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WCT - The Writing Competition Thread [Short Story Results]


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I tried that before. I got zero votes. :<

If you do something just because you want votes, then you might as well give out hookers and blow. Write because you want to, not because you want to win. If it happens it happens. If you don't, you don't. Otherwise you probably won't actually be happy with what you've got, even if it wins you awards.

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Um... yeah. I guess I am! I mean, I have to write a short story for my Creative Writing class anyway (which is due tomorrow...). May as well try to make it good enough to submit here. :-)

EDIT: Nevermind, I can't read. I guess it got changed sometime today, because it definitely said "Results" in the thread title this morning...

it was. imagery ask me to change the title. ;-)

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I noticed it sometime last week (or was it the week before...?), but I kinda figured you had it covered... Guess I should've paid more attention and spoken up a little sooner, eh? Maybe it's why there hasn't been a whole bunch of activity right now... Hopefully it is, cuz if so, we should get some more people in here soon!

I can hope, can't I?

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I suppose if you submit an excerpt, only the excerpt would be voted upon. Heh, this reminds me of when I was writing my short story Less Than Human: the plot was originally meant to be much longer and focused on the scientist and his subject. When I trimmed it down to only the first act, it sorta became a romantic comedy about the subject and his eventual girlfriend. :lol:

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Hey guys, I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to write for this one. My hours have jumped through the roof, and whilst in mid-air, have grabbed a jet pack and have continued their ascent towards the stratosphere. (I work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. I work for Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign in a crucial swing state...so I don't sleep much.)

So, to recap, I can't write for this one. I'll jump back in the pool post November 4th, but for right now I don't even have enough time to sleep, much less write. Good luck fellas.

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Darklink42: You can submit whatever you like, but as just64helpin said, the submission will stand alone when we vote, so you should probably be sure your excerpt works by itself.

Washington Maverick: Sorry to hear about your lack of sleep and such, but at least it's for a good cause, right?

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It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. You never realize the kinds of turns life can take in just one night. That is at least, until the next morning. Then you’ve got your whole life to reflect on that one moment. What you could have done, what you did. Whether you were right or wrong. And in the end, when you come back to reality, you’re still sitting in the same chair, with the same bottle of ill-gotten booze, the taste of a long dead cigarette in your mouth.

Things seemed so simple. There was the place. We were going to be there, just to talk. No friends, no cops, just us. To talk. Being me, I had scoped the place out, figured it was better to be safe than sorry. After all, I’ve never trusted anyone to hold up their end of the bargain except myself. And even then I’ve made exceptions. But this was different. There had to be trust. Without trust, there was no hope of getting what I wanted. But for now, starting slow, just talk.

So I sat. And I waited. I showed up ten minutes late. No wait, she wanted me there, so I showed up early. But early end up turning into late. So I kept sitting, thinking about how we’d gotten here in the first place. All these stupid questions that I knew I’d never ask. Knew they would not be answered. And I hadn’t even looked at my watch, until half an hour had gone by. And still not a trace.

I got up to leave, figuring it to be a lost cause. She showed up, and I was surprised. It doesn’t happen very often, and it felt so new to me. And in that newness it seemed as though anything were possible. Everything serene, even calm. But then that expression came. That one that I’ve seen so many times before. Cold, collected, smug. A winning hand on the last card drop.

So we talked. Pleasantries. How are you? The weather is nice. Did you hear about so and so? And then silence…I could hear my heartbeat in it. Our eyes met and I saw in them all the things I’d come to love and hate. I understood it then, in a flash before my eyes. And when the silence was broken, it all sounded so much louder than I had heard it sound before. Just talking…but it was already too late. It felt like she had put a hole through me. All I could think about was why the feeling was so much more painful than I remembered it being before. I guess the blood on my shirt was what told me that maybe having your heart broken by a woman can be a literal experience too.

Like I said, you have your whole life to think about that one moment. But life is a moment in itself, and sometimes it’s all we’ve got.

Here's mine, I hope it's not too short. I wanted to do the whole story, but it's going to be too long for the competition anyways. And in case it's too hard to figure out (I was being purposefully vague) he got shot by the woman. That's why he's dazed and a little hard to follow.

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A short story of mine, only 1579 words, shouldn't be too hard to read. Kind asomething I started awhile back, I might write more on the subject. These two are the main characters I intend to tell the tale of.

The Night's Apprentice

“Do you have the holy water?”

