WEP Oct 2017 “Dark places” challenge

 


I awoke surrounded by darkness. The sound of slowly dripping water echoed around the darkness. With a great struggle, I failed to move anything but, my aching head on a cold, wet stone. Trying to recall how I got here, only to find a sea of drinks before the darkness appeared in my memories.

The sound of deep, drumbeats began to echo from somewhere off in the distance. Turning my head, I tried to locate the source. Beginning to see a ghastly green light entering from the left side of the area. Suddenly, the chamber began to illuminate from around me. Forcing shades of orange, blue, and green to reveal a large ancient looking cavern. It appeared as if something was carved onto the walls, but the details were difficult for me to see. Keeping my gaze locked on the approaching light, I began to see its source. A swarm of strange, humanoid figures carrying tall staff like torches walked towards me. Patchwork, tan hooded robes covered them from head to toe.

They all stopped a few footsteps from me. Beginning to move around until they formed a circle. In a language, I couldn’t understand they started to whisper in a strange dialect. Starting to slowly rotate the circle, as the whisper got louder. Rotating faster the louder they got, quickly becoming a blur. I shouted at them to no avail.

After a few minutes the chamber once again fell dark for. Moments later a ghastly, transparent giant eldritch figure stood at my feet. Noticing small concentrated orbs of white light where the joints would be a human, giving it the appearance of a living constellation. Its features giving it a hideous visage, and a twisted demonic multi-toothed grin. Soulless, black eyes looked down at me. Watching me struggle against my bindings in a fear-drenched sweat.

Strange worm-like appendages began to erupt from the things body. The tips of each one consumed by rows of teeth.Screaming in agony as the tentacles latched onto my entire body. Somehow flooding me with images of a dark, strange ancient looking world. Slender humanoid looking creatures seemed to populate the world’s cities. Their faces an ugly blend of a worm, squid, and fish features. Narrow interconnected tentacles made up their feet and arms. Living in monolithic cities of stone, and wood under cloudless dark grey skies. Effigies of alien-like beings watched over the edges of each city. Standing on tall walls of pale stone. Peering inside and outside the city with connected faces.

The images faded into black, as a sense of empty bliss began to fill my body. A hypnotizing rhythmic tone blowing through my mind, repeating itself every few seconds. Lulling me into a state somewhere between sleep and consciousness. Flashing vivid images of humanity’s ancestors arriving at the stone city. Taking over the city by the spear point, slaughtering the city’s original inhabitants. Bathing the city in a river of green blood, as screams of agony and battle echoed in my head. I looked up at the strange eldritch being, in disgust at the barbaric nature of my ancestors. Beginning to wonder if I was here as an act of penance on behalf of humanity. It seemed oblivious to my gaze, force-feeding more images into my head.

Beginning to feel disoriented and weak as three of the robbed beings approached me.Standing on either side of the stone platform, twisted curving blood-stained daggers in tentacle-like hands. One standing above my head, only their outreached hands visible. Their gazes locked onto the eldritch being. Almost as if they were waiting for something to happen.

I watched helplessly as three more worm things shot from the things body. These ones were incredibly narrow compared to the others. Even possessing the strange light that was in the things body, that ended in a sharp needle-like protrusion. Managing to penetrate the heads of this thing’s summoners.Forcing a brief full-body spasm, before they started emitting a low-pitched cry. The cavern filling once again with the strange chant.

Mere moments later in unison movements, the daggers were plunged into my body. I screamed out in a mixture of surprise and pain. Feeling the bliss shoot out of my body, as blood began to crawl out of my wounds. Screaming again as the daggers plunging was repeated. Creating new wounds, and more pain.

Beginning to see a strange almost blinding white light appear on the cave’s ceiling. For reasons beyond my understanding, it was drawing me towards it. Emptying my body of all feeling, as it extracted my essence.Holding it within itself as I looked down at my dead body. Seeing that I wasn’t the first victim of this strange cult, nor did I believe I would be the last. Finally giving myself fully to the light, as the last flicker of my existence gave way.


Critique level: Full

Word Count: 807

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WEP August 2017 challenge

For this month’s challenge, the theme was “Reunions,” which in my opinion comes in two types; joyous, and tragic. Some could argue that the intentions of the reunion, is how it is perceived. Which in the case of writing this piece, I found to be oddly double sided but, true. Once you read how this piece begins and ends you may understand why I state that. Enjoy my tale, titled The Banished Prince Returns. august2bbadge


Looking past the dungeon’s cell door, I glared at my father. Along with the strange, crippled, ancient being who ordered the guards to put me here. My father appearing more like a ghost of his former self. His hair graying and unraveled, upon a face that I barely recognized. This wasn’t the reunion I anticipated.

