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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 421 (August 9-15) Stories Topic: Late Night

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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 15th of August to post a story and from the 16th to around the 20th of August, 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: Late Night

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 Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Hairum Scarum (Helen Singer, Chapter 23, Part One)
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1098
Rating : PG13

I awoke the next morning feeling more rested than I had in a long time. It’s amazing how good you can feel when you get an early night after a series of late ones.

I could hear my parents downstairs, starting to prepare their breakfast before leaving for work, and from what they’d said the night before I knew I was being forced into joining my dad at work once more. I didn’t mind, but it was a little patronising seeing as we’d already caught Michael Hamelin, the latest victim of the curse, and there wasn’t any further dangers to worry about.

I clambered out of bed, running my hands through my shorter than usual hair, and threw on a dressing gown. It was cold, even for September, and I couldn’t remember where my slippers were so I walked barefoot down to the kitchen.

“Morning,” I said, hearing how croaky my voice was. I’d slept well, but you know what it’s like when you haven’t spoken for a while. Your voice always sounds weird.

“Morning, honey,” my mum said, taking a sip of her coffee, “you all ready for the day?”

God, my mum can be sarcastic. She could see quite clearly I hadn’t even gotten dressed yet. Sometimes she really ticked me off, but this time I was too happy about managing to stop the curse.

“Do you like it?” I asked, twirling in my dressing gown, “I thought I could convince the locals this is the latest style in London.”

“Don’t be cheeky to your mother,” my dad said, flicking the television off, “now go and get dressed – we’re leaving in five minutes.”

Five minutes? I sighed and headed back upstairs, picking out a suitable outfit. It pretty much looked like I was wearing the same clothes as the day before, but I didn’t really care. Nobody really knew me in town yet, so I didn’t have to make that much of an impression on the locals.

As I pulled on a jumper while searching for a scarf, I heard my phone starting to vibrate. I grabbed it up and looked at the caller ID. It was Fran.

“Hey,” I said, picking up the phone, “what’s up?”

“What did that text you sent mean?” she asked, “That your mum and dad know about the curse?”

“Exactly that,” I explained, “they sort of knew already, and my mum’s had Hamelin under observation all night. They sedated him and it looks like the curse might be over.”

“Until the next person gets cursed,” Fran said, “we still need to track down the book and get rid of it.”

“Well, I’m heading to the library with my dad in a minute,” I told her, “they want to keep and eye on my today in case anything does happen. I’ll be there shortly, so we can meet up.”

“Sure thing,” Fran said, “I don’t have to be at the chip shop until this afternoon.”

“See you later then,” I smiled, hanging up the phone.

“HELEN!”

I jumped at the sound of my dad shouting up the stairs, “I’m leaving in thirty seconds.”

“I’m coming!” I shouted back, realising too late that I hadn’t brushed my teeth. I picking up my coat from where I’d thrown it the night before and stamped down the stairs, seeing my dad standing by the front door, pretending to check the time on his watch.

“Three… two… and one,” he smiled, “you’re lucky. You just made it.”

“Ha ha,” I groaned, turning to yell back to the kitchen, “see you later mum,” I shouted, then my dad and I headed off to the library.

We arrived to find nobody waiting outside to get in. With Basil Iskander under observation to ensure he didn’t transform into a Basilisk again, we’d lost our most regular visitor, but that didn’t mean people wouldn’t show up once we opened. My dad unlocked the doors and we let ourselves in. I settled down at the main counter, sighing loudly.

“What is it?” my dad asked.

“Today is going to be so boring,” I replied, “Compared to the last few days anyway.”

“No monsters? No kidnappings? No me turning to stone?” my dad laughed, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

“I guess,” I sighed again, “but I was just getting used to things being weird.”

“We should never get used to ghosts and monsters,” my dad said, “the paranormal is… well, not normal.”

“Yeah, we shouldn’t…” I sighed, picking up a book from the returns trolley as my dad headed off to heck the shelves for any mess. The book didn’t look very good, but I started to read it anyway.

“Hey there.”

I looked up to see Fran standing at the desk, looking worn out as if she’d run the whole way here.

“I got here as quick as I could,” she panted, leaning on the desk as she tried to catch her breath, “so, what’s the news?”

“No news,” I said, “just that we may have caught the kidnapper.”

“Brilliant!” Fran smiled weakly, “And did your parents find out where the kids are?”

“Not yet,” I told her, “but we think that when the curse completely coms to an end then, wherever they’re being kept will stop being magical and they’ll find their way home.”

Fran frowned, “I don’t like it,” she told me, “it seems too… too easy.”

“Too easy?” I laughed, “Have you forgotten how much work we had to go through to find Hamelin and Iskander? It was anything but easy.”