“Yes, Master, right here in this basin.”

“Just be sure to keep it covered; it ceases to be pure the moment even a speck of dust lands on it beyond church walls. I’m having enough trouble with this goat.” The man with the torch tugs on the rope bound to the neck of their reluctant captor. “You’re lucky I decided to make you my apprentice, Quelinar, and even more so to have made it this far. Only a handful of my other students were competent enough to reach the final stage in my training, but no one has lived through it.”

Quelinar looks down through the glass cover into the water as he approaches the torch’s light held by his ancient mentor. In the basin lies the head of a man, youthful but wizened. Clean shaven, the head represents beauty, the face a portrait painted for royalty; its stunning blue eyes accented by the surrounding glowing skin. Hair darker then the blackest night flowed down to his shoulders, for the basin reflected his own image, even the glimmer in his eye, the sparkle that sent women fleeing in horror if they looked. “I know, Opterion. It’s an honor to have been your student for so long. I have confidence in my abilities, and I expect to survive where others have not.”

The master and his apprentice hasten into the blackened wood as Opterion extinguishes the flame in the dirt. They follow the path etched by previous travelers, now deserted in the dead of night. The cloaked pair continued on, silent as the surroundings, for the creatures foresaw the terrible task soon to be performed by the shadowy wraiths. Only the mottled old goat dared pierce the silence, bellowing out to the hidden creatures, bleating for an escape from its fate.

They enter a clearing, the master, student, and pet, and they pause to study the moon and stars. Opterion smiles, as sinisterly as the escaped thief, and whispers, “Good, we have enough time. We must reach our destination before midnight.”

“Why bother waiting until midnight, Opterion?” inquires the impatient Quelinar. “What does it matter where the moon is in the sky, so long as it’s full?”

“The moon’s light only reaches both worlds at midnight. If we are not prepared, we will have to wait another month before we can try again. I don’t think this pathetic creature could last another night, though.” The goat bleats, as if in defiance to the pessimistic comments. “We’re not far off, but this goat is a nuisance, we’ll wait for it to stop that absurd ruckus.”

Seated in the white light of the full moon, Quelinar recalls his past life, of how he came to be in his esteemed roll as the mighty Opterion’s apprentice. Memories resurface and show him how he found Opterion roaming the evening castle roads, an old man with promises to repay a hundred fold the person who gives him room for the night. As a person to enforce promises, Quelinar accepted the bargain, knowing the man may have just given up his life. Grateful for the small bedroom given to him, the old fool introduced himself. “I am Opterion, master in the ways of dark arts and rituals.”

“Dark arts?” Quelinar laughed, his voice turning cruel. “There’s no possible way. Do you really expect me to believe that you, an old man possessing nothing but the clothes on your back, have mastered the most dangerous ways of magic? I should throw you out now and be done with you.” He strode to the door and opened it. “Go back to the streets, old man.”

“You have allowed yourself a blessing. Don’t throw it away because I’m old,” Opterion scolded, and snapped his fingers. He reopened his hand to reveal a ball, so black it absorbed the surrounding light. “I am old,” he whispered, matching the sinister tone Quelinar used on him, “and I need an apprentice to teach. You have always lacked something, have you not?” He stood now, and walked to the door, the shadowy ball still in hand. “I saw it in your eyes.” With this he stepped outside.

“Wait!” exclaimed Quelinar as he rushed to meet the dark wizard. “You have proven your knowledge; please allow me to learn your ways.” Opterion continued to walk into the distance. “Please! I was wrong to have disbelief, I should have known better! I’ll do anything; just let me learn the dark arts!”

“Then follow me, and you will learn to control powers beyond imagination.” Suddenly he flung the ball of shadow at a bush, and the bush erupted into black flame until the ground was as empty as the road they were on.

Quelinar returns to the present with a smug look on his face. He had absorbed all of the knowledge that Opterion could teach him, all but this final step. In his moment in the past, Opterion gave up on waiting on the goat and silenced it with a curse. “Wake up, Quelinar, we need to keep moving.” He sits up and to glides slowly to the edge of the clearing, goat following wordlessly. Quelinar trails behind; the basin of holy water is still intact, still covered.

