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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by sandflea68

Red Cherry Jello

There once was a scientist named Bellows,

he did research in Antarctica with some fellows.

Between layers of earth in the permafrost ice,

they discovered living bacteria so very precise.

Bellows stroked his beard and laughed savagely -

he knew the bacteria was the key to immortality.

But how could he possibility smuggle it from view

with all the other scientists trying to snatch it too?

Well, Bellows liked jello, unlike the other fellows,

he liked all flavors but was partial to lemon yellows.

But he knew using cherry red, it’d be easier to hide

so he scooped up the bacteria and hid it inside.

Bellows iced down the jello and laid it on dry ice,

absconded with the bacteria without thinking twice

for he knew this bacteria was unlike any other -

it had arsenic inside, not phosphorous or another.

Bellows extracted the bacteria from red cherry jello

and injected it into himself, feeling quite mellow,

knowing full well that it was an alternative life form,

believing it would extend life span above the norm.

Bellows first had tried it on fruit flies and mice

and on human blood cells more than twice.

When he tried it on himself, he never caught

the flu or colds or diseases others fought.

Bellows never died, he lived longer than wife

and his children and friends without any strife.

But he no longer knew anyone on earth

with alternate life form ingrained in his girth.

Bellows was lonely so he injected some others,

knowing he wanted friends if he had his druthers.

Everyone was now comprised of alternate life forms,

not so alternate any more but more like the norms.

So Bellows and the new experimental fellows

lived on forever thanks to the cherry red jello

with the bacteria which wiggled and jiggled,

danced and pranced and sometimes giggled.

27
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by sandflea68
Red Cherry Jello
There once was a scientist named Bellows,
he did research in Antarctica with some fellows.
Between layers of earth in the permafrost ice,
they discovered living bacteria so very precise.

Bellows stroked his beard and laughed savagely -
he knew the bacteria was the key to immortality.
But how could he possibility smuggle it from view
with all the other scientists trying to snatch it too?

Well, Bellows liked jello, unlike the other fellows,
he liked all flavors but was partial to lemon yellows.
But he knew using cherry red, it’d be easier to hide
so he scooped up the bacteria and hid it inside.

Bellows iced down the jello and laid it on dry ice,
absconded with the bacteria without thinking twice
for he knew this bacteria was unlike any other -
it had arsenic inside, not phosphorous or another.

Bellows extracted the bacteria from red cherry jello
and injected it into himself, feeling quite mellow,
knowing full well that it was an alternative life form,
believing it would extend life span above the norm.

Bellows first had tried it on fruit flies and mice
and on human blood cells more than twice.
When he tried it on himself, he never caught
the flu or colds or diseases others fought.

Bellows never died, he lived longer than wife
and his children and friends without any strife.
But he no longer knew anyone on earth
with alternate life form ingrained in his girth.

Bellows was lonely so he injected some others,
knowing he wanted friends if he had his druthers.
Everyone was now comprised of alternate life forms,
not so alternate any more but more like the norms.

So Bellows and the new experimental fellows
lived on forever thanks to the cherry red jello
with the bacteria which wiggled and jiggled,
danced and pranced and sometimes giggled.
#prosechallenge  #Itslit  #getlit 
27
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by diffdelusions

The Triangle

The water of the Mekong River looked to me like chicken broth as we paddled below the ceiling of palm fronds in our wooden canoe. Diego and I had brought some food—rice and tinned fish—and he eyed it greedily as I peered into the thick green jungle beyond the banks.

Diego was a working biologist in Mexico City, but he’d gotten himself a pretty penny on the illicit market in Southeast Asia—new species abound in the Greater Mekong—and we were off to seek out a specimen for our employer, Mr. Atwood—an illegal collector of rare and unique species. I met Diego at the Gatwick airport in London and, after the requisite introductions, we checked our bags—guns, cameras, tents—and boarded our flight to Bangkok, and the next to Vientiane.

I won’t bore you with the minor details of our excursion—the sweat-soaked clothes, the bulbous blisters on our sore and stinking feet, the symphony of French horns that sounded in our bellies when the cold canned beans hadn’t settled well enough. Nonetheless, we found ourselves in a few days’ time in the midst of the Laotian jungle—the treacherous territory of Indochinese tigers, Asian elephants, giant catfish, and unexplored riches.

We spent our eighth evening in Laos reviewing sheets of charts and notes by our tent, drinking flasks of brandy and eating sticky rice out of bamboo baskets.

“We’re working against the clock,” I said. “Mr. Atwood funded the expedition for a fortnight.”

“Fortnight?”

“Yeah, you twit—two weeks.” I grinned deviously at him.

“Ay Dios mío, Eric.” He threw a ball of rice at me and laughed as he drunkenly swayed and fell off the log he sat on. “Your—accent,” he said between snorts. “Cómico—amigo.”

“It’s Cockney.”

“No, no—cómico,” he gasped. I threw the canteen of water at his feet and told him to drink.

“I’m beginning to like you, mate.”

“Oh? Beginning to?”

“Don’t ruin it.” I took a swig of liquor and went back to our papers. We had six days left, and I needed to molllify Mr. Atwood. Diego soon dozed off in the dirt, mumbling to himself in Spanish about ‘las serpientes’ as he slept in the yellow lantern light.

Four sunsets went by after that, and we still hadn’t found a specimen for Mr. Atwood. We’d seen a red and black newt, a horned lizard, and a speckle-bellied keelback—but nothing new. We’d woken at dawn each morning and trekked through the jungle for hours on end, digging and probing, scribbling some notes here and there, ’til twilight, when we’d pitched our tents and checked our charts as we ate.

“Two days, Diego. Two. Time is not our friend.” I thumbed my notes as he stood a few feet from me, smoking a cigarette in the darkness beyond the lamp. “Are you hearing me?”

“Yeah.” He took a drag and looked deeper into the jungle.

“I need that money,” I said.

“Oh?”

“The truth is, well, I’m in debt. Gambling.”

“You don’t seem much like a gambling man.”

“This whole fucking thing was a gamble, mate. If we don’t get that specimen, Mr. Atwood will ask for the funding back. I’m bloody broke.”

“Blackjack?” he asked.

“What?”

“Poker?”

“Oh. No—it was horses. The tracks.”

“Pasado de moda.” Diego laughed and stomped out the embers of his cigarette in the dirt, bending down to retrieve the butt.

“I owe the debt to Mr. Atwood,” I said. “That’s why I’m here. To wipe out the debt.” Diego strolled over and sat beside me on the log.

“Look, we’ll walk south tomorrow—there, on the chart. There’s time.” He raised his cupped hands to reveal a black beetle lying next to his fag-end.

“Life is all around,” he said. “We will get your money, amigo.”

The next morning, we went south. By noon, we’d reached our new search radius, and, after a meal of tinned fish and crackers, we separated to explore the area. Diego meandered off to the east as I frantically scoured the western half of the radius, sweating and swearing, tearing plants out by the roots. A few hours into the work, however, I grew doleful. I walked slower, looked less meticulously at the flora and fauna around me. I’d resigned myself to the loss by sundown, and I trudged back to our meeting site in defeat. I sat in the dirt, staring into the lamp light, and waited for Diego. He stumbled out of the jungle, wide-eyed, about an hour after.

“Nothing?” I asked.

“No.”

“Bollocks.” I weakly threw a leaf at the ground.

“Not no, I found nothing,” he said.

“Then—you found something?”

“Sí. I found it—the new species.” He sat down on the log across from me. He seemed to have left his rucksack somewhere.

“Bloody tell me about it.”

“I found a snake.” He smiled at me, but sadly, somehow, and I took a swig of brandy, knowing by his tone that something had gone awry. I offered the flask to him, but he shook his head wearily.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I got bitten.”

“By the new species?”

“Sí.”

“It might not be poisonous.”

“Look,” he said, lifting his pant leg. I held my breath as I saw his calf—swollen, bruised, and speckled blue. I immediately began to gather our belongings.

“We’ll return to the river. We could—”

“No,” he said. “I won’t be able to—I can't—oh—oh.” He struggled for breath, and I went to him at once.

“I will help you. Does it hurt very much?”

“Claro.” He looked like he was deteriorating before my eyes. “Small,” he whispered. “Brown.”

“The snake?”

“Sí.”

“How will I find it?”

“You—won’t. Not—before it’s bitten you.”

“Tell me what happened. Tell me where to look.”

“I thought—I’d be okay,” he whimpered. “I felt nothing for—for a few minutes but—then I knew I had about an hour to get back.”

“An hour?” He said nothing. “Diego? Estás bien?” I looked at him, feigning composure. He seemed paler by then, and he was sweating, though shivering, too. “Are you cold?”

“Snake—an hour. Brown—small—poison.” He began to cough violently. “Eric?”

“Yeah, mate?”

“Triangle—black triangle.” I knew the myth—venomous snakes have triangular heads—but he said his poisoner had been brown.

“Black, Diego?” I asked, but he went stiff and fell off the log. “Diego?”

“Get out—amigo.”

“I won’t—”

“Bugger—off,” he said. I looked at him in terror as he swore at me in his thick Mexican accent, and his face contorted into a twisted grin as he died.

“Diego?” I shook him, and I cried, but to no avail—he had left me to fend for myself in the Greater Mekong, and I somehow had to get through the night alone, next to his body—alone, and terribly afraid.

By morning, I had gathered myself and began the trek to the village at the river to get help. I swept a sheet over Diego and left our site hurriedly, headed north. I had walked about three hours when I sat to rest and drink some water. I opened a tin of cold fish. Diego, I thought. Poor Diego.

I felt something glide across my foot. I looked around my boot nervously, and then I saw it about a metre away—a small, brown snake with a black triangle on its head. The new species—our sought-after prize. I rifled through my rucksack for the snare, but suddenly my ankle began to burn. Diego had said I wouldn’t notice the snake—not ’til it bit me. Fuck, I said aloud. I had an hour, and the river was about an hour and a half from where I sat. I left behind the snare, the sack, the snake—and I ran.

An hour after, about five minutes from the village, I fell, gasping for air. I looked, bleary-eyed, at the green fronds I’d almost reached and the muddy brown broth beyond. Hasta pronto, Diego, I said. I began to black out. I recited the Lord’s Prayer.

I awoke a week and three days later in a hospital in Vientiane—without a left foot. The doctors told me that some villagers had come across me lying in the grass, moaning, and they’d carried me to their hut. I blinked into the sterile white light of the intensive care unit. We’d found the species, but I had no evidence to offer Mr. Atwood besides an empty sock. I’d left my rucksack somewhere in the Laotian jungle—no money, no visa, no identification. I began to think of a new beginning, and of staying in Asia, albeit illegally. I had no one in England waiting for me, and I needed to get away from Mr. Atwood—and the debt—somehow. I was at the end of my noose. Eric Fenning of Bethnal Green had died by the Mekong.

The nurse sweetly asked me my name as she brought in my supper tray. I thought carefully for a moment before I replied.

“Diego,” I said quietly. “I’m called Diego.” I tucked a napkin into the neck of my hospital gown and, with that, I was born again. Life is all around.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by diffdelusions
The Triangle
The water of the Mekong River looked to me like chicken broth as we paddled below the ceiling of palm fronds in our wooden canoe. Diego and I had brought some food—rice and tinned fish—and he eyed it greedily as I peered into the thick green jungle beyond the banks.

Diego was a working biologist in Mexico City, but he’d gotten himself a pretty penny on the illicit market in Southeast Asia—new species abound in the Greater Mekong—and we were off to seek out a specimen for our employer, Mr. Atwood—an illegal collector of rare and unique species. I met Diego at the Gatwick airport in London and, after the requisite introductions, we checked our bags—guns, cameras, tents—and boarded our flight to Bangkok, and the next to Vientiane.

I won’t bore you with the minor details of our excursion—the sweat-soaked clothes, the bulbous blisters on our sore and stinking feet, the symphony of French horns that sounded in our bellies when the cold canned beans hadn’t settled well enough. Nonetheless, we found ourselves in a few days’ time in the midst of the Laotian jungle—the treacherous territory of Indochinese tigers, Asian elephants, giant catfish, and unexplored riches.

We spent our eighth evening in Laos reviewing sheets of charts and notes by our tent, drinking flasks of brandy and eating sticky rice out of bamboo baskets.
“We’re working against the clock,” I said. “Mr. Atwood funded the expedition for a fortnight.”
“Fortnight?”
“Yeah, you twit—two weeks.” I grinned deviously at him.
“Ay Dios mío, Eric.” He threw a ball of rice at me and laughed as he drunkenly swayed and fell off the log he sat on. “Your—accent,” he said between snorts. “Cómico—amigo.”
“It’s Cockney.”
“No, no—cómico,” he gasped. I threw the canteen of water at his feet and told him to drink.
“I’m beginning to like you, mate.”
“Oh? Beginning to?”
“Don’t ruin it.” I took a swig of liquor and went back to our papers. We had six days left, and I needed to molllify Mr. Atwood. Diego soon dozed off in the dirt, mumbling to himself in Spanish about ‘las serpientes’ as he slept in the yellow lantern light.