With a weak voice, my father said “You shouldn’t have returned my son. The exile I ordered on you, had a purpose you were too young to understand at the time. Even now I have my doubts.”

“Mother told me the truth when I turned fifteen, three years ago. Your servant has poisoned your mind, father,” I said. “Now let me out father.”

My father turned, beginning to walk away before shouting “Never,” not looking back at me. Ascending the stone staircase, followed closely by his strange companion. Leaving me alone, in the dying flame of a torch.

The torch had died before I heard the sound of approaching footsteps. They stopped as a someone said “It is true then, that the prince has returned,” the voice almost recognizable.

“Rshun,” I asked.

“Close prince, Rshun was my father,” it answered, as the footsteps returned. Stopping at my cell door. “Don’t fear prince, loyalists still remain here,” lowering their voice to a whisper. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the key to this cell but there is still a way out. That far back wall opens to a passageway from when they first built this place,” passing something under the cell door. “Your freedom has a price my prince, and the loyalists know what it is. Yet you have a choice. Kill your father, taking your rightful place on the throne, or find your father’s strange follower, and kill him instead. War is coming prince, and the kingdom needs someone strong to lead it. Be safe, and quick if you can my prince,” before walking away.

Reaching around, I touched something soft but cold. Pulling it towards me, felt the crest of my family on this piece of fabric. Slowly unwrapping it, a dim light began to peek through. I quickly realized this was the fabled Illumina. Trying to keep the light hidden I walked towards the back wall. Feeling around for the mechanism that would open the hidden passageway. Managing to find it by accident as leaned on a brick, on the edge of giving up. Being careful I entered the passageway. Trying to make a decision as I navigated the stone passageway, with little idea where I was going.

Only by stumbling around in the system of passageways did I find my way into the higher levels of the castle. Having to peek carefully through several possible openings, before finding both of them in the same room. The stranger leaning towards my father’s ear, whispering something I couldn’t hear. His hand glowing a faint shade of green, in the process. Being cautious, I cracked the door open just enough to let me through before entering the chamber. Staying close to the wall I watched them both. Knowing in my heart, what I was doing was right. Hiding the wrapped blade behind my back I approached. Surprised to see the guards made no moves to stop me. After I got close, I let the fabric fall aside. Plunging the Illumina into the back of the strange man, before it hit the ground. Withdrawing the blade, as I noticed the stranger turned only his head. Looking at me with eyes, darker than the night sky. Startled some, I stabbed the thing quickly. Avoiding his gaze, for this thing’s spell fall on me too. Apparently annoyed with me, the thing pushed me aside. Placing its entire focus on me, seemingly oblivious to the ebony goo falling from his wounds. Approaching me with his hands, slowly turning into talons. Doubting I could do much against this abomination’s true self, I ran towards it. With a twisted grin, it seized my throat. Lifting me into the air with ease. Keeping the best grip I could on the Illumina, I plunged it into the creature’s head. The thing’s grip loosened enough to drop me, as it stumbled backward. It’s head starting to glow from the inside.

I heard my father weakly shout “Kill that thing, my loyal guards.”

From the corners of the room, guards rushed forward, weapons drawn. The strange creature panicked and released a high pitched howl. Yet, the guards didn’t falter, as the first spear was hurtled into the air. Pinning that thing to the ground, as it began to bleed out. Fighting against the guards until it finally died.

Rushing to my father, I watched as the magic effects continued. Looking slightly stronger than before, but still very weak.

My father commanded “Welcome home, my son. Guards the banishment I placed on my son, is lifted. Spread the word to the kingdom, that the prince has saved the kingdom,” before seizing my hand hard. “That was the last of my strength my son. The kingdom is now yours, do me, proud son,” before fading away.


Word Count:847 Critique level: Full

 

WEP 2017 Bridges contest

The concept of bridges is something that manages to combine the notions of being literal, and figurative. Which does allow for a lot of creative ideas to sprawl forth in either direction. Yet at the same time, it manages to instill a sense of journey, adventure, and discovery in the process. Below is my entry, which does manage to instill a sense of discovery. While managing to reveal a sense of history, and myth. Enjoy my entry, title A Bridge best left Forgotten. june2bbadge


A Bridge best left Forgotten

Feeling the cold piercing breeze against my entire body, I stared at what I hoped was the last bridge. Watching as the wind whipped the old wooden rope bridge back and forth. Shooting off the layers of snow and ice in the process. The snow and ice lingered with a slight twinkle as fell into the surrounding chasm. Pushing myself forward through the heavy I approached the bridge carefully.

