Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 382 (October 5-11) Stories Topic: Blink

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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 11th of October to post a story and from the 12th to around the 16th of October, 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: Blink

Thanks goes to James 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.

Most of all have fun!

message 2: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra (The_Erratic_Penguin) We should post the stories in these comments, right?

message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments Yes, Cassandra, that would be the thing to do. Happy writing! :)

message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments I’m sorry to say that my participation in the WSS contest this week might be in jeopardy. My computer is in perpetual sleep mode and won’t wake up no matter how many times I turn it on and off or hit certain keys on the keyboard. I might have to bring it into the repair shop to see what’s wrong with it. I’ve screamed, “Wake up!” and various curse words at my computer so many times that I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from it. We’ll just have to see where things go from here. Sorry, guys.

message 5: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 5334 comments Fingers crossed for you, Garrison. I remember something similar happening to me on an old windows computer I had years ago. From memory I held the power button down for 30 seconds, let the thing stay off for 30 seconds, re-booted and it was fine.

If you are able to power off/power on, try holding the function key on reboot that allows you to enter bios setup (f3 or f5 from memory-sorry, I’ve been using a Mac for years now) run diagnostics or start in safe mode...

message 6: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments I've tried pressing F8 (that's the one on my computer) and it didn't wake up. (sigh)...

In all of this anger at my computer, I completely forgot that I had a spare laptop on my TV stand. There may be hope for me yet when it comes to this contest.

message 7: by M (new)

M | 11003 comments When I didn’t see the usual synopsis first thing, I had a bad feeling about it. I wish you the best of luck with your computer, Garrison! Tell the repairman it’s an emergency.

message 8: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments Thanks, M. I appreciate the words of encouragement. :)

message 9: by C.C.Webb (new)

C.C.Webb | 6 comments Oh this looks like fun...if I have time, maybe I'll participate!

message 10: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments Well, it looks like I'm sitting this contest out after all. I won't be able to take my computer into the shop until Tuesday (they're closed on weekends and holidays). All I have left is my spare laptop, but if I try to type a story on Microsoft Word 2010, the computer won't keep up with my typing speed. By that I mean it won't put the words on the screen until several seconds after I type them. I can't have that kind of slacking when I'm writing. As you can tell, I'm frustrated as all hell. I'll get back into the WSS contests eventually, just not this one in particular. Sorry. :(

message 11: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments Sorry you're having bad luck with computers, Garrison! Hopefully you haven't lost work though, that would make it much, much worse.

message 12: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments Hopefully this story fits the topic enough...It's part of a larger story that I'm writing (stories here have included Adnil, Tanami, and Horse).

Thoughts and feedback welcome.

Title: False Gods
By: CP Cabaniss
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 1253 Words

The desert stretched ahead in endless sandy hills, hazy waves of heat obscuring the horizon. The woman glanced over her shoulder—it was more of the same. With a long, ragged breath, she pulled her cloth covering closer, trying to protect her skin from the heat of the sun, and continued forward, her exhausted legs cramping in protest. It had been days since she had dared to stop for more than a few moments. It was all a futile effort anyway—she could not outrun the voices.

A face appeared ahead and she wanted to believe it was just a trick of the light and heat, a mirage calling images to the forefront of her mind. But she knew better. The face was obscured, indistinct, making it impossible to tell if it were man or woman. And then it spoke.

“Why do you run, Kinae?” A body formed beneath the face, also indistinct. The voice was not angry, exactly, but it made Kinae shiver despite the heat of the desert.

Kinae did not respond, turning to walk away from the form before her. She could never tell if the words were only in her mind, or given voice in the waking world as well. There was no one else to ask. The rulers in Aerthane had made sure of that.

“Ah, no, no, Kinae. You must not learn bad habits.” Another form appeared before her. It was impossible to tell if it was the same one. It reached an insubstantial hand toward her, like a parent beckoning to a child.

“Leave me be, demon!” She clutched at the inside of her shirt before remembering that her medallion was gone. It would do her no good now anyway—the gods were a farce, this thing one of their creations, sent to torment her.

“You used to be so faithful,” another voice said as she turned, nearly colliding with a new form. “What happened to you, Kinae?”

What had happened? She stared at the blurred features of the face before her, trying desperately to remember. The past several months were all a blur, images and sounds, voices and anger, her own mind was working against her.

The one thing that remained firm to her, however, was the truth of her gods. They were all false. She had no idea if these forms were really those gods, their messengers, or maybe her own delusions, but she could not give into them. They had already taken so much, she could not let them have the rest of her.

