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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 321 (July 26-August 2). Stories. Topic: Muscle Memory

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message 1: by Ajay (last edited Jul 26, 2016 07:52AM) (new)

Ajay (ajay_n) | 1138 comments You have until the 2nd of August to post a story and from the 3rd to the 6th of August, 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: Muscle Memory

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) | 9546 comments I just wrote this synopsis days ago, so this prompt was perfect timing. The story will be called "Dark Fantasy Rock Goddess" and it goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

Bloodshark, Human Sorcerer
Autumn Smith, Elf Bard

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Playing the acoustic guitar requires muscle memory.

SYNOPSIS: Autumn travels to the medieval town of Fairhaven to play a concert in front of a drunken crowd. To save money on security detail, she hires Bloodshark as her sole protector. During the concert, the drunken fans get too touchy-feely for Autumn’s taste, so Bloodshark unleashes his deadly magic upon them in the form of fireballs, glacial spikes, and lightning bolts. When her mercenary becomes too violent, she must play him a gentle bard tune to sooth his anger before he does too much damage.


message 3: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Hey Everyone! So here is my attempt for this week. Please let me know what you think!

Title: Muscles, Memories and Ghosts of the Past
Author: James J Meadows III
Words: 2042

The tears in my wife’s eyes nearly caused my heart to break as I kissed her one last time before leaving the house.

“Don’t do this, Edward,” she said.

“I’ve got to, Anne,” I replied. “I need to know. After all these years, I need answers.”

Answers were the one thing, above all other things, which had eluded me so far these last ten years, ever since I was found washed up on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain with a severe head wound and no knowledge of my previous life. Even the modern twenty-second century psychological techniques were unable to restore the memories. Now, however, for the first time, thanks to recent advances in neuroscience, I finally had a chance to get those answers. I wasn’t prepared to give it up.

“What if you don’t like what you find,” my wife pleaded. “What if you discover you have another wife, another family? What if you forget about us?”

I reached up to wipe the tears away. We had met a few months after I was found by the police. I didn’t necessarily believe in love at first sight, yet if such a thing existed, this was it. While my past was a mystery to me, how I felt for her and for my family wasn’t.

“Nothing will change who I am,” I replied. “I will always love you. I will always love our family. Nothing can ever change that!”

My daughters seemed on edge too. Though they were only two and four, too young to understand what was happening, they could sense their mother’s tension, and it made them uneasy. I knelt down and gave them each a tight hug and kiss, promising to bring them back some sweets and toys when I got back from the hospital. Then, with one last kiss to my wife, I headed into the garage, where I climbed into my car and let it drive me away.

The throngs of reporters were already waiting for me when I arrived at the clinic. This didn’t surprise me much. From almost the day of my discovery, the media was crazy about me: the mystery man, with no identification, no fingerprints, no one able to identify him and not even capable of remembering his name, only that it started with an ‘E’. My accomplishments since the day of my discovery had only added to the media frenzy which often accompanied me.

“Move back! Move back! Give him room!” Several police officers shouted, fighting to maintain a path for me as I headed to the facility.

“Thanks Stephen,” I said to the first officer, as I started past. “How is the family?”

“Doing well,” he replied, coming to join me, while another officer took his place fighting off reporters. “How is yours?”

“Nervous,” I answered.

Stephen and I were fairly close, thanks to five years spent as partners on the force. Though he wasn’t my partner anymore, not since his promotion last year, I had served with him longer than anyone else. My physical fitness, knack for investigation, skill at tailing and talent for information gathering, none of which I could explain, made going into the force a natural course of action for me following my discovery.

Thanks to my skills, and of course the help of partners like Stephen, I accumulated almost a dozen awards and honors in the eight years I served. I suppose this only added to the mystique surrounding my past. Still, it was a mystique which bothered me. Where did I develop all those skills? What did I use them to accomplish?

None of the reporters or cops or even my family could understand what it was like to not have a past, to not remember anything: your parents; childhood friends; or even your own name. That was why, even though I was happy with my life, I needed to do this procedure.

“Hello Edward,” a young woman, in her late twenties, with dark black hair greeted me as I entered the clinic. “We haven’t met before. I’m Nurse Johnson. I was brought in from out-of-town, to help operate the machine. I am one of the designers. Are you ready for your procedure today?”

“Yes,” I answered, as security teams fought to stop the news crews from flooding inside.

She led me down a hall. Stephen, who seemed to be intent upon accompanying me through the process, followed as we walked.

“Now, as I’m sure Dr. Burke explained, this is a relatively new procedure,” the nurse said. “Essentially, as you know, your muscles remember their past actions and behaviors even if you can’t directly recall them yourself. What we do is stimulate those muscles. As we do so, synapsis in the brain will fire, causing it to unconsciously recall actions. The devices we will be attaching in your head will detect the electrical impulses and project them into a visible form on the screen, essentially reading your unconscious mind.”

“You, and those of us in the room, will be able to see the images stored in your brain, associated with the muscle memories as they come up. So far, even though this has only been performed a few times, we have noticed that once one memory is collected, the brain begins to regurgitate more and more, connecting them with the previous. In this way, we should be able to get a pretty good collection of visions from your past.”

“Excellent,” I said.

We were just about to enter the room when the nurse stepped in front of me, placing her hand against the door.

“Officer Edward,” she said. “Are you sure you want to go through with this procedure? Remember, we don’t know what we’re going to find. You’ve done a lot of great things in your life and I don’t want to risk anything that might wipe them out. Think about it. With your skills, you could be a foreign spy. You could find yourself in serious trouble if the truth comes out. Or perhaps you were some other sort of investigator or researcher, who someone tried to do in because they knew something they shouldn’t. That information coming to light could endanger you and your family! There are all sorts of consequences of this procedure which you should consider.”

“Nurse Johnson,” I said. “Are you attempting to discourage me?”

“All I’m saying,” she replied. “Is that, as the operator of the machine, I have watched all four uses of the device to restore memory. And, I’ve learned that you can occasionally see things you don’t want to. Sometimes it is best to let the ghosts of the past stay there.”

“I’m determined to see this through,” I replied. “There is nothing I cannot deal with.”

“Very well,” she said, with a somewhat resigned voice.

Stephen and I were led into the room, where the doctors started hooking up various pads, cords, and devices all over my body. At the same time, I was strapped down, to prevent thrashing or uncontrollable spasms while my muscles were stimulated. Finally, an IV was placed into my arm, apparently to allow them to administer any medications necessary throughout the procedure. Once the equipment was settled, the doctor and nurse informed me that everything was ready and a monitor was hoisted above my head for me to watch the images they retrieved.

“Last chance to change your mind,” Nurse Johnson said, giving me a sideways look.

I didn't even considered the idea. My determination to know my past, to finally get my memories back, to at last uncover the missing pieces of my life, and to become a whole person again, drove me forward.

“You can begin whenever you are ready,” I replied.

“Very well,” she said.

The lights were dimmed. Within seconds, I felt my muscles begin to contract as though performing various acts. At first these acts were somewhat random. Yet as time went on, I felt myself performing normal everyday activities which were a part of my life. Of course, I wasn’t really performing them; I was strapped to a table. To my muscles, though, it seemed like I was living out my daily routine.

Gradually, over the course of many more minutes, images took shape on the screen above me. They were not thoughts I was consciously thinking. Sure enough, as described, they were images which appeared to be stored in my unconscious, which were associated with the movements, seen as if I were looking out of my own eyes. I felt completely lost in the awe of what I was experiencing. I watched myself kiss my wife, practice with my pistol at the police station gun range, and exercise at the gym.

At first, all of the memories were ones I could recall. It wasn’t until my brain got to the point of crawling out of the river, where I found myself making a sudden jump to the past. Without warning, I found myself, for the first time, staring at the faces of my parents, racing through a snow covered valley, shopping at stores, which listed their currency in Canadian values, taking martial arts lessons and studying in a modern computerized high schools.

