Writers 750 Short Story Contest discussion

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Monthly Short Story Contest > JUNE CONTEST: Changing Perception/Perspective

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message 1: by Lynette (last edited Jun 13, 2018 04:24PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments June 2018 Short Story Challenge (750 to 1000 words)
Deadline is midnight (mst) Tuesday June 26, 2018.
Voting will take place between June 27 and June 30. Winners will be posted in this thread on July 1st.

Highlights:
• A Caravan
• A Mysterious Relic
•An Unknown Truth

Theme: The relic causes a change in perception. This change can be a historical change, change happens to the person holding the object, or an inner perspective is changed.

Setting – any

Plot – your choice

Ideas to get you started.

The annual caravan of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents arrive at the favorite camping site. This year forever changes the family when a long lost relic is presented at the campfire.

The dream to finally join an archilogical dig is realized. What is found on that dig was not at all what was expected.

A merchant is traveling with their usual caravan when they discover something in their wagon that they did not place there. When the object is picked up and studied an odd change in perception occurs.

On a journey to find a mysterious relic the traveler's perspective is changed about the historical significance of the creator or the relic itself.

Frustrated with life in general the charactor chooses to “escape” for awhile. An unexpected journey results in a change of perspective.

Challenge Guidelines – Skip over this comment section if you are familiar with the Writers 750 Challenge.

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (BASICALLY, anything but erotica)

Purpose -
Some fiction writers are looking to win a short story contest, keeping in touch with making deadlines, and/or simply sharpening the skill of writing fiction. The main purpose of this contest is to sharpen plot and character skills, collect your own short stories, receive good feedback, make a good connection with other writers, and take a short break from your current novel to get a fresh view when you return to it.

Rules and Directions -
* Type in English - a minimum of 750 words; a maximum of 1,000 words; no erotica, no profanity.

* Post your title, by line, and word count total in the first line of your story posting.

* Writers are responsible for their own copyright. Authors keep all rights. PRIVACY POLICY IS ENFORCED. COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS BELONG TO INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. THIS CONTEST DOES NOT GRANT ANY PERSON THE RIGHT OR LICENSE TO COPY OR USE OTHER STORIES. EACH STORY IS PROTECTED BY THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR.

* ONE entry per person, must be writer's original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. If you need to edit your submission, click "edit" and do not repost elsewhere in the thread. Try to post your final revision.

Judging: The story will be judged on the use of the above story prompts, creativity, proper grammar, good punctuation, and overall good quality for story.

Voting: Please vote for first, second, and third place. You are not allowed to vote for yourself. If posting this month, you MUST vote in order for your story to remain eligible.


message 2: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments You know sitting here,and feeling all nostalgic as I posted this, I actually went back and found the story I posted that month. Just for old times sake, and because as the host I can, I decided to post that story.

Now, as the hostess this story CAN NOT be included in the voting process but I hope you enjoy it anyway. And who knows, it might get your own creative juices stirring.


message 3: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Perspective (Originally posted 11/05/2012)

My wife’s son, Tad, was 12 summers in age and I honestly tried to like the boy. It was not his fault his mother strayed from our vows. Over time I did forgive her, and we were happy now, but the boy looked just like his father; my former business partner. Being around the boy was like having a sore that never quite healed.

I usually made this trip alone but this shipment of books was unusually large and since he was the eldest I reluctantly brought him along. He was not a bad child by any means, in fact he seemed to go out of his way to try and please me.

We were delayed in Shawmut so we were still in the open lands with nothing but endless meadows on either side of us. It was getting late and we had to get off the road since the bandits seemed to appear like phantoms once the sun set.

One comforting thought was that very few bandits could read or write so books were of no use to them. Still it made me nervous being so exposed out here for the night.

I spotted a small group of trees that would provide decent shelter for the night so I steered the horses off the road. As we got closer to the trees I noticed several Sunflowers on the opposite side that looked like they might be ready to harvest. Perfect, those will give us extra nutrients for the next three days. I thought.

I cautiously entered the trees but no one had camped here for several days. We silently went to work unhitching the horses and preparing the camp. There was no need to tell Tad what I expected of him; he just silently did what he had to do.

After we had camp set up, and just before the sun dropped over the horizon, I told him I was going to try and harvest one of the Sunflowers. He nodded and went about his task of starting the fire.

I returned to camp just as he pulled a small tablet free from the wagon. I did not remember that being in our inventory. Nonetheless, I had given him strict instructions not to touch the merchandise.

I put down the two Sunflower heads. “I told you to leave things alone, boy!” I barked at him.

He jumped and nearly dropped the tablet. “I…I am sorry. I was just checking the load…and…and it was coming loose.” He stammered apologetically.

I walked up to him and grabbed the tablet out of his hand. The clay looked ancient but it was still in perfect condition. There was a large gem embedded in it and just a few words carefully chiseled into the hard clay.

“If the truth of the heart is what you seek into the Iris Stone you must peek.” I recited out loud then stared into the stone. “What kind of nonsense…”

Everything around me started to spin and when it settled my entire perspective was wrong. I was looking up at myself but it was the pain my attention focused on. It was not a physical pain but a deep down in my soul pain. When you accept you will never be truly loved. It was so overwhelming I wanted to cry, or scream, but it was me I wanted to scream at.

I finally realized I was somehow looking through Tad’s eyes, feeling Tad’s pain, and I was the cause of that pain. I was feeling what he was feeling at the moment I spoke the words.

