Friday, December 14, 2007

WEIRDLY Contest - Last Day

Contest for a copy of Weirdly: A Collection of Strange Stories(Tales) closes tonight at the midnight hour, Eastern Standard Time.

Rules posted Dec 7, entries posted beginning Dec 8.

Any entries that arrive before the deadline tonight will be posted tomorrow.

Below are the entries received yesterday:

Entry # 22: SzelsoFa:

A Hundred Entangled Words

I am expected at the edge.

My feet sink deep into the bog as they carry my troubled soul to the Elderly.

At the onset of night, a murmur raises. In the darkness a calling drifts,and a shiver of light lurks the inexperienced towards the marsh.

Some say it's dangerous to walk alone. Some speak of vicious voices. But that's blindness to see, refusal to understand, objection to open up and perceive.

Grandma lived near the woods. She taught me to trust the Elderly whenever I was upset. Her silver hair swam around in a scent of bread, rosemary and apples in the room. She kept telling me stories, among which there was one I liked the most - The Legend of a Hundred Entangled Words:

Awe and respect guide me
Into your realm I'm approaching
Watch me, Elderly
A light guides me
When the Moon's away
Into your arms I lower my pride
Your words I welcome through the mist
Have I been or done wrong
Judge me, Elderly
Am I the one to go or the one to stay
Tell me, Elderly
Your whisper settles down yet stirs within
Am I to stay or am I to enter the soft door
Under my feet
I bend to your decision
Like a ripple of dew
Take me if you wish
Lead me to eternal light

Well, this is how I came to this land today. I've been following the poem.
Hush, I already hear the Wise speaking.

Entry # 23: Church Lady from ABench Press:

On a chilly Thursday eleven years ago, baby Jay climbed out of his crib and plopped onto the floor. Since he couldn’t walk and he forgot to bring Mr. Fluffy and his butt was just a little bit sore from the landing, Jay sat in his diaper and wailed.

Two years later on a chilly Thursday, Jay stacked boxes and chairs into a Z-shaped pile and climbed onto the kitchen counter. It had taken fifteen cookies and one broken glass before his mother came running.

Jay’s climbing skills followed him into kindergarten and by the time he was in the fourth grade, he was a legend.

When Jay was in the fifth grade, his family moved. The kids in his new school heard rumors. They demanded proof. Outside. After school.

“We call this the butt-kicking tree.” Kevin munched on potato chips and nonchalantly motioned to the twisted tree. “Ain’t nobody’s done it.”

Scooter and Lyle walked around the tree, kicking up leaves and sizing up Jay.

“It can be done.” Jay paused for emphasis. “Come back in one week.”

During the week, Jay cut three toe-holds into the trunk and pretended to be King Arthur to pass the time.

On a chilly Thursday afternoon and in front of most of the fifth-graders, Jay scaled the twisted tree.

The air crackled with excitement.

“What do you see?”

“I see kings and knights and horses bigger than this tree.”

The kids looked beyond the tree, and one by one, they saw Camelot.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum aka The Dryad's Revenge
By Nicky of "Absolute Vanilla... (and Atyllah)"

The far lookout beckoned. Commander Jisprit moved towards him.
"What is it?"
"Men - advancing upon the kingdom."
"Yes, in armoured horses."
Jisprit turned to gaze first at the palace, towering high into the sky, sunlight filtering through its windows. Then he cast his eyes upon the forest and the other cities in the Realm.
"Ready the warriors," he ordered.
"Yes, my lord."
Jisprit watched as messengers sped along the branching pathways of the Imperial City. Flight heralds soared above him to pass on the alert.
A glint of light caught his eye and turning, he saw his queen observing him from the tall turret.
He flexed his wings and rose up.
"My Lady," he said, bowing low.
"Trouble, Jisprit?"
"Men, My Lady, in armoured horses."
"They will sport with us or…?"
"Who knows, My Lady, but we cannot take chances. They have decimated the kingdom too often before."
The queen nodded, her face thoughtful. "They think not, these giant brutes. They see not. What is ours they believe to be theirs. You are right, we must be on our guard. Too often do they despoil and destroy the Realm." She paused a moment. "No, wait… let us be pre-emptive, Jisprit. For a change we will strike first."
"My Lady?"
"They destroy us and we let them. It is time to stop their constant advance. Call upon the Elementals, let their lightning strike the men as those plunderers have always struck us. It is time for change."

Entry # 25: Writtenwyrdd:

Someone tried to blast the Tree of Life—probably Zeus on another drunken carouse, but he wasn’t saying.

“Not another harvest for at least a thousand years,” Lilith said while observing the damage, because she tended the Garden of Good and Evil after that idiot Adam and That Woman abandoned it.

Loki, being himself, was glad to spread the bad news at Lilith’s behest.
Soon, Immortals started showing up to discuss their options. Hestia brought cookies and the Corn Maiden brought cornbread. The Hanged Man brought lamb and turned some water into wine (a parlor trick he did at every bash for the past couple of millennia.) Ba’al brought what he said was roast pork. Nobody touched that, though, except a couple of Aztec deities when they thought no one was looking.

Chatter, inanity and various infusions reported to be the nectar of the gods were passed around. Talk ensued. The gist: What are We going to do about the Tree?

