this once, but never thought it would ever apply to him. After all, he was a nice guy, wouldn't hurt a fly. Okay, maybe he did treat her a little shabbily. But Abellona, well, she made him feel like she had to devour him, keep him tied to her. Not for marriage, oh no, that would have never been enough. She needed to own him, body and soul. What started out as immensely flattering – what she thought was loving – became claustrophobic. He tried to gently sever the bonds. She called him fickle, emotionally labile. No doubt that was true. His feelings had been tied up in all sorts of knots – pick a thread to unravel and all hell would break loose. After he made it clear he was through with her, her black eyes widened in rage and she said Your life will be tied to the moon's.

He'd give anything to forget the prophetic words branded into his brain.

The moon will wax
and it will wane;
Be tied to it
A lifetime's bane.

When the moon is full,
You'll beg to devour
the Feasts of Life
hour by hour.

When the moon is gone
You'll fast til dead
A wraith of sorts
that lightly treads.

And in between
you'll know such sorrow
eternally doomed
to face each morrow.


Then she had done something weird with her hands, but his vision was already blurring, he smelled burning – rubber? Bad eggs? Lightning seared his scalp, biting down his back until it reached in and squeezed his heart. He remembered struggling to breathe and fell to his knees. The ground grabbed him with a violent shudder and he passed out. When he came to, she was gone and his life changed forever.

How many months? How many years? It felt like forever. He had to leave everything behind, living on the fringes of civilization. He tried desperately to stay away from people, but oh! He couldn't. . . he couldn't. Sooner or later the urge would overcome him.

He looked at the thin crescent in the sky. Only a few more days until it was gone. His appetite had been diminishing and his sustenance was limited to meager scraps, an occasional leaf, all his body could tolerate at this time. He was already losing his shape, soon to become nothing more than an amorphous shadow. When the moon disappeared, he would be as hollow as a gourd, a near-ghost hovering between heaven and earth.

And when the first sliver of the new moon reappeared, his appetite would awaken, piece by piece: first leaves, wild berries, then insects and rodents, the craving for meat gradually becoming stronger. As the moon approached full, he was stuffing himself constantly, his voracious appetite for animal and human flesh and blood overcoming all sense and reason until he was bloated and bursting, nearly as large and round as the moon at his ripest.

And so the cycle continued each day, month after month as he traveled in search of new feasts, one part of him struggling to avoid detection while another part of him longed for the day when something bigger and stronger than him would mark him as a tasty morsel.


message 36: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Gashbeen wrote: "Of Ghosts and Demons

By Gashbeen Saeed


A child knelt on the sand, examining a fragile shell with unconcealed curiosity. The pale conch glowed like a crescent moon as he held it up to the sun. He..."


A beautifully descriptive story of a young boy's inner struggles. Good job!


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Joy wrote: "Promise Under The Moon
by Joy


"I wish you didn't have to go."

Even though Molly whispered the words, David heard her loud and clear. He moved from his place next to her to behind her and placed..."


This was a very touching, timeless story that captured the feelings of waiting for a loved one to return home. Very nice!


message 38: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Marie wrote: "Title: My Last Dare
Word Count : 1,718

They call it God’s thumbnail. I never really got it, I mean, that’s isn’t what I see. I see the moon. It’s just, the moon waxing and waning, like always. But..."


Well, the first sentence really grabbed my attention! Never heard the moon called that before, but your story started off interesting and kept getting better! I really enjoyed it.

(P.S. I think the character in my story is responsible for what happened to the kid in yours! :) )


message 39: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Melissa wrote: "Moondrop by: Melissa Andres
Feedback Always Welcome!
Approximately: 1,055 words

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Jump.”

Rigel held tight to the rim of the crater. “That was a close one.”

Vega laughed...."


What a creative take on this week's theme! I enjoyed picturing events as you were describing them & you captured the kids' attitudes flawlessly.


message 40: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Sofia wrote: "The Travesty of Small Decisions
By Sofia Spencer
Feedback welcome and greatly appreciated-especially since this is a very short piece for me

There are two types of people: people who drink milk, a..."


I enjoyed the analogies you made and how you compared and contrasted water & milk and applied these to real life. Good job!


message 41: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Date Night (Feedback Welcome)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1815
Rating : PG13

Tyrone stared up into the night sky. The waning crescent moon seemed to stare expectantly back at him, glistening brightly through the stars and clouds. He pressed a button on his phone, watching the screen light up, and checked the time. Nineteen fifty-eight. Only two minutes to go.

