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Short Story Competition January 2013!

 
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Tikanni Corazon
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:56 am    Post subject: Short Story Competition January 2013! Reply with quote



Hey all!


Due to the helpful idea of the lovely Seraphi to post a thread asking for potential themes for short story competitions, and the contributions to said thread already, I'm setting up another competition. Sagi's idea of having an end of the world/apocalypse theme is brilliant (given the recent near miss we've had Wink), and allows for the same kind of elbow room in the way of genre and such as the Christmas Competition did. Given that it's the kind of story that might require a little more detail, I've extended the word limit this time around. You don't have to use up the entire 3000 words. It's absolutely fine to go less.

So yes, that's what we're going to be going with, in this second of what I hope to be many competitions to come. Smile


So, just to clarify, the theme for this competition is The end of the World/The Apocolypse. You may use any genre you wish, be it sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, etc. For those of you who like a challenge, try and push those boundries and see what you can come up with. You could have a futuristic apocolypse of the entire universe, a high-fantasy battle for the end of the world, a love story amidst death and destruction. And so on and so on. The world is your oyster and I can't wait to see what you all come up with! Smile

The prize will again be 1000 fables!


The Rules 

1) This is a short story competition and therefore there is a word limit of 3000 words. Please keep within this margin. 
2) Minor swear words are okay, but please try to keep it to a minimum. There are younger people on this site, after all. 
3) You must include the single prompt stated below in order for your story to qualify. 
4) There must be an End of the World/Apocolypse theme to the story, whatever genre you choose. 
5) The closing date for entries will be January 15th. After that period, it's time to vote for your favourite entry. Voting will last until Midday January 24th.
6) The competition is open to everyone, and can be any genre you choose. 
7) All entries must be posted to me via PM, so that each entry is anonymous and the votes will not be swayed through friendship/dislike/etc. Should I discover (with proof) that anyone has attempted to override this rule by convincing people to vote/not vote for someone, there will be consequences.


And finally, your prompt for this competition. This prompt must be included, or your story will not qualify. The current prompt is:

A significant moment when music/a song/melody is heard.

As with the prior competition, it can't be something like 'Jimmy's favourite song was playing on the radio' and that be it. It doesn't have to play a huge part in your story, it just has to stand out as a significant moment, if you get me. It could be a song on the radio (just so long as it's not as fleeting as the above example). Or a person singing a song. Or a haunting melody from the past. Anything you like! Smile


Without further ado, the competition is open! Another big thanks to Seraphi, for her unprompted assistance in helping me find a theme, and to the suggesters themselves! Smile Any questions, feel free to ask!

Good luck to all who enter, and a Happy New Year to you all as well!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay, another competition! Razz

I'm glad I could help, Tika! I want to express thanks to those who commented on my thread as well - and to say, let's keep those suggestions coming!

Man I'm pumped for this! I'll have some difficulty concentrating on work for the rest of the day (not that I was trying hard in the first place, haha).
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, just a question. Are collaborations allowed? (I know, weird for short stories, but still...)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see no reason why not, though the fable prize will be split between the 2+ parties involved. But sure, collaborate away! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a first entry! Smile


Story 1 ~ Apocalypse 1000 AD

Shrieking and howling, the demons clawed their way from deep beneath the earth. Their faces were ever shifting and mutating, portraying a multitude of twisted visages that would have rendered a lesser man mad.

Matthias could not help but be reminded of the book of Mark, "Legio mihi nomen est, quia multi sumus."

He turned to his brothers in arms. “They may be legion, but we are the arm of the Holy Emperor, the sword of the Pope, and the wrath of St. Michael!”

There was a clamor from the surviving Holy Roman knights that rose gradually to a roar. Clutching their rosaries tight enough to gouge at their hands even beneath the chain mittens they wore, the men gathered their spirits.

Matthias twirled his zweihander above his head. His huge muscles felt the burn of fatigue as he swung the gigantic sword but he could not afford that. His men must see him strong and proud. They needed any morale boost he could provide and as Meister des langen Schwertes it was the least he could do to produce a menacing visage with the massive blade that he had mastered.

His squire shook with fear next to him. The knight glanced at the youth.