“I learned the truth,” she said firmly, squaring her shoulders as she faced the wavering image.

“What is truth, really?” another voice spoke. Maybe they were all the same. Kinae never could tell. If the five gods were false, how could she know there were actually five of them? For all she knew, it was one powerful being that followed her. “I thought I knew, once. It was a beautiful thing, this truth I had. Until it decayed and fell into ruin.” The voice grew bitter as it continued.

Kinae turned again, walking away. “You are not gods,” she said levelly. “There was only one god and you betrayed him. The ones who should have been most loyal turned into traitors.”

Sand gave beneath her feet and Kinae stumbled, falling to her knees. The sand was hot against her palms as she pushed herself back up, energy falling away rapidly. It always felt this way, when the voices came. They seeped her energy to fuel themselves, she realized.

“So the Creator was able to taint you with his lies,” one of the voices hissed. “I had hoped he was too far gone to have such power.”

The Creator? Yes, that sounded right. He was the real god. The five she had worshiped were only his children, the first creations.

“What did he show you, his twisted view of how the land came to be? Perhaps he told you that tale of how we are his children.” The voice laughed condescendingly. “You are all such weak creatures. You believe lies while truth stares you in the eye.”

Kinae faltered for a moment, stumbling in the sand. Then she shook her head. She had to believe something and she had made that decision. What the Creator had told her, what he had shown her, was too real not to be truth. She had to believe it. If she didn’t, all would be lost.

“He showed me everything.”

“Ah,” the voice said, the first hint of self-doubt in its tone. “Maybe we have lost you.”

With shaking legs, Kinae stumbled onward. She no longer knew if she was heading toward something or if she was just stumbling around in the desert until she died. If her death could keep the taint of the five from mankind, she would gladly sacrifice herself. She knew, from the vision the Creator had shown her, that they needed a living vessel to connect them to the waking world. She would not be their pawn.

“No matter,” one of the others replied, “we can start over. What are another dozen or so years to us?”

Kinae felt a cold chill in her bones. “Start over?” she asked, surveying the images that flickered in the air before her.

“Surely you did not believe you were our only link,” the tone was mocking. “You poor naïve creature. No, it will take time, but we will be awoken.”

Stumbling in the sand, hands fumbling in the small bag slung across her shoulders, Kinae began to panic. She had to do something, had to warn someone. She gave the images another glance. They were dissolving rapidly and she could feel her own strength ebbing away as they began to disappear. She began to run.

“You cannot outrun the inevitable, Kinae!” The voice boomed through the desert, a clap of thunder in the clear blue sky.

Kinae ran for minutes, hours, days, she did not know which. The sand bit into her skin, blistering her feet, blowing into her eyes. Pain lanced through her body with every jolting stride, but still she ran on.

Finally, exhausted, she collapsed in the sand, gulping in blistering breaths of air. The sun burned her exposed skin and she absently wondered what had happened to her wrappings. Fingers fumbling with the straps on her bag, she reached inside. The cool leather-bound book was still there. She sighed, trying to push herself back up.

“Don’t move,” someone whispered, placing a cool hand against her cheek. “Where did you come from?”

“I…please…” Kinae fumbled with her bag, fingers slipping on the book. She felt a large hand enclose hers, gently taking the book from her fingers.

“What is this?” The sound of pages flipping filled the quiet around them. The words were quiet, almost reverent.

Maybe this man would believe.

“They are the truth. Please, I will not survive much longer. They drained me…stole my life for mere moments of visibility. But they will not stop. The truth must be told. They are false…all false.” Her body was growing cold, she could feel it.

“Who is false? Where did you get this?”

“I…I wrote it. The gods…they are lies. Read…read and learn. The Creator must return or we are lost…please.”

A solid thump as the book closed. A warm hand on her now cool face. Eyes looking down at her, concern in their depths.

“I will try my best.” The man said.

Kinae smiled weakly and fell still.

message 13: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments C.P. wrote: "Sorry you're having bad luck with computers, Garrison! Hopefully you haven't lost work though, that would make it much, much worse."

Thankfully, all of my writing is backed up on flash drives as well as online postings and zip folders in my email accounts. I'm covered. :)

message 14: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments I did it, folks! I found a way to write my entry this week! This story is called "Peacemaker":

Gerard Killings paced back and forth with his hands tucked in his trench coat pockets. He gazed around at the animal trophies mounted on the wall while shaking his head in disgust. Deer heads, tiger rugs, bear dolls, and fox pelts made this politician’s home feel like an animal graveyard. Protecting Senator Schneider from assassination filled Gerard’s eyes with dollar signs, but his heart with emptiness. He felt no different from a street whore selling her body for cocaine. The mercenary plopped down on the zebra striped couch and ruffled his clean shaven head and face.