At the same time I felt an unconditional love. This boy, whom I could never find it in my heart to love, loved me with everything his wounded heart could give.

My world started to spin again and within a few heartbeats I was once again looking down at Tad. I shook my head in an attempt to clear it.

“Father, what just happened?” He asked in a shaky voice. Is it possible we completely switched places?

“Father”. The word suddenly made me feel so guilty I was physically sick.

“Tad, I am so sorry. I never knew I hurt you like that.” I whispered.

He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around my neck. “I know, but it is alright. I know you can not love me because you are not the one who gave me life, but you are still the only father I will ever love.”


message 4: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Very nice story. Surprising and a good lesson to many who live in blended families.


message 5: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Thanks, Elaine. Of the 200+ short stories I have written in the past 6 years this one is still one of my favorites.


message 6: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments Lynette! What a great story-starter. I imagined writing to each of your suggestions as well. Looking forward to this one.

I had my outline done for last month’s topic, but ran out of time. Hopefully this month will be different.

Good luck to all.


message 7: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 343 comments A great story Lynette loaded with passion, insight and message of love. Nicely done. Thanks for sharing.Lynette wrote: "Perspective (Originally posted 11/05/2012)

My wife’s son, Tad, was 12 summers in age and I honestly tried to like the boy. It was not his fault his mother strayed from our vows. Over time I did fo..."



message 8: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Sandy wrote: "Lynette! What a great story-starter. I imagined writing to each of your suggestions as well. Looking forward to this one.

I had my outline done for last month’s topic, but ran out of time. Hopefu..."


I know that feeling, Sandy. I had the same thing happen to me last month. I had the story written than ran out of time to finish it up. Hope to see your story this month.


message 9: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Thank you Patricia. Hope it inspired you to write one of your own unique masterpieces.


message 10: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
I love this story, Lynette. Very insightful. Thanks for posting it again for us who did not see it the first time.


message 11: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Glad you enjoyed it,Terry.


message 12: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 235 comments What a beautifully told story.

Lynette wrote: "Perspective (Originally posted 11/05/2012)

My wife’s son, Tad, was 12 summers in age and I honestly tried to like the boy. It was not his fault his mother strayed from our vows. Over time I did fo..."



message 13: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1080 comments Mod
Good story, Lynette. It was even better told in first person POV.


message 14: by Rebecca (last edited Jun 11, 2018 02:37PM) (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments The Nory Project (996 words)

Mikey opened one bleary eye and spied the woman spreading a blanket over him as he huddled in his makeshift lean-to. The street light behind her created a halo, prompting him to ask, “You an angel or something?”

“No, I’m no angel.”

“Martha Stewart?”

“No, not her either,” she said pulling the hood up to shield her identity.

“You sure? I know I seed you somewhere before. If you aint Martha Stewart, who are you. You look too fancy to be out here on the streets.”

“I’m just someone who knows,” she said, as she handed the man a sandwich, a cup of coffee, and a new pair of gloves she extracted from a bag labeled ‘The Nory Project’.

“Oh, I see.” No other explanation was necessary, so he turned his attention to the food.

The woman quietly slipped away, anxious to move on before he remembered where he had seen her.

There was a time, not so very long ago when Lenora Hennessy (of the Philadelphia Hennessys, if you please) would never have deigned to actually speak to one of the ‘trash people’ as she referred to the homeless. She had clearly made her distaste for the less fortunate known on a blustery November evening. The trophy wives who formed the upper east side caravan - ladies chauffeured from one event to the next just so they could be seen - were making their way to the Annual Auction to Benefit the Homeless. Lenora was in her limousine with Julia Fairfield, the woman she pretended was her best friend on important occasions such as this. As the car passed a group of tattered people, huddled together against the elements, Leonora said, “Look at them. It’s a disgrace that we should have to witness such a spectacle. I wish someone would do something about those people.”

Now there is a truth that Leonora wasn’t aware of or she might have chosen her words more carefully: the universe has a perverse sense of humor, and Leonora was soon going to make that discovery for herself.

Once at the benefit, Leonora was more than happy to continue her tirade about the homeless, telling everyone she encountered how her senses had been affronted by those horrible people.

“Really, darling, I couldn’t agree more,” said the waspish wife of an investment broker, the one everyone thought was involved in some type of Ponzi scheme. “So, go buy something beautiful for yourself at the auction. Your money will go toward ridding them from our fair city.”

Leonora took the advice and bid an exorbitant amount for an interesting piece that caught her eye, a Bedouin relic dating back hundreds of years, which claimed to grant the owner’s wish. She took her prize home, placed it in a potted plant in the foyer, and promptly forgot about it. She then had a glass or three of wine, a couple Valium and faded into a dreamless sleep.

The cold nagged at the edges of consciousness, causing her to reach for the duvet, but her hand encountered scratchy wool instead. She opened her eyes, her brain not comprehending what was happening when she saw the plush bedroom where she had fallen asleep had been replaced by a cardboard box; and instead of decadent silk pajamas she wore repulsively dirty layers of tatters.

As the last wisps of sleep cleared, reality sunk in: it had been a dream. There was no Leonora Hennessy. She was Nory Myers and had lived on the streets for how long? Was there ever a life before? She couldn’t be sure.

“Hey Nory, you awake? Mikey scored some coffee. Better come get yours before it’s gone.”

She moved the flap aside and crawled out of the box that was her home and saw Twinkle carrying her toddler, Belle. “Come on. Hurry up,” the younger woman urged. As she made her way through the camp under the overpass, each person she encountered seemed like a stranger, yet she knew everything about them.

