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  • Entry 1 - Attrition

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  • Entry 2 - Hunger

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  • Entry 3 - 1000 years, 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds

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  • Entry 4 - The Taste of Ice

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Thread: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

  1. #1
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Here are the submissions for the themed category. Please vote for your favorite one.

    Also, please bear in mind that anonymity is still required here. Authors of any works below may not declare what submission may be theirs, or in any other way ruin the anonymity of theirs or another member's submission. Those found to be doing so here or anywhere else will be punished with extreme prejudice by the resident knights and rightly so. The same rules apply to other members as well. Authors may vote for their own entry if they wish.

    The thread is for discussion of the articles at hand and voting, NOTHING ELSE.


    Polls last until February the 16th 23:59 GMT+2
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 1 - Attrition

    Attrition
    Mistral, be my witness,
    Ice lake be my tomb.
    I can march no longer,
    Legs gave place to doom.


    Remote, unknown objective,
    Past mountains, rivers, seas.
    Forgotten the directive,
    The thrill of summer flees.


    Men have fallen trailing,
    Fallen more has snow.
    Shrill winds are wailing,
    Wail is sure and slow.


    Waters frozen to a sheet,
    Bechilled condemned traverse.
    Crusted rags, frostbitten feet,
    Lost souls, mirrored inverse.


    Mistral, be my witness,
    Ice lake be my tomb.
    I can march no longer,
    Legs gave place to doom.

    Last edited by Sir Adrian; January 26, 2018 at 05:09 PM.
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 2 - Hunger

    Hunger
    The guests were waiting.Waiting with still faces in absolute deathly silence.They were sitting in a large banquet table.The Christmas tree behind them was as still as their faces.The cold outside was the least of their bothers.Hunger was .The chief of the table was silent.Instead of drinking it,he was playing with the ice in the wine glass.It was only after many minutes had passed that one of the guests on the large banquet table signalled to the chief.The chief replied silently.Apparently the food was not yet cooked fully.But the waiter had bought it half an hour ago.Apparently the food was not ‘wholly’ ready.Anticipating that some dish had been left out and was on its way,the long line of guests continued to wait.

    A minute later sounds of someone running could be heard outside.First the soft sound of the ice outside,then the cracking sound of boots on the pavement until the door suddenly burst open.

    A figure stood in the doorway,dressed in respectable clothes which had been battered by the ice.For a few minutes nobody reacted and kept looking at the man in amazement.Then after a few moments he suddenly collapsed in a thud.Even before one of the guests could stand up,he recovered himself and shouted across the room to the chief “Please help me,give me something to eat,hunger has ravaged me,please kind sir,give me some food,anything,help me,save me”.

    He continued to repeat the same words for a minute more and while the guests begun to murmer,the chief was silent.Suddenly he broke his silence and replied “Of course my good man,I will feed you,but first why don’t you tell us about the circumstances of your coming”asked the chief.

    “It’s a long story sir,will tire you out”said the man.

    ”Don’t worry,food hasn’t been served yet,you may tell”said the chief motioning to the waiter to serve some water to the man.

    “’I am a diplomat for the queen.After 3 months of diplomacy with the mad Kaiser I decided it was time for a winter break.So I came back to London.Having no family of my own and finding all my friends uninterested,I made up my mind to go for a trekking adventure to the north.I travelled through the snow and the mud of trampy tracks and through sleepy villages until I reached Lancashire county.For a few days I stayed at Preston university but eventually I found it too busy.So I made my regrettable decision of trekking ahead.It was then that travelling through the worst of the winter brought me to the wild lands of the county and thus to the sleepy village of Croston.

    Croston was completely covered by mud when I first came there a few days ago.I skipped lunch and decided to sleep for a few hours in a local farm lodge.At evening time I decided to go out for dinner to the local pub.It was in a dire state.Snow completely covered the doorway and I had almost given up hope of dinner,when a bald man came out from inside and hastily cleared up the ice.

    Inside I barely had time to settle down and relax when a young man obviously the waiter came up to me and asked grumpily “Would you like an eat sir”.

    “Yes,pork,my good man”I replied much more politely than what he expected and so he scurried off to the kitchen.A minute later I took back all the ill I held about the place as I took bite after bite of the delicious pork dish.It was at my second helping that I began to notice my surroundings.It was a relaxing little place,obviously poor and dark though because there were just 3 gas lamps inside.Apart from me there were only 3 more men sitting at the other end of the place.