He sat down on the grass, overlooking a cliff top that span a remarkable vista out to sea. It had taken him three months to track down this exact spot, and ever sicne he’d done his best to be here every month, at this very time. With one hand he smoothed out the picnic blanket that lay on the grass before him, evening out the wrinkles and ensuring that everything looked perfect. The basket that sat on the blanket contained all manner of goodies to eat; sandwiches he’d made himself, a cake he’d bought from a local bakery, two bottles of wine – red or white, depending on her mood – plus a selection of savouries and some bags of crisps.

He hoped she’d like it. She usually did, but she didn’t always remember.

He breathed a sigh as he pressed his phone again, seeing it was now nineteen fifty-nine. Only one minute to go. He could manage that – he’d been waiting a month already. If only the waning crescent moons were more frequent, things wouldn’t be so bad.

He kept telling himself that.

As the time on his phone changed from nineteen fifty-nine to twenty hundred hours, a shimmering light flickered opposite where he sat and, slowly but surely, a female figure appeared before him. He smiled as he saw his former colleague, Lilibeth, materialise before him.

“Hey Tyrone,” she greeted politely, “that was fast. It didn’t feel like a month.”

“It was,” Tyrone told her, “a little over, actually. How are you feeling?”

“Fine,” Lilibeth smiled sadly, “I remember we were talking about something but it always seems to fade when I come back to you. It’s weird; in some ways it doesn’t feel like any time has passed at all since I last saw you, but in other ways it feels like an age. I see you got your hair cut.”

Tyrone instinctively lifted his hand to touch his hair, then smiled weakly at Lilibeth, not wanting to mention that she’d noticed the same thing last time, “Yeah, it was getting a little straggly.”

“It looks good,” Lilibeth said, “how do I look?”

“The same,” Tyrone replied, thinking to himself ‘beautiful as always’.

“It’s weird how time doesn’t seem to move that much for me when I’m gone,” Lilibeth sighed, “but it moves normally for you?”

‘Slower, actually’, Tyrone thought to himself, but said, “Yeah, same speed as always.”

“It’s probably because I can’t remember everything that happened on my last visits. The end of them is always a blur, like I forget the second half of our time together. I think it’s because of that it only feels like a couple of hours since the accident,” Lilibeth said flatly, “what’s it actually been?”

Tyrone looked up at the moon, trying not to show the tears that were building in his eyes, “Well,” he managed to begin, “your appearances last for approximately seventeen minutes, and you’ve reappeared a total of fifty-seven times--”

“Fifty-seven?” Lilibeth gaped in disbelief, “I didn’t think it was that many times.”

“You slept through some of them,” Tyrone explained, “for those I just... watched you.”

“How many times was I asleep?” Lilibeth asked.

Tyrone shrugged, “Fifteen, maybe twenty times.” He said. He knew the exact number – eighteen times. She’d woken during the eighteenth visit. For him it was a year and a half, but for Lilibeth it was roughly a five hour nap.

Lilibeth shook her head, “So I’ve been coming and going for...” she did some rough sums in her head, “Sixteen hours? I thought it was more like ten.”

“Sixteen sounds right,” Tyrone said sadly.

Lilibeth looked into his eyes, “So for you that’s, what--”

“Four and a half years,” Tyrone said.

Lilibeth’s bottom lip noticeably quivered as the news sunk in, “It’s... it’s been that long?” she looked hard at Tyrone, noticing the subtle changes; a few extra grey hairs, an extra wrinkle next to his eye, “So much must have changed in that time.”

Tyrone shrugged, “Some things have changed,” he told her, “others are pretty much the same.”

“So, what’s changed?” Lilibeth asked, “Is Castle still on TV?”

“It got cancelled,” Tyrone told her, “after eight years.”

“Wow,” Lilibeth smiled, “I’ve got some catching up to do.”

“I’ve downloaded them all for you,” Tyrone said quietly.

“Excellent.” Lilibeth grinned, “Maybe we can binge watch them together when I get back for good.”

Tyrone said nothing, and Lilibeth noticed his silence.

“How are things looking on that front?” she asked.

Tyrone looked her in the eye, “That’s one of the things that hasn’t changed,” he told her.

Lilibeth frowned, “Oh,” she said simply.

Tyrone cleared his throat, sitting up straight, “Can we not worry about that for now?” he asked, “I’ve got the rest of the month to work on getting you back for good. For now we should just... relax. And enjoy this picnic.”

Lilibeth looked at the basket for the first time, a little smile tickling the corner of her mouth, “Did you get all this?” she asked, “For me?”

Tyrone nodded, “I thought maybe you could do with something to eat.”

“I haven’t really been that hungry,” Lilibeth said, “but maybe I should eat something.”