He snapped out of his disgusted trance and leapt into business mode when he heard the sound of wood creaking in the next room. Gerard pulled two sais from his trench coat pockets and crept towards the kitchen. When he arrived, he saw that the scene hadn’t been disturbed except by an elderly dog lying on the floor snoozing away. The irony wasn’t lost on Gerard as he shook his head some more while holding the bridge of his nose.

The time to earn his paycheck arrived when Gerard felt a heavy presence crash down from overhead. He dropped his sais and gasped for air as he felt a furry arm wrapped around his neck with a knife pointed into his jugular. A feminine voice whispered, “Don’t even think about it. I’ll slash you from asshole to appetite if you move one inch.”

Gerard didn’t listen. He snatched his assailant’s wrist and chomped down on her arm with the strength of a bear trap. The furry female yelped and back flipped off of her opponent, leaving a smattering of blood across the floor. Gerard used this valuable time to crawl quickly across the floor to retrieve his sais. Before he could lay one finger on them, he felt a knife graze his scalp as it flew into the kitchen cupboard.

The mercenary blinked tightly in pain while pressing a hand to his wound. He opened his eyes just widely enough to see that his assailant was dressed in black ninja gear except for part of her face and arms, which were covered in animal fur (and blood from the bite wound). She angrily whispered, “You’re one dead motherfucker!” before pulling out a katana and lunging towards a seated and prone Gerard. The mercenary moved his head just in time to avoid being decapitated. The fuzzy ninja slashed and lunged some more only to have Gerard tuck and roll out of the way every time.

Mr. Killings, still on his back, kicked the ninja in the head and dazed her long enough for him to wrap both ankles around her neck and flip her over. She crash landed into the kitchen cupboard, but accidentally landed on the sleeping dog. The dog yelped and crawled pathetically across the floor. Both fighters were distracted by the condition of the elderly animal, so much so that the ninja crawled across the floor and petted the little guy. “I’m so sorry,” she gently whispered. “You poor little sweetheart.” The ninja’s petting caused the dog to roll on her back and kick in the air.

“Wait a damn minute here,” said Gerard before he nipped up and ripped the ninja’s mask off to reveal she was a humanoid fox. The ninja gasped and crab-walked backwards, knowing her identity was plain to see. “Why am I not surprised? Misty Blades, anti-hunting activist. You’ve been all over the news talking about using peace and love to advance your cause, yet here you are trying to stick a blade in my fucking neck.”

Misty waved a dismissive paw and scoffed, “Like your politician friend is any better. Have you seen all the animal corpses around his house? And what about you? You’re guarding this place, so you’re every bit as guilty. Now you have to involve a poor little doggy into this.” She petted and kissed the dog some more, much to the little pooch’s smiling delight.

“Do you need help there, Gerard, or can you do it yourself like you were paid to do?” asked Senator Randy Schneider, who stood in the bedroom doorway dressed in a blue bathrobe holding a peacemaker handgun. He had a calm demeanor about him despite finding Misty Blades in his kitchen. “What are you waiting for, Gerard? Must I hold your hand?”

“You’re actually going to listen to this guy?” asked Misty. “I saw you making those faces at the animal trophies. You’re just as disgusted as I am. You could finish this right now if you wanted to.”

Randy sighed, “And how exactly does he plan on doing that, Miss Blades, if that is your real name? I’m the one with the gun and you two are just sitting there with your knives up your asses. That’s the thing about hunting, my friend: you need the best weapons. You think I claimed all of those deer heads with a fucking katana? Hell no. I was smart enough not to bring a knife to a gun fight.”

“Guns are for cowards!” belted Misty. “Killing animals is just as cowardly. Why in the hell would anybody want to support your new bill, Senator? You fucking right-wingers are all the same. You’ll protect an unborn fetus, but you’ll gladly shoot a defenseless creature. Don’t think for a minute that your gun is going to save you now. All the firepower in the world means jack shit without the fighting skills to back them up.”

Randy squeezed off a shot and only managed to tear a piece of fur off of Misty’s cheek before the ninja leapt across the room and held a blade to the politician’s throat. Senator Schneider shook so hard that he could be confused for a Parkinson’s patient. No amount of pathos could wipe the look of white hot, drooling rage from Misty’s vixen face. “Gerard! Help me!” Randy shouted.