I watched in awe for what felt like hours, though in truth I knew it was far less time. It was amazing. At least, until I noticed, something wasn’t quite right. I saw myself sitting in front of a computer, using my research skills to uncover information. But the information I was researching was specific women. I also saw myself using my skill at tailing. And what I was tailing was other young women.

From there, things turned even darker. I watched as I burned my fingers with acid to cover my finger prints and acquired fake ids. I saw myself sneak across the Canadian border into the US where I went on a rampage, stalking, raping and murdering one young woman after another, making my way across the country. I wanted to scream. This couldn’t be true. This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t really be me!

All of the sudden, I saw a familiar face on the screen: a young woman walking the streets of Baton Rouge with her college friends. I watched as the group broke off for a bar, while she continued on, apparently heading for their hotel, which lay along a bridge beside Lake Pontchartrain. I saw her spot me and start to run. I watched, through my eyes, as I charged after her, pulling out a knife out of my pocket. I was practically on top of her when she turned around with an expandable night stick in her hands.

I didn’t pull back fast enough. Clearly, I had grown over confident from years of killing women. When she spun on me, swinging it with all her might, I was not prepared. It struck me hard across the head. I saw blood spatter everywhere and watched as I stumbled to the railing of the bridge, not realizing there was an opening with steps leading down to the water. I fell, tumbling down the steps, smashing my head again. A moment later, I watched myself roll into the shallow water. Everything went black.

Long minutes followed as I stared at the dark screen, feeling my muscles relax when the electrical pulses stopped. With some effort, I pried my eyes off the television and turned them toward the woman who I had followed on that fateful night, the one who hit me with the club as I attempted to kill her, the one who now, ten years later, had attempted to convince me not to get the procedure done: Nurse Johnson.

“I’m sorry, Officer Edward,” she said, in a soft quiet voice. “I told you: sometimes it is best to let the ghosts of the past stay there.”

A long silence filled the room. I looked toward Stephen, who was still gazing at the screen in stunned horror. Then, I watched him reach into his pocket and withdraw a pair of handcuffs.

“Officer Edward, I’m sorry, I’m afraid you are under arrest,” he said. “Doctors, please remove the straps from him, so I can take him away.”

I had finally regained my memories and lost everything else.


message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago HELP. I have a story that deals with very adult topics. Can I post it or not?


message 5: by Arun (last edited Jul 28, 2016 05:30AM) (new)

Arun Iyer (aruniyer) | 369 comments Jane wrote: "HELP. I have a story that deals with very adult topics. Can I post it or not?"

Yo!

As per contest rules [1],
-PG-13 is recommended, but if it's a little "risqué" please have a warning on your entry.

That is why, most of us put,

Title:
Author:
Genre:
Word Ccount:
Rating:

at the top of the submissions to make things clear. You can add something similar and also issue a warning. You can also use "spoiler" tags (view spoiler).

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi, guys! I am so sorry that I have been absent this last week. We have found out that my husband is losing his job and we have just been devastated by the news. They are laying off about 10 percent of their workforce (about 450 people) and my husband is one of them, unfortunately. I am also teaching Vacation Bible School next week and have been furiously working on decorations for that. It's been a crazy time for us! I won't be able to participate in the contests this week but hope to be back soon. Keep us in your prayers, please. Thank you!


message 7: by Arun (new)

Arun Iyer (aruniyer) | 369 comments Melissa wrote: "Hi, guys! I am so sorry that I have been absent this last week. We have found out that my husband is losing his job and we have just been devastated by the news. They are laying off about 10 percen..."

So sorry to hear that. Wish you good luck with everything!


message 8: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Melissa wrote: "Hi, guys! I am so sorry that I have been absent this last week. We have found out that my husband is losing his job and we have just been devastated by the news. They are laying off about 10 percen..."

I'm sorry to hear about your husband losing his job. I'll say a prayer for you and your family. Good luck with VBS.


message 9: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago I did read the rules before I ever posted anything. It's just that they don't help me much with this story.

I don't think you could call it risqué and it contains no bad language.

But it is the story of a sexually abused child.

I don't want to offend anyone. Maybe others would care to comment on whether they would consider that sort of subject matter suitable to post here.


message 10: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Jane wrote: "I did read the rules before I ever posted anything. It's just that they don't help me much with this story.

I don't think you could call it risqué and it contains no bad language.

But it is the ..."


From what you are describing, it sounds fine to me for you to post it here. That is merely speaking for myself, however. I cannot project my opinion as representing the collective.


message 11: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Melissa wrote: "Hi, guys! I am so sorry that I have been absent this last week. We have found out that my husband is losing his job and we have just been devastated by the news. They are laying off about 10 percen..."

I hope your husband can find employment soon and that things will return to normal in your lives. I'll miss your heartwarming story this week. (hugs and hair fuzzles)


message 12: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Melissa, I'll definitely keep you in my prayers!


message 13: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Jane, it should be fine to post. I normally just put trigger warnings at the beginning of those stories so that if it's a sensitive topic for someone, they can choose not to read it.


message 14: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Jane, I've posted stories about sexual abuse before and nobody complained. If I can get away with it, you can too. Just remember to put the content warning at the top of your story.


message 15: by Edward (last edited Jul 28, 2016 06:12PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments I had to rush this one because it was getting so long. Apologies for any mistakes or unanswered questions. Feedback welcome.

Title : Arms Dealer (Part 1)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 3089
Rating : PG13 for Medical Content

The accident had left Caden Sanders in a terrible way; he’d lost the sight in one eye when he’d gone through the windscreen, he’d broken his left leg (which would take months to mend) when he hit the road, and his right arm had been torn off and completely obliterated when it was crushed by the oncoming vehicle. Caden had been stone cold sober when he’d been driving that night, but the same couldn’t be said for the loser who drove into him. As is usually the case in situations like this, the drunk driver had been perfectly fine and walked away with barely a scratch, though his prison term would hopefully teach him a thing or two.

Lying in his hospital bed, the only consolation Caden could think of was that he finally had the excuse to wear an eye patch like a pirate, even if it was only until a donor eye could be found. He probably wouldn’t need a hook for a hand as he needed an entire new replacement arm but, thankfully, there was already an arm available. Someone must have died for him to get the arm, but he couldn’t worry about that right now. Having only one arm would have greatly impacted his job as a journalist, as it’s not easy to manoeuvre a standard keyboard with one hand while simultaneously managing to control the mouse.

The surgery to connect the replacement arm went smoothly, which was to be expected ever since the capability to do this had been perfected in the mid 21st century, and it wasn’t long before Caden could get out of his bed and use both the crutches he’d been supplied with to walk around while his leg healed. He used them to cross his hospital room, standing in front of a full length mirror and taking a look at himself.

Not bad. The colour of the replacement arm was a little lighter than his own skin tone, and the muscle tone a lot more slender, but the doctors said that blood flow and exercise would soon compensate for those differences. He smiled, looking into his one good eye, and nodding at his reflection. At least now he could move on with his life and get past that horrible day.

Caden’s girlfriend Alycia picked him up the next morning after the doctors had checked his arm over. Everything looked pretty good to them, so he’d been discharged and told to check in with his physiotherapist at least twice a week to check on his leg, which was actually healing quite nicely. Alycia helped him into the passenger seat of her car after giving him a kiss hello, then buckled herself into the driver’s seat to take him home.

“How’s the leg?” Alycia asked without looking away from the road.

“It’s fine, I guess,” Caden said noncommittally.

“And the new arm?”

“Good,” Caden held it out, flexing the fingers with ease, “Just like new.”

“Glad to hear it,” Alycia smiled, glancing sideways at her boyfriend, “maybe we can try it out later.”

Caden chuckled. He knew just what she meant.