Four sunsets went by after that, and we still hadn’t found a specimen for Mr. Atwood. We’d seen a red and black newt, a horned lizard, and a speckle-bellied keelback—but nothing new. We’d woken at dawn each morning and trekked through the jungle for hours on end, digging and probing, scribbling some notes here and there, ’til twilight, when we’d pitched our tents and checked our charts as we ate.
“Two days, Diego. Two. Time is not our friend.” I thumbed my notes as he stood a few feet from me, smoking a cigarette in the darkness beyond the lamp. “Are you hearing me?”
“Yeah.” He took a drag and looked deeper into the jungle.
“I need that money,” I said.
“Oh?”
“The truth is, well, I’m in debt. Gambling.”
“You don’t seem much like a gambling man.”
“This whole fucking thing was a gamble, mate. If we don’t get that specimen, Mr. Atwood will ask for the funding back. I’m bloody broke.”
“Blackjack?” he asked.
“What?”
“Poker?”
“Oh. No—it was horses. The tracks.”
“Pasado de moda.” Diego laughed and stomped out the embers of his cigarette in the dirt, bending down to retrieve the butt.
“I owe the debt to Mr. Atwood,” I said. “That’s why I’m here. To wipe out the debt.” Diego strolled over and sat beside me on the log.
“Look, we’ll walk south tomorrow—there, on the chart. There’s time.” He raised his cupped hands to reveal a black beetle lying next to his fag-end.
“Life is all around,” he said. “We will get your money, amigo.”

The next morning, we went south. By noon, we’d reached our new search radius, and, after a meal of tinned fish and crackers, we separated to explore the area. Diego meandered off to the east as I frantically scoured the western half of the radius, sweating and swearing, tearing plants out by the roots. A few hours into the work, however, I grew doleful. I walked slower, looked less meticulously at the flora and fauna around me. I’d resigned myself to the loss by sundown, and I trudged back to our meeting site in defeat. I sat in the dirt, staring into the lamp light, and waited for Diego. He stumbled out of the jungle, wide-eyed, about an hour after.
“Nothing?” I asked.
“No.”
“Bollocks.” I weakly threw a leaf at the ground.
“Not no, I found nothing,” he said.
“Then—you found something?”
“Sí. I found it—the new species.” He sat down on the log across from me. He seemed to have left his rucksack somewhere.
“Bloody tell me about it.”
“I found a snake.” He smiled at me, but sadly, somehow, and I took a swig of brandy, knowing by his tone that something had gone awry. I offered the flask to him, but he shook his head wearily.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I got bitten.”
“By the new species?”
“Sí.”
“It might not be poisonous.”
“Look,” he said, lifting his pant leg. I held my breath as I saw his calf—swollen, bruised, and speckled blue. I immediately began to gather our belongings.
“We’ll return to the river. We could—”
“No,” he said. “I won’t be able to—I can't—oh—oh.” He struggled for breath, and I went to him at once.
“I will help you. Does it hurt very much?”
“Claro.” He looked like he was deteriorating before my eyes. “Small,” he whispered. “Brown.”
“The snake?”
“Sí.”
“How will I find it?”
“You—won’t. Not—before it’s bitten you.”
“Tell me what happened. Tell me where to look.”
“I thought—I’d be okay,” he whimpered. “I felt nothing for—for a few minutes but—then I knew I had about an hour to get back.”
“An hour?” He said nothing. “Diego? Estás bien?” I looked at him, feigning composure. He seemed paler by then, and he was sweating, though shivering, too. “Are you cold?”
“Snake—an hour. Brown—small—poison.” He began to cough violently. “Eric?”
“Yeah, mate?”
“Triangle—black triangle.” I knew the myth—venomous snakes have triangular heads—but he said his poisoner had been brown.
“Black, Diego?” I asked, but he went stiff and fell off the log. “Diego?”
“Get out—amigo.”
“I won’t—”
“Bugger—off,” he said. I looked at him in terror as he swore at me in his thick Mexican accent, and his face contorted into a twisted grin as he died.
“Diego?” I shook him, and I cried, but to no avail—he had left me to fend for myself in the Greater Mekong, and I somehow had to get through the night alone, next to his body—alone, and terribly afraid.

By morning, I had gathered myself and began the trek to the village at the river to get help. I swept a sheet over Diego and left our site hurriedly, headed north. I had walked about three hours when I sat to rest and drink some water. I opened a tin of cold fish. Diego, I thought. Poor Diego.

I felt something glide across my foot. I looked around my boot nervously, and then I saw it about a metre away—a small, brown snake with a black triangle on its head. The new species—our sought-after prize. I rifled through my rucksack for the snare, but suddenly my ankle began to burn. Diego had said I wouldn’t notice the snake—not ’til it bit me. Fuck, I said aloud. I had an hour, and the river was about an hour and a half from where I sat. I left behind the snare, the sack, the snake—and I ran.

An hour after, about five minutes from the village, I fell, gasping for air. I looked, bleary-eyed, at the green fronds I’d almost reached and the muddy brown broth beyond. Hasta pronto, Diego, I said. I began to black out. I recited the Lord’s Prayer.

I awoke a week and three days later in a hospital in Vientiane—without a left foot. The doctors told me that some villagers had come across me lying in the grass, moaning, and they’d carried me to their hut. I blinked into the sterile white light of the intensive care unit. We’d found the species, but I had no evidence to offer Mr. Atwood besides an empty sock. I’d left my rucksack somewhere in the Laotian jungle—no money, no visa, no identification. I began to think of a new beginning, and of staying in Asia, albeit illegally. I had no one in England waiting for me, and I needed to get away from Mr. Atwood—and the debt—somehow. I was at the end of my noose. Eric Fenning of Bethnal Green had died by the Mekong.

The nurse sweetly asked me my name as she brought in my supper tray. I thought carefully for a moment before I replied.
“Diego,” I said quietly. “I’m called Diego.” I tucked a napkin into the neck of my hospital gown and, with that, I was born again. Life is all around.
#fiction  #prosechallenge  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Chapter 45 of The Peristalsis of Dr. Semicolon;
Written by DrSemicolon

Native Martian Anatomy and Physiology

Botany and Biology Consortium Précis

Submission for consideration, addendum to the subchapter, “Native Martian Anatomy and Physiology.”

Submitter, Evan Mickal, Ph.D., VSD investigator.

Methodology: Magnetic Resonance Physiology at the Quark-focus Level

Date: Sol 28, 942

Focus of addendum: Locomotion in the absence of an endoskeleton and the Central Nervous System (CNS)

• Locomotion in the absence of an endoskeleton

Very much analogous to octopi, other cephalopods, and numerous non-skeletonized animals on Earth, the Martian’s posture and stance, erect stature, and functions of ambulation and usage of appendages depend on elastofluidics. Their bodies contain innumerable patterns of muscular tubes which are fiber-reinforced elastomeric enclosures that contain a pressurized fluid. The fibers surrounding them have angles of orientation that can be changed at will, which determines the direction in which the limbs/appendages move when the fluid within is pressurized of depressurized. The external plates (“feathered scales”)finalize the maintenance of a particular position or stance, and when in motion, louver and “unlouver” sequentially to effect smoothness of motion. Therefore, there is no endoskeleton nor one needed.

• Central Nervous System (CNS)

The shape of the Martian head is governed by the necessity of design that accommodates the complexity of the multi-oropharynx and the brain structures that innervate them and a tripartite trachea. Thus it has an elongated face—or a “long” face—reminiscent of a horse, that likeness furthered by a remarkably coincidental aspect of pigmentation: down the face is a vertical patch or pattern of depigmentation, creating a long irregular splash of white, which on a horse is called a blaze. Such a blaze, individualized for each Martian, could represent a way of telling each apart, although recognition may involve many factors other than merely how the Martian appears. The blaze seems to have embedded in it innumerable olfactory cells, making this an organ for smell.

To appreciate the Martian CNS it is first important to understand aspects of breathing and ingestion that also impact the shape of the head.

There are six bilateral sets of mouths and throats that funnel together such that they can effect a steady single intake of ingestion along a single esophagus no matter how many mouths are ingesting. This coalescing requires distance and is a major determinant of the distinctively long face. (The main mouth goes its separate way—SEE BELOW.)

Each throat has two posterior openings:

1. One leading into a separate esophagus that distally fuses with the other esophagi into a central one; and

2. the other leading into a “reverse” trachea [SEE BELOW] that is the source of the blasted air from the central air bladder used in vocalization.

These two posterior pharyngeal openings at the back of each throat are separated from each other by a glottis—an opening guarded by a septation that can flap closed against the reverse trachea so that food can be diverted properly downward into the central alimentary tract and not into the central air sac [SEE BELOW]. In this way, choking is prevented.

The esophagus related to the primary mouth and pharynx does not lead to the location where the six ancillary esophagi fuse, but instead enter the distal alimentary tract farther caudad. Although the primary mouth appears externally as two joined together at the midline, this is misleading, as it is single-chambered just beyond the lips. What was initially thought of as two separate tongues, one on each side, is in fact a single tongue for the single chamber, but with its terminal portion forked.

There are smaller but completely functional tongues for each of the separate ancillary mouths. There also appear to be taste buds for different discriminations among the numerous ancillary tongues, prompting the Martian to use specific mouths for specific tastes and textures of food and liquids ingested. Each mouth has teeth, clear but in the shadows appearing dark. Each tooth has a single fiberoptic tract.

The external proboscis-like cetaceous “blowhole” (main air intake) and its tract does not cohabitate with any of the pharyngeal area. Its trachea is a dedicated one-way route for air from the blowhole that distally trifurcates into the one central and two bilateral air sacs. The bilateral air sacs also exhale back out toward the blowhole, whereas the central air bladder has a valve such that it only exhales through its separate reverse tracheae when speech occurs.

The blowhole entrance that trifurcates distally into three separate tracheae ultimately end in two bilateral primary bronchi and one secondary central bronchus, the bilateral ones ending in multilobular air sacs on either side of the large central unilobular air bladder the central bronchus supplies. The bilateral air sacs provide oxygen by passive diffusion into venous lakes surrounding them, much like the placental systems in Earth mammals.

While the bilateral air sacs are for oxygenation, the central bladder, alternately, provides two functions:

1. It serves as a storage depot of breathable air that, through spillover (passive diffusion)seeps through its semipermeable membrane into the adjacent primary multilobular air sacs [SEE ABOVE]; and

2. there is a collection of hundreds of sphinctered tubules emerging from its posterior that coalesce into seven separate “reverse” tracheae [SEE ABOVE] that provide the expulsive impetus for speech through each of the seven mouths. The seven reverse tracheae each house a set of vocal cords at varying distances from their eventual target mouths, the variation of distance contributing to a wide variation of different tonal qualities (pitch, timbre, resonance). The Martian, linguistically, uses these variations in conjunction with the number of mouths speaking or singing to express nuance and/or emphasis. Whereas in the human the glottis is relative to the vocal cords, in the Martian the sets of vocal cords and glottises are separate from each other for each of the reverse trachea (“air routes”); each glottis is at its junction to its respective pharynx, to preclude food aspiration, using a valve for closure in lieu of the cords themselves as in humans. Even though the sets of vocal cords are at varying distances for effecting unique phonation qualities, each glottis is at the same position, i.e., the glottopharyngeal junction.

In summary, the blowhole feeds air to two bilateral air sacs and one central air bladder. The bilateral air sacs exhale their breaths the way they came in, through the primary tracheae; the central air bladder eliminates excess air by diffusing into the adjacent air sacs, but its main function is to blow air through a set of unrelated “reverse” tracheae through vocal cords. The only possible site for choking would be between the pharynx of each mouth and the termination of each reverse trachea, but this is precluded by the flap of tissue over each glottis.

NOTE: THE ABOVE EXPOSITION IS ONLY INCLUDED HERE BECAUSE OF ITS INTERRELATIONSHIP WITH THE CNS TO PRODUCE SPEECH. FOR FURTHER DETAIL OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM AND THE OTHER SYSTEMS, PLEASE REFER TO THEIR RESPECTIVE SUBCHAPTERS IN THE FULL BOTANY AND BIOLOGY CONSORTIUM PRÉCIS, SUBSECTION, “MARTIAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY,” BY KEITH MILLS AND MARK ADRIAN.