“Golo, you are the most important amongst us. You know this, ja?”

The boy, no more than thirteen years of age, nodded, eyes huge and fixed upon the screaming demons.

Without warning, the soldier cuffed Golo about the side of the head. The steel of his gauntlet rang off of the boy’s loose fitting helmet and he almost dropped the parcel clutched within his shaking arms.

“Do not drop that or we are all damned,” The elder ordered.
The child had to focus. His job was essential. In his arms, he held a fragment of the True Cross, the only artifact capable of sealing the foul gate that had opened. And he was the only amongst them pure enough to affect its use.

Golo exhaled and looked up to his master. He took a deep breath and locked his shaking knees.

“I can only thank God that the Pope was wise enough to warn us of this impending apocalypse.”

“Although the Holy See is truly a great man, I cannot see how any man could not come to a similar conclusion. It has been exactly a thousand years since the death of our savior.”

“What more fitting time is there for the sinful to be judged in flames?” asked Wulfram from behind them.

Veit and Falco nodded in agreement.

Matthias grunted his concurrence. He cracked his neck and spat toward the monsters, who seemed to be content to merely taunt them with their very existence.

Their crooked bodies joined at unnatural angles, broken and charred wings protruding from their backs, and rending claws, the beasts snorted, belching smoke and reeking of rotten eggs from the sulfur that still clung to their foul hides.


“Men, let us be about this work and claim our rewards at either the Emperor’s throne here or God’s throne in heaven. Surely, we will be heroes!”

Falco stomped his feet and gripped his poleaxe with renewed dedication.

Veit braced behind his shield and began to spin his flail in slow, deliberate circles.

And, Wulfram, ever the bastard child of a Norseman, gritted his teeth and brought his bearded axe above his hulking shoulders.

Matthias gathered sucked a deep breath of tainted air and screamed “Deus volt!”

The knights and their squire charged, roaring wordlessly like animals.

The demons responded in kind, some of them vomiting hellfire in a destructive arc into the massed men.

Falco was caught in the deluge and he screamed as the flames enveloped him, the smell of burning flesh and hair added to the aroma as the armor literally melted off of his back. His body managed, however, to continue two steps onward and to drive the sharpened point of his poleaxe deep into the demon that slew him. The beast screamed and ichor spewed from its guts as it slumped.

Veit was singed about his shield but Falco had taken the brunt of the flames. He barked a gruff laugh as he swung his flail about and caved the skull of one demon with a sickening crunch that sent bone flying halfway across the antechamber.

Matthias ducked beneath the outstretch talons of the beast nearest him and slashed it across the stomach with his great sword. It made a noise similar to gruel plopping to a peasant’s bowl as its innards hit the floor.

His squire kept directly behind him, taking shelter in the shadow of his master.

Wulfram, pivoting on his toes, twirled and removed the digits from a hand that clutched at him. When he came for the backstroke, he cleaved the ever shifting face all the way to the teeth. As he attempted to yank the axe back, another demon leapt at him.

Claws tore through his chain armor and bit into his right arm.

“BASTARD!” He screamed, and freeing the axe in violent tug, came down and repeated the process several times upon the demon that just wounded him.

Golo slipped in the ever widening puddle of gore that littered the floor. Matthias, weapons master that he was, turned and scooped the boy mid parry. During what time his back was turned, acidic claws tore down the back of his chainmail and bit into the leather tunic he wore beneath.

Twisting awkwardly, he thrust over his own back and stabbed the beast in its throat, ripping it out and spraying the monster’s life fluids all over Golo’s face.

“Are you hurt?” He asked the squire. The boy simply nodded.

“Wunderbar,” He replied, and continued to take the fight to the enemy.

Veit swung his flail toward a demon’s head, but displaying agility beyond the kin of mortals, the foul thing wrapped its jaws about the chain and bit through in one clean chomp. He struck it with the shaft hard enough between the eyes to make the beast blink and to bring blood from its forehead.

He followed this with a thrust of his kite shield that caught it in the stomach. He prepared to finish the beast, but as he reached for the dagger hanging from his belt, another leapt upon his back and twisted his shield bearing arm around behind him, snapping bones and eventually tearing the arm from his body.

