March Comp 2017

Wed, Mar 15 2017 06:31pm GMT 1
24 Posts

Warning: some rather bad language!

Ray decided it was time for a smoke as she sat on the billy shore and pondered where her tobacco could have gone.

“Maybe you left it in the shop?” asked Phillippa, most unhelpfully.

It was probably true that Ray had left her tobacco in the shop they’d visited a full hour ago. Now they were in the woods, in a clearing, fine and silent but for birdsong, the stream’s rush, and the rustle of leaves.

“Maybe yer shit ye brains into the lavvy last week when ye had the skitters, eh?” Ray’s temper was foul when cigarettes were in short supply. “Ye weren’t dispensing no wisdom then.”

It was the middle of the holidays, and Phillippa and Ray were bored as fuck. They had spent the last few days hanging out at Ray’s house; her mother had gone on holiday with an exceedingly nice man from work, who disappointed Ray enormously when she discovered that he was a speccy nerd with a gammy leg. Unsurprisingly, the liquor cabinet was now almost completely empty and Ray’s living allowance was now most sorely depleted.

“Do you think we should go back to the shop? See if it’s there?”

“No.” Replied Ray with an air of finality. The bastard behind the counter would have smoked most of it by now in an enormous bifter. “You brought that vodka from yer Mum’s, right?”

Phillippa jumped up and pointed across the water. “Hey! What’s that?”

At the other side of the stream was a grown, scruffy man, wearing a green coat and ripped jeans. “Probably a tramp” replied Ray. “Oi! Tramp! Fuck off and stop staring at us, eh? Fucking perv!”

The man stared at Ray. Not saying a word, he stepped forward.

“What the fuck yer gonna do? Cross the fucking water? You’ll freeze yer doss-arse!”

He entered the water, began crossing. The current didn’t slow him, didn’t sway him. Once he’d reached the middle of the river, he pointed directly at Ray. His head leaned back. His mouth fell ajar.

From the bowels to his bones, every atom of him screamed:


Thu, Mar 16 2017 01:07pm GMT 2
1336 Posts
So let me get this right, do I just post the first 350 words of my current WIP. This is the easiest competition ever.
Thu, Mar 16 2017 01:12pm GMT 3
1336 Posts
Pieces of Eight

There are some things in life you wish you could unsee. The body on the Loop-line was one of them. After the call came in, I expected to get to arrive at the Thomas Lane Bridge to find an old tramp that’d died of exposure. I assumed this would ease me back into the job.

The brakes squeal as I pull up under the M62 flyover, next to Broad Green train station. A veritable bargain my arse, this heap’s cost me more in repairs than it did to buy. I get out and slam the door in protest and the car responds by rocking up and down on its creaky suspension. I grab my kit bag and a blanket from the boot and slam that too, then make my way toward what could only be described as Albert Einstein’s love child. He stands under the orange haze of a solitary lamp post, near the entrance to the Loop-line. His electrocuted hair pokes through a headband with a runner’s lamp attached. The light from his mobile phone screen glistens in tear tracks on either cheek, and a Border Collie is coiled around his feet with blood smeared across its snout.

‘Morning. I’m Detective Sergeant Granite of the Major Investigations Team.’ I hold up my ID card long enough for him to squint at it and then back at me. ‘Are you the gentleman that called the station?’

He nods and his bottom lip quivers, but he doesn’t reply. It was a stupid question anyway. It’s half-five in the morning, he’s crying and his dog looks like something from a resident evil film.

‘What’s your name, sir?’ I drape the blanket over his shoulder then bend down and stroke the dog.
‘B-Bob. Bob Owens.’

‘And what happened to you, hey fella?’ The dog rolls onto its side and offers its belly.

‘H-He ran off into the tunnel and wouldn’t come back. I shouted him a few times but he just wouldn’t come. When I found him h-he was… he was e-eating something. I think it was from inside her.