    I was almost sad with the lonliness when I discovered something strange.From the table ahead of me stared at me a woman’s face.She was staring at me with a look of strange amazement.She was grinning.It was after that,that discovered the dated nature of her face,she was old and her hair was white at many places.She was wearing a long noble dress and wore gloves in her hands.Her look became even more amazed when I ordered a third helping of pork.The waiter looked at me strangely and then replied “Sorry sir,no more pork”he said.

    At that moment I broke.All the frustuation of the Kaiser,the French,the London climate and my trek was rained down on him.”How come you blokes have no pork,how can you turn down a customer like that,do you have no shame my man,no wonder the place is in a dire state,you refuse me pork,its as if I demanded gold or silver”I shouted.
    Suddenly a matriarchial voice spoke “Thomas……..,is there a pork shortage in our county,cause your behaviour sure looks like that”.It was the same woman.

    ”No,madame I am sorry,we ran out of pork dish”said the waiter.

    ”Then go and make new,,don’t turn a gentleman like that away”she said.

    Thomas ran off into the kitchen and then the woman smiled.She rose up and sat on a table adjacent to me.The light of the gas lamp near that table made her face look hideously strange.I focused on drinking my untouched glass of wine and ignored her when a voice came “You seem to love meat,don’t you sir”,it was her.”Huh,yeah,I have always been a more meat guy”I replied smiling.
    “I am madam Washington,the owner of this place,husband died years ago,its not easy work but the county sure has its share of secrets”said she.The relaxing tone made her voice seem older than before.I replied immediately ”Sorry for my outbreak of anger and I apology…………………………….”

    “No,no,no sir,your demand I perfectly fine,Thomas here has become a lazy lump,refuses to work neat in winter,he deserved the anger”said she.I smiled again.

    Just then Thomas returned with a new pork dish.For some time the only sound in the place was of the snow outside.As I was about to finish the woman asked “Would you sir,like to eat delicious meat everyday for free”.I was startled with the question and its queerness.So much so that at that very moment I downed another glass of wine.That one proved to be terminal for me as my senses became dissolved.Some things became clearer while others faded out.The bar counter,the tables,the plates and most importantly my own hands seemed to fade away in the shadows cast by the dim lighting.Yes,the lighting,it was one of the few things that remained visible and in fact became more bolder.But then my eyes noticed something else.The woman.The terrifying shadows of earlier had not reached her face,in the bright light I noticed her eyes.They shone with a queer brilliance.

    I came to my senses a few minutes later and paid the waiter with a generous tip.As I was about to leave the woman quickly said “Oh,sir what about my proposition?” .

    I was puzzled for some time.Then I remembered our earlier conversation.”Oh yes,what were you speaking madame?” I asked.
    “Do you want to taste and eat delicious meat everyday for no cost?”she asked.

    “Hha,and how do you propose it to be possible?”I asked jokingly.

    “There are methods”she said.”Thank you,but I liked the food,I will pay”said I with the voice of an innocent child.

    “There are other methods”said she.”So is the cost really non existant,will I not have to pay anything”I asked.”Depends on your outlook,maybe there is some cost,but it’s low and one time”she replied.

    “Will you accompany me to the place”said she offering me another glass of wine.”In this snow?”I asked.”The snow’s cleared out now,you must come,will you come?”she asked.

    I emptied the glass of wine.And a profound change came over me,this time there were no light effects.The shadows were normal and the room was fully visible but something was compelling me from the inside.I was feeling eager for doing something unknow.She asked again “Will you come,the night is young yet”.Looking back I should have said no and walked away to my lodge like a normal trekker but that same compelling force was pushing me. “Yes,I will try” I said.

    Outside,the snow had stopped completely which was strange.The nightmen had cleared up the path on which we were presently walking.But the cold was very much there.I don’t recall how much time went by in between,but after some time the houses and lawns began to decrease and decrease until we were soon walking with nothing but trees on both sides of us beyond which were frozen moors.The deathly silence was interrupted by the woman.

    ”Do you want some almonds sir,good for the cold,will prepare you”she said.

    ”For what”I asked accepting them.

    The almonds tasted good in the cold and somehow also brightened up my view.The long darkness and the cold was now replaced a strange heat.I could now see clearly and notice that though the air looked clear it was not.Seemingly empty spaces were bring filled things,strange shapes,lights.”Want some more almonds sir”she asked out of nowhere.In the now filled darkness she was invisible to me.I was really considering refusing more almonds when she suddenly dropped her skirt off.But before I could shout in embarresment I noticed that she was wearing a black petticoat underneath which covered her well.Out of the blue she unmated her hair.

    But how could I ask her about her actions.I took the only option out.I accepted the almonds and said “Tasty almonds,why umm are you……………..”.