Veit staggered, spurting blood. The demon he had previously struck barreled into him, wrapped both of its powerful hands about his helmet, and with an effortless tug, ripped his head from his body.

Its victory was short lived as Wulfram took its both of its arms with two lightning quick slashes of his axe.

He felled another demon. And another, becoming a whirlwind of death next to Matthias.

Together, they cleared the way for Golo and the artifact.

When they had drawn almost to the heart of the chamber and the focal point of the portal, the unthinkable happened.

A demon caught the handle to Wulfram’s axe, and twisting the handle, snatched it from him. Stunned by the monster’s superior strength, the warrior staggered back.

The demon wasted no time, turning the weapon and cutting the half Norseman in half even as his mouth still sputtered.

It shoved several of its comrades aside, making its way toward Golo, deadly intent apparent in its eyes.

Matthias, seeing what the abomination intended, shifted his focus and quickly dispatched the demons he was currently engaged with.

“Come to me, boy!” He shouted as he jumped over the youth’s head.

The boy dove to his stomach and slid on a trough of entrails beneath the feet of the massive knight and toward his objective.

The blades of the knight and the fiend clashed with a loud clang. Sparks flew as inhuman strength deflected the blow of the massive sword.

Golo unwrapped his burden and perched himself precariously above the ledge that dropped into hell. A swirling vortex of chaotic energies threatened to rob him of his balance and suck him into the inferno if his balance failed him now. From deep within, he could hear what almost sounded like a chilling tune that crawled up his spine and attempted to take root within his brain. He shivered involuntarily.

Matthias’s foe had knocked his blade away and the knight grappled with the demon as he attempted to wrest the axe from its claws. He could feel the heat of its breath upon his brow. It made him sweat.

Golo began to say the holy words that he had been instructed to utter upon the beginning of the ritual. The humming, now beginning to sound almost like the warbling of a hacksaw grew to maddening volume.

The hellion had the soldier pinned to the floor, both of them grunting as he finally pried the axe from its grip. Unfortunately, the weapon spun across the room and tinged against the wall with a rattle. The knight threw two punches into the hideous face before it caught his fist, picked him up by it, and slammed him against the floor.

Golo continued the ritual, sprinkling sand from the sepulcher into the portal as he prepared to conclude the ritual. He could no longer hear over the humming that threatened to drown his sanity in a flood of madness.

Matthias was stunned, laying breathless upon the stone floor. He could feel his ribs, jagged and broken, gouging the soft, fragile portions of his body.

The demon advanced toward the squire.

He had to get to his feet.

The boy, unsuspecting, continued his duties, mumbling in Latin as he tried his best to tune out the melody.

Shaking, the knight forced himself up.

Golo hoisted the relic above his head.

The demon roared and broke into a run.

Golo turned his head to face the beast.

It closed on him, intending to rend him limb from limb.

Matthias, dagger in hand, sprung onto the fiend’s back, grabbed a horn, and stabbed it in the eyes and nose with several quick thrusts. Blinded and disoriented, the foul one veered off course and they both tumbled into the pit.

Golo watched them descend, Matthias still gouging at the demon’s face as they fell out of sight.

The boy had to complete the ritual. He shook his head as if trying to jar out the remnants of bad dream, concluded the ritual, and slammed the True Cross upon the floor.

Suddenly, the vortex was gone and the floor was but stone again.

Exhausted, terrified, and deeply saddened, the squire collapsed. Finally, the melody had ceased and he wanted nothing more than to sleep.

….

The old man shuffled around the antechamber as Golo explained the battle to him in his somewhat functional Latin.

His white robes dusted the floor and he didn’t say a word. He merely nodded occasionally.

Breathlessly, Golo completed his tale.

There was a long and awkward silence. Few signs of the carnage remained, mostly just charred stains upon the stone walls.

The old man wrung his hands and sighed.

Finally, he spoke.

“No one must know what came to pass here.”

“But, your Holiness, these men deserve to be heroes,” Golo protested.

“Silence, child,” Pope Sylvester fired back. “Now, leave me. I must think on this. And pray.”

Wordlessly, his mouth trying to work, Golo simply nodded and took his leave.

