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Monthly Short Story Contest > October - Happy Homophones

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message 1: by Rebecca (last edited Oct 01, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Monthly writing challenge for October: Your story is to include the following pairs of homophones:

bazaar/bizarre
cymbal/symbol

Setting: Your choice

Genre: Mystery

Have fun!


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments The Trappings of Life
By Stephanie Baskerville
999 Words

---

‘Trapped! Curse them!’ My first reaction is anger. My second is fear. ‘How the hell am I going to get out of this?'

This is all Cheryl’s fault… she was the one that wanted to come to this fundraiser in the first place. This bazaar or carnival or whatever she’d called it was raising money for orphan kids. And it was her who was the one that decided we should try out this bizarre ‘funhouse’. She was the one who said it would be okay for me to see what was behind this door. She said she and Jace would be right behind me. And gullible little me, I believed her! But then she slammed the door behind me and now, in this pitch-black, I can’t see a damn thing!

I know why she’s done this, of course. We both love Jace, but he doesn’t love her. I don’t think he loves me, either. We’ve been friends for so long that I’m sure he’d never see me as anything other than a little sister to him. With Cheryl, though, it’s obvious that she’s deluded herself into thinking that if she just spends enough time with him, he’ll see what a great catch she is. Like coming to this place. She doesn’t really care about the orphans… she’s just doing this to impress him. She’s pathetic, really. Sometimes I wonder how we became friends.

God, this darkness is so frustrating! There’s no light whatsoever. I take out my cell phone, cursing the fact that I didn’t download the free flashlight app my friends have. But maybe the backlight from the screen will be enough to at least let me dimly see my surroundings.

I switch my phone on and am confronted by a picture of my dog and my husband… not exactly the person I wanted to see while I’m stuck in here thinking about Jace. My husband swore that he’d never cheat again… even bought me a new car as a symbol of his undying love for me. But after the second time that I caught him with that blonde chick, I’ve been looking at my options.

Holding the phone out in front of me to try and get a better view of my surroundings, I can’t help the shriek that I let out when I see the man sitting behind a drum set complete with cymbals.

‘What the hell is he doing sitting in the dark like this?’ I exclaim inwardly, then realize how stupid that sounded… obviously it’s a manikin or wax figurine. As I tell my heart to start beating normally again, I continue my investigation, trying to unlock the mystery of how I’m going to get out of this weird room and find my friend again. My heart’s not cooperating. I know the guy in the corner’s just some manikin, but it’s still unnerving as hell.

I realize that there’s another very faint, source of light coming from the wall beside me and hold my phone close to my chest so that I can figure out where the other light’s coming from. To my relief, I see the dim outline of a door. I move closer, running my hands along the wall in an effort to locate a knob or a handle. Relief floods through me as my fingers encounter cold metal.

As I turn the handle and push the door open, I’m awarded with a whiff of cool night air once again. I sigh with relief, but before I can make my escape, something from inside the room grabs my arm! My sigh of relief turns to a shriek of alarm, but before I can utter it, a hand clamps over my mouth and I’m dragged back into the room. I struggle to break free from this mysterious person’s strong grip.

“Heather, it’s me!” Jace’s voice ceases my struggles. We’ve been friends for so long, I’d know his voice anywhere. The hand over my mouth is removed.

“Jace?” I ask.

“Yeah, it’s me,” he replies, releasing my arm. “Sorry to scare you…"

“Scare me? Damn it, you nearly gave me a bloody heart attack!” I scold.

“Sorry,” he says again. A bright light appears between us and a moment later, Jace activates the flashlight app on his phone.

“Where’s Cheryl?” I ask.

“I had to get away from her. She’s as subtle as a sledgehammer,” Jace replies. “And I don’t really like her all that much.”

“You don’t?”

“No,” Jace shakes his head. “Between you and me, I only tolerate her because she’s your friend. Anyway, I told her I needed to go to the washroom and would meet her at the ferris wheel as soon as I was done.”

“Good thinking,” I nod.

