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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by Drivers7

Blood Rose

The boy awoke in a dark room; cold, and smelling of human waste. His arms and legs were all tingling. He could barely move; his limbs were rubber. With no recollection of how he got there, he tried to remember, but the only image his mind could summon was that of a rose. Dark red. It was as if his memories were just as trapped as he was. A shudder went down his spine as goose bumps rose all over his skin. He was wearing nothing more than a simple pair of dark shorts that cut off just above the knee. He tried to look at his surroundings but from his position on the floor could see only the ceiling.

Time passed. The boy did not know how long; seconds, minutes, hours, its all the same when you can’t move. Eventually he was able to use one arm to push himself upward into a sitting position. The room was dark, but not so dark that he couldn’t see. The light came from no discernible source; there were no windows or lights in the room. The only opening to the room was an old, cast iron door. He was in cell.

The cell was not large, and seemed to be made of stone but was covered in enough moss that the boy was reminded of a swamp. Monstrous cobwebs hung down from the ceiling in massive clumps, but there were no spiders in sight. Looking around the remainder of the cell he saw there was no cot, no toilet, no bucket, nothing other than him.

A low growling made the hair on the back of his neck and arms stand on end. Every muscle in him was telling him to run, but he had nowhere to go and even if there was he still didn’t have the strength to use his legs. The boy focused all of his attention on the door, expecting an animal to burst in at any moment. A stabbing pain in his chest alerted him that the sound was coming from him. The boy started to laugh at his own mistake, but the laugh soon became a cough. The sheer physical exertion was too much for the boy to take, and he was soon rendered unconscious yet again.

-----------

This time when the boy awoke, he had regained use of his legs. He stood and stretched his stiff limbs. He still felt miserable, but he was distracted by the appearance of a plate of food. There was not much: a few strips of jerky, a piece of stiff bread, and a handful of unsalted nuts. The boy inhaled this food and then began to wonder about the appearance of the plate. The door to the cell looked rusted shut, and no amount of pulling or prying on his part yielded any results. He was contemplating trying to use the plate to wedge open the door when he heard a voice.

Turn around

Turning wildly and brandishing the tin plate as a weapon, the boy saw no one. Further inspection of the room yielded no results. He was still alone. A warm trickle on his lip forced his attention away from the voice and to his slowly-bleeding nose. Lying back on the damp stone, he squeezed the bridge of his nose in an attempt to cut off the bleeding. He stared at the cobwebs on the ceiling, contemplating trying to use one to plug his nose.

This way

The voice came again. Soft and whispery, the voice was one he had heard before but could not place. He turned his head to the left and a movement in the moss caught his attention. He reached over and yanked a handful of the moss from the wall to reveal a small tunnel, just large enough for him to crawl through.

Go

The boy was less concerned about a phantom voice than he was about escaping. The bleeding from his nose had ebbed but there was still a slow dribble down his face that he ignored. What was a little blood? The tunnel carried on for an indeterminate distance but it felt like hours passed. The boy’s knees had long since blistered on the rough, uneven rock and his back was bleeding in multiple places from scraping the top of the tunnel. The tunnel was darker than the cell had been, and he had just about given up when felt the tunnel turn and begin to slope down. It was only a few more minutes of crawling before the tunnel had opened into corridor lit by torches.

Run

The boy ignored the unknown voice, briefly wondering at it’s source. He looked back down the tunnel, but didn’t waste time thinking on it and simply chalked it up to exhaustion and dehydration. The boy took a moment to breathe and stretch once more before he looked around. The corridor was made of a nicer stone than either the cell or tunnel had been. Where the cell had been a cobbled mess and the tunnel a gritty rock that was unidentifiable in the dark, the corridor was a plain, light brown stone that was not unpleasant to the touch.

The corridor was split every fifty-some feet by another corridor running perpendicular. There was no visible ceiling, only darkness stretching above. The blood had long since stopped oozing from his nose and had formed a thick crust on his face. The boy wondered when the last time he had bathed was, unable to remember anything other than the rose. He hoped his memory would return in time.

Hurry while you can

The boy was getting tired of the voice. Where did it come from? What did it want with him? Why couldn’t he remember anything beyond a rose?

He continued walking down the corridor discontentedly until it finally came to an end, making the last intersection a T shape. In the middle of the intersection he saw something that stopped him dead in his tracks: a small pyramid of skulls. The bottom looked to be ancient but each layer looked newer the higher up he looked. The boy couldn’t tell if the skull on top was wet or just shiny, and he didn’t want to get close enough to find out. Curiously, the skulls were all facing toward one of the two branches of the intersection. The boy opted to go down the path they were not facing, not wanting their unseeing eye sockets to follow his every move.

He was walking for a few minutes when he heard a light clattering from behind him. The boy turned toward the sound and listened more closely. He heard a dry thump and then what sounded like something rolling. Clay pots or maybe a rock or—bones. One of the skulls from the pyramid rolled to stop, staring up at him. With shaking hands, the boy leaned down and picked up the skull, hating the way the texture felt on his hands. He glanced back down the corridor, not sure what he was expecting. Turning his attention back to the skull, the boy let out a yell and dropped the skull. Blood had begun to stream from the nose socket and leave a trail on the upper jaw before pooling on the floor.

You should have listened

Shaken by the unknown voice’s warning and the bloody skull, the boy turned and ran down the corridor for as long as he could. He thought he could hear someone or something chasing him, but the blood pumping through his body drowned out any outside noise. The corridor he ran down was just as plain as the main one had been and it lit by the same torches. The corridors may have been identical except that there were no branching corridors down this path.

Finally coming to a stop, the boy panted for breath. His heartbeat was a hammer to his head, pounding any coherent thought into oblivion. Blood had started to leak from his nose at some point during the run, but he was so desperate he didn’t care. Ahead of him was a staircase made out of a smooth, white stone that may have been marble.

You’re wasting time

The boy cursed loudly and panted up the stairs. Each flight consisted of twenty-five steps and then a short landing before another flight of stairs that went up in the opposite direction of the previous flight. He climbed flight after flight, struggling not to fall over from exhaustion. After what felt like fifty flights of stairs, he came upon a landing that had a small fountain.

The basin was flawlessly chiseled out of the wall. The bowl was large and incredibly smooth. The wall above the fountain was bare save for one single engraving: a rose. Fresh water ran from a small opening just below the stem of the rose and drained through an opening in the bottom of the bowl. The boy didn’t believe his luck; he stuck his head into the fountain and drank his fill.

A far-off thumping took the boy’s attention away from the fountain and to the stairs. Something was coming. The boy turned back to the fountain for one last drink and paused. A minuscule, red line was a fracture in the perfectly clear liquid. As he watched, the red expanded and soon the entire pool had turned a deep red. He touched his face and it came back red and sticky. Blood. He screamed and fell back from the fountain, scrambling away. The once-white rose had turned as red as the water.

Time is running out

The thumping had grown steadily steadily louder and the boy did not wait around long enough to find out why. He took the eerie voice as a sign to run up the stairs. Two at a time, the boy leapt up the stairs with renewed energy. His mind was reeling, had he drank blood?

Pounding up the stairs as fast as he could, the boy wanted to put as much distance as possible between him and whatever was chasing him. His exhaustion dulled his awareness and the boy tripped. His body slammed onto the flight and slid down to the landing. The boy remained on the landing while the stars cleared from his vision. When he gained his bearings, the steady thumping coming from below him was louder, this single slip had allowed his pursuit to gain ground.

The boy pulled himself up the stairs, further smearing them with his own blood. The impact of the fall had created a new geyser of blood to spurt down his face. Unable to muster enough strength to return to his feet, he pulled himself up with his arms. He went up multiple flights in this manner, his fear forcing him to continue his ascent. The thumping from fights below him was growing louder and the boy guessed that whatever was chasing him would be upon him in minutes. The boy pulled himself harder, fighting the urge to collapse. The higher the boy climbed, the thicker the blood from his nose became. It pulsed to his heartbeat and the boy knew he should be concerned about blood loss, but his sole focus was escape.

Almost there

The voice pushed the boy further and at the end of one final flight of stairs was a large chamber of deep, black stone; pure obsidian. In place of the torches that had been hung on the marble walls of the staircase, the obsidian chamber was lit by small lanterns, glowing with a ghastly white flame. The glass-like smoothness of the obsidian made walking difficult and he fell back to his knees, crawling his way into the chamber.

Looking around the chamber, the vastness surprised the boy. The room was circular in shape and almost entire empty. There were deep scratches in the stone; rough, deep cuts that left a fine grit that stuck to his fingers. In the center of the room was a stone protrusion. A perfectly round cylinder that came up to about waist height. Growing out of the center of this obsidian cylinder was a single rose. The pulled himself upright using the stone and examined the rose.

Whatever had been chasing him had almost caught up to him, the thumping had been reduced to a short, staccato clicking. The sound was increasing and the boy knew it would upon him shortly.

Sweat dripped from his forehead and mingled with the blood that had not ceased to pour out of his nose since entering the chamber. The closer the boy came to the impossible rose, the more his nose bled. It was a morbid waterfall on his face.

The clicking was on the last flight of stairs.

The boy reached out to grasp the rose.

The clicking stopped.

He hesitated and turned back toward the stairs.

Its time

The boy waited, every fiber of his being ready to explode. Fear had eroded any sense of fight he had previously commanded. There was nothing there. The boy laughed, he had made the same mistake as earlier when he mistook his stomach for a monster. Hysteria overwhelmed him, it took all of his willpower to stay on his feet. He turned back to the rose and plucked it from where it grew, ignoring the thorns cutting into his skin. Bringing the sweet-smelling flower to his face, he didn’t notice the woman standing directly in front of him.

Fool

The boy wondered why this time he heard the voice not in his head, but in his ears. This was the last thing the boy wondered.

-----------

What a waste. I had hoped he would fare better.