When he was alone, the Pope was approached by a figure cloaked in shadow. The figure’s eyes were of fire and his breath of rotten eggs. He hummed a haunting melody as he materialized from the deeper darkness where the meager torches positioned about the area did not reach.

This one, he spoke to in his native French.

They conversed quietly for many hours.

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.... there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham....
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And we have entry number two! Loving the two completely different type of story so far! Both awesome entries! Smile


Story 2 ~ Untitled


The ground is rough and brittle, it tilts and slants. Sharp splinters of earth jut upwards, fingers pointing towards the sky, directing the steam and smoke into the clouds where they mix to make a blanket of darkness. Ash falls like black snow, devouring the color of the earth. She begins to move forward – her first step is solid but with the next one she hears a loud pop. No turning back, she begins to run, but her legs cannot keep up with the cracking earth and soon the ground beneath her breaks and she is plunged into the abyss.

With a jerk she wakes up. She is breathing rapidly and her pulse, like a drum, pounds steadily in her skull. Sitting up, she wipes a hand across her forehead. It comes away smeared with soot. The dust in the air had settled on her as she slept, but she is not surprised. There is no escaping the filth.

A few moments pass as she lets her heart calm before she gets up from the bed. Her bones, old and prone to complaint at every move, creak as she shuffles to the window. She looks out to the sky and sighs, a deep heavy breath that causes her to cough and hack.

She cannot escape it even in waking, this nightmare. The world is as bleak and unforgiving as her dream, just like it was yesterday and the week before, and seventy years besides.

Patting her chest to stop the cough, she makes her way to the kitchen. It is a small, cramped apartment; her bed merely a few feet from her refrigerator. She browses the cooler and the cupboards, but there is nothing to eat here, nothing good, so she settles for a glass of tap water that tastes like metal and sweat. She ambles into a sitting room and turns on a radio. It sputters with static for a few seconds before honing in on a signal and belching out sound. Three loud beeps whine through the speakers followed by a brief report.

“Quakes expected today, ranging 5.3 to 8.1. Molten core upheaval is highly likely. Residents are advised to remain in their homes.”

Another series of beeps end the announcement. She rolls her eyes – always the same, why do they even bother broadcasting it? – and reaches out to turn off the device, but stays her hand when music begins to play. Her eyebrows shoot up in shock. Rarely did they put music on the radio anymore. The airwaves were reserved for an endless onslaught of commercials, reminders, and important announcements.

She listens a few moments and is pleased to find that it is a melody she recognizes, slow and graceful. She cannot remember the words, but she knows the tune and she hums with it. It reminds her of better days, of home.

Home. It is not a word she has used, or thought about, for a long time. Can she even remember what it looked like? She closes her eyes and frowns in concentration. A hazy image of a green field spotted with pinks and blues, and a short house with a tin roof swims to her mind. Everything is enveloped in light. She tries to think harder but nothing more comes, and her chest tightens in grief. She has forgotten much – the sound of birds, the smell of grass and the tickling of the blades between the toes of her bare feet. The warmth of the sun.

Suddenly irritated, she opens her eyes and glares at the dull grey world around her. Too long she has lived with it, and she wasn’t going to take it anymore. With determination in her stride, she dons the scarf and coat she keeps by the door, grabs her cane, and heads out of the small apartment, not bothering to close the door behind her.

“Hey, Mrs. D, where ya headed?”

She pauses at the voice. It is the girl next door who comes to check on her sometimes. She is a petite young woman with round cheeks and sparkling blue eyes – even with her face covered in dirt she is a pretty thing, and quite clever. The girl reminds her of her sister, and the old woman finds herself smiling in spite of herself.

“Out,” she says.

“You know, they told us to stay inside today,” the girl scolds.

“Bah! They tell us to stay inside every day and that doesn’t stop no one,” she dismisses her by waving her free hand in the air and continuing down the hallway. The girl laughs lightly behind her, thrilled by the old woman’s spunk.

“Just be careful, okay?”

____________________________________

She is being far from careful. It isn’t necessarily illegal to leave the city, but it does not come recommended and many people do not do it.