    Before I could complete my sentence she replied “Look around”.To my acute horror the snow around us had disappeared .Underneath my feet was nothing but a clean dry blade of grass.The wind and the night were still cold but not me.In the thick sweater I felt suffocated.I removed it,then my gloves,then my boots,socks and my overcoat until I was wearing the minimum amount of clothes you need to wear for decency in front of a lady.

    It was after all this though that I moved my eyes across the place.We were not on the road but in an old smelly graveyard.In that graveyard were just a few graves and one of them was taller and grander than the rest.Quietly I looked at her.A profound change had come over her.Her unmated hair looked hideous and her wrinkles had intensified making her look like an old crone.In her hand out of nowhere appeared a black walking stick.

    As if commanding,she motioned to me .”Sit”.I felt strangely compelled to obey her.

    ”Today Is a great day for you,no longer do you have to worry about insignificant things like hunger,you will get delicious meat everyday.You will live for ever.After I start the ritual ,the Mynecrons will come and strip you down to nothing but a spirit and you will live forever,you will dine with them forever,no longer will there be a shortage of pork,but first I must be absolutely sure,are you really ready,I am giving one last option,you can walk away now,you cant change your decision later after I have called them” she said.

    What could be a mynecron,my seemingly drugged mind began to think,I pictured strange monsters,murdering half human worms,giant spiders.I decided to just take the escape route and I decided to say ‘No’ .”Yes”was my reply.The no word had not come out at all.

    What happened in the next few minutes is foggy,the woman dropped her hair,but how can someone do that,was it a wig she was wearing.She bended down and pulled me by the legs until I was lying faceup on the ground.She clapped many times and then I saw something happening.What it was is difficult to describe but it still gives me the chills.The strange part is that I still don’t know what it was that frightened me so.There were strange unheard sounds coming in all directions and it appeared that the whole ground was vibrating.

    By the end of it all the world seemed to be circling around me.For a moment I blackened out .Then when I opened my eyes I was freezed,a cold chilly air hit me with full force.Why was it so cold.

    I was lying in snow.The trees were covered in snow and the woman was back to her dress.Her hair and age restored.”Now the Mynecrons will come in three days to eat you up,purify you and release you,but till then you must make a sacrifice,you must at no cost eat nothing,drink nothing.You must be empty.Swallow these almonds as your last meal.I had gained back my reflexes and I scramed “Noooo”.She patiently motioned to my legs.
    They were tied.
    As I swallowed the almonds a cold wind hit me again and the pain of the freeze was the last thing in my mind before I blackened out again.

    When I opened my eyes again,I was in a confined space.I rubbed my eyes again and looked around.I was in some kind of a closed empty room.Further investigation revealed that it was not a room but a small one room house.The windows were made of thick glass,the kind from which light can enter but nothing outside is visible.It was daytime.Slowly I stood up.It was then that I noticed an important fact that my mind had been ignoring.I was hungry.Extremely hungry and my throat was dry like the dry soil on a summer day.Or the sand in the deserts of the Sudan that I had seen back in my youth when I had gone to fight the forces of the Mhadi.

    Eagerly my eyes searched for food or water.But then I noticed that the room was empty.Empty except for one small safe and a water pot.Eagerly I fell upon the pot of water only to discover that there wasn’t a drop of water in it.But hunger had made me a mad man.I quickly kicked the safe hard.Harder and harder.But it wouldn’t budge.

    Then I suddenly realised that I hadn’t done what I should have done first.The door itself .The door to this prison.I kicked it hard.Hard and hard.As hard as my tired legs could.Then I punched.But to no avail.It was locked.Then I further strained myself.I dragged that locked safe and then carefully using my battering ram training I hit it with full force on the door.At that moment I heard a crack.

    The main door was still closed,but the safe had opened.Like a hungry beast I excitedly put my hands inside the safe hoping for food.It was empty.

    At that moment my tired body finally gave out and I lost consciousness.Some hours must have passed and despite the fact that I was still hungry and my dry throat burned like the fire,my body had freshend up a bit.I resumed my kicking.After a few moments my hunger took over again.Then I started seeing things.Strange figures.

    Who could be the Mynecrons.I started seeing horrible tentacle creatures,huge half snake,half octopuses or massive ants.Then suddenly one of them came in through the door and I screamed!

    The door was still closed and I was still its only occupant.My military training told me now that I was hallucinating.Suddenly a drop of sweat issued from my shoulder.Not wasting one second I lapped it up with my tounge.All it did was to entice my dried throat,it ached further.