They come to a hidden church, old and empty, but still kept clean and well-used. The stone walls of the holy sanctuary remain moldy, but the door is new, and the candles along the border within have long wicks, already prepared for the return of Master and Apprentice. They leave the goat tied outside, to the wooden stake recently pounded into the ground. Opterion and Quelinar, ignoring the musty smell of the stones as green as the grass on the ground, begin lighting the candles with small bursts of flame emitted from their fingertips. Once the room is immersed in light, the pair brings the goat into the church, and Opterion pulls the dagger for the ritual out of his cloak. “This dagger is important,” he remarks as he watches it gleam in the light. “It’s both the sacrificial weapon and the tool to mark the circle of summoning into the ground. Bring me the holy water.”

Quelinar brings him the holy water, and Opterion ignites the basin in shadowed flames. The holy water glows brightly, and Opterion nods in satisfaction. “Good, this is your protection; you wouldn’t want to lose it, would you? Now then, we must move quickly. Watch what I do and never forget.”

He thrusts the dagger deep into the goat. The ritual begins. The goat, still silenced, crumbles to the ground, unable to withstand the pain. Opterion takes the bloody dagger and etches part of the circle of summoning into the dirt. He repeats this once, twice, three times, each adding more of the smell of the goat’s blood to the mildew, making it nearly impossible to breathe. Though mutilated to within an inch of life, the goat still breathes heavily, refusing to die just yet. With a completed circle before him, Opterion grabs a candle and ignites the blood. “Do you remember the incantations to summon and control the Felhunter, Quelinar?” He asks as he pours the holy water in a circle around the outer ring and places the goat in the center.

“Yes, Master. Should I recite them yet?” Shining through a hole in the top of the church, the eerie glow of the moonlight pours into the room moments after Quelinar inquires.

“The moon is above! See how the moonlight is aimed directly at the circle! Begin the summoning incantation!” He plunges the dagger into the heart of the goat, ending its torment, as Quelinar begins to summon the Felhunter, the demon they have come to ensnare and command. The circle of fire turns black, and the holy light shines in defense, enclosing the rising smoke from the opening portal, the void created between the two worlds, human and demon. But something isn’t right. A sliver of black escapes the holy aegis, a spot untouched by holy water. Opterion sees the danger and cries, “Quelinar, stop the incantation!”

Quelinar doesn’t care. He continues the chant, the notorious glow in his eyes, bringing forth the Felhunter into the world, knowing the monstrous creature would escape. The shadows take form, and as the moon passes by, the massive blood-red Felhunter shatters the barrier, freeing itself of the cramped space. As large as an ox, spines arched along its back, the hound-like creature stares at Quelinar. As the Felhunter approaches the chanting figure before him, it senses a stronger presence, a bigger threat. Opterion assaults it with a hail of fireballs, but the mighty Felhunter shrugs off the pinpricks from its hide and pounces on Opterion, ripping out his chest with its shark-like rows of sharp teeth. It turns to Quelinar and growls, but it cannot attack its master, for Quelinar had finished the incantation earlier. He could have stopped the Felhunter before it annihilated Opterion, but why bother? He would have killed the old puppet anyway; his "master" was of no further use.

The full-fledged warlock stares at the Felhunter’s eyes and recognizes something. There’s a familiar glint in those soulless eyes, a lust for something, and he smiles. The fool was right, he had been missing something. Now the new menace has what he wanted, but now both man and demon need more.

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The Golden Zither, by Ubernym

The palace garden was quiet in the noon sun, and Ying Gangsheng frowned.

“My garden is a puzzle,” he said. “It grieves me.”

Han Wa was silent. This was his talent: to speak only when addressed, and to be cunning for his master. He kept his head bowed, looked at the garden. The ground was yellow dirt and yellow grasses. The trees, though he could only see their trunks from this angle, were dusty and dry. Old bones of the earth.

“What can be done about my garden, Han Wa?”

Han Wa lifted his head a little. “It is said, my lord, that there is a great wizard who travels the land. He possesses a magical instrument. I have heard that he plays upon this instrument to make the fields grow for the poor.” Han Wa bowed his head again.

“Superstition is for peasants,” said Ying Gangsheng, “and I am the emperor.” He walked to a tree, dry and fat with knots. He placed his hand on the trunk and closed his eyes, breathing deep and slow. He looked to Han Wa like a monk trying to channel the tree’s spirit. But the emperor’s eyes were hungrier than a monk’s, and Han Wa saw no peace in them.

The emperor turned to Han Wa and said: “What will the people think if I seek a wizard with a magical instrument?”

Han Wa knew Ying Gangsheng’s true meaning. “I will be discreet, my lord.”