Making a quick silent prayer to the sky, as I grabbed the slippery ice covered rope. Taking slow cautious steps onto the old wood. Hearing it creak with every other step. The other bridges that got this had done that, but it was still an unnerving noise. Taking small breaths off the oxygen tank I continued forward with caution. Keeping a tight grip on the rope as I stepped forward. Forcing myself to keep looking forward to the cavern at the bridge’s end, as the wind used the bridge and I like a rag doll. Slowing my hesitant pace even more.

It felt like hours had passed before I entered the shelter of the cavern. Knowing that keeping myself warm would easier without the wind cutting into me. With caution, I turned on the small light and my flashlight, before moving far from the cave’s entrance. The light illuminated only a few feet in front of me. If the ancient map I unearthed months ago, this was the entrance to an ancient forgotten city. Taking a deep breath, I took several cautious steps into the cave. Stopping as I almost collided with something. Shining my light on it I saw several intricate carving in the merged stalagmite and stalactite. The carvings showed a strange looking bipedal creature. There something disturbing about the carved figure. Long muscular arms flowed from its torso, ending in twisted four digit talons. Its face was a thing of twisted horror. With two sets of four saber like teeth protruded from the statue. Along with the four diamond shaped empty eyes, that stared out at me. Seeming to follow the light as I inspected it. Carefully I moved around it. Noticing that three almost perfect copies of it were carved all around it.

Trying to get away, I explored the cave further. Seeing more strange bipedal carvings were etched on the wall. Some had almost bird-like features. Others looked more like some amphibious reptile monster. Strange almost alien looking hieroglyphics rested between every carving. I couldn’t even decipher them, as they bared no resemblance to any ancient languages I studied. Within seconds of my examination of them, my light sources began to flicker. Hastily I looked around for a brazier. Finding one on the other side of the cave. Running towards it, I fumbled around for the matches in my coat pocket. Pulling them out within a step of the brazier, as my lights died. I managed to light a match tossing it where the brazier was.

With a stroke of luck, I managed to ignite the brazier. Forcing it to burn an eerie bluish flame.Pausing myself, I took several breaths off the oxygen tank. Ignoring the strange chill that was starting to creep into me. Trying to shake off the chill off, I glanced around for another brazier. Finding two more positioned at the center and left the end of the cave. I knew lighting them with the thin air was impractical. Yet the more this chill clawed into me, I was thinking they were necessary if I wanted to starve out this chill. Walking over to the center I lit it quickly, before moving to the next one. Tossing another lit match into it before, feeling at ease. That is when I noticed the flames were a different color. The left one produced a dark green flame, as the middle one produced a flame of unearthly red. It was odd to have the braziers each burn a different color but, I assumed there wasn’t any ill intention from it. There was little chance of me making it back down this late to report my strange discovery. Resigning myself to rest here I made a quick camp near the middle brazier. Hoping the flame would keep me warm as I slept.

That night haunting dreams fell upon me. Filling my mind with nightmarish visions of the cavern and its carvings. Fear alone forced me from my slumber. Only to see the carvings had created eldritch figures. The figures seemed to be dancing around a ghastly white flame. Somehow the light was being emitted from something within the first set of carvings. They seemed to be not to notice me. Forcing myself not to scream as I watched curiously. Becoming quickly memorized by the spectacle. That is when I began to hear a chant. The chant echoing around the chamber in an indecipherable language made of up clicks and growls. Yet the more I listened to the more I began to understand it was more than that. Somehow that managed to bring me their attention.

Finally letting out a pent-up scream, that echoed around the cavern. Noticing a shift in the eldritch beings’ expressions as they approached me. Their hands reaching out with a twisted, hateful glare penetrated through me. With twitchy hands, I searched my bag for my pistol. The chanting resumed filled with intense anger, as I grabbed the coated handle of my weapon. Firing blindly at the approaching ghosts, hoping to have some effect.

It didn’t take long for me to get down to my last bullet. Deafened by the echoing sound, I realized why the map to this place was buried.This was not a place for man, but of demons and monsters. Resigning to save myself from a fate possibly worse than death, I put the barrel at my temple. Firing my last bullet into my head without hesitation. Letting death’s hand save me from them, and keeping this place lost to time.


