The Writing Thread
Herein lies the Writing Thread! Usually I just post something brief and then allow the participants to engage one another, unshackled by rules like a meeting of Tea Partiers in a debate with Muslims.
However! I propose the following rules to the writing thread, and what this thread should be about.
1.) This thread should obviously be about your own writing.
Your post should be about one of the following things.
2.) A pitch. A story you're thinking about writing, ideas you're tossing around to solicit for feedback.
3.) Brief poetry can be posted in full. Just don't make your poetry a full length story.
4.) A short story you've written that you would like to post, in part. Since a short story can run 2000 to 5000 words, do not post in full. You may post sensible length excerpts, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.
5.) A long story or novel you've written that you'd like to post, in part. Since a novel can run from 80000 words to 120000 words or more, do not post in full. You may post a sensible length excerpt, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.
Things to avoid.
Don't get in a hissy fit about criticism. It's the only way to grow as a writer.
Don't just criticize to criticize. In other words, don't be a Debby Downer. List what you think a writer did well, in addition to criticism. Tone means a lot. Don't be overly negative in the tone of your criticism.
I have a question about your rules:
1) For things we're only allowed to post in part, what size is considered acceptable?
2) Are links to full text (for instance in a Google Doc) okay, or do even link need to only link to an excerpt?
3) If, according to your rules, a short story is a maximum of 5,000 words, and a novel is a minimum of 80,000 words, what is a story called when it's between 5k and 80k words (which is a huge range)?
Also curious what you call a story that's less than 2k words. To date, I don't think I've ever written a short story that was that long.
I'm working on one, though! And I'll probably post excerpt once I know what size is acceptable. My story is about a servant whose Lord's wife dies. The servant, a young girl, sees how the Lord is grieving and decides to get the Lady back to life.
Sadly, it's not a story of romance and zombies, although it sounds like it should be one, now. Maybe next time.
A bellowing roar ended the brief exchange with a sound of such force that each person aboard the boat was suddenly forced to take a knee, the echoing vibrations driving into their bones and weakening their muscles. Max hit the deck with such an impact that he was forced to brace himself with both hands, barely saving his face from an intimate meeting with the deck. All around him, each man and woman was in a similar position, enduring as the final resounding sound of the call echoed away. Ringing filled his ears for a moment so that it was nearly impossible to hear, but Garrix’s nervous chattering quickly filled the silence, even as the shouts of the crew began to rise up all across the deck. Men were quickly leaping back to their feet, fingers pointing upward to the skies, forcing Max to follower their fingers.
His eyes shot up to see the strangest cloud formation he had ever seen in his young days. He’d seen plenty of storms in his life, approaching from the horizon and accompanied by wind and thunder, storms that rolled in over the course of the day. What he saw now was different. The skies, still mostly blue and still mostly filled with daylight, were blotted out directly above them. A great, swirling vortex was appearing where there had only been blue heavens only a moment before, like a dark eye staring down upon them as they invaded this sacred place. The vortex grew ever wider, twisting and turning like a tornado, its center a black pinpoint far above. Then, with a crack of thunder and a flash of blue light that erupted from the storm’s center and flashed out to the edges of the storm cloud, the tornado seemed to descend. The clouds swirled and followed as a single being came into view, chasing the creature before dispersing as the beast came into full view, the cloud storm giving birth to a great, red scaled beast whose roar was louder than any thunder. Its wings beat with a slow tempo, each flapping like a drum that echoed in the circular formation of rocks, creating a storm of wind that nearly threw men to the rails as they were struck with the force.
“Dragon!” called Andres, quickly leaping down the length of the stairs and onto the main deck. “Archers, fire!”
Immediately all men turned their weapons upward, angling at the beast swooping down at them and releasing a volley of arrows so thick it blanketed the skies. Nearly all of these rebounded harmlessly off the creatures scaled skin, though a few stuck, the beast roaring as it suddenly ceased its descent, raising its wings abruptly and causing a tornado force to hit the deck. Mean screamed as they were carried off the side of the boat, deposited into the waters, lines of rope quickly tossed after them in the hope of saving their lives. As they reeled from the blast of hurricane fury, the creature reared its head back, settling just above the main mast before thrusting its head downward. A cauldron of hellfire spat across the deck, from the front bow to near the rear wheel deck, the masts bursting into flame as they were doused by the creature’s power.
