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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 362 (May 17-23) Stories Topic: Call of Nature

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message 1: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments You have until the 23rd of May to post a story and from the 24th to around the 28th of May, 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: Call of Nature

Thanks goes to Anne for suggesting the topic!

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

And most of all have fun!

message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9065 comments It feels good to be able to post synopses again, not only after finishing Demon Axe, but also after having fun in New Orleans for most of the week. This is for a short story called "The Geomancer" and it goes like this:


1. Bryan Valencia, Geomancer
2. Ally Bennett, Hiker

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Geomancy requires the wizard to be in touch with nature. It is, after all, the Greek word for “earth magic”.

SYNOPSIS: Ally is hiking in the mountains when she stumbles upon Bryan casting some sort of spell on the summit. When she asks him about it, he openly admits to wanting to cause a volcanic explosion. He’s a misanthrope who’s fed up with the atrocities humans have committed over the years whether it’s rape, war, genocide, or street violence. One blast from this volcano will be powerful enough to literally set the world on fire. It’s up to Ally to talk him down since she’s the only one who believes in Bryan’s geomantic powers.

message 3: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Here we go! Chapter 26 of Karsten Pasternack And The Quicksilver Caduceus. Feedback welcome.
Title : Remember Me
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1090
Rating : PG

Simon shivered nervously as Patricia hovered over him, her face finally appearing in the light. Her head was shaped like a sceptre, and the crown on top of her head was actually A PART of her head. She blinked quickly at Simon before picking him up with one hand. Simon was so startled he dropped the piece of door hinge he’d been using to try and open Gavin’s cell door.

“Simon, my dear,” Patricia said in an eerie voice that managed to be both welcoming and sinister, “how have you been? You do remember me, don’t you?”

Simon swallowed, “No,” he mumbled, “not really.”

Patricia’s smile changed slightly, dulling at the edges and seeming ever more frightening to the poor squirrel, “You should remember me,” the woman seethed, gripping Simon harder between her fingers, “the lavender should have worked by now.”

“Listen lady,” Simon said bravely, though he felt much less than brave at that moment, “I have no idea who you are, but I’m sure you’re a reasonable person. Now put me down so I can get back to my friends.”

“Friends?” Patricia repeated the word she thought most important in Simon’s sentence, “So you have your friends here, do you? Isador? Winfrith? Tabalah!”

Simon swallowed nervously, “Maybe, I don’t know,” he stuttered.
“You better tell them to come in her before I squeeze you so hard that your eyes pop out!” Patricia threatened, “Now, call to them Simon. Call to them and tell them not to be afraid.”

As Simon considered his options, whether he should call to his friends or stay silent and get squashed, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that Gavin had picked up the piece of door hinge that he’d dropped and was trying to use it to pick the lock of his cell. Thinking fast, Simon looked at Patricia, trying to get her full attention so she wouldn’t see Gavin’s escape attempt.

“Say, wait a minute,” Simon smiled winningly, “I remember you now. You’re that girl, the one we used to hang out with all the time.”

Patricia smiled, “And what is my name?” she asked.

“And you used to do stuff with us,” Simon continued, clearly grasping at straws, “you know, some of the time, and then some of the time you’d do stuff without us…”

“What,” Patricia said between grit teeth, “is my name?”

Simon swallowed, “Um,” he looked at the writing on the wall for inspiration, “er… Patricia?”

Patricia’s eyes stopped glowing red and softened a little, “You do remember me?” she beamed, “The lavender worked?”

“Yeah, the lavender worked,” Simon forced himself to smile as he saw Gavin manage to open his cell from the corner of his eye, “of course I remember you, Patricia. Good old Patricia, how could anyone forget Patricia?”

Patricia narrowed her eyes at Simon, “What is my surname. Simon?” she suddenly asked.

Simon opened his mouth to speak, realising he didn’t have a clue. Looking around desperately at the graffiti covered walls, he hazarded a guess:

“Er, Patricia… Remember me?”

“Remember me?” Patricia smiled, “Remember me?” Patricia laughed, “REMEMBER ME?” Patricia screamed, “Remember me is not a name, Simon, and it is not my name!”

Angrily Patricia threw the terrified squirrel across the room. His body hitting a nearby wall and collapsing unconscious in a heap, but Simon’s gambit had paid off.

Gavin had freed himself.

“Don’t move, Patricia,” he said to the terrifying woman, “and I won’t have to hurt you.”

Patricia turned to Gavin, “So you remember me, then?” she asked, looking puzzled.

“I heard what Simon said, and he mentioned your name” Gavin told her, “but I still don’t have a clue who you are.”

“How can you have forgotten me?” Patricia asked, her eyes welling up, “You of all people?”

“What do you mean?” Gavin asked.

From the window across the room, the rest of the group were watching, waiting for their moment to get involved, if only they could fit through the window.

“What does he mean?” Karsten asked Tabalah, what with her being the only person who could still remember Patricia.