The Martian brain is made up of six lobes, or hexaspheres. Functional Magnetic Resonance Physiology has determined that each lobe (hexasphere) directs independent conversational thinking that results in vocalization from one (or more, simultaneously versus serially) of the six ancillary mouths. All six hexaspheres appear to contribute cogitation for conversing with the primary mouth, when articulating a “main message.” Although they can act separately, all of the hexaspheres also are interconnected by an infrastructure analogous to the human corpus callosum, which I theorize allows a consortium of unified awareness, thinking, and volition among the set of hexaspheres.

Hearing is via an acoustic apparatus that begins with four independently aimed calderas on each side of the head, all eight each contributing a neurotubule that terminates at a central ganglion in each hexasphere. Thereby, each hexasphere’s acoustic ganglion receives a bundle of eight neurotubules representing the gamut of the collective caldera perception of sound. The central acoustic ganglia appear on functional scans, at the electron level, to deal with filtering pitch and sonolocation.

Each caldera is associated with its own ganglion that surrounds its sound transport tubule (STT), more specifically, surrounds that portion of the SST that houses small osseous structures shaped like varying tiny tuning forks, 18-20 nm in size; each of these caldera ganglia have afferents from all of the hexasphere acoustic ganglia and efferents to the small muscles that comprise and aim the caldera rims. Consortium thinking of what is being heard focuses the directional pivots of the individual calderas. Externally, the calderas, which hold a small amount of fluid each, are each covered by a parabolic tympanic membrane.

For each eye there is a laminated neurotubule that is a coalescence of thousands of neuromusculotubular fibers that seem to both convey collected visual stimuli and move the globes.

The bilateral laminate optic neurotubules meet interiorly in the midline, as a “light basket,” positioned equidistant from the hexaspheres of the brain; this light basket appears to be a tightly spiraling structure that follows the Fibonacci path of the “golden rectangle,” i.e., the spiraling neurotubules are shaped like a nautilus. This nautilus-shaped light basket is surrounded by an iron-rich magnetic encasement, itself dynamic in that it can magnetically focus free electrons as an undulator, along the spiral. The neurotubules are highly reflective and at the central termination (innermost part of the nautilus) an escape channel allows egress of a potentiated lasered pulse that feeds all hexasphres as well as returns some light back to the eyes (for unknown reasons).

Essentially, the light basket is a free-electron laser that distributes, arboreally, synchrotron radiation to all hexaspheres and the eyes at the speed of light. Theoretically, because the undulator encasement can vary the parameters of the magnetic field, the intensity and wavelength of the radiation can be adjusted on the fly, i.e., are tunable from microwave through ultraviolet and even X-Ray spectra as well.

The eyes themselves are not sufficient to contribute enough light to power the light basket’s ultimate output. Besides the laminar afferent optic nerves, the light basket also receives another afferent trunk of laminated neurotubules from the lux-cap, the area on the external head analogous to the scalp portion of the human head.

The lux-cap is very much like a scalp in that fiberoptic projections emerge from it in a hair-like fashion. These are sparse, otherwise they would pose interfering shadows for the miraculous nature of this head covering. Louvered parabolas, layered down to a depth of approximately one centimeter, collect light and an entire subscalp cranium receives coalescing bundles of phototubules that ultimately end intracranially at the light basket. Thus, the light basket has a dual source of light—from the eyes secondarily but from the lux-cap primarily.

The fiberoptic, sparse “hair” appears to be efferent only, varying colors and intensity, possibly indicating mood as a fiberoptic, lighted version of “body language.” I can discern a reverse polarization along these “efferents only,” indicating they should be able to receive input as well, like the lux-cap.

Light collected by the lux-cap, defying current wave physics until a logical explanation ensues, experiences no loss of photon energy. When the electromagnetic spectrum was applied to the lux-cap, it was evident that, besides the visible human spectra, IR and UV were collected without loss as well.

The light basket is quite large, about five centimeters in diameter, and with its iron-rich magnetic encasement, almost ten. Below it is a five-cm ventricle, but unlike human brain ventricles that have circulatory cerebrospinal fluid, it is filled with an unknown gas, the spectroscopic identification of which failed due to the interference from the overlying light basket magnetic encasement.

From the center egress of light and radiation of the light basket, branching of neurotubules swirl in complexity to become the actual six hexaspheres. It appears the light basket is the innermost origination of the entire Martian central nervous system.

The hexaspheres also accommodate the afferents and efferents that appear to either receive information from or innervate, respectively, the rest of the body.

There is no analogue to the human or mammalian cerebellum, all autonomic processes, i.e., breathing, pulsatile cardiovascular system, proprioception, distributed along a decentralized scheme among the respective organs or joints.

There is no spine, per se. Bundles of tracts find their way along two main lateral bands at the Martian’s sides, distributing from or coalescing toward them.

Crucial to the evaluation of the CNS is the nature of the neurotubules and larger neurotubes, themselves.

(There have been observed similar, although rudimentary, structures in the few humans with indwelling ferropods, suggesting divergent evolution of species as distantly related as Martians and ferropods, from a common ancestor. In humans harboring ferropods, the interaction of two xenospecies will no doubt prove informative, but to date the chapter on this interaction remains unwritten. This will undoubtedly cross-reference with the official findings yet to be written as a subchapter of the Cultural Psychology Committee Précis.)

The arboreal cascade of the CNS from hexasphere to neurotubes to neurotubules and vice versa demonstrates a consistency of structure. Whether such structures effect muscular, glandular, or neuroinformative processes, it is clear that they constitute a fiberoptic system.

Although a simplification, it is also a truism that light plays an important part in Martian cognition. Its complete absence renders a Martian not only unconscious, but barely alive, its light basket engaging in a secondary backup system of phosphorescing to maintain at least a baseline level of minimal survivability. It is unknown how long the light basket backup can last, but it is apparent that once exhausted, death would be imminent.

The neurotubes and neurotubules are multichambered along their neurotubular lengths by septations. Each septated chamber is able to polarize the as-of-yet unidentified rarefied gas within, which can then propagate an electrical potential across subsequent septa, propagating subsequent polarizations en route. This appears analogous to action potentials causing propagations of neurosignaling along dendritic/axonic paths in the human brain. The result of these propagations, whether Martian or human is the same:

Thought.

Cognition, intention, autonomic and voluntary actions; viable function; volition; self-awareness and sentience; perhaps a conscience.

A soul?

 

At quark focus, the MRP showed Cooper pairs, entangled photons on either side of each septum. Such Cooper pairs, seen in superconductivity across membranes, the phenomenon in physics—called a Josephson effect—was a thing of beauty. And it was in each Martian head.

It was fast. The simple reality is this: Martians think at the speed of light!

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Chapter 45 of The Peristalsis of Dr. Semicolon;
Written by DrSemicolon
Native Martian Anatomy and Physiology
Botany and Biology Consortium Précis
Submission for consideration, addendum to the subchapter, “Native Martian Anatomy and Physiology.”
Submitter, Evan Mickal, Ph.D., VSD investigator.
Methodology: Magnetic Resonance Physiology at the Quark-focus Level
Date: Sol 28, 942

Focus of addendum: Locomotion in the absence of an endoskeleton and the Central Nervous System (CNS)

• Locomotion in the absence of an endoskeleton

Very much analogous to octopi, other cephalopods, and numerous non-skeletonized animals on Earth, the Martian’s posture and stance, erect stature, and functions of ambulation and usage of appendages depend on elastofluidics. Their bodies contain innumerable patterns of muscular tubes which are fiber-reinforced elastomeric enclosures that contain a pressurized fluid. The fibers surrounding them have angles of orientation that can be changed at will, which determines the direction in which the limbs/appendages move when the fluid within is pressurized of depressurized. The external plates (“feathered scales”)finalize the maintenance of a particular position or stance, and when in motion, louver and “unlouver” sequentially to effect smoothness of motion. Therefore, there is no endoskeleton nor one needed.

• Central Nervous System (CNS)

The shape of the Martian head is governed by the necessity of design that accommodates the complexity of the multi-oropharynx and the brain structures that innervate them and a tripartite trachea. Thus it has an elongated face—or a “long” face—reminiscent of a horse, that likeness furthered by a remarkably coincidental aspect of pigmentation: down the face is a vertical patch or pattern of depigmentation, creating a long irregular splash of white, which on a horse is called a blaze. Such a blaze, individualized for each Martian, could represent a way of telling each apart, although recognition may involve many factors other than merely how the Martian appears. The blaze seems to have embedded in it innumerable olfactory cells, making this an organ for smell.

To appreciate the Martian CNS it is first important to understand aspects of breathing and ingestion that also impact the shape of the head.

There are six bilateral sets of mouths and throats that funnel together such that they can effect a steady single intake of ingestion along a single esophagus no matter how many mouths are ingesting. This coalescing requires distance and is a major determinant of the distinctively long face. (The main mouth goes its separate way—SEE BELOW.)
Each throat has two posterior openings:

1. One leading into a separate esophagus that distally fuses with the other esophagi into a central one; and

2. the other leading into a “reverse” trachea [SEE BELOW] that is the source of the blasted air from the central air bladder used in vocalization.

These two posterior pharyngeal openings at the back of each throat are separated from each other by a glottis—an opening guarded by a septation that can flap closed against the reverse trachea so that food can be diverted properly downward into the central alimentary tract and not into the central air sac [SEE BELOW]. In this way, choking is prevented.

The esophagus related to the primary mouth and pharynx does not lead to the location where the six ancillary esophagi fuse, but instead enter the distal alimentary tract farther caudad. Although the primary mouth appears externally as two joined together at the midline, this is misleading, as it is single-chambered just beyond the lips. What was initially thought of as two separate tongues, one on each side, is in fact a single tongue for the single chamber, but with its terminal portion forked.

There are smaller but completely functional tongues for each of the separate ancillary mouths. There also appear to be taste buds for different discriminations among the numerous ancillary tongues, prompting the Martian to use specific mouths for specific tastes and textures of food and liquids ingested. Each mouth has teeth, clear but in the shadows appearing dark. Each tooth has a single fiberoptic tract.

The external proboscis-like cetaceous “blowhole” (main air intake) and its tract does not cohabitate with any of the pharyngeal area. Its trachea is a dedicated one-way route for air from the blowhole that distally trifurcates into the one central and two bilateral air sacs. The bilateral air sacs also exhale back out toward the blowhole, whereas the central air bladder has a valve such that it only exhales through its separate reverse tracheae when speech occurs.

The blowhole entrance that trifurcates distally into three separate tracheae ultimately end in two bilateral primary bronchi and one secondary central bronchus, the bilateral ones ending in multilobular air sacs on either side of the large central unilobular air bladder the central bronchus supplies. The bilateral air sacs provide oxygen by passive diffusion into venous lakes surrounding them, much like the placental systems in Earth mammals.
While the bilateral air sacs are for oxygenation, the central bladder, alternately, provides two functions:

1. It serves as a storage depot of breathable air that, through spillover (passive diffusion)seeps through its semipermeable membrane into the adjacent primary multilobular air sacs [SEE ABOVE]; and

2. there is a collection of hundreds of sphinctered tubules emerging from its posterior that coalesce into seven separate “reverse” tracheae [SEE ABOVE] that provide the expulsive impetus for speech through each of the seven mouths. The seven reverse tracheae each house a set of vocal cords at varying distances from their eventual target mouths, the variation of distance contributing to a wide variation of different tonal qualities (pitch, timbre, resonance). The Martian, linguistically, uses these variations in conjunction with the number of mouths speaking or singing to express nuance and/or emphasis. Whereas in the human the glottis is relative to the vocal cords, in the Martian the sets of vocal cords and glottises are separate from each other for each of the reverse trachea (“air routes”); each glottis is at its junction to its respective pharynx, to preclude food aspiration, using a valve for closure in lieu of the cords themselves as in humans. Even though the sets of vocal cords are at varying distances for effecting unique phonation qualities, each glottis is at the same position, i.e., the glottopharyngeal junction.

In summary, the blowhole feeds air to two bilateral air sacs and one central air bladder. The bilateral air sacs exhale their breaths the way they came in, through the primary tracheae; the central air bladder eliminates excess air by diffusing into the adjacent air sacs, but its main function is to blow air through a set of unrelated “reverse” tracheae through vocal cords. The only possible site for choking would be between the pharynx of each mouth and the termination of each reverse trachea, but this is precluded by the flap of tissue over each glottis.

