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WCT - The Writing Competition Thread [September Round]

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http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1235418

Pieces of Pisces

She said that, underwater, the waves sound like my heartbeat. We were heading past each other when we started circling. I'd let fate subdue me and float freely, but she's eager to move upstream. This is what will break our departure, end our detour.

Our clothes dried on the ground as we dried on a blanket and the stream crept over the edge of the desk and pooled on the floor. Books were being packed up and commotions arose from their seats. Mei moved into the hall and I took a minute to get over the transition.

In another room, the light flicked on and I blinked back to the waterside. Mei had her feet in the water and said something about the New Year. I said she wasn't really Chinese and she got mad. She looked at me for a second and said "You're pathetic, you know that?" before slipping below the water. She disappeared for a while, and I went under to find her. Bells started ringing and I came up for air. Fire drill.

Our single file herd convened outside and I couldn't find my way back to the stream. The lines started stopping before I finished walking and I bumped into the person ahead of me. I shook out of my daze as I apologized and she said "Oh, it's okay. Hi, I'm Mei." I tried not to look like a deer or a fish in a metaphor as I stumbled out a meek "I know".

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Good job, everyone, for getting your stories out on time (Come on G_D!). All the ones I've read so far are really well written. I swear I could do better on mine if I didn't always have school looming over me.

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The Giants

A man approached the large vending stand. He was tall and thinning in more ways than one so that the light of the distant sun, barely poking through the masses of muddy, swirling clouds above, sparkled on the top of his bald head. He couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred and fifty pounds, but the way his body moved when he spoke was like a man of far greater size.

“How’s business?” he said.

Another man leaned forward across the front of the stand. He wasn’t quite as tall as the visitor, but his hair was slick, with rigid shape, and more importantly on his head, and he smiled a smile similar to the one that would make any girl clad with a proper skirt in any ‘50s movie dip and swoon.

“Usual,” he said.

The stand as a whole was fairly sturdy, the product of a fine session of woodwork, but the ground it stood on didn’t seem sure whether it wanted to stay in one place or not. This was probably because it consisted of all the gas that just didn’t have the courage to rise and take a glance at the sun, preferring to live in the dark, cold comfort beneath the brave gases. Restless as the chickens were, the stand still stood.

The visitor sighed and glanced up at the large sign hovering over the front of the stand. There, in large white paint, were the words, “Frozen Yogurt,” and the outline of a well-topped cone rested to its right.

“I don’t know why you came out here,” he said. “I warned you that I’d be your only customer.”

The man at the stand wobbled for a second as the chicken gas beneath his feet reared its courage in one shining moment before having the good sense to settle down.

“I really thought you was exaggerating, Bob,” he said, “after all the tabloid stories about them.”

They never come out of the Great Red Spot—ever,” Bob said in the low whisper of a parent trying to carry a discussion with his or her spouse about their child while the child is glued to a television screen in the next room. “Not even when it moves.”

“Yeah, I know now,” the man at the stand whispered back like a spouse. Then, with a tentative glance around him, he bent down and resurfaced with an empty cone and a metal scooper. “What can I do you for?” he said, about as cheery in manner as the gas mounds beneath him were in ambition.

A soft wind blew across the gas mounds, stirring them up and even pressuring a few bodies of the stuff to work up the gusto to rise, as the man at the stand plunged the scooper into a large bin full of a greenish cream without waiting for an answer and pushed it into the cone like the proverbial parents would proceed to force their child into a doctor’s office for a short. He made two more scoops from different bins of frozen yogurt and handed the cone to Bob.

“Usual,” Bob said with a smirk.

The wind faded and Bob looked up at what he could see of the sky through the muddy swirls of courageous gas while licking away at the scoops.

“I got tired of the music scene back home,” the stand man said. “All show and no work, you see? I figure, go out and do something, really earn something—for myself—and then go back and try again.”

“Mmmhmm,” Bob hummed while he licked the top scoop clean.