Thu, Mar 16 2017 01:21pm GMT 4
1353 Posts
"Easiest" you say, don't know about that, Pinks. First, there's lots of great openers here. Second, did I ever tell you lot about in the forces when I was a Staff Sergeant and my Troop had to be the best of the best otherwise I'd have them outside at two in the morning, full kit, pissing down, doubling round the parade square.


Thu, Mar 16 2017 01:27pm GMT 5
1336 Posts
Easiest to complete good sir. Opener was already done in terms of just needing a spit and polish, however, making the grade now that's an entirely different matter. I'll drop and give you twenty.
Thu, Mar 16 2017 01:53pm GMT 6
1336 Posts
My God there are some crackers here, Baz. But I'd expect no less. Good luck with the judging.
Thu, Mar 16 2017 02:12pm GMT 7
633 Posts
Here goes, then

The Violence of the Sun

At the end, it always came down to this. Weapons. And the men who have to wield them.

The journalist, Vickery, heard the aircraft before he saw it. The damn thing was flying so low it was masked against the treeline. A twitch of motion, maybe a splash of light revealed it to his eyes, old as they were these days. It was coming on fast, even scraping the deck. The pilot must have balls like barrage balloons.

Vickery hunched a little lower, but not so low he couldn't see. And now the sound was packing the air, forcing into his ears. A crackling, rasping, V-12 roar, notes mixing and pulsing.

Tiny, bright flames flickered from the first aircraft's nose and the wings, and a second later, the rattle of machine guns reached Vickery's ears. The same old reflex prickled between his shoulder blades. He tore his gaze away from the aeroplane to the cluster of vehicles sitting a hundred yards away. The bus and the trucks lit up with flashes, puffs of dust spat into the air. The stationary vehicles rocked like a hurricane had just sprung up.

The thunder of engine and guns burst through Vickery. He felt it bloom in his chest, surging into his arms and legs. Heart vibrating. Oh, heavens above. Better than alcohol!

He turned back to the aircraft just as its nose rose a touch and it banked away, barely high enough to avoid hitting the trees behind the vehicles. The sky framed an image of square-cut wings and tail, a simple but sleek fuselage, and the aircraft was gone but the next was already on its way in. Vickery blinked, trying to focus. Good God, no more than twenty feet off the ground, Four more came in, one after the other, shredding the target with gunfire. Dust gently drifted back to earth. Roar faded to hum.

Vickery turned to the Pathé camera crew set up just to his right. "Quite something, wouldn't you say?"

"Jesus!" the first operator said, wiping his brow. "Jesus. Cut it fine, didn't they?"

Fri, Mar 17 2017 04:39pm GMT 8
1353 Posts
Fri, Mar 17 2017 06:34pm GMT 9
John Alty
John Alty
20 Posts
Wow, a thread with speed bumps.Laughing
Fri, Mar 17 2017 08:27pm GMT 10
214 Posts

Rhydian's War

What can I tell you? I know only three things about myself that are true. My name is Col Rhydian. I was born female. And I committed a capital crime. . The rest … the rest is what they put into me. Their truth.

Captain in Special Operations, Council Land Forces, Harmony 3. Their treatments gave me this body. Long boned, taut muscled. Strong. Fast. Hearing, sight, intuition – sharpened to level's other soldiers think spooky. Built for war. At a price. Not one they paid. The one I paid. The neural programming helps me to not remember who I was. The only time I tried to recall, I woke up in puddles of my own piss and vomit. The pain split me for three days after.

I'm still in here, but I'm beyond reach. Serving my sentence. A capital crime means death. Death of your old life, service to your new. Thirty years in the military and I'm three years in. The chance of living through this has a depressing number of zeros after the decimal point.

And I have serve it out in this sexless thing they have made me into, this robot of flesh. I could no more desert or swallow a bullet than I can remember my past. But a good soldier is not one who is driven by the whip. The programming is at turns a heavy hand and a light caress. Addiction is such a lever on us. I might have nothing between my thighs, I might have no need of a man or a woman. But I love war.

