Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weirdly Contest - Day 2

Contest rulz posted Friday, December 7.

Please feel free to provide a title for your scene.

Entry # 3: Samantha Winston:

The Lightning Rod

They say there is a place where lightning doesn't strike twice - but three times, four time, over and over.
They say the trees can't grow there. When one gets too tall, it's struck down.
They say there's a place where the air vibrates with electrons, calling the bolts of lightning down flicker-quick and hot fingered, singing the trees that dare raise their heads too high so they grow sideways to defeat the electric enemy.

There are places like that where I have lived. Don't raise your head too high. Don't act too proud. Don't show off. Don't show at all. Hide your body and your mind. Hide behind mediocraty. Because if you don't, then someone will be quick to knock you down - make sure you realize that you better toe the line, stay in line, keep your head down. And if, by some quirk of talent or fate you stand out, you're the lightning rod.

Destiny All A-Quiver

Somewhere in between one-hundred and one-hundred-and-fifty pages the decision was made. Arrows were sent for years down narrow alleyways while quivers were created and worn almost round the clock. Large staffs were twirled in determined hands and feathered caps fashioned from the felt collections of older relatives.

The neighborhood buzzed with the craziness of it all yet remained accepting of the earnest proclamations for a “Great Return”.

Children came and dedicated themselves for short durations. Fights were rehearsed and names were passed out ceremoniously like post-battle medals to all who ventured behind the slatted, ivied fence.

Through all the odd looks and the shaking heads, the whispers and the bold pronouncements, the finger pointing and the calls to supper, Stuart endured.
Hands were blistered and balmed, the eyesight trained keen, the muscles stretched and torn down and ultimately strengthened.

Fate was matched only by crazed dedication of heroic proportions.

Time marched inexorably onward, like a predestined army.

The call grew louder with every passing birthday. The wind in the distant, as-yet-unseen trees. The gnarl and the twist of fate and branches. The travelers, who would be confronted, and the possibilities of damsels in their distressful situations.

At eighteen, quiver and bow stowed carefully in an overhead compartment, Stuart traveled. Peanuts were consumed and small sips of coke in plastic cups imbibed. Immigration lines were withstood and taxis and buses conquered. The foreseen day finally fell.

And Lo!


The great Sherwood Forest?

#5: Julie of Virtual Journey:

Jingle Bells

It was a long walk on strange paths, and the sticky heat soon left me drowsing in the bracken under the turning oaks. I heard faint cries in the distance as I drifted off to sleep. Much later I started awake. Nothing stirred.

Then I saw the feather. It hadn’t been there before. A long, dark feather. I swallowed and closed my eyes, seeing a shrieking reminder from a time before I could talk or cry, blocking out the sun, clawing my hair, shocking me silent.

Feathers frightened me.
I edged backwards. Then I heard the noise.

Just the slightest tingling sound. I strained my ears to listen. No sense of direction. I got up, stepped round the feather, and moved on. The noise again. A faint jingling, and the whirring of wind among the branches. I moved faster, heart beating; eyes fixed on the path. My mouth was dry. Oak roots snaked under my feet and brambles pulled at my ankles.

I could hear the flapping of wings and the jangling of metal but couldn’t see anything.
I ran. Dodging low branches, hugging the path. The distant shrieks started again, first faint and then much louder. A clearing was in sight. I could feel the black shadow on my shoulders. I closed my eyes and lunged forward in terror.

Suddenly with a rush of wind and a carillon of bells an eagle swooped over my head, soared out of the forest and pounced in triumph on the flying lure.

# 6: Charles Gramlich of RAZORED ZEN:

Sunlight fogs the clearing where the dying trees watch; nothing stirs. But the quiet will soon break. Riders are coming from north and south, and before them fly the ravens. They come in flocks, light spilling dark from flashing wings. Their cries rasp the sky. A wind moves with them.

The ancient oaks shiver as the black birds settle raucously in their branches. Their agate eyes spark with red as they turn their heads in the sun. The grass stirs now, whispering with gossip as the wind arrives. And there is a rumble in the distance that might be thunder but which the ravens know as the beat of iron-shod hooves.

Up the last hills toward the clearing the riders come, thunder shaking the earth now, shaking the trees and stirring the birds into a frenzy. Light ripples off armor, off the heads of lances and the bright pennons that snap with eagerness.

The sky roars with sound, then falls nearly silent as the armies draw to a halt facing each other. In the trees, the ravens preside. And the charge comes, as the birds expect. Battle is joined. Carnage riots in the clearing.

First blood soaks the earth, moistens the dry soil. It’s what the dying oaks have waited for; it’s why they’ve been sending hate over the years into weak human minds, urging them to war. Quietly, the oaks begin to bloom. And in the trees’ awakening hunger, the ravens are the first to go.


Charles Gramlich said...

More cool entries. Interesting that a couple of these have birds and the sound of metal.

Julie said...

Loved Scott's Destiny All a Quiver.

There's some truth in what he suggests - Sherwood forest has a good visitor centre, but its a surprise to find that its surrounded by closely grown trees (!?) and there isn't much distinctive atmosphere. Can't speak for the rest of it, so may have misjudged it on first impression.

Bernita said...

Instinctive, I think, Charles.
I have seen glades like this where one pauses warily before crossing.

Julie, I understand the Forest, so shrunk to about 500 acres, has now been doubled in size.

Julie said...

I haven't picked up any reference to this, but I'm sure you are right - there has been a lot of emphasis on tree planting in Britain in the last decade.

SzélsőFa said...

This is totally off here, Bernita, I've just dropped in to say my congratulations to your having received the Powerful Roar Award!

I came here to think and refresh my thoughts and most of all, to digest all those powerful words you and your fellow writers contribute to your (almost) daily discussions of interesting topics.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Szelsofa.
And congratulations back to you for the same award.

Church Lady said...

Charles, I loved your last paragraph in particular. And the very last sentence sortof creeps in and stands there defiantly. Very nice.

Samantha, I read this a few times. I really like the message.

Scott, I didn't understand yours until I read the comments. Now it makes sense. A sad tribute to a great forest. Nicely done.

Sarah Hina said...

Samantha, your interpretation was a great psychological and social metaphor. Gave me a shiver, too. Nicely done!

Scott, I loved the imagery here, as the forest is mythologized in Stuart's mind. And then the shock of reality crumbling the myth in an instant. Very sad, but acutely drawn. Good job!

Julie, this was beautifully written. You really succeeded in building the tension throughout, and I could feel the character's fear and flight. Vividly evoked. Great work!

Wow, Charles, that was superb. I love your myth here, and your piece is very sensory and evocative. I could see everything so well. Eerie, but strangely beautiful, too. Fantastic!

SzélsőFa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SzélsőFa said...

I liked Charles's writing and his skills, I really enjoyed its texture and imaginery, but was definitely upset by the ending.

Lana Gramlich said...

I vote for Charles...but I have to admit some bias. <:\

Bernita said...

Hee, Lana, I have biases too - so far about 16 of them...