The woman wiped the boy’s blood from her blade and sheathed it.

Such a shame, this one was amusing.

Toeing the boy onto his back, she reached down and plucked the rose from his fingers.

Their wanton disregard for other life never ceases to amaze. Perhaps the next will be wiser.

Biting the flower from the stem, the woman savored the flavor and let the red juices pour down her throat.

His chase may have been lacking, but his taste made up for it. Quite lovely.

The woman rolled the stem between her fingers for moment before stabbing it into one of the boy’s lifeless eyes. Working deliberately, she pulled the eye out of the boy’s head and stuck the stem back where it had previously grown. The stem rejoined where it had been broken off and the eye morphed into a plain, white rose.

Time to play again.

The woman smiled as she began the long walk to the next cell.

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by Drivers7
Blood Rose
The boy awoke in a dark room; cold, and smelling of human waste. His arms and legs were all tingling. He could barely move; his limbs were rubber. With no recollection of how he got there, he tried to remember, but the only image his mind could summon was that of a rose. Dark red. It was as if his memories were just as trapped as he was. A shudder went down his spine as goose bumps rose all over his skin. He was wearing nothing more than a simple pair of dark shorts that cut off just above the knee. He tried to look at his surroundings but from his position on the floor could see only the ceiling.

Time passed. The boy did not know how long; seconds, minutes, hours, its all the same when you can’t move. Eventually he was able to use one arm to push himself upward into a sitting position. The room was dark, but not so dark that he couldn’t see. The light came from no discernible source; there were no windows or lights in the room. The only opening to the room was an old, cast iron door. He was in cell.

The cell was not large, and seemed to be made of stone but was covered in enough moss that the boy was reminded of a swamp. Monstrous cobwebs hung down from the ceiling in massive clumps, but there were no spiders in sight. Looking around the remainder of the cell he saw there was no cot, no toilet, no bucket, nothing other than him.

A low growling made the hair on the back of his neck and arms stand on end. Every muscle in him was telling him to run, but he had nowhere to go and even if there was he still didn’t have the strength to use his legs. The boy focused all of his attention on the door, expecting an animal to burst in at any moment. A stabbing pain in his chest alerted him that the sound was coming from him. The boy started to laugh at his own mistake, but the laugh soon became a cough. The sheer physical exertion was too much for the boy to take, and he was soon rendered unconscious yet again.

-----------

This time when the boy awoke, he had regained use of his legs. He stood and stretched his stiff limbs. He still felt miserable, but he was distracted by the appearance of a plate of food. There was not much: a few strips of jerky, a piece of stiff bread, and a handful of unsalted nuts. The boy inhaled this food and then began to wonder about the appearance of the plate. The door to the cell looked rusted shut, and no amount of pulling or prying on his part yielded any results. He was contemplating trying to use the plate to wedge open the door when he heard a voice.

Turn around

Turning wildly and brandishing the tin plate as a weapon, the boy saw no one. Further inspection of the room yielded no results. He was still alone. A warm trickle on his lip forced his attention away from the voice and to his slowly-bleeding nose. Lying back on the damp stone, he squeezed the bridge of his nose in an attempt to cut off the bleeding. He stared at the cobwebs on the ceiling, contemplating trying to use one to plug his nose.

This way

The voice came again. Soft and whispery, the voice was one he had heard before but could not place. He turned his head to the left and a movement in the moss caught his attention. He reached over and yanked a handful of the moss from the wall to reveal a small tunnel, just large enough for him to crawl through.

Go

The boy was less concerned about a phantom voice than he was about escaping. The bleeding from his nose had ebbed but there was still a slow dribble down his face that he ignored. What was a little blood? The tunnel carried on for an indeterminate distance but it felt like hours passed. The boy’s knees had long since blistered on the rough, uneven rock and his back was bleeding in multiple places from scraping the top of the tunnel. The tunnel was darker than the cell had been, and he had just about given up when felt the tunnel turn and begin to slope down. It was only a few more minutes of crawling before the tunnel had opened into corridor lit by torches.

Run

The boy ignored the unknown voice, briefly wondering at it’s source. He looked back down the tunnel, but didn’t waste time thinking on it and simply chalked it up to exhaustion and dehydration. The boy took a moment to breathe and stretch once more before he looked around. The corridor was made of a nicer stone than either the cell or tunnel had been. Where the cell had been a cobbled mess and the tunnel a gritty rock that was unidentifiable in the dark, the corridor was a plain, light brown stone that was not unpleasant to the touch.

The corridor was split every fifty-some feet by another corridor running perpendicular. There was no visible ceiling, only darkness stretching above. The blood had long since stopped oozing from his nose and had formed a thick crust on his face. The boy wondered when the last time he had bathed was, unable to remember anything other than the rose. He hoped his memory would return in time.

Hurry while you can

The boy was getting tired of the voice. Where did it come from? What did it want with him? Why couldn’t he remember anything beyond a rose?

He continued walking down the corridor discontentedly until it finally came to an end, making the last intersection a T shape. In the middle of the intersection he saw something that stopped him dead in his tracks: a small pyramid of skulls. The bottom looked to be ancient but each layer looked newer the higher up he looked. The boy couldn’t tell if the skull on top was wet or just shiny, and he didn’t want to get close enough to find out. Curiously, the skulls were all facing toward one of the two branches of the intersection. The boy opted to go down the path they were not facing, not wanting their unseeing eye sockets to follow his every move.

He was walking for a few minutes when he heard a light clattering from behind him. The boy turned toward the sound and listened more closely. He heard a dry thump and then what sounded like something rolling. Clay pots or maybe a rock or—bones. One of the skulls from the pyramid rolled to stop, staring up at him. With shaking hands, the boy leaned down and picked up the skull, hating the way the texture felt on his hands. He glanced back down the corridor, not sure what he was expecting. Turning his attention back to the skull, the boy let out a yell and dropped the skull. Blood had begun to stream from the nose socket and leave a trail on the upper jaw before pooling on the floor.

You should have listened

Shaken by the unknown voice’s warning and the bloody skull, the boy turned and ran down the corridor for as long as he could. He thought he could hear someone or something chasing him, but the blood pumping through his body drowned out any outside noise. The corridor he ran down was just as plain as the main one had been and it lit by the same torches. The corridors may have been identical except that there were no branching corridors down this path.

Finally coming to a stop, the boy panted for breath. His heartbeat was a hammer to his head, pounding any coherent thought into oblivion. Blood had started to leak from his nose at some point during the run, but he was so desperate he didn’t care. Ahead of him was a staircase made out of a smooth, white stone that may have been marble.

You’re wasting time

The boy cursed loudly and panted up the stairs. Each flight consisted of twenty-five steps and then a short landing before another flight of stairs that went up in the opposite direction of the previous flight. He climbed flight after flight, struggling not to fall over from exhaustion. After what felt like fifty flights of stairs, he came upon a landing that had a small fountain.

The basin was flawlessly chiseled out of the wall. The bowl was large and incredibly smooth. The wall above the fountain was bare save for one single engraving: a rose. Fresh water ran from a small opening just below the stem of the rose and drained through an opening in the bottom of the bowl. The boy didn’t believe his luck; he stuck his head into the fountain and drank his fill.

A far-off thumping took the boy’s attention away from the fountain and to the stairs. Something was coming. The boy turned back to the fountain for one last drink and paused. A minuscule, red line was a fracture in the perfectly clear liquid. As he watched, the red expanded and soon the entire pool had turned a deep red. He touched his face and it came back red and sticky. Blood. He screamed and fell back from the fountain, scrambling away. The once-white rose had turned as red as the water.

Time is running out

The thumping had grown steadily steadily louder and the boy did not wait around long enough to find out why. He took the eerie voice as a sign to run up the stairs. Two at a time, the boy leapt up the stairs with renewed energy. His mind was reeling, had he drank blood?

Pounding up the stairs as fast as he could, the boy wanted to put as much distance as possible between him and whatever was chasing him. His exhaustion dulled his awareness and the boy tripped. His body slammed onto the flight and slid down to the landing. The boy remained on the landing while the stars cleared from his vision. When he gained his bearings, the steady thumping coming from below him was louder, this single slip had allowed his pursuit to gain ground.

The boy pulled himself up the stairs, further smearing them with his own blood. The impact of the fall had created a new geyser of blood to spurt down his face. Unable to muster enough strength to return to his feet, he pulled himself up with his arms. He went up multiple flights in this manner, his fear forcing him to continue his ascent. The thumping from fights below him was growing louder and the boy guessed that whatever was chasing him would be upon him in minutes. The boy pulled himself harder, fighting the urge to collapse. The higher the boy climbed, the thicker the blood from his nose became. It pulsed to his heartbeat and the boy knew he should be concerned about blood loss, but his sole focus was escape.

Almost there

The voice pushed the boy further and at the end of one final flight of stairs was a large chamber of deep, black stone; pure obsidian. In place of the torches that had been hung on the marble walls of the staircase, the obsidian chamber was lit by small lanterns, glowing with a ghastly white flame. The glass-like smoothness of the obsidian made walking difficult and he fell back to his knees, crawling his way into the chamber.

Looking around the chamber, the vastness surprised the boy. The room was circular in shape and almost entire empty. There were deep scratches in the stone; rough, deep cuts that left a fine grit that stuck to his fingers. In the center of the room was a stone protrusion. A perfectly round cylinder that came up to about waist height. Growing out of the center of this obsidian cylinder was a single rose. The pulled himself upright using the stone and examined the rose.

Whatever had been chasing him had almost caught up to him, the thumping had been reduced to a short, staccato clicking. The sound was increasing and the boy knew it would upon him shortly.

Sweat dripped from his forehead and mingled with the blood that had not ceased to pour out of his nose since entering the chamber. The closer the boy came to the impossible rose, the more his nose bled. It was a morbid waterfall on his face.

The clicking was on the last flight of stairs.