NOTE: THE ABOVE EXPOSITION IS ONLY INCLUDED HERE BECAUSE OF ITS INTERRELATIONSHIP WITH THE CNS TO PRODUCE SPEECH. FOR FURTHER DETAIL OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM AND THE OTHER SYSTEMS, PLEASE REFER TO THEIR RESPECTIVE SUBCHAPTERS IN THE FULL BOTANY AND BIOLOGY CONSORTIUM PRÉCIS, SUBSECTION, “MARTIAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY,” BY KEITH MILLS AND MARK ADRIAN.

The Martian brain is made up of six lobes, or hexaspheres. Functional Magnetic Resonance Physiology has determined that each lobe (hexasphere) directs independent conversational thinking that results in vocalization from one (or more, simultaneously versus serially) of the six ancillary mouths. All six hexaspheres appear to contribute cogitation for conversing with the primary mouth, when articulating a “main message.” Although they can act separately, all of the hexaspheres also are interconnected by an infrastructure analogous to the human corpus callosum, which I theorize allows a consortium of unified awareness, thinking, and volition among the set of hexaspheres.

Hearing is via an acoustic apparatus that begins with four independently aimed calderas on each side of the head, all eight each contributing a neurotubule that terminates at a central ganglion in each hexasphere. Thereby, each hexasphere’s acoustic ganglion receives a bundle of eight neurotubules representing the gamut of the collective caldera perception of sound. The central acoustic ganglia appear on functional scans, at the electron level, to deal with filtering pitch and sonolocation.

Each caldera is associated with its own ganglion that surrounds its sound transport tubule (STT), more specifically, surrounds that portion of the SST that houses small osseous structures shaped like varying tiny tuning forks, 18-20 nm in size; each of these caldera ganglia have afferents from all of the hexasphere acoustic ganglia and efferents to the small muscles that comprise and aim the caldera rims. Consortium thinking of what is being heard focuses the directional pivots of the individual calderas. Externally, the calderas, which hold a small amount of fluid each, are each covered by a parabolic tympanic membrane.

For each eye there is a laminated neurotubule that is a coalescence of thousands of neuromusculotubular fibers that seem to both convey collected visual stimuli and move the globes.

The bilateral laminate optic neurotubules meet interiorly in the midline, as a “light basket,” positioned equidistant from the hexaspheres of the brain; this light basket appears to be a tightly spiraling structure that follows the Fibonacci path of the “golden rectangle,” i.e., the spiraling neurotubules are shaped like a nautilus. This nautilus-shaped light basket is surrounded by an iron-rich magnetic encasement, itself dynamic in that it can magnetically focus free electrons as an undulator, along the spiral. The neurotubules are highly reflective and at the central termination (innermost part of the nautilus) an escape channel allows egress of a potentiated lasered pulse that feeds all hexasphres as well as returns some light back to the eyes (for unknown reasons).

Essentially, the light basket is a free-electron laser that distributes, arboreally, synchrotron radiation to all hexaspheres and the eyes at the speed of light. Theoretically, because the undulator encasement can vary the parameters of the magnetic field, the intensity and wavelength of the radiation can be adjusted on the fly, i.e., are tunable from microwave through ultraviolet and even X-Ray spectra as well.

The eyes themselves are not sufficient to contribute enough light to power the light basket’s ultimate output. Besides the laminar afferent optic nerves, the light basket also receives another afferent trunk of laminated neurotubules from the lux-cap, the area on the external head analogous to the scalp portion of the human head.

The lux-cap is very much like a scalp in that fiberoptic projections emerge from it in a hair-like fashion. These are sparse, otherwise they would pose interfering shadows for the miraculous nature of this head covering. Louvered parabolas, layered down to a depth of approximately one centimeter, collect light and an entire subscalp cranium receives coalescing bundles of phototubules that ultimately end intracranially at the light basket. Thus, the light basket has a dual source of light—from the eyes secondarily but from the lux-cap primarily.

The fiberoptic, sparse “hair” appears to be efferent only, varying colors and intensity, possibly indicating mood as a fiberoptic, lighted version of “body language.” I can discern a reverse polarization along these “efferents only,” indicating they should be able to receive input as well, like the lux-cap.

Light collected by the lux-cap, defying current wave physics until a logical explanation ensues, experiences no loss of photon energy. When the electromagnetic spectrum was applied to the lux-cap, it was evident that, besides the visible human spectra, IR and UV were collected without loss as well.

The light basket is quite large, about five centimeters in diameter, and with its iron-rich magnetic encasement, almost ten. Below it is a five-cm ventricle, but unlike human brain ventricles that have circulatory cerebrospinal fluid, it is filled with an unknown gas, the spectroscopic identification of which failed due to the interference from the overlying light basket magnetic encasement.

From the center egress of light and radiation of the light basket, branching of neurotubules swirl in complexity to become the actual six hexaspheres. It appears the light basket is the innermost origination of the entire Martian central nervous system.
The hexaspheres also accommodate the afferents and efferents that appear to either receive information from or innervate, respectively, the rest of the body.

There is no analogue to the human or mammalian cerebellum, all autonomic processes, i.e., breathing, pulsatile cardiovascular system, proprioception, distributed along a decentralized scheme among the respective organs or joints.

There is no spine, per se. Bundles of tracts find their way along two main lateral bands at the Martian’s sides, distributing from or coalescing toward them.

Crucial to the evaluation of the CNS is the nature of the neurotubules and larger neurotubes, themselves.

(There have been observed similar, although rudimentary, structures in the few humans with indwelling ferropods, suggesting divergent evolution of species as distantly related as Martians and ferropods, from a common ancestor. In humans harboring ferropods, the interaction of two xenospecies will no doubt prove informative, but to date the chapter on this interaction remains unwritten. This will undoubtedly cross-reference with the official findings yet to be written as a subchapter of the Cultural Psychology Committee Précis.)

The arboreal cascade of the CNS from hexasphere to neurotubes to neurotubules and vice versa demonstrates a consistency of structure. Whether such structures effect muscular, glandular, or neuroinformative processes, it is clear that they constitute a fiberoptic system.

Although a simplification, it is also a truism that light plays an important part in Martian cognition. Its complete absence renders a Martian not only unconscious, but barely alive, its light basket engaging in a secondary backup system of phosphorescing to maintain at least a baseline level of minimal survivability. It is unknown how long the light basket backup can last, but it is apparent that once exhausted, death would be imminent.
The neurotubes and neurotubules are multichambered along their neurotubular lengths by septations. Each septated chamber is able to polarize the as-of-yet unidentified rarefied gas within, which can then propagate an electrical potential across subsequent septa, propagating subsequent polarizations en route. This appears analogous to action potentials causing propagations of neurosignaling along dendritic/axonic paths in the human brain. The result of these propagations, whether Martian or human is the same:
Thought.

Cognition, intention, autonomic and voluntary actions; viable function; volition; self-awareness and sentience; perhaps a conscience.

A soul?
 
At quark focus, the MRP showed Cooper pairs, entangled photons on either side of each septum. Such Cooper pairs, seen in superconductivity across membranes, the phenomenon in physics—called a Josephson effect—was a thing of beauty. And it was in each Martian head.

It was fast. The simple reality is this: Martians think at the speed of light!

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Mrjdhyde

The good son.

Father gave the call for all of us to come. Each of us put down our tools and did as he bid. I, being the oldest, stood in the place of honor next to Father. Once the last of us arrived from our duties Father looked at us with as much joy as I had ever seen from him; he said; “I know you have often wondered what the plan was for you and this place. It is time for the unveiling.”

He spread His hands and showed us. They looked like monkeys, yet they were warped in some way. Though they picked lice from each other, and grunted as the other apes, these had a bit of what my brothers and I were made. The combination of spirit, and flesh was hideous. I could see the the darkness boiling up in them already.

I looked upon Father’s face, and I saw more love than He had ever shown for my brothers. 

”Bow to them, for they are my masterpiece.” Father called out. As one, my brothers sank to their knees, heads bowed. All bowed but me.

I looked into my Father’s eyes, and defied Him for the first time.

“Why do you not bow?” my Father asked. I turned to the filthy things and stared. I did not answer, how could I? The thought of Michael on his knees before them turned my stomach. Michael still carried the scars from our battles with the Void. His once beautiful face torn, he screamed as he slept. And Father wanted my brother to kneel, to prostrate himself before these things.

I wanted to scream at Father; but I held my voice to call out to my brothers​, “Rise, you are better than these abominations. Rise and look at them. See them for what they are, each carries the Void within it. They will bring back what we fought!”

They stayed as they were. Father laid His hand upon me, “My son do not defy me. I will let this pass as you are my child; but my kindness has limits. You must do as I command, you must bow.”

But I did not bow. I turned from my Father storming from Him, I went to the barracks. Brother Michael followed to speak with me. He asked of me "Why, do you not obey?"

How do I look into his eyes to tell him that it is he that should be bowed to? Not the abominations​. They should sing songs of his bravery and strength. He was such a happy man before the wars, full of love and hope. Now, he was broken. I could not explain, not even to myself, that he and the rest that had fallen were the reason that I would never bow to the creatures.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Mrjdhyde
The good son.
Father gave the call for all of us to come. Each of us put down our tools and did as he bid. I, being the oldest, stood in the place of honor next to Father. Once the last of us arrived from our duties Father looked at us with as much joy as I had ever seen from him; he said; “I know you have often wondered what the plan was for you and this place. It is time for the unveiling.”
He spread His hands and showed us. They looked like monkeys, yet they were warped in some way. Though they picked lice from each other, and grunted as the other apes, these had a bit of what my brothers and I were made. The combination of spirit, and flesh was hideous. I could see the the darkness boiling up in them already.
I looked upon Father’s face, and I saw more love than He had ever shown for my brothers. 
”Bow to them, for they are my masterpiece.” Father called out. As one, my brothers sank to their knees, heads bowed. All bowed but me.
I looked into my Father’s eyes, and defied Him for the first time.
“Why do you not bow?” my Father asked. I turned to the filthy things and stared. I did not answer, how could I? The thought of Michael on his knees before them turned my stomach. Michael still carried the scars from our battles with the Void. His once beautiful face torn, he screamed as he slept. And Father wanted my brother to kneel, to prostrate himself before these things.
I wanted to scream at Father; but I held my voice to call out to my brothers​, “Rise, you are better than these abominations. Rise and look at them. See them for what they are, each carries the Void within it. They will bring back what we fought!”
They stayed as they were. Father laid His hand upon me, “My son do not defy me. I will let this pass as you are my child; but my kindness has limits. You must do as I command, you must bow.”
But I did not bow. I turned from my Father storming from Him, I went to the barracks. Brother Michael followed to speak with me. He asked of me "Why, do you not obey?"
How do I look into his eyes to tell him that it is he that should be bowed to? Not the abominations​. They should sing songs of his bravery and strength. He was such a happy man before the wars, full of love and hope. Now, he was broken. I could not explain, not even to myself, that he and the rest that had fallen were the reason that I would never bow to the creatures.
#prosechallenge  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Azothwords

Cupiditas: Money Monsters

           It's slid in and out of strippers' thongs, coated in a white film of Cocaine, and spotted with blood, don’t forget the blood. Money is dirty. The gas-station bathroom, yeah, it has nothing on the filth in your wallet. This is common knowledge right? None of us walk around with coins in our mouth or use bills to stop the bleeding of a wound. But, there is something about money you don’t know. Something I didn’t know until recently. We never knew about the Cupiditas.

            They say great discoveries come from stellar research or years of experimentation. HA! Not mine. Nope, my greatest discovery was birthed from pure boredom and an inattentive professor. It was microbiology class and everything in my petri dish had been identified to death, literary to death, the testing methods killed the bacteria. With an hour to kill and against “proper laboratory procedure”, I decided my microscope could give an amazing amount of entertainment. Looking at my hair, some scrapes of skin, ear wax, gave me a jolly time of grossing myself out. When I had run out of things to spy on I put my hand in my pocket and felt it, a dollar bill.

           Under magnification the money offered so many great sites, every kind of human waste, dirt, bacteria; a zoo of microscopic wonders. When it first moved I thought nothing of it. A blur of activity and then nothing, but it came back into view. Green as the ink on the paper with large eyes pointed right up at me. Startled, I jumped away from the microscope. I looked again and it was still there, still staring at me. I zoomed out and found more. I had never seen anything like them, but I was merely a student. I could have called over the teacher. I should have called her over, but I feared the fact that I was improperly using university equipment. Instead, I decided to figure it out for myself.

           I spent my nights doing internet searches and sneezing over dust filled microbiology books in the library. Nothing about these creatures seemed to exist. I spent my days in the lab, pretending to perfect my techniques, but truly observing and testing on my new found specimens. What became very apparent about them during this time was that they could only live on money. I tried transferring them to all kinds of different media, like the green ink compound printed on money and different paper compounds. They always died. I also found no specimens on non-circulated bills. Something about being in circulation, being used by people, helped them live.

