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Summer Contest (Prose) – Aquamarine

 
 
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  #1  
Old 06-30-2014, 11:59 PM
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Default Summer Contest (Prose) – Aquamarine


After a long break the Writer’s Beat Contest is back this summer. The theme for the contest will be Aquamarine. Have fun and good luck.


Entries:

Members are allowed one entry in the Prose contest. (You are welcome to enter our poetry contest as well.) Prose entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Summer Contest Comments thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

Prose: 2000 Words

Edits:

Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact me or another member of the staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Closing Date:

15th September 2014, 12 midnight GMT

Judging:

Winners will be selected by means of a public vote, so you, the members of Writer’s Beat, will choose the winners.

After the closing date, a voting thread will be posted. Voting will commence on the 15/16th of September and close on the 30th of September 2014, 12 midnight GMT.



If you have any questions about the contest, contact a staff member and we will happily answer them for you. Now sharpen your pencils, fill up your inkwells and get writing. Good Luck!

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  #2  
Old 07-25-2014, 08:52 PM
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Howdy all -
In keeping with the theme of my novelettes, Firstborn and Alliances, I decided to tackle this odd but interesting challenge.

A wee dram of background concerning the Firstborn: They are not immortal; they age at a far slower pace than normal humans. Their memories are perfect once the Becoming (the beginning of their slowed aging), has occurred in them. From that moment, every event, every conversation, every emotion... all as if it just occurred, even though a thousand years may have passed. This is their blessing-and their curse.
They are not vampires or zombies or anything so cliche'. They are just as human as you and I-but they are more.


Brú na Bóinne

It looked different now–the stones more carefully laid. Restored, I read at the visitor entry point across the river. At least the river looked the same, although there were far more homes and farms along Boyne's banks; usually more every time I am here.

It had taken until now to return this last time. Oh, I had come back many times, but always the threat of her death had kept me at a safe distance. Aonghus, the son of Dagda Mór. Curse them both! I caught myself thinking in the old tongue. The memories never left me. They still visited my dreams on cool nights, leaving me weakened and weeping in the light of morning. Her scent, as if even now upon my skin, has haunted me for all the centuries after.

As if the speaking of her name could conjure her now–could remove the thousands of years that separate us–I closed my eyes and whispered it: Niam.

I was nothing; a farmer, and the son of the same. We were important to the tribe, yes, but I was not one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Dagda Mór and his stupid cow of a son, were. It was her eyes, I learned, that caught Dagda Mór's attention.

Niam. Her very name was cast for those eyes. As clear and blue as the sea under a bright sun. It was her eyes that caused her undoing; the marriage to the son of the chief of our tribe, Aonghus. Our families had cast our lots together many years prior to this. We were close friends; had been all of our lives. My father had given me the news.

“All must sacrifice, son. It is the way of things.”

“Damn sacrifice! Damn the way of things!” This from my mother. I was too stunned to even think.

Niam was taken from us–from me. From that moment, she was seen as one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. This made her untouchable by any but the same. It did not keep us apart for long. During that short time, my mother passed a gift to me, which her mother once passed to her. I would give this gift to Niam, from my family. From me.

Her breath upon my neck as we held each other in the dark woods. Her tearful vow to take her own life before the marriage rites were performed. The forcing of her promise that she would not. The taste of her, the feel of her hair upon me... her warmth surrounding me. It would be the last.

I found that I was shaking. Loss and red-as-blood anger rising in me as it always did. I moved across the bridge and walked the remaining distance to the site. I was dressed as a farm worker, glad for the slicker I wore. A cold drizzle was beginning, and it seemed to calmed my rage. The site itself was hidden behind tall hedgerows. I pushed through at one point just to see it as a whole. It appeared smaller at the short distance from the bridge to here. The white stones were bright now, even in the dark and drizzle that blanketed it. Reaching the gate, I walked past to make sure that the groundskeeper was not about. I did not want to be noticed if someone spotted me stopped at the heavy, steel gate. But only darkness at the site.