The boy reached out to grasp the rose.

The clicking stopped.

He hesitated and turned back toward the stairs.

Its time

The boy waited, every fiber of his being ready to explode. Fear had eroded any sense of fight he had previously commanded. There was nothing there. The boy laughed, he had made the same mistake as earlier when he mistook his stomach for a monster. Hysteria overwhelmed him, it took all of his willpower to stay on his feet. He turned back to the rose and plucked it from where it grew, ignoring the thorns cutting into his skin. Bringing the sweet-smelling flower to his face, he didn’t notice the woman standing directly in front of him.

Fool

The boy wondered why this time he heard the voice not in his head, but in his ears. This was the last thing the boy wondered.

-----------

What a waste. I had hoped he would fare better.

The woman wiped the boy’s blood from her blade and sheathed it.

Such a shame, this one was amusing.

Toeing the boy onto his back, she reached down and plucked the rose from his fingers.

Their wanton disregard for other life never ceases to amaze. Perhaps the next will be wiser.

Biting the flower from the stem, the woman savored the flavor and let the red juices pour down her throat.

His chase may have been lacking, but his taste made up for it. Quite lovely.

The woman rolled the stem between her fingers for moment before stabbing it into one of the boy’s lifeless eyes. Working deliberately, she pulled the eye out of the boy’s head and stuck the stem back where it had previously grown. The stem rejoined where it had been broken off and the eye morphed into a plain, white rose.

Time to play again.

The woman smiled as she began the long walk to the next cell.

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by Delta in portal Publishing

Mnemosyne (Part 1)

        Your name is Enigma (at least you think it is) , and you've been wading through thigh high blue grass under a gentle green sky for what truly couldn't be more than a handful of hours, yet it feels like it's been days. All your memories are on the tip of your tongue and yet you cannot think of things you cannot see. You can remember...the concept of plants yet you know none save for grass. You think grass shouldn't normally be this tall, or this color at all... but you can't remember. The same applies to the sky, with its twin red suns, almost too bright to look at, but neither quite there. It feels like something is holding onto your memories, giving them to you piece by piece, that is, when it is satisfied with your progress.

        The words for things only come back after you've seen them. You can imagine things, such as a refreshing liquid the color of the sky...what is it? A question that burned like the dual suns until you eventually found a break in the azure grass, and in the center, it's there. You hadn't realized you craved it until you found it. A large pool of mint colored water. You rush over to it, and by some instinct, starting to catch some in your hands, bringing it to your mouth and drinking as though you were an empty jug that needed filling. Finally having your thirst sated, you lean back, and notice something in the water. It causes you to jump back a little, hissing for some reason instinctive. For a tense moment, you glare at the water, waiting for something to attack, until you realize...Perhaps it is worth investigating. You crawl back towards the water's edge, and stare at the thing in the water once more. You poke it, observing the ripples carefully and realize... it's your reflection. You decide to spend a few minutes studying your appearance.

        You can't remember any standard of what you used to look like, nor what you're supposed to look like. You aren't sure what normal is supposed to like, but should your lips be so thin and long? You seem to be stricken with a wicked set of teeth as well. You have a nagging feeling that perhaps your maw should not be so big when you open it fully. Your maw isn't even the worst of it though. Your fingers are long, slender, texture a mixture of porcelain and good leather, this isn't even mentioning the serrated, yet flat...fingernails? They were all at least half an inch long, each fingernail acute like a razor tooth.

        You stood up, which gave you a good look at your unclothed body. Your body was peculiar to say for the least. Your skin looked like liquid porcelain had been poured onto raw, lean muscle. It had the slightest sheen to it, the molten porcelain skin almost too tight to hold your innards. Almost. All the more strange, a hairline crack from the center of your chest down to just where your hips met was all that marked your body. 

        Out of nowhere, the crack began to split further, leading you to panic until you realized...You had done that. It was under your control and you could fix it. For a little bit, you experimented, making it wiggle and widen but you dared not test to see how far it would open. You traced your finger along the crack gingerly, After a while, you decided to be daring, opening it wider and wider, until you realized there was just more white, except this white was ivory, like bone. Teeth? An entire second mouth?

        A bit wider, and oh god it felt like your skin was finally fitting right, no longer so dreadfully tight, it felt so sweet. The mouth was an oval, with no lips. The teeth were all small, but sharp, and they fit together like a zipper almost. To sate further curiosity, you opened further, so the teeth parted and showed a fleshy, concave opening. Truly, another mouth, a stomach, both? And then you realized each side had three, peculiar tentacle-esque tongues. None could go more than a few inches out of your gaping maw, but you got back onto your knees cautiously, and used the tongues to drink more of the water.

        After a few minutes of drinking, you felt waterlogged, but you also felt a different kind of thirst gnaw at your lower gut. However, you couldn't resist a fresh urge to collapse into the softer, shorter grass of the clearing. You curled up on your back, nearly sure you could feel water leaking from your lower maw, for some reason. You were too tired to investigate further, or even give it a second thought, and within minutes, you fell into a quiet, dreamless sleep.

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by Delta in portal Publishing
Mnemosyne (Part 1)
        Your name is Enigma (at least you think it is) , and you've been wading through thigh high blue grass under a gentle green sky for what truly couldn't be more than a handful of hours, yet it feels like it's been days. All your memories are on the tip of your tongue and yet you cannot think of things you cannot see. You can remember...the concept of plants yet you know none save for grass. You think grass shouldn't normally be this tall, or this color at all... but you can't remember. The same applies to the sky, with its twin red suns, almost too bright to look at, but neither quite there. It feels like something is holding onto your memories, giving them to you piece by piece, that is, when it is satisfied with your progress.

        The words for things only come back after you've seen them. You can imagine things, such as a refreshing liquid the color of the sky...what is it? A question that burned like the dual suns until you eventually found a break in the azure grass, and in the center, it's there. You hadn't realized you craved it until you found it. A large pool of mint colored water. You rush over to it, and by some instinct, starting to catch some in your hands, bringing it to your mouth and drinking as though you were an empty jug that needed filling. Finally having your thirst sated, you lean back, and notice something in the water. It causes you to jump back a little, hissing for some reason instinctive. For a tense moment, you glare at the water, waiting for something to attack, until you realize...Perhaps it is worth investigating. You crawl back towards the water's edge, and stare at the thing in the water once more. You poke it, observing the ripples carefully and realize... it's your reflection. You decide to spend a few minutes studying your appearance.

        You can't remember any standard of what you used to look like, nor what you're supposed to look like. You aren't sure what normal is supposed to like, but should your lips be so thin and long? You seem to be stricken with a wicked set of teeth as well. You have a nagging feeling that perhaps your maw should not be so big when you open it fully. Your maw isn't even the worst of it though. Your fingers are long, slender, texture a mixture of porcelain and good leather, this isn't even mentioning the serrated, yet flat...fingernails? They were all at least half an inch long, each fingernail acute like a razor tooth.

        You stood up, which gave you a good look at your unclothed body. Your body was peculiar to say for the least. Your skin looked like liquid porcelain had been poured onto raw, lean muscle. It had the slightest sheen to it, the molten porcelain skin almost too tight to hold your innards. Almost. All the more strange, a hairline crack from the center of your chest down to just where your hips met was all that marked your body. 

        Out of nowhere, the crack began to split further, leading you to panic until you realized...You had done that. It was under your control and you could fix it. For a little bit, you experimented, making it wiggle and widen but you dared not test to see how far it would open. You traced your finger along the crack gingerly, After a while, you decided to be daring, opening it wider and wider, until you realized there was just more white, except this white was ivory, like bone. Teeth? An entire second mouth?

        A bit wider, and oh god it felt like your skin was finally fitting right, no longer so dreadfully tight, it felt so sweet. The mouth was an oval, with no lips. The teeth were all small, but sharp, and they fit together like a zipper almost. To sate further curiosity, you opened further, so the teeth parted and showed a fleshy, concave opening. Truly, another mouth, a stomach, both? And then you realized each side had three, peculiar tentacle-esque tongues. None could go more than a few inches out of your gaping maw, but you got back onto your knees cautiously, and used the tongues to drink more of the water.

        After a few minutes of drinking, you felt waterlogged, but you also felt a different kind of thirst gnaw at your lower gut. However, you couldn't resist a fresh urge to collapse into the softer, shorter grass of the clearing. You curled up on your back, nearly sure you could feel water leaking from your lower maw, for some reason. You were too tired to investigate further, or even give it a second thought, and within minutes, you fell into a quiet, dreamless sleep.
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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by LoganCraine

an early chapter

Chrys’s dad, brother, and she were renting a house close to the school. They had just moved in, and there were still plenty of boxes to be unpacked all over the place. She dropped her bags the second she got inside the main room. Her dad always yells at her for doing that, but she did it anyway. Mostly to mess with him, because she’d move them as soon as he told her to or gave her that look.

Her dad ran into the room right after they thudded on the floor. He swung through the doorway from the kitchen wearing a blue spotted apron and wielding a spatula. “Ha!” he yelled, jabbing his weapon at her bags. “Not today!”

“Dammit,” she said with a laugh, shoving her key into her pocket and heaving her two-ton backpack back onto her shoulders to take to her room.

“Watch your language.”

“I’m sorry, Dad. What are you doing with a spatula?”

He smiled. “Pancakes.”

“At 3:30 in the afternoon?” Chrys raised an eyebrow. “It’s not even time for a meal.”

He waved the spatula again in a scolding manner. “Don’t judge me. I provide your food and

your clothes and the roof over your head; so what if I want to make pancakes at 3:30?”

“Good thing school lunch is free now,” Chrys mumbled as he made his way back into the kitchen. He tried his hardest, but his cooking was always subpar at best. Most of the time she and her brother just got fast food.

“What was that?” he called back.

