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Archive Writing Competitions > May/June 2018 Writing Competition

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message 1: by Coralie, Wordy Writer (last edited May 28, 2018 12:51PM) (new)

Coralie (corkybookworm) | 1249 comments Mod
Good day, Writers! Sharpen your pencils and wet your pens! Please remember to keep the group rules in mind. Entries should have a title and word count at the top of the first comment. Have fun and good luck!

Starting Date: May 10, 2018
Deadline: June 30, 2018
Word Limit: 1000 - 6500

For the month of May, your prompt is the following:

Tell a story from the villain's point of view. The villain is in love with the hero.

message 2: by Isabella (new)

Isabella (theomniscientnarrator) | 18 comments The Confession (1549 words)

I didn’t know what to do; I just knew it needed to stop.
Grave after grave after grave.
I got tired of burying my friends.

Even the sky cried for Timothy on that bleak April evening as we put him into the ground. By the time night had fallen and the rain had surpassed, only Anna and I remained at his grave.

“The funeral is long over,” I observed aloud, my voice thick with sorrow.

She looked at me with her hollow brown eyes. Even now, even under a black, rain-soaked veil, she was absolutely beautiful. She did not speak.

“Walk with me, Anna,” I requested, offering my arm. When she accepted it, we turned away and began to venture through the mud to the familiar cobblestone that made up our part of London.

For what seemed like decades, we journeyed forth in utter, empty silence. In the absence of conversation, I focused on the movement of her legs barely visible in the swish of dull, dark fabric that made up her mourning dress, which was exquisite in spite of Anna’s depressing financial status. Or perhaps the dress was as miserable as the two of us, and the fact that I found Anna to be exquisite had somehow morphed my perception of her garment.

I knew that now was not the time, but I found that a confession was clawing against my throat, preventing my lungs from evenly expelling my breath. More than anything, more than I missed Timothy or feared for Anna’s life, I was dying to confess my love for her.

“So it’s us,” she said quietly, her words splitting through my thoughts and lodging in my brain like a bullet. “We’re what’s left.”

“Indeed,” I replied, troubled by the numbness in her voice. Her boots splashed through a puddle of rainwater with no concern of how much water they flung onto their wearer. “Anna, your dress is getting wet.”

“It’s already wet, Connor!” she exclaimed, tearing herself away from me and staring at me incredulously. “It’s been wet since Clara’s funeral, and since Michael’s before that, a-and since…” her voice broke off, and her dull gaze lowered to the ground.

“Since Alfred’s,” I finished for her. Of course that’s who she was going to say; this had all started with Alfred, and Anna had loved him more than anything in the world.

“Yes, since Alfred’s,” she confirmed softly, a fresh trail of tears leaking from her perfect chocolate eyes, which seemed to harden as she turned around and we continued our aimless wandering. “Do you expect it’ll rain for our funerals, too?”

My heart was a Titan, straining to support a sky of barely restrained agony. “Don’t say that, Anna. I have a feeling that the murderer has struck for the last time.”

She shot me a sideways glance. “You speak as if you’ve hunted him down yourself. Has Scotland Yard contacted you?”

“No, Anna,” I sighed sadly, “you know Scotland Yard cares little about the lives of three starving urchins. There are too many of us dying in these festering rat holes for them to catch--or even look for--every killer.”

“Timothy makes four,” she reminded me, “and I don’t like being classified as an urchin.”

“No one does, but the truth of it is, that’s how they see us,” I stated gravely, glancing around at the bizarrely empty streets. It was almost as if our heavy grief had squished everyone else into their homes, or perhaps as if our dark dialogue had inspired a creeping unrest in the hearts of our neighbors. “In any case, I can’t prove that the murderer is done with us. It’s only a hunch.”

During the contemplative silence that she underwent, my attention again drifted to her funeral dress that had seen far too much use as of late. I felt a familiar disgust with myself, a self-loathing associated with my inability to keep my friends from meeting their unfortunate and premature ends.

“How would one stand to gain by killing the six of us?” Anna wondered aloud, shaking her head in exasperation. “Is there someone with a vendetta against us? We do no harm, Connor. We have no money, no families. We are simply the most generic, unassuming group of people in all of England!”

“There’s a certain beauty in that, I think,” I remarked, a strange and out-of-place feeling tugging at the corner of my lips. “More than Londoners, in a sense, we are London. We are the prime, choice example of everything that this forsaken city has become.”