“Water teams, move!” Rowley demanded, quickly descending to join Andres while Captain Terrance wheeled the ship away from the creature. Men ran all about, buckets filled with water that they hoisted up the masts to the spotty crew charged with saving their sails. Buckets were dumped on the fires that now crept over the ship, even as another volley of arrows filled the skies, breaking against the creature’s flesh. As the creature shrugged the attack off, Sparker crews angled their weapons upward, halting for just a moment as the captain got them out from directly beneath the beast. The moment they had an angle, they turned the cranks on their rudimentary weapons, unleashing globular blasts of blue-green flame that flew by the dozen, inaccurately but powerfully, soaking the creature’s flesh and forcing it downward. It shrieked, rattling the ship walls as it began to skim the waters, angling directly for their position.
Katherine had gone to the deck herself, now rallying her Pyromancers as a single unit, drawing near to the starboard side where the dragon was quickly rushing toward them, its outstretched wings as wide as their boat. “Full fire, go!” she cried as each girl lined up along the railing, clapping their hands in an outward motion that sent powerful blasts of energy forward, striking the creature against its skull and drawing a pained cry. Yet even with the combined firepower of the Pyromancers and the Sparker crews, the dragon crossed the distance, coming up alongside the ship and lighting down upon the railing, its great claw tearing it into bits and sending both men and women catapulting into the waters. Splinters of the deck were sent into the ocean, and the shock of the blow tossed the ship nearly onto its side before it up righted a second later. It drew back its head, sucking in air with such force that for a moment the crew on deck felt as if they were being pulled toward its mouth.
Max saw all this in one desperate, slow motion second. People struggled in the waters, floundering as the waves created by the ship tossed them backward. The archers above deck drew arrows once again, hoping to hold off the coming blast of hellish fury as Pyromancers and Sparker crews, decimated by the breaking of the deck, struggled to recover from the blow. Max’s head then swung sideways, eyes flashing toward Heidi. Her men had brought the Pyrolith Cannon to bear and the sun, peering through the glass lens, was creating a stream of focused light that pierced the broad Pyrolith lens. Captain Terranace was looking at the same display as the cannon swung to aim dead on at the attacking beast, a bright, multicolored light forming in the narrow lens as it was supercharged by the Pyrolith stones built into the weapon. Then, after perhaps a half second’s time, the cannon erupted with terrible power, a dazzling stream of multicolored energy streaming out of the cannon’s barrel and striking the creature directly in the chest. A sound like they had never heard before filled the air as the Pyrolith blast superheated the air around them, forcing men to cover their faces as the weapon’s power struck directly into the dragon’s chest with a flash so bright that the deck was soaked in light, the force of it driving the creature back. Its wings stiffened, its body arching backward as it screamed with inhuman pain, lashing its tail against the hull of the ship as it tumbled into the waters. An audible cracking was heard as the ship buckled, if only slightly, at the blow, the beast submerging beneath the waters.
A great torrent of water erupted upward into the skies as the creature disappeared, the Star Cutter rocking back and forth for a few moments as it struggled to maintain its balance on the waves. Men quickly rushed the side of the ship, eyes searching the waters as they watched for the creature, finding only the survivors of the battle as they swam back to the boat. The ocean was still rising and falling with the force of the large beast, which had vanished into its depths. Terrance took a knee, placing his hand to his forehead as he reeled from the events of the battle. Yet not a word was said as the waters beneath them continued to churn, continued to rock them, casting the vessel back and forth. It was as if they were caught in a storm, the waves growing and tossing the boat almost out of the waters. With a great motion the rear of the boat was then cast upward, nearly out of the water, as a massive rose and crashed backed down. A rainstorm of ocean water was hurled skyward, pouring along the deck in buckets, forcing men to brace under the force of the pummeling, unable to act as the head of the dragon reared upward out of the ocean. With no hesitation it spat its flame, a small, devastating fireball that hurtled quickly toward the wheel deck. All those atop it went quickly diving for the main deck even as the ball of destruction struck the Pyrolith Cannon with a force so power that it tore the rear of the wheel deck apart, exposing the cabins below as wood was tossed upward or incinerated.