I turned and sprinted back up the drive, grabbing the gate bar and leaping over. I ducked to the right, hiding my form with the tall hedge. There, in front of me, after how many centuries? the Womb of the Moon, Brú na Bóinne.
My breath made rapid clouds in the cool air, and for a few moments I was overcome. The great gulfs of time that stood between then and now... it was staggering, and my mind reeled. Tears–hot and uncontrollable–burst forth. I knelt and took deep breaths, smelling the grass and earth beneath me. I had more to do. I had to move.

I walked slowly among the large, upright stones that now surrounded the main site. They were not here before. These came much later, after the tomb had been long abandoned; the entrance blocked with tons of meaningless stone. It was clear now. Tourists were nearly always here. There was a lottery drawing for the Winter Solstice. A few of the thousands that applied were allowed inside the chamber, and were able to witness what was, for my tribe, the turning of the year for the time of planting. To them, it was simply an attraction, although some found an honest fascination with the history of the site, and the mystery.

The sun stone still guarded the entrance. I traced over the carved lines with my fingertips, and again was nearly overcome. I moved to the gate that now also guarded the tomb. Bringing forth a small pack of tools and a penlight, I sprayed the lock mechanism with silicone and began to work. After bending three of the delicate tools, the lock finally released. I quietly removed the chain and placed my tools back into the pouch. Kneeling now, I watched the drive and the surrounding farms for any sign that I was discovered. Only gray darkness and the soft rain. I entered the tomb.

As silent as the exterior was, the passageway to the chamber was a hundredfold more so. I did not stop to look at the carved stones, but pushed ahead at a reckless pace. Only a moment was I in the passage, but time seemed to falter and halt, my progress slowed by my imagination and my haste. Ahead of me now, my small light showed a widening of the passageway, and suddenly–I was there.
I stopped, awed by the realization that I was here. My blood boomed so loudly in my ears, that I thought that it might be heard by any passer-by. I slowed my breathing, taking deep breaths and concentrating on my next task: The gift.
My light barely was able to show me the capstone in the ceiling of the chamber. I stood the small light on its end, beam pointed straight up, and began to climb.



“I will leave the gift in this place, so that at some time you may return and reclaim it. I will not have it taken or destroyed by one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It is far too precious for me to lose it thus.” Niam had told this to me on the day of the marriage rite.
Dagda Mór knew of the gift, and he would have none of it. His son would not be made the fool with a new wife wearing this reminder of her love for another man. Twice he had tried to remove it from her. On the second attempt, she had threatened to cut his fat throat. This was to be my undoing. Dagda Mór banished me from our tribe. Neither my family nor Niam's could protest. To question the laws would see them banished as well. It was... the way of things.

No one questioned Niam entering the tomb, and on that day, she had done so.

“It is near the capstone. I have scratched two stars into a smaller stone just beneath it; a sign of us. The gift will be there, awaiting your return.”

My tribe was there upon my leaving. My mother and father, heartbroken, but stoic. I kissed my mother and held her as she wept. My father embraced me, told me to be strong, and to remember them both. And then Niam. I watched her from the bridge, her hands across her heart, and then an open palm raised to me. I returned the gestures back to her, and died inside.


I was near the capstone now, stretching my legs apart to the point of pain in my hips. I searched the stones just below for the two stars. Nothing. I closed my eyes and tried not to think of my aching legs, which had begun to shake from strain. I opened my eyes in hope that I would now somehow see what I had missed, checking every smooth area of stone below the huge capstone. Nothing.
My chest was suddenly heavy with frustration, and my hands were gripping the stone with rage.

“No. No. No!”

My shout was choked in the anguish that washed over me. My legs surrendered. I tried to grab any stone to slow my fall, but there was nothing. I hit the hard floor and crumpled to my side.
I do not know how long I lay there. I did not know if I was injured. My side hurt, and my legs. I did not care. It was done.

“Niam,” I whispered. “Please forgive me. Please forgive...” I wept.