    After many more hours of kicking and punching I slept again.When I woke up light was streaming through the thick glass of the windows.It was however more like dusk light than day light.Maybe afternoon.But my mind could only think of hunger.Currently,in front of me slithering on the wall was a lone green lizard.My hungry mind gave instructions to my tounge to produce saliva.I licked my tounge and charged to the wall of my prison.Suddenly my sense of dignity overtook me and I said “Can I really stoop so low?”.But within another minute my dignity was crunched under the boots by the raving hunger.That tasty lizard was only mine to eat.Carefully I cupped my hands.But it fled.Undaunted I caught it again by the tail and I had almost taken it to my lips when a sound came from over the roof.

    My mind lit up and I let go off the lizard for somebody had opened the roof through a crack.From that small crack a face of great innocence looked at me.It was a poor young adult peasant girl.

    It took me just a few moments to describe my circumstances to her.”Give me food,give me water,save me please”I said kneeling.The girl did not answer.”Who are you,whats your name,save me please”I asked again.She nodded.It now became apparent to me that she was dumb.Then I shouted again “For god’s sake atleast open the door”.

    A minute later I heard an unlocking sound and the doors of my prison slid open even as the cold snowy winds outside hit me with full force.The girl was standing outside.”God bless you child,how come you had the key” I asked.She did not reply but instead she motioned me to come with her.

    She took me through the cold snow and through the road until we came to a roofed watershed.On seeing water I charged again.Just then a voice shouted from behind us.”What do you think your are doing Erina”.It was the woman.’That’ woman.She still looked ghastly and I stopped in my tracks.”I am ashamed to call you my daughter,dumb physically and in mind as well,no loyalty eh”said the woman.I started to run.

    ”Wait,sir,your initiation period is not over yet,back to the hut!” she said.

    Her voice was theatning.So threatning that I fell face first on the cold snow .As I saw behind me,to my horror she took out a sickle and charged her own daughter.Still perplexed and on the ground I was shocked as I saw something I am unable to describe.The woman……….she severed ………..her own daughter.

    I regained my adrenalin and just ran fast.After just a few steps I fell again on the snow and I was now sure that it was my end.But………..the woman hadn’t followed me at all.She just stood there where she had been with the sickle in her hand.Even as I resumed running she said something which made my blood curl.

    Hah,where are you running sir
    You may run
    But you cant hide
    The mynecrons will have there meal alright
    If not now,the later
    They will have you sir
    They will eat you.

    But I didnt look back.I ran and ran and ran through the moors,the snowy roads,the snowy grounds,even an icy lake till by nightfall I had crossed half the county.It was here that I saw your house sir.

    Here ends my tale.But please sir,give me something to eat,to drink,save me sir,protect me”’

    The man ended his tale even as the already uncomfortable gentlemen guests sighed.”Ok”said the chief presently.”The food is done,you may now begin the meal” he continued.

    And at that moment the guests took out their knives and forks and hungrily fell upon the man……………………………………………………………………………………………..#

    Last edited by Sir Adrian; January 26, 2018 at 05:15 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 3 - 1000 years, 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds


    1000 years, 28 days, 6 hours

    Theschoolchildren filed into the darkened Institute, stamping fresh snowoff their overboots in the lobby, then hanging their outer clothingon racks. In the domed hall, fabricated from recycled airliners,under a single spotlight – she loved theatrics – stood theorganisation's Director, Aduki Husseinsdóttir. Some of them wereexcited, giggling and whispering, some just content to have a day offschool, at the back were a few refugees, silent, withdrawn. Norefugees had come for over five years, and Aduki thought no morewould arrive.


    “Welcometo the Institute of Lost Species. We have an exciting day planned.We will be having lunch at one o'clock and at five the coaches willtake you home to Reykjavik or the New Settlements.”


    Thechildren were becoming restless, texting, snickering.


    “Putyour phones away, now. I have a surprise for you.” Shefingered the remote control in her pocket, the lights darkened,leaving an eerie green glow from the projected Aurora Borealis on theceiling.


    Somethingpowerful roared in the darkness, padded forward, outlined by aspotlight, then moved towards the children, fangs bared. It was hugeand white, with black, clever eyes. The children – and the adults –jumped. Some of them shrieked in fear or delight. Close up it wastruly massive, it moved gracefully and silently, sniffing at thechildren curiously. It reeked of salt water and seal fat.


    Adukithumbed a control and powered it down to rest mode, standing on itsmassive paws, eyes closed. “This is the Polar Borg. It's our mostadvanced creation. Made from real polar bear DNA.”