Years passed. Emperor Ying Gangsheng made conquests and killed many sons. His coffers grew fat and the borders on his maps expanded. Still his garden remained fallow, and still the wizard was not found.

In the first year, Han Wa had sent three of the emperor’s best scouts to find the wizard. Only one returned. His eyes were full of sadness. In second year, Han Wa had sent nine of the emperor’s finest scouts. Three returned. Their eyes were also full of sadness.

In the third year, Ying Gangsheng said this to Han Wa: “Perhaps this wizard does not exist.” Han Wa again knew the true meaning behind the emperor’s words. Failure was unacceptable. He had only one choice.

“I will go and find this wizard” said Han Wa, “and I will not return until I have found him.” He left that night.


Han Wa left and he was gone for a year. The emperor killed more sons, though he made fewer conquests. He eventually believed that Han Wa was too ashamed to return. He thought about burning his barren garden to the ground.


One evening an old man approached the palace grounds. He was very old. He walked slow and his back stooped a little because he leaned on a stick. His face carried the wrinkles and lines of great age. He looked like a very old tree, knotted and gnarled and creaking.

Strapped across his back in a weathered case was the form of a zither.

“Hold!” a palace guard barked at the old man as he approached the gate. It was hard to tell if the old man had actually stopped, he moved so slow. The guard hefted his pike and stomped the ground. He said: “What do you want old man?”

The old man’s eyes were beady pearls, glittering darkly under the millennial folds of his brow. He nodded and opened his palm in some lost gesture of peace unfathomable to the guard.

“My name is Su Tan,” he said. “I am only a poor musician. I have come to play for the emperor.” He brought the case round from his back and opened it a little. The soldier caught his breath a little as he saw a a glint of gold and strings.

The soldier regained his composure, remembering his duty. He relaxed his grip on the pike, and nodded, “The emperor expects you. Follow me.”

At this time of day the emperor was in his dining hall, eating his evening meal. The table was spread with every kind of food in the kingdom, enough to feed a hundred men. The emperor ate alone.

He did not look up from his meal, but he knew who the old man was. “You are the wizard my advisor told me about.,” he said. Su Tan only gazed at the emperor as he ate. After a long pause, the emperor Ying Gangsheng spit out a bone and slammed his fist on the table. “I am your emperor! I have addressed you and demand an answer!”

“My name is Su Tan,” he said. “I am only a humble musician, and I have come to play music in your garden.”

“Then I will take you to my garden now.” Ying Gangsheng’s temper eased as he rose from the table. Two guards appeared from the shadows and flanked the old man as they walked to the garden.

They entered the garden and the emperor dismissed the guards. “I have nothing to fear from an old man with a zither,” he said. “He probably isn’t even a wizard!” Emperor Ying Gangsheng scoffed. Su Tan smiled a little, his dark eyes twinkling.

“Well get on with it, old man!” said emperor Ying Gangsheng, growing impatient. “I have waited too many years for this moment.”

The old wizard Su Tan said nothing. He moved to the center of the dead garden and sat down in lotus form. He took his zither out of the old sack. Its gold body burned deep in the light of the setting sun. He laid it across his lap and for a moment the silence in the air was like a thousand sleeping monsoons. Even the emperor was still.

The first finger plucked the first string. A note sang out soft and low. It resonated in the walls and the trunks of the dead trees. The string vibrated and the emperor thought he saw golden dust bouncing off of the quivering string, like pollen from a flower.

Another note was struck, followed by another, and another. The air changed. Su Tan played a haunting melody that twisted and grew with each passing note. And as each note sprung from the golden zither, the garden began to grow.

First the grass shook, then leaves sprouted on the trees. Flowers erupted from bare patches of dirt and vines snaked across the walls. The tree trunks writhed as their bark changed from dusty grays to deep browns sticky with sap. The whole garden was alive. It was beautiful and terrible and miraculous.

The song ended and Su Tan sat in peace, eyes closed. A vine had begun growing across his feet.

Emperor Ying Gangsheng was awe-struck. His garden had never been so beautiful. Its beauty reminded him of a blackness in his own heart which he had never been able to satisfy. Now, for the first time, he began to feel the blackness receding, and he wanted more. He wanted to quench the blackness in his heart for good.

Ying Gangsheng eyed the golden zither. “Old man,” he said, “it is clear to me that you are no great wizard, but your golden zither holds all the magic. No peasant like you could have obtained such an instrument but by theft. No doubt this belongs to more worthy hands. You will give it to me.”