268 words

Sat, Mar 18 2017 10:17am GMT 11
1 Posts

Opening 300 words of my completed middle grade fantasy novel. Enjoy.

I am alone. Jess woke with a gasp, her heart pounding. It was dark and still. I am alone. The thought came again and faded just as quickly. Was it spring already? She fumbled her way out of bed, trying to shake off the grogginess of hibernation. Everything was silent. If spring had arrived, the others would be waking soon. Shuffling into the living room, she felt her way to the table where her parents always left a candle and matches, ready for the first person to wake from hibernation. Her body felt stiff and cold as she walked, her legs wobbly as they tried to remember how to move. Jess held the candle high, looking around the room uncertainly. Perhaps she was the first one this year. She never had been before; it was always her mother, coming to shake her gently out of sleep, bringing her a glass of water to soothe her dry throat. Jess thought how surprised her mother would be to see her and grinned with excitement.

Jess felt her way along the stone passage to her parents’ bedroom, her fingers trailing along the chill, rough walls. Creeping inside, she stood by the bed looking down at them and for some reason her heart pounded in her chest. Going to her mother’s side, she shook her gently.

“Mum, wake up. It’s spring!”

But her mother didn’t stir and her face felt cold, as if she were still deep in hibernation. Jess shook her harder and called louder, then tried her father, but neither of them moved at all. Jess was suddenly struck by an awful thought. What if it wasn’t spring yet? People couldn’t survive in the winter because of the cold and lack of food. She sank down against the wall, her body shaking, and cried.
Sun, Mar 19 2017 01:13pm GMT 12
5 Posts

here goes..

The Island of Spices and Echoes

This is the tale of Lawrence the Loris. Lawrence lived on the Island of Spices and Echoes, high on Horton Plains. His eyes were big and black like dead planets, and he lived in a sikasika tree where he ate its succulent and narcotic leaves. One day, a troublesome spider monkey came by and asked if he might share Lawrence's tree. He was lost and hungry, but Lawrence stared at him with his obsidian eyes, and said no. “There's only enough leaves for me,” he said. “Except for this one, which I'll give you. Leave!”

The hunger had taken away all of the monkey's sense of humour. “And what if I don't?” He asked.

“Well,” said Lawrence. “I have magical powers.”

The spider monkey said, “What magical powers have you got?”

“First of all, I can talk.”

How the monkey laughed at this. “So can I,” he said.

“- and I can turn you into anything I want.”

“Oh really?” said the sly monkey (the spider monkey is genetically the slyest monkey there ever was). “Could you turn me into a crocodile? Crocodiles can't climb trees, you know, and they're the ugliest animal there ever was.”

“OK,” said Lawrence – and PHWIZZ SCHABANGG!!! that's exactly what he did.

The monkey crocodile shook the sikasika tree until Lawrence and all the leaves fell down – into the monkey crocodile's great gaping mouth!

Now, magic isn't flesh and bones and fur and big black eyes that gets easily pooed out. No. This magic stayed right inside. And this is where the problem started, for this monkey crocodile was bad.

No. This is the story of Donald, the evil monkey crocodile, and how he tried to rule the Island of Spices and Echoes.

Mon, Mar 20 2017 12:29am GMT 13
142 Posts
I apologise if there's some kind of protocol that I missed, but I inspired myself with my one-liner on the blog challenge, and came up with this. I hope it is at least adequate. Google docs says 350 words but I know it lies from time to time...

He awoke as a woman which, he knew, weren't how these things usually happened.

A tilt of his head brought two soft mounds into view, and a grin spread across his newly plump lips. The cold dawn light had warmed considerably by the time he could drag himself off bed, wobbly-kneed and not a little confused, to pour himself breakfast.

His ragged jeans presented his first logistical challenge, as the crotch hung uncomfortably in the vicinity of his knees. His t-shirt, bagged and stained where his gut had once tested its tensile strength, strained anew about his knockers. The spell hadn't done anything about his weight, it seemed, except re-distribute it to reasonable effect. It would do. For today.