I rolled to my back, slowly moving my legs. Other than my hip and shoulder, I seemed to be unharmed. I flexed my muscles, hoping to not hear the tell-tale crunching of a broken bone, or dislocated joint. Satisfied, I sat up and picked up the penlight. My fall had caused some smaller stones to tear loose from the walls. I needed to remove these before leaving. I was leaving!I could not climb to the ceiling again. I could not. Damn it! Damn it!

I knelt, and using the light, I began scraping the rubble into a pile so that I could remove it from the floor. My light passed near the edge of the sepulcher stone. A bright flicker of color that disappeared when the light passed. My heart leapt! I scrambled to the spot that the flash had appeared, and slowly moved the beam of light across the floor. There! I reached and gently lifted the piece of the leather strap I now saw. It crumbled in my fingers, but upon it crumbling, a small object fell into my hand.
I rubbed the object between my fingers, then licked it and rubbed it against my pant leg. The aquamarine shone like Niam's eyes.

Her name meant brightness and beauty. I said a prayer to her. It was long, and I was racked with emotion in it's saying, but it was done. I stood on the bridge and looked back across the fields at Newgrange.
Did she know that I was Firstborn? How could she have known? I had not learned until many years after my banishment, and then it had taken nearly a century to encounter another that gave me knowledge of our kind.

I still held the stone in my hand, for fear of losing it in a pocket or pouch. I turned and walked across the bridge. Five thousand years was long enough to wait.

M
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"I believed what I was told. I thought it was a good life, I thought I was happy. Then I found something that changed it all..."


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Last edited by Tau; 07-29-2014 at 09:25 PM.. Reason: Approved correction
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2014, 07:08 AM
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Hagen´s World.


As they walked into the restaurant (Michelangelo's). They found a place and sat down went over and looked around and couldn't believe how different everyone was. One couple looked like a Celitone and some looked human. Hank was telling Hagen about the world History and its many cultures. Also about area 51. Scary as it is, this area was a secret place. But some of the secrets got out.

Then Detolo noticed a woman looking so much like them way in the background serving drinks.. Hagen look!!

Hagen turned around real fast and could not believe his eyes,, Hank said I knew you would notice her. That's why I brought you here. As she turned Detolo smiled at her and she dropped her drinks on the floor. Hagen and Detolo ran up to her to help her clean up and smiled at her. Hi, my name is Hagen and this is Detolo. She smiled and said my name is Crystal. Where are you from? Hagen asked I can´t really talk long I have to work but when I get a break we can.. She turned and smiled at Detolo. She turned and walked away. Detolo asked Hagen Do you think she´s from our planet or one of her parents are? She does look a little different.

Crystal Had human skin and a human head with a lion type body. We will talk to her later. Let's get something to eat. Hagen and Hank was just going on about the History of the Earth and its wonderful stories.

Detolo could not get Crystal of his mind. Do you think she's from our planet? he asked again. It could be..we need to first find Slent. Then we can always come back here.. ok. Isn't she beautiful! Hagen smiled yes. Hank found a table and they all sat down.

Hagen looked around and saw so many other humans that looked like creatures from other planets but their skin color was different and parts of the body was changed a bit. Hank! I believe your thought about area 51 is true. After everyone ate and many stories later Hagen was looking around for Crystal. He finally saw her next to door to the kitchen. Talking to someone with the door almost closed. Hagen kept looking at his timer and saw its been already one day. Hagen took out his Gunkerlator and wanted to contact Stap on the ship to let him know everything was OK. Stap was happy to hear from them.

We will be here for awhile but we are getting closer. I am taking pictures and documenting everything. How is everything there? All is good and quiet. Stap said. We will keep in touch.. Got to go. OK, just keep in touch. Soon after that Crystal came by and said. I don't have much time but I can tell you this, my dad is from the same planet you are. My mom is an human. Hagen asked, where is your dad now? He works in the kitchen as the cook. Why don't he try to leave? Well, at first he did but when my mom got worked on with the men from area 51. she got pregnant from my dad. Well, anyway my mom stayed by my dad. She got very ill as its not normal to have a baby from another creature. Anyway, my dad helped her even if he didn't know how to speak to her.