The days clicked past in a monotonous string with nothing to look forward to other than the hope of finding a good meal or a warm bed. One night there was a cold wind howling through the camp and Nory’s stomach ached with hunger. She had found a discarded apple earlier in the day and had been hording it to eat right before bed. She hoped it would be enough to stave off the hunger pangs so she could sleep. Just as she was about to, she saw Twinkle crying.

“If it was just me, I wouldn’t mind so much,” Twinkle lied, “but Belle’s hungry and I don’t know what to do.”

“Here take this,” Nory offered her the apple. “It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing.”

“That’s all you have. I can’t take it,” the young mother objected, the tears in her eyes pleading with Nory to offer it again.

“It’s just an apple, Honey. I’ll find another.” Twinkle took the prize and hurried back to her ragged tent.

“This is stupid. I have to do something to help these folks. If I don’t, who will?” Over the next few weeks, Nory formulated a strategy, writing down the details on scraps of paper she found blowing in the streets. “I can do this,” she asserted reviewing her finished plan. “I can make a difference.”

That night, Nory fell into the first contented sleep she could remember, her papers tucked safely under her makeshift pillow. “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Morning came and before she even opened her eyes, Nory said a silent prayer of thanks for being granted a day she was excited to wake up. When she did open her eyes, however, she was shocked to find she was back in the beautiful bed, dressed in silk. She was Leonora again. As she looked around in amazement, she saw the pages of her plan sticking out from under her pillow.

“Thank God, it was real! I am Nory.”


message 15: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1080 comments Mod
The Healing Stone (996 words)

As people of the shifter community do, they came together to honor one of their fallen: Radolf, the boy who was now left in his decaying wolf form. An open grave was made in the heart of the forest, not far from the house of his mother, Laura Wulf. Sullen looking men and women gathered around the grave site; their mood was as dismal as the overcast, brooding sky. The still form of the red wolf lay on its side upon a lift made from woven tree saplings. After the holy man delivered words of comfort, Laura came forward and placed a moonstone necklace - a healing stone around the neck of the wolf. It had been in her family for many generations. Radolf’s body was lowered in the ground. Laura picked up a handful of dirt and threw it on the wolf who was her boy.

“We will meet again, little one,” she said as tears streamed down her cheeks.

The crowd disbanded as the body was covered with dirt. Then adding insult to injury, the wind and rain kicked up. The attendees hurried home or to whatever shelter they could quickly find. Under the earth of the new grave, the healing stone glowed and repaired the body of the broken wolf. Everything became new, except for his soul. It was replaced by an evil spirit who wasn’t Radolf. The wolf dug its way out of the grave and ran in the pouring rain.

*****
“You’ve cut enough wood for one day!” exclaimed Lord Eric. “Besides, the storm is approaching too. You don’t want to be out here when that comes.”

Tristin tossed the last pieces of split wood on the pile. Pogo the cat bathed himself nearby without a care until a gust of wind sent autumn leaves to ruffle his fur. His hind feet dug into the ground and propelled him passed the little Page who was nearly at the cottage door. Tristin grinned and shook his head. No sooner had the door been latched closed, there was a loud banging at the door. Eric opened it to face a messenger.

“What news have you?” inquired Eric.

“There was a burial today of the shifter Radolf, Sir. He is in fact still alive though.”

“What does this have to do with me?” inquired Eric.

“It doesn’t. It has to do with me,” said Tristin. “I didn’t tell you, but Radolf tried to kill me a few days ago. He is nothing but a jealous bully. He is the wolf that you saw, dead at the bottom of the cliff.”

“How did you manage that?” Eric said as he folded his arms waiting for an excuse.

“I don’t think you’ll believe my answer,” stalled Tristin.

“Try me. I bet this is good,” said Eric.

“I also met a dragon named Grughus on the same day. I pulled out an arrow that Radolf had lodged in its wing. The dragon repaid my kindness by saving my life from the red wolf, the creature that Radolf turns into. When Radolf circled to attack me, Grughus grabbed him in his claws and dropped him over the cliff.”

“Uh hum,” replied Eric as he looked down at the floor and scratched his eyebrow. The messenger’s eyes bugged wide open in shock.

Tristin continued, “Radolf had threatened me before this in the woods over Meg - I mean Princess Margaret. We’re friends. Radolf wants her all to himself.”

“This changes things. Tristin, you should’ve told me this at once that King Arthur’s niece is involved. This is a matter for the knighthood. Let this be a lesson to you: what effects one of the king’s household affects us all. Never keep these things to yourself again. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Sir,” he answered as his mental barriers crumbled under deference.

All of this was too much for the messenger who decided to retreat to the barn alongside his horse. He never made it. The red wolf attacked him from behind with a lethal bite to his neck. His scream was heard by Eric and Tristin who watched in horror through a window.

“Stay here!” ordered Eric who grabbed both his sword and his crossbow.

The knight took aim and sent an arrow which lodged in Radolf’s hind leg. The healing stone glowed; the arrow dropped to the ground. If he wasn’t seeing it, Eric wouldn’t have believed it. The animal ran down the hill away from the cottage and into the woodland. Eric wasted no time calling the knights together to hunt the red wolf down and kill it. They were a deadly caravan, a war party that vowed to bring home the wolf pelt of the shifter.