Over time I got very good at increasing their numbers. I was able to place millions of them onto a single dollar bill using a sterilized loop. I carried this ultra-populated bill with me everywhere I went.

           I became obsessed with the creatures, so obsessed I didn’t notice the changes I was experiencing. It wasn’t until one day when I went to pay for a bag of chips from the snack bar when I noticed my wallet was empty. Which was odd because I had withdrawn money from the bank only the day before. Eventually the night before came back to me. In some kind of haze I had spent all of the money I pulled. I had bought shoes that didn’t fit, food I was too full to eat, and twenty seven bananas. I hate bananas. I questioned if I had gone on this shopping spree after getting drunk, but I couldn’t recall a single drop of alcohol touching my lips. I also questioned my sanity and after stroking my creature covered bill in my pocket, I shrugged the incident off as if nothing happened and continued on with my research. 

          Three days later, I woke up in a parking lot of a gambling house. My car was nowhere in sight and I was barefoot, but in my pocket was still my creature covered dollar bill. I had spent every dollar to my name. I had sold everything I owned to buy more things which I sold to gamble. I had even gone as far as to sell my blood. Finding myself in that state I realized something my research had failed to determine, my money monsters were just that...... monsters. They fed on the adrenaline a person gives off while spending money and they release a toxic which makes a person greedy. Needless to say, I only use checks these days – and can only imagine the creatures living on credit cards. My populated dollar bill is still out there somewhere. I left it in the parking lot of the casino. I hope it doesn’t find you, but just in case always beware of the Cupiditas.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Azothwords
Cupiditas: Money Monsters
           It's slid in and out of strippers' thongs, coated in a white film of Cocaine, and spotted with blood, don’t forget the blood. Money is dirty. The gas-station bathroom, yeah, it has nothing on the filth in your wallet. This is common knowledge right? None of us walk around with coins in our mouth or use bills to stop the bleeding of a wound. But, there is something about money you don’t know. Something I didn’t know until recently. We never knew about the Cupiditas.
            They say great discoveries come from stellar research or years of experimentation. HA! Not mine. Nope, my greatest discovery was birthed from pure boredom and an inattentive professor. It was microbiology class and everything in my petri dish had been identified to death, literary to death, the testing methods killed the bacteria. With an hour to kill and against “proper laboratory procedure”, I decided my microscope could give an amazing amount of entertainment. Looking at my hair, some scrapes of skin, ear wax, gave me a jolly time of grossing myself out. When I had run out of things to spy on I put my hand in my pocket and felt it, a dollar bill.
           Under magnification the money offered so many great sites, every kind of human waste, dirt, bacteria; a zoo of microscopic wonders. When it first moved I thought nothing of it. A blur of activity and then nothing, but it came back into view. Green as the ink on the paper with large eyes pointed right up at me. Startled, I jumped away from the microscope. I looked again and it was still there, still staring at me. I zoomed out and found more. I had never seen anything like them, but I was merely a student. I could have called over the teacher. I should have called her over, but I feared the fact that I was improperly using university equipment. Instead, I decided to figure it out for myself.
           I spent my nights doing internet searches and sneezing over dust filled microbiology books in the library. Nothing about these creatures seemed to exist. I spent my days in the lab, pretending to perfect my techniques, but truly observing and testing on my new found specimens. What became very apparent about them during this time was that they could only live on money. I tried transferring them to all kinds of different media, like the green ink compound printed on money and different paper compounds. They always died. I also found no specimens on non-circulated bills. Something about being in circulation, being used by people, helped them live.
Over time I got very good at increasing their numbers. I was able to place millions of them onto a single dollar bill using a sterilized loop. I carried this ultra-populated bill with me everywhere I went.
           I became obsessed with the creatures, so obsessed I didn’t notice the changes I was experiencing. It wasn’t until one day when I went to pay for a bag of chips from the snack bar when I noticed my wallet was empty. Which was odd because I had withdrawn money from the bank only the day before. Eventually the night before came back to me. In some kind of haze I had spent all of the money I pulled. I had bought shoes that didn’t fit, food I was too full to eat, and twenty seven bananas. I hate bananas. I questioned if I had gone on this shopping spree after getting drunk, but I couldn’t recall a single drop of alcohol touching my lips. I also questioned my sanity and after stroking my creature covered bill in my pocket, I shrugged the incident off as if nothing happened and continued on with my research. 
          Three days later, I woke up in a parking lot of a gambling house. My car was nowhere in sight and I was barefoot, but in my pocket was still my creature covered dollar bill. I had spent every dollar to my name. I had sold everything I owned to buy more things which I sold to gamble. I had even gone as far as to sell my blood. Finding myself in that state I realized something my research had failed to determine, my money monsters were just that...... monsters. They fed on the adrenaline a person gives off while spending money and they release a toxic which makes a person greedy. Needless to say, I only use checks these days – and can only imagine the creatures living on credit cards. My populated dollar bill is still out there somewhere. I left it in the parking lot of the casino. I hope it doesn’t find you, but just in case always beware of the Cupiditas.
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by LadyRB

The way we treat animals

3/15/17 Entry 1

I stared into its face, half hidden with shadows, a savage beast that our team had managed to capture. We've been hunting the devil for ages, and at long last we have detained it. Do you know what this could mean? For the future of science? For the future of our entire race? Do you know how many questions we'll finally have answers to? And of course when we are done studying and experimenting on it we will release it into a controlled environment in a nice zoo with a wild life conservation program. We simply cannot deny the people the opportunity to observe such an exotic and intriguing specimen. However I am questioning the safety of such an exhibit. Of course there would be added safety precautions unlike that of the other animals on display. Perhaps a bullet proof screen would be appropriate? At the moment we have restrained the creature with chains-loose fitting of course, we can't have any animal right organizations taking it away when we are so close to getting it to cooperate. It's in a dark unadorned room, no stimulation that could possibly trigger its primal instincts, and every day we've been trying out different diets it might respond to. It was wearing strange things on its body over its dirty looking skin, and we've stripped it of them to examine the garments. The animal seems to be very upset over this confiscation, it keeps making strange noises, and tries covering certain parts of its body. We will keep you posted as new information about the subject emerges.

3/16/17 Entry 2

I know not the meaning or significance behind this revelation, but we've found a piece of cloth in the same area we found the creature and the ship it used for transportation. It's clearly not from our world, its of a strange scratchy material and is dyed in red, white, and blue-with markings all over it. We are hoping the subject may show some emotional response to it.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by LadyRB
The way we treat animals
3/15/17 Entry 1

I stared into its face, half hidden with shadows, a savage beast that our team had managed to capture. We've been hunting the devil for ages, and at long last we have detained it. Do you know what this could mean? For the future of science? For the future of our entire race? Do you know how many questions we'll finally have answers to? And of course when we are done studying and experimenting on it we will release it into a controlled environment in a nice zoo with a wild life conservation program. We simply cannot deny the people the opportunity to observe such an exotic and intriguing specimen. However I am questioning the safety of such an exhibit. Of course there would be added safety precautions unlike that of the other animals on display. Perhaps a bullet proof screen would be appropriate? At the moment we have restrained the creature with chains-loose fitting of course, we can't have any animal right organizations taking it away when we are so close to getting it to cooperate. It's in a dark unadorned room, no stimulation that could possibly trigger its primal instincts, and every day we've been trying out different diets it might respond to. It was wearing strange things on its body over its dirty looking skin, and we've stripped it of them to examine the garments. The animal seems to be very upset over this confiscation, it keeps making strange noises, and tries covering certain parts of its body. We will keep you posted as new information about the subject emerges.

3/16/17 Entry 2

I know not the meaning or significance behind this revelation, but we've found a piece of cloth in the same area we found the creature and the ship it used for transportation. It's clearly not from our world, its of a strange scratchy material and is dyed in red, white, and blue-with markings all over it. We are hoping the subject may show some emotional response to it.
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RLW

All I Have Not Seen

I sensed their presence long before their shape. The fine hairs on the nape of my neck raised in rhythm matching awareness each time my attention cycled left, then right, around the room. A gentle chill traipsed down my spine, light as softest fingers tapped pianissimo upon a keyboard fair.

I squinted into the openness of this most ordinary of living spaces. There an overstuffed armchair, here a lamp…night stand piled with books, alarm and cough drops meant to ease my scratchy throat. Was that a shadow by the bed I hadn’t seen before?

No, nothing there – it must be my imagination playing tricks. The night-time decongestant meant to render restful sleep had started on its work. My eyelids fell despite best efforts to remain awake.

Nights were the worst. Well into the third week of latest bout with winter germs, causing symptoms from congestion to laryngitis, my weariness had hit the hopeless phase. Would I ever be back to talking in a normal voice or finding it simple to swallow and clear my throat without the gravelly, stop-motion that followed this sickness track? The constant cough did nothing but aggravate the tender tissue needing rest.

Nudged from slumber, brief as it must have been, by tiniest of impulse, I dragged myself to consciousness again. There – on the seat of my puffy, paisley chair – was some…thing. Not quite as human formed, but close enough, and breathing heavy into now confining space. And there, another twinning shape appeared behind the first and then a third, this one hanging from the ceiling fan fixture near directly overhead.

I watched, transfixed in awful stupor, as the creature seated on the chair rose up in floating motion to approach the beside. Silent screams lodged fast in parched and swollen vocal chords. No impulse overcame my need to utter cries for help.

And then, a sense of peaceful calm replaced my dread. The second shape, and third, reformed themselves to flank the first as if to join in meeting me en masse. Appendages, ephemeral as wisps of smoke, formed briefly in outreach toward my body. Once, then twice, and then a third time, each encircled the area of my throat. Honeyed pressure – sweetness with opacity to invade – impressed itself on my mind. I sensed, rather than heard, their message for me.

“We are healers - come in response to your need. Accept this gift to calm your mind and body.”

                                                         ~~~~~

Morning light poured brightly into the room when next I woke. An instant brought realization my voice was back to normal. I cleared my throat and laughed with glee, breaking into ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, just because I could!

Who or what these beings were– or even from where they hailed, remains mystery. Figments of imagination, angels of good fortune, or new and alien life form travelled to earth to fix a fallen race?

All that I have seen has taught me to believe in all I have not seen. Merchants of Mercy I’ve dubbed them – these healers who came in time of need.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RLW
All I Have Not Seen

I sensed their presence long before their shape. The fine hairs on the nape of my neck raised in rhythm matching awareness each time my attention cycled left, then right, around the room. A gentle chill traipsed down my spine, light as softest fingers tapped pianissimo upon a keyboard fair.

I squinted into the openness of this most ordinary of living spaces. There an overstuffed armchair, here a lamp…night stand piled with books, alarm and cough drops meant to ease my scratchy throat. Was that a shadow by the bed I hadn’t seen before?

No, nothing there – it must be my imagination playing tricks. The night-time decongestant meant to render restful sleep had started on its work. My eyelids fell despite best efforts to remain awake.

Nights were the worst. Well into the third week of latest bout with winter germs, causing symptoms from congestion to laryngitis, my weariness had hit the hopeless phase. Would I ever be back to talking in a normal voice or finding it simple to swallow and clear my throat without the gravelly, stop-motion that followed this sickness track? The constant cough did nothing but aggravate the tender tissue needing rest.

Nudged from slumber, brief as it must have been, by tiniest of impulse, I dragged myself to consciousness again. There – on the seat of my puffy, paisley chair – was some…thing. Not quite as human formed, but close enough, and breathing heavy into now confining space. And there, another twinning shape appeared behind the first and then a third, this one hanging from the ceiling fan fixture near directly overhead.

I watched, transfixed in awful stupor, as the creature seated on the chair rose up in floating motion to approach the beside. Silent screams lodged fast in parched and swollen vocal chords. No impulse overcame my need to utter cries for help.

And then, a sense of peaceful calm replaced my dread. The second shape, and third, reformed themselves to flank the first as if to join in meeting me en masse. Appendages, ephemeral as wisps of smoke, formed briefly in outreach toward my body. Once, then twice, and then a third time, each encircled the area of my throat. Honeyed pressure – sweetness with opacity to invade – impressed itself on my mind. I sensed, rather than heard, their message for me.

“We are healers - come in response to your need. Accept this gift to calm your mind and body.”
                                                         ~~~~~
Morning light poured brightly into the room when next I woke. An instant brought realization my voice was back to normal. I cleared my throat and laughed with glee, breaking into ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, just because I could!

Who or what these beings were– or even from where they hailed, remains mystery. Figments of imagination, angels of good fortune, or new and alien life form travelled to earth to fix a fallen race?