She chuckled emptily. “How poetic. Although, your poetry is the reason you’re still in this slum, isn’t it?”

I stopped, my head tilting in thought. “This isn’t such a bad thing, is it? To be a penniless poet, here, with a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress in the aftermath of a spring shower?”

She did not seem to notice my compliment. “Four of our friends are dead, Connor. It is a terrible thing to be here, a terrible thing to live in this city with no money, no protection, and no way out. We reside among murderers, we tip our hats to them each morning and sell to them what little soul we have left for food.” She crossed her arms, her furious gaze boring into the ground with such an intensity that I was shocked that the cobblestone didn’t tremble and flee. “What separates Scotland Yard from them, Connor? What even separates us from them?”

“Little,” I whispered, my fingers grazing against hers. As she looked up at me, I could see the fire blazing in her eyes, and under that, there was something terribly desolate and dark, like an ocean of shattered glass. Yes, that was it: something had broken inside of her, something vital and full of life; it was as if everything that made Anna able to live and love was all bottled up in a jar, which had been smashed to pieces by recent tragedies. Now all that remained behind her angry, glassy, coffee-colored eyes were shards of the girl that had once loved Alfred, of the girl that I loved.

“You do not look well,” she remarked with concern, those telltale eyes searching me as she framed my face in her cold hand.

“I do not feel well,” I replied, tears streaming down my face as I blinked. “I-I am so very unwell, Anna. I don’t know what to do!” I sighed shakily. “I loved Timothy, and Clara, and Michael, and even Alfred, but I love you most of all. I’ve always loved you the most! I don’t know why this is happening!”

Shocked by either the raw, quaking emotion of my speech or its content, she allowed her hand to slip down to my shoulder. “I loved them too, Connor, but you shouldn’t worry about me. There is nothing you can do, and besides, you may be right. The murderer may have moved on.”

“I’m doubting that more and more as the seconds pass!” I cried. “I can’t lose you too, Anna! I don’t want to! I can’t!”

“Connor, I’m fine,” she reminded me, her gaze tearing into me. That lovely dress of hers taunted me as it fluttered in the wind, barely touching against my fingertips. “Snap out of it. You’re scaring me!”

“I never meant to scare you, or to hurt you,” I sniffed morosely. She made a slight gasping noise as her spine connected with the brick wall behind her. “I never meant to hurt any of us! We were happy, do you remember? We were happy, and together, and safe.”

Her eyes were no longer fiery. They were instead ice cold, filled with a horror that I unfortunately recognized from my recent experiences. “No,” she tried to choke out in dismay and disbelief.

“I should’ve told you,” I realized regretfully, my free hand fussing with the dark fabric of her skirt. “I should have warned you to run away, so you would be safe.” I swallowed down a sob. “Oh, what I would give for you to be safe.”

She did not look at me with her characteristic anger, as I had expected. She did not look at me with love, as she had looked at Alfred, or with pity, as I had come to loathe the idea of. No, the expression on her face was one that she’d worn as much as she had her enthralling black dress recently--it was one of grief. She was mourning me, as if I were already dead and she had just attended my funeral. And perhaps I was dead, though not in the sense that Timothy was, or that she was about to be. Perhaps I had always been that way, and it had taken only Alfred’s and Anna’s love to show me.

I walked home that night alone. No, not alone, isolated. My heart sank to the ground, full of a despair that threatened to devour my mind and spirit and body entirely, with the promise that not a soul would miss me or even notice my absence if it did. Amid all of my heartache, my terror, my torment, I had only one solace.

That dress--that elegant, otherworldly beautiful thing--would enchant her frame for the rest of eternity.

message 3: by Chloe (new)

Chloe | 5 comments Always You (3121 words)

It started when our teacher fell down a ravine.

We were eight. She was taking our class on a slow walk up the mountain to show us the important paths. As she was pointing out an edible plant along the side of the trail, she stepped wrong, and the edge of the path crumbled under her. She stumbled and then fell down the steep incline.

I just froze. For a second I couldn’t move, just stood rooted to the spot and gaped. It was like I couldn’t get my legs to work.

Lyra didn’t freeze. The moment our teacher fell, she instantly ran forward, like she had rehearsed it. She carefully picked her way down the edge of the ravine to where our teacher was lying at the bottom. With the help of the older kids in our group who had followed after her, Lyra helped the teacher stand up, avoiding her ankle that was twisted to the side, and helped her slowly limp down the mountain. Even when the older kids said that they could do it by themselves, Lyra never left her side.