“Nothing, nothing,” she replied, running to her room. She dropped her bags again, this time on her bed, and flopped down beside them. If that style of banter wasn’t how her dad and she normally communicated, she would have felt horrible. Her dad had been through a lot.

He says that when he saw her, he knew she was perfect. In the old pictures scattered around the rental house, she had long, dark hair and equally dark, beautiful eyes. Chrys wished she had inherited her eyes, but she was stuck with her dad’s. Her mom had a contagious smile. She still does, she thought, looking at the picture on the table by her bed.

Chrys’s dad didn’t have a great job, since his ability was barely even telekinesis. On good days, he could move a coffee mug from the table to the sink. On bad days, he couldn’t make a pencil roll across a sheet of paper. He got stuck with a desk job, punching numbers into computers and other boring stuff. With a job like that, he was paid relatively well, but he didn’t think he was her type. Chrys’s mom was an activist. She was always leading protests fighting discrimination against “mutants” and organizing peaceful demonstrations in the big cities. She even got a lot of Scientist support after a while, which was incredible.

Chrys’s dad said he had a massive crush on her since the moment he saw her. Well, that’s not exactly how he worded it, but it’s what he meant. He finally got the nerve to ask her out on a date, and for some reason, she agreed. Chrys forgot the details because they always bored her as a kid, but they ended up getting married pretty soon after, like less than a year. They did almost everything together, but he was never really involved in her “revolutionary activities” because honestly, he was a bit of a coward. He prefered to stay in the shadows and help where he was needed, mostly. He didn’t want to be part of a war, but that wasn’t ever a part of her mom’s plans, anyway.

They had the perfect life, a small apartment, good jobs, cute newborn twins-- until one morning, a group of armed Scientists broke into one of her peaceful protest rallies. They left one hundred and forty people dead in their wake. One was her mother.

Her dad had stayed home that day because he had been up all night working and wanted to sleep in. He woke up earlier than he wanted because she and her brother had started screaming, like newborns do. It was only when he turned on the news like he did every other morning while he drank his coffee that he found out she had been murdered. The shooting was broadcast live on the air. He still hasn’t forgiven himself.

He told them all the time, “Even if you think someone may be on your side, even if they stand by you sometimes, that doesn’t mean they won’t turn against you when you least expect it. It’s always the ones you trust who hit you the hardest.”

Chrys’s phone buzzed with a text from Tony to Logan and her asking if they could come to her house after school on Friday for a little while before the three of them left to go camping. Her parents would drop them off at the campground and pick them up the next day.

She huffed and pulled herself up off the bed. “Hey Dad,” she yelled as she walked back down the stairs. No way was she running again. “My friend Tony wants us to come over to her house on Friday.”

“Who’s Tony?” He didn’t look up even after she walked in the kitchen. “Who’s ‘us’?”

“You don’t have to be so protective of me,” she whined. There were two plates on the counter next to the stove: one with two edible-looking pancakes, and one with about six badly burned ones. “I have a friend, isn’t that good? Actually, I have two friends! Tony and Logan.”

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “Are they boys?”

She laughed, maybe too much. “No, of course not.”

“Good,” he nodded, turning back to his pancakes.

There was silence while he fiddled with the spatula. “So….can I go?”

He sighed dramatically and looked up at the ceiling in mock exasperation. “I suppose, since you finally managed to find some friends, I should let you do normal kid stuff that normal kids do with their friends.”

Chrys punched his shoulder lightly. He grabbed a piece of a burnt pancake and threw it at her, and she shrieked.

“So mature!” she shouted, also grabbing another piece of the sacrificial pancake.

Her brother walked in to their improvisational food fight, and backed himself right back out before anyone could say anything. They grabbed the entire plate of burnt pancakes and chased him down, pelting him with rock solid pieces of what once could have been edible. He went down quickly under the dual attack, collapsing into the couch with his hands raised above his head. It was funny, because her brother’s abilities were the strongest out of the three of them, quite literally. His ability was strength, and he could have picked them both up and thrown us with one hand, if he had wanted to. Thankfully, he didn’t.

After they exhausted their ammunition, they sat for a minute and laughed together. They didn’t get to do that a whole lot. It didn’t last very long before her dad remembered he was still making pancakes and had burned another one. She thought that might have been the fastest she’d ever seen him run.

She followed him into the kitchen again. He was cursing softly, trying to pry the burnt mess out of the pan. She was thankful he was making them one at a time, instead of several at once like some people do.

“Uh….that’s a yes, right?” she asked. She stole one of the edible pancakes from the plate without him noticing, since he was intensely chipping at the pan with the rubber spatula.

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, Chrys, you can go.”

She grinned. As she was going back up the stairs to return to her room, she called back to tease him, “This pancake isn’t terrible! Could use some syrup, or chocolate, or anything we usually put on pancakes…Oh yeah, and we’re spending the night too!”

“WHAT?!"

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by LoganCraine
an early chapter
Chrys’s dad, brother, and she were renting a house close to the school. They had just moved in, and there were still plenty of boxes to be unpacked all over the place. She dropped her bags the second she got inside the main room. Her dad always yells at her for doing that, but she did it anyway. Mostly to mess with him, because she’d move them as soon as he told her to or gave her that look.

Her dad ran into the room right after they thudded on the floor. He swung through the doorway from the kitchen wearing a blue spotted apron and wielding a spatula. “Ha!” he yelled, jabbing his weapon at her bags. “Not today!”

“Dammit,” she said with a laugh, shoving her key into her pocket and heaving her two-ton backpack back onto her shoulders to take to her room.

“Watch your language.”

“I’m sorry, Dad. What are you doing with a spatula?”

He smiled. “Pancakes.”


“At 3:30 in the afternoon?” Chrys raised an eyebrow. “It’s not even time for a meal.”

He waved the spatula again in a scolding manner. “Don’t judge me. I provide your food and
your clothes and the roof over your head; so what if I want to make pancakes at 3:30?”

“Good thing school lunch is free now,” Chrys mumbled as he made his way back into the kitchen. He tried his hardest, but his cooking was always subpar at best. Most of the time she and her brother just got fast food.

“What was that?” he called back.

“Nothing, nothing,” she replied, running to her room. She dropped her bags again, this time on her bed, and flopped down beside them. If that style of banter wasn’t how her dad and she normally communicated, she would have felt horrible. Her dad had been through a lot.

He says that when he saw her, he knew she was perfect. In the old pictures scattered around the rental house, she had long, dark hair and equally dark, beautiful eyes. Chrys wished she had inherited her eyes, but she was stuck with her dad’s. Her mom had a contagious smile. She still does, she thought, looking at the picture on the table by her bed.

Chrys’s dad didn’t have a great job, since his ability was barely even telekinesis. On good days, he could move a coffee mug from the table to the sink. On bad days, he couldn’t make a pencil roll across a sheet of paper. He got stuck with a desk job, punching numbers into computers and other boring stuff. With a job like that, he was paid relatively well, but he didn’t think he was her type. Chrys’s mom was an activist. She was always leading protests fighting discrimination against “mutants” and organizing peaceful demonstrations in the big cities. She even got a lot of Scientist support after a while, which was incredible.

Chrys’s dad said he had a massive crush on her since the moment he saw her. Well, that’s not exactly how he worded it, but it’s what he meant. He finally got the nerve to ask her out on a date, and for some reason, she agreed. Chrys forgot the details because they always bored her as a kid, but they ended up getting married pretty soon after, like less than a year. They did almost everything together, but he was never really involved in her “revolutionary activities” because honestly, he was a bit of a coward. He prefered to stay in the shadows and help where he was needed, mostly. He didn’t want to be part of a war, but that wasn’t ever a part of her mom’s plans, anyway.

They had the perfect life, a small apartment, good jobs, cute newborn twins-- until one morning, a group of armed Scientists broke into one of her peaceful protest rallies. They left one hundred and forty people dead in their wake. One was her mother.

Her dad had stayed home that day because he had been up all night working and wanted to sleep in. He woke up earlier than he wanted because she and her brother had started screaming, like newborns do. It was only when he turned on the news like he did every other morning while he drank his coffee that he found out she had been murdered. The shooting was broadcast live on the air. He still hasn’t forgiven himself.

He told them all the time, “Even if you think someone may be on your side, even if they stand by you sometimes, that doesn’t mean they won’t turn against you when you least expect it. It’s always the ones you trust who hit you the hardest.”


Chrys’s phone buzzed with a text from Tony to Logan and her asking if they could come to her house after school on Friday for a little while before the three of them left to go camping. Her parents would drop them off at the campground and pick them up the next day.

She huffed and pulled herself up off the bed. “Hey Dad,” she yelled as she walked back down the stairs. No way was she running again. “My friend Tony wants us to come over to her house on Friday.”

“Who’s Tony?” He didn’t look up even after she walked in the kitchen. “Who’s ‘us’?”

“You don’t have to be so protective of me,” she whined. There were two plates on the counter next to the stove: one with two edible-looking pancakes, and one with about six badly burned ones. “I have a friend, isn’t that good? Actually, I have two friends! Tony and Logan.”

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “Are they boys?”

She laughed, maybe too much. “No, of course not.”

“Good,” he nodded, turning back to his pancakes.

There was silence while he fiddled with the spatula. “So….can I go?”

He sighed dramatically and looked up at the ceiling in mock exasperation. “I suppose, since you finally managed to find some friends, I should let you do normal kid stuff that normal kids do with their friends.”

Chrys punched his shoulder lightly. He grabbed a piece of a burnt pancake and threw it at her, and she shrieked.

“So mature!” she shouted, also grabbing another piece of the sacrificial pancake.

Her brother walked in to their improvisational food fight, and backed himself right back out before anyone could say anything. They grabbed the entire plate of burnt pancakes and chased him down, pelting him with rock solid pieces of what once could have been edible. He went down quickly under the dual attack, collapsing into the couch with his hands raised above his head. It was funny, because her brother’s abilities were the strongest out of the three of them, quite literally. His ability was strength, and he could have picked them both up and thrown us with one hand, if he had wanted to. Thankfully, he didn’t.