All that I have seen has taught me to believe in all I have not seen. Merchants of Mercy I’ve dubbed them – these healers who came in time of need.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Broken_Toe

Mountain Game

Chapter One

ENCOUNTER

The Mask of Death, will blanket the land,

The Harvester’s task to do,

By the fire of their soul, he seeks his prey,

No peace for those is due.

Warriors will come, the challenge it seeks,

But fate will follow too,

Brothers at war, who meet at death,

To free those whom he slew.

* * *

The cold night air was still carrying reminders of the recent storm that earlier dropped a few fresh inches of powder on the older snow pack. Powder well describes the type of snow that drifts easily in the wind, yet rests soft and light on a dry windless night. It was the kind of dusting that lays a blanket of quiet over the mountains and muffles the normal sounds of dead branches and weathered trees of this northern terrain.

Ben’s heart quickened under his soft steps as the full moon made its appearance through an open pocket in the cloud mass above. The full moon’s light reflected off the new snow, giving the appearance of dawn to the midnight landscape. Empty shadows emerged across the forest floor in a strange pattern of night and day stopping the mountain man in his tracks. This could certainly put a damper on my fun, he thought; his plans hindered by the glow of the giant orb.

Most would probably consider him crazy. The Blackfeet were not what one would call friendly to white men. Before Lewis and Clark had arrived revealing the plan to supply all the tribes equally with firearms, they were the only people with muskets, which they acquired from the French by fur trade. Through warfare over the years, they had established themselves as the dominant nation over the other tribes in this northern land. The plan to give arms to their enemies immediately turned the Blackfeet against Lewis and Clark’s party and set in motion a constant state of hostilities with whites and Indians alike.

At this point in time the focus of the Blackfoot’s pursuits centered on raids and theft. If caught, Ben would more than likely face the same fate of Grizz; a fellow trapper in these parts whom Ben happened on last week. Well, I guess you would say the remains of. To Ben, it looked as if Grizz had fallen into a three-day peeling. An art form perfected by the Shawnee and stolen by the Blackfeet. A regular ritual performed on those that were unlucky enough to get caught on their land.

Legend has it, The Peeling, was a death that prevented the soul from entering the afterlife. If skinned while alive the soul does not remain long enough after death for the guardian of passage to collect the soul. Ben put no stock in such nonsense. He knew the Blackfeet just plain enjoyed it. But the image of Grizz’s 6’8” frame still haunted him. Held upside down with a make shift rope, made from his own skin, tied to his ankles. Grizz’s frozen features still expressed the empty realization of his impending death: with his lidless eyes, lacking the luster of color, staring endlessly at his lost future; his mouth frozen in an open, silent scream, as if saying, “This can’t be happening.”

Ben could envision clearly the blood-icicles stretching out like daggers, curved from the strong winds like the bloody claws of a large predator after the kill. But the haunting memories of the gruesome butchery did not frighten him. In Ben’s life as a mountain man, he’d seen many bloody works perpetrated on the unfortunate. No, what bugged him about Grizz was not the fact that he was hung, but that the remainder of his hide was missing, and his weapons were left untouched; it just didn’t seem normal.Why did the Blackfeet take most of the man’s hide instead of just the scalp, and why not the weapons?

Ben had cut him down and concealed the body in the trunk of an old rotted out oak. The code of the mountain man entitled Ben to the meager possessions of those no longer needing them. It was viewed as the natural thing to do considering the dangerous life they all shared. The trapper acquired the well maintained 50 caliber lead belcher and a sound German horse pistol that day, but Grizz had been traveling light respecting food stuffs or traps. The disparaging questions of the scene still haunted him, but this was no time to reflect on inconsistencies. The dangers at hand needed to be the focus of the mountain man’s concerns.

Ben had hoped to play a practical joke on the small group of Indians, probably returning from a hunting trip or perhaps a raid on some other tribe in the area. Besides they were more than likely the ones who attacked Grizz, which made Ben’s planned fun all the more enjoyable. The Blackfeet were a superstitious lot; more than susceptible to a little mountain humor; if you could call it humor. Mountain humor usually entailed theft, sometimes dismemberment, or even death. It was a serious game played by men who faced death on a daily basis. As long as it was someone else that suffered, it was funny, and Ben was intent on having his fun.

The mountain man smiled to himself as he considered the trick for tonight. The beaver had been scarce as of late. So, to Ben’s thinking, A few extra hides would be nice; not to mention the Indian ponies tethered to the east. Or if they were a hunting party he could, relieve them of their prize. Maybe he could even make it look like, the game got up and walked off by itself. The man chuckled to himself; It will be fun to play on their superstitions.

Ben had been standing stone still within 50 feet of the camp when the moon made its appearance. The band had picked a small clearing for their camp on the downhill side of a small ridge. Ben studied the camp under the new light when a sudden apprehension came over him. Something’s not right. Blackfeet don’t post sentries when on the hunt. Why is that brave,—if just up late,—not by the fire? The mountain man then took note of the camp’s deceptively peaceful state. Do they know I‘m here?

Ben continued to stand motionless probably for the better half of 20 minutes. Then something stirred behind him. Had he walked into an ambush? His grip tightened on his muzzleloader. Through his heavy fur gloves he could feel the smooth wood stock and polished steel of the weapon, giving him a feeling that as long as he held it he could survive anything thrown at him. And he was sure he would take a few with him. All Ben’s senses were on full alert. He would react when need be, but to move now would only seal his fate. He was sure if the Blackfeet had known where he was at they would have already attacked.

The sound behind him now seemed to be off to his left. Apparently they knew his proximity, but not location. Theres still a chance to get away, but patience would be required.

Ben dropped his head ever so slowly. So slowly and so discreetly, that even a doe at five yards would not have noticed it. Even to the trained eye, Ben would be hard to locate. Ice clung to the fur of his outer garments like the frozen rain clings to prairie grass after a sudden freeze. With his makeshift bearskin poncho, draped over his stocky frame, and large beaver hat resting down over his shoulders, Ben looked like a snow covered bush in the shadows of the moonlight. In this stance, with his chin pressed firmly against his chest, he could see the camp but limit the light his eyes might reflect from the meager fire near the sentry. It would also better conceal any visibility of his breath in the cold night air.

The warriors continued to flank him. What were they doing? The man began to study his surroundings, what had he missed? Little things began to stand out. The position of the brave. The fire was bigger than it should be. Even the horses were not near the camp. Why such unusual behavior?

Then it dawned on him, The ambush’s not for me. This had the feel of a trap; for the mountain man was well acquainted with the tactics of his enemy. In his youth he had joined the Kentucky militia at 18, about six months before his parents moved north to Michigan. Ben experienced first hand the red man’s deceptive ability and skill in the art of ambush, while fighting in the battle of Fort Meigs.

In 1813, the Kentucky militia was encamped above the fort on the Maumee River. Harrison, in command of a small garrison there had entrenched his men to hold the fort against the British. Under attack and in desperate need of reinforcements, he sent two men to deliver a message for the militia to take out a line of cannons pounding the fort with a relentless rain of hot shot from heavy artillery stationed on a nearby ridge.

Hot shot was used very effectively in sea battles against ships because of the tremendous fire hazard it presented against vessel and sail. Metal shrapnel or cannon balls were heated to near melting temperature in stoked fires then loaded into the cannons. The only thing separating the almost liquid metal from the powder was a water soaked wad to prevent immediate ignition. In the war of 1812, it was unleashed against any wooden structure, hailing down a sometimes devastating torrent of flaming death.

The red-hot ammunition took great skill in loading on the part of artillery units, due to the danger of the hot metal and powder in such close proximity. Its use against Fort Meigs proved somewhat ineffective due to heavy rains, which caused both cannon balls and hot shot to make a sickening sizzling sound as the artillery impacted the muddy embankments and watery trenches constructed in defense of the fort. The thick nasty smelling steam proved somewhat gagging but hardly disabling to the men dug in to hold the fort, though outnumbered two to one. But the constant pummeling of cannon fire did keep the fort from delivering any kind of an offensive.

The Kentucky militia including Ben, his brother, and a few Indians who took the American side of the conflict, made up a party of 800 strong, flanked the enemy by coming down the river by foot and canoe. Taking the enemy by surprise they quickly subdued the artillery field, spiking the cannons with their musket ramrods, to render the heavy weaponry useless. 

 It was here, while standing by the cannons cheering their victory, that a group of Indians allied with the British were seen gathering in the nearby woods. Propelled by their recent victory the militia charged into the woods after the elusive enemy against the counsel of their Indian allies. Forty-five minutes later, the number of the militia was reduced to less than 200 demoralized soldiers retreating in desperation from the well-designed ambush. 

Ben survived the slaughter only because of his training in hand-to-hand combat while with the militia and the woodcraft he had learned from his youth in the Kentucky wilderness and Ohio basin. These and similar events from his past, many near death experiences from his youth, provided a lucid reminder,— memories burned into the hollows of a vivid mind, recollections regarding the battle-ready guerillas and the type of warfare that always seemed to catch their opposition off-guard.

And now he wondered, had he again found himself the victim of a cunning enemy who was in total control? Or had he walked right into a snare set for someone else? They couldn’t know of his presence. Ben wasn’t following them. He had come upon them on his trapping run. If Ben had any hope of surviving he would have to rely on his skill, stealth and self-taught patience. The man mentally gripped one of his two pistols with his left hand. He knew he’d be putting them to use tonight.

Minutes seemed like hours as the braves made their silent advance. He mentally dropped each brave. He knew it would be a difficult fight with some hand-to-hand. First one to go would have be the one on his right. The one on his left was closer and would be easier to drop on the second shot after the start of the attack. Finally, the one in the camp he would have to shoot with the rifle. To Ben it seemed simple enough as he pondered when the Blackfeet would attack. Hopefully, he could wait them out, and work his way over to the horses. It would give Ben a better idea of how many braves were in the party. This would put the mountain man in a better position to just slip away unscathed or continue the game. Ben would probably choose the latter. Confrontations and battle offered a thrill to the mountain man that is hard to describe.

As the time passed he started thinking, what if his flank was not the real flank, but in fact, perhaps these were warriors of an opposing tribe, and this ambush was intended for them? Had he fallen into a war zone? He couldn’t be the target. Ben continued to wait, knowing that time would reveal the answer.

The braves slowly came into view and Ben could clearly see they were part of the Blackfeet and therefore, part of the ambush. They apparently expected an attack on their camp and were searching for the would-be attackers. Or was he the target? Were they alerted to his presence? Ben began to give a sigh of relief, when it came to him, Maybe this was a trick to get me to reveal my position. This certainly added to the game.

Ben began to wonder just what would happen next, when a small breeze kicked up. The wind brought with it an unusual smell to the mountain man’s nose: The smell of dead and rotting flesh. But this didn’t make sense; it was below freezing temperature. Things froze before they got a chance to rot, and it was beyond him how this smell, which was undoubtedly the stench of rotting flesh, was so pungent. An uneasy feeling came over Ben. Things were just not adding up, and Ben wasn’t alone, the lone sentry stirred to life after he inhaled the odor.

* * *

The lone brave in the camp stood silent, waiting for the signal. He shivered in his fur coat, which was unable to fight off the cold night. The fur was thinner than normal, to allow for movement during the ambush, which was making standing so far from the fire unbearable.

Bear Claw made a silent prayer to the Great Spirit that their plan would work. If not, the Demon Hunter would continue to terrorize his tribe. That’s when the telltale sign of Demon presence came to his nostrils. The brave flung off his fur, pulling out his tomahawk, and ran to the fire grabbing a flaming limb. He turned in time to feel intense pain as long sharp talons locked onto his neck, lifting him from the ground. White lightning issued forth from the wraith as the warrior swung his tomahawk downward feeling it sink into the flesh of his unseen attacker. 

Amid the cold night air, a ghostly shriek echoed through the camp, mingled with the defiant war cry of Bear Claw. 

Dropping his makeshift torch, the warrior jerked in the throes of pain as razor sharp hooks punctured his skin, ripping his exposed skin from his chest.

* * *

Ben could not believe what he was seeing. A strange red light shot across the snow in front of the brave to his left. Moments later white lightning shot from the camp near the fire and the chest of the brave to Ben’s left exploded. In the camp almost simultaneously the brave who ran to the fire seemed to be floating in midair with blood gushing from his chest. His screams were met with the shrieks of his comrades as they charged into the camp. 

 The mortally wounded floating brave, swung his tomahawk downward and shortly after dropped his torch into a large pile of pine needles and branches that circled the campsite. The fire began to spread quickly through the kindling, lighting up the forest, and giving Ben the feeling he was in hell itself.