“They were a couple,” Tabalah told him, “which is probably why she is taking his losing all memory of her the hardest, and it’s probably why she took him captive over any of the rest of us.”

“Her logical captive should really have been you,” Karsten told Tabalah, “seeing as you were responsible for her losing her memory and everything.”

“Thanks,” Tabalah sighed, “that’s useful, but not entirely accurate.”

“Sorry,” Karsten apologised, “but why would she choose Gavin over you?”

“Just wait,” Tabalah told him, “you’ll see.”

Back inside the citadel, Simon shook his head, starting to regain conscious where he was sitting on the ground. He looked across the room at Gavin and the woman whose name he had for some reason forgotten again, and watched as they spoke to each other.

“You must know what I mean,” Patricia said, a single tear trickling down her cheek, “I thought we meant something to each other. All those years you spent by my side – here in the 300 and in the real world.”

“We were…” Gavin paused to think, “…a couple?”

“We were married, Gavin,” Patricia told him, “we still are, with two children. Don’t you remember?”

Gavin looked around the room, taking in the graffiti covered walls and the lavender petal covered floors. He breathed in deeply, then looked at Patricia again. She looked back at him, “Maybe this will help,” she said, raising her face to the ceiling and letting rip and enormous howl.

“My nature call,” Gavin said flatly, looking down at his hands, “but how…”

“Because I’m your wife,” Patricia explained, “when we married, I inherited an element of your abilities in the 300.”

Gavin looked at Patricia again, this time what looked like recognition filling his eyes, “Trish?” he whispered, “Trish, is that you?”

“Of course it’s me,” Patricia smiled, realising that Gavin had remembered her once again, “now come here.”

Patricia smiled widely, throwing her arms around Gavin as they two of them began to kiss deeply.

Simon took the opportunity to race up the stairs from the chamber of prison cells, heading to the main doors. When he reached them he used all his strength to lift the barrier from the door and once this was clear he pushed open the doors.

“Guys!” he whisper-shouted, “over here. I think you need to see this. Gavin’s call of nature thing has made him remember whoever that woman is!”

message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9065 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: The Geomancer
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 1,666 (I swear those last three digits are just a coincidence. Hehe!)
RATING: PG-13 for violence and language

Getting away from the madness of city life was exactly what Ally Bennett needed when she went on this hiking trip. Not a single soul dared to venture up these mountains and that was just the way Miss Bennett liked it. She was dressed for the boiling hot weather with her hiking boots, tan shorts, and tight camouflage T-shirt. Sweat poured off her brow, arms, and legs like a fire hydrant, but she didn’t give two shits and a flying fuck in a rolling donut. Her long brunette hair felt sticky, but that was yet another small price for the sake of introverted physical fitness. She lived for the beauty of Mother Nature no matter what the weather was like.

Just when she thought she was alone at the top of the mountain, she saw something that made her drop her hiking staff to the rocky ground. “What the hell?” she silently said to herself as she noticed a man dressed in green and blue wizard robes chanting in tongues while holding out his hands in a Jesus Christ pose. Ally’s first thought was to run back down the mountain screaming like hell. But this mysterious being was just like a car crash: she couldn’t look away no matter how much she wanted to.

The mystical chant ended when the blue haired being turned his head and gave Ally a look of venomous scorn. “You have no business up here, woman. Turn around and leave if you value your life!”

“First of all, dumb shit,” said Ally with her hands on her hips. “This is a national fucking park. Everybody’s welcome here no matter how weird they look in those god awful clothes of yours. Second of all, my name is not woman. It’s Ally. Ally Bennett.”

“Bryan Valencia,” said the wizard. “Nice to meet you, Miss Bennett. Now that the sappy introductions are over, I suggest you get going before shit starts going down!”

“Okay, Mr. Wizard Guy, that sounded a little bit like a threat, so I’m just going to pull out my cell phone and dial 9-1-1…what the hell are you doing?!” Ally never got the chance to press the buttons on her smart phone as she was stunned by Bryan’s geomantic powers. With wide-eyed horror, she watched him raise his palm in the air and levitate a large rock off the ground. The floating rock was hurled into Ally’s cell phone, shattering the gizmo into tiny fragments while giving Ally a red mark on her hand and a reason to scream “Ow! Jesus!”

As the hiker shook out the pain in her palm, Bryan smiled at her and said, “Do I have your attention now? Would you like another demonstration of how badly I can crush you? That rock trick was just child’s play compared to the damage I’m capable of.”

Clutching her hand to sooth the pain, Ally asked, “Who the hell are you, anyways? I know you said your name was Bryan and all that, but what the fuck, man? You’re lifting rocks off the ground, you’re dressed like you’re going to a nerd convention, you’ve got blue fucking hair, I don’t know what to believe anymore!”

“All of those things you so ignorantly described are the traits of a geomancer,” said Bryan.

“Geo what?”