After they exhausted their ammunition, they sat for a minute and laughed together. They didn’t get to do that a whole lot. It didn’t last very long before her dad remembered he was still making pancakes and had burned another one. She thought that might have been the fastest she’d ever seen him run.

She followed him into the kitchen again. He was cursing softly, trying to pry the burnt mess out of the pan. She was thankful he was making them one at a time, instead of several at once like some people do.

“Uh….that’s a yes, right?” she asked. She stole one of the edible pancakes from the plate without him noticing, since he was intensely chipping at the pan with the rubber spatula.

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, Chrys, you can go.”

She grinned. As she was going back up the stairs to return to her room, she called back to tease him, “This pancake isn’t terrible! Could use some syrup, or chocolate, or anything we usually put on pancakes…Oh yeah, and we’re spending the night too!”

“WHAT?!"
#fiction  #excerpt  #family  #NaNoWriMo 
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Written by PaulDChambers in portal Publishing

Husk.

If you asked me, if you really pushed me for an answer, I’d have to admit that I’m unsure as to the exact moment. That first step, the starting point of this quest. All I know is that my search has stretched across long and empty years. However, if I were to say it started a full, fat lifetime ago, that would also ring true.

It was my epic pursuit. My folly. The wide, wise and unwise world over, inbred town to smoky dirt streaked city, far flung country to verdant counties; both landlocked and sandy coastal, balmy and frosty hunts that spanned countless and seemingly infinite footfalls. A billion searching steps to save it. To save him.

And here it is, a mere handful of stumbling strides from my beaten track; quietly lying upon a dirty forest floor, causing my heart to spike and fall as I gaze down upon it. The whale sized shadows of scudding clouds flash moonlight and the image of branches' claws intermittently on it, a giant strobe light freeze framing it over and over as if it were a scene from a bygone age. Silver and ink. Light and dark. Then. Now.

And such a sorry and desolate sight. Just a tiny husk of papery skin over bloodless brittle bones, desiccated and forlorn as if a wind of change could scatter its remains throughout the lands. It is enveloped in a smudge of cloud, one that clings to its contours. It was something that had grown with importance; had taken on a gigantic image in my mind’s eye, only to seem pathetic now found. An errant shadow, a mistimed blink, and it could have remained undiscovered. Lost forever to rot and disappear from the memory of man and time, eaten by an animal from the shade.

Gently, with trembling fingers, I pluck aside the faded streamers that crisscross its sad shape and swipe away the red smudged corks, patina bottle tops and cigarette butts that frame it. I ease my hands softly beneath it and grit my pulsing breath before lifting it into my arms in a cloud of sour scent. Detritus flakes fall from the underside of the cadaver, shrivelled skin, sealable baggies smeared with white fingerprints, faded and perfumed letter scraps and faded sparkles. Barely registering as weight, the shell is cradled to my chest as I move my ear to its torso, daring to hope my quest was not fruitless.

A faint ticking in the ribcage informs me a life force still holds fort. Shocked, yet hopeful, my thoughts race away from me. It isn’t too late. I might still save this sad creature. Tentatively, I carry my delicate cargo to safety, out of the gloomy trees and to sunnier worlds and eras. The warmth of sunlight and sounds of nature stirs in this creature the briefest of movements. And then, I watch agape as eyes tremble away a surrendering layer of skin that open, slowly, to reveal blank, blind eyes peering through the smirch that still contains it. It shudders as if filled with fear yet remains in my hold.

Unseeing, the eyes fall away from me as a black tear wells up in the corners of each dry orb, only to moisten upon a few blinks. They swivel round and now have a pupil that I watch focus upon me.

‘Who are you?’ I implore. My reply, simply more blinks, sharpening the gaze that holds me.

Cracked and dusty lips open as if for the first time in all eternity and its dry mouth gulps greedy air, like a free diver emerging from hunting pearls. Nourishing air is taken in, pumping its emaciated chest and expanding its form. It breaths out dirt into my wincing face, the odour of its lungs tacky with tar and dust. Seemingly cleansed, the breathing continues and settles to a deeply rhythmic tempo.

I repeat: ‘Who are you?’

A fleeting smile, and its tentative voice appears in my head without the need to move its lips.

I am just finding out. Feed me. Please.

I take my refugee home and place him, for that is what I have decided he is, on a blanket from my childhood. I set to building him a shelter made of books set upon each other. Heavy tomes interlink with frivolous novellas that in turn lock into novels. I use song and poetry to bond the papery bricks and complete the roof with the words of wise men and women; alongside articles and reports from free thinking publications. He grows inside, jitters give way to the occasional sigh of contentment as he feeds.

The walls of this house I adorn with images of my family and friends, past and present. With a pen passed down through generations, I write upon spaces between the pictures the stories of those shown in these portraits. With each adage and every yarn, the cloudy shroud dims a little more and the dark casing of this husk grows warmer in hue, fatter in form.

‘Who are you?’

Soon, we will know.

And so growth can be seen with each addition. I enrich his life with animals and fauna, sunrises and sea salt, with knowledge and culture. As each day passes, nerves give way to quiet confidence as he absorbs all that I thrust upon his person. 

Politics, and facts fill him, healthy food and minerals nourish him. I carpet his home with maps of adventures and morsels of delicacies from around the globe. Trinkets and coins are hidden in cupboards, locked up with the snarling fiends that want to reach him, to sink their teeth into his rounding flesh. That which sucks of his life is set apart, so that he may focus on that which is before him. And what now lays before him is the world without the shallow glitter, the clutter and the shit outside of the fusty gutter.

The time is upon us. Quest's end. 

So today, I watch proudly as he rises calmly on his two sturdy pink limbs and emerges from his house of empowerment. He is grown. Gone is the dark shroud that held him, and sloughed off is the flake of rot that covered him. Weightless shoulders squared and sturdy, head high. A toothy grin mirrors mine and eyes sparkle with life and humour. He is older, but exudes wisdom borne of the earth.

‘What is your name?’

You still don’t know?

‘Yes. Yes, I think I do’ I beam, hairs on end as I see this repaired being for what he is.

Measured and understanding, open minded and grounded. Hidden are the negatives and dark driving forces; to be replaced with that which counts and a level-headed outlook on life. There is still fragility, but it is accepted and held aloft as a mace to ward off black beasts and gloomy worlds. 

Eyes, open, he freely sheds joyful tears as he stands before me. Face to face.

And without another word, he climbs inside of me, and we become the same. History and present face the future. The mended fused to the man that was broken, now the mender.

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by PaulDChambers in portal Publishing
Husk.
If you asked me, if you really pushed me for an answer, I’d have to admit that I’m unsure as to the exact moment. That first step, the starting point of this quest. All I know is that my search has stretched across long and empty years. However, if I were to say it started a full, fat lifetime ago, that would also ring true.

It was my epic pursuit. My folly. The wide, wise and unwise world over, inbred town to smoky dirt streaked city, far flung country to verdant counties; both landlocked and sandy coastal, balmy and frosty hunts that spanned countless and seemingly infinite footfalls. A billion searching steps to save it. To save him.

And here it is, a mere handful of stumbling strides from my beaten track; quietly lying upon a dirty forest floor, causing my heart to spike and fall as I gaze down upon it. The whale sized shadows of scudding clouds flash moonlight and the image of branches' claws intermittently on it, a giant strobe light freeze framing it over and over as if it were a scene from a bygone age. Silver and ink. Light and dark. Then. Now.

And such a sorry and desolate sight. Just a tiny husk of papery skin over bloodless brittle bones, desiccated and forlorn as if a wind of change could scatter its remains throughout the lands. It is enveloped in a smudge of cloud, one that clings to its contours. It was something that had grown with importance; had taken on a gigantic image in my mind’s eye, only to seem pathetic now found. An errant shadow, a mistimed blink, and it could have remained undiscovered. Lost forever to rot and disappear from the memory of man and time, eaten by an animal from the shade.

Gently, with trembling fingers, I pluck aside the faded streamers that crisscross its sad shape and swipe away the red smudged corks, patina bottle tops and cigarette butts that frame it. I ease my hands softly beneath it and grit my pulsing breath before lifting it into my arms in a cloud of sour scent. Detritus flakes fall from the underside of the cadaver, shrivelled skin, sealable baggies smeared with white fingerprints, faded and perfumed letter scraps and faded sparkles. Barely registering as weight, the shell is cradled to my chest as I move my ear to its torso, daring to hope my quest was not fruitless.

A faint ticking in the ribcage informs me a life force still holds fort. Shocked, yet hopeful, my thoughts race away from me. It isn’t too late. I might still save this sad creature. Tentatively, I carry my delicate cargo to safety, out of the gloomy trees and to sunnier worlds and eras. The warmth of sunlight and sounds of nature stirs in this creature the briefest of movements. And then, I watch agape as eyes tremble away a surrendering layer of skin that open, slowly, to reveal blank, blind eyes peering through the smirch that still contains it. It shudders as if filled with fear yet remains in my hold.

Unseeing, the eyes fall away from me as a black tear wells up in the corners of each dry orb, only to moisten upon a few blinks. They swivel round and now have a pupil that I watch focus upon me.

‘Who are you?’ I implore. My reply, simply more blinks, sharpening the gaze that holds me.

Cracked and dusty lips open as if for the first time in all eternity and its dry mouth gulps greedy air, like a free diver emerging from hunting pearls. Nourishing air is taken in, pumping its emaciated chest and expanding its form. It breaths out dirt into my wincing face, the odour of its lungs tacky with tar and dust. Seemingly cleansed, the breathing continues and settles to a deeply rhythmic tempo.

I repeat: ‘Who are you?’

A fleeting smile, and its tentative voice appears in my head without the need to move its lips.

I am just finding out. Feed me. Please.