Alycia pulled up outside their apartment block, clambering out of the car to help Caden out on his side. Caden picked up his crutches from the back seat and the two of them began the slow walk to the lifts inside the building.

Arriving at their apartment, the couple slumped down onto the sofa, looking into each other’s eyes. Alycia took hold of Caden’s hand – his original hand - lacing her fingers into his as they began to kiss.

Just as things were getting more physical between them, Caden suddenly pushed Alycia away. She stared at him, curious as to why he was stopping.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, “Did I do something wrong?”

“No, no,” Caden looked confused, “I don’t know why I did that...”

Alycia furrowed her brow, then she broke into a smile as the two began to kiss again, but within a few seconds Caden pushed her away again.

“You know this is getting on my nerves,” Alycia told him, “What is wrong with you?”

“It’s not... I don’t know why I...” Caden looked at his hands, then looked at Alycia, “it’s not me... it’s the arm.”

Alycia rolled her eyes, “Seriously? You’re blaming the arm? If you’re not up to doing this yet just say so, I’ll understand. You’ve been through a lot after the accident, I know it’s hard--”

“I’m telling you it’s the arm!” Caden shouted angrily, “it’s the arm that’s pushing you away!”

Alycia stood up from the sofa, “There’s no need to yell, Caden,” she said flatly, “I think I should give you some time to calm down. I’m going out for a walk.”

Alycia grabbed the door keys and left their apartment, slamming the door behind her.

Caden got up from the sofa, angry with himself. What was he thinking, saying his new arm was pushing her away. That sounded crazy, even to him. He went into the bedroom and switched on his laptop. Maybe he could find something online about what was happening.

Caden yawned as he began to search the web for stories of people with similar issues, where their donor body parts had acted on impulse against the recipient’s wishes. He found a story about a man who woke up one morning to find he’d walked twelve miles across town to the former home of his donor, and another about a young girl who kept hearing ringing noises in her ears after a transplant only to discover that the person she’d got the ears from had lived next door to a fire station. Caden put his hand to his mouth as he continued to look through the results, but eventually he couldn’t stay awake any longer and he fell asleep.

When he awoke he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked back at his laptop. While he’d been sleeping, someone had opened up a word document on the screen, and he read what it said. Over and over again, someone had written the phrase “save me please”.

Caden looked around his apartment. Alycia didn’t appear to have returned yet – at least he couldn’t see any sign of her – so he couldn’t understand how someone had managed to get into the apartment without him knowing. As he pondered this odd turn of events, he felt a pinching in his arm. Curiously he stared down at his new arm, it’s hand turned at an odd angle, the index finger pointing at him.

He wasn’t doing that.

“What the hell is going on?” he said to himself, but he didn’t have an answer. Yet someone or something seemed to. The best he could guess was that his arm was possessed by the ghost of its previous owner.

He walked back to his laptop, clearing the data in the word document then, as if inspired, hovered his new hand over the keyboard. As if by magic, the fingers began to move, and he lowered them to the keyboard.

After a couple of seconds, the hand stopped typing, and Caden read the results of its work.

It was a name.

Isabelle Daniel.

He wasn’t familiar with the name, but because of his position as a journalist he had access to all sorts of information. Perhaps she was the original owner of the arm; it would explain the slenderness of it, and if so she would have recently died. Caden tapped a few keys to access the obituaries online from his work, and searched for the name.

Nothing, not even on the day before he’d had the surgery.

Caden scratched his head with his original hand, wondering what else he could. As he thought, his new hand brought up a browser and began to tap away, going into local news feeds from the web. It entered the name, Isabelle Daniel and pressed return. Three articles appeared.

Caden read the oldest article first, from three months ago. It talked about a young woman who had been reported missing from her home after a series of cases had been filed against her ex-boyfriend, Callum Midgley. There was a restraining order against him, it seemed, but that didn’t appear to have made any difference to him. It said that the police were looking for him and were appealing to anyone who might know where hem ight be hiding out.

Caden moved onto the next article which was a few days after the older one, theorising that Midgley had undoubtedly been the one to kill Isabelle. He wasn’t sure whether he should be angry or thankful, seeing as it had been good news for him. As he read, however, his face dropped. Midgley had been caught and arrested after trying to break into Isabelle’s home, but there was no talk of Isabelle getting killed by him. Caden was very confused.

The final article was a short one, dated about a week ago. It was simply an appeal for any information about Isabelle Daniel, who had disappeared from her home. Caden widened his eyes; perhaps Midgley had been let out and had abducted her...

Caden did a search for articles about Callum Midgley, and quite a few turned up. He looked at the most recent one, which showed that Migley was still safely under lock and key, awaiting an appeal.

That meant he couldn’t have abducted Isabelle!

Maybe it had been one of his friends, but from the reaction of his new arm he guessed that wasn’t the case. He stared down at his new arm, noticing just how feminine it actually was, then the arm twisted around and began to type again, this time simply into the search engine. When it finished it didn’t press return, and Caden read the words carefully.

“I can see a windmill,” they said, “and a flock of dancing birds. Please, hurry.”

A windmill? Caden shook his head. Where was Isabelle’s body then, Amsterdam? He didn’t think a windmill sounded like something he’d find in town...

...But then a thought struck him.

There was a nightclub in town called the Moulin Rouge, like the movie and the place in Paris, and he knew that roughly translated as the red windmill. He grabbed his coat, heading out of the apartment and down to where Alycia had parked the car.

Thankfully she had gone for an actual walk, so the car was still there. He wasn’t sure how his leg would cope with the pedals, but he had to find where Isabelle’s corpse was buried, if only to lay her to rests so he could get control of his arm back. He placed his crutch upright in the passenger seat and drove as fast as he could to the Moulin Rouge and pulled up outside.

Jumping out the vehicle as best he could, and grabbing his crutch on the way, he searched around for somewhere where someone might dump a body. That didn’t really narrow things down as the area was pretty grotty, but he kept looking.

Then he remembered the comment about the flock of dancing birds. He couldn’t see any.

Caden began looking down side streets that still had a view of the night club’s neon windmill, hoping to find some sort of dancing birds, but he wasn’t having any luck.

“This is a waste of time,” he mumbled to himself, “I’m never going to find any dancing birds.”

Then he noticed the graffiti on the walls. Most of it was pretty standard, but amongst the tags and random designs he saw what looked like a flock of cartoon ducks dancing together. It was pretty good, but that wasn’t important; what was important was that this must be close to where the body had been dumped.

Caden looked around, trying to find somewhere that a body could be hidden, when he suddenly noticed a group of low windows against the opposite wall to the dancing ducks. Crouching down, he peered inside. There was no light, but he could hear muffled voices, some of which sounded as if they were in pain. He tried the lock on one of the windows, but it was tightly shut, so he moved on to the next one, and the next. Finally he found one that was open, so he lifted it up and peeked inside. It was dark so he couldn’t see much, but the muffled voices were louder now and more urgent.

(continued)


message 16: by Edward (last edited Jul 28, 2016 06:12PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Arms Dealer (Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 3089
Rating : PG13 for Medical Content

(continued)
Trying to be as quiet as he could, and making sure not to land on his bad leg, Caden lowered himself through the open window to the ground below. To his ears the sound of his landing echoed through the dark room, but nobody came running which was good news for him. He reached through the window for his crutch and began walking through the room. There was a light coming from the far side through a crack in the bottom of a door, and using this as a guide Caden began to traverse the pitch black basement. He almost tripped on a few invisible obstacles along the way, and the muffled sounds seemed to be closer as he made his way towards the door. On reaching it, he felt along the wall for a light switch and, finding one, he flipped it to on.