She reached out for the basket and picked up a sandwich, unwrapping the cellophane that protected it, selecting a quarter and taking a bite, “Mmm, cheese and pickle – my favourite. You remembered.”

Tyrone nodded, “I remembered.”

Lilibeth swallowed the piece of sandwich in her mouth, then spoke, “So, how have you been keeping? Any news on the ladies front?”

“None,” Tyrone said quickly, “you know me. Always to scared to make the first move.”

“You should really get over that,” Lilibeth told him, taking a final bite of her sandwich quarter before adding, “a good looking chap like you.”

Tyrone sighed, reaching for a sandwich himself. His fingers brushed Lilibeth’s as she reached for a sandwich too.

“Whoops,” Lilibeth smiled, “sorry.”

“That’s okay,” Tyrone replied, deciding maybe he wasn’t so hungry after all.

Lilibeth ate the second piece of sandwich, licking her fingers afterwards, “Maybe I was hungrier than I thought,” she said, “they’re delicious.”

“Thanks,” Tyrone said distractedly.

“You’ll make someone a very lucky woman one of these days,” she smiled. Tyrone swallowed nervously.

“About that,” he said, taking some glasses out of the picnic hamper.

“Wine?” Lilibeth beamed, “You brought wine? Is there red?”

Tyrone pulled out the bottle of red, “Is shiraz okay?”

“Anything red and wet is fine by me,” Lilibeth smiled as Tyrone poured, “now, what were you going to say?”

Tyrone checked the time. Ten passed eight. Well past the halfway mark of their short time together, and too late to say anything that would last with her. He had seven minutes left before Lilibeth was gone for another month, though it was unlikely that she’d remember anything that happened in this part of her visit. So why was he so afraid to say what he wanted – what he needed to say?

“I just wanted to tell you,” Tyrone swallowed nervously as he poured the wine, “that I’ve been working day in and day out on trying to find a way to get you back permanently.”

Lilibeth frowned a little, “I’m guessing you haven’t had any luck.”

“Not much,” Tyrone told her, “but we’ll get there.”

“Has anyone figured out what went wrong in the first place?” Lilibeth asked, “Perhaps if we knew that we’d be able to work back from there.”

Tyrone shook his head, “From all the tests we’ve run, it looks like it was just a fluke accident.”

Lilibeth chuckled, but just once. It didn’t sound genuine to Tyrone, “A fluke, huh?” she said, “Well, that just says everything, doesn’t it.”

“We’ll get you back,” Tyrone told, “I’ll get you back. I promise I won’t stop trying, no matter what happens.”

“Thanks Tyrone,” Lilibeth said, “you’ve always been a good friend to me.”

Part of Tyrone hated hearing that. Friend. Nothing more.

“I know,” he said, taking a deep breath, “Listen, I wanted to say something.”

Lilibeth looked Tyrone in the eye, “Is it that the project was closed down?”

Tyrone gaped, “How did you...”

“It was in our contracts,” she said, “if anything bad ever happened and the project got to the point where it was considered to great of a risk, the thing would simply be shut down. Plus whenever I ask you always say I and not we.”

Tyrone looked at his lap, unable to meet Lilibeth’s gaze, “How long have you known?” he asked.

“I pretty much guessed an hour or two after the accident happened,” she told him, then laughed, “so more than three years for you.”

Tyrone looked up at Lilibeth, tears forming in his eyes, “So why didn’t you say anything earlier?” he asked, “Why keep acting like I was updating you on our progress when you knew full well there hadn’t been any?”

Lilibeth shrugged, “I dunno,” he said, “I guess I was worried that, if you knew I’d guessed there was no hope of getting back that you’d stop coming to see me.”

Tyrone cautiously reached a hand towards Lilibeth, “I’d never do that,” he said, “I’d never give up. That’s why I stole the tracking equipment that led me back to you. When that blip went off a month after you first showed up, I knew I had to find a way to get you back. I couldn’t go on knowing you were out there, somewhere, and that there was a chance...”

Lilibeth looked at Tyrone’s proffered hand, then looked at his teary eyes, “Is there something you wanted to say to me?” she asked.

Tyrone nodded mutely, “I... I’m just not sure how to say the words.”

Lilibeth took Tyrone’s hand, “Just say them Tyrone,” she said, “Please? For me.”

Tyrone closed his eyes, squeezing Lilibeth’s hand lightly. This was the closest he’d ever come to admitting what he felt, and for the first time he thought there might be a chance that Lilibeth felt the same way.

“Lilibeth,” he said horsely, “I just wanted to tell you that I won’t give up on getting you back, and that I--”

Tyrone’s words were cut short as he felt that Lilibeth’s hand was no longer in his. He opened his eyes, gazing around.