I just trailed behind them, not knowing what to do.

When we were ten, the Royal Knights came to our town.

Since the incident with our teacher, Lyra had become even more confident. She stayed after every class to help clean the schoolroom, and always stood up for the little kids when people picked on them. Whenever the grannies saw her running around town helping someone with an errand, they would say, there goes a good kid.

As the Knights marched down our street, with their shiny swords and shields and banners, all I could look at were Lyra’s huge, starstruck eyes. Royal Knights were the stuff of myth and legend. They were the most powerful fighters and sorcerers in the country, the people who defeated monsters and evildoers and kept everyone safe. Who fought for honor and justice.

“I’m going to be a Royal Knight,” Lyra declared right after the knights left.

“Of course you will. You’re everything a knight should be,” I said enthusiastically. “You’ll be the best knight there ever was.”

“Not just me, silly,” she said. “You’re my best friend. You’re going to become a knight too.”
We both laughed, imagining our futures in fighting villains.

For three years, that was what knighthood was- an idle fantasy for me, maybe a slightly more solid dream for Lyra- until when we were thirteen, when we both manifested magic days apart.
“You should be proud,” the nearest mage we had been able to find told our parents. “Magic is a rare gift, and it’s a great coincidence to see it in two people who are so close.”

“What should we do?” my mother asked.

“They’ll both need to be taught in how to control it, of course,” he said. He looked at Lyra’s parents. “Especially Lyra. She has a particularly strong gift.”

From that day on, the mage taught us both magic. He was old and kindly and just wanted to help both of us, but from the beginning he was amazed by Lyra.

"You have an incredible talent," he would say to Lyra. "Your magic is very strong."

Lyra and I would practice together, learning how to control our magic and twist it into spells. Lyra's magic was a brilliant white, and the bright wisps of her spells lit up the small room where we practiced. Her magic was elemental in nature, calling on fire and the sun, but she also had an affinity for healing.

My magic was a deep, dark purple, sometimes edging into black. The spells I could perform all revolved around decay and the cold. "Your magic is tied to the dark elements. There's nothing wrong with that, as there are many mages who have darker affinities and they can still use them for good," the mage would say to me. Still, he would always look at me slightly nervously before quickly going to help Lyra again.

After a year, I stopped learning from the mage. By that time I could already control my magic, and there was no danger of it becoming wild. I didn't think there was a point to training my magic beyond keeping it under control, when magic wasn't my calling. Still, even with my limited knowledge, I could make weeds wither, ponds freeze over, mirrors shatter, and walls warp with rot.

My family tried to hide it, but the word of my magic eventually got out. Despite the mage's reassurances, the rest of the town grew wary of me. No one wanted to be near a dark witch. Whispers started to follow me. When I walked through the marketplace, people eyed me cautiously and pulled their children closer.

Lyra continued learning from the mage, however. Month by month, her gift grew stronger and stronger. She could conjure fire out of nothing, warm up a room on a cold winter day, even seem to make the sun blaze brighter. Tentatively she began to heal others, at first just small scrapes and then bigger injuries and illnesses. Soon people were coming from other towns to ask for her healing. She was the pride of our village.

One day when we were fifteen, wolves from the forest started attacking the sheep on Lyra's family's farm. Lyra's parents were too old to defend them now, and they didn't have the money to hire a guard. Instead, Lyra went to the swordfighter in the next town and started an apprenticeship.

"Wow, both magic and swordfighting?" I teased. "It looks like you really are trying to become a Royal Knight."

"Maybe I am," Lyra laughed.

We didn't mention the things that we had both learned since when we were ten and dreamed about being knights. Like the fact that you joined the military as a foot soldier and the chances of working your way up to becoming a knight were miniscule. That you only had a chance at becoming a knight if you were a noble who was born into that world, or if you did something outrageous like defeat a famous villain.

We didn't mention that, despite Lyra being perfect for it, there was almost no chance that she could ever become a knight.

Lyra swiped the sword in front of her, still getting used to the solid weight of it. For a second she just looked down at it, lost in thought.

I had been joking, but there was something serious behind Lyra's eyes that made me feel like she'd never given up on that childhood dream.

As Lyra got better and better with her sword and started to defend both her and other family’s farms, that look behind her eyes never faded. It was still there when, at seventeen, people started talking about Lyra getting married.

“She’s a beautiful young lady, and her healing magic is amazing. I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding suitors for her,” I overhead a neighbor say to Lyra’s parents one day. “In fact, I’m surprised that suitors aren’t beating down your door already.”