Everything was happening in a matter of seconds, yet to Ben, time had stopped. Before the torch hit the ground however, another streak of lightning thundered—stopping the brave to Ben’s right. The brave’s back erupted in a geyser of blood and gore as the white lightning passed through his body while expanding on impact. Other braves were charging the camp from all sides still screaming their war cries. That’s when Ben saw a glint of red, in the shape of three dots forming a triangle, next to the floating, helpless brave. In a glimmer, more hide was pulled from the floating Indian. At the same time white lightning shot once,—twice,—three times, dropping three more warriors in the gruesome throes of death. The last brave continued his charge reaching the camp’s outer perimeter only to meet the same fate as the others.

Ben stood in shock; the whole battle lasted under a minute. There was no way that just happened, he thought to himself.

Ben didn’t really believe in God, but he was sure he had just witnessed the workings of the devil himself. The torture continued on the only survivor of the ambush as the invisible force toyed with his prey.

Tabby with his mouse. This was taking the game to a whole new level. Ben spied the evil still unable to see the perpetrator as the whimpering, partially skinless victim was tossed aside.

Ben thought the firelight was playing with his eyes as he watched a glimmering shadow move through the camp. It looked like the heat waves of the fire; yet, it seemed to have a specific form. The shape, distorting the background behind the apparition had the frame not unlike a very large man. The ghostly apparition floated effortlessly through the firelight like the waves of desert heat in a mirage driven dream.

Ben had never heard anything like it before, but now coming from the camp a loud eerie roar burst forth. Ben shuddered, as suddenly the creature became visible. It was immense,—— shaped like a man with a makeshift poncho of what appeared to be the hide of a grizzly bear. Large, bulging eyes burned deep within like the coals of a dying embers, shrouded by the curved horns of what was probably Satan himself. Having pulled the tomahawk from its right arm the creature sat down and began working on its wound for a few minutes. In no time it was on the move again.

Ben watched shocked as the Indian killed last was lifted into the air and mutilated under the eyes of the dying sentry. This Demon’s a twisted buzzard.

The skin was stretched into a makeshift rope and the withering life of the sentry was tied to a limb like a side of buffalo. Then the monster disappeared. Another body was drug before the vanquished.

The thing’s gathering its kills. Ben now realized he was much too close to the dead Blackfeet near him. He would only have moments to act. If he stayed the creature would walk right over him. Did the creature see the movement of the ambushing dead braves? Is that how he knew where they were? Will it see me if I move? If I stay I’m dead. Ben reasoned quickly. His only choice was to back off. Get out…what if the ghost were to see my tracks?

He would have to hide them through appearance, behind the brave to his left. Maybe the hideous giant would not notice them. Ben moved silently to his left and back. He figured he had maybe one minute to get some distance between himself and the two dead Blackfeet. There was a nice big tree just a few paces back. If he could get himself behind its trunk he might have a chance.  

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Broken_Toe
Mountain Game
Chapter One
ENCOUNTER

The Mask of Death, will blanket the land,
The Harvester’s task to do,
By the fire of their soul, he seeks his prey,
No peace for those is due.
Warriors will come, the challenge it seeks,
But fate will follow too,
Brothers at war, who meet at death,
To free those whom he slew.




* * *
The cold night air was still carrying reminders of the recent storm that earlier dropped a few fresh inches of powder on the older snow pack. Powder well describes the type of snow that drifts easily in the wind, yet rests soft and light on a dry windless night. It was the kind of dusting that lays a blanket of quiet over the mountains and muffles the normal sounds of dead branches and weathered trees of this northern terrain.

Ben’s heart quickened under his soft steps as the full moon made its appearance through an open pocket in the cloud mass above. The full moon’s light reflected off the new snow, giving the appearance of dawn to the midnight landscape. Empty shadows emerged across the forest floor in a strange pattern of night and day stopping the mountain man in his tracks. This could certainly put a damper on my fun, he thought; his plans hindered by the glow of the giant orb.

Most would probably consider him crazy. The Blackfeet were not what one would call friendly to white men. Before Lewis and Clark had arrived revealing the plan to supply all the tribes equally with firearms, they were the only people with muskets, which they acquired from the French by fur trade. Through warfare over the years, they had established themselves as the dominant nation over the other tribes in this northern land. The plan to give arms to their enemies immediately turned the Blackfeet against Lewis and Clark’s party and set in motion a constant state of hostilities with whites and Indians alike.

At this point in time the focus of the Blackfoot’s pursuits centered on raids and theft. If caught, Ben would more than likely face the same fate of Grizz; a fellow trapper in these parts whom Ben happened on last week. Well, I guess you would say the remains of. To Ben, it looked as if Grizz had fallen into a three-day peeling. An art form perfected by the Shawnee and stolen by the Blackfeet. A regular ritual performed on those that were unlucky enough to get caught on their land.

Legend has it, The Peeling, was a death that prevented the soul from entering the afterlife. If skinned while alive the soul does not remain long enough after death for the guardian of passage to collect the soul. Ben put no stock in such nonsense. He knew the Blackfeet just plain enjoyed it. But the image of Grizz’s 6’8” frame still haunted him. Held upside down with a make shift rope, made from his own skin, tied to his ankles. Grizz’s frozen features still expressed the empty realization of his impending death: with his lidless eyes, lacking the luster of color, staring endlessly at his lost future; his mouth frozen in an open, silent scream, as if saying, “This can’t be happening.”

Ben could envision clearly the blood-icicles stretching out like daggers, curved from the strong winds like the bloody claws of a large predator after the kill. But the haunting memories of the gruesome butchery did not frighten him. In Ben’s life as a mountain man, he’d seen many bloody works perpetrated on the unfortunate. No, what bugged him about Grizz was not the fact that he was hung, but that the remainder of his hide was missing, and his weapons were left untouched; it just didn’t seem normal.Why did the Blackfeet take most of the man’s hide instead of just the scalp, and why not the weapons?

Ben had cut him down and concealed the body in the trunk of an old rotted out oak. The code of the mountain man entitled Ben to the meager possessions of those no longer needing them. It was viewed as the natural thing to do considering the dangerous life they all shared. The trapper acquired the well maintained 50 caliber lead belcher and a sound German horse pistol that day, but Grizz had been traveling light respecting food stuffs or traps. The disparaging questions of the scene still haunted him, but this was no time to reflect on inconsistencies. The dangers at hand needed to be the focus of the mountain man’s concerns.

Ben had hoped to play a practical joke on the small group of Indians, probably returning from a hunting trip or perhaps a raid on some other tribe in the area. Besides they were more than likely the ones who attacked Grizz, which made Ben’s planned fun all the more enjoyable. The Blackfeet were a superstitious lot; more than susceptible to a little mountain humor; if you could call it humor. Mountain humor usually entailed theft, sometimes dismemberment, or even death. It was a serious game played by men who faced death on a daily basis. As long as it was someone else that suffered, it was funny, and Ben was intent on having his fun.

The mountain man smiled to himself as he considered the trick for tonight. The beaver had been scarce as of late. So, to Ben’s thinking, A few extra hides would be nice; not to mention the Indian ponies tethered to the east. Or if they were a hunting party he could, relieve them of their prize. Maybe he could even make it look like, the game got up and walked off by itself. The man chuckled to himself; It will be fun to play on their superstitions.

Ben had been standing stone still within 50 feet of the camp when the moon made its appearance. The band had picked a small clearing for their camp on the downhill side of a small ridge. Ben studied the camp under the new light when a sudden apprehension came over him. Something’s not right. Blackfeet don’t post sentries when on the hunt. Why is that brave,—if just up late,—not by the fire? The mountain man then took note of the camp’s deceptively peaceful state. Do they know I‘m here?

Ben continued to stand motionless probably for the better half of 20 minutes. Then something stirred behind him. Had he walked into an ambush? His grip tightened on his muzzleloader. Through his heavy fur gloves he could feel the smooth wood stock and polished steel of the weapon, giving him a feeling that as long as he held it he could survive anything thrown at him. And he was sure he would take a few with him. All Ben’s senses were on full alert. He would react when need be, but to move now would only seal his fate. He was sure if the Blackfeet had known where he was at they would have already attacked.

The sound behind him now seemed to be off to his left. Apparently they knew his proximity, but not location. Theres still a chance to get away, but patience would be required.

Ben dropped his head ever so slowly. So slowly and so discreetly, that even a doe at five yards would not have noticed it. Even to the trained eye, Ben would be hard to locate. Ice clung to the fur of his outer garments like the frozen rain clings to prairie grass after a sudden freeze. With his makeshift bearskin poncho, draped over his stocky frame, and large beaver hat resting down over his shoulders, Ben looked like a snow covered bush in the shadows of the moonlight. In this stance, with his chin pressed firmly against his chest, he could see the camp but limit the light his eyes might reflect from the meager fire near the sentry. It would also better conceal any visibility of his breath in the cold night air.

The warriors continued to flank him. What were they doing? The man began to study his surroundings, what had he missed? Little things began to stand out. The position of the brave. The fire was bigger than it should be. Even the horses were not near the camp. Why such unusual behavior?

Then it dawned on him, The ambush’s not for me. This had the feel of a trap; for the mountain man was well acquainted with the tactics of his enemy. In his youth he had joined the Kentucky militia at 18, about six months before his parents moved north to Michigan. Ben experienced first hand the red man’s deceptive ability and skill in the art of ambush, while fighting in the battle of Fort Meigs.

In 1813, the Kentucky militia was encamped above the fort on the Maumee River. Harrison, in command of a small garrison there had entrenched his men to hold the fort against the British. Under attack and in desperate need of reinforcements, he sent two men to deliver a message for the militia to take out a line of cannons pounding the fort with a relentless rain of hot shot from heavy artillery stationed on a nearby ridge.

Hot shot was used very effectively in sea battles against ships because of the tremendous fire hazard it presented against vessel and sail. Metal shrapnel or cannon balls were heated to near melting temperature in stoked fires then loaded into the cannons. The only thing separating the almost liquid metal from the powder was a water soaked wad to prevent immediate ignition. In the war of 1812, it was unleashed against any wooden structure, hailing down a sometimes devastating torrent of flaming death.

The red-hot ammunition took great skill in loading on the part of artillery units, due to the danger of the hot metal and powder in such close proximity. Its use against Fort Meigs proved somewhat ineffective due to heavy rains, which caused both cannon balls and hot shot to make a sickening sizzling sound as the artillery impacted the muddy embankments and watery trenches constructed in defense of the fort. The thick nasty smelling steam proved somewhat gagging but hardly disabling to the men dug in to hold the fort, though outnumbered two to one. But the constant pummeling of cannon fire did keep the fort from delivering any kind of an offensive.

The Kentucky militia including Ben, his brother, and a few Indians who took the American side of the conflict, made up a party of 800 strong, flanked the enemy by coming down the river by foot and canoe. Taking the enemy by surprise they quickly subdued the artillery field, spiking the cannons with their musket ramrods, to render the heavy weaponry useless. 

 It was here, while standing by the cannons cheering their victory, that a group of Indians allied with the British were seen gathering in the nearby woods. Propelled by their recent victory the militia charged into the woods after the elusive enemy against the counsel of their Indian allies. Forty-five minutes later, the number of the militia was reduced to less than 200 demoralized soldiers retreating in desperation from the well-designed ambush. 

Ben survived the slaughter only because of his training in hand-to-hand combat while with the militia and the woodcraft he had learned from his youth in the Kentucky wilderness and Ohio basin. These and similar events from his past, many near death experiences from his youth, provided a lucid reminder,— memories burned into the hollows of a vivid mind, recollections regarding the battle-ready guerillas and the type of warfare that always seemed to catch their opposition off-guard.

And now he wondered, had he again found himself the victim of a cunning enemy who was in total control? Or had he walked right into a snare set for someone else? They couldn’t know of his presence. Ben wasn’t following them. He had come upon them on his trapping run. If Ben had any hope of surviving he would have to rely on his skill, stealth and self-taught patience. The man mentally gripped one of his two pistols with his left hand. He knew he’d be putting them to use tonight.

Minutes seemed like hours as the braves made their silent advance. He mentally dropped each brave. He knew it would be a difficult fight with some hand-to-hand. First one to go would have be the one on his right. The one on his left was closer and would be easier to drop on the second shot after the start of the attack. Finally, the one in the camp he would have to shoot with the rifle. To Ben it seemed simple enough as he pondered when the Blackfeet would attack. Hopefully, he could wait them out, and work his way over to the horses. It would give Ben a better idea of how many braves were in the party. This would put the mountain man in a better position to just slip away unscathed or continue the game. Ben would probably choose the latter. Confrontations and battle offered a thrill to the mountain man that is hard to describe.

