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 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

 

 

Late mid-month update

update

What little remains in the month may not be much, but we have reached the halfway point for July. The first part of the month has been productive, My main project Rise (Seasons of Dragons and Death), is finally completed.Anarchy my side project has been pushed aside, to work on my entry in inkitt.com, writing contest. Outside of that, I have reached the high point of the range for Twitter followers, which seems to be gaining everyday or so.  Also I have redrawn a map of Talora, which at the moment is basic. I will add that into a the first draft of Rise once I manage to add in more details, after making several copies of the basic map.

Hmm…..what else. I guess non writing news, is I’m repainting my room. It needs done desperately since the paint is spotted and faded from time. Need to put a second coat of paint on tomorrow and it should be fully done. Than to put my room back together. That’s all for now.