The sun was getting low in the sky causing long shadows from the trees. Growls from many wolves seemed to surround the knights. The caravan stopped and formed a circle. Then the wolves came; their eyes glowed in the dark as they neared. Some knights were knocked off of their mounts. They were able to kill all of the beasts with their swords either through the heart or lopping the heads off. Then Radolf came. The red wolf killed one knight and then another.

It is time to end this, thought Eric.

He sent an arrow to the heart of the beast. As it lay on the ground, Eric reached it as the healing stone glowed. With his sword, he dislodged it from the neck of the shifter. Radolf came to life with glowing eyes and fangs bared. Eric quickly thrust his sword into Radolf’s ribs. He wacked the head off just to make sure it was dead. He strode over to the healing stone, picked it up, and placed it in his pocket.

Once Eric returned home with the dead wolf, Tristin knew he had to tell all.

“Sir, I suspect that Meg is one of them.”

“What makes you say that?”

“I’ve seen her change,” replied the boy.


message 16: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Glenda, very good story. I really like the difference of perception you illustrated. So pertinent for today's world.


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Lynette, that story is beautiful and powerful.


message 18: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1080 comments Mod
Thank you, Rebecca!

I just noticed something. The title of this challenge and the same word used in the specified "Theme" is the word "perception". However, the same word is not used in the examples or the title of Lynette's story. The word "perspective" is used.

Examples above "On a journey to find a mysterious relic the traveler's perspective is changed about the historical significance of the creator or the relic itself.

Frustrated with life in general the character chooses to “escape” for awhile. An unexpected journey results in a change of perspective."


message 19: by TERRY (last edited Jun 13, 2018 06:30AM) (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "The Nory Project Wow, Rebecca. What an eye opener. Thank God there are people who care. The big city near me has places to get a free meal and shelters for folks who are down and out. Your story is touching and well written. I like the title.


message 20: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Glenda wrote: "The Healing Stone I am once again amazed at your creativity, Glenda. Very interesting and thoughtful story.


message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Thank you, Terry. I appreciate your comment.


message 22: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 1080 comments Mod
Thank you, Terry :)


message 23: by Lynette (last edited Jun 13, 2018 04:39PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Glenda wrote: "Thank you, Rebecca!

I just noticed something. The title of this challenge and the same word used in the specified "Theme" is the word "perception". However, the same word is not used in the exampl..."

How very perceptive of you, Glenda. You are correct and I apologize for not specifying that in the title and theme. I did not catch that omission myself until after I had written the examples. At that point I was distracted by a phone call and I take full responsibility for failing to go back to change it.

It was my original intention to give you, as writers, the option to pursue either avenue as they can be two entirely different courses of action.

According to Merriam- Webster Perception is "an act or result of perceiving. Awareness of one's environment through physical sensation. Ability to understand"

Perspective: on the other hand is " the aspect in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed; esp : a view of things ( as objects or events) in their relationship or relative importance.

Thank you, Glenda, for bringing that back to my attention so that I could make the necessary corrections.


message 24: by Lynette (last edited Jun 13, 2018 04:41PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Rebecca: What a beautiful written story and powerful lesson. If only that could truly happen so much of the vanity in this day would disappear.

Glenda: Once again you have shown you are a master of the quick twist. SO did not see that last line coming!

Great start to the month. You ladies have definitely set the bar. Excited to see what the rest of this talented group creates.


message 25: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Thank you Lynette!


message 26: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Symie The Terrible - 1000 words
Simon struggled to stay within the shrouds of sleep, to revel in the warmth of his dream world, to push away the cold damp dawn and hunger that was his reality when he awoke in the work house for wayward boys.

He closed his eyes and pushed away the memory of the day the gypsy caravan, where he lived with his mother, had camped near a stream. He’d gone to town and sneaked into the museum. He could still feel the constable catch him by the collar when he tried to steal a relic that could be sold for food. He could hear the magistrate’s words, sentencing him to a home where wayward boys, caught up in petty crimes, were sent to work.

Rejecting the memories, he returned to his magic dream kingdom, brilliant with the soft glow of light but without a candle in sight. Warmth filled every corner, though strangely not from a hearth. There was music, but without musicians. A princess lavished kisses on his nose. In this dream world, he was not a starving little boy, but a grey striped kitten with white paws and rings of black around his silver neck and enough food to last a week.

Simon pulled the thin blanket around his shoulders and basked in the kisses on his kitten nose.

****
My first recollection was nursing at my mother’s breast as my kitten sisters tumbled around me. When the Princess came to choose a pet, she chose me and named me Symie, The Terrible.
I was put into a box and taken to a home filled with sunshine, love, and happiness… until the nightmares began.

Such frightening dreams−where I am not a kitten, but an orphan boy, lost, alone and hungry. In this world, alley cats fight over scraps in the garbage. Hungry men in ragged clothing men beat their poor horses loaded with too-heavy loads. Because hunger pains drove me to steal,

I work long hours in a factory in the form of this orphan child, cold and unloved. I sense the despair in everyone’s face as they live in poverty and squalor. I feel their fear and it clutches at my heart with every breath… Just when I cannot bear another moment in this child’s body, I awake, trembling in terror. I hear my Princess. “Come, my precious Symie, come and play.” My despair melts away as she gathers me into her arms. My whiskers brush her cheek. I am a kitten once again.

***
Six days a week, twelve hours a day, Simon worked in a factory. At night in the attic, he slept with other boys in the Rehabilitation Home. On Sunday, he hoed weeds in the vegetable garden. There, he made a friend, Tucker, another orphan boy. Tucker talked constantly of his plans to escape. “If we could get to London, we could work in Uncle’s shop and go to school.” Such dreams kept Tucker from madness.