“But, you know, I spent so long going wild every day, I couldn’t just slip off and pick up washing dishes at a diner.” He reached down behind the stand and pulled out a mirror, holding it up so that he could check his hair and give it a quick slick back into shape. He clicked his tongue before setting the mirror down and continuing in the voice that would go along with that ‘50s movie smile, “So I said to myself, I know a guy out in Jupiter. I’m-a gonna go and-a make myself a stand.” Right around this last phrase the voice gave way to a sort of singsong falsetto and he trailed off into a series of ba da dums and la di das.

“Sure thing,” Bob said, halfway through the second scoop. “But it didn’t work out.”

“Nope.”

Bob licked his way through the rest of the second scoop until the stand man sighed and interrupted the whole serious business of eating frozen yogurt again.

“Bob, what about them?”

Bob stopped cold in mid-lick and a look crept across his face that must have been either brain freeze or sheer terror. It may have been both, because he rubbed his forehead before answering in a trembling voice.

“I got caught in the Spot once. Couldn’t move fast enough and didn’t know better. They are giant, I tell you. Fifty, sixty feet, and I think those were just the kids. Hairy—can’t even tell what their skin is like. The only thing I could make out were the eyes. Bug eyes, horrible things.” Bob shuddered. “But they sure did leave me well enough alone until the storm passed over and them with it.”

The color in Bob’s face rose back up like a tiny mound of gas barely a couple of inches to his right rose up and went off to see the sun. Bob went back to licking the last scoop, but this time more gradually, taking a deep breath after every long slurp of the now-runny cream. Both of the men’s eyes drifted upward to take in what little of the sky they could make out.

“Titan’s sure in full bloom tonight,” Bob said after one slurp-breath.

“Yep. Io’s looking nice and pretty, too,” the stand man mused.

“Oh, so it is.”

“Bob, I’m going to see them.”

Bob licked half-heartedly.

“And I ain’t coming out until I sell a cone.”

The man buzzed around the stand, picking up the scooper and the mirror and shoveling a couple scoops out of several different bins into several different smaller bins with lids, and began wrapping it all up in a small sackcloth. Bob slurped up the last runny bit of the yogurt and took a bite out of the cone with a resounding crunch.

“I tell you, Elvis, Jupiter’s a boring scene,” he said.

“Yeah,” Elvis Presley said, flashing the shadow of a smile at Bob, “but no one else need know.” He tied off the sackcloth bundle and swung it over his shoulder. “And if I got anything to say about it, no one will.”

Bob stuffed the rest of the cone into his mouth and munched on it like a man sitting hunched over might rest his chin on his fist and his elbow on his jutting knee, while Elvis Presley marched off across the gas mounds. Bob swallowed just as the sleek shape of hair disappeared.

“There goes a giant,” Bob said. “A real Titan.”

__________________

Hooray for unpolished work written on a whim. Back to essay-writing now.

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Wow, the number of entries jumped right at the end... looks like the competition is going to be quite stiff this time around. It's my first entry into a competition, too. Just my luck. :-P

Speaking of my entry... I'm essentially finished with it. A little tweaking left to be done, but other than that, it's ready for submission.

... Except I can't figure out what to call it. Naming my works is always the hardest part of writing. for me. :banghead: It certainly doesn't help when the work in question doesn't really present itself with a theme for a title...

Oh well. I'll sleep on it, see what I come up with. I'll upload it sometime tomorrow and submit it.

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Short Story Entry

Island of Eden

The title is a half-misnomer, I think, but I couldn't come up with anything better... oh well.

I'm not 100% happy with how this came out, but that is mainly because I still lack writing skills that would have come in handy for a work such as this. My artistic style hasn't been properly developed yet, so it may seem a bit bland for what I was trying to do... but considering this is the first short story I've ever written to completion, I won't be too hard on myself. :-P

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I will be submitting my short story tonight. I haven't read any of the entries yet, but I'm happy to see so many! I'm also going to update the first four posts now.

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Peace

I would've liked another read through, and a more creative title, but it's storming so I have to shut down my PC.