“You know what I mean,” Fran said, “it seems too neat. Everything all tied up in a nice neat bow. I don’t like neat. It’s too…”

“Messy?” I offered, noting the irony in my comment.

Fran did too, “Very funny,” she said, “it’s just I thought things were going to be a little more difficult than this.”

“Just be happy that everything turned out neatly and that it was so easy,” I said, “if things had have been any more difficult, I think I’d be pretty reluctant to help stop any more curse victims in the future.”

“Speaking of curse victims,” Fran said, “have you noticed if your powers have worn off yet?”

I shrugged, “I haven’t really noticed them, to be honest, but I haven’t had any call to use any of them.”

“Well, make an effort to,” Fran said, turning to leave, “I’d like to know if the effects last longer if you voluntarily pick up the book in its original form.”

“I’m sure I’ll do my best,” I said sarcastically, watching Fran go.


message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9054 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: incelbordination, Chapter 10
GENRE: College Fiction
WORD COUNT: 1,473
RATING: PG-13 for swearing



Oswald floated through the sunlit air as a familiar feminine voice whispered to him. “Come closer, my love. Come closer.” The little guy half-closed his eyes in anticipation of the seduction. The closer he floated towards this voice, the brighter the sunlight became. Whoever was sending these vibes had the radiance of an angel. And then Oswald could see a pair of plump red lips calling for him and making kissing noises to further tempt him. He puckered his own marijuana-scented lips and prepared for the love-making session he desperately desired.

And then the little guy opened his eyes and saw those red lips were hiding a serpentine tongue and elongated fangs dripping with poison. Oswald’s heart thumped in his chest and his eyes widened upon learning this face belonged to Antero Magnus, whose cyan eyes rolled so far back in his head that redness became horrifyingly apparent. “Give me a kiss, lover boy!” slithered Antero before taking a massive bite out of his former protégé’s skull. Oswald’s brains oozed out of the bite marks while his skull cracked in half, rendering him lifeless in an instant.

“Oswald, wake up!” shouted a more genuine female voice and the dwarf snapped awake while inhaling a raspy breath. Sitting up in his bed and soaked to the bone with sweat, he noticed he was back in his dorm room just like Nikita Johnson promised. Low and behold, there she was standing over his exhausted body with wetness in her eyes. “I’m glad you’re okay,” she said. “You looked like you were having a nightmare.”

The little person wiped the blurriness out of his eyes and said, “I did have a nightmare. A bunch of virgins in masks came and beat the shit out of everyone at school. Wait a minute. That was just a nightmare, right?”

“I’m afraid not, Oswald. Our college really was attacked. It’s all over the media. I was watching GNN on my phone.” The dwarf tried to crawl out of bed, but Nikita placed a hand in front of him to keep him from doing so. “Don’t, Oswald. You’re hurt. Just lay there for a few more minutes.”

Oswald face-palmed and whispered, “Goddamn you, Antero.”

“What did you just say?”

“Um…I, uh…oh, no…”

Nikita folded her arms and asked, “How do you know who Antero Magnus is?”

“How do YOU know him?”

Nikita sighed and sat down on the bed next to her rescuer’s feet. She rubbed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger before finally satisfying Oswald’s curiosity. “He’s in one of my classes. I’m double majoring in English and political science and apparently he’s majoring in political science too. Every single time he’d share one of his papers with the class…he…” She wiped a tear from her eye. “He just sounded so entitled. He felt like the world owed him sex. He was incredibly sexist on so many levels. I don’t think he’d even be happy if he found a relationship. He’d just continue the cycle of hatred. And the worst part about this is….my professor is too scared to challenge him because he thinks Antero will snap.”

“That definitely sounds like something he’d do,” said Oswald absentmindedly before backpedaling with a series of “um’s” and “uh’s”.

“Are you hiding something from me? How do you know Antero? Please be honest.” No answer. Just a nervous stare from the little guy. “Oswald, if you know something about Antero, you need to tell me. You heard those masked guys yelling things like Love Is Black and muttering shit about Chads and Stacys. If Antero really is behind all of that, you need to tell the police. That’s information they need.” Still no answer. “Oswald, what’s going on?!”

The dwarf sighed and plopped his head back on the pillow. “Antero tried to get me to join his group. He calls it Incelbordination or some shit like that.”

“You didn’t actually join them, did you?” asked Nikita with a shaky voice. “Oswald, if I find out you’re mixed up in this sexist crap, I’m going to…”

“I turned them down!” A long beat of uncomfortable silence hung between them. “I saw what those people are capable of. I’ve been to one of their chat rooms. The shit they talked about…it was disgusting. They joked about murdering and raping women. Although, it turned out not to be much of a joke, did it.”

“You need to go to the police and tell them everything you know.”

“…I’m sorry, Nikita, I can’t.”