After awhile he learned before I was born to speak the human language. He end up staying here because of my mom. He feel in love with her and she loved him. I told him about you and he wants to meet you. Really!! great. When? How? Tonight after work you and Detolo can come to our house. Here is the address. Crystal turned around and left. Hank said I knew this was a great idea. Hagen looked at him strange and said You knew that this would happen? Hank said yes, there was so many other creatures passing by here. When I saw you I knew I had to bring you here. Thank you! Hagen said. Hagen took out his bag of jewels and said here I give you this. He took out this big ruby and gave it to Hank. He could not believe his eyes.. Do you know how much this is worth? In my planet its worth nothing. Well, here it´s worth more than money. Hank put his ruby away.. Thank you he said again. So how many people live here? Hagen asked. We have over 35,0000 people here. Hank said.


Hagen showed Hank the address Crystal gave him.. Oh that’s at the end of the city. Nice area,, We need to meet up with Crystal later at her house. Hagen said. I will show you how to get there Hank said.
As they sat there Hagen looked around and saw so many different people and other species. He could not believe how the world is like now. More different than what he read about.. People so friendly and life so peaceful.

Finally they got up and started their way out. Hank Said come let me show you around. Hank wanted to show them the town so they went from one casino to another. Played a few games, even Hagen´s jewels worked also as payments. Everywhere they went people were so happy and helpful. After going through the city. Hank thought it would be great to make their way to crystals house. Walking and seeing trees, grass and birds flying around. Hagen felt as if he was at home. They finally made it to Crystals address.

Katherine

Last edited by khartlef; 08-09-2014 at 07:11 AM..
  #4  
Old 08-12-2014, 01:25 AM
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What He Was
by FX Lord



Removed for publishing. Sorry.

Last edited by FX Lord; 03-04-2015 at 12:18 AM..
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2014, 10:20 AM
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Default The Ring (479)

The thought of the dingy, dark basement made me feel bad, and opening Alan’s safe – searching through his papers, recalling old memories, no I didn’t want to do that.

I had too. The solicitor wanted to settle Alan’s affairs.

‘Mildred, we really must sort his papers out. I’ll come over and help you if you can’t handle it yourself.’

His voice so matter-of-fact, not a tremor, made me cringe. I’d never liked Mr George Judson, never had, never would and I didn’t like his attitude. Only two weeks since Alan’s death, only two weeks since the accident and I think of it everyday, Alan passing through a red light, ploughing into a large lorry, instant death, the police officer had told me.

Married for forty-two years, happy years, no secrets, not Alan, my stay-at-home Alan, I could always tell when he white-lied.

Dust had settled everywhere, and the rickety stairs had me gripping the handrail. The overhead light let out a dim glow, lightening the dull grey steel safe sitting beneath the high barred window. It took just a few seconds, a click of the lock and the heavy door swung open.

The shelves were full of papers, old photos and a small black box – a jewellery box. I gathered the papers, the photos together and pushed them down into a cardboard box I’d brought with me. With just the small jewellery box left on the shelf, my hand reached out and took it.

It sparkled, even in the dim light, a bright glittering aquamarine ring on a bed of white velvet. For me? Tears spilled as I thought of Alan, of our anniversary just one week away – he’d remembered. I had to try the ring on. I lifted it from its padded bed. I noticed an engraving on the inside of the gold band. One word, one word only, and that a name I’d never heard mentioned – Delores. A chill chased through me.

Thoughts I’d never dreamed of ran like snapshots through my mind. Alan’s late nights at the bank, his weekends away, no I wouldn’t believe it. Alan had never lied, no secrets he’d said, no secrets Mildred.

I sat in the dark dingy basement and I cried. How long I sat there, I don’t remember, until with a jolt I started to go through the papers I’d so carelessly packed away. It took some time but at last, I found it, his diary, and a letter, addressed to Alan, from an unknown solicitor, advising him of the death of Delores Wilbourne, of the aquamarine ring she’d bequeathed him.