Word count: 990

Critique level: Full

WEP “Utopia” contest

When I started writing this, I knew I wanted to do something unusual. Yet at the same time have something that had almost comic book feel to it. I also wanted to have this concept, that “Utopia for one, may be another person’s nightmare.” Which I think I achieved in the piece.  Much to my surprise, I for once am far under the word count. Well, I hope you enjoy my entry. a2bwep2butopia2bbadge5

 


Cleansing a Broken City

 

Gunshots, sirens, and thunder vie for dominance of the air. My once grand city had become nothing more than a breeding ground for corruption, crime and greed. Perhaps it had always been this way even when I was a child. Seeing everything through innocent eyes, that faded as I matured. It is time for this place, this cesspool to be cleansed. Not by rain, or by justice but by the hand of the wise.

Taking a deep breath, I turned away from the grim view. Clearing my mind before entering the grand conference room. Where I had gathered other beings of influence and power. Knowing some had good reputations, and others were more questionable.

Pushing open the wide door, I stared at my guests. Their faces hidden behind masks, like mine. These people were the city’s best chance at rebirth. A rebirth that would usher in a utopian age.

Clearing my throat I said, ” Everyone I have gathered here has influence in this city. Yet we have watched as the corruption has consumed this city. Now, my friends, I believe that as people of influence it is our duty to cleanse this city. Seize it not for ourselves, but for our families,” pounding a closed fist against my chest. “Purge this city of its contagious corruption, and create a new utopia for our city,” going silent on my guests. Studying their faces before a soft wave of clapping began. Getting louder and louder as more people joined in.

With a grin I watched them take their seats. Each one of them clueless as to the method I would accomplish this goal. Only I and the corporate soldiers I paid knew the method I chose. Using the same brutal methods of criminals against them. Killing them in the same method they corrupted my city, with gunpowder and fire.

 

Turning my attention back the city, ready to start the symphony that would be its rebirth. Everything placed strategically days before I called this meeting. By merciless and predatory corporate soldiers in the clever guise of social workers.  Using nothing more than my phone. Beginning it with a single phrase, “Veni, Vedi, Vici.”

 

Hearing the clock for a few seconds before the first bomb went off. Each bomb only seconds behind the other. Creating a symphony of fire, screams, and sheer destruction. Blending itself in with the roaring thunder. Signaling just the beginning of what was to come on this historic night.

 

In a matter of minutes, the symphony changed. Replacing the explosions with concussive gunshots. The constant stream of muzzle flashes illuminating the smoke. Forging a night sky like tapestry over the city.  Making the slums a spot of beauty, instead of blight. Bringing a cleansing rain of copper to the docks, Little Italy, and Chinatown. It was an oddly enchanting sight from where I stood.

 

Now it was on to step two of my righteous plan, bringing a voice to this night. Approaching the grand conference room once more, I stood in the center of the room. Turning on a camera and series of light. Broadcasting myself throughout the city.

 

“Fair citizens of this city, by now you are wondering why certain areas of this city are engulfed in flames. Yet, I imagine some of you are aware of how our city has changed too much in the past ten years. A religious man might say they are God’s way of purifying our city for the righteous. That is only half true. The real answer is it was done by a more modern of version of the Gods, the ultra-rich. Using the influence that naturally comes from money, this court agreed to help purge this city. To reclaim it for honest, hardworking men and women. Now I have a message for any surviving criminals,” changing my voice to make it sound more menacing. “Leave this city, while you can. This will be your last chance for mercy. Your kind of scum has no place in what is come. A new golden age, a utopia for all,” shutting off the lights and camera. Satisfied, that the new age was coming to pass.


Word count 690 Critque level: Full

WEP October 2016 piece

Given the split theme, choices were “Constellations,” or “Halloween,” it was a difficult choice of where to go. Both are rich areas for creating a short story with a limited word count.  I will admit it would be easier to go over the word count, then to be under it since each area has a vast mythology surrounding them.  Yet each had their own set of challenges because of that as well.  My choice may not be obvious until the end of the story since I did try to make it subtle. Trying to downplay it and use it poetic imagery over being obvious with my theme choice.  I hope you enjoy my entry for this month entitled, “Lost Amongst the Stars.”

 


Lost Amongst the Stars

I never wanted to be part of this war with the Rischi. Yet it was forced upon most medical students all over the world. My family wasn’t connected enough for me to get out. Which gave me an ultimatum, enlist or get a lifetime hitch in jail. I took the former, and now here I sit. Crammed into a small escape alone with my thoughts of my escape. Trying to escape my thoughts, I pressed the play button on my bloodied recorder. The recorder fills the silence as it plays, “My name is Sharo Neva, and I am the last survivor of the medical ship Athena. The Rischi fired on us without provocation, managing to destroy must of the critical systems on board. As the sirens blared and the lights flickered I mercifully killed my own injured patients. Most didn’t even flinch as they pressed their heads against the cold steel barrel of my service pistol. The gunshot managed to drown out the sirens before being the agonizing screams overwhelmed the volume of the siren. I hated doing that but, I knew somewhere deep in my heart it would be less painful than starving to death in a dead ship.