“Why not?” Another beat of silence built a wall between them until Nikita’s eyes widened at something that appeared to be in Oswald’s coat, which he still wore in bed. She reached inside despite the dwarf swatting at her hands and pulled out several ready rolls. “Oh my god…this is why? You’re afraid the police are going to find these?”

Holding up his hands defensively, Oswald explained, “Look, I have a prescription for those, okay? I’ve got a severe case of depression and pot is the only thing that’s working.”

“Are you sure it’s working?” asked Nikita rhetorically. “Because I’ve heard your love stories in Valerie’s class. I’ve heard your poetry. Whatever’s wrong with you, these rolls aren’t doing the trick.”

“Sometimes they take a while to kick in!” snapped Oswald. “Then again, sometimes there isn’t a cure for what’s going on in real life!”

“If you’re not going to report Antero to the police, then I will. I’ll even put in a good word for you with the cops!”

“You can’t do that, Nikita! You can’t force your straightedge crap on the whole fucking world! It doesn’t work like that! I need that marijuana just to get me through the day unscathed! It’s not my fault everybody else wants to be a prick and fuck up my therapy!”

Nikita’s face transformed from desperate tears to passionate anger at the “straightedge crap” talking point. “Just so you know, I do have a dog in this fight when it comes to drugs and alcohol. My dad smoked all the weed he could find and on top of that drank every bottle of booze within a ten mile fucking radius. He did all of this when I was just a little girl. He’d come home from work smelling like he’d just bathed in raw sewage. And then late at night he went for a drive…” She wiped a way another tear and sniffled. “He never came home. Crashed into the river and drowned. I blame him for everything, but I blame the drugs he took even more.”

Oswald sighed and face-palmed once again. “I’m sorry for your loss, Nikita. Trust me, I know how that feels.”

“Then why are you smoking this shit to begin with?!” screamed Nikita, causing her target to pull the covers halfway over his face. “If you know how it feels, then why are you repeating this garbage?! This stuff isn’t curing you. It’s making you into a monster. You want proof? You’re worried that the cops are going to find this on you when you throw Antero under the bus. Well…I don’t have to worry about that because I’m not stupid enough to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”

“Nikita…please give those back to me.”

“Not a chance, Oswald. I’m not going to let you fuck over this entire school after what they went through!”

“Why, you little!” grunted the dwarf as he attempted to roll out of bed and onto his feet. Because of his injuries, all he could do was plop on his ass and pull a muscle in his lower back. He screamed and coughed while pounding the floor with his fist, ignoring the fact that there used to be glass in his knuckles.

“I’m sorry, Oswald…but you did this to yourself!” said Nikita before turning around and marching away.

“No, wait! Don’t go! You can’t turn me in for this! They’ll put me in prison forever! I don’t’ deserve that shit!” The sound of Nikita slamming the front door behind her prompted Oswald to scream even more curse words while pounding the floor with both fists this time as well as his heels. He didn’t get much offense into the floor due to his agonized lower back, but that didn’t stop him from trying.

Just like Nikita before him, Oswald found an excuse to shed tears, but his own sobbing was loud and obnoxious enough to awaken his couch potato roommate, who screamed, “Hey! Shut up in there!” Except Oswald didn’t shut up. He cursed and pounded the ground some more until he was ready for another trip to the subconscious theater.

“Don’t do this to me, Nikita,” he whispered as he was falling asleep again. “Please…don’t…do…this…”


message 4: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Aug 16, 2018 06:16PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Title: Awake
Author: CJ
Word Count: 1,427

The howling wind was the worst thing about the late night. Sounding like a screeching train, old Tom didn't know whether it was the third nor'easter there in his part of the east coast or if it was the end of the world!

Though Tom no longer cared much about his withered life he thought the one good thing about the cold is it woke him up before he froze to death. Nearly wracked with hypothermia every breath he could make was audible and he was shaking. Sure his face was red from the death of the low temperature he rubbed his cheeks.

Slowly Tom headed down the stairs, unsure what he was planning to do there but he figured it was good to move around. He couldn't believe that nature could muster something so bitterly as like an evil wrath. He wanted to curse this weather!

He wanted to turn on the tv when he was reminded again that the tube doesn't stop all programming at a certain time in the night like it used to. Yet Tom thought what took place of that was still bad.

News was about death and controversy, trying its hardest to awake evil thoughts like hate and overall negativity. Shows were about exploiting people whether it was the reality shows or anything about awful situations that if one thought about it long would not enjoy any of the "comedy" or "drama" it was trying to convey.

He stared at the blank set like it hypnotized him to his soul. Then he shut it off.

Tom thought he could not find anything in his life worth living for. Being away from others for about ten years had taken a terrible toll on him. When he thought he could just be on his own away from other people who just drag his thoughts downward he realized he did it himself too. It was the core of the person, the sinful side that caused it to be negative or to do things that would be unpleasant to a bystander (like some things he saw at "that place" that he left).