“Thanks,” Jace says. “Heather, I needed to talk to you…”

There’s a tone to Jace’s voice that I can’t immediately place.

“What’s up?” I ask.

“It’s no mystery to me that you’ve been profoundly unhappy lately. I know why you’re upset, too, and I want you to know that I’m here for you.” Jace’s words catch me off guard.

"What?" I ask.

“I know what that stupid bastard did to you. I want to kill him for hurting you like this,” Jace says, his voice going hard. My knees suddenly feel weak. The only way I’ve lived with my husband’s infidelity is because I thought nobody else knew about it.

“You know?” I ask, my voice small.

“Yes, I know.” Jace’s arms come around me in a strong embrace. “You deserve so much better than how that despicable swine is treating you. You deserve to be with someone who will love and cherish you for the amazing, strong, beautiful woman that you are. And, if you’re open to the idea, I’d like to be that man.”

“Really?” I can hardly breathe.

“I’ve loved you for a long time now,” Jace says. “Let me show you what real love is?”

“Yes,” I breathe before our lips meet in a gentle kiss.


message 3: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hi Stephanie and others,

Good to read one of your stories again; it has been a while!

I liked your short narratives within the dialogue. Is the mystery between Jace and Heather, or a combination of Jace and Heather and her experience in the bizarre setting?

I don't know if this is the place for this, but if you comment, could you shed some light on how show vs. tell is used in the first-person narrative?

This is a concept I'm struggling with as a writer. Thanks.

David Russell


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments The narrative flows from the character creation and 'wrap-round' description of context - vivid descriptions of the time -place -situation.

Rather than stating the facts and 'telling' the reader what is happening you help the reader create their own vision of the scene or scenes in their head by using their 5 senses to guide their imagination - so how are the characters feeling - happy-sad-stressed? What do they look like - not a Police ID Photofit kind of description but one that 'suggests' the character - i.e a mature man who is world weary = 'he had a lived-in face, a picture of dissolution'

So you spend time to set the scene and describe emotions - and in doing so 'place' the reader in the scene themselves so they feel and understand what is happening between your characters.

Once you've welcomed the reader into your 'drama' you can get the characters to speak to each other - and therefore to resonate with the reader and tell their story with conviction.

It's like building the scaffolding around your characters so when they speak their 'voices' suit the narrative.

David I read your message to Stephanie and thought I would join the thread.


message 5: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments In Stephanie's story she has set the context before the narrative gets under way.


message 6: by David (new)

David (drussell52) David wrote: "Hi Stephanie and others,

Good to read one of your stories again; it has been a while!

I liked your short narratives within the dialogue. Is the mystery between Jace and Heather, or a combination ..."


In first-person narrative is Stephanie's character telling, showing, or balancing the two with dialogue showing and narrative, i.e. reactions and feelings, or telling?

To my understanding, the narrative begins with the first declarative sentences. I observe a similar situation when reading novels or short stories. Trying to see how this maxim works. Thanks!
David


message 7: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments Hi David,
The way I see it, when writing in first-person narrative, you as the author need to be able to set the tone right away because you don't have as many options for telling the reader what's going on. When working with first person, the author is limited to only what the main character thinks, does, knows, hears, sees, smells or feels. So declarative sentences works well to begin the narrative because it throws the reader right into the action.


message 8: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments Hi David,
I believe it really comes down to personal preference of the reader. Personally, I have read several well-written first-person narratives and have enjoyed them thoroughly. But I know friends who can't stand first person narratives. I also think genre has something to do with it. A lot of YA fiction seems to be in first-person and I think that's so the author can bring the readers into a greater empathetic rapport with the protagonist of their novel - young people especially seem to like being able to relate to the thoughts and feelings of the main character and first-person gives that "personal" connection between the character and the reader.


message 9: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments I apologise for jumping into this thread uninvited.


message 10: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments No apology needed, Steve! Your input is definitely welcome and I think this is a great place for others to jump in with opinions, thoughts and suggestions!