What he saw when he turned to look around the room made him audibly gasp. It was filled with dead bodies! Most of them were young women, mostly in their early twenties from the looks of things, with gags on their mouths and their bodies tied up in various ways. All of them were missing different body parts, mostly arms and leg. Caden staggered against the door, taken aback by the sight of all the death and dismemberment. The door banged open when he hit it, letting the light from the hallway into the room as well. As Caden panicked at the sight, he heard a voice from the hallway;

“What are you girls up to in there?” what sounded like a man’s voice called out, seeming playful in a creepy sort of way.

Caden didn’t understand what the owner of the voice could have meant by that; maybe he was crazy and liked talking to his victims after they were dead. Whatever the reason, Caden glanced about the room, trying to find something he could use as a weapon. His eyes finally fell on a chair next to the body of a woman missing an arm and most of one leg, along with various other parts of her anatomy such as an eye and an ear. As he moved the chair, the dead body suddenly moved. It was all Caden could do not to scream as he clamped a hand over his mouth, staring at the woman who was clearly still alive. She seemed to be smiling up at him, and her eyes fell on his arm. He looked at it, then at her one good arm. They did seem similar.

“Was this arm yours?” he whispered, “Are you the one sending me these messages? Are uou Isabelle?” She smiled with her eyes and nodded slightly. Caden was just about to say something else when he heard the footsteps growing closer, and the voice speaking out again.

“Come on ladies,” the voice spoke, sounding slightly higher than before, “can’t you all keep the noise down for a bit?”

Caden reached down and removed the gag from the Isabelle’s mouth. She stared into his eyes and said two words:

“Kill her.”

“Her?” Caden frowned, then realised what she meant. The person coming into the room, the person behind all of this, was a woman!

Caden trotted over to the door with the chair, hiding behind the door frame with the chair held over his head. As the woman walked through the door, looking large, smug, and superior, Caden brought the chair crashing down on her head. With a muffled moan she fell to the ground unconscious.

Caden ran back to the woman whose arm he now had attached to his shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?”

She tried not to laugh, “As good as can be expected,” she groaned, then chuckled a little, “Check the others, they should all still be alive. They keep us this way so they can use more and more body parts until we finally die. They’ve been feeding us with drugs that stop us from bleeding out, but even so we’ve lost a few to shock.”

Caden pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialled the police, then began checking on the semi-conscious women in the room after he’d tied up the large woman who had been holding them captive and left her lying on the ground. They all seemed to be alive, which was good news, and Isabelle had even been able to help with untying some of them in spite of only having one arm. She explained that the woman had been stealing their body parts and selling them secretly to the hospital under the guise of an official business. They’d faked death certificates and donor cards with made-up Ids so they could make a small fortune. Ever since donor organs had become chargeable commodities instead of donations back in 2027, the black market for organ theft had been much harder to trace.

As Caden helped up the last of the women, he noticed that Isabelle had taken his crutch and was using it to cross the room to the trussed up woman who had kidnapped them. She stood over her with the crutch, then for some strange reason sat down on the woman’s chest. Caden was about to ask her what she was doing when she saw her reach her one hand to the woman’s throat and, taking hold of it, she began to squeeze. Caden could hear the choking gasps of the large woman as she lost the ability to breath, then the gasps just as quickly cut off.

“She won’t hurt anyone ever again,” Isabelle said flatly, awkwardly getting back to her foot with the aid of the crutch and the wall. Caden looked on in disbelief as he heard the sound of police sirens pulling up outside. He guessed that was the end of the matter now, and he could get back to his normal life. But there was one thing niggling at the back of his mind...

...Did he have to give back his new arm now?


message 17: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago Title: Kayleigh Remembers

Author: Jane Jago

Word count: 933

Rating: 18 (sexual abuse and a harsh ending)

KAYLEIGH REMEMBERS

Kayleigh was first taken into care when she was two years old. From that time onwards she was like a small shuttlecock, shunted between care homes, foster homes, and her parents during those times they could manage to persuade the Department they were reformed characters. By the time the child was twelve years old she was regularly being sexually abused by her father, when she wasn't out picking pockets with her mother.

These exemplary parents were eventually jailed for their part in a spectacularly bungled robbery, and Kayleigh came back into the care of social services. But it was all a bit too late; she already understood the value of her body as a bargaining tool and was nothing loath to use it. She had a delicate almost patrician beauty, which she wielded like a surgeon's scalpel. The headmaster of the school where the Department sent her wasn't proof against her attractions, and neither was the choirmaster, nor the games teacher, nor the lab assistant. She made few friends among her peers, and laughed at those few telling her that her behaviour could get her into trouble.
'I'm not in trouble now?'

Of course her friends were right. There was a whistle blower, and there was an investigation. It found all the men guilty of the abuse of a child. Kayleigh said nothing, and kept her eyes downcast, lest anyone see the unholy glee on them. This was revenge in its purest form, and she was relishing the taste of it.

It almost goes without saying that the male authority figures were replaced by women. Women who mistrusted the girl child with the face of a Flemish Madonna. But Kayleigh seemed a reformed character, no longer keeping herself to herself, instead joining in with every activity and club the school offered. She was conspicuous only for her seeming normality, and Authority congratulated itself on a young soul saved.

And then her father was released from prison. He requested a visit with his daughter. Permission was denied. He tried again. And again, until he wore the Department down. They met in a seedy motel on the outskirts of Birmingham, a teenage girl, a harassed social worker, and the somewhat diminished figure of her principal abuser. She looked at him with something akin to pity and sat as far from him as possible.
'Did you miss me Kail?'
She didn't answer.
'Look. I'm sorry. I've learned that what I done to you was wrong.'
His daughter still didn't answer him; she just looked at the big hands that lay idle in his lap.
He opened his mouth to try again but she forestalled him by getting to her feet. She looked over at the social worker.
'Can we go now?'
The woman nodded briefly and picked up her briefcase.

And that, as far as the Department was concerned, was that. But Kayleigh's father was made of sterner stuff. He started a relationship with one of the school cleaners - a heavy, plain girl who was only too pleased to slip Kayleigh notes and little gifts in return for the occasional chip supper and brisk tumble in the back of whatever stolen vehicle her paramour happened to be driving. At first, it didn't seem as if Kayleigh even noticed, but after a time her interest was piqued enough that she wrote an answering note. Three words: 'What you want?'

Maybe that wouldn't have been enough to encourage a normal man, but Kayleigh's father had spent three years of his life obsessing about his beautiful daughter, and he rubbed his hands in glee.

Six months later, Kayleigh agreed to cut school one afternoon and meet her father at an anonymous chain hotel on the edge of a trading estate. She walked there under a cloudy sky, carrying her school bag and frowning slightly. He must have been watching for her because he was outside the door and he hustled her into the lift as quickly as possible. He opened the door of room 136 and all but thrust her through the stubby hallway past the bathroom and the trouser press.

As soon as he took his hands away from her Kayleigh dropped her school books on the bed and knelt gracefully with her hands clasped behind her head. Her father stood about three feet in front of her and smiled.
'You remembered how to please Daddy. That's good.' Then he pushed his jogging pants down over his hips. As Kayleigh shuffled towards him, he threw back his head and groaned in expectant excitement.

Sadly for him, he didn't get what he expected. His daughter sprung up from the grubby carpet as if electrocuted. The point of her elbow smashed his larynx, paralysing his voice and making it all but impossible for him to breathe. As he struggled for breath she took a razor sharp James Black Bowie knife from a sheath in the small of her back.
'Oh yes' she said softly. 'I remember.'
Then she cut off his penis. He tried desperately to scream, but no noise came, and he fell to the floor at her feet with his blood pumping from the severed stump.
Kayleigh pulled the scrawny duvet and pillows from the bed, dropping them in the ever spreading pool of blood.