After that, Lyra became occupied with discussions about marriage. Every day her family dragged her places to talk to different families, different suitors. It got to the point where I barely saw her anymore, outside of when I joined her when she was practicing her magic or her swordfighting.

(Of course, marriage wasn't on the table for me. Even if my family had tried- and they weren't, having already given up on me- nobody within a thousand miles would want to marry someone rumored to be a dark magician.)

When we were eighteen, the Royal Knights came back to our town again, on a mission. Lyra's parents gave her a rare break from negotiating marriage to go watch them pass through town. We stood by the side of the street together, watching as the knights passed by, just as full of strength and glory as before. Like before, I kept stealing glances at Lyra, whose eyes were hard now. Slowly they roved over every detail of the procession.

Someone behind us coughed and whispered loudly. "Why are you here, witch? Aren't you afraid the knights will catch you?"

I barely responded, being used to it by now, but Lyra just grit her teeth and grabbed my arm. "Let's go," she said, and we left the parade.

We walked away, through the empty streets at the outskirts of the town. Everyone was watching the parade.

"Did you know that one of the suitors I met the other day was a Royal Knight?" Lyra said suddenly.

I raised my eyebrows. "Wow. Really? I guess the whole magic thing is more impressive to people than I thought."

She laughed halfheartedly. There was a pause. I waited.

"He wasn't what I thought he would be," she said finally.

We had left the town now, walking down a familiar path leading into the woods.

"I thought he would be honorable, like a knight is supposed to be. I wanted to ask him if I," she hesitated for a split second, "could become a Royal Knight too.”

She looked at me, as if expecting me to react. When I didn’t, she continued.

“But he was just a noble who wanted be rich and famous. He didn't care about protecting people." She kicked at a rock.

I studied her. "Do you want to go to the place?" was all I said.

She nodded.

We walked through the woods for a wordless ten minutes, twisting and turning until we finally got to a small cavern in the side of the mountain. Sun shone through gaps in the ceiling, but it was nearly invisible from the outside. We’d discovered it a few years before and now we always went here when we wanted to be by ourselves.

I sat down on the cool rock, and Lyra did the same. I stared at her. “There’s more to it, right? There’s something else you’re worried about.”

Lyra groaned and leaned back on the side of the cave. “You know me too well.” She looked lost in thought for a couple seconds.

“It’s not just the suitor,” she started slowly. “I’ve always wanted to be a Royal Knight. Not just as an idle dream. I feel like that’s really what I’ve always wanted.” She looked at me again quickly, as if she was confessing to something strange, as if I didn’t already know how badly she wanted it.

She hid it from everyone else, but I could read her like a book.

“And?” I prodded.

“And...I thought I could do it. Especially with the magic and the swords and everything.” she laughed humorlessly. “I thought I could become a knight, and everything would be like I thought it would be, with fighting for honor and justice and all that.”

She looked to the side. “But...I don’t know. Everyone’s telling me to get married and just settle down, work as a healer, stay in this town. And then the first time I meet a Royal Knight, they’re nothing like what I thought they would be.” Her eyes focus on me for the first time. “And I can’t even stop the people in town from treating you badly.”

“That’s not-” I rush to say, but she cuts me off.

“Look, what I mean is- everyone knows that the odds of becoming a Royal Knight are tiny. Either you’re born a noble, or you have to do something so incredible they have to let you in. My odds were low from the beginning,” she says.

“Lyra?” I say. She doesn’t respond, just continues.

“So maybe…” She sighs. “Maybe all of this is a sign that I should just...stop.” She swallows hard.

I stare at her. It feels like my insides are twisting.

“But- do you still want to become a knight? If you could?” I ask.

She doesn’t answer me for a bit, but when she does, that fire behind her eyes, the fire that I’ve always seen over the years, is stronger than it’s ever been.

“Maybe I do,” she says softly.

I swallow. There is something inside me that’s cracking. I almost start to say something, but she does first.

“Do you ever…” She shakes her head. “Never mind, it’s stupid.”

“Oh come on, you know you can tell anything to me,” I say, trying to feign playfulness even though I’m reeling.

“Alright.” She stares at me dead on.

“Do you ever just...feel like you were meant for something more?”

My eyes widen, and that’s the last straw. It feels like my chest has been flooded with ice.

Because I’ve always felt like Lyra was meant for something more. Ever since that one day when we were eight, and every day after it, I knew it.