message 11: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments I made comment because of an earlier one related to the 'Show and Tell' aspect. This was mentioned in a previous thread after all the submissions were in for the September story.


message 12: by Gene (new)

Gene Hilgreen | 37 comments I have no problem writing a short story in first person. Its my novels, where the POV shifts and the introduction of multiple characters come into play. I take the easy way out and resort to third person omniscient. Second Chances will be in third, but I'm going to the dark side with the third book in the series and write it in first--God help me.


message 13: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hello Everyone!
I deleted a couple of my comments but will say I found an instructive essay on show vs. tell at scribophyle.com. Nothing beats good old practice though! I'd like to think W750 can be for story complements and story learning from one another. I consider several folk here seasoned in comparison to myself!
David


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Stephanie, thank you for getting the month off to a great start!

David, I think all writers struggle with show vs. tell. What I try to do is to use words to help the reader 'see' for themselves rather than merely relying on the narrators pov. It is more difficult for first person accounts, I think. But one can say, "The slight smile and twinkle in his eye made me wonder what mischief he was planning," vs "He looked like he was up to something mischievous."

Excellent discussion! Thank you for your insights, Steve.


message 15: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments I think every writer is looking to develop their own 'voice'to link with their style of writing and the 'fit' to the genre they favour. This is why the 750 group is so brilliant in that it allows us all to experiment and challenge our skills and bit by bit find their voice.


message 16: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Sorry I meant our voice.....


message 17: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Hi everyone,
Thumbs up (between using spacebar) on all said; smiling.
David


message 18: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments I hope no one is suffering with the weather situation. If you are in the path of the storm, keep safe. For the rest, I hope the changing season inspires you. Write on!


message 19: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments What is the due date for the for October story? Thanks.


message 20: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments I think they are due by the 25th.


message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Yes, by the 25th.


message 22: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Thanks all for confirming the date. I have a few more days left to work on a story.


message 23: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Looking forward to reading it Patricia.


message 24: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments How many of you are going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year?


message 25: by David (new)

David (drussell52) Not this year; am basking in short story land..

David


message 26: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments I don't blame you, David. I'm toying with the idea of doing it, but I hate to start if I can't finish.


message 27: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments As of now, no. I may change my mind.


message 28: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Me too, Patricia.


message 29: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vickigoodwin) | 41 comments I am doing NaNoWriMo. I am hoping to have a complete first draft of my third novel at the end. I am so excited about NaNo.


message 30: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (vickigoodwin) | 41 comments I am doing NaNoWriMo. Sorry I commented in the wrong place.

Rebecca wrote: "How many of you are going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year?"


message 31: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments one year i did nano with a batch of short stories. I think I have yet to make the 50k goal. Life always seems to happen on the side. But its fun trying.


message 32: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments The short story route sounds appealing. I'm still on the "maybe" side of participating.


message 33: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments I like the idea of batch stories, Shae, but that might take more creativity than i could muster in a month :D. I've finished twice, and completed one of the novels, but not to my satisfaction yet.


message 34: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Steve Bridger
CYMBALS OF POWER – The Untold Story of the 'Tales of the 1001 Nights'
945 Words

No doubt you've heard the stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and the Voyages of Sinbad taken from the Tales of 1001 Nights. You may remember that the heartbroken King had his unfaithful wife executed. He took a new wife, after only one night he had her executed to stop her being unfaithful. One thousand virgins suffered the same fate; until he met Scheherazade the Viziers daughter.


To avoid getting tongue tied we'll call Scheherazade Shae, and her little sister Dunyadzade, Donna. Being the daughters of the Grand Vizier; the ruler's main man, they knew the kingdom was fast running out of virgins. Plus, the populace was getting restless with these relentless executions and totally bizarre behaviour. Shae was willing to volunteer to spend a night with the King - but not the execution element. The first part of their plan to please the King and stay alive was to learn every story, book and legend of the ancient world. They were banking on the King liking storytelling and buying Shae time. As dawn broke Shae would stop the story telling, leaving it unfinished. The next night she'd finish the first and not complete the second, and so it would roll on for 1001 nights. If you can't wait to learn the ending, here it is. The King fell in love with Shae they lived happily ever after and had three children. That's how the original story ends.