Lilibeth had gone.

Tyrone picked up his phone to check the time.

Twenty Seventeen.

Tyrone sighed, standing up from the grass as he began to pack up the picnic.

Maybe next month he would tell her again. Sooner, perhaps.

And maybe next time she’d remember.


message 42: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Anne wrote: "Marie wrote: "Title: My Last Dare
Word Count : 1,718

They call it God’s thumbnail. I never really got it, I mean, that’s isn’t what I see. I see the moon. It’s just, the moon waxing and waning, li..."


Thanks so much for reading!


message 43: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments Gashbeen, trying to outrun the past is easier said than done for a lot of people. If “letting go” was really that easy, there would be no such thing as PTSD or schizophrenia. You’ve painted a perfect picture of that harsh reality in your Lord of the Flies-esque short story, where nobody can fully heal from their emotional wounds. Personally, the way I cope with my dark past is by talking about it as little as possible. Talking about the past doesn’t bring me peace; it brings me pain. Such is the nature of being mentally ill. While your main character may or may not be mentally ill, he does strike a sympathetic chord with a lot of readers, myself included. Thank you, Gashbeen, for telling it like it is.

Leigh, I would be very interested to know just how old the daughter is supposed to be. If she was a teenager or younger, I would be a little more restrictive as a parent as to where she could go or how long she could stay out. If she was a full grown adult, it wouldn’t be much of an issue since adults can usually take care of themselves. While ambiguity can be great for any story, not knowing whether to be worried about the daughter or not can be frustrating for the reader. I’m glad things worked out for the better, though. It probably would have if the setting was in a small town instead of a big city. There’s another thing that needs stating somewhere in the prose: setting.

Joy, even though your story ended happily for David and Molly, your story still showed us how war can tear families, couples, and friends apart. All it takes is a bullet, a bomb, a missile, or even a knife and lives can be ruined forever, not just for the soldier, but for his or her loved ones. While I’m glad David came home in one piece, I do have to wonder if he contracted PTSD while he was in combat. That could be another story to add onto this one since trauma happens a lot in war. One minute Molly and David could be nestled together, the next David could snap and start punching everything in sight. If their love can survive being separated for so long, I hope it can survive living with PTSD. The trauma angle is just a suggestion; you don’t have to go with it if you don’t want to. Your story is already heartbreaking on so many levels, so you’re doing a good job.

Marie, you did a splendid job of telling the story from a male point of view. It was both believable and well-written. While I would have liked to know what exactly it was that smashed the narrator’s head in, keeping the mystery alive is pivotal when making a case that no dumb kids should be playing around that graveyard. The narrator did and how he’s a trapped spirit. Have I mentioned lately that it’s great to have you back in the WSS contests? You’ve been gone for so long that I was starting to worry about you. I know you and I have been busy getting “Occupy Wrestling” in tiptop shape, but when you submit stories to the WSS, I have another chance to see your awesome writing up close. Hell, you could write “Box of Chocolates 2” if you wanted to. Best damn chocolates I’ve ever eaten. Great job, Marie!

Melissa, your stories about childhood innocence have become a wonderful hallmark of your writing. They’re so lighthearted and sweet. You have experience with being a mom, so this serves you well in your writing. That’s why it’s heartbreaking to watch little Charon drift away in the distance after the moon completed its cycle. She’s going to be lost and alone out there with nobody to help her. She won’t even be able to float off onto another terra-formed planet. In a way, you’ve combined the sweetness of children’s stories with the sadness of loss. Keep on writing, Melissa-Pie! It’s so good to have you back after such a long layoff!

Sofia, who would have thought that all of that philosophy could come from two simple things like milk and water? You make a good point about emotional pain being a universal part of humanity. Even though I consider myself to be a happy person in today’s world, I do have my fair share of pain from my past. I was just telling Gashbeen that I like to bury my darkest secrets underneath the earth and never bring them up again. What’s my favorite thing to drink? Iced tea of course, preferably unsweetened. Iced tea is just brewed water, so maybe I do have somewhat of a hard time moving on. You’ve certainly given the WSS a lot to think about, so congratulations for that.

Grace, you’ve shown us all that doing what’s right is more important than blindly following orders. The need for mass conformity is what gets us as a society into a lot of trouble. We see stories in the news of people killing each other over minor differences whether it’s skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or otherwise. Our genes are impossible to change for other people, so those other people try their hardest to grind us down into dirt. Your character is stronger than blind conformity. She knows that saving the poor woman was more important than being loyal to a bunch of flesh-eating amoral monsters. That’s the strongest kind of character there is: the one who stays true to him or herself in the darkest times. Good job!