Su Tan’s eyes darkened. He set his grip on the zither and said to the emperor: “It is not for you. You are the least worthy of all men to play this instrument, and I will not give it to you.” Su Tan stood and began packing the zither back into the sack.

Ying Gangsheng was outraged. “You dare insult the emperor!” He advanced and drew his sword. Su Tan ignored him. “If you will not give me the zither, then I will take it from you!”

With two deft strokes the emperor cut the old man down to the earth. Su Tan lay in a heap at Ying Gangsheng’s feet. Some of the old man’s blood had sprayed across the emperor’s robes, etching deep stains into the fabric.

The golden zither had been cast aside, and lay nestled in the new underbrush. It gleamed in the twilight. Emperor Ying Gangsheng grabbed the instrument and clutched it close to his breast, feeling its warmth, thirsting after its power.

He sat in the grass and laid the zither across his bloodied lap. Ying Gangsheng was not as masterful as Su Tan, but as emperor he was musically trained and new the instrument’s workings. He plucked a string, felt it vibrate and spread across the garden.

He began to play a simple melody he remembered from his youth. It was not as beautiful as the old man’s melody, but the effect was unmistakable. The garden grew and grew and grew with each note, flowers springing, tendrils curling and trunks expanding.

The emperor was enthralled.

He was so entranced with the power flowing from the golden zither and the endless growing of the garden that he did not at first notice the change it had wrought upon him. Just as the zither sang and the garden sprang forth with new life, Ying Gangsheng’s body began to shift.

He felt his skin drying, tightening, and then slackening, as if he was being stretched and pulled like soft wax. His movements began to slow, became more deliberate and more fluid. His vision dimmed. He felt colder.

Still he played on.


Late that night, Han Wa returned from his journey. He knew he had failed. He was ashamed, and thought he might kill himself. But Han Wa was honorable, and did not seek to escape the wrath of his master. He knew he must make a full account to the emperor.

He approached the gate. Han Wa declared himself and was allowed to pass. He enquired where he might find the emperor, and the guard said, “The emperor is in his garden with a man who plays a golden zither.”

Han Wa’s eyes widened and he rushed to the garden. If the guard’s report was true, he might be spared. As he neared the garden walls, a faint melody filled his ears. It was a simple child’s melody, but it was filled with power and mystery. Surely this must be the great wizard, he thought.

The garden was dark, lit only by the stars and moon. It was full of greens and blues and purples and the verdant shade of night. It quivered with life. Han Wa was sure this was the fabled player.

A dark figure sat in the center of the garden, crouched over a golden zither. Beside the player lay a lifeless heap. Fear struck Han Wa’s heart. He approached the player. To his horror, he saw an old man, ruined and wrinkled beyond recognition, with milky eyes and gray whiskers.

Han Wa saw that the old man was wearing the emperor’s robes, and the robes were stained with blood. He rushed to the old man and shook him. “What have you done!” he cried. The old man looked up, startled, as if he had been under a spell.

The music stopped, and the garden was silent. The old man tried to speak but only croaked. Han Wa pushed the old man aside and moved to inspect the lifeless heap. It was only a pile of peasant’s robes. “What have you done with the emperor’s body!” Han Wa shouted at the old man. The old man tried to speak again, smacking his lips like a fish out of water.


The old man had killed the emperor, this much was clear. Though they never found the body, the old man was executed for treason in front of the imperial palace. The emperor was dead, but the garden continued to grow as all gardens do.

The emperor had left no heir, and the brothers of the sons that had been slain by the emperor Ying Gangsheng fought for the right to the throne. The country dissolved into warring states and the imperial palace was abandoned. It fell into disrepair.

The garden grew. One day it overtook the final wall of the palace.


Many years later, as a peasant wandered through an ancient forest in search of firewood, he spotted a shining thing beneath a fallen tree. He knelt at the fallen tree and pulled at the object.

It sparkled and burned bright through the green-dappled sunlight. He plucked the only remaining string. It was a quiet note, but the peasant almost thought he could hear the ancient forest reverberate that golden tone all the way to the heavens.

He hid the zither back beneath the tree and never told a living soul.