Max found himself striking the deck hard, his shoulder jamming into the wooden surface, ears ringing, black smoke rising from the back of the ship. He quickly picked himself up, glancing around to see that the force of the blast had sent even those on the main deck hurtling onto the floor. His legs shaking, quivering even as his eyesight wavered, he forced himself to focus, hand moving to his hip. Just to his right he could see the neck of the beast sliding down along the rail, jaws snapping at any nearby, forcing them to spring away or become meals. For a moment he contemplated the same until he saw Heidi, body motionless, spilt out onto the ground. Her body was motionless, a ragged doll splayed along the floor of the ship, but there was hope. Though blood ran from her head, it came only in streaks, treatable if they got her medical attention. Yet the beast’s head was craning toward her as its wings beat, its legs sliding through the water as it leaned in for its meal. Without thinking or even hesitating, Max leapt forward, over Heidi’s body and to the railing, lashing out with his sword with what he was sure would be his suicide. The blade cracked against the nose of the creature, forcing the beast to flinch and withdraw for only a moment, even as the steel blade shattered in two at the blow.
The above is 1700 words. Really shouldn't be more than 2000 words, I'd say, otherwise it just becomes unruly to read and handle on a messageboard. Short stories don't have firm numbers because the word limit is dependent on the magazine to which you submit your writing. Links are acceptable.
Cool, thanks. I really don't like the formatting here, though, I had selected an excerpt, but I really don't want it to be read this way. So I'll put it on a doc and link it later.
Only request, for people who are posting their work: would you indent the text withso it's easy to tell the difference between the text and the post?
Well, I've just been writing these super short character concept pieces to try to get into play by post DnD games, so I guess I'll post those here. They're designed to try and get a gist of how the character speaks and acts and some of them are better than others at what they do depending on the character.
Here's the first, Gustav von Stultz, half-demon gunslinger-at-law.
It was a red dawn. Gustav liked red dawns, they went nicely with his scales, bringing them to life... almost as if every segment was its own separate flame. Not that he could see himself, of course. He’d dressed for the occasion, brushed the ash off his expensive three piece suit, rubbed a dab of polish on his shoes, dug out his nicest top hat... hell, he’d even given his revolvers a thorough cleaning. He’d pulled out the gloves, too, though that was more of a necessity than out of concern for style. At this point, it simply wouldn’t do to get anything scratched by his claws.
But it was getting ridiculous now. He dug out his pocket watch and glared at it in irritation. He was certain the flames would have been visible from town which should have had the lord of the manor back nearly ten minutes ago. It should have taken fifteen minutes... twenty, perhaps, if he dawdled or tried to rouse a militia. This was just bordering on sloppiness now. Also, he was getting tired of standing.
With a sigh, he pulled out his pocket handkerchief and dusted off a portion of the gatepost leading to what had once been the Fulcrum manor house. ‘Had’ being the operative word. Gustav allowed himself a tiny smile. There really wasn’t much left of it now, mostly just splinters and the last fingers of flame guttering out amidst the charred remains.
He finished wiping off the area before returning the handkerchief to his pocket and carefully leaning against the clean area, drawing out his case of cigarettes as he did so. He’d rolled them earlier, just in case something like this happened. He selected one of the nicer ones and held it lightly between his teeth as he rummaged through his pockets for a book of tindertwigs. It wasn’t hard to find, he invariably had three or four on him at any time. He didn’t light the cigarette, instead fiddling with the twig as he watched the horizon intently.
After what seemed like an age, but was actually closer to a few minutes, he saw what he was waiting for, that puff of a dustcloud, almost out of sight. By its size, he’d give it six, maybe seven horses. Six would be nicer, but knowing his luck, he’d probably miscalculated by a few. He watched the cloud’s progress, absent-mindedly tapping the tindertwig against his leg as he waited.
Eventually, he could see the great Mr. Fulcrum himself and seven men Gustav recognized from the town militia riding towards him. Fulcrum brought his horse to a halt a few yards short of Gustav, his companions fanning out in a semi-circle, blocking off any escape.
“You got some nerve there, son, sticking around here,” he spat, “Any idea what the punishment for arson is around these parts, boy?”
Gustav casually struck a tindertwig against the side of his cheek with a flick of his wrist and lit the cigarette. As he took a quick drag, he fanned the twig sharply and tossed it away. Deliberately, he blew out a puff of smoke before responding.
“Not as severe as you’d like, if I had to guess,” he drawled.
“You sure got that right. Hangin’s far too quick for you. Now you going to come in all peaceful like, or are we going to have a problem?”