Simon chose another way to escape the horrors of hunger and deprivation. Asleep in the attic after a day in the factory, Simon fled in dreams of his princess and all the magic that he could not comprehend. He slipped deeper into his dream world where he became a little grey cat, healthy and fed, surrounded by love. In the heat of summer, weakness and fever left him unable to awake or rise from his bed. He was left alone on those days without food or water.

***
In boredom, I followed the Princess to the room where she kept food in the cold box. Inside, she kept eggs, milk, and butter. Cat food? I jumped inside. The princess closed the door and the light disappeared. I waited for my eyes to adjust, but to no avail. I was frightened and cold and in my fear, again, I felt myself become the child, sick, frightened, alone. I felt his fever and pain. Death felt all to near. If the child should die, I felt I, too, would die. He must not die! "Stay strong! Fight back, child. Resist. You must live!"

The door opened, light flooded in, and my princess wrapped me in her arms, cooing, and raining kisses on my cold nose. The vision of the child left me and my rasping tongue returned my Princess’s caress.

****
Simon lay on the floor, feverish, near unconsciousness. “Meow!” Simon felt a rough tongue on his face. He heard a command. “Wake up Simon. Don’t give up. You must change your life. You must fight to live.”

He reached his hand to touch the cat he felt sure had wandered into the attic, but he was alone. Courage and determination filled his heart “We must escape to London and find Tucker’s uncle.”

The following Sunday, while traveling to church, the horse reared as the train passed. Simon and Tucker slid off the cart and raced for the train. Once aboard the train, Simon hugged his friend. They faced an uncertain future filled with promise “We done it, Tucker, we’re free! Maybe we can get to London and go to school.”

****
Last night, I dreamed again of the orphan boy. Not lying in a hot attic, but standing in the doorway of a train. I felt the wind in his hair, the joy in his heart, bright with hope and confidence. I sensed courage in him I’d never felt before. He looked down the tracks as though saying good-bye to his former life. I knew I’d never see him again. He no longer needed me. He and his friend would find Tucker’s uncle, return to school and make their dreams a reality.

I’ll miss this child that had somehow become a part of me. Now, when I sleep, I dream of my Princess and her kisses. I dream of toys and cat things. I lift my head. Is that my Princess calling? “Come, my precious Symie, come and play.”


message 27: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Elaine wrote: "Symie The Terrible - Wow Elaine. The complexity of the story kept me intrigued and reading to see what would come next. Very creative. Nice work.


message 28: by TERRY (last edited Jun 20, 2018 05:58AM) (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
RELICS OF THE PAST
by terry turner 975 words

Professor Ben Harris and his daughter Britney, fifteen, were met at the plane and taken to a hotel in El-Sidi, Egypt where they joined the other eight members of a tour group to Al-Salam, a dig site some two hours by camel back into the Arabian Desert.

After a brief greeting by the tour’s guide, everyone was introduced and taken to a small dinning room where they ate dinner together. They were to leave the next morning at 6 a.m. sharp for Al-Salam.

Before retiring to their room, Ben and Britney decided to visit the El-Sidi museum. Little was known about the ancient temple housing the artifacts. A small but staunch religious group believed it to be the site where Alexander the Great met the oracle of Amon-Ra, who declared him the ruler of the world. They were both intrigued by a painted wall of the temple adorned with gold plated images. Britney could not take her eyes off an image of a woman dressed in a white robe holding in her hand a gold key.

“I am sorry,” said the curator as he walked up. “It is time to close. I must ask you to leave now.”

“The woman,” Britney asked pointing at the wall, “Who is she?”

“No one knows for sure,” answered the curator. “The wall was like this when the temple was discovered.”

“Britney. The museum is closing and we need to turn in early.”

With a short drive the next morning to the edge of the desert, they found waiting for them a pack of ten camels. The caravan train driver gave a few scanty words of instructions and everyone made ready to leave on the two hour trek to the dig site.

After an hour’s drive into the desert they heard the camel driver screaming and waving his arms around in a frantic movement. The tour guide then ordered everyone to hold on tight.

“We will run the camels to an old caravan site some ten kilometers away where we will take shelter from the sandstorm now approaching over the horizon.”

Ben and Britney looked to their right to see a terrifying sandstorm had blown up and was blotting out the sun.

But time was not on their side. After only a couple of miles of hard riding the storm was almost upon them and they stopped just in time for the camel driver to rope all the animals together. However, he had not done a good job. Consequently, Britney’s camel reared up and the rope joining them to the main caravan came undone.

The camels with Britney and Ben on their backs bolted and ran off in the blinding dust cloud. What seemed like ages, the camels rushed into a cave and came to a halt. Ben gave the order for the camels to sit so they could climb off. The sandstorm was now a hideous mass of impenetrable sand and howling like an animal in pain outside the cave entrance.

“Dad, I’m scared. We don’t know where we are. We could die in here,” Britney said almost crying.

And with those words Britney screamed as she tripped and fell on a pile of white bones.

Ben rushed to Britney’s side and helped her up. He knew right away that the bones were human but kept it to himself. “Relics of the past,” he whispered.

The cave was quite dark but a stream of low light from the entrance fell across a beautifully carved wall to their right. At the base of the wall was a large urn which after some investigating Ben said was pure gold with writings of ancient Egyptian.