As the time passed he started thinking, what if his flank was not the real flank, but in fact, perhaps these were warriors of an opposing tribe, and this ambush was intended for them? Had he fallen into a war zone? He couldn’t be the target. Ben continued to wait, knowing that time would reveal the answer.

The braves slowly came into view and Ben could clearly see they were part of the Blackfeet and therefore, part of the ambush. They apparently expected an attack on their camp and were searching for the would-be attackers. Or was he the target? Were they alerted to his presence? Ben began to give a sigh of relief, when it came to him, Maybe this was a trick to get me to reveal my position. This certainly added to the game.

Ben began to wonder just what would happen next, when a small breeze kicked up. The wind brought with it an unusual smell to the mountain man’s nose: The smell of dead and rotting flesh. But this didn’t make sense; it was below freezing temperature. Things froze before they got a chance to rot, and it was beyond him how this smell, which was undoubtedly the stench of rotting flesh, was so pungent. An uneasy feeling came over Ben. Things were just not adding up, and Ben wasn’t alone, the lone sentry stirred to life after he inhaled the odor.


* * *


The lone brave in the camp stood silent, waiting for the signal. He shivered in his fur coat, which was unable to fight off the cold night. The fur was thinner than normal, to allow for movement during the ambush, which was making standing so far from the fire unbearable.

Bear Claw made a silent prayer to the Great Spirit that their plan would work. If not, the Demon Hunter would continue to terrorize his tribe. That’s when the telltale sign of Demon presence came to his nostrils. The brave flung off his fur, pulling out his tomahawk, and ran to the fire grabbing a flaming limb. He turned in time to feel intense pain as long sharp talons locked onto his neck, lifting him from the ground. White lightning issued forth from the wraith as the warrior swung his tomahawk downward feeling it sink into the flesh of his unseen attacker. 

Amid the cold night air, a ghostly shriek echoed through the camp, mingled with the defiant war cry of Bear Claw. 

Dropping his makeshift torch, the warrior jerked in the throes of pain as razor sharp hooks punctured his skin, ripping his exposed skin from his chest.


* * *


Ben could not believe what he was seeing. A strange red light shot across the snow in front of the brave to his left. Moments later white lightning shot from the camp near the fire and the chest of the brave to Ben’s left exploded. In the camp almost simultaneously the brave who ran to the fire seemed to be floating in midair with blood gushing from his chest. His screams were met with the shrieks of his comrades as they charged into the camp. 

 The mortally wounded floating brave, swung his tomahawk downward and shortly after dropped his torch into a large pile of pine needles and branches that circled the campsite. The fire began to spread quickly through the kindling, lighting up the forest, and giving Ben the feeling he was in hell itself.

Everything was happening in a matter of seconds, yet to Ben, time had stopped. Before the torch hit the ground however, another streak of lightning thundered—stopping the brave to Ben’s right. The brave’s back erupted in a geyser of blood and gore as the white lightning passed through his body while expanding on impact. Other braves were charging the camp from all sides still screaming their war cries. That’s when Ben saw a glint of red, in the shape of three dots forming a triangle, next to the floating, helpless brave. In a glimmer, more hide was pulled from the floating Indian. At the same time white lightning shot once,—twice,—three times, dropping three more warriors in the gruesome throes of death. The last brave continued his charge reaching the camp’s outer perimeter only to meet the same fate as the others.

Ben stood in shock; the whole battle lasted under a minute. There was no way that just happened, he thought to himself.

Ben didn’t really believe in God, but he was sure he had just witnessed the workings of the devil himself. The torture continued on the only survivor of the ambush as the invisible force toyed with his prey.

Tabby with his mouse. This was taking the game to a whole new level. Ben spied the evil still unable to see the perpetrator as the whimpering, partially skinless victim was tossed aside.

Ben thought the firelight was playing with his eyes as he watched a glimmering shadow move through the camp. It looked like the heat waves of the fire; yet, it seemed to have a specific form. The shape, distorting the background behind the apparition had the frame not unlike a very large man. The ghostly apparition floated effortlessly through the firelight like the waves of desert heat in a mirage driven dream.

Ben had never heard anything like it before, but now coming from the camp a loud eerie roar burst forth. Ben shuddered, as suddenly the creature became visible. It was immense,—— shaped like a man with a makeshift poncho of what appeared to be the hide of a grizzly bear. Large, bulging eyes burned deep within like the coals of a dying embers, shrouded by the curved horns of what was probably Satan himself. Having pulled the tomahawk from its right arm the creature sat down and began working on its wound for a few minutes. In no time it was on the move again.

Ben watched shocked as the Indian killed last was lifted into the air and mutilated under the eyes of the dying sentry. This Demon’s a twisted buzzard.

The skin was stretched into a makeshift rope and the withering life of the sentry was tied to a limb like a side of buffalo. Then the monster disappeared. Another body was drug before the vanquished.

The thing’s gathering its kills. Ben now realized he was much too close to the dead Blackfeet near him. He would only have moments to act. If he stayed the creature would walk right over him. Did the creature see the movement of the ambushing dead braves? Is that how he knew where they were? Will it see me if I move? If I stay I’m dead. Ben reasoned quickly. His only choice was to back off. Get out…what if the ghost were to see my tracks?

He would have to hide them through appearance, behind the brave to his left. Maybe the hideous giant would not notice them. Ben moved silently to his left and back. He figured he had maybe one minute to get some distance between himself and the two dead Blackfeet. There was a nice big tree just a few paces back. If he could get himself behind its trunk he might have a chance.  
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Chapter 4 of Collection of Short Stories
Written by Charlton_Ghosh

Oozelles

Shay Pipkin's Biology Journal: Entry 41; 041/9,461 approximately 8155.000

Location: Orbis Aquae

General Information Chart:

Object Name: Ozzelles

Location: Like humans and similar parasites, they are found throughout the known galaxies (this study has been performed primarily on Orbis Aquae)

Description: Think giant amoeba; Physically they grow to be about 3 foot diameter spheres; Usually puce in color, although other dull grey/green colors are sometimes seen; Its consistency is rather like a blob of jelly left out on the counter; Can change color depending on creatures age and items ingested

Origin: Unkown

Current activities: Digesting things, including themselves if nothing else is available; Only known danger to them: extensive fire and/or heat; Can formulate specific acids to dissolve and/or digest almost anything; Primary source of food is unknown, they seem to thrive off of everything

Special Notes: Can let off noxious gases at will; When burned: emits toxic fumes; Can separate into many, totally independent blobs; The separation/ reproduction of oozelles is accomplished through binary fission; If the environment is stressful for a colony, they will start to merge back together (two oozelles become a single oozelle)They communicate by telepathy; Impervious to almost everything; Generally does not take interest in surrounding environment;

Shay's Observations:

Now there is a sight I never thought I'd see. A  single oozelle splitting in two. A single oozelle is rare, since they are almost always social creatures living in big colonies. It appears that this oozelle has left its colony (I assume the one 16 miles to the north) and seems to be starting one of its own.

I have been watching this creature for 14 days now. I have not yet tried to contact it. Although I am fairly certain it knows I am here watching it. It moved to the other side of the clearing shortly after I made camp in this tree. However, it does seem comfortable enough to split in front of me. I think I will be able to watch a colony grow, right under my nose. This is really quite amazing.

I should make note that these creatures are thoroughly sentient, and have communicated with humans in the past. But I am trying to watch "virgin" oozelles, uncontaminated by the outside world. So far, I have been successful. And the natives (anthró̱pino psária) of Orbis Aquae have been a great help in this regard. They had told me about the colony in the first place and they have also granted me several necessary supplies.

I intend to continue to watch this oozelle for another year if all goes well.

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Chapter 4 of Collection of Short Stories
Written by Charlton_Ghosh
Oozelles
Shay Pipkin's Biology Journal: Entry 41; 041/9,461 approximately 8155.000
Location: Orbis Aquae


General Information Chart:
Object Name: Ozzelles
Location: Like humans and similar parasites, they are found throughout the known galaxies (this study has been performed primarily on Orbis Aquae)
Description: Think giant amoeba; Physically they grow to be about 3 foot diameter spheres; Usually puce in color, although other dull grey/green colors are sometimes seen; Its consistency is rather like a blob of jelly left out on the counter; Can change color depending on creatures age and items ingested
Origin: Unkown
Current activities: Digesting things, including themselves if nothing else is available; Only known danger to them: extensive fire and/or heat; Can formulate specific acids to dissolve and/or digest almost anything; Primary source of food is unknown, they seem to thrive off of everything
Special Notes: Can let off noxious gases at will; When burned: emits toxic fumes; Can separate into many, totally independent blobs; The separation/ reproduction of oozelles is accomplished through binary fission; If the environment is stressful for a colony, they will start to merge back together (two oozelles become a single oozelle)They communicate by telepathy; Impervious to almost everything; Generally does not take interest in surrounding environment;

Shay's Observations:
Now there is a sight I never thought I'd see. A  single oozelle splitting in two. A single oozelle is rare, since they are almost always social creatures living in big colonies. It appears that this oozelle has left its colony (I assume the one 16 miles to the north) and seems to be starting one of its own.

I have been watching this creature for 14 days now. I have not yet tried to contact it. Although I am fairly certain it knows I am here watching it. It moved to the other side of the clearing shortly after I made camp in this tree. However, it does seem comfortable enough to split in front of me. I think I will be able to watch a colony grow, right under my nose. This is really quite amazing.

I should make note that these creatures are thoroughly sentient, and have communicated with humans in the past. But I am trying to watch "virgin" oozelles, uncontaminated by the outside world. So far, I have been successful. And the natives (anthró̱pino psária) of Orbis Aquae have been a great help in this regard. They had told me about the colony in the first place and they have also granted me several necessary supplies.

I intend to continue to watch this oozelle for another year if all goes well.
#prosechallenge  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by B27321

New; Knew

I Don’t Know If Its New,

But I Do Know It Was New To me;

Nor Had I Ever Heard

Such a Thing Described To me.

For I Don’t Believe

They Are From This World or Any Other.

Demons Ripped From Another Dimension;

Nightmares Rendered Real.

Crazy I Know.

That Is Why I am Writing This,

Because Only On Paper

Can I UnLeash

This Torrent of Conflicting Emotion.

To Try To Make Some Sense of It,

To UnBurden my Mind,

Because Sex & Drink

Just Doesn’t Make It.

the First Time

I Was Drifting Through Some Southern Towns

& I Came Upon It,

In a Glass Case;

a Human Brain

With Filaments

Like Spiders’

Legs

& It Spoke To me,

In my Brain of Its Need to ImPregnate me.

I Escaped & Returned to Kill It

& Its Keeper.

Once Again

When I Was Working

As a Carny In a Run Down Town,

I Dealt Death to Another

In the Visage of An InSane Clown.

Nothing In the News Papers,

No Bounty On my Head;

I Know I Killed Them;

I Know Their Dead.

I Don’t Want to Go Back;

I Don’t Know If I Should.

Scared,

Edgy,

Shot Gun By the Bed;

Crazy,

MayBe;

I Can’t Get Them Out Of my Head.

I Can’t Stay I Have To Go.

Wait;

What Was That,

a Knock On the Door.

#B27321

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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by B27321
New; Knew
I Don’t Know If Its New,
But I Do Know It Was New To me;
Nor Had I Ever Heard
Such a Thing Described To me.
For I Don’t Believe
They Are From This World or Any Other.
Demons Ripped From Another Dimension;
Nightmares Rendered Real.
Crazy I Know.
That Is Why I am Writing This,
Because Only On Paper
Can I UnLeash
This Torrent of Conflicting Emotion.
To Try To Make Some Sense of It,
To UnBurden my Mind,
Because Sex & Drink
Just Doesn’t Make It.
the First Time
I Was Drifting Through Some Southern Towns
& I Came Upon It,
In a Glass Case;
a Human Brain
With Filaments
Like Spiders’
Legs
& It Spoke To me,
In my Brain of Its Need to ImPregnate me.
I Escaped & Returned to Kill It
& Its Keeper.
Once Again
When I Was Working
As a Carny In a Run Down Town,
I Dealt Death to Another
In the Visage of An InSane Clown.
Nothing In the News Papers,
No Bounty On my Head;
I Know I Killed Them;
I Know Their Dead.
I Don’t Want to Go Back;
I Don’t Know If I Should.
Scared,
Edgy,
Shot Gun By the Bed;
Crazy,
MayBe;
I Can’t Get Them Out Of my Head.
I Can’t Stay I Have To Go.
Wait;
What Was That,
a Knock On the Door.
#B27321
#fantasy  #scifi  #horror  #poetry  #mystery 
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