She left him to bleed out and went to the bathroom where she drew a deep hot bath with plenty of complimentary bath essence. Undressing fastidiously she stepped into the steaming water. She laughed, just once, before drawing the Bowie knife over her own wrists and subsiding into the comforting bubbles.


message 18: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago Oops forgot to say:

1. Comment and critique would be appreciated

2. Sorry if it's a bit bleak


message 19: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments I started this story as an exercise in imagery and the active voice, but I've fallen ill this week, so it's not like my usual writing. Feedback and critique always welcome. For Melissa, you might be interested to know that the names in this story are derived from the Basque words for light and fire.

Title: The Little Errau
Author: Angie Pangan
Words: 1,340

Currents of liquid flame brushed against Haandia’s back, offsetting the occasional chill that swept in from the vastness of space. She craned her head up to appraise the void. Neighboring stars twinkled in the blackness, caught up in the endless rhythm of the universe as they travelled through galaxy after galaxy. Haandia wondered how many of those stars housed her Errau sistren, how many had already been consumed.

A soft mewling brought her attention back to more important matters. She curled around the twitching plasma sack with more care, shifting so that she could see the still-closed eyes of her child through the translucent membrane. A buzz flitted down her spine: He was waking.

His mouth gaped open and closed again, as if gasping. He writhed in frustration, trying to escape his protective sack. “It is all well, my sweet,” she murmured to him as he struggled. She nudged him through the divide, coaxing him along until the film tore open with a squelch. After twisting and squirming, he had more control over his new body, but still had the jerky movements characteristic of all newborn Erraux. His amber eyes fluttered open and Haandia felt a sweeping joy rise in her soul. Her first child. She had done it. They had done it. She roared her delight into the void, knowing her mate would hear it and come from wherever he guarded this solar system.

She pushed the discarded membrane away to protect her little one from strangulation; she would not allow anything to harm this precious miracle. His gentle cooing warmed her in a way that the fusion reactions of their home never could.

“I name you Garrax,” she murmured. “For the currents that move the stars. My child, my sweet.” Haandia never knew such wonder could exist. She felt unworthy. For the first time, she understood the pride with which Erraux parents presented their offspring to the colonies. It was her turn.

She watched the orbits in the solar system above as her child continued to adjust to his body. Comets came and went, following a different path than the planets or asteroid belts. “Such wonders you have to see, Garrax. A universe so vast and endless. Yours for the taking.”

He nestled against her and followed her gaze. Together, they watched as her mate slithered toward them, twisting his body to keep from knocking the planets from their orbits. Tasuge stopped a few breadths from their nova, but was close enough to lay eyes on his son. His approval and pleasure reverberated through the gap. He swirled around the star to examine Garrax from every angle, careful to keep his more delicate skin away from its flames.

“Are you ready, my child?” He beckoned with a twist of his head. “Come into the universe.”

Haandia nudged him to the surface. “Go to your father, Garrax. It is all right.”

The child was hesitant as he peeked his head out of the safety of the flames for the first time. He reeled back in shock, seeking shelter in the center of the nova. “Too cold.”

“You’ll be all right, my sweet. I promise.”

At his mother’s gentle insistence, he ventured into the cold once more. He hissed and coiled his long body tightly. Haandia emerged from the star soon after him, her body stretching and using muscles she barely remembered she had. It had been so long since she’d been able to uncoil. Turning to her son, she urged him to straighten. What happened next would be important, would mark him for the rest of eternity, and she would not have him branded a coward for the rest of his life. Garrax uncoiled with reluctance and undulated towards the safety of his mother’s embrace.

Before reaching her, he paused to examine himself. His newborn’s flesh had begun to congeal in patches of grey, silver, and black. The now-thicker skin insulated him more effectively from the cold and he moved more daringly.

Haandia hummed her praise as she examined his patterning. It was stippled just so, blurred in a way that suggested motion during the dappling process. His head was darker than his tail; the mark of an Errau facing away from his birthplace, eager for the future. She inspected his eyelids and found them marked white—his eyes had remained open. Tasuge wrapped around her tenderly and she knew he too approved: Garrax had all of the markings of a fearless and strong Errau. One day, he would have his pick of potential mates.

“Let us show him the universe, Haandia.”

They nudged him away from the star, but Garrax watched in dismay as it collapsed from their absence. Haandia brushed against him comfortingly. “It was consumed to bring you life. Its flames nurtured your flesh. Do not mourn, my dear, for the circumstances that brought you into existence.”

“But I’ll never be able to return.”

“You wouldn’t have been able to; it would have burned your new skin. You will never be able to enter a star again. It is why your father waited for you to come to him. But do not sorrow, for far grander miracles await you beyond here.”

“So I’ll never see another star again?”

“Of course you will, my sweet. One day, you will have a mate of your own and you will find her a star so that she may birth your child in fire. And you will guard her solar system from Iresten while she slumbers.”

“Mama, what are Iresten?”

“Devourers. They sweep through galaxies and swallow entire solar systems. They leave only death in their wake.”

“And we don’t do the same?” He looked mournfully at the sputtering remains of the star. “This solar system will die without its light.”

“Unlike the Iresten, we do not destroy systems without care. Your father chose a system with no life in its orbits. While sometimes we must destroy to live, we do not take life capriciously. Come, it is time to see the universe.”

Tasuge led the way out of the dead solar system. “Do not rattle those planets, little one. With the nova gone, they will fall from orbit and join other systems, but their paths will be gentle. If you jostle them, the collisions may be disastrous. You might destroy a living planet.”

The new family undulated through the galaxy, with Garrax pulsing gracelessly between his parents. He jostled into asteroids and meteors, unable to achieve his mother’s smooth gliding or his father’s careful darting. Only when he’d gotten tangled in his own serpentine body did his mother finally intervene.

“Look carefully, my child. You cannot push yourself through the void. Look at the fabric of the universe, see how it stretches and pulled. Follow the lines of gravity and plot your course. Let it carry you where you wish to go.” To demonstrate, she plunged down a gravity current that swung her in a wide loop around a star cluster until she drifted back to Tasuge’s side. “Try it.”

Garrax’s next attempt allowed him to slingshot between two stars but he lost control and careened toward a twinkling blue planet. Tasuge used his body to steer the child away before he could disrupt its orbit.

“I’m sorry, Mama.”

“No need to apologize, my dear. It will come to you with time. Your body will learn and your muscles will remember, so that it will take little thought to float through the universe.”

“Why does this planet sparkle, Mama? It’s different from the others we passed.”

“It has life, Garrax. See how they swarm and move across its surface?”

“What are those spindles?”

“I cannot say. This is not one I have come across before. It might be where the creatures live.”

“Come, Garrax.” Tasuge guided him back into the void. “We have far to go before we reach our flock.”

“Take care not to bump into their moon, my sweet. They need it.”

Garrax twisted away from the glittering rock, eager for what other wonders filled the universe.


message 20: by Jami (new)

Jami | 6 comments James wrote: "Hey Everyone! So here is my attempt for this week. Please let me know what you think!

Title: Muscles, Memories and Ghosts of the Past
Author: James J Meadows III
Words: 2042

The tears in my wif..."


Your story was well written and intriguing. I definitely enjoyed it. It sure gave me pause to consider what I would have done if I had the option to see lost memories.


message 21: by Jami (new)

Jami | 6 comments Edward wrote: "Title : Arms Dealer (Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 3089
Rating : PG13 for Medical Content

(continued)
Trying to be as quiet as he could, and making sure not to land on his bad leg, C..."



Would love to read the rest of this story for sure!


message 22: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments James wrote: "Hey Everyone! So here is my attempt for this week. Please let me know what you think!

Title: Muscles, Memories and Ghosts of the Past
Author: James J Meadows III
Words: 2042

The tears in my wif..."


Great use of tension throughout this story James. And as for the ironic twist of fate at the end... well done.


message 23: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Jane wrote: "Title: Kayleigh Remembers

Author: Jane Jago

Word count: 933

Rating: 18 (sexual abuse and a harsh ending)

KAYLEIGH REMEMBERS

Kayleigh was first taken into care when she was two years old. From ..."