However, what you don't know is the true story of what swung the balance night after night and how Shae used other skills to win the love of her King and turn him into a normal human being. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.


Learning the myths and legends of the ancient world did not happen overnight. Shae knew that words have power but she needed a Plan B. This was the B in Belly Dancing. Don't laugh. Each day Shae and Donna would disguise themselves and venture down to the teeming bazaar past the gold souk to join the Belly Dancing class run by a trusted and discrete friend. If Shae was going to win the Kings mind she would make certain he noticed her body too. After all, a girl's got to do what a girl has to do. The physical work-out was intense and slowly she gained supremacy over all her rippling muscle groups, including her neck muscles. Sweeping her head from side to side and swirling round and round was a prized skill. Her long black hair would arouse a knowledgeable audience. Musicians played Ouds, an Arabic stringed instrument, and flutes kept time and increased the tempo as the dancers lost themselves in the passion of the moment.


Shae began to master the art. Soon her teacher judged she was ready to learn the craft of the Zill. Zills are small cymbals about two inches in diameter. They're attached to the thumb and forefinger of both hands, four cymbals in all. They click together like Spanish castanets. The sound they produce accentuates the body movements of the dancer. Developing the volume and sharpness of the finger cymbals is rare talent and again appreciated by aficionados. Her teacher gave Shae a set of pure gold Zills engraved with moons, stars and a praying mantis - the marks of a sorceress.

Dusk fell on the fateful night. The family were distraught. They hugged and cried. The sound of their anxiety was interrupted by the Kings messenger crashing his staff on their door demanding entrance and the service of the one thousand and first virgin. As Shae was the Viziers daughter, the King had given special permission for Donna to accompany her sister for the early part of the evening.


'I've come to offer myself to you and the Kingdom.' Shae was bedecked with jewels and dressed in an exquisite red silk gown embroidered with silver and gold thread. She knelt before the King. 'I've been looking forward to this night (she lied) and have prepared an entertainment to please you.' The King remained silent. Shae lit incense burners and offered the finest wine to his majesty. Shae made direct eye contact. She showed no fear. She treated him as an equal, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. 'More wine?'

Meanwhile behind a partition Donna was quietly assembling a group of musicians. Shae hid her hands in the folds of her skirt and slipped the Zills in place and waited for the first notes of the dance.


The King was entranced. This beautiful woman had taken his breath away, her poise, her strength, her confidence was unlike any he'd seen before. She did not shy away from him. She would complete him. He heard music, delicate soothing sounds accompanied Shae starting to sway with the rhythm and pick up the beat of a bass drum, her hips gyrated and spoke of the pleasures to come. The clicking cymbals punctuated her steps. He would have her. He must have her. He stood to take her in his arms his strong hands clasped her shoulders.

The king saw her smile and felt a slicing cut. His head dropped to see the hilt of a stiletto suck his life-blood away.

Shae whispered in his ear as he slumped to the floor. 'I'm going to tell you a story about a boy called Allah-Din and his amazing adventures.'

Donna rushed to balcony overlooking the town square. She waved the signal flag of a virginal white bedsheet.

A new age had begun.


message 35: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Thank you for the story Steve!

The last day to post a story will be the 25th. My apologies to the group if you didn't think the prompt was fun. It was something I had thought about for a while. :-D


message 36: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Hi, I will try and post on the 25th. Thanks.


message 37: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments THE WITCHES NIGHT OUT…ITS HALLOWEEN
(Christene ....sorry for the short write...been rather unwell)