He tipped the glass in the direction of the old lamp on the fake mantle, mimed a buff over the shiny patch on its brass side, and downed the rough liquor.

Make-up. That's what lasses did first, wasn't it? Or was it... perfume? He wandered over to the chest of grubby drawers beside his grubby bed and picked up his new purchases one at a time, sniffing them and flipping them back onto the chipped ‘mica. Brows knitting, he raised an arm and sniffed again, recoiling at the stench emanating from the yellowed seams. He peeled off the flimsy fabric and tossed it into a corner, then grumbled off to beat the shower into submission.

As clouds of steam began to billow and mist the windows, he sashayed back into the bedroom and pulled open a drawer, heart warming at the heavy scuff of metal against wood. He’d need to lift a fancy handbag to transport that. Should’ve thought of that earlier. Ah! Ne’er mind. A lass would get off lighter than some big bloke, any case. No need to worry. Buying knickers would be easier now, too. No more nosey assistants trying to ask his girlfriend’s size. He could just go try ‘em on. Easy.

Pouring more breakfast to keep him company during his ablutions, he grinned to himself again. She'll learn, this time. Can’t hide, this time. Not nowhere.

Mon, Mar 20 2017 12:31am GMT 14
142 Posts
Oh no. I have been attacked by the formatting goblins again. >:(
Mon, Mar 20 2017 09:00am GMT 15
1353 Posts
Hi, Jaxx, don't worry about your formatting. If you use Firefox there's little book motif in the address bar at the top which, if clicked, brings the text into READ MODE, as it does on Kindle. Not many have discovered this, but it sure makes reading stories more pleasant. Yous works fine on that. Wink
Mon, Mar 20 2017 01:34pm GMT 16
142 Posts
Thanks Baz. Chrome requires an app download, so meh. One day I will perfect the art of text transfer... Still, a very interesting bit of knowledge. Good spot.
Mon, Mar 20 2017 03:48pm GMT 17
1353 Posts
Have you not tried Firefox then, I find it really good?
Mon, Mar 20 2017 05:13pm GMT 18
142 Posts
I've tried them all! It's just a matter of compatibility with other software. Nowt wrong with Firefox in principle.
Mon, Mar 20 2017 05:35pm GMT 19
1063 Posts
Everything I post on here, I copy and paste into Notepad (which removes all formatting) first, and then copy and paste into here.
Fri, Mar 24 2017 01:24pm GMT 20
1801 Posts
Fri, Mar 24 2017 05:14pm GMT 21
2788 Posts

No Return

She watched him reach towards the hare. It sat frozen with fear amongst the stubble of the parched cornfield.

‘Run! Please!’ Annie pleaded, silently. She held back, partly hidden behind the hawthorn trees that edged the field.

Too late!

Seth began stroking the back of its neck with gentle, hypnotic movements. A time honoured tradition. They never moved away, the hares. It was almost too easy for him; the beguiling trust of human towards prey.

She knew the fourth stroke would end its life. A quick flick of the wrist, a dull thud - it was over. The hare lay motionless, except for the flicker of its hindquarters, which shuddered as if trying to make a run for it.

He picked it up by the back legs, threw it over his shoulder and walked towards her; his long strides covering the ground in moments. Yet, to Annie, it seemed as if his momentum slowed. His deep voice slurred, becoming unintelligible when he spoke to her.

She hated the way they lived. It was intolerable. Her mind backed away from the scene she'd witnessed, too many times, over the last ten years.

‘What's the matter with you, then?’ Seth grunted, as he pushed past her. He walked on, not expecting a reply, just for her to fall in line behind him and follow. She always did.

Watching his tall frame shrink into the distance as he moved further away, she made a decision – she wouldn't be returning with him. Not this time. Not now. Not ever.

(Word count 255)

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