He’d never mentioned her by name, never spoken about her through all our forty-two years. He’d kept a secret, kept it close to his heart. And there, in that dim basement I read his diary and forgave him. Delores Winbourne – a secret, a secret that’s safe with me.
  #6  
Old 09-04-2014, 08:28 AM
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Inspiration

I stared at the blank, very blank, screen with my fingers on the keys and waited for inspiration, surly there was some hook I could find on aquamarine to put me over the top in this contest.

I was still staring at the screen when six year old Billy, a neighbor’s kid that is over too often, came running through the door. He rounded the big recliner (you know it’s sort of aquamarine) that sits in the middle of the library floor just right to catch the morning sun and read. Our pit pull, Izzy was hot on his heels. As he rounded the recliner he slammed into my desk and spilled my morning ice tea all over my keyboard. Izzy hit my chair and I became angry; frustrated and angry with myself over an empty screen and no ideas at all. But now I had someone to blame and I did.

I yelled and was sorry I had almost immediately. Izzy cowered in the corner and Billy’s eyes were as big as pie plates as he stood perfectly still.

The look on his face was more than I could stand and although I tried to put on a mad face; I started to smile. Izzy started to wag her tail and came over to be petted. Billy seemed to realize I wasn’t mad and told me he was sorry. I sent him to the kitchen for paper towels as I picked up the keyboard and let it drain in the trash can.

When he returned with a handful of paper towels my wife was with him and asked what had happened. I told her as I got the can of compressed air from the shelf and tried to dry out the keyboard.

After the mess was cleaned up; I tried the keyboard to see if it still worked.

The test sentence told me that the left side worked, the rght sde ddent wr s gd any mre. And, apparently I use ‘o’ and ‘I’ a lot.

I needed a new keyboard.

I got my truck keys and wallet off the dresser. I grabbed my hat on the way out but didn’t quite get out the door quick enough. My wife asked where I was going…

I told her to get a keyboard. She asked me to pick up several things that were on the list she handed me. I smiled, “I was going to take the motorcycle.”

She smiled, knowing I was lying. “I’ll just go with you and we can take the truck, Billy let’s go.”
Well, I guess I have an entourage.

I opened the door and Billy ran to the truck, my wife followed and I tried to close the door. Izzy was staring at me and cocked her head to the side, OH BOTHER, “Come on, you can go too.”

My wife asked me why I brought the dog. “You know we can’t take her in and the car is going to be hot.” I told her I would get my keyboard and then wait in the truck with the dog. “I can turn the air conditioner on if it gets too hot.”

I waited in that truck for almost an hour, thinking about aquamarine gems and the colors of the ocean; trying to find a unique story. It didn’t come.

I thought we were on our way home so I could again stare at the screen with my finger in the ready position to just type out my masterpiece.

I was wrong. This morning was just not going my way. She wanted to get lunch before we went home. That’s burgers and fries and don’t forget Izzy, no pickle for her or she will just leave it lying in the seat.

Home maybe – the answer is no – ice cream is the correct answer.

I was appointed to hold Izzy’s single scoop in a cup for her to lick. So I got a shake.

We didn’t get home until almost two and I went to hook up my keyboard. I still had no idea what I was going to write and had just about given up on the contest.

I was again sitting, mesmerized by the blank screen when Billy came in to play. I had the urge to toss him out to stop him from stifling my creativity. But there was no need I had no idea what I was going to write.

He played quietly for a while before he asked, “What are you writing about?”

I shrugged, “Nothing, I can’t find a story about aquamarine.”

He nodded and crawled into my lap. “You could write about how he saved the world.”
I asked “what?” He smiled and ran off to the other room.

I wondered what that boy was on about.

He soon returned with a toy, and crawled back in my lap. He showed a scuba diver. I asked “What do you have there?” He smiled, “Aquamarine.”

I laughed out loud, set him on the floor and told him I had to work. He went back to play. I went to work.

‘Aquamarine dives from the high rocks of Cut Throat Cliff into the murky blood laced water of Ship Wreck Lagoon to begin his long swim to the Island of Death. He has to once again save the world from the infamous Doctor Doom...’
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Last edited by max crash; 09-07-2014 at 07:54 AM..
 

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