Hearing a rustling noise from the entrance of the cave they both turned to see the camels running out into the sandstorm.

“The camels, Dad,” Britney screamed. “They will die out there.”

“No they won’t,” Ben said calming her. “Camels have adapted to endure the extremes of the desert. They will be fine.”

From somewhere above the cave entrance, a large cascade of sand poured down at that moment on the mouth of the cave sealing it completely.

Then, without warning, the image on the wall began to emit a shimmering white iridescent light and the urn seemed to glow from within. The ambient light in the cave was brighter now than before making it much easier to examine the gold urn.

Curious, Britney walked over and peeked inside the urn. She reached her hand in and took out a solid gold key about 15 centimeters long and held it up to the light.

The shimmering light flickered and a faint image of a woman dressed in a white robe adorned in gold appeared in front of the carved wall. The scene was quite eerie. From where did she come from?

A voice spoke to them in a soft, low, hypnotic tone. “Be not afraid. I am Amon-Ra. I am the guardian of this ancient cave and it’s relics.”

The wall before them shuddered and an opening began to appear. Ben and Britney hurriedly ran through the opening only to find themselves in the museum they had visited the night before. A voice coming from the opening called out, “freedom is yours but the key is mine and must remain with me.”

Britney turned to pass the key to her. Ben grabbed Britney yelling “no!” But it was too late. The key floated as though in slow motion until it reached the guardian’s hand. Then Amon-Ra and the key faded away as the hole in the wall closed.

Ben and Britney were left standing speechless with their arms around the other. The curator of the museum walked up from behind and said, “I am sorry folks, it is time to go. The museum is closing. We hope you have enjoyed your time here. Do come again.”


message 29: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Elaine, your ability to weave the amazing cat stories always captivate me. Well done.

Terry, I have to admit that twist at the end totally caught me by surprise. What a great way to bring the story back full circle. I think that curator knew a bit more than he was letting on.


message 30: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments We are down to the last 9 days. Plenty of time to submit your story.


message 31: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 172 comments Discovery Among the Ranitari by F. F. Burwick 1000 words

Daniel Rocsled, the anthropologist, still tried explaining more about the Ranitari to Terry Wiscar, the archaeologist, as they strolled up to the caravan managed by these obscure people. He explained that the Ranitari, who he had studied to learn more about their language and culture, among the dwindled people, were an ancient Semitic line set apart from any other, here in mountainous parts of the Middle East. They survived with trading as they traveled about at great distances. There were unique things about their culture.

"So what about their culture and beliefs would you say are relevant to the containers with scrolls they hold in their cherished cart?" Terry asked Daniel.

They were coming up close to some of those people who were waiting there to see the visiting archaeologist, so Daniel just said, "If you remember to be respectful as we talked about, and let the people here for it handle the artifacts, they seem to be willing to have you look at the items carefully, without touching them. They have obscure traditions about them, but I don't see how I can connect the origins of those items to their history. Certain persons here say they know some few words from the writings on the scrolls, but none can read them all."

Terry was left wondering what things these Ranitari believed. Those the two came to were the ones that were there to welcome them, Daniel who they had seen often in recent times, and Terry who was a newcomer here. Daniel had to be the go-between for the Ranitari and Terry, as Daniel knew many of the words of their language. But the writing on the scrolls was unfamiliar to him.

They were brought to Barinem, one of the elders among them, who looked after the sanctuary cart, and Daniel introduced Terry to him. Barinem and a younger man there led the two up the steps and into the cart. It had a tent-like covering over it, that still gave them room to move in there still standing. Barinem went toward the far side from where they entered, as the younger man stood with Daniel and Terry.

There were three large containers there. Barinem lifted one from its stand, with built-in holders to keep it steady, and brought it carefully to the side where Daniel and Terry and that younger man waited. Daniel and Terry both looked at the container marveling. It was like a box, clearly, though it was cylindrical. It was metallic in appearance, and it had a shape for resembling a fully grown tree. From something that was made to look like a hole, the head of a bird that would have been huge in proportion to the tree was shown protruding. Large branches protruded from the upper portion of the tree with branchlets shown growing from them, and very realistic leaves, like those from an olive tree, on those.

Barinem held his hand up, and muttered something the two outsiders didn't understand, and he then grabbed on the higher branch, and pulled on it, so that the upper part of the tree, with its branches, branchlets, and leaves, parted on a hing from the trunk that was the lower part of the tree. The head of the bird remained just below the edge where it parted. A scroll was seen there in it, which Barinem then lifted out, with material he held in his hand to hold it.

He carefully held it before the archeologist, as it was slightly unrolled, it was not very flexible with its great age. Terry looked at it, and said, "It is a form of Aramaic writing, which I am familiar with. I can recognize words on it. Can you ask him to unroll it some more? I will translate to you what I read."

Daniel spoke to Barinem, who answered him back. Daniel spoke again and the man had a look that seemed to show stress and concern, yet he carefully maneuvered the scroll to open more fully. As he did so, with slow care, bits of the material of the scroll flaked off from the edges. Barinem stopped with it open to see just about all of the writing, with the scroll still curved around.

"I told him that you would be able to read it, and would translate it to me, and I would tell him what you read," Daniel explained.

Terry looked at it attentively, and after a few moments he pronounced words he was reading, in that language. After some time, he started saying what he had read in their own language.