Gustav pulled out a sheaf of papers from the inner pocket of his coat and began to fan through them, clenching the cigarette hard between his very sharp teeth.
Not looking up, he ground out, “Seems like we’ve already got a problem.”
“That indeed we do. I let you into my home... as a guest and you blew it up! I must say, I’m slightly peeved and it would be perfectly within my rights to tie your limbs to four of these here horses and fire off a pistol. However, I will give you one last opportunity to surrender.”
Gustav located the paper he was looking for and held it up, stuffing the rest into his pocket. He removed the cigarette with a flourish.
“Know what this is?”
“How the devil should I know?” asked Fulcrum in confusion.
“I took a tour through your cellar, which I should say, far exceeds the legal skeletons per domicile limit as put forth by Subsection C, Item Three of the allowable Home Improvement doctrine. After that, I thought that you might recognize this missing persons list. Especially considering all of these missing persons have been recorded entering your esteemed ex-mansion at some point or another. Now, what would you say the punishment for serial murder is around these parts? Boy?”
“You made that up.”
“The doctrine? Yes, I did,” he popped the cigarette back into his mouth, “You still haven’t answered my question, though.”
There was a moment of silence, like the calm before the storm.
Gustav spat out the cigarette, “Yeah, I didn’t figure you would.”
And suddenly, his revolvers were in his hands.
It took about five seconds.
Gustav, blew the residual smoke from his revolvers before carefully holstering them as he picked his way through the bodies, careful not to get blood on his new shoes.
I'm thinking about a new kind of narrative genre. One that is half graphic novel, half prose (verse even), without actually being an "illustrated novel". The key to the distinction would be the interdependency of pictures and words. What the pictures tell, the text shouldn't, and what the text says, the picture shouldn't show yet again. Not sure if it can be done without serious hiccups.
I even have an idea about a first 'short story' that hopefully sees life this year. The encounter of a troubled young man on a rather short autobahn trip, who meets some kind of a cop so peculiar in moral and deed that he scrapes the fantastic of the inspired benefactor as well as the autistic of the civil servant.
We stand alone
In the blurry white
We take our places
On a cold winter’s night
Beyond frosted windows
Upon a floured lawn
We stand and wait
For the break of dawn
As the sun grows high
Nothing can be felt
As we begin to die
As we begin to melt
With spring comes the rain
With summer comes the heat
With autumn comes the fall
All the while, we’re incomplete
But when the icicles form
On a winter’s morn
From a ball of snow
We will again be born
Maxwell Douglas is an underachieving student in our world. More concerned with his drawings and stories than his grades, he's at odds with his parents and at an awkward time in his life, as many 17 year olds are. His best friend, Heidi Trevino, is, on the other hand a genius, daughter of a physicist and an overachiever at school. One day the pair accompany her father to his company lab, where a group of scientists are preparing to unveil a new form of clean, infinite energy. Presided by company president Geoff, things go badly wrong. Max gets caught in the explosion, only barely living to tell tale.
In the aftermath his dreams become more vivid, his stories more imaginative and, strangely, he begins to see visions of these places he once imagined in his mind. Then, one day, staring at a map from the fantasy novel The Dragon Lords of LaGunain his local bookstore, he is pulled out of his world and into another.
There he becomes friends with Princess Katherine, defender of her people; Sir Christopher the Ivory Knight, Captain of the Knights of LaGuna; and Admiral Rowley, supreme leader of the naval forces of the kingdom. Together they must confront an ancient threat that has arisen on the island of Deja's Rock, the powerful sorcerer Ansgar whose undead legions rage against the island kingdom. Lacking the strength to fight him, they'll have to travel across seas, braving pirates, aggressive foreign naval forces, thunderous storms, and the End of the World where the souls of dead men go, in order to forge a pact with the dragons that exist only in their myths, but whom they're pinning their hopes to help save the island Stretch.
17 year old, dreamer, student in the small city of Waxahachie, TX. An underperforming student who'd rather focus on his drawings and writings. Following a lab accident, Maxwell will find himself capable of opening a gateway to another world using a map of it to guide his mind. There, he will have to help the people of the Kingdom of LaGuna. Their ruler, King Leo, desperate for answers, hopes Maxwell's exotic origins will be enough to draw the attention of the dragons that may or may not exist only in their myths. Max will have to learn to fight to protect himself, to adjust to daily life onboard a ship, come to terms with a foreign world in which kingdoms vie for power, and two ancient, mythical powers are rising from the depths of history.