I take my refugee home and place him, for that is what I have decided he is, on a blanket from my childhood. I set to building him a shelter made of books set upon each other. Heavy tomes interlink with frivolous novellas that in turn lock into novels. I use song and poetry to bond the papery bricks and complete the roof with the words of wise men and women; alongside articles and reports from free thinking publications. He grows inside, jitters give way to the occasional sigh of contentment as he feeds.

The walls of this house I adorn with images of my family and friends, past and present. With a pen passed down through generations, I write upon spaces between the pictures the stories of those shown in these portraits. With each adage and every yarn, the cloudy shroud dims a little more and the dark casing of this husk grows warmer in hue, fatter in form.

‘Who are you?’

Soon, we will know.

And so growth can be seen with each addition. I enrich his life with animals and fauna, sunrises and sea salt, with knowledge and culture. As each day passes, nerves give way to quiet confidence as he absorbs all that I thrust upon his person. 

Politics, and facts fill him, healthy food and minerals nourish him. I carpet his home with maps of adventures and morsels of delicacies from around the globe. Trinkets and coins are hidden in cupboards, locked up with the snarling fiends that want to reach him, to sink their teeth into his rounding flesh. That which sucks of his life is set apart, so that he may focus on that which is before him. And what now lays before him is the world without the shallow glitter, the clutter and the shit outside of the fusty gutter.

The time is upon us. Quest's end. 

So today, I watch proudly as he rises calmly on his two sturdy pink limbs and emerges from his house of empowerment. He is grown. Gone is the dark shroud that held him, and sloughed off is the flake of rot that covered him. Weightless shoulders squared and sturdy, head high. A toothy grin mirrors mine and eyes sparkle with life and humour. He is older, but exudes wisdom borne of the earth.

‘What is your name?’

You still don’t know?

‘Yes. Yes, I think I do’ I beam, hairs on end as I see this repaired being for what he is.

Measured and understanding, open minded and grounded. Hidden are the negatives and dark driving forces; to be replaced with that which counts and a level-headed outlook on life. There is still fragility, but it is accepted and held aloft as a mace to ward off black beasts and gloomy worlds. 

Eyes, open, he freely sheds joyful tears as he stands before me. Face to face.

And without another word, he climbs inside of me, and we become the same. History and present face the future. The mended fused to the man that was broken, now the mender.
#fiction  #nonfiction  #horror  #education  #mentalhealth 
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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by logophile01 in portal Publishing

You are here -

You always wonder how you got here.

Biologically, you know, but

ever since the moment you were born

thousands upon thousands of stories have been waiting

to be claimed by you -

though only one will ever be yours.

There are so many could-have-beens,

would-have-beens

and vividly imagined should-have-beens,

but all of that needs to be forgotten right now.

You are here.

There's no large red dot to accompany that statement,

but it's unnecessary, anyway -

You feel the stark awareness of

your own blurry existence

and imbibe the nectar of your mind's own reality -

But in all this there are

questions that have woven themselves

into the lacy patterns of your soul:

Who are you,

and how did this here

come to be yours?

You already have the answer.

You are those coat-hanger sculptures you used to make in kindergarten -

except the coat-hangers have morphed into solid steel

spun into a carefully crafted mess

displayed in a lush garden

with many paths

that people walk day after day to admire the glittering twists and curves of the cool metal

in the sun and the rain and the haze that settles over everything

when Mother Nature can't make up her mind what mood she is in -

Remember the stories you would write in third grade?

The ones about how you and the boy with the 72-pack of crayons -

complete with sharpener -

were simply meant to be?

It turns out you were right -

for a whole month, you sat side by side

basking in the gentle glow of perfect harmony -

until you broke the red crayon.

You might not be able to recall

the name of that particular shade,

but in your heart you can feel it:

Bittersweet.

Yes,

you were right -

except,

no one ever told you that meant to be

doesn't mean forever.

Think back to the day you started high school -

when you thought you knew everything,

well,

maybe not everything - you've never been that arrogant -

but you were sure of many things -

until you weren't -

Until you walked into class

and became physically ill

at the realization of all the

knowledge you lacked -

Until you walked out of that class

torn between

elation and despair

with scrawny embarrassment tugging at your sleeve,

begging for his share of attention, too.

You settled for a walk in the wrong direction -

the best decision you never knew you made.

Then, you were seventeen

and in love

with words and ideas

and life.

You constantly craved new additions

to your vocabulary,

taking the time to taste each syllable

until you found exactly

what you were never looking for but needed desperately

once its existence was made known.

You traveled through worlds hidden in the power

of suggestion -

constructed out of ink

and imagination

and necessity -

Sometimes, your green eyes got the best of you -

hunting for words, you gave your heart to

a foreign tongue,

and forced her to hand over her valuables,

words you wielded meanly

without ever knowing what

they really mean.

Today, you are older

and standing

at the base of a tall pine tree,

limbs stretching as wide as your imagination will allow -

You trace the eddying pattern of the bark

and wonder at its likeness to your fingerprints,

a swirling code that holds the secrets of your story,

some of which even you do not yet understand.

The wind carries you a hymn -

a tune you do not recognize sung by the voice

you know better than any other -

and so you climb

until your breathing is labored and

you are dizzy with a joyous disbelief.

You are here.

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Written by logophile01 in portal Publishing
You are here -
You always wonder how you got here.
Biologically, you know, but
ever since the moment you were born
thousands upon thousands of stories have been waiting
to be claimed by you -
though only one will ever be yours.
There are so many could-have-beens,
would-have-beens
and vividly imagined should-have-beens,
but all of that needs to be forgotten right now.

You are here.

There's no large red dot to accompany that statement,
but it's unnecessary, anyway -
You feel the stark awareness of
your own blurry existence
and imbibe the nectar of your mind's own reality -
But in all this there are
questions that have woven themselves
into the lacy patterns of your soul:
Who are you,
and how did this here
come to be yours?
You already have the answer.

You are those coat-hanger sculptures you used to make in kindergarten -
except the coat-hangers have morphed into solid steel
spun into a carefully crafted mess
displayed in a lush garden
with many paths
that people walk day after day to admire the glittering twists and curves of the cool metal
in the sun and the rain and the haze that settles over everything
when Mother Nature can't make up her mind what mood she is in -

Remember the stories you would write in third grade?
The ones about how you and the boy with the 72-pack of crayons -
complete with sharpener -
were simply meant to be?
It turns out you were right -
for a whole month, you sat side by side
basking in the gentle glow of perfect harmony -
until you broke the red crayon.
You might not be able to recall
the name of that particular shade,
but in your heart you can feel it:
Bittersweet.
Yes,
you were right -
except,
no one ever told you that meant to be
doesn't mean forever.

Think back to the day you started high school -
when you thought you knew everything,
well,
maybe not everything - you've never been that arrogant -
but you were sure of many things -
until you weren't -
Until you walked into class
and became physically ill
at the realization of all the
knowledge you lacked -
Until you walked out of that class
torn between
elation and despair
with scrawny embarrassment tugging at your sleeve,
begging for his share of attention, too.
You settled for a walk in the wrong direction -
the best decision you never knew you made.

Then, you were seventeen
and in love
with words and ideas
and life.
You constantly craved new additions
to your vocabulary,
taking the time to taste each syllable
until you found exactly
what you were never looking for but needed desperately
once its existence was made known.
You traveled through worlds hidden in the power
of suggestion -
constructed out of ink
and imagination
and necessity -
Sometimes, your green eyes got the best of you -
hunting for words, you gave your heart to
a foreign tongue,
and forced her to hand over her valuables,
words you wielded meanly
without ever knowing what
they really mean.

Today, you are older
and standing
at the base of a tall pine tree,
limbs stretching as wide as your imagination will allow -
You trace the eddying pattern of the bark
and wonder at its likeness to your fingerprints,
a swirling code that holds the secrets of your story,
some of which even you do not yet understand.
The wind carries you a hymn -
a tune you do not recognize sung by the voice
you know better than any other -
and so you climb
until your breathing is labored and
you are dizzy with a joyous disbelief.

You are here.

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Written by Rowan in portal Publishing

Unexpected Delight

I reread the transcribed note. Only in my family would we announce a family meeting with a coded note written in runes. I sighed. What is so important that they couldn't have just called?

I pulled into the drive. It looked like it was going to be everyone today. Even my grandmother from out of state was in the yard talking to her youngest son, my dad. I turned off my Beetle and stepped out of the car. It didn't take much to get everyone's attention, just slamming the car door and shouting 'Hello'. They looked at me and smiled.

Mom was the first to come and talk to me. She handed me a stack of note cards. I glanced over them and saw it was a speech. I pulled her inside.

"What the heck, mom? You want me to give a speech to a group of people, most of which I haven't seen in years, without telling me but five minutes before hand?"

"Sweetheart, you don't understand, that isn't just any speech.... It's a speech on your betrothal." Mom looked at the ground. I read the first card.

"And just whom did I 'choose' to be wedded to?" I asked slowly. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw a man whom I thought I'd never see. "Shane?"

"Yeah, it's me. What do you say?"

"You don't tell me you're coming down. You don't even talk about marriage. Never drop a hint. You stop talking to me for weeks. And you expect me to accept the half thought out, out of the blue proposal?"

"Read these cards, love, all the way through." He handed me a stack of cards as well.

I shook my head and noticed my mom had left. I looked at the cards. These were carefully written by hand... Neatly, not my father's scrawl, but not my mom's script either. I guess it was Shane's handwriting. Reading was pretty fast, only five cards, just the front side.

This is going to be a shock to some of you but I believe I have found the love of my life. I know none of you have met me before today, but at this moment it doesn't matter. I've already talked to her mother and father, who helped me arrange this. I think that this woman is the most wonderful, most beautiful person I've ever met. She's sweet, kind, smart, can be sarcastic, she loves books (and I don't think it's just the good ones either). This will probably piss her off that I never even dropped a hint about this but I really wanted to surprise her. But in front of you all, I will do something that will either make me the happiest and luckiest man alive or will cause my death...