Peace

Copyright 2007 by Joel Mills

Harek’s left hand shook as it held the bronze doorknob, prepared to turn it and face the necessities of the moment. This thick wooden door was the only barrier between him and the harsh realities of the battle raging just outside. In his right hand was a short sword given to him by his father when he was young; it seemed like ages since that day.

“Don’t go! We could escape, go further south – go anywhere! Please, you don’t need to do this.”

Through the heavy oak door came the muffled sounds of fighting: commanders calling to their troops; the sharp clang of metal on metal as swords met; cries of pain and anger from men of honor who shed blood for those they loved. Harek turned and looked into Reeve’s blue eyes, caught in the sudden stillness that came in the moment of decision. She looked so beautiful to him now, standing there begging for his life. Her brown hair fell gently across her shoulders, and her face seemed framed by its own luminescence. He wished he could stay frozen in time for all eternity, but a sense of duty called more strongly than his desire.

Clenching the sword in his right hand a little tighter, Harek answered softly, but with force: “No. We have ignored this too long, hiding out hoping the war would never reach us. It is time to stop running.” Reeve looked at him with despair, knowing he meant what he said. “Go to the cellar and lock the door. Don’t come out for anyone but me.”

Warm tears welled up in Reeve’s eyes, soon cascading down the sides of her face. “Come back to me, Harek. I…need you.” She ran to him and threw her arms around him, sobbing into his maille-covered chest.

“I will return,” he assured her, returning the embrace, “and when I do, I will bring peace.” He gently lifted her face in his hands, forcing her to look into his eyes. “This war has taken our home, our families, and our freedom. But it can never take our love. I will return. Now, go!”

As Reeve ran to the cellar and bolted the door, Harek clenched his teeth and braced himself for what lay outside the protective door. As he turned the knob and thrust himself into the broiling battle, he vowed to himself that, somehow, he would return to his wife, and when he did, there would be peace.

- - -

For ten months the war raged on throughout the countryside. Villages were laid waste by fire and sword; the oppressed cried out in agony as those who fought for them raised glorious battle calls. The rivers ran red with the blood of innocents and killers alike, and the skies were filled with a strange mix of anger and grief.

Finally, one bright spring morning, the air was still and quiet. The fronds of the willow by Greilor Pond wisped gently in the breeze as three young children hunted for frogs by the water’s edge.

Reeve stood with an infant in her arms, and quietly addressed the air: “My Harek has returned, and as he promised, there is peace.” She laid a flower on the small mound by her feet, and held the infant closer. He wiggled a little in her arms, looking up at her wide-eyed and curious.

She spoke again, softer, and this time to her son. “You have your father’s eyes, Harek, and his smile. When you are older there will be many adventurous stories to tell.” She allowed her lips to curl up slightly, winking away her tears as she sang a sweet lullaby:

Life will take you where it will

Hard times will come your way

When you find yourself astray

I will be here still

Look at me, my precious son

And know a mother’s love

Though the rain-clouds drift above

We will carry on

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Congratulations on your entries, everyone! The submission stage is now officially over. You will have two weeks from yesterday to read through all the entries (listed concisely on the first page), and cast your vote for winner and runner-up. Please PM your votes to me, and refrain from posting comments on entries until the voting stage is over.

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There's less hard feelings when people don't know who voted for who. Anonymity also keeps people from changing their votes dependant on others' votes.

There probably wouldn't be much of those things here anyway, but better safe than sorry.

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I am waiting on one person, and I still have to vote. It's been a really busy weekend, so I haven't had a chance yet. Hopefully I'll be able to vote tonight or Wednesday.

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G_D, where's our results? We want results! GIVE US RESULTS!!! :-P

Do lightsabres actually ignite? I didn't think there was any flame going on...

Ha... It's just a term. Other people use other terms. Activate is also a common one. I think "ignite" become a common one because the lightsaber often burns/melts anything that comes in contect with it, similar to what one might attribute to a flame. Plus, you know, the "fires of justice" and all that...

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Sorry guys. I've been really busy; this was my first week back at school. I will get the results up as soon as possible.

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