Judge This Week: Kelly
Word Count: 300 max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.
Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT!
Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.
Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
My husband sent me this quote to pet me about our prodigal teenager, but it applies to the writer life or any struggle for greatness. I hope you like it as much as I did.
"It is not the critic who counts:
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again'
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls
who neither victory or defeat".
~ Theodore Roosevelt
"Only the very oldest people remembered."
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Only the very oldest people remembered. Though, even they wished it was just a story.
Living on the banks of the great lake, everyone knew they had to be cautious of the water: unwary fishermen drowned and so did children wading in too far.
But the true horror was that of young men walking into the water, never to return.
Meg had seen the dark creatures in the water, heard them sing their silly songs, and saw the effect they had on men.
She’d witnessed the death of many when she was young and knew that the blight had returned to their lake in her twilight years when her magic was no longer strong enough to keep them away.
Shadows moved in the moonlight. She could see the glittering dress of a siren.
Sending all her magic towards the creature, she banished it back to the watery depths of the lake.
Meg fell back exhausted, the damp grass welcome against her heated skin. Her nails glittered sliver in the light as she wiped away sweat.
‘Meg. Me-eg,’ the call came from the water. ‘It’s time, Meg.’
She sniffed away her tears and followed the call of her sisters.
300 revolutions around the sunReplyDelete
Another Round at the Fox and Fowl
“Only the very oldest people remembered. No one else. Just the ancients. You hear me?”
“We hear you, Harry,” Frankie shoots back at him. Frankie won’t leave it alone. “Old tune, Same lyrics. Only the very oldest…yadayadayada.”
Harry’s no dummy. He picks up on Frankie’s sarcasm like its bugs splattered on his windshield. What we used to call gobsmack…if I’ve remembered right.
Harry shakes his head with an embellished wobble. I notice how thin his neck is, the skin, layered in mottled tiny folds like you might see on a Thanksgiving turkey’s neck before its roasted crisp. Harry’s lost weight. The cancer has eaten away much of his flesh. Somehow though, a couple of times a week, he dredges up the strength to put in an appearance at the Fox and Fowl Tavern.
I give Frankie a stare down hoping he’ll back off and let Harry dwindle down into silent thought. But I can tell he’s on a roll, that maybe he’s had a bad day. Except he’s always having bad days. Frankie’s not just a mean drunk; he’s had a bitter streak going back to when he was kid, a man who has never been happy with the world around him.
“And what exactly was it that these old farts remembered, Harry? You never say? Maybe you don’t know.”
The wheels are turning in Harry’s brain. I can see that, but I also see the sap of him drain away. Frankie’s spiteful needles drive deep. They always do.
I pour Harry another shot. “On the house, Harry.”
My gesture draws Harry’s eyes away from Frankie’s pissy-assed storm cloud.
“Thanks, Matt. Thanks.”
He lifts the glass, downs the whiskey, and says, “We remember small gestures, Mattie. That’s all I meant. When the world was civilized.”
“A nice sentiment Harry. Nice.”
AJ Aguilar-van der MerweReplyDelete
BY THE RIVER
Only the oldest people in town remembered the story of the sea serpent. The young ones didn’t believe in folktales. They wouldn’t go to the village because there was no internet connectivity. Not even the story of the beautiful forest goddess enticed them.
One Saturday, out of boredom, four friends decided to go on an adventure. They set out to spend the night in the village. They wanted to prove the non-existence of some fearful forest creatures. Encountering nothing bizarre from their initial stroll, they sat by the river, taunting each other, challenging nature to show them the terrifying sea serpent.
"I only want to see the pretty forest goddess," said Adam. His friends laughed.
"You’re such a romantic." Steve guffawed.
"She’ll fall in love with you and take you to the other side." Matt glared at Adam before yelling, "Boo!" They howled with laughter.
"But where is other side?" asked Dan mockingly.
"Let’s find out," teased Steve.
It was almost dusk so they got up to go but Matt noticed a movement on the water. He whispered to his friends and pointed at the ripples. Adam ignored him and walked away. The three young men fixed their gaze on the water. Suddenly, the sea serpent appeared in front of them and dragged them all to the bottom of the river.
Hearing a faint splash, Adam turned to look. Seeing nothing, he concluded that he imagined the noise and assumed his friends were hiding as a prank but he thoughts his peculiar surrounding couldn’t have been his friends’ doing. He looked around, hoping for a familiar landmark, and was startled by a beautiful woman standing in front of him. He was speechless.
Gently, she proceeded to lead him home. He would find out where the other side was, after all.
257 words (Scrivner)
Wicked Runs in the Genes
Only the very oldest people remembered the old-fashioned way to make babies.
Grandma would sometimes drink wine and tell me wicked stories about how, once, humans were born with external sex organs. This was before the Government Omniscience Directive, the G.O.D., gained control and thought to mutate the human genome to prevent over-population.
With the number of people on Earth having reached critical mass, many died of starvation. More died from the resulting Hunger Wars that broke out when the strongest survivors attempted to claim Earth’s few remaining resources. Fearing the loss of power, the G.O.D. chose to intervene then and enforce government rule.
Forced to undergo sterilization, many of the elders escaped underground and continued to fight for humanity. My grandmother was one of the leaders, a former government genealogist and medical doctor. She rescued me—her only living genetic descendant, despite my lab beaker origins—and went on to build the resistance into what it is today. To honor her memory, I continue the fight and lead by example.
Having both endured years of sexual reassignment surgeries, my partner and I will be the first “beaker-babies” to attempt procreation in a manner in which humans were intended.
I’m neither a criminal nor the sexual deviant that the G.O.D would have you believe. I’m just a human being in love, who wanted dearly to have a baby with the person I chose as my mate. I could lie and say I wasn't looking forward to it. But, I guess "wicked" runs in my genes.