Releasing the play button, I looked out the small round window. Watching the stars float by as I watched the endless sea of darkness pass by. The stars acting as a makeshift system of beacons, reminding of the star-charts I was forced to study in basic. Trying to guess where I was based on the stars. Hoping to find something that was recognizable, like Orion,Taurus, or Ursa Major. This escape pod may not have built for long term use, but if I could get close to one of the orbiting stations I may yet survive this. From what I recall before the battle we had passed Uranus two days before being fired upon. Which meant the station floating above Titania was my best chance to be found if I could manage to get the radio to work. From what I was taught in training there was a short wave radio hidden under the left panel by the window. Struggling to move  in such a cramped space, I did the best I could to get just to the right of the window. The panel didn’t look any different from any of the others, I just hoped I remembered correctly. Reaching over with both hands I reached under both sides of the panel the best I could. With some degree of adjustment, I attempted to pry the panel off. Being cautious not to inadvertently damage my only way of communication I had.

After a few minutes, I managed to get the panel off, revealing a compact and simple looking radio. A linear series of small red, glowing lights showed that it was working. There were no knobs or dials to adjust the range of frequency at all attached to the flat gray surface. Yet from what I could tell there was no external microphone, only two buttons. One labeled response and the other labeled broadcast. Pressing both of them down, I asked, “Can anyone hear me?”

Letting up on the buttons, I waited for a response. Except all I got was the repeating sound of static being played from the internal speaker. Almost mocking me as I attempted to survive before my dwindling supplies were gone. Trying to keep myself from losing myself to loneliness or madness, I decided to sleep. Hoping it would extend my supply oxygen, more than anything else.

Minutes turned to hours, before something striking against the outside of the pod bolted me awake. Struggling to repress the urge to freak-out I looked out the window. Being greeted by the sight of rubble floating around in the vast nothingness of the stars. I couldn’t tell if it was space junk, the remains of a ship, or the remains of the station that floated above Titania. For once I wasn’t sure which possible outcome was worse. Either way, my hope for a rescue was diminished to a point where it border-lined on falling into oblivion.

It was hard to tell how many days passed before I started to feel claustrophobic. The wonderment of watching the stars go by had faded. Even my limited ration supply was starting to dwindle to down to a few days at most. Given how dismal my situation looked, I pressed down the record button on the recorder. Ready to record my will, and last words for my wife, my son, and my soon to be born daughter. Clearing my throat, I said, “My name is Sharo Neva, and this may be the last words you hear from me my loves. To my beautiful and darling wife, Lyorna you gave me a lifetime worth of happiness in just a few years. Blessing me with your hand in marriage, and soon to be two children. I hope you find all the happiness you gave me again, and I love you. To my son, Rysio watch after your mother once you are older. I’m not even sure you will remember me when you grow up, but I hope you know that you are my greatest gift. To my unborn daughter Suri, I may not have ever met you but, your mother will tell you about me. Know that even if you stumble and fall in life, just look up at the sky and know I will be watching you. To both my children, remember I will always love you even if our time was short,” letting go of the record button and letting the tears fall.

I wasn’t sure what caused me to hallucinate rotten food, or oxygen deprivation, or being drunk for the past two days. A ghostly specter of my wife appeared in the escape pod with me. Her form composed of a transparent black shell lit from behind with stars. Each star seemed to shift to form various constellations until they became nothing more than a memorizing spiral of a galaxy. It whispered, “Come join us, my love.”

Her whisper a soft siren song that gave me two things I wanted. My family, and a peaceful death.


Critique level: FCA Word Count:1033

WEP August 2016 Gardens challenge

I feel like a slight preface is required before my entry reveals itself. If you have been following this for awhile, I hope you expect something strange in my writing. Yet, if you have just started following me this may be a good place to start. The “gardens” theme for this challenge, threw me a challenge from the beginning. I was torn from a creative perspective trying to think of a direction that I would allow me three things. The first of course to stick to the contest’s theme. While the second was do I write something more fantastical in nature, or do I go towards more of science fiction setting. Both of them had great potential to work well within the context of the theme. Given the 1000 word limit, the third thing was how do I manage to satisfy myself and the readers, that the story is conclusive. I do feel I managed to do that, within the parameters I wanted. Managing to keep to theme, while giving it my own spin. I appreciate any full critiques or any comments/questions anyone has. Without further delay, I humbly present my entry to you.