    “It'shuge! I didn't realise they were that big, from the pictures,”said a boy, name-tagged Jacques Chen-Liang.


    “Theywere the largest carnivores on land, that is they ate meat, mainlyseals, by ambushing them in holes in the ice, when they came up tobreathe, but also consumed fish and scavenged,” said one of theirteachers. “Is it mechanical?”

    “No, it's mainlybiological. It has an AI computerised forebrain, but we grew it inour laboratory. Don't worry, you can touch it, it is programmed so itcannot attack humans.” Several of the bolder children ran theirhands through its fur. “It is a simulacrum of Ursus Maritimus,which means Sea-going Bear. Polar Bears were able to swim amazingdistances, between the ice, which is mostly gone now.”


    Shereactivated the Polar Borg, and it moved around the childreninquisitively. “It has state-of-the-art intelligence, and holds allthe knowledge of humanity hard-wired into its memory.”


    “Whocares? We're going to Mars anyway.” said Harry Wilson truculently.He was a bright lad, who had arrived from England in a boat full ofcorpses, the very last refugee of all.


    “America'sgone, that might not happen, Harry.”


    “Does it like being here? Shouldn't it be outin the wild?” said Elísabet Jónsdóttir, who was the One Childof the Science Minister who had commissioned the Last Speciesprogramme.


    “If things get worse, we are going to take itNorth and release it at sea. It is fully autonomous and could survivefor many years, as long as it can find food and sunlight to power thesolar cells in its body. It might even be immortal. A legacy, if youlike.”


    *****


    Underthe Northern Lights, the Polar Borg swam towards the scent of a whalecorpse. Its internal clock registered 1000 years, 28 days, 6 hours,42 minutes, and 12 seconds since awakening. It wondered again whathad happened to the human beings that filled its memory banks.


    ***

    Last edited by Sir Adrian; January 26, 2018 at 05:13 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 4 - The taste of ice

    Taste of ice
    I laughed. On my plate sat something I wished not to have. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like it, I did. Part of it at least. My heart beat loudly in my ears as I contemplated what to do. You know that feeling when you’re fifteen minutes away from your house and you suddenly realize you didn’t shut your door all the way before you left? It’s like grit between your toes in boots that take five minutes to lace… no, it’s worse than that. It’s like taking the boots off, finding the grit, removing it, putting them back on lacing them up only to feel more grit find its way between your toes. Do you turn back? Do you re-lace your shoes? Or do you just accept it and try your best to pretend it didn't matter?


    I sighed. My fork made small mountains in the food before me. I imagined tiny people running from an uncontrollable landslide. I had to wonder if she knew? I figured perhaps she just hadn't understood. The thought however didn’t seem to have any real basis. She had looked me in the eyes. I had said only one clear thing. She smiled and walked away.


    I remembered. The first few days had been great. There was nothing but endless fun and happiness. Understanding perhaps? I had felt it. Just biology I told myself. I felt like I had found my other half, someone who was different enough to draw me in, but someone who nonetheless found value in the same things I did. I had thought that was the case. Now I wasn’t so sure.


    I wondered. It still didn’t make sense to me. Maybe she had thought it was salt? Maybe she was really just secretly that dumb? Could it have been an honest mistake? It seemed a strange mistake to make but I’ve seen worse. Once in college my room-mate put a lava lamp on the stove. I’m not sure why a lava lamp was important for a booty call but I suppose I wasn’t the one with a booty call either. The lamp had exploded of course. We had found glass in the carpet for weeks, and that was usually with our shoes off in the most painful way.


    I thought. People definitely were stupid. Perhaps I should have just returned it to her? Maybe I could just say I wasn’t hungry? Maybe I could drop it on the ground? It seemed like the last of it. If I happened to dump it I’m sure that she wouldn’t be too angry. I’d offer to clean it up and then that would be all. I wouldn’t have to try and stomach it. I wouldn’t have to explain what I had saw. I wouldn’t have to deal with the uncomfortable reality I found myself in.


    I slipped. Or at least that’s what I pretended to do. The white mush spread across the carpet. The plate made no sound, just a small resonance that I felt in the legs of my chair. She didn’t even look over. It wasn’t that bad, it would probably take me less than a minute to clean up. The paper towels could scoop most of it up with a single swipe. A quick spray of carpet cleaner and the mess would be gone.


    I stood up. I had to grab the tools to finish my deception. If she had really just made a mistake, if she had not intended her oversight I needn’t have worried. It wasn’t like we had been married long. Things happen. Stress happens. Right? I had to admit I didn’t really know. I’d never been married before. All I knew was that I loved her. My heart could not cope with the idea that she really didn’t. I wouldn’t risk a fight over a spill she hadn’t even noticed.