There was nothing past that and I knew he wouldn't need it because those are words easy to memorize. I laughed then grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him closed to me.

"If you ever, and I mean ever, make something like this happen without even one conversation on the subject before hand again, you will be in the doghouse." I kissed him then let go of his shirt and handed him back his cards. I tore the ones my mom gave me and threw them in the trash before we walked outside to speak to my rather large family.

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Written by Rowan in portal Publishing
Unexpected Delight
I reread the transcribed note. Only in my family would we announce a family meeting with a coded note written in runes. I sighed. What is so important that they couldn't have just called?

I pulled into the drive. It looked like it was going to be everyone today. Even my grandmother from out of state was in the yard talking to her youngest son, my dad. I turned off my Beetle and stepped out of the car. It didn't take much to get everyone's attention, just slamming the car door and shouting 'Hello'. They looked at me and smiled.

Mom was the first to come and talk to me. She handed me a stack of note cards. I glanced over them and saw it was a speech. I pulled her inside.

"What the heck, mom? You want me to give a speech to a group of people, most of which I haven't seen in years, without telling me but five minutes before hand?"

"Sweetheart, you don't understand, that isn't just any speech.... It's a speech on your betrothal." Mom looked at the ground. I read the first card.

"And just whom did I 'choose' to be wedded to?" I asked slowly. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw a man whom I thought I'd never see. "Shane?"

"Yeah, it's me. What do you say?"

"You don't tell me you're coming down. You don't even talk about marriage. Never drop a hint. You stop talking to me for weeks. And you expect me to accept the half thought out, out of the blue proposal?"

"Read these cards, love, all the way through." He handed me a stack of cards as well.

I shook my head and noticed my mom had left. I looked at the cards. These were carefully written by hand... Neatly, not my father's scrawl, but not my mom's script either. I guess it was Shane's handwriting. Reading was pretty fast, only five cards, just the front side.

This is going to be a shock to some of you but I believe I have found the love of my life. I know none of you have met me before today, but at this moment it doesn't matter. I've already talked to her mother and father, who helped me arrange this. I think that this woman is the most wonderful, most beautiful person I've ever met. She's sweet, kind, smart, can be sarcastic, she loves books (and I don't think it's just the good ones either). This will probably piss her off that I never even dropped a hint about this but I really wanted to surprise her. But in front of you all, I will do something that will either make me the happiest and luckiest man alive or will cause my death...

There was nothing past that and I knew he wouldn't need it because those are words easy to memorize. I laughed then grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him closed to me.

"If you ever, and I mean ever, make something like this happen without even one conversation on the subject before hand again, you will be in the doghouse." I kissed him then let go of his shirt and handed him back his cards. I tore the ones my mom gave me and threw them in the trash before we walked outside to speak to my rather large family.
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Written by Marienkaefer in portal Publishing

Alptraum

Sleep provides escape. When we sleep we end our day and go into a world of dreams and nightmares. Even though nightmares bring terrors to life, we sometimes prefer them to the world we are forced to encounter. People never expect their sleep to be invaded or interrupted. Thing is, when it does happen, it is usually from some outside source. When this happens people become irritable. It never happens en mass and it never results in death. Whenever this happens, the people around them hear pained screams in the middle of the night. They are horrible, guttural screams. Once the screaming starts and the blood begins to flow there is nothing we can do to save them. There is no warning. Just screams then death. Government officials go to the houses as soon as they can to clean up the mess and to console the ones traumatized by what happened. I've taken up the yoke of telling the families what happened, to our knowledge at least. I tell them we haven't pinpointed what exactly causes this, but what we do know is that it's not human. The people I tell have different reactions. Some people just sob, begging for some explanation. Others scream, demanding an explanation. Others react violently. I've received a couple black eyes and broken noses because of this. Most people scream how they came to this planet for freedom and peace, yet they have been met by terror. I've become desensitized to it all. When I firsts began this, the contoured faces and thick scent of blood made me sick. It made me think of how much pain they must have gone through before their death. Now, everything is just...normal. It still hurts to see how these families are torn apart by this thing. I honestly wish there was more I could do. I can't save anyone. I can't track whatever the he'll this is. I can't find a way to combat it. All I can do is talk. Offer counselling. Offer a place to cry. Most of the time they take me up on my offer. They let their feelings out and grieve. Others curse me and the government and proceed to grieve on their own. The things I've become accustomed to have started haunting my dreams. The contorted faces of the dead. The black faces of the grieving. Seas of blood. I wake up in a cold sweat usually. Around this time I usually get a call of another victim. I hurriedly get ready and head out. I head to wherever I'm needed and offer counseling. This has become my daily routine. Coffee has become my friend, keeping me awake during these long days. The days have begun to blend together. No new developments. My voice sounds like a broken record as I recite the same generic message to the families. The future seems bleak. So many dead, so many that will possibly die. We desperately need hope, but it seems we left it all back on Earth. If you read this...

Send

Help

Please

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Alptraum
Sleep provides escape. When we sleep we end our day and go into a world of dreams and nightmares. Even though nightmares bring terrors to life, we sometimes prefer them to the world we are forced to encounter. People never expect their sleep to be invaded or interrupted. Thing is, when it does happen, it is usually from some outside source. When this happens people become irritable. It never happens en mass and it never results in death. Whenever this happens, the people around them hear pained screams in the middle of the night. They are horrible, guttural screams. Once the screaming starts and the blood begins to flow there is nothing we can do to save them. There is no warning. Just screams then death. Government officials go to the houses as soon as they can to clean up the mess and to console the ones traumatized by what happened. I've taken up the yoke of telling the families what happened, to our knowledge at least. I tell them we haven't pinpointed what exactly causes this, but what we do know is that it's not human. The people I tell have different reactions. Some people just sob, begging for some explanation. Others scream, demanding an explanation. Others react violently. I've received a couple black eyes and broken noses because of this. Most people scream how they came to this planet for freedom and peace, yet they have been met by terror. I've become desensitized to it all. When I firsts began this, the contoured faces and thick scent of blood made me sick. It made me think of how much pain they must have gone through before their death. Now, everything is just...normal. It still hurts to see how these families are torn apart by this thing. I honestly wish there was more I could do. I can't save anyone. I can't track whatever the he'll this is. I can't find a way to combat it. All I can do is talk. Offer counselling. Offer a place to cry. Most of the time they take me up on my offer. They let their feelings out and grieve. Others curse me and the government and proceed to grieve on their own. The things I've become accustomed to have started haunting my dreams. The contorted faces of the dead. The black faces of the grieving. Seas of blood. I wake up in a cold sweat usually. Around this time I usually get a call of another victim. I hurriedly get ready and head out. I head to wherever I'm needed and offer counseling. This has become my daily routine. Coffee has become my friend, keeping me awake during these long days. The days have begun to blend together. No new developments. My voice sounds like a broken record as I recite the same generic message to the families. The future seems bleak. So many dead, so many that will possibly die. We desperately need hope, but it seems we left it all back on Earth. If you read this...
Send
Help
Please
#fantasy  #scifi  #fiction 
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Written by AdrianH-B in portal Publishing

Debut novel: Pet Steeve (excerpt)

Chapter 62

Hmm, let’s see here, what else has been going on? Oh yeah, there’s this:

A small white van pulled up outside farmer John’s house and out stepped a man round enough to roll around comfortably. How he managed to fit into the tiny van is beyond me. The little white van was still rocking from side to side when the man slammed the door. Mr Chubby, better known as Timothy Goodfellow, was a balding man who wore thick spectacles far too low down on his nose for them to be aiding his eyesight; unless, only seeing where his feet were headed was his only concern – which was fair enough considering he couldn’t actually see them. He wore a white button-up shirt to conceal the workings of sweat, and gracing each of his shoulders was a suspender strap; the poor things stretched as far as they could, holding up his golfer’s trousers. His shoes were, well, I don’t actually know. His pink – or salmon, if you will – socks were visible, however.

His thick cologne had a similar job to that of his shirt.

He finished off the half a pasty he was throttling in his left hand in one giant bite and stuffed the wrapping down his trouser pocket.

“Timothy! Good to see you, old chum!” said John from his front door.

“John, hello there, how are you?” The words fought their way through steak bits and puff-pastry shrapnel.

“Very well, thanks for coming on such short notice.”

“No problem, what you got for me?”

The two shook hands and John gestured for his guest to go inside, then hung back for a few seconds. And when Timothy was properly inside, John looked around suspiciously as if he were paranoid of being watched.

“Tim, would you like anything to drink?” asked John once he had caught up.

“Do you have any Red Bull?”

“I’m afraid I don’t, sorry.”

“Then, nothing. So what do you have for me, John? I have to get back to my other pasty … Uh, I mean other work, you know? Busy, busy.”

“Well, I’ve got a real good-looking one for you this time. Almost primed and ready. Come, I’ll show you.”

“Ooh! Very exciting,” gushed Timothy as he followed Farmer John out the back door and down the back garden all the way to the serene stream where a crumbling shed awaited them.

“We have her hidden down here,” John mentioned as the two walked side by side, “but we don’t have much time. There’s a lunatic running around chasing its disappearance.”

“I don’t even want to know, John, you know our deal.”

“Yes, yes, plausible deniability.”

“Good.”

When they arrived at the shed, John stepped forward and knocked three times; then another three times in quick succession; then once; then once again but a little louder; and finally, ten times really, really quickly.

“Why?” asked Timothy, puzzled. “Just, why?”

“It’s our secret code,” offered John.

Timothy looked around at the vast nothingness surrounding the shed. The only noise and, in fact, the only thing moving, was the stream trickling peacefully by, minding its own business, a few feet away. “It seems a little cumbersome, don’t you think?” he finally suggested.

