My Weekly Writing Challenge

This week’s challenge is a fun one (I hope!) I’d love to see your creations using the following five words, which must appear somewhere in your story or poem:

  • Murder
  • Midnight
  • Mask
  • Maltesers
  • Mud

Hope that gets you thinking!

Here are last week’s entries from my photo prompt:

I dare you not to be drawn into Sacha Black‘s magical world. There’s just one thing wrong with Sacha’s story – I need to know what happens next!:

Stargate

“What if I never come back?” I swallowed the bile beginning to attack the back of my throat and clutched at my stomach. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t look at Eloinee. Those perfectly golden eyes made me feel sick with guilt.

“You were born for this, Jeremiah, you’re the only one who can take us.”

I shook my head trying not to throw up. I grabbed Eloinee’s arm and steadied myself.

“I’m not a hero, Eloinee, I’m just a nobody inventor who got lucky.”

“How can that be true?” She sat me down in front of the stone stargate, “You captured the hearts of the entire nation, you’re going to save us all.”

My stomach gurgled and I tasted the first acidy traces of sick. I put my head in my hands and rubbed my temples hard.

“This is a mistake. I wasn’t even meant to be studying torsion physics, Eloinee. I can’t do this. I can’t go. It’s all a big mistake. I was just looking for free energy for godsake.”

Eloinee slapped at my face so hard my hands slipped off my knees and I clasped my throbbing hand.

“What the hell was that for?”

She pressed her lips tight and slumped into a chair next to me sighing.

“Jeremiah, it doesn’t matter what you want to do. This isn’t a choice. You may not have meant to discover the stargates, but you did. So get a grip. This is bigger than you. Don’t you get it?” She leant forward, and took my reddened hand in hers, bringing it to her lips, “This is about hope. It’s always been about hope.”

She kissed my hands and leant in to plant a tender peck on my cheek.

“You aren’t just my hope, Jeremiah, you are the hope of a nation. Our world is dying, and you are going to be our saviour. I believe in you more than I have ever believed in anything. You were never a ‘nobody’ to me. But now…now, you are a ‘somebody’ to everyone. You have to be our hope Jeremiah, you just have to.”

Tears spilled onto her pink cheeks. My heart ached looking into her furrowed eyes. If I couldn’t go for the nation, I had to go for Eloinee.

I just nodded. I couldn’t speak. If I spoke, I would lose the strength she had given me.

I stood up, pulling her up and into my arms. I couldn’t say goodbye. So I touched my forehead to hers and breathed in the scent of her sweet skin. I took a last look into her golden eyes, I would never forget them, they were my hope.
I left her alone in the room and walked to the stone stargate. She was right. I could save us all. I touched my hand to the gate, and stepped into the unknown…

Jason Moody has also sent in a gripping, atmosheric story. I also want to know more about what happens with this one. Great stuff from both writers:

The Gateway

“Look at that,” he said, pointing ahead.

Craig’s sister, Samantha, looked less than impressed. She raised her head from her phone and grunted.

Craig ran ahead to what looked like an ancient stone archway. It stood alone in the middle of an old path, and was surrounded by a canopy of beautiful green trees.

Samantha came to a sudden halt as she bumped into Craig who was stood at the foot of the arch.

“Bloody hell, Craig. Watch where you’re going will you,” she snapped, still engrossed in her phone.

Being her younger brother by one year, Craig was accustomed to her sharp tongue and put downs; he was the little brother after all.

“Why did you want to come this way anyway?” asked Samantha.

Craig didn’t answer. He was now stood directly in front of the arch. He let his hands caress the hard stone, his fingers running over what looked like ancient writing.

With that, the arch shook and Craig was thrown to the ground, as if picked up by a huge gust of wind. He craned his head to get a look. Through the arch he could see a strange landscape. There were towering mountains and unwelcoming shadows. It looked alien to him.

Samantha placed her phone in her jeans pocket and looked on. She grabbed Craig by the arm and lifted him to his feet.

“I think we should get out of here,” she stammered.

Craig wriggled free of her grip.

“This is so cool,” he said. “Take a picture, Sam.”

She had no intention of doing so. Through the archway she could see two figures heading towards them.

“Craig. Run,” she shouted.

Seeing he wasn’t moving, she grabbed him by the arm, intending to run. Craig was resisting. He may have been her little brother, but he was strong.

“You run. They chase,” he said. “Don’t you watch tv?”

The figures were much closer. Samantha protested to Craig, but he was rooted, fixated on the approaching figures. He could now see that they were riding. Perhaps horses.

Craig waved.

“What the bloody hell are you doing, you idiot,” Sam shouted. He wouldn’t answer, or move. “Craig, please.”

The figures could now be seen. Both were men astride beasts not of this world. They passed through the stone gateway into the forest. They stopped. The creatures were at least six foot off the ground with scaly skin and thick trunk like legs.