"After James the brother of the Lord died, the leaders remaining, John, Thomas, Matthew, and Bartholomew, spoke to one another about relocating. The many followers they had there had dispersed to many places throughout the region, and a small handful remained with them, while the those of the city showed they would not put up with them still, and were violent. But in these times, the army came approaching the city, when those of the city set themselves up to live according to only their ways. These leaders and the followers they still had did not live like those others, they still would not eat the things from the animals abused there, and would only live peaceably. They departed from the city and went away into the hilly regions, as the Lord had said to do. They spoke to more of those they came to of the way, and those following them grew again. But there was still threat of violence meant toward those of this way, and they saw it was not good to have a large body of believers together again. When the number grew, the leaders divided in different directions, leaving copies of their writings for each of them, with the followers they went with."

Daniel and Terry saw Ranitari were descended from the early believers. They stayed with them then, learning of the truth from the original writings.


message 32: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
F.F. wrote: "Discovery Among the Ranitari I liked your story FF. Very creative and believable.


message 33: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Elaine, I love your story. It was woven together perfectly.


message 34: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments TERRY wrote: "RELICS OF THE PAST
by terry turner 975 words

Professor Ben Harris and his daughter Britney, fifteen, were met at the plane and taken to a hotel in El-Sidi, Egypt where they joined the other eight ..."


Good one, Terry. I think this one deserves to be expanded. Why the bones in the cave? Is there a tie between Brittany and the guarian? So many questions.


message 35: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments F.F. wrote: "Discovery Among the Ranitari by F. F. Burwick 1000 words

Daniel Rocsled, the anthropologist, still tried explaining more about the Ranitari to Terry Wiscar, the archaeologist, as they strolled up ..."


Very creative and interesting.


message 36: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "TERRY wrote: "RELICS OF THE PAST
by terry turner 975 words

Rebecca. My original rough draft was over 1700 words. I wanted to express how Britney was very depressed after the death of her mother. How she was flunking school and did not have a good relationship with Ben (she ask to go live with her aunt in Atlanta). Ben thought the trip might bring them closer. Britney would see a resemblance to her mother in the face of "the woman in the white robe". Of course, all that had to be cut because the story was limited to 1000 words or less. You are correct. The story could be much expanded. Thanks for bring this point up.



message 37: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Writing 1000 word stories is very restrictive and stifles our imagination and the details needed to flesh out a good plot. But it does make one learn to write tight and make every word count. We are between a rock and a hard spot! LOL


message 38: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments WE ARE DOWN TO THE FINAL TWO DAYS!!!!!!! Who is going to make that amazing last minute submission? Deadline is Midnight (mst) on June 26th. Voting will commence after that and go until all votes are in or midnight (mst) on June 30th. The sooner you place your votes the sooner you know who won this month's contest.

You will be able to submit your votes per Goodreads notice or you can email them to me @ Lynettewhite60@gmail.com.


message 39: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Terry and Elaine, being in this group has really helped me to tighten my writing. I've learned the economy of words can actually help me be a better story teller because I have always tended to be too wordy.


message 40: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 235 comments Unforgettable Summer
Rejoice Denhere
Copyright 2018
994 words


Al would never forget 2009. It was the year her father had passed away, the year she had been burgled and the year she had injured her back. She was recovering from the shock of it all as spring drew to a close. Maybe summer would bring better tidings.

“Hey Al, I’m popping out to the shops to get some milk.”

The speaker was Al’s good friend and housemate, Finn, an athletic looking man with a balding head which he rubbed constantly when he was nervous.

“Okay,” she replied absent-minded.

The shops were less than two minutes away so when Finn had not returned after an hour Al panicked. She should have paid more attention to what he had been saying to her. Come to think of it, he had been rubbing his head a lot lately. Sliding off the chair, she crossed the threshold to the kitchen. There was milk in the fridge. With thoughts running wild, her shaking hands dialled Finn’s number.

A key rattled in the door, stopping her in her tracks. She was going to give Finn a real telling to. The person who entered the room, however, was not Finn, but his friend Leon.

“Finn’s gone, Al.”

A wave of emotions was triggered by the announcement.

“What do you mean gone? Is he dead?”

Leon’s bewildered eyes stared at her. All he could do was nod in silence as tears streamed down his face.

----

Finn’s pace quickened as soon as he left the built-up area of his neighbourhood. His breath came in short bursts, not through exertion but from the excitement at the prospect of what lay ahead.

He soon came to a clearing just as the sun disappeared behind the hills. Finn caressed the fine stone he had been holding in his hands. He had not even wanted to risk putting it in his pocket in case it fell and he lost it.

----

Al was distraught. Leon’s efforts failed to calm her down.

“None of what you are saying makes any sense at all,” she cried out. “We must go to the police.”

“We can’t,” he told her evenly. “There’s nothing they can do. He’s gone Al. Just accept it.”

“But I can’t. What you’re saying is impossible.”

A sneaking suspicion made her think that the two men must have had an altercation. Finn had been accidentally murdered and his body disposed of by his frightened friend.

----

As the sun set, the few thin strips of clouds on the horizon turned shimmering gold. Clutching the stone tightly in his fist Finn closed his eyes and inhaled the crisp smell of the breeze. He listened to the lapping sounds of the water. The gentle breeze reminded him of her. He smiled.

He walked to the water's edge, wading in until the water was waist high. People were swimming all around him but nobody seemed to notice him. He was an invisible, non-existent entity. Soothing, repetitive sounds of lapping waves came together in a gentle, hypnotic melody, casting a spell of serene tranquility. Finn could feel the pull of the water as he waded deeper and deeper into the waters of Lough Leane. It now reached up to his shoulders.