“Best be safe and not sorry, you know?”

“How about saying, ‘Peter, it’s me, your father, not an imposter, let me in.’”

John thought about this for a few seconds but was distracted by the shed’s door swinging open, so they walked inside.

“She’s looking good, dad,” announced Pee’ah as the room suddenly shrunk.

“Thank you, son. Well, Tim, have a look, what do you think? She’s a fine specimen, don’t you reckon?”

The chubby man leant over the baby calf and gave it a once-over with his eyes. He then asked Pee’ah to help him out by shifting the animal around so that he could see it from various angles. When he was satisfied, he said, “Yes, quite a marvellous creature, this one. It’s been well looked after. Good job, boy.”

The two men left Pee’ah and the calf in the shed and spoke business just outside. After five minutes, Timothy announced that he had to get to “that thing” he needed to get to, so they shook hands and promised to meet again in a few days. John was glowing as he thanked his old pal again for coming. He walked him to his van and watched, in juvenile amusement, as the circle shape squeezed through the square shape.

“Hey, dad?” asked Pee’ah once the man had left.

“Yes, son?”

“What’s veal anyway?”

Musical sting: Dum, dum, duuuuuuum!

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Written by AdrianH-B in portal Publishing
Debut novel: Pet Steeve (excerpt)
Chapter 62

Hmm, let’s see here, what else has been going on? Oh yeah, there’s this:

A small white van pulled up outside farmer John’s house and out stepped a man round enough to roll around comfortably. How he managed to fit into the tiny van is beyond me. The little white van was still rocking from side to side when the man slammed the door. Mr Chubby, better known as Timothy Goodfellow, was a balding man who wore thick spectacles far too low down on his nose for them to be aiding his eyesight; unless, only seeing where his feet were headed was his only concern – which was fair enough considering he couldn’t actually see them. He wore a white button-up shirt to conceal the workings of sweat, and gracing each of his shoulders was a suspender strap; the poor things stretched as far as they could, holding up his golfer’s trousers. His shoes were, well, I don’t actually know. His pink – or salmon, if you will – socks were visible, however.
His thick cologne had a similar job to that of his shirt.
He finished off the half a pasty he was throttling in his left hand in one giant bite and stuffed the wrapping down his trouser pocket.
“Timothy! Good to see you, old chum!” said John from his front door.
“John, hello there, how are you?” The words fought their way through steak bits and puff-pastry shrapnel.
“Very well, thanks for coming on such short notice.”
“No problem, what you got for me?”
The two shook hands and John gestured for his guest to go inside, then hung back for a few seconds. And when Timothy was properly inside, John looked around suspiciously as if he were paranoid of being watched.
“Tim, would you like anything to drink?” asked John once he had caught up.
“Do you have any Red Bull?”
“I’m afraid I don’t, sorry.”
“Then, nothing. So what do you have for me, John? I have to get back to my other pasty … Uh, I mean other work, you know? Busy, busy.”
“Well, I’ve got a real good-looking one for you this time. Almost primed and ready. Come, I’ll show you.”
“Ooh! Very exciting,” gushed Timothy as he followed Farmer John out the back door and down the back garden all the way to the serene stream where a crumbling shed awaited them.
“We have her hidden down here,” John mentioned as the two walked side by side, “but we don’t have much time. There’s a lunatic running around chasing its disappearance.”
“I don’t even want to know, John, you know our deal.”
“Yes, yes, plausible deniability.”
“Good.”
When they arrived at the shed, John stepped forward and knocked three times; then another three times in quick succession; then once; then once again but a little louder; and finally, ten times really, really quickly.
“Why?” asked Timothy, puzzled. “Just, why?”
“It’s our secret code,” offered John.
Timothy looked around at the vast nothingness surrounding the shed. The only noise and, in fact, the only thing moving, was the stream trickling peacefully by, minding its own business, a few feet away. “It seems a little cumbersome, don’t you think?” he finally suggested.
“Best be safe and not sorry, you know?”
“How about saying, ‘Peter, it’s me, your father, not an imposter, let me in.’”
John thought about this for a few seconds but was distracted by the shed’s door swinging open, so they walked inside.
“She’s looking good, dad,” announced Pee’ah as the room suddenly shrunk.
“Thank you, son. Well, Tim, have a look, what do you think? She’s a fine specimen, don’t you reckon?”
The chubby man leant over the baby calf and gave it a once-over with his eyes. He then asked Pee’ah to help him out by shifting the animal around so that he could see it from various angles. When he was satisfied, he said, “Yes, quite a marvellous creature, this one. It’s been well looked after. Good job, boy.”
The two men left Pee’ah and the calf in the shed and spoke business just outside. After five minutes, Timothy announced that he had to get to “that thing” he needed to get to, so they shook hands and promised to meet again in a few days. John was glowing as he thanked his old pal again for coming. He walked him to his van and watched, in juvenile amusement, as the circle shape squeezed through the square shape.
“Hey, dad?” asked Pee’ah once the man had left.
“Yes, son?”
“What’s veal anyway?”

Musical sting: Dum, dum, duuuuuuum!

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Out of Retirement

Prologue

Ignatius Ching sighed for the fifth time, he couldn't understand what the problem was. "Janet, why are you making such a monstrous deal of this situation?" He asked.

"Well sir, she's... she's the wrong sort." The mousy woman squeaked out.

"In the 400 years you've worked in the Hall of Prophecies, have you ever known the prophecies being wrong?" He chided.

"Well, no! She's just... different." Janet cried.

"Different how?"

"Well, we usually have a type sir. Everyone who has ever been prophecied has been young, strong, and better suited for saving the world. She's none of those things. She's old! She's on medication and can't go more than four steps without a cane. Are you sure?" She rushed to explain.

"Who wrote the prophecy?" He questioned gently.

"You did sir. Says so right here. I. Ching, Oracle." She pointed to the bottom of the scroll.

"Now, does that tell you anything of my certainty? Put the prophecy through Janet. The next time you question a prophecy, keep your questions to yourself and do your job. If you can't perform even this simple task, I'll have no choice but to reassign you to a less favorable position."

"Yes sir. I'm sorry. I'll put this through, express like." She huffed.

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Written by ThomasBradley in portal Publishing
Out of Retirement
Prologue
Ignatius Ching sighed for the fifth time, he couldn't understand what the problem was. "Janet, why are you making such a monstrous deal of this situation?" He asked.
"Well sir, she's... she's the wrong sort." The mousy woman squeaked out.
"In the 400 years you've worked in the Hall of Prophecies, have you ever known the prophecies being wrong?" He chided.
"Well, no! She's just... different." Janet cried.
"Different how?"
"Well, we usually have a type sir. Everyone who has ever been prophecied has been young, strong, and better suited for saving the world. She's none of those things. She's old! She's on medication and can't go more than four steps without a cane. Are you sure?" She rushed to explain.
"Who wrote the prophecy?" He questioned gently.
"You did sir. Says so right here. I. Ching, Oracle." She pointed to the bottom of the scroll.
"Now, does that tell you anything of my certainty? Put the prophecy through Janet. The next time you question a prophecy, keep your questions to yourself and do your job. If you can't perform even this simple task, I'll have no choice but to reassign you to a less favorable position."
"Yes sir. I'm sorry. I'll put this through, express like." She huffed.
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Written by recharge in portal Publishing

As the Petrichor Lingers

She is of a subtle beauty. That is, the sickly, small girl sitting in the front of the class. With her too big words and too big ideas, it is no wonder her peers shun her. They talk behind her back, saying her name with disdain. However, she is not dumb. She notices their coldness and because of this she learns to stay quiet. She grows, but only inward. As her rants begin to fade they do not notice as the breathtaking passion leaves her voice, as the eager aura of her speech disappears and the endearing twinkle in her eye becomes nothing more than a distant memory. They were too blind to see it in the first place. Her greasy hair frizzes along the line of her light brown cheeks. They are hollow, a by-product of her permanently sick state and perpetual diets. The hollow in her cheeks mirror the hollowness of her tired eyes. A tiredness created by the constant weight of the eyes that brush past her.

While the words she speaks decreases, the words she writes increases. Finding solace in the art of literature she is revealed to have the heart of a writer. In addition, it is also revealed that she is much more than she seems. The girl, with her bird like limbs and fragile smile is a somber river. A river for whom's depth is not known until you jump head first past its surface. Currently, as we stand in the rain I watch as she walks home. The murmurs of her heart surely thumping repeatedly in her chest, "I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm alone."

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We are a literary agency seeking fresh talent. In 200 words or more, demonstrate your writing talent. We will be in touch with any and all promising participants throughout the rest of this quarter.
Written by recharge in portal Publishing
As the Petrichor Lingers
She is of a subtle beauty. That is, the sickly, small girl sitting in the front of the class. With her too big words and too big ideas, it is no wonder her peers shun her. They talk behind her back, saying her name with disdain. However, she is not dumb. She notices their coldness and because of this she learns to stay quiet. She grows, but only inward. As her rants begin to fade they do not notice as the breathtaking passion leaves her voice, as the eager aura of her speech disappears and the endearing twinkle in her eye becomes nothing more than a distant memory. They were too blind to see it in the first place. Her greasy hair frizzes along the line of her light brown cheeks. They are hollow, a by-product of her permanently sick state and perpetual diets. The hollow in her cheeks mirror the hollowness of her tired eyes. A tiredness created by the constant weight of the eyes that brush past her.
While the words she speaks decreases, the words she writes increases. Finding solace in the art of literature she is revealed to have the heart of a writer. In addition, it is also revealed that she is much more than she seems. The girl, with her bird like limbs and fragile smile is a somber river. A river for whom's depth is not known until you jump head first past its surface. Currently, as we stand in the rain I watch as she walks home. The murmurs of her heart surely thumping repeatedly in her chest, "I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm alone."
7
2
0
Juice
41 reads
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