One of the men jumped down from his creature, and removed his helmet. He was young, dressed all in dark blue. His clothing suggested he might be important. The other rider, much older, looked on nervously.

The young man approached Samantha and Craig. He was a little older than Samantha, who was eighteen. He smiled, looking at Craig.

“You are most curious looking individuals. Obviously not of our realm. Where are we?”

“You’re -,” she started.

“Women may speak freely here?” he asked. “Women actually have the right to free speech? Incredible.”

Samantha rolled her eyes. “Err, yeah we do. We also give birth, hold down jobs…good jobs and we don’t take crap from men much nowadays. Alright?”

She felt quite proud of her rant. She could feel more.

The boy laughed, turning to his companion.

“Are you hearing this, Melvic? The girl talks. Fascinating.”

“I don’t know, and don’t care where you’re from. From your dress, I’d say a fancy dress party. And from your rhetoric, the 20s?”

She grabbed Craig and began to walk away. The young man stepped to the side placing his hand on her shoulder. She shivered inside.

“Lady. Please,” he smiled. “I don’t wish to offend anyone. Not in the slightest. I just find you both…extraordinary.”

Samantha shook her head.

He cleared his throat. An announcement was forthcoming.

“My name is Alaquin. Prince Alaquin. I am from the Kingdom of Etherion.”

He looked pleased with his announcement.

Samantha smiled. “That’s lovely, Al. My name’s Samantha and we’re late. Come on, Craig.”

She took Craig’s hand, and for once he wasn’t resisting. They turned and began to walk at a pace. Behind them, the face of Prince Alaquin darkened.

“Do not turn away from me. Come back here, child of Earth.”

Samantha froze. She turned. A look of fear on her face which he noticed immediately.

“You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” she said.

He nodded. “Many, many times, dear child. We are quite familiar with this little world.”

At that moment four men appeared from the gateway. The were wearing armour and carrying swords. The Prince turned to them.

“Take these trespassers to the hold.”

“Trespassers?” screamed Samantha. “What’s going on?”

“Free will. Free speaking? We can’t have this, lady. Not in my world.” said Prince Alaquin.

Samantha rolled her eyes. “Your world? What the bloody hell is going on?

The men made light work of rounding up Craig and Samantha. They both fought, but it was no use. The men were heavy set and far too strong.

Draped over the soldier’s shoulder, Samantha looked straight at the Prince. He blew her a kiss.

“You arse. What’s going on? What have we done?”

“Have fun. See you soon,” he said.

As she was carried through the gateway, her world seemed to vanish. There was no more gateway. Just endless mountains and no sign of Craig.

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15 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Steve says:

    I just posted on Simplicity Lane a 132 word short story for your writing challenge:
    https://simplicitylane.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/on-a-pedestal-table-132-word-short-story/

  2. TanGental says:

    Great stories. I have a poem bubbling away. Will post later when I’ve polished it some

  3. TanGental says:

    I thought hard about the words and, sitting on the plane back from Innsbruck this sonnet came to me. Hope you like it.

    A Life Spared

    Cold midnight makes its mark on dead time
    Taking from the senses, dulling compassion.
    A slight shadow moves, night’s assassin
    Poised to curtail another life; no crime
    This act is instinctive. Fear grips
    The target, knowing its very existence
    Is lightly held. No appeal; resistance
    Will be futile. The chance to flee slips
    As mind freezes and muscles clench. Taut,
    Death’s sharpened claws reach. But they stop short;
    This murder is edge-balanced so fine.
    Hope competes with despair. So thin a line.
    The killer’s head turns; the prey slips his tweezers.
    ‘Come inside son. It’s late. Have some maltesers.’

  4. TanGental says:

    but the problem is of course that on a small screen I misread two of the words – mind for mud and mark for mask… Which I just realised so…. hmm a rewrite… I will return… (though you may like the original if flawed poem)

  5. TanGental says:

    Right ho, this is what I really meant (gosh am I a poseying nincompoop)

    A Life Spared

    Cold midnight is like a mask deadening time
    Taking from the senses, dulling compassion.
    A slight shadow moves, night’s assassin
    Poised to curtail another life; no crime
    This act is instinctive. Fear grips
    The target, knowing its very existence
    Is lightly held. No appeal; resistance
    Will be futile. The chance to flee slips
    As mind muddies and muscles clench. Taut,
    Death’s sharpened claws reach. But they stop short;
    This murder is edge-balanced so fine.
    Hope competes with despair. So thin a line.
    The killer’s head turns; the prey slips his tweezers.
    ‘Come inside son. It’s late. Have some maltesers.’

  6. Sacha Black says:

    so you know, I have written something, but I don’t like it so I’m not posting it! its rubbish! meh.

  7. So much fun with the prompts – I really have to take part soon!

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