The current suddenly snatched him in its grip. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he felt his body being wrenched into the whirlpool, the water sucking him down, spinning faster and faster until dizziness completely overwhelmed him. He was finally returning to Tir na N'og and to the embrace of his beloved Niamh Cinn iir.

Little white clouds drifted lazily across the sky, hardly casting the slightest shadow on the sun.

-----

“I’m going to the police.”

Leon couldn’t stop the exasperated sound that left his lips. “You can’t do that. You’ll get us both in trouble.”

“Are you trying to implicate me in your murderous action? How diabolical!” Now that she had gathered her thoughts Al was livid. “How on earth are we going to explain Finn’s disappearance?”

“We’ll say he moved away. He always kept to himself anyway so I don’t think he will be missed.”

“I’ll miss him!”

“Sit down Al,” Leon said, his hand reaching out in a gesture of comfort and resting his hand over hers. “You know the legend of Oisin who fell in love with a beautiful woman while hunting on the shores of Lough Leane?”

A puzzled look creased Al’s brow. “Yes, why?”

“Finn is Oisin, the warrior who fell in love with Niamh Cinn iir.”

“No! The woman from the land of Tir na N'og…” her voice trailed off.

“Where nobody grows old and spring is eternal,” Leon finished off. “And Finn found a way to return to her.”

“But how?”

“Remember that caravan of travellers which passed through town last month? Well, one of them was a fortune teller. She gave Finn a stone which had been in her family for generations. Apparently its powers can take the holder to that land if they believe.”

“I guess not many believed in its powers since it’s still here.”

“Was,” he corrected.

____

As Christmas approached the streets got busier. Six months had already passed since the incident with Finn and Al’s life was finally coming together again. For the first time since that night from hell, she could breathe without the pain in her chest trying to cut off her oxygen. She reached out for her husband but his side of the bed was empty. She sat up for while then finally made her way downstairs. He was sitting on the sofa in the living room. He raised his head as her shadow blanketed him. Sitting down next to him she smoothed the bald patch on his head. She thought about asking him if he was okay but decided against it. He had come back to her and that was all that mattered.

“Hey,” she slapped his arm. “We’ll be okay.”

She had finally made peace with God..


message 41: by Lynette (last edited Jun 26, 2018 09:22PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments THIS COMPETITION WILL OFFICIALLY CLOSE IN 2 HOURS!!

Entries so far are:

The Nory Project- Rebecca
The Healing Stone- Glenda
Symie The Terrible- Elaine
Relics Of The Past-Terry
Discovery Among the Ranitari- F.F.
Unforgettable Summer- Rejoice

BALLOTS CAN BE SENT TO:
Lynettewhite60@gmail.com or message me through Goodreads.

REMINDER: Your story will eliminated from voting if you fail to submit your votes.

The sooner everyone gets there votes in the sooner I will announce the winners.


message 42: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
I am not sure if this is the proper place to post this but I wanted to share this with all the writers here.

When I retired in 2006 and moved to the lake, I was walking everyday for health reasons. On one of my morning walks I had a thought. When I got home I wrote that thought down in a tablet. It was one sentence : TODAY I WENT FOR A WALK; AND AS I WALKED I THOUGHT OF YOU.

One year later, I was thumbing through that tablet and came across that line. I sat down and wrote two or three more sentence. Another year past before I wote any more but finally got to a stopping point. Over the next few years I tweeked it; changing words, rearranging a sentence here and there; until I have what I think is the finished product. This was the first thing I ever wrote and the beginning of my love for writing.

TOMORROW WE WILL WALK AGAIN

Today I went for a walk; and as I walked I thought of you.
I imagined we were walking down a country road; it was Spring.
Small ponds and pastures dotted the landscape between groves of tall pine trees.

The smell of wild rose drifted lightly on warm breezes.

You walked beside me, smiling, laughing, casting glances my way.
It was as though we were getting to know one another for the first time.

Blue birds mixed their song with your laughter and
butterflies floated gently on the air.
I was quiet, hanging on your every word.

Soon I came to the little wooden bridge where I saw
you for the first time so many years ago.
A brook of clear cold water trickled underneath.
I paused on the bridge and looked over the edge.
In the water’s reflection I saw myself staring back.

The hour is late; the day passes away, fleeting like vapor.

Walking home the air seemed colder, heavier; the sky was
dark. Raindrops danced on the dusty road ahead of me.

Tomorrow we will walk again, you and I.

terry turner 2008


message 43: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 235 comments That's beautiful Terry. It is like a re-uniting of two selves or getting to know the real you which in this case was the writer in you.


message 44: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 235 comments Lynette I have submitted my votes.


message 45: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Rejoice wrote: "That's beautiful Terry. Thanks Rejoice.


message 46: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Lovely poem. I thought you were writing about a lost love.,


message 47: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Elaine wrote: "Lovely poem. Thanks for you feedback. I am sure a lot of people have lost/missed out, on someone they loved dearly.


message 48: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rlacy) | 152 comments Terry that is a beautiful poem. I'm with Elaine, I thought it was about a lost love. Poignant.


message 49: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 638 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "Terry that is a beautiful poem. ******* Yes, lost or separated.


message 50: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Are we sharing poems now? Maybe we should do a month of poetry submissions (without specific theme or prompts) just in case everyone (someone) has written something they'd like to share. Not necessarily competition? Thoughts?


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