She is constantly surrounded by a cloak of ash, the wind whipping the particles up from the ground in a swirling cloud of grey. The scarf she has wrapped around her head keeps the suffocating dust from entering her lungs, but still her breathing becomes more labored as she trudges on, exhausted but unwavering. It is difficult to tell where she is going – each direction holding the same expanse of barren wasteland – so she relies more on instinct than sight.

A sudden, low rumble comes from the ground before the shaking begins. She is jostled violently to and fro, only managing to stay on her feet because of her cane firmly planted in the earth – she clings to it, eyes squeezed shut. It is over within seconds, and she lets out a short sigh of relief. Dislodging her cane from the ground she begins her trek once more.

She doesn’t get very far before there is a loud cracking and a pillar of steam splits the earth, hissing towards the sky. There is a moment of eerie silence before another geyser erupts mere feet from her. She tries to go faster, but her legs are weak and the ground has started to shake again making it hard to keep a steady pace and her balance all at the same time.

She feels the hot air behind and she shuffles fervently forward. Without thinking she begins to hum the song that had played on the radio earlier. It does little to strengthen her unsteady legs, but it comforts and emboldens her. She will not stop now. She will make it home, even if it kills her.

____________________________________

“Dana!”

With a jerk she wakes up. She squints at the sudden light in her eyes. Turning her head to the side and covering her face with her hand she inhales the sweet smell of grass as she blinks away the bright spots dancing in her vision. She did not remember falling asleep. She did not remember what she dreamt, either – though she had a distinct feeling that it might have been unpleasant.

“Dana!” the voice calls again. She sits up this time and looks around. Her sister bounces up and down, waving her arms at the other end of the field. She is in a bright pink dress that makes her look like a giant wildflower. If she was closer one could see that she has eyes as blue as the sky

“What?” she calls back, still slightly groggy. She stretches her arms upwards, her smooth, porcelain skin shimmering in the sun, a few strands of her auburn hair floating around her face in a light wind.

“Mum’s done with lunch!” her sister shouts, hands cupped around her mouth so her voice will carry father.

“Okay, be there in a second!”

With a deep, contented sigh, she hoists herself up and heads towards the squat wooden building in the distance, sunlight reflecting off its metallic roof. As she looks at her home, she is overcome by an unexplainable feeling of happiness. Tears prick at the corner of her eyes and she blinks them away as she prances across the field, smiling and humming a song she might have heard in a dream.

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.... there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham....
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And an added bump here! You have three more days to get entries in! I want more!!! Razz

Seriously though, more!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any last minute entries need to be sent in now. Poll will be going up tomorrow morning! Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The poll is up! Get your votes in! Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I was WAY too late in submitting an entry, haha.

I was gonna write a short story about a little boy with a brain tumour who's been hallucinating an entire world, where animals talk and he's the hero who defends them from getting butchered by a giant praying mantis with 11-feet razor sharp claws.

Only, towards the end he learns the monster is trying to save his life, and the only way to do that is to cut out his entire world. He is then given a choice: save his magical world, or to let it end so that he can go back to his parents and start a new life.

He chooses the latter, and wakes up tumour free. Eventually he learns he died on the operating table for a few minutes, as if his brain fought to keep the tumour. Ten years later, the little boy is now leaving for college, studying to be what he loves most: a veterinarian.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How unfortunate! That sounds like it would have been awesome, and so different from both of the others again! I'm loving the diversity of ideas that are coming out in these competitions so far. But yeah, too bad you were late, Sagi. I'd have liked to read it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the winner of the January 2013 Short-Story Competition is:

Story 1 ~ Apocalypse 1000 AD - Jack_D.Mented

Congratulations to Jack, and a big thank you for entering, along with our runner up Seraphi! Very Happy

Your 1000 fables will be with you asap, Jack. I just need to get in touch with our Mayoress, Andolyn, about transferring it from the Treasury.

Congrats again!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats, Jack! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much. I'm glad that you all liked this story.
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Eadgar's Saga Chapter 2 POLL


Abattoir Chapter 2!
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Who will be your winner?
Story 1 ~ Apocalypse 1000 AD
66%
 66%  [ 2 ]
Story Two ~ Untitled
33%
 33%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 3
Who Voted: Jack_D.Mented, sagittaeri, Seraphi

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