“Shut up, you whimpering piece of shit! Stop whining and start listening! When that bill hits the senate floor, that shit is dead on arrival! If it isn’t, then you will be! What do you say/ Senator? Is your life really worth having more animals die in your name?” grimaced Misty.

Little did the ninja know that Randy dropped the peacemaker on the floor and slid it across to Gerard with his foot while shaking in fear. Sure enough, the bodyguard picked it up and cocked it before pointing it at both Misty and Randy.

“Don’t even think about it!” shouted Misty. “You put that thing down or I’ll spill his throat all over the fucking floor! Then maybe I’ll take him down to the taxidermist to get stuffed!”

“Just take the shot, Gerard; she’s going to kill us both anyways!”

“Shut the fuck up! Both of you!” Gerard roared. “I am getting sick and tired of this political bullshit! All I wanted was a paycheck tonight and you two have turned this into a fucking nightmare! Maybe I’ll kill both of you! Or maybe I’ll just kill you, Randy, and leave the fox lady to do her bidding elsewhere! You think I enjoy looking at all of these animal trophies?! They make me sick! In fact, I should probably throw up in that orange face of yours right now! It can’t look any worse than it is now!”

Misty grinned at Gerard’s threat while Randy whimpered a small prayer. This was it. That bill was going to die a nasty horrible death, which could also be said about the pants-pissing Randy Schneider. Gerard seethed with drooling anger like a rabid wolf ready to devour a hunter’s leg. The animal analogy was perfect for the rage bubbling up inside of him. Mother nature was ready to strike with a whirlwind vengeance.

“But then again…as much as I agree with Misty Blades more than anybody else…she doesn’t write my paychecks!” said Gerard before he squeezed off another shot and put a bullet in the fox ninja’s head. Her brains splattered all over the kitchen floor as she fell to her death. The elderly dog crawled over to her and licked her bloody wound like a bowl of puppy chow.

“Dogs are such filthy creatures,” said Randy with a chuckle. “Then again, so was that crazy bitch. You put on a hell of a show, Gerard. You had me going for a minute there. You’ll get that paycheck just like I promised you. Maybe if the bill passes, I’ll throw you an extra bonus so that your cancer-stricken son can go to Disneyland. You only live once, right? Well, I got to get to bed now. You did good tonight, my friend. Oh, and did I mention you’re one hell of an actor?”

“I wasn’t acting at all, Senator. I still think you’re a piece of shit for what you’re doing,” said Gerard as he handed the peacemaker to his boss.

“Correction: I’m a piece of shit who’s going to send your child to Space Mountain before he drifts away to heaven. There’s a difference, you know,” grinned Randy as he accepted the peacemaker and whistled his way back to bed.

“What do you want to do with Misty’s corpse?” asked Gerard.

“I’m sure I can find a nice place for her next to the lion’s head. Goodnight!” said Randy from the bedroom before he flicked off the light and yawned.

Gerard plopped back down on the zebra-striped couch and stared at his blood-covered hands. His whole body felt as though he had just taken a swim in a river of innocent blood. He did it all in the name of his cancerous son’s happiness, but what if he ever found out how he achieved that happiness? Could Gerard keep this secret forever? So many guilty thoughts ran through his mind at a million miles an hour.

A single tear dropped from his eyes and he could do nothing about it but bury his face in his murderous hands. He had no choice, just like anybody voting for Randy Schneider or his opponents. The system owned him. If they wanted him to dress in a turkey suit and dance like a monkey, he would do it if it meant a hefty payday. Maybe he wouldn’t feel nearly as guilty if he sucked dicks for a living. How sad. How relentlessly sad.

message 15: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Garrison wrote: "Thankfully, all of my writing is backed up on flash drives as well as online postings and zip folders in my email accounts. I'm covered. :)"

Glad to hear things are going well for the moment. Hope you get your computer problem worked out, I know how frustrating that can be.

message 16: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9026 comments I went Incredible Hulk on my computer with how many times I've screamed and cussed at it. But yeah, things are looking pretty good for the moment. I'm currently using my step-dad's computer while he and my mom are away in Pennsylvania until late Thursday night.

message 17: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Optic Time-Slip
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 937
Rating : PG

After the car accident, John took a little time to realise just exactly what was happening to him. His eyes burnt every time he blinked, and when people kept insisting he’d been in the hospital for almost a month, even though it only felt like about a day or two, he started to suspect there was something wrong with his mind. When he was speaking to his family or his doctors and nurses, he’d often find himself losing time, or blacking out, and sometimes he’d be in the middle of saying something to someone and they’d seem to just up and leave without him even noticing.