Quick witted, innovative pragmatist, Heidi is best friends with Max due to their unified love of archeology. The two, members of the local archeology club that operates out of the southern suburbs of Dallas, are also united by their love of reading and fantasy. Far more the realist, her studies have place her at the top of her class, and she is Max's tutor. When the lab accident leaves Max seeing visions of other worlds, she is hesitant to believe him, wondering if he might be going crazy. However, when he yanks her through a rift between the worlds, using his newfound power to bridge the gap between our world at that of LaGuna, she finds herself immersed in a place whose technology and science is far different from her own. Charged with developing modern style weaponry to battle dragons and sorcerers, her actions will help modernize warfare in this ancient land.
Sir Christopher, the Ivory Knight
Captain of the Knights of LaGuna, Sir Christopher is the first line of defense against the sorcerer Ansgar. Tied to the sorcerer by concealed actions and agendas the kingdom embarked upon decades before, Sir Christopher now vows to cover for his mistakes and to battle the wizard, to return to the gates of the castle upon Deja's Rock and end the evil he feels responsible for. Max's sword trainer, and an advocate on behalf the boy who convinces the royal court that Max is not, indeed, a sorcerer himself, Sir Christopher is an unparalleled warriors who has been trained from birth to lead the knights of LaGuna.
King Leo and Queen Victoria
Monarch supreme over the Kingdom of LaGuna, which stretches from the islands of the east to the distant islands of Goran and Saffras in the west. The only islands that exist beyond those are the Shattered Isles, where the souls of the dead go to move onto the next world, and to which no man has claim. Leo is bound by his actions decades before and, though he is quiet about his role in events that transpired long ago, feels responsible for the rise of the sorcerer in the east.
Trained swordsman. Amazing archer. Pyromancer, capable of creating globules of blue-green destruction from her hands. Diplomat, and future queen of LaGuna. She is motivated by a deep sense of love for her people, whom she sees suffering under the assaults of Ansgar. While everyone else is accusing Max of being a sorcerer, she and Sir Christopher see him as a good omen, and act to defend him. As voyagers upon the grand vessel, the Star Cutter, she and Max become well acquainted. She inspires him with her passion to save the lives of those she cares for, and gives him the courage he needs to help gain the attention of the legendary dragons. Her many skills as a warrior, her ability to tend to the sick and hurting as well as her ability to lead and inspire men place her as one of the most inspirational figures in LaGuna.
Commander of the Star Cutter and supreme commander of the LaGuna naval forces. Veteran of the pirate wars and the putdown of rebellions on the island of Tobra, his five deck galleon is unequaled in sheer firepower and size. An honorable man who helps acclimate Max and Heidi to life aboard a sea vessel, he is also at the head of all sea battles and the defense of innocent ships being plundered by pirates.
Ancient king of dragons known only in myth. The legendary creature allied with humanity to battle the sorcerer, and gave a tooth from his jaw to be forged into the legendary blade, Fang, wielded by Marcus Tyrannus in the myths of the ancient Battle of Desolation. If he ever existed, he has not been seen for a thousand years, and all of LaGuna hopes that he will ally with them against the sorcerer once more. It is said that, dissatisfied with humans, he fled to the land of the dead, beyond the Mouth of the Sun in the Shattered Isles that lie far to the west.
Dark sorcerer who rules from the shadow towers in Deja's Rock, Ansgar is as ancient as the dragons. Until recently, both were considered myths from an ancient war. His ties to King Leo and Sir Christopher are shadowy, and his sudden awakening is suspect. He and the dragon Siev-Alm also know of one another from the worlds beyond this world.
I'm not sure how to respond to this, lol. It's dark yet whimsical in its own way. You definitely seem like you enjoyed writing the character. I was confused at the start but sort of found the context for what I was reading as the story progressed. Definitely interesting for a character piece, I wonder how you'd act this out in a DnD, lol.
Also, I've got another character portrait, a good deal different than the above, as I feature an all out evil character this time, though I'd say I tend to stick with the same style. Introducing Nephista Kenduis, sadistic drow and part-time gardener.