Angie, even though your story took place in a fantasy world, the themes of sexism and abuse will ring true no matter who reads this wonderfully-written story. Your message of treating women with respect and dignity is one everybody can understand. The idea of an airship crew rescuing abused women is very satisfying to read about. Think of all the women in the world today who want to get away from their tormentors, but can’t. Those women have you to look up to, Angie. You’re not just a skilled author, but you’re also a role model. Maybe that’s why you were chosen to speak at your graduation. Keep up the good work, Angie-Pie!

Anne, I could feel the narrator’s urge to devour everything in sight as I was reading through your story. While I’ve been hungry enough to eat an entire meat lover’s pizza before, the narrator’s appetite is so voracious that it can’t be satisfied. It’s not just hunger that he feels; it’s bloodlust. He wants dinner and violence at the same time, and that’s the most dangerous kind of over-the-top character we all should fear. But if the narrator really did treat the witch badly, wouldn’t she want a stiffer punishment for him than to be bloodthirsty all the time? It seems like being bloodthirsty could be advantageous to someone who wants to avoid getting arrested or getting caught. But that’s just my opinion. You did well this week, just like you always do. Keep it up!

Edward, just like Tyrone, I too have problems with making the first move on a beautiful woman. Though my circumstances aren’t science-fiction, there have been times where it was too late to tell the ones I had crushes on that I loved them. I never went to high school prom because I was too afraid of offending a woman by asking her to be my date. You seem to have apt knowledge of what shy guy heartbreaks feel like, which is why “The Girlfriend Wager” has been a smash hit for you. You did a splendid job of bringing those tear-worthy emotions to the surface for your readers. And I don’t know if I’ve ever complimented you on this before or not, but your writing pace is smooth and steady, just how I like it. All in all, you did a great job this week. Then again, I always expect that you’ll do a good job with your writing. You have that effect on people.


Including my story, that’s eleven entries for this week’s contest. I just read through all of them in a span of an hour and a half. My ass and balls are sore as hell from sitting at my computer for that long, which I realize is more information than you people need right now. Excellent work, everybody!


message 44: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Gashbeen: As always, your stories are very poignant and you handle/convey your narrator's emotions very well. My only comment for you this week is that your first shift in emotion was a bit sharp. While it is understandable that children can feel extreme versions of emotions, and that nuanced feelings are acquired with age, that shift from innocent wonder to dark bitterness felt too abrupt. But after that, you handled the emotion of the story very artfully.

I've probably said this before, but I'd really like to see you try your hand at longer stories. You certainly have great skill with story telling, particularly with character development and internal emotions. I'd love to see how you'd incorporate those elements with more externally based plots.


message 45: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Leigh: I really liked the snap shot you wrote this week. You do well with imagery and I enjoy analyzing what kinds of details you decided to include and what they might mean for the overall story. Was this a parent-child relationship? Or maybe a husband and wife? Without explicitly saying it, and without adding interactions that would traditionally convey tension, you somehow showed that whatever this relationship is, it isn't healthy. And I feel like the brevity of your story really drives point the lack of communication and the distance of the relationship between these two characters. Good job.


message 46: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Joy: You captured that sense of waiting very well, and my heart broke for Molly and David. You played off that tension and suspense well, and I'm glad David got home safely. I really liked your imagery, but there were some parts where your descriptions felt slightly redundant. Overall, it was a touching and tender story.


message 47: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Marie: I loved the contrast you create between elements of your stories. In this one, you balanced humor and light-heartedness with a feeling of dark forboding. Even in the end, your narrator added a final note of suspense while finishing with a touch of humor. Well done.


message 48: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Garrison: Your stories have really come a long way. When I first joined this group, you had a strong tendency to give too much information in your first paragraph and include redundant or unnecessary details. But this week, you seemed to have figured out just the right balance. In your opening paragraphs, you told us just enough to let your readers understand what was going on, and to imply at a larger world beyond the frame of your plot. I'd also like to see some more dimension and depth to your characters, but they are growing more nuanced. I'm proud of how much you've grown as a writer!


message 49: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments Angie wrote: "Garrison: Your stories have really come a long way. When I first joined this group, you had a strong tendency to give too much information in your first paragraph and include redundant or unnecessa..."

Thank you so much for the awesome feedback, Angie! We should always seek to improve ourselves and I'm glad I've done that. :)


message 50: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9541 comments Usually, I just assume the narrator's gender is the same as the author's unless otherwise stated. But yes, thank you for clarifying that for me, Grace. :)


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