I almost thought this was going to have a happy ending (no pun intended) for Kayleigh, but then you pull the rug out from under us. Nicely done, Jane! :)


message 24: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Angie wrote: "I started this story as an exercise in imagery and the active voice, but I've fallen ill this week, so it's not like my usual writing. Feedback and critique always welcome. For Melissa, you might b..."

Such a strange yet familiar story. It felt warm and inviting, and though the final sentences were predictable it was a prediction the reader could look forward to.


message 25: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Edward wrote: "Title : Arms Dealer (Part 2)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 3089
Rating : PG13 for Medical Content

(continued)
Trying to be as quiet as he could, and making sure not to land on his bad leg, C..."


Interesting story! I had to laugh at the last line in the story because I was wondering the same thing: so, what happens to his new arm? Then, again, I suppose if the arm is going to keep pushing his girlfriend away, he is better off giving it back.

Thanks for sharing!


message 26: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Jane wrote: "Title: Kayleigh Remembers

Author: Jane Jago

Word count: 933

Rating: 18 (sexual abuse and a harsh ending)

KAYLEIGH REMEMBERS

Kayleigh was first taken into care when she was two years old. From ..."


Interesting. Kayleigh killing herself at the end seems rather surprising for her character as she came across to me as someone who was too confident and unemotional to commit suicide. There is certainly a lot of depth to the character which makes her interesting. I wish we could have seen a little more of what went on inside her head. Thanks for sharing.


message 27: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Angie wrote: "I started this story as an exercise in imagery and the active voice, but I've fallen ill this week, so it's not like my usual writing. Feedback and critique always welcome. For Melissa, you might b..."

That was a sweet story. The idea of the birth and the creatures you created was both neat and thought-provoking. Also the emotions of the mother and the child, as it prepared to go out into the new world, were well done and relate-able to the reader. Thank you for sharing!


message 28: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Fantasy Rock Goddess
GENRE: Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 1,540
RATING: PG-13 for extreme violence and swearing



Autumn Smith peeked through the backstage curtain of the Dead Pegasus Orc Bar and felt like someone had just punched her in the stomach. She was used to wild and raucous crowds, but never before had she played her elven bard music in front of savage creatures such as orcs. Their drunken screams and violent shoves were reminiscent of barbarians going to war against the gods. A few of them even threw the bar’s furniture at each other. The bouncers’ hands were tied with one group of wild orcs, so much so that many of these barbaric brawls went unnoticed.

The elf guitarist swallowed a massive wad of saliva in nervousness, but that only served to further irritate her anxious and chilled stomach. And then a dark-skinned hand laid lovingly on her shoulder and put her somewhat at ease. That hand belonged to the blond Mohawk-having, red robe-wearing sorcerer known simply as Bloodshark. He said in his best smooth jazz voice, “Don’t you worry about a thing, baby girl. I’m the best mercenary money can buy. If one of these motherfuckers puts their hands on you, I’ll shove thunderbolts up their asses and fireballs down their throats. You’ve got this, sugar pie.”

Autumn breathed deeply to settle her nerves and said to Bloodshark, “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this for me. I’ve never played in front of orcs before.”

Bloodshark smiled and shook his head before saying, “Listen, honey bear, orcs are no different from any other wild and crazy crowd: they all turn to ashes after getting zapped with my magic lightning. Ashes look the same no matter what race, creed, or color they originally were. Now you go onstage and have the time of your life, cuddle muffin. You’re a dark fantasy rock goddess. You don’t sweat the small stuff.”

The elven bard smiled sweetly and said, “You’re right, Bloodshark. You’re absolutely right. I’m going to show these drunken assholes what a real rock goddess looks like. I’m supposed to be getting a huge payment for this concert, so if you want a raise, you can have it.”

“It’s show time, sweetheart,” said Bloodshark after squeezing Autumn Smith’s shoulders. “Give these suckers all you’ve got!”

The words of encouragement put an even bigger smile on the silver cloak-wearing bard’s face as she grabbed her acoustic guitar and nodded at her mercenary before taking center stage. The orcs stopped fighting amongst themselves and cheered like a bunch of battle hungry warriors. Despite being a race of sloppy eaters and uncouth manners, even they could appreciate the heavenly beauty of their rock and roll princess.

She had soft and creamy green skin, long and silky dark hair, hypnotizing purple eyes, gorgeous red lips, a sparkling gray halter top that revealed just the right amount of cleavage, fetishized high heeled boots, and tight black leather pants that accentuated her best lower body features. Autumn’s appearance alone was a main event show on its own. But when she started strumming her golden guitar, every note and every chord put the orcs in a drooling trance.

Her singing voice made every audience believe she was an angel from the most beautiful of heavens. Her erection-worthy lyrics spoke of the pleasures of love making from her partner’s perfect muscular body to the wonderful thrill of being pushed into. She even made a few orgasmic moans to simulate the gentle sex she was singing about.

The crowd of drunken orcs, who had been brawling just minutes before, were now retarded with love for this sexy elf playing music for them. They drooled, their eyes were halfway closed, they were hunched over, and many of them purposefully sat down at their tables to avoid…embarrassment.

And then one of the audience members made the mistake of reaching up on stage and grabbing Autumn by her ankle. “Ouch! Let go! You’re hurting me!” she yelled as the orc held on with a nearly crushing grip. The other orcs egged him on and showed their wildness once more with berserker screams. And then that sexually harassing orc drew back a stump when Bloodshark appeared from behind the curtain and zapped his hand.

A fountain of black orcish blood burst in the air and stained Autumn’s lovely clothing, to which she gasped in horror. The orcs laughed at their creepy brethren while Bloodshark warned them, “Anybody else want to try that shit? Go ahead! Come on! I don’t get paid by the hour, motherfuckers!”

One of the orcs pulled out a battleaxe and screamed furiously before charging at Bloodshark with a full head of steam. The mercenary sorcerer extended his fingertips and shot a cannonball-like fire volley into the warrior’s chest, sending the orc flying all the way to the back of the bar and crashing through the wall.

Autumn grabbed her bodyguard by the arm and shouted, “I’m not paying you to kill them! I just wanted some security, damn it!”

Bloodshark shoved his boss to the ground, pointed his finger at her, and said, “Let me do my job and then we’ll talk about semantics!”

While the elf bard crab-walked and cowered in the corner of the stage, more orcs descended upon Bloodshark with swords, axes, and flails drawn. That much heavy screaming pierced Autumn’s eardrums and made her feel like she was about to be ripped to shreds by this horny crowd.

And then Bloodshark threw his hands in a rapid fire machinegun motion as he tossed glacial spikes left and right into the orcs’ chests. While most of them were dropping to the ground bleeding like volcanoes, other orcs grabbed onto his arms and legs ready to tear him limb from limb. The sorcerer’s body became a conduit of electricity, sending lightning through his attacker’s bodies and turning them all to a pile of bloody ashes. And then the sorcerer threw fireballs at an assault rifle pace. And then more lightning bolts. And then more glacial spikes. Within a matter of lengthy seconds, the crowd full of horny orcs was reduced to shreds of skin, pieces of bones, and oceans of blood. Even the bouncers and bartenders weren’t spared from this deathly onslaught.

Bloodshark hunched over and clutched his knees while breathing heavily and admiring his handiwork. Autumn stopped flinching and surveyed the battlefield around her. Her bottom lip quivered, her body convulsed, and her eyes widened with horror as she pulled herself to her staggering feet. “Oh my god…what have you done? This isn’t security detail. This is murder!” Autumn banged on Bloodshark’s chest with her puny hands and yelled, “You’re a murderer! You’re a goddamn murderer!”