It’s the time of year when ruby red, rust or golden leaves fall.
The night air’s a-chillin as bizarre goblins and witches call,
“Come out and play with us tonight”, what a hoot what a sight
They are all dressed up, deathly n deadly, full of fright.
As Witches ride to ‘All-Hallows Bazaar’ for a new broomstick,
More potions, old toads or eye of newt, take your pick.
***
The moon is full, witches cast shadows as they slink about,
Whispering curses, casting evil spells with serious clout,
Take care if you venture about, we don’t want you there
If you do easily take fright or easily do scare
As victims of another fiendishly grinning goblins spell,
Whilst they dance and chant down in the mist laden dell,
***
Corpses are twitchin skeletons rise out of the ground,
Moving earth with just faint rustling, nary a sound
Can be heard by mortal souls that sleep tucked up abed
Shaking, shivering in their nightgowns, covers overhead,
Tonight their hair turns from black through grey to white
From all of the scaremongering outside on this evil night.
***
Cats whiskers are twitchin tails held high, eyes all agleam
Noses sniffing the air minds all frantic with a crazy scheme,
Waiting for sounds of cymbals and brooms, arriving outside
To collect them all up and take each off for a ride
Over the trees n hills and on into the sky they fly
Higher that eagles wailing louder than Valkyries cry.
***
The night is bewitched, alive with black magic symbols and such
Not favored at all by the conservative church goers much,
Bibles held high against forces rattling windows and doors
As slowly that mist creeps in from over the moors
Enveloping all of the villagers both great and small
From little thatched cottages to the castles great hall.
***
This night is not for ‘quaker’s and shaker’s’ of faint heart,
As each twig snapped each creaking bough brings a great start,
And a trembling and shaking right down to their very knees
Teeth a-chattering, as voices moan outside on the chill breeze,
A “Bless you” is followed by a-chuckling from evil crones
Devoid of flesh or heart, black covers their bleached bones.
……© CBJ


message 38: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments Wish you better in the witching hour! - A new set of lyrics of 'Thriller' with Vincent Price beyond the grave.....


message 39: by Steve (new)

Steve Bridger (dooch) | 131 comments What larks what fun.


message 40: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Hi Y'all! Today, the 25th is the last day to post your story. Voting begins tomorrow. Thanks to Christene, we have enough for a vote.


message 41: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Posting (at the last minute) today. Thanks.


message 42: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Tree Secrets
Patricia Fuqua Lovett
Word Count: 867

Autumn was Cassandra’s favorite time of year, but of late, it reminded her of scattered accumulations of lost. Every falling leaf that symbolically ushered in spring and summer was now turning brown, yellow, red, gold or bearing a tinge of variation which gave her pause. Poor leaves, she thought, they’ve loss their summer hue and have faithfully stayed in place on a belying tree. The unsuspecting leaves trusted the tree to keep them green as they stayed put on supporting limbs even though the sun, wind, and rain challenged their stay. They were loyal and never betrayed their dependent relationship.

So would the tree ever give up Cassandra’s secrets like it always dropped the faithful leaves? Of course, she knew that confiding in a tree was not sensible. In fact, she knew that it was a little bizarre to entrust secrets to a tree. But entrust she did. Without any coaxing or deliberate plans, she created a quiet annual ritual. On New Years’ day, year after year she shoved pieces of paper down a convenient cavity made deep with time.

Remember the murders on Elm Street that happened when she was 13? Cassandra was there, and only the tree knows the true players. Remember when the high school band reported that someone had stolen their expensive drums and cymbal set? The cops later found the set for sale at a neighborhood bazaar. Cassandra pushed the names of the guilty down the tree. Oh, yeah. Remember when the fire was set to the town’s only nursing home? It was shortly after her neighbor’ Mr. Rogers died at the nursing home. Cassandra was visibly shaken. She loved him as a granddaughter. He was the grandfather she never knew. She told the police that she didn’t do it but her friends were known to display symbolic gestures from time-to-time. Perhaps they should have stuck with the symbolic gesture of wearing matching t-shirts.

The tree hid her ups and downs. Remember when Cassandra invested in a get rich scheme? After she had lost her investment, the poor broker was never again seen or heard from by anyone in the small town. Cassandra made sure that everyone knew that she invested of her on accord. No one was to blame. She admitted that her biggest mistake was to accept the stranger’s invitation to attend an investment event. “Why not,” she’d mused. She thought the odds were in her favor. Why? The overly handsome invitee had told her so. Now she knew that he was just a well polished, smooth talking salesman. Probably down on his luck, much like she was, but his game was taking money from unsuspecting fools.