    “What are you doing?” She asked with an eyebrow raised.


    I was caught off guard. I stammered something unintelligible even to myself and pointed at the food on the floor. She sighed. “God damn it.” She seemed to pity me. After a moment to collect herself she jerked the paper-towels away. “I’ll clean it up.”


    I nodded. As she bent down I saw tears stream down her face. I hoped that she wasn’t regretting her actions. Not only would that mean that she was aware of them, but it would also mean that my existence was pointless. The thought wasn’t one that I wanted to deal with so I quashed it mentally. She was dutiful I decided. Just a little bit stressed.


    I sat. My book that I had been reading earlier was still on the table. Some part of me felt guilty. I thought that was funny. Guilt over something I hadn't done. She should feel guilty. That thought just made me feel guiltier. The world in the story book was easier. It was guilt free. It always had a happy ending. Not like reality.


    I wished. It was nice how the book skipped all of the boring bits. It was nice how everything in between was summed up with a simple full stop. Reality would be much better if it could be like a book. She returned and set another plate down. “Eat up. Try not to make a mess this time.”


    I stared. I couldn’t believe what had happened. She had walked with the meal in the paper towel to the kitchen and scraped it back onto a plate. There wasn’t any more for her to poison me with. Some love I thought ruefully. She really wanted me to eat this particular dish. I could call her out I thought. Tell her I saw her add the poison. Maybe I could just claim there was a hair in it? There did seem to be lint from the carpet visible on part of it. My heart shuddered to think of her attempting to serve it to me a third time. How stupid did she think I was?


    I cried. Pretty stupid probably. I couldn’t talk to her. I couldn’t tell her how I felt. To her the lights were on but no one was home. To me someone was home but they just couldn’t turn on the lights. The accident had taken that away from me. The mashed potatoes in front of me seemed to be merciful. Not to me. To her. Perhaps I should just end it I thought?

    I ate. The warfarin acted quickly. My mouth began to feel dry. I tasted blood. She had done the job effectively. I briefly thought about just dying there, letting her try to explain my body to cops. The poisoning would be obvious. Rat poison. Used to cause hemorrhaging in mice which would eventually lead them to leave the house and die outside while searching for water. A clever device for killing a rodent. A stupid plan to kill a human. Stupider still that I had seen her.


    I realized. While my mind contemplated its decisions my subconscious had taken control of my hand. I looked at the remaining potatoes and saw the word. I couldn’t believe my eyes. As illegible as it was, I had managed to carve I love you with a crappy little heart in my potatoes; even as my veins began to leak my vital fluids into biology still enslaved me. I did love her. I couldn’t blame her.


    I walked away. She called to me as I walked out the door. The biting snow numbed my toes and fingers. Still I continued to walk. I couldn’t let her life be ruined just because she had ruined mine. Pitiful I thought. Warfarin poisoning was obvious, but the frostbite would hide all traces of it. They wouldn’t test for it unless it was a mystery. It was a simple way to save her. Death to cold. I had wandered outside in my confused state of mind and died in the blizzard. That’s all she had to tell them.


    I shivered. The house felt like it was miles behind me. The warm glow was almost entirely buried behind a veil of snow. It was as though darkness sought to consume the last bit of light emanating from it. I smiled as my legs stopped moving. Too late to turn back. The cold felt nice. I was so thirsty. I just needed a drink. The snow tasted so good.

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  6. #6
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 5 - The Diversity of Winter


    Thew Diversity of winter

    They were the best of friends. One born of high family and name; the other of no family or name. One waggish and restive; the other rigid of character and discipline. Their relationship began as water and oil. They stood apart and in conflict with each other. Despite the intrinsic factors that would drive these two apart it seemed fate brought them together. Like the eclipse when they joined together they were a wonder to behold. A phenomenon brought on by the whim of god, the gods, or whatever else one believed in. They were bred to be military commanders in the way of their Academy. It was in winter they parted from each other for their posts.
    It was both a seasonal and figurative winter that drew them together again. Sitting as a Junior Commander for the East was Lyss. Sitting as an Advisor to Senior Command for the West was Spade. So cold it was that the wind made ones skin feel like shattered glass. Many a mans ears and noses were red to an unhealthy degree. At least one man would develop frostbite that night. It was in this hard freeze and by the side of their venue that the friends met.


    “Good thing this old barn is here to bar the wind. Good to see you Spade,” mused the clean faced Junior Commander as he wrapped his friend in warm embrace.