The sorcerer restrained the elf with his massive arms and stole a sloppy tongue kiss from her while leaning her backwards. It was long and passionate, but Autumn wasn’t buying the passion as she pushed away and crab-walked backwards again in disgust. She spit and coughed until she was certain the rotten flavor was out of her mouth. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”

“No, Autumn. I think the real question is…what the hell is wrong with YOU?! How could you treat your number one fan with such disdain? Is that what you rock goddesses are really good for?” protested Bloodshark.

The elf’s breathing slowed and her mouth quivered even harder as she realized the trap she had fallen for. “No…no…this can’t be happening. You’re not a mercenary. You’re a stalker! You’re a goddamned stalker! How can you do this to me, you sick pervert?!”

“How can I do what to you? Write you the sweetest letters a fan could ever write? Send chocolates to your house that tasted like pure heaven? Send roses to your studio that smell like fresh warm Eden? I spent more of my own mercenary money on you than I did for myself. And the way you repay me for my love and affection is by ignoring me and acting disgusted with me?! I should be the one disgusted with you! But I’m not, Miss Smith. I’m in love!” said Bloodshark with the wildest eyes and the creepiest grin.

Autumn shook her head and said, “You don’t know a goddamn thing about love. You’re just a pervert. You’re the worst kind of scum a singer like me could ever meet. You’re not the first one to fall in love with me. I’ve dealt with sickos like you many times in my career. You think you’re special just because you’ve eliminated all of your orcish competition with a little bit of magic? You’re pathetic!”

Bloodshark’s eyes glowed with light blue neon as he said, “It’s not just a little bit of magic, Miss Smith. It’s what I use on a day to day basis when I fight for the affections of my sweetest crushes. You rock and roll women are all the same to me. Then again, it’s just like I said earlier…all ashes look the same! If you won’t say yes to me…then I’ll say goodbye to you!”

Autumn Smith shouted, “No! Please!” as the perverted sorcerer extended his fingertips and threw the biggest bolt of electricity his tired body could muster up. What better place to send that spear of lightning…then right through Autumn’s “cold and loveless” heart?


message 29: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Gashbeen Saeed

This story is a bit different from the rest of my stories. This is a short excerpt from an autobiography in the world of muscles. I just want to try this out and see how it goes. The title is at the very bottom, in bold.

"Flexor Pollicis Brevis. That is my name, as undoubtedly all of you know. I have gained fame through my involvement in the Great Muscle Rebellion. No one has forgotten those turbulent years, and no one ever will.

The Great Muscle Rebellion led to the discovery of a flaw in our society. Although all muscles worked together to help their person function, we were all still divided.

All muscles know the three types. Cardiac, smooth, and skeletal.

Cardiac muscles are located in the walls and foundation of the heart. Before the Great Muscle Rebellion, they were at the top of society. Since they make up the bulk of the heart's mass and work harder than any other muscle, they were obviously the most important. That was what they told the rest of us.

Smooth muscles were right below the cardiac muscles in the hierarchy of our former society. As we all know, they live within the walls of hollow organs such as the stomach; they can also be found in the walls of blood vessels. Their location was what made them nearly as important as the cardiac muscles.

At the very bottom of society were the skeletal muscles. I am one of them. We are attached to our person's bones, and our main purpose is to contract in order to facilitate the movement of our person's skeleton. We were deemed unimportant, for our person could survive without us. That was what they claimed.

Tension built up within our peaceful society. Emotions were running high, and eventually we snapped. The skeletal muscles rose up and began what would later be known as the Great Muscle Rebellion.

When the skeletal muscles went on strike and refused to work, I, an innocent who was unaware of what was truly happening, followed suit. The results were catastrophic.

Panic ensued. Our person could no longer move. She had become something like a vegetable. It grieves me to admit that we skeletal muscles, even after seeing the horror that we had brought upon us all, refused to yield and give in.

I, who had at first been merely an innocent, began to change. My innocence was corrupted through the good intentions of my brethren. They say the path to Hell is paved with good intentions. During those terrible years, I realized that it was true.

My conscience was stirring within me. As time went on, I found it harder to do nothing. I was tempted to move, to incite others to move as well and end this torment. I was sure that there were others who felt the same way. So, I decided to open up negotiations with the Brain.

As all muscles know, the Blessed Brain is the equivalent to us of what our person would see as God. Opening up direct communications to the Brain was unheard of, especially when a lowly skeletal muscles was doing so. I was, undoubtedly, nervous, and felt sure that it would not work.

To my shock, it did. The Brain and I negotiated that it the skeletal muscles began to work again, then they would be recognized as equals to the cardiac and smooth muscles. I was given the honors of being the first to move.

Our person's doctors no doubt saw it as a miracle. In a way, it was. I, a lowly skeletal muscle, am now famous for my role in ending the Great Muscle Rebellion.

This fame comes with a price. I am now burdened with the desire to educate muscles, to inspire equality within other muscle societies. We have achieved what had been perceived as impossible.

Still, perhaps it should have remained impossible. We are no longer the same. We have all changed, for better or worse, and we will all change even more as time goes by.

Muscles have long memories. We can never forget or move on, and that is the curse and blessing of musclekind."

- Flexor Pollicis Brevis, A Muscle's Memory


message 30: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments James, I loved the creative take on this week’s topic. The hard science fiction is creative enough on its own, but this also serves as a reminder to us all that letting the past be the past is paramount to living a healthy life. Yes, Edward was a psychotic rapist who should have been arrested a long time ago, but the lesson in letting go of the past is still the same. My own past has been tainted by high school bullying and living with a verbally abusive former stepfather named Art, so I avoid talking about those subjects as much as possible. If I ever did forget about my past demons, I wouldn’t want to go back to them for anything. I even wrote a heavy metal song about this called “Mass Grave” where all of my worst memories are buried beneath the ground, so to speak. Anyways, excellent work with your story this week! It was so innovative on so many levels.

Edward, you’ve definitely got a dark and twisted side to you when it comes to your stories and it shines brilliant in your effort this week. Your story reminds me of the first Hostel movie with the way the girls were being dismembered. In many ways, your tale was even more disturbing than any piece of gore-nographic cinema I’ve ever seen. It made The Human Centipede look like a Disney movie. It made the Saw franchise look like Nick Jr. Can I get away with one more of these? It made the screams from Hostel sound like a Kidz Bop album. It’s frightening enough that these women were being dismembered, but it’s even worse that they were being kept alive and in a ton of pain. If you ever want to branch out from your usual comedy stories, then you definitely have a future in gore-nography. Excellent work, my friend!

Jane, you’ve expressed concerns of your story being too violent or disturbing. While the story did earn it’s R-rating, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to following the rules of the WSS. You did everything you were asked to do and then some. Besides, people write gory and violent stuff all the time here at the WSS. Take it from me: I’ve earned the nickname Gorrison Killy on Deviant Art. If I could give you one piece of critique on your story, though, it has more to do with the fact that you’re telling us what happened instead of showing us. The prose resembled a story one would hear on the six o’clock news. Instead of telling us what happened, show us with scenes from each scenario you’ve described. I want to feel Kayleigh’s emotions. I want to feel her pain. I want to know how good it felt when she beat the crap out of her god-awful father and cut his Johnson off. Of course, showing instead of telling is something every author struggles with whether they want to admit it or not. I’m confident you’ll be able to get it down pat as you progress through your journey as an author.

Angie, I always enjoy it when I read your science-fiction and fantasy tales. You come up with the most imaginative themes and motifs when it comes to the sci-fi genre. You give me advice all the time about how my characters should be nuanced and I can tell that you follow your own advice perfectly with your characters. The muscle memory prompt fit your story like a glove. I do have one question to ask about Garrax, though. How is it that a newborn baby is able to understand and fluently speak the language of his race in such a short amount of time? He was barely born a few seconds and he’s already well-spoken. Maybe it’s something about his alien race that gives him such proficiency, but you’d be doing your readers a favor by letting them know of this beforehand. No need to worry, though, because it’s a minor complaint and it doesn’t rob the story of enjoyment. Great job this week!