“We’ll age without the fruit.”

“Hangovers,” moaned Bacchus.

“My beauty will fade and no one will lie with me.” That was any one of several Goddesses of Love, every one of them prinking in a mirror as they spoke.

“Erectile dysfunction,” moaned Zeus.

Set, who generally chaired, rolled his eyes then pointed at each deity who’d spoken. “Tylenol. Pheromone perfume. Viagra. Get a grip, people. The answer is quite simple. Bioengineering. We’ll clone the damned Tree and make a bloody orchard. Five years, tops, for our first crop."

Entry # 26: Scott from HardToWant:


Bobby snatched his pistol from his right hip holster and started into his pivot—
Crunch, head jerked forward, ringing like a gong.
Dog tired.
“Whoa. It weren’t that hard,” a voice said. A tug on his gun hand. “Now gimme that.” The loss jarred Bobby awake. The Colt. His daddy’s Colt.
“That there was a love tap t’get yer attention.” Cole spiked the shovel into the dirt a hairs breadth from the tip of Bobby’s boot. “Now dig.”
“You gonna do for me like you did my daddy?” Bobby rubbed the back of his head. Bone dry.
“You ain’t never had no sense, Bobby.”
“So you sayin’ it ain’t so?”
“I said dig.”
Cole trained the Colt on Bobby’s forehead and thumbed back the hammer. “This thing loaded?”
Eyes locked on Cole’s, Bobby snatched the shovel and heeled it into the soft earth. “Six feet I reckon?”
The sun turned orange and dipped over the horizon. Bobby looked up in the failing light, neck-deep now in the hole. Cole’s face stared down, aglow from the tip of a cigarette.
“The Beaton boys hung your daddy from that branch right there.” Cole pointed.
“That’s a damned lie. It was you kilt him--for the stolen bank money! “
“No, but they did. Do I look like a rich man?”
Bobby’s shovel bit into ground with a hollow thunk.
“He died so’s when his boy become a man he’d have the chance his daddy never had."


Sam said...

I am really enjoying these. It's so interesting to see what thousand words a picture will conjure.
There are so many talented people on this blog!

Julie said...

These are brilliant. Church lady - I had one like that...(took after his mother, of course...)

StarvingWriteNow said...

Wow, Bernita. You've inspired some really great writing. What a tough choice you'll have!

Chumplet said...

Wow, these are getting better and better. I almost regret being the first.

Thanks, Bernita for giving us an opportunity to tweak our craft.

Bernita said...

Sandra, you set a standard!

Dearmedearmedearme, it's going to be difficult.

Jaye Wells said...

Szelsofa: I can see the mists rising on the bog and whispers of the Wise. Nice job.

Church Lady: The butt-kicking tree--love it. I also enjoy how you played with the idea of a legend.

Nicky: this begs to be expanded. Nice.

Written: This is one of my favorites so far. The first line is quite a hook. Love the humor and the unexpected twists on expected mythologies.

Scott, a very strong piece. I love the voice. You capture the cadence of these characters so well.

raine said...

I've decided that I LOVE reading well-written shorts for breakfast, lol.

Lots of strong voices in this contest. Wonderful.

Sarah Hina said...

Szelsofa, this was so lovely, ushering your character toward this gentle transition. I love how you nestled the legend into the broader canvas. Beautifully drawn.

CL, I loved watching Jay's progress, from stumbler to spinner of legend. The endings was such a delightful surprise. Really charming, and great characterization!

Nicky, yours feels like a teaser to a wider, rousing tale. You did a great job of setting the scene, and bringing us to the brink of battle. Now where's the rest? ;)

Writtenwyrrd, I loved this! So humorous, and clever, too. You just know those gods were catty and trivial like that. Good to know that they could be practical, too. Very enjoyable!

Scott, this was very sinister, and I expected the worse. But the ending was a fabulous twist, and you brought it about with such flair, and an authentic voice. Fantastic story!

Charles Gramlich said...

More worthy entries. I'm amazed at the variety.

Anonymous said...

Szelsofa, there's a quiet to your piece, like footsteps on grass. I also enjoyed the vivid description of the smells.

Church Lady, great build! I really liked the evolution of the character in those little snapshots. I'm still a crazy tree climber myself (as our Christmas lights attest). As for Jay...respect.

Nicky, nice sense of the epic march. I wonder what damage the Elementals will do.

Writtenwyrdd, humor among the deities. Loved the little characterizations!

Scott, excellent twist! I thought the kid was definitely a goner. Nice classic western feel.

Nothingman said...

Church lady and written wyrdd are my fav stories in this post...

Norse mythology is an absolute killer anyday :)



SzélsőFa said...

Thank you for your kind words. It feels honored to be in a company like this.

Church Lady said...

Szelsofa, I adore your writing style. And I especially enjoyed how you combined the poetry with the prose. I made some comments on your blog and will go back and check.

Church Lady, Imaginative and playful. Publishers are crazy not to snap you up.

Absolute Vanilla, I agree with Sarah! I enjoyed the scene that you established, and wanted to read on...

Wwrtnnwrd, Oh, this was delightful!!! Creative and funny. I so enjoyed reading this!

Scott, That *was* an unexpected twist! You developed the characters really well in such a short space. I also love the voice in this one.

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