    “May it stand long enough to conclude our business here. Lyss, my old friend,” returned Spade through a heavy beard. They released each other, at the cost of warmth, and for a moment both peered at the stables.


    “You know, we could both leave and hope this barn falls on them all. It would be the end of the conflict,” Lyss voiced nonchalantly. It was true that aside from puppet leaders all the pivotal personnel in the conflict were making their way into the barn. It was a conflict that promised to divide friends and destroy families.


    “Others would take up the cause. Do not wish such ill upon those men. The greatest military minds and Commanders will be in that barn tonight. It is as much an honor to be in their presence as it may be treason for us to be meeting.” Spade scolded while he swayed slightly with the gusts of wind.


    “Those military minds and Commanders will manufacture the death and despair of thousands. Yet our friendship is frowned upon. You don’t see the problem? Neither of us believe in our region’s cause so why are we fighting?” Lyss reasoned. He was wearing a substantially heavier coat than Spade yet still trembling at the cold.


    “If no accord can be made we will go our separate ways as peacefully as we came.” Spade countered curtly. The snow was picking up now. Thicker turned the once-upon-a-time flurries into curtains of snowfall. The friends could barely see each other through the white divide now.


    “Peace did not bring us here and peace will not be resultant of this meeting. There is a thirst for this conflict. All but you and I are afflicted,” Lyss pleaded for understanding.


    “Let us hope you and I are good enough then.” Spade placed his hand on his friends shoulder and ushered him in to the barn. Walking into the freezing barn was nothing short of a chore. Each muscle movement was strained and worked for. Lyss took his place next to his Commanders and Spade next to his. Commanders of both parties introduced themselves in a manner befitting their environment: frigid and stale. Thirty minutes pass and the only agreement arrived at was that there would be none. Spade interrupted the West in its arguments as Lyss followed in similar suit. Passionately they spoke of negotiations and concessions. They spoke their truths and, for the first time all night, East and West shared a truth aside from damp shivery.


    Breeching the verbal model being constructed by Spade and Lyss was Samson Copperhead, “One more word, and I’ll hang you for treason,” seethed the Commander of the West. With that sentence the final cold front swept away all remnants of fall and prospects of an early spring. Spade offered no rebuttal as to do so was a low form of treason in its own right. As Lyss prepared his argument to Samson his eyes met those of his commander and the condemnation was clear.
    Without care to consequence, Lyss offered to Samson, “When we meet in battle, I will savage you and yours.”


    Lyss began to stalk off to his space when the barn called the meeting to an end. The joints began to groan in a disconcerting manner thus sending the regions in their respective directions. Lyss and Spade saddled their horses and met one last time.
    “You threatened my Commander. Not wise,” Spade shook his head and let a fog filled exhale go, “but we tried.”


    “Yes well the pair of us were alone in the room as far as good sense goes. Will we let these so called men wield us like tools? Like they are the hammer and we mere nails? And you? For all your consternation concerning equality you still keep faith with the West?” Lyss argued perplexed and frustrated. The temperature may have been below freezing but oh did his blood boil and burn.


    “I am of the West. Those that sponsored me in the Academy are of the West. It is a part of me that I can not betray. No matter how wrong it is.” Spade’s words were slow and painted. With a final embrace they turned meet their contemporaries on the wintery roads home. Behind them they could hear the old barn groan and finally give way under the blizzard winds.
    And so the last meeting place of peace, was laid low by the elements.

    It was two years later and it seemed that winter had never ended. The cold despair that hung over the heads of soldiers and civilians alike never left. The Old Man lead his army in a disciplined and steadfast manner. Wise beyond his years and crafty on horseback, The Old Man rose through the Western ranks faster than any man in history. He led the West as part of a two-headed hydra and was clearly the more dangerous. A confident lieutenant to lead where he cannot had also manifested within his ranks earning himself the name The Bull. His opponent he could only he half certain of. A General who had been bestowed the nickname of The Butcher. Having decimated Commander Samson Copperhead just months ago he solidified himself as the Wests greatest threat. Consequently, The Butcher also solidified himself as the Easts greatest hope. He was using less men to gain the upper hand on the West in battle by luring them into a series of small retreats before swallowing them like rocks on a riverbank at height of a swell.