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I'm sure I'll end up tweaking it a bit before the deadline, but there's still a chance that I'll forget to post this then. BTW I decided to follow ubernym's recommendation by avoiding my "old ideas". :wink:

Classified Glow

Every Thursday night it glided over the hills, meeting the concrete and passing through the southern gate. As it caressed the surrounding darkness, the thing flitted past the closed shops and dim traffic lamps to meet its new subject. The entity managed to elude all manner of recording devices, cameras and the like; the only visual aid in identifying it had been culled from vague descriptions by the town’s citizens. It had been hastily labeled as an “unidentified light”, but over time it would be known as something quite more.

The victims claimed to have seen it shortly before undergoing something of an out-of-body experience. They saw the light and then they somehow “left” their bodies, only to “return” as if nothing ever happened. The entity would be long gone at that point, leaving not a trace behind. Another strange unifier of the instances had been an overwhelming desire from the victims to meet—or at least see—the thing again. When asked to elaborate on this feeling, they could not.

The mayor insisted that the phenomenon was nothing more than a hallucination caused by a leaky chemical drainage pipe. This would neatly explain why the victims’ positions at each occurrence formed a perfect geographical line cutting straight through the town. It would not however explain why all the different happenings were nearly identical in description. Errant fumes couldn’t possibly induce specific images each time. There was also the matter of the mayor refusing to acknowledge the situation to adjacent districts. Why was it being kept under wraps from our neighbors?

The town had enlisted a team of watch guards who would be placed at strategic points. They comprised of ordinary denizens: gardeners, grocery store owners, what have you. I had been assigned at the eastern end, a highly probable point for the light to appear. We were situated at the first intersection, right where the shops greeted tourists travelling during a busy day. All of us formed the welcoming committee, we would say. After a few hours, the buildings had shut down for the night and the floodlights activated. Someone from the group suggested that the thing would only show up in complete darkness, but precautions had to be in place. As I eventually found out, our illumination mattered not at all.

It was my turn for a bathroom break, and I entered with much trepidation. The previous victims had all been alone. After flipping on the switch, the fluorescent lamp flickered on and I exhaled. I eventually noticed that the mirror created a rather flattering exaggeration of my frame. My chin had become square, my shoulders broad. The fuzzy patch of dust on my face formed a perfect goatee. I had shed a few pounds, which suited me well. At the scalp, my widow’s peak had leveled out. If only reality could be this pleasing.

I looked down at the reflection of my palms, which were a sickly white. I assumed it had been the distorted mirror, but my actual hands seemed pale as well. A grin met my face when I realized it was the room’s lamp causing an illusion. It grew brighter still however, unnervingly so. I grabbed the door handle only to find out that I had been locked in. What—

…and then the light overtook me. It was the entity. The room blanched out and my senses slipped away. I couldn’t even scream. Then there came a sensation that would be impossible to articulate adequately through words. I was myself, but I was also several other people. Years of their pasts galvanized into my awareness. Their life experiences were mine. I could feel them; they were me; it was incredible.

Peering toward the ground, I saw myself lying unconscious. I would of course live, as the others had, but a part of my self had been permanently separated from the shell. Curious, I hovered closer to the body—my body—and touched it gently. It was me, yet no longer my being. Suddenly, the urge to be near myself abated. I wanted to go… somewhere. The act of floating there, like many other experiences, could be re-examined if I wished.

That is what I supposed the glow was: a sort of retrieval device that consumed fragments of the ego for study. This was just speculation, but it had been the conclusion that I—we, the cumulative us—had come to. We weren’t worried, though. Somehow, strikingly, we knew what was to happen; that we, the remnants, would ultimately dissolve into something else. At that point of dissipation there lay an existence that was beyond all mortal understanding. Aside from this, we knew that the thing's goal had been reached. I was the last specimen needed before the light would leave the town forever.

The classified glow prevails.

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So, has anyone else actually been working on an entry? Because I have been so terribly busy doing the things one must do to prepare to leave one's country for two years (not to mention doing boring, rote work for extra cash) that--terrible me!--I haven't even started. I would really like to end my participation in the competition on a high note, but if extending the deadline as much as I'd need (probably a full week) isn't going to help anyone else, I won't be so selfish.

EDIT: As of now, the submission stage is on hold. If I don't see others' interest in extending the deadline, this will mean it is over, but otherwise, it just means don't work on your piece again until I say so.

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GAJK! Yesss! I was actually wondering if you, specifically, were out there to answer my prayer for self-justification. So, game on for another week. I'll be updating the dates in the first post shortly, and as always, anyone who has already submitted may feel free to work on and submit a revision before the new deadline.

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