One day he was watching some sports on the television when he noticed something was up with the clock in the corner of the screen. It seemed that, almost every time he’d so much as blink, the game would progress about a minute ahead of where it had been before. He tried keeping his eyes closed for about a minute, and when he opened them he found that two minutes of the game had gone by. Panicking, John reached for the buzzer next to his bed, pressing it frantically.

“What is it, Mr Anderson?” a smiling nurse asked as she appeared as if from nowhere and reset the emergency button.

John stared hard at her, “Every time I close my eyes, I’m losing time.” He tried to explain, desperately trying to keep his eyes wide open, “I don’t know what’s going on.”

“Now now, Mr Anderson,” the nurse said as John stared hard at her, not wanting to close his eyes, “that sounds to me as if I might need to bring in the doctor.”

“No, no, I’m not crazy,” John cried, desperately trying to keep his eyes open, feeling the tears burning them as they strained against the temptation to close, “there’s something wrong with my eyes, please. You’ve got to believe me…”

“I’ll only be a minute, Mr Anderson,” the nurse promised, “I’ll be right--”

“--appears to be the problem?”

John hadn’t been able to hang on any longer. He’d had to close his eyes, and now he’d lost another minute. In that time the nurse had clearly left the room and returned with a doctor in tow.

“I’m losing time,” John said, his voice panicked, “every time I have to close my eyes.”

He blinked.

“—Anderson? Mr Anderson?” the doctor was shaking him, “Are you okay? Can you hear me?”

“You’ve got to do something,” he said, “I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep my eyes open for long, and when I close them I slip through time.”

“I think I need to contact one of our specialists for this, Mr Anderson,” the doctor said as John forced himself to keep his eyes open, “someone who can deal with this sort of issue.”

The doctor and the nurse left the room, so John closed his eyes to rest them. It seemed that, judging from the fact he hadn’t lost days of time while he was sleeping, that keeping his eyes shut prevented him from skipping ahead more than a minute.

When he heard distant footsteps, he opened his eyes and, by the time they were open the doctor and nurse were standing by his bed, another doctor standing with them.

“This is doctor Kilbride,” the nurse smiled gently, “he’s a psychiatrist who thinks he may know what is happening to you.”

“You see,” Doctor Kilbride began, “a lot of the time these things are all psychological. You want to find a way to escape from the world around you, so you use this idea of skipping time as an excuse--”

John blinked, if only to get away from at least sixty seconds of this doctor’s drivel. He tried not to smile when, a full minute later, the doctor was still droning on, oblivious to the fact that John had not been there while he had been talking.

“—when the truth is that all that is wrong with you is that you are stressed and need to relax.”

“Yes,” John nodded, not having heard half of what the man had said, “I do need to relax. And do you know what relaxes me the most?”

“What?” the doctor asked.

John closed his eyes, “Jelly.”

“Jelly?” the doctor repeated, “well, we can sort that for you. As the Americans say, there’s always room for jello.”

John smiled, not opening his eyes until he heard the three people leave the room, then he opened his eyes, moving a minute forward again. The three specialists were returning with some jelly for him, and he took the bowl and the spoon that was offered to him. He dug the spoon into the jelly, taking a bite as he thought to himself; if he blinked on average fifteen times a minute, then he would lose fifteen minutes every minute. So his life would move at fifteen times its normal speed. He was thirty now, in two years by his perspective he’d be sixty, and that was assuming the time slips didn’t speed up.

He watched the doctors and the nurse, trying to look grateful as he ate his jelly, but as soon as they turned to leave he took the spoon and plunged it into his eye. He screamed, blinking wildly as minutes flicked by in seconds, seeing the doctors forcing the spoon away from him. They hadn’t been quick enough to stop him taking one eye, and soon, very soon, he’d take the other…

…Once he figured out how to get his hands free of his straitjacket…

message 18: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments The contest is ending tonight. I will put up the polls by midnight West Coast time!

Enter while you can. Happy writing!

message 19: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Note: Message to all members will go up later (I am falling asleep!)

message 20: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Since a member requested interest in seeing the contest results to 382's "Blink", here are the members' responses to this week!

In First Place was False Gods by C. P.
In Second Place was Peacemaker by Garrison, followed after by Edward with Optic Time-Slip.

Great job everyone, big thanks goes to all for participating!

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