The scheme involved selling Halloween costumes. “Adults like to dress up and go trick or treating just like the children.” He barked. The investment was so appealing. Costumes designed just for adults and designed in the latest hip hop fashion and in the likeness of political figures. “In less than a month, the money will pour in without much effort on the investor’s part. Then you’re fee to walk away with double your investment if not more.

She had known a few people who invested in holiday wares. One distant cousin of hers invested in fresh Christmas trees and Santa suits one year. She more than doubled her investment. Although Cassandra never knew how much was invested or the real dollar amount gained. What she did know was that Jackie, the investor, moved from a tiny, one room apartment into a large three bedroom town home and is still calling the place home. Never once has she complained about not having enough money.

Managing her feelings and entrusting a tree to hid her secrets made Cassandra feel in control of her evasive actions. She’d lost count of how years and how many pieces of paper she’d shoved down the old tree. She knew the tree could be trusted until she heard loud noises outside her bedroom window. What she saw took the wind out of her. A brave fireman was climbing the tree all the while talking to something or someone as he made calculated steps up the tree. Upon raising the window slightly she made out the words and sounds of “here kitty, kitty.” Just as she was about to yell, “stop” a chainsaw could be seen being dropped alongside the massive trunk of the tree.

She hears the fireman’s captain yell instructions to fireman to dismount and allows a new team of experts to take over. With every powerful roaring, beasty sound the chainsaw made Cassandra’s body tensed. She began perspiring, and her mouth was uncomfortably dry.

“What’s this?” An indistinguishable voice yelled.

“You mean this white powdery substance?”

“Yeah!” Looks like wheat flour, corn meal or something.”

“You think the cat was living off this stuff?”

“Probably not. You know cats climb trees just to get our attention. They do weird stuff, you know.

Grabbing a nearby old bottle of Artesian water she gathered her strength and peered out of the window just in time to see the brave fireman, who had climbed the tree earlier, staring in her direction.

What does he know, she wondered. What does he know.


message 43: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Steve wrote: "The narrative flows from the character creation and 'wrap-round' description of context - vivid descriptions of the time -place -situation.

Rather than stating the facts and 'telling' the reader ..."


Thanks, Steve. Great explanation.


message 44: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments Good stories, folks! I like the Hallowe'en theme that Christene and Patricia worked into their stories! Rebecca, I enjoyed the prompts this month - a challenge for sure, but a delightful one!

I'm going to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year - I do it every year, but often find that I can't win. That doesn't stop me from trying, though! I love NaNoWriMo!!


message 45: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 999 comments Mod
A Symbol of Friendship

"I’m so glad that you asked me to accompany you to the Old Hallow’s Eve Festival,” beamed Margaret, her bright blue eyes were as expressive as her words. She strolled along side of Tristin, the Page who would one day become a knight. “I was so afraid that Uncle would make me go with my ugly cousin. You know, the fat boy with the wart on his nose.”

They both giggled and there eyes were crinkled in laughter.

“You honor me with your presence,” he replied as he bowed slightly, followed by another giggle.

The pair took in all of the lighted jack-o-lanterns and decorations all around them. A voice from a vendor’s table interrupted their thoughts.

“Tell your fortune for you, Missy, for a few shillings” said a bedraggled old woman under a canopy. The boy and girl stood at her table. Tristin laid a couple of shillings on the table.
“You won’t get much help from the spirits for that much, but we’ll see,” she scowled. She took Margaret’s hand and began to read her palm. Fear made her eyes bulge. She snapped her hand to her breast as if it were burned. “Your money is no good here! Be off wit’ ya!” She hid inside of her tent until they had gone.

“What a rude woman! She won’t make much money with a stupid act like that!” Tristin complained.

A moment later the vendor was soon forgotten.