Guardians in an Atomic Garden

As a child, I had grown up after the first generation atomic gardens had been constructed. All the children had been warned to be careful of the radiation, and the odd mutants that lived inside. My parent’s worked opposite shifts, maintaining the garden in some way. My father was an entomologist, and my mother was a botanist. They always told me about the danger of what they did. Sometimes carrying in odd flowers to show me, that they could study. Other times bringing in small damaged clear containers, filled with horrific looking creatures. Yet the more I aged, I realized how fascinated I was by their work. Watching the tall, domed wall around the atomic garden at any chance I got. Ready, and waiting until I was eligible to start working for the city at the age of sixteen.
Now, after I turned sixteen I was now eligible to work on the atomic garden. Stopping, and getting the potassium-iodide pills from the medical center, I was required to take daily to get even close to the garden. Walking to the transition center ,where all who worked the garden. Waiting for decontamination before entering and leaving the garden. That was the first time, I had seen the bright, silver radiation suits. Complete with the creepy, orange tinted astronaut-style helmet that had an air tight seal. Leaving only two small narrow, clear tubes that led to the oxygen cleaning machine that went on under the suit. I looked at the dingy, scratched mirror before me. Seeing myself in the suit for the first time. It was an imposing sight, in my opinion.
Waiting only a few minutes before I was cleared to enter the atomic garden for the first time. Blinded some by the artificial, intense blue light that greeted me. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust, to light. Taking in the odd variety, of bright polychromatic flowers that filled the garden. Large half mechanical, half organic trees separated the flowers into sections. The trees  possessed a brown and silver bark, with thin lines of blue and, green ran up the bark. Silver, tentacle-like arms radiating outward from the top of each tree, aiding in supporting the dome. Each small section of the tentacle, emitting the bright blue light that fed the plants and illuminated everything.
A few large, mutated dragonflies flew by me, as I walked around. Each had a bright orange color, with green thin banded circles on their sides, seeming to chase each other. Their thin, wings filled with a red membrane under the clear skin of their wings. I smiled some under my helmet, watching them with curiosity. Considering following them, hoping they would lead me to the mysterious women who I was told about as a kid. Trying to stay out of their way I followed with patient steps.
They stopped at the rightmost corner of the garden. Floating above, a section of flowering hybrid plants my parents created. The stem of the plant was a dark, almost black shade of purple, with lines of white up it. On the top of each stem was a wide octagonal flower, that alternated its color depending on the time of day, and its health. Right now its center was a fluorescent shade of violet, encased in alternating colors of red, and white.
I must of hit something as I approached the plot, as I heard a loud click. The next thing I noticed was beginning to descend somehow. Into a vast dark place, that the garden must have been covered up as construction began. Something that had survived the nuclear war, that scorched the planet centuries ago.
A voice echoed in the darkness, “Follow the light,” as weak, glowing white lights begin to turn on. Leading me on a forward path,buried under the garden. Doubting I had much choice, I followed the light.
The light guided me to a large, poorly lit chamber. Various computer screens were mounted on the walls. Each screen showing footage of the gardens from different angles. The screens had white cables pouring out of them, like small rivers. Twisting and warping towards the center of the room. The cables vanished as they entered this strange, person sized alabaster egg. A thin layer of dust covered the egg. Wiping the dust away on my sleeve. I uncovered a block letter engraving. The engraving read, “Project Mithra.”
I started to step back, realizing I should get someone more knowledgeable and return. Something slamming shut, behind me made me stop dead in my tracks, frozen in fear. The voice from before returned, “You cannot leave it,” as something released a loud hiss of air.
The egg was cracking itself open, from within. A large, grotesque, twisted, metallic claw-like hand punched the egg open. Something must have been hit inside the egg, as I watched the egg starting it tilting itself towards the wall. Making itself almost parallel to the wall, with a slight angle revealing something was inside. An opalescent blue liquid started to leak out of the egg. Moving towards me as if it were alive. The more the fluid leaked out, more of whatever was inside revealed itself. A shell of silver protected whatever was inside. Odd round disc shaped protrusions covered the shell, each one having a cable attached it to.
The voice returned, “My body is dying, child. I need a replacement as the guardian for this garden. My time is ending child, and I’m afraid you don’t have much choice,” watching the cables break free and rocket towards me.
I wanted to scream and run away. Feeling the needle tips of the cable began to pierce through the suit, and into my body. Several of the cables had attached to my body, forcing me to walk to the egg. Pulling me in from the back, I watched the egg seal with a hiss of air. Drowning me in a sea of darkness, and blue liquid.