He sighed. Then he looked to the ceiling and imagined the power that chose who stayed and who would be taken from this earth. Part of him started to wish it was him that would be next.

Then a window shattered so loud he thought he was about to die! His immediate thought was "No!" but realized it was just something that happened in the room next to where he was. He thought of his family people who only never called because he purposely didn't tell them his phone number.

Or said to pretend he no longer exists.

Now he was caught in his own filth, the supposed oasis of being in his own world and it was catching up to him.

He then thought of his old church which he left ten years ago. He didn't leave it because they were teaching something wrong or that he didn't agree with what they were planning there. He just didn't like the pastor.

Because he wasn't the pastor that had passed away months before. He wanted THAT pastor. Change. It sickened him!

The worst part about leaving was he was told the door was always open no matter if it was an issue he needed to talk about or if he needed to resolve something with a fellow church member.

"As I've learned no church is perfect."

"Yeah. This one isn't. Not anymore anyway..."

"What do you mean?"

"Because 'you guys' started comin' to it."

Then Tom walked away.

He didn't want to see how the man reacted to such a thing. Heck he didn't even want to know anything as a small part of him was a little ashamed he let his old self take over him like that. But it was one of the things he struggled with.

He sat in the room. It was now silent. Being alone with his thoughts used to be a pleasant serene thing. Now he felt like he was on trial, going through a tough situation and toiling with what the outcome was going to be.

It was a trial of his heart.

He used to use this time to read to do so much. Oh how he missed that! His heart now yearned just to read a book any book at the moment.

A thought dawned on him that awoke a new fear.

Just what am I doing? I have no one, don't do anything but yet I don't even do anything on my own besides grump about everything?

He felt if he continued these thoughts he'd become a shell of bitterness and ungratefulness until he wasted away into a pile of angry matter.

He found a quilt nearby and sat upright holding it over his back until he was covered in it.

He kept that way.

As the wind began to howl again.


----


The next two days were calm. Peaceful. As if everything had died even the horrid tempest that had tried so hard to lay waste on the land.

Each time Tom woke up glad he was alive.

But it wasn't over. He got a call from Pastor Sean. He forgot he had left them his number so long ago.

"We were worried we lost you because we haven't heard from you. Even your friends had no idea whether you were okay."

Part of him wondered "then why did you wait two days to call me?" but he forgot that thought for the rest of his life when he found out why.

A couple of hours later he had a knock on his door. There was a small group of people, a lot of new faces, and pastor Sean who wanted to inform him why they were there.

"We're here to help fix your house. Landon here brought a vehicle that will help pull the tree that went through the back of your house. He's rented it for the day."

"Oh." He didn't know what to say. Then he worried he was going to be charged for it. "How much will it cost?"

With a big smile Pastor Sean said, "Don't worry about it."

As Tom heard the commotions of the machine and the workers of a small group of church people were getting the tree he stayed at the front door. He couldn't believe the love he was showed. Unearned. Graceful.

There was a small group of ladies singing songs and clapping nearby. It was beautiful.

It made him realize that as much as he complained he was one of the (one might say) "worst" people in the pews. He would spend all his time there complaining that things weren't the way he would expect, even things that he knew he himself could do but complained no one would do it.

And here were people doing what they said they would do. They were doers and not just talkers.

He thought that it reminded him of the church during Paul's time where people would devote all their time to one another, sometimes everyday (not just Sunday) and put all they had together to share amongst each other. This was like real love.

He couldn't shake the feeling awoken inside him dormant for many years. Gratefulness.

As slow as he walked he got around to the other side of the house.

Ashamed he should not go back to church because of the way he acted he told the pastor.

"You are fine. We forgive you. I promise that we won't treat you any different than we did when you first arrived."

" You mean when you first arrived..."

"That's true. I mean it that way. I'm sorry."

Tom shook his head, mad at his shoot-from-the-hip-feelings that sometimes arised. "Forgive me. I have to get over this... the things that happen with me."

"We all have things that make us fall short. God can change you no matter what you struggle with. You just have to trust someone outside yourself to do it."

With sorrowed eyes he took the words to heart, grew a smile and nodded. "Yes."

"And hopefully the trust comes to this someone that also lives in you."

"Yep."

---

Tom went on to be one of the most well-read teachers in the church. He learned to use his surroundings as gifts as he had the most time to read than anyone in most of the church. Oh yeah... he also now did things instead of just being an angry old coot. :P


message 5: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Aug 16, 2018 09:56AM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Thought I could kill two birds with one stone (get a story out AND set up polls/contest) but I have to get ready for work. Will put them up hopefully right after I get back.

Please if anyone has any suggestions for the new contest before it gets set up LET US KNOW here in the comments.


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