I know you guys have missed out on my detailed feedback over the past few weeks and I apologize for that. But now that my CPAP machine is working to its full potential, I have more energy to do the things I want to do, including writing my own story this week and giving you guys the critiques you deserve. Everybody did a stellar job with their stories!


message 31: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Gashbeen, that was a clever take on this week’s topic. If only the muscles would have figured out beforehand how important they really were. In a way, the human body is a lot like society as a whole: everybody plays their own part in contributing to the greater good. Diseases are to the body what criminals and corrupt politicians are to society. This analogy couldn’t have shone any brighter than it did in your story. That’s what I got out of it, anyways. If you were just wanting to be as creative and clever as possible, though, that’s understandable too. It’s good to just kick back and have fun every now and then. I can tell that you have fun writing your stories whether they’re creative gems like this one or Lord of the Flies fan fiction. That’s the best part about being a writer: having fun and having something to boast. Great job, buddy!


message 32: by Edward (last edited Aug 02, 2016 06:17PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Fantasy Rock Goddess
GENRE: Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 1,540
RATING: PG-13 for extreme violence and swearing

Autumn Smith peeked through the backstage curtain of the ..."


Interesting story, with an unrighteous ending! Poor Autumn; that Bloodshark was a bit of a prick, to say the least. A couple of points - I don't think being "pushed into" sounds very gentle to me. Perhaps "eased into" would be better, or some other similar word. Plus I don't think a kiss can be classed as passionate if both involved aren't "feeling it". Still, great fun and proof that the "hero" of the story doesn't always win...


message 33: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Gashbeen wrote: "Gashbeen Saeed

This story is a bit different from the rest of my stories. This is a short excerpt from an autobiography in the world of muscles. I just want to try this out and see how it goes. Th..."


Very clever story, Gashbeen. A nice reflection on how society treats people today and how, if we all work together, everything runs better. This reminded me of an old cartoon series from the 80s, "Once Upon A Time... Life" and was also quite well timed because I recently watched "The Theory Of Everything".


message 34: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Edward wrote: "Interesting story, with an unrighteous ending! Poor Autumn; that Bloodshark was a bit of a prick, to say the least. A couple of points - I don't think being "pushed into" sounds very gentle to me. Perhaps "eased into" would be better, or some other similar word. Plus I don't think a kiss can be classed as passionate if both involved aren't "feeling it". Still, great fun and proof that the "hero" of story doesn't always win..."

I'll take those critiques into consideration when the time comes to edit the hell out of this story. You make some damn good points, my friend. Also, after all of the stories I've written with happy endings, it's about time that the hero gets a big juicy L on her win-loss record. Thanks for the insightful feedback! :)


message 35: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "Thanks for the insightful feedback! :) "

No problem, and good work getting your story done overnight!


message 36: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Actually, I got it done this morning, which is weird because I don't normally wake up until mid-afternoon. That CPAP machine of mine really worked its magic last night. :)


message 37: by Jane (last edited Aug 03, 2016 11:31AM) (new)

Jane Jago Thanks to Edward, James and Garrison for their input.

I think (hope) I've done more or less what I set out to do here. The reader isn't intended to empathise with Kayleigh, from where I'm standing that's the pity of it. We are all part of a society that regularly fails Kayleigh's factual sisters.

So I wrote carefully emotionlessly in order to make the distance between our comfortable world's and Kayleigh's world of pain more apparent.

Kayleigh can only survive by hiding who she is. There can be no happy endings for such as she. So she chooses her own end.


message 38: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments Thanks for the kind words, guys! I really wasn't sure whether this story would actually work, as it doesn't really seem like a story. I thought that creating a society of muscles would be a creative way to approach the prompt. As I was going along, I thought about how a lot of people really don't give much thought to their muscles and how important they are to our bodies, that we just take them for granted. And as I did more research about muscles to make the story accurate, I realized that if anyone just looked up the three muscle types, they'd probably organize the muscle society in the same way the muscles did. And that just led to a whole other branch of thinking. I'm not going to put the entire thought process down here. It would take too long. Still, I'm glad that it worked out in the end, and it was a lot of fun writing about a seemingly silly idea in a surprisingly serious way. It wasn't originally going to be so serious (I planned on making it comedic), but it ended up that way.

The best thing about writing is that you can still surprise yourself no matter how much you write.


message 39: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments James: I really liked where you were going with this story and how you ended it, but I don't feel like there was much of a build up to your earth-shattering revelation. I think part of it was that you were giving us such large chunks of information at a time rather than incorporating those details as you went along. Though it is true that first person narrators can be introspective to give details, having Edward's thoughts focused on his background and achievements when something this big is coming, it makes him feel a bit conceited and arrogant. Personally, I feel like those large block of information incorporate better with third person narrators, but that might just be me. But overall, it was a good read.


message 40: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Angie wrote: "James: I really liked where you were going with this story and how you ended it, but I don't feel like there was much of a build up to your earth-shattering revelation. I think part of it was that ..."

Thank you for the feedback Angie. I hadn't thought about the possibility of changing the story to 3rd person limited in order to present the background in a more effective manner. I will attempt to consider the effect of different views when writing future stories.


message 41: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Edward: I really loved the premise of your story this week. To be honest, I felt like the beginning of your story felt more rushed than the end, but the story as a whole was really well done. You transitioned pretty well from event to event, and segued into your ending at a nice pace. Everything about the set-up of your story was great, with that touch of sci-fi and a complex narrator. My comment for you this week is that sometimes I feel like you default more to the passive voice than the active voice and it can dampen the emotional impact of your strongest scenes. Still, a very well done story.


message 42: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Jane: I know you were concerned about the content of your story, but I felt like you handled the topic with maturity. Your characters were multidimensional and their motives believable. You didn't blame Kayleigh for what she'd suffered, but instead portrayed her as a traumatized and damaged girl who felt pushed into doing something terrible. Well done.


message 43: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Thank you for your feedback, Edward and James.


message 44: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Angie wrote: "Thank you for your feedback, Edward and James."

And thanks for yours, Angie. I think you're right; I rushed the start to get where I needed to go. :P


message 45: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Garrison: That escalated quickly. I can honestly say that I didn't see that ending coming. Your pacing for your action stories has improved a lot. Your fight scenes are easier to follow and they don't feel so overwhelming. I'd still like to see you try your hand at writing a sane villain, but overall good job.


message 46: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Gashbeen: I really loved that. It was brilliant and innovative with a very distinct voice. It really did read like a book synopsis. I'm glad to see you trying something different from your usual work. Great job.


message 47: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Garrison, I totally agree with you about Garrax. It was something I considered while I was writing the story and I tried to show that time was passing differently for the Erraux by showing the orbits of the planets as quick, insignificant things. I really wish I could have developed his character more (and might in the future) but I wasn't feeling well and didn't want to miss two weeks in a row. Hopefully I can do better this week :)


message 48: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Angie wrote: "Garrison: That escalated quickly. I can honestly say that I didn't see that ending coming. Your pacing for your action stories has improved a lot. Your fight scenes are easier to follow and they do..."

I always love hearing your feedback, Angie-Pie. It's music to my ears. About writing sane villains, most of those can be found in my modern day drama stories since they don't have aspirations of taking over the world or committing genocide like my fantasy villains do. For the Crumbling Well prompt, however, I'm not sure if making Carlos Pierre sane is even possible. The guy plays with poisonous snakes, after all. Still, you've given me good advice and I'll work with it the best I can. Thank you so much. :)


message 49: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9546 comments Angie wrote: "Garrison, I totally agree with you about Garrax. It was something I considered while I was writing the story and I tried to show that time was passing differently for the Erraux by showing the orbi..."

I hope you'll feel better in the weeks to come. A healthy Angie-Pie is a happy Angie-Pie. :)


message 50: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago Thanks Angie. Very much appreciated.


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