    The next battlefield was perfectly laid out in The Old Mans mind. His plan confidently constructed with the river and forest to his advantage and supply lines close by. The valley before him would be a victory he was sure of it. These withstanding The Butcher made his own plans with the wind and winter behind him. The wind blew hard at the back of The Butcher. This he knew would slow the advance of the infantry troops and give his projectiles extra distance. Fighting with a handicap never bothered The Butcher before but he had never fought The Old Man directly. Hundreds died the first day of battle before retreat. Given the degree of barbarism experienced this day both sides yielded early. The second day The Bull fell to The Butcher while The Old Man was coordinating the assault on the valley. Upon The Bulls death, The Old Man called for a parlay. He had yet to loose his riverfront assault but know he may need it to secure victory. Or at least stave off his defeat. He had not had a battle fought so closely nor one lasting this long so he wanted to meet his opposition in person. He marched out to the center of the valley encircled by six of his guards. This he was taught in Academy. His approach was mirrored from across the valley up until he sat upon his horse face to face with The Butcher.


    “Butcher,” The Old Man closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head.
    “The Marble Man,” The Butcher rubbed his beard with his gloved hand.
    “You killed and disgraced Samson Copperhead. He was like a father to me.” The Old Man sat resolute.
    “I told him I would savage him and I did. Might be I wasn’t the most disciplined youth Spade but I have always been one of my word.”
    “You always said you didn’t want any part of the conflict Lyss.” Spade sat atop his horse, so still one might think he had frozen from the cold.
    “You always said ambivalence is self-appointed slavery,” Lyss fired back, “besides that I am good at war it seems.”


    “You think this a game? From your ivory tower you looked to find something worth your time. From my pig pen we looked to find a way to survive. This cold isn’t just weather to me. It is sad remembrance of when my friends would cease to wake from their sleep. The dead that adorn the battlefield today are not just friends of now but friends from my youth. It is sad remembrance of when my brother lost his foot to frostbite. When my sister was beaten for taking extra soup from the shelter. I do not play at war. I do not revel in it. I respect it.” Spade shook subtly in anger. This was the argument. This was the epitomization of everything that divided them.


    “Aye, and I respect you though I will not apologize for my hearth and home as a youth. We stand in the same place now as we did in the academy. Except by now my second contingent has taken your supply line. That was your draw yes, supplies to outlast me? Now they are mine and the river will not avail you either. My men are better than yours. My men fight for a cause. They fight to free the oppressed that your region will not release. You are not better than me Spade. We are equals.” Lyss’ would have been betrayed by his emotions if the blistering cold wind had not dried his eyes for him.
    “We will never be equals, Butcher, you will know that soon enough.” The Old Man turned his horse and sped it away back to his camp.


    As the snow kicked up into a mist behind the gallop of The Old Man and company, The Butcher turned around himself and slowly plodded back to his camp. When he arrived back he looked to his lieutenants, “The river, it will be his next strategy.” The men around him laughed and a rider was sent from the camp. Looking out on the valley, death was apparent all around. The stench of death was delayed by the cold. It protected the bodies from rot and decay for a short while. As he looked upon the valley he felt a hand on his shoulder, “Just as you predicted,” said the smiling nobody. The Butcher turned on his heel and grabbed the man by his neck. Releasing him almost instantly he snarled, “Have some respect. Many have, and will, die here.”
    They were the best of friends, but in that valley friendship was laid low.


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  7. #7
    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: 2017 Scriptorium Writing Competition Themed Voting

    Entry 6 - First Breath of Winter

    Breath of Winter
    A clear morning.
    Empty sky.
    Pale, perfect
    Peaceful, still
    Delicate.
    It might fragment
    At the slightest change.

    Now wind whispering.
    Nothing fragments.
    It doesn’t destroy
    Only whispers.
    Whispers and promises.
    Some to be fulfilled,
    Some forgotten.

    Branches stripped clean,
    Chilled air.
    Many things
    Once living,
    Dead or hiding.
    Yet the wind seems revived,
    Only now truly alive.

    It would be grand,
    Coming alive
    In winter.
    Joining the wind.
    Calling for you
    To partake in its carousing,
    If only you could.

    This delicate morning,
    Pale beauty unbroken
    But a pale shadow.
    Mocking the memory
    Of that pale, perfect
    Delicate beauty,
    Which you once held.

    Today the wind must go unanswered,
    The season carries too many memories
    Which it lays upon you, weighing too heavy.
    Far too heavy,
    To fly so free.

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  8. #8
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Great entries. I wish all good luck and vote! I did vote. Now to wait the long wait for the results.

  9. #9
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Voted, good luck to everyone!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Voted .Good luck .
    100% mobile poster so pls forgive grammer

  11. #11
    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Voted, good luck everyone.




  12. #12

    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Voted.

  13. #13
    Axis Sunsoar's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 Writing Competition - Themed Voting

    Voted. Best of luck to all

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