Because Lyra, beautiful Lyra, is strong and brave and kind and has always helped and healed everyone. Because Lyra deserves to be a knight more than anyone else I’ve ever met- a real knight, not a fake one like the one she met. The first real knight, if need be.

message 4: by Chloe (new)

Chloe | 5 comments Lyra was always meant to be a knight, meant to be a hero. I know it in my bones, more strongly than anything else I’ve ever known.

The next day, Lyra’s father announces her engagement in the public square. Lyra’s face is blank.

And that’s when I know that I am willing to do whatever it takes to give Lyra the future she deserves. To let her be the person she’s meant to be.

I turn and walk quickly out of the square. The people clear a path for me out of fear, and I don’t even notice.

To become a Royal Knight, you either have to be a noble or you have to defeat a monster.

If a monster is what Lyra needs, a monster is what I will become.

That night, I disappear from the village. Nobody bothers to look for me except for Lyra, and even she can’t find me.

Sitting alone in the darkest part of the woods, I stretch out my hands and call back the magic that I haven’t used in years. It rushes back eagerly for me to use, raw power filling me.

The mage thought my magic was small. He thought wrong.

At midnight, I walk past the people’s houses. Crops wither and crumble in their fields. Windows shatter and houses rot. Rivers and wells freeze over with an ice that won’t melt.

Every night I strike somewhere new. When every home in our town has felt my presence, I move on to neighboring villages, then around the entire province. Word of me spreads- the dark witch who moves through the land like a plague and leaves destruction behind. The townsfolk try to stay on guard, but they can’t catch me. No one can.

When I hear that Royal Knights have been dispatched from the capital to stop me, I know it’s finally time to act. Lyra has to defeat me just before the knights come, so they can see how strong she truly is.

I go to her that night. She’s standing alone outside her house, holding her sword and lighting up the night with her magical fire. She’s guarding her home- from me.

“Lyra,” I say quietly behind her. She whirls around.

“You-!” She lowers her sword, which she had raised defensively, and stares at me in horror. “What have you been doing?”

She doesn’t understand. “It doesn’t matter. The knights will be here soon-” I say urgently.

“Yes, to capture you!” she interrupts.

“I know. So that’s why you have to defeat me first,” I say insistently.

She stops. “What?”

“Lyra-” I look her right in the eyes, trying to make her understand. “If you defeat me just as the Royal Knights arrive, then they’ll have to let you be a knight.”

She frowns, still not getting it, when suddenly her eyes widen and her jaw goes slack with horror.

“No,” she says in shock. “No- no, no, no, you can’t do this!” She shakes her head frantically. “Why would you do something like this?”

I answer honestly. “So you can become a knight.”

She stares at me with a stricken expression. “But this- this isn’t right,” she says, and she grabs my hand.

“Please stop this,” she pleads with me. “Just come home. And everything can go back to normal.”

I stare at her face, lit up by the magical fire that floats next to her. The fire that gives off brilliant light but can never hurt anyone.

It is just like Lyra to protest her one chance to become a knight. It is just like her to still worry about rightness and fairness when most other people would be jumping at this opportunity.

And in that moment, I know that I’ve made the right choice. I know that if I stopped now, if I failed Lyra and she never became a knight, then I would never be able live with myself.

Besides, she was wrong when she said things could go back to normal. Everyone in our town knew that it was me who had done all of this. There was no life left for me there.

There had been no life for me there since the first day I manifested my magic.

“I’m sorry. I have to do this,” I say gently, shaking my head, and I start to back away.

“Why?!” she shouts at me, even though she’s already asked me that question.

I’m honest again. “Because I love you.”

She stares at me in shock. I take the opportunity to start backing away quickly. She tries to follow me, but in a second I freeze her legs in ice.

She conjures fire in her hand, but I know it’ll take a few minutes to melt. “I’m not going to fight you!” she yells at me.

“You’re going to have to if you want to protect everyone else,” I say, breathing heavily. I look her in the eyes. “You know where to find me.”

I turn and run, leaving Lyra’s screams of frustration behind me.

I run down the path and into the forest, casting trap spells as I go to deter anyone else from following me. It’s nothing Lyra can’t handle, and only she knows where I’m going.

Finally I arrive at the cave. I use my powers to make the dead bushes near it thicken and grow to cover the entrance, making it completely invisible unless you know what to look for. Making it so that no one except Lyra can find me.

I sit down inside the cave, and wait to be defeated.

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