“Listen, I’m pretty sure we had a bargain here. As I already told you, I can’t let you out of there until you cooperate with me and tell me the troop movements and numbers of your little hamlet... what was it called? Springdale?”
There was no response from the iron casket.
“Hellooooo?” Nephista called, “Anybody in there?”
She rapped sharply on lid, aiming precisely for the spot near the hinges that would drive the spikes further into the surfacer inside. To her satisfaction, the jostling was met with a strangled scream.
“Oh good,” she replied jovially, “For a moment there, I thought you’d gone and died on me. Which would be mildly irritating as I’ve only got five of you buggers left after the whole security snafu with the rat poison. You’ll just have to accept that I thought I was doing you lot a favor by letting you have a bit from my plate before I ate it and really, you’re only hurting yourself by not cooperating. Literally.”
“I don’t know anything...” whimpered the box, “I’m just a baker... a simple baker... they don’t tell me about soldiers...”
“If you don’t want to talk, that’s all right. How ‘bout I come back in a few hours, then? My garden hedge needs trimming. And just so you don’t forget me...”
With a vicious twist, she cranked in the spikes a few centimeters, a small smile crossing her features as the screaming intensified in both volume and frequency. She could only leave him in there for thirty minutes or so, of course, but she enjoyed imagining how panicked the surfacer must be inside that painful little box.
But that was enough of that. She gave a cursory look around the small dungeon, letting her eyes linger on random prisoners just to watch them squirm in their restraints, before heading up the stairs into the main house, the last few shrill screams suddenly cutting out as the soundproof door closed behind her with a heavy thud.
Ah, that was nicer. While the screaming did have a nice melody to it, after awhile she did tend to get a headache. With a contented sigh, she plucked up her gardening shears from where she’d left them on her coffee table and strolled out her front door.
Nephista hadn’t always had a front hedge. A hundred years ago, when she’d still been living with her mother, she hadn’t even known that such a thing could possibly exist. It was only on her first raiding party that she’d seen one and even though they’d burned down the house that it belonged to, she’d asked the party leader if they could leave the hedge so that she could study it. She’d agreed, and after several nighttime trips to get exact measurements, she'd taken a small sample of the hedge to try to plant in her underground garden. It died within a week. It had taken her years and hundreds of small shrubs to figure out what the surface world had that she did not. She’d tested the soil, observed them in every kind of weather in the attempt to replicate it, even gone so far as to take a few slaves to get some barrels of water from the stream that ran closest to the original hedge. Nothing had worked.
Of course, she knew now that the ingredient she’d been missing was light. There wasn’t a suitable substitute for that down here in the Darklands... so she’d just substituted a different sort of hedge.
She smacked the tendril that had been investigating her arm with the shears.
“What did I tell you about eating me?” she demanded sharply.
The tendril quickly retreated back into the hedge.
“That’s more like it. Try that again and I will shape you into a teddy bear. Don’t think I won’t. Now, I notice that you’ve been growing beyond the limits we discussed. You know what that means...”
The hedge trembled, possibly in fear.
She strode slowly towards it, casually snipping the shears as she did so. With great deliberation, she grabbed a particularly disorderly twig and prepared to cut.
She was interrupted by a gurgling scream. A scream that seemed to come from the other side of the hedge.
With a sigh, she let go of the offending twig and walked around to see a cloaked figure wrestling with several of the vines. On closer inspection, she could see that he was a surfacer. A male surfacer.
“So,” she smirked, “found my tendriculos did you? Struggling makes it worse, you know. Helps it tighten its grip on you so it can devour you faster. It also alerts the others to your presence, so you might end up getting ripped apart instead.”
“Others?” the man whimpered.
“It’s a hedge,” replied simply, “Of course there’s others, a hedge isn’t made up of one plant, you know. What I’m trying to say is that you should talk quickly. Who are you and why are you here?”
“Right, right,” the man gulped, trying to compose himself as the vines tightened around him, scrabbling for his pocket, “You’re Nehpista Kenduis, correct?”
Nephista nodded, moderately bemused.
“I’m Kevin Cartwright, a messenger. My master sent me with a letter for you,” he pulled out a small, crumpled envelope with a blood red seal and held it out to her.
With only the barest glance at the seal, she snatched up the envelope and ripped it open. Inside, the letter read only:
Want to take over the world? Meet up surface-side at noon.