Critique level: FCA Word count: 985

 

 

WEP Challenge Spectacular Settings entry

Honestly, I’m not really sure why I choose the setting for this. I saw a picture of a standard, bland office building, and thought, “How can I make this place strange? What can I do  to add a bit of mystery and excitement in possibly one of the dullest places?” That is how The Bureau was born.

When the Bureau first recruited me less than six months ago, I thought the job would be easy. I was well aware of the Bureau’s goal of monitoring, capturing and keeping the monsters of myth and legend. Some of them I was told were not of this world. One of the ones not of this world, sat across from my desk. Fortunately for it,the features of its body could pass for human at a distance or a brief glance. It’s odd pigmented skin was almost turquoise in color, which seemed odd since the rest of its face looked more avian. A sharp almost pointed nose, separated large hollow orange eyes, and partly hide its small triangular mouth. There was a slight scar, on its head from something the file failed to mention.  From the file, he was a member of a race called Carnias and was from a planet nearly a light year away from here. Apparently from the description of the race given in the file, the creature was warm blooded and had excellent vision.

I sipped at a small cup of coffee, before shutting the file and placing on my desk. Clearing my throat, I asked “Well this visit is unexpected and not on the schedule for you, Xanu? From what I have glance from your file, your next scheduled appointment with us is in two days. What is so dire it couldn’t wait a couple of days?”

Xanu looked up at, staring at me with those orange eyes. With a soft, almost sad sounding caw before he responded ” My daughter. She has begun to enter the metamorphosis  cycle earlier than expected, between a girl and a women. It is a loud, colorful, and often violent process. I’m afraid my home is insufficient in keeping her hidden and quiet over the next month. I may be new to this world, and I would rather not break my forced exile if she is heard or spotted.This place, this planet was supposed to be a way for me to start over. That is something I desperately need.”

I stared at him stern, friendly and partly curious as to why he desperately needed a new start. From my quickly scanning his file, it was something that wasn’t mentioned. Taking another sip at my coffee, I inquired “Why is that something you need? It isn’t not your file, and when you The Bureau offers protection, but in order to do that you have to reveal everything about yourself. If you chose not to reveal it, than my ability to help you is limited Xan.”

Xan looks at me, blinking his clear eyelids. Silently he stands and pulls out a small handled device, their people had just given us. It was their version of the iPhone, but almost thirty time more powerful. He pushed the device into my hand. “That is not my information to give. My exile isn’t so much an exile, as  a matter of protection to myself and my family. All you need to know is in a file called Relocation_1.exe. It will explain why me being here is complicated.”

I touched the screen until, it came to life, in my hand. The strange clear box, with a slight silver trim around the edges. In a similar fashion to my own smartphone, I scrolled through with a thumb until I found the file Xan mentioned. Tapping on the file, I waited silently as it opened. The file was projected into the air, from the top letting can see the file as well. I wasn’t familiar with the language of his people, since I was more familiar with the language of the supernatural races that lived with humanity as well.

“You may have to translate some, I’m  still learning your language.”

Xan nodded “The long and short of it is, I’m in a protection program that keeps people who expose certain things. However the condition of my relocation, is I gave them all the information of the Carnoir. You would call them a mafia or crime family, on this world.  The Carnoir mafia worked on a little a bit of everything. I exposed their smuggling operation by accident, which is why I was originally sent here. That is why I desperately seek your help in hiding my daughter during her metamorphosis cycle.”

I brief knock, at my office door interrupted my thoughts. Drinking the last of my slightly stale coffee, I got up. “One moment Xan, usually a knock this early in the day is not a good sign.”

Xan nodded, before I walked over to the door. It was a slight surprise when I opened the door and saw Amasis. Her red hair, was tied behind her head, leaving her pointed ears.  A file pressed against her chest some. She was dressed in a collared red shirt, and a black blouse that stopped slightly south of her knee. Her silver eyes, peered at me from behind black framed glasses.

“What is it Amasis? I’m already seeing someone at the moment.”  She smirked some as she answers “You have a visitor. A elf, who wouldn’t give me his name only this file. He said and I repeat ‘Once he opens the file, he will desire to see me.’

I nodded and took the file, out of curiosity. After dealing with Xan I would read the file, since it may have been pressing but I previous business at the moment. Silently I walked over to my desk and took a seat. I stared at Xan, some as I politely put the other file on my desk. As I settled things with Xan, trying to fulfill the mission of the Bureau my thoughts turned to the elf who had delivered the file. How did he know what was contained within the file would get my attention? Who could this mysterious elf be? Was he from my past, or was he someone new?