“It’s too bad that we have to be followed by my uncle’s guards,” Margaret said as she looked over her shoulder. Sure enough, two of King Arthur’s guards lagged behind the young ones. “I have an idea. See that band of musicians over there near the Gift Bazaar?” Tristin nodded. “We’ll wait until they strike up there next piece, then we’ll make a run for it.”

“I don’t know about that. You’re going to get me into trouble.”

“Don’t be such a sissy!”

Tristin wasn’t going to stand for that. She might be a tom-boy, but she was not about to show him up.

The musicians began to toot their horns followed by the clanging of cymbals. A harpist with a giant harp followed with an angelic melody. Two men beat on large drums which the boy and girl took as their cue.

“Now!” exclaimed Margaret.

Straight as an arrow and swift as birds the pair scurried off around the street vendors. The two knights tried to pursue, but they were prevented from doing so by the swelling crowd. Finally Tristin and Margaret ran to a large tree a ways from the noise of the festival. They fell against it with laughter that shook their bellies.

When they had quieted, Tristin took a little wooden carving out of his pocket to show her. It was a boy and a girl holding hands. It wasn’t perfect, but with a little imagination you could tell what it was.

“I want you to have this. To me it’s a symbol of our friendship.” He was afraid of what her reaction might be. Would she spoil the moment by making fun of his gift?

“Ah, how sweet? Aren’t you the romantic!”

“It doesn’t mean we’re engaged or anything! It’s just a ‘thank you’ for being my friend. Friends are rare in this world. You do make it more bearable during my time at Camelot.”

Margaret was deeply touched. She took Tristin’s hand in her own. Just then the full moon crept out from behind a cloud. Tristin’s eyes were fixed on hers. Margaret’s eyes began to glow and look bizarre - like a wolf. Her face began to shimmer into something inhuman. Her emerging claws scratched his skin. He flinched and jumped away. Just as sudden as the moon had appeared, it was cloaked again in the ghostly clouds that passed.

“What is your problem?” she asked, unaware of her sudden change in appearance.

Tristin sat quietly in a state of shock. Was he crazy? “I think it was something I ate,” he lied. “I think I don’t feel well. Besides, those knights will be looking for us. We better get back before they call in more troops.”

As he trembled, he got to his feet. She reluctantly followed him. The knights spotted them and scolded them, telling the two to stay closer. Tristin submitted to their wishes. He turned to speak to Margaret, but she had vanished away from the crowds again. This time she put more distance between herself and the people from the festival. The transformation took full hold of her as she writhed on the ground under the curse. She was soon running wild through the wilderness to satisfied the need to hunt. The she-wolf stopped to howl at the moon.

“One of these days I hope that Arthur sets up a wolf hunt. I would like to show up with a prize like that!” joked one of the knights. His words sent chills through Tristin.

***********
829 words


message 46: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 999 comments Mod
I just made it with 2 minutes to spare EST; I'm on Central Time here. The prompts were challenging this time around.


message 47: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Great stories. The placement and use of the selected words flow quite nicely. Thanks.


message 48: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Okay, let the voting begin. We have 5 stories. Please send me an email at rebecca.a.lacy@gmail.com or message to let me know your first, second and third choices. Voting will close on the 31st at midnight (unless all who participated submit their votes earlier) and the winner will be announced on Nov. 1st.

The stories and their authors are listed below:

The Trappings of Life
By Stephanie Baskerville

Steve Bridger
CYMBALS OF POWER – The Untold Story of the 'Tales of the 1001 Nights'

THE WITCHES NIGHT OUT…ITS HALLOWEEN
Christene

Tree Secrets
Patricia Fuqua Lovett

A Symbol of Friendship
Glenda Reynolds


message 49: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 999 comments Mod
I emailed my votes last night


message 50: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Glenda wrote: "A Symbol of Friendship

"I’m so glad that you asked me to accompany you to the Old Hallow’s Eve Festival,” beamed Margaret, her bright blue eyes were as expressive as her words. She strolled along..."


Great story Glenda.


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