Hmm... noon. From her rough idea of the time, that would be scarcely an hour from now, just barely enough to get to the surface if she left right now. Her hedge wouldn’t get trimmed for one thing... and then there was the matter of the prisoners in the basement. She hadn’t fed them today and if she were gone for a week or two, the mess would probably be pretty disgusting when she got back. Not to mention the man in the iron maiden.
But then again, even if this was an exaggeration, her mother had always told her to take advantage of opportunities for power, and this certainly qualified. Eh, she could borrow some slaves to clean up the prisoners if they didn’t survive. And the hedge would probably be happy it was let off the pruning list. And besides...
“It’s not as if I’ve got anything better to do,” she muttered.
“Um...” said the messenger, looking exceedingly uncomfortable as a vine began sliding down his pants, “Not to interrupt or anything, but could you possibly call off your hedge? I really need to report back to my master...”
She waved him off, “Don’t worry about a thing, Kevin Cartwright. I will make your report personally. Besides, my hedges won’t be getting fed for the next few weeks and it would be a shame to deny them a free meal...”
She walked off to the messenger’s pleading as she mentally calculated the things she’d need for the trip. Just the bare necessities, really...
Here's a snippet of the book I'm working on now:
It was another sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Julie Harper found it to be the perfect chance to head downtown to do some early Christmas shopping. There were shoppers all along the sidewalk, but nary a car in the street. No one could have foreseen the truck that would come barreling through the crosswalk.
Pam was asleep on the seat next to her daughter's bed. It had been a tough week. When Julie first came in, the doctors weren't even sure that she would survive the night. She'd made it through, but no one was sure how long she would be comatose. It was tough looking down at her daughter's bruised face, unsure if she would ever see her beautiful smile again.
"I'll take over from here, Pam. You look like you could go for some breakfast."
Pam looked back at her husband, whose handsome features were overshadowed after days of very little sleep and countless hours of crying.
"Is it morning already?" Pam got up and stretched. She made a weak smile as her husband came over to sit in her seat by her daughter's bed.
"I should go over to my parents. I know they'd want to know how she's doing. It's probably harder for them then it is for us. Julie is their first grand daughter. She's their entire world."
She could barely get the last words out as she choked up with tears. Her husband squeezed her hand gently.
"It's okay honey. I'm sure Julie will be alright. I can go get your parents if you'd rather."
Pam wiped her tears and looked into her husband's eyes. "No, it's OK. I could use the fresh air anyway."
Julie looked around. She was in an orange room with swirling white and blue lights all around her. She felt strange, almost like she was floating. With an unsteadiness, she brought her hand up to her face. It appeared orange just like the rest of what she saw.
"OK, this is weird. It's probably a result of the accident. I wonder why no one else is around."
She began walking forward and ended up in the back seat of a car. She could see the hazy white figures of three people in the car with her, but she could not tell who they were. She tried to focus her eyes, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't get her eyes to focus. As she started to talk, her vision seemed to split into two images, with one side a shade of white and the other a shade of blue. Thinking she was having double vision, she tried to focus again.
Suddenly, the blue image changed. The driver slumped down into their seat and the car veered into the oncoming lane. Without warning, a tractor trailer slammed into the car and all three figures were mangled by the crash. The white image drove by the tractor trailer and pulled off onto the side of the road.
The blue and white images began to blur, and then merge before finally Julie's view became normal again. She found herself in the back seat of the car again. Even though the images were still fuzzy, this time she could tell who the three images were. They were her mother and her grandparents! She became increasingly nervous knowing the fate that the car would soon have. Suddenly she found herself floating up to the front seat. She seemed to be inside the fuzzy image of her mother.
With her adrenaline levels soaring, Julie was able to take control of the steering wheel just as her mother slumped in her seat. The car missed the tractor trailer, and Julie brought the car to the side of the road and to a complete stop.
With that, Julie's view changed to black once more.
I have come to realise that I have a dark mind. Here are some of my very short stories (one five-worder, two twenty-worders):
The Earth goes “boom”. Oops.
I have to say, DAISHI, I'm a bit confused. You made a big deal about not posting stories that are too long, but then you quote the whole thing even though it's on the same page. I don't really care I guess, but it seems quoting the first and last sentence or something would be enough for people to know which story you're quoting.
This is a cool thread, I'm glad that so many people have stuff to contribute, and most important of all, it's inspiring me to work more on my stories :)
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