This is the actual entry to the contest, is below:

They told me the Guardian statues were relics, of a time long since past. A time when man was capable of building great machines. Some were made to instruments of war. Others like the Guardian statues, were said to be machines made for peace. On this world and worlds beyond ours. Now they act as silent watchers of our world, surrounded by floating orbs. A large globe of our world, rests in his hand covered in a dark brown sand. 

Now, as I stare at it from horseback I can see how it inspires awe. It easily dwarfed the largest thing I had ever seen. I looked at it transfixed, as a sense of wonderment and interest. Part of me wanted to turn back, and gallop away. Another part of me wanted to get closer and study this strange relic. With a soft kick at the side of my horse, I gently pushed it forward. The journey back home would be long, and I had no desire to get stuck in the wastelands. Fortunately, the clouds had stayed close as I rode through the barren landscape. I wasn’t foolish enough to, believe the strange tales of the wastelands. Tales of monsters, small pale skinned men, and even tales of roaming groups of bandits. Yet, I had no inclination to find out if the tales were true.

As I approached the Guardian statue, I heard something odd.  Much to my surprise, my horse didn’t seem to hear it.  If it did, it failed to buck as I expected it to.  Being careful, I pulled my pistol from my waist. It was old fashioned kind, one that fired actual bullets and not bolts of refined energy. As I did so my horse whinnied, for reasons I didn’t see. Instinctively I tightened the grip on the gun, while I carefully steered the horse forward. My horse suddenly stopped, near the base of the statue.

I looked down and saw a queer figure had stopped my horse, with a gloved hand. His face was completely covered by a tan cloth. Two thick black lenses were the only thing that penetrated the cloth. In a partly muffled voice he remarked “You are late. It is a good thing, I am a patient man Alister. Another few years and I would have left.”

I let my gun drop some as the stranger spoke my name. “You know my name but I don’t know yours. I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage for the moment. Fortunately I have the high ground, and a shot at almost point blank range,” letting him see the gun.

He chuckled briefly. “I am well of that aware that Alister, but my name is irrelevant. However, why I am here is important. Something old is once again approaching this world. A enemy of all life, not just the ones on this world. You are here to help repair, this lead Guardian Statue. Your choice to fight or not has already been determined by the same power that sent me here. If you attempt to run away, all your roads will lead back to here.”

I gave him a confused look, trying to understand what he was talking about. What power could he be talking about? Why would they want this particular Guardian statue fixed, out of the several others that were said to exist? What made me so special? How would I fix this statue, since I barely understood how to?  This technology was greatly outside of my area of understanding. Then again I doubt many people alive understood these statutes, or the technology that was said to be housed inside them.

With a stare of slight interest I remarked “You do realize  I have a better chance of blowing it up than getting it working. This is beyond my understanding, not to mention my time. I doubt anyone alive could fix this thing, let alone me.”

“That is where you are wrong. Something that makes a living connection to the Guardian statue behind me. A technology made around the same time as the statue. Approach the statue, and that should awaken the machinery that is dormant in your brain. There is still some power left in the statue.Besides I have been using a generator to boost the storage cell that is hidden inside.”

The strange man was beginning to gain my curiosity. “How do you know, so much about the Guardian statues? These things are said to have been standing for almost five centuries. There is no way you are that old, even with old world tech.”

He looked at me, letting his black lenses flash against a orange sunset. “That I cannot tell you, for that would be extremely dangerous. Some knowledge should stay in my head. Otherwise unleashing it, could easily destroy world, as well it could save it.”

“Well, arent you a wealth of cryptic information,” letting my growing frustration come through with each word. “I could easily shoot you and leave you  for dead, leaving this so called destiny behind in a gallop of dust.”

Without much warning he grabbed my gun, and pointed the barrel at his head. “You could easily, yet you haven’t. Of course all that would do is spell doom for this world, and your wife Jasmine. Along with the child that rests in her belly.”

I blinked at him in disbelief. My courtship of Jasmine had began shortly before I left, yet he told me her and I would end up being wed. “How do you know about Jasmine? I have yet to be intimate with her, so she cannot possibly be with child.”

“Than approach the statue, and meet your destiny. The statue will grant you great knowledge. Be careful in how use it, and who you share it with.”
His dropped his hands from my gun, before abruptly vanishing in a  cloud of brown dust. That left me alone, with only my horse and the strange statue as company.

Word Count: 1000 RE: FCA