“Geomancer. I control the elements of the earth. If I want an earthquake, I’ll give you one. If I want a mudslide, you’ve got it. But then I figured, why stop there? Earthquakes and mudslides are tinker toys. To really get in touch with Mother Nature, I have to be right here at the top of this mountain. A mountain, which by the way, was at one point an active volcano. You ever wonder why nobody comes up here? Well, let’s just say they’re not fast enough to run away from the lava, like the idiot brain surgeon politician once said. I swear to god, the ignorance of your people is mind-boggling,” ranted Bryan.

“So this is it, huh?” said Ally in a stern voice. “You’re going to blow up this damn volcano just to show everyone who’s boss. You’re such a noble guy.”

With his fists at his side, Bryan roared, “What do you know about nobility?!” The sudden crescendo caused Ally to bounce backward in fear. “Why do you think people go on hiking trips to begin with? To get away from it all. Well, I’m not getting away from anything. I’m confronting the sins of this world dead on. Don’t you ever get sick of the world sometimes? All the violence, all the rape, all the bigotry, all the zeal. The poor are disenfranchised while those in charge get a slap on the wrist. Women are treated as sex objects while men laugh at their misery. Dropping bombs has become the new diplomacy. Well, if it’s bombs you want, I’ll drop the biggest one mankind has ever seen! My decades of geomantic studies have come down to this! And there’s nothing you can do about it!”

“Actually, there is something I can do about it,” said Ally with her arms folded and a death stare on her face.

“And what would that be?” asked Bryan mockingly. “I already shattered your cell phone, so the cops aren’t even close to coming. As far as I know, you don’t have geomantic powers of your own, so striking you down with a thousand stones would be the easiest part of my day. So what other options do you have? What could you possibly do that will stop me from exacting revenge on this world?”

“Call you out on your bullshit, that’s what,” said Ally. Bryan’s facial features and fierce stance softened at the hiker’s stubbornness. “Being against all of those violent things that you’ve listed is noble in its own right. You’d be crazy not to be. It’s like being in favor of kittens and rainbows. Up with puppies! But what good is being against the sins of the world if you’re committing one right now? You’re not a hero to anybody. You’re a hypocrite! Your volcanic blast will take out all of those rich assholes and male chauvinists you hate so much, but it’ll also take out those sexualized women and innocent children that you claim to have a soft spot for. By blowing this volcano, you’ll be no different from the politicians who drop bombs on helpless civilians overseas. Is that the mark you want to leave on this world? Do you want to be a hypocrite?!”

Bryan tucked his head in shame as if those words stung him like a scorpion’s tail. He spent lengthy seconds in what appeared to be silent and deep contemplation. He lifted his head once more, but this time with the same hardened expression as when he started his spell. “You’re so full of shit! How dare you question my tactics! You really think the innocents want to live in a world run by these rich lunatics? Consider this a mercy killing, my friend!”

Something inside Ally Bennett snapped. She grabbed her walking cane and held it like a samurai warrior ready to strike. Her muscles twitched. Her eyes were wild with fiery anger. Her teeth were clenched hard enough to chew through steel. Every word she spoke was full of vitriol and hatred. “If you’re not going to listen to reason, then I’m going to make you! You’re not going to do shit to this world! If I’m going down, I’m going down fighting! This world is worth saving and you’re not going to do shit about it!”

Bryan raised his hands and levitated an entire wall of rocks off the ground, but Ally remained strong and defiant in the face of this new challenge. The geomancer threatened, “You just made the biggest mistake of your life, you crazy bitch! Prepare to die!”

The wizard rained down a storm of rocks upon Ally, hoping to crush her bones into the same fineness as the dirt below. Even with sharp stones piercing her skin, the undeterred hiker swung her cane like a baseball bat and knocked a few of them into Bryan’s throat. While Ally was buried and bloodied underneath a pile of rocks, Bryan Valencia clutched his windpipe while gasping for air. He danced around in pain trying to get his oxygen back, but made a critical mistake when he fell off the ledge of the mountain and rolled down the hill.

The geomancer bumped into many large stones, trees, and sharp grass blades during his barrel roll down the side of the mountain. His spine crunched in two, his arms and legs were shattered beyond repair, and his head exploded with his brains scattered across the landscape. By the time he reached the bottom, he was already a necromantic supper for a family of bears, who feasted on his carcass like the wild animals they were. Nothing was left of Bryan Valencia except for bones and tiny chunks of meat and shit.

Back at the top of the mountain, Ally Bennett stayed buried beneath the rocks like it was going to be her grave. She hadn’t moved for the longest time and her bloody limbs squeezed fresh juice to trickle down the mountain. After what seemed like ages, her fingers twitched and her dirt-covered eyes barely opened.

At that moment she knew she couldn’t run away from the world’s problems like she intended to do in this hike. She was a hero that day for what she did to Bryan Valencia. Her work was far from over. If she was going to join the resistance against oppressive values, she couldn’t do it through volcanoes, earthquakes, or any other form of terrorism. It’s like a famous first lady once said: “When they go low, you go high.” It didn’t get any higher than the top of a volcanic mountain. It didn’t get any lower than being a human buffet table for a family of brown bears.

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