Songs of the Otherworld

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20 One-Shot Challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:51 am

16- A nightmare come to life
827 words
Martin listened to the slow strained grinding of the mechanisms in response to the magnetic activation he'd set off.

The huge round room he stood in was the same as every other one he had ever encountered. The circle design, crossed and over crossed by the lines that seemed simply for decoration but really held special meaning in relation to longitude and latitude. If one knew the method, then the angle of the tunnels running beneath the ground could be triangulated.
Martin had already worked it out in his mind without even giving it an entire thought.

This place seemed exactly the same as every settlement he'd experienced over the years.

Only one thing kept his paws from steadying as he plucked the activator stone from its niche in the wall.
Foreknowledge.

This settlement didn't have a cache of red pearls that he needed to protect his ship or a another magnet.

This settlement wasn't a settlement.

There was a long grinding from the far side of the room and a dark hole opened up.

His eyes met with Coe's and the cat nodded lightly, but even his façade wasn't impenetrable as usual. There where quivers in the slow blinking eyelids that betrayed even him.

Martin admired the fact that only Coe's face gave away his nerves and not his hands, for Martin could barely keep his sword in any kind of grip as its blue light shone down the hole.

This wasn't somewhere one came voluntarily.

This mission wasn't for science, wasn't for discovery.

The wide steps beneath their paws where cracked and crumbling, but age wasn't the only thing that marred them.
Deep scores in the stone, deeper than time had delved, gave a whispering testimony to ancient horrors that had been dragged down into the belly of the earth.

This was a prison of monsters.
A cage for the insane beasts that had existed in the time.

A holding house for entire violent species of creatures that should've have lived beyond the terrifying stories.
And if reports rang true, it had no walls.

A difficult fact to believe as the narrow walls came closer about them as they stepped off the staircase.
The tunnel continued, north by northwest, for nearly a mile.
A mile of just hearing the drag of his and Coe's shoes against the ground, a mile of his breathing magnified to a nearly unbearable level.
But his thoughts drowned both out as they clamored loudly against his skull, fleeing a back home like a bee from the rain.

Who had the plague left alive?

He swallowed hard against the tears as he wondered if the baby had been born yet. Would his youngest even survive as Lily was sick?
He imagined the hoarse amplified echo of his breath as her struggles to even draw a little air.
And what about Skipper? What about Tiger Lily?
Would they be spared the horrible agony of the torturous virus or had they already contracted it?

Everyone he cared about was falling, falling, falling. He had one chance to bring them back.
One or he might as well go back and dig his own grave, because it wouldn't be worth waiting for the plague to reach him.

But he was going in knowing nothing, there just hadn't been time or enough knowledge to dig up.

"Captain," Coe whispered, drawing Martin away from his hopelessly spiraling thoughts and back into reality.

A soft warm light emanated ahead of them, presenting an end to their tunnel.
The ground turned to grass before the ceiling opened up and the walls spread out.

As they stepped out into the massive cavern, captain and mate where simultaneously overwhelmed with the utter spaciousness of the carved stone reaching over their heads and the scene before them.

It was like standing in a massive fairly ring, stems a foot thick supported strange flowers, vibrant magenta petals pulled towards the massive sloping pod in the center of the plant, it towered above them, small puffs of yellow dust drifting down onto their shocked expressions.

"Is this it?" Coe asked, his voice rising in uncharacteristic excitement "Are these plants the cure?"
Martin couldn't answer, his voice still caught in his throat.

The cat took a step towards the nearest plant, disregarding every past experience on ever last mission he'd ever gone on.

There was a loud crunch that broke both of them from their awe.
Coe down at his feet, horror slowly spreading across his usually commanded features, then he stepped back towards Martin.
"What is it?" Martin hissed, feeling his stomach turn over even without the answer "Coe?!?"
The cat nodded towards the patch of grass where he had stepped, indicating that Martin should find out himself.

Swallowing hard, he took a few shaky steps forward and looked down.
And felt his gut twist in disgust.
There, twined amongst the long grass, where bones.

The flowers weren't the cure.
They where the walls.
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:04 am

17- a bride and groom's wedding
782 words
Lily stood with her nose a half inch away from the mirror staring deeply into her own eyes.

"I can do this. I can do this. I want to do this. I want to do this. I love Martin. I want to do-"

"Lily?" Lionel entered the room without knocking, startling his sister into whirling away from the mirror.
"Oh, hi," she gasped, smoothing down the dress "Is it time already?"
"No, you've got a few minutes more," Lionel paused and pressed his lips together, a slight shine in his eyes "You look beautiful."

She sniffed a bit looking around at herself in the mirror again. The dress was made of an opaque green silk, with a pale green floral lace overlaying it.
"It feels funny on my fur."

"Are you alright?' he touched her shoulder "It's a big deal today."
"I know" She gasped slightly "I'm getting married."
"How do you feel?"
"Like I'm gonna die."
"Oh, Lily," he sighed and wrapped his arms around her in a tight reassuring hug "It'll be alright."
She let him hold her against the waves of positive ad negative emotions battering her like a leaf in a storm "I know that if I can get myself walk out there and stand up there, then it's going to be fine after. But I'm scared."
"It's a huge change," he rubbed gently against the back of her head "But you're ready."
"What if I'm not? I don't know how to be a wife! You're always telling to make sure I plan and I've just realized I've missed about a hundred things that-"
"Shh," He spun her around to look her dead in the eye "Embrethil, it's going to be alright. Just... deep breaths."

She leaned against him, her shoulders heaving and a couple tears running down to stain his shirt.
"It's the last time isn't it? It's not going to be Lily and Lionel anymore is it?"
"It's going to be Lily and Martin now, isn't it? But you won't be happy to stay as just my sister, not anymore, Lil'sis."
"I'm sorry."
"Why? Because you found the right one? I'm so happy for you Lily, don't say sorry."
"But... It's... There's been so much going on with Mei-li and Manches and-"
"I know, but leave me to deal with that. Today is your day and Martin's, not any of his brother's or any of ours. It's yours. You have every reason to be nervous. But you also have every single reason to be happy as well. It's such a wonderful change and..."
He was forced to stop speaking as he choked on the tears "I... just-"
"I know," She whispered "I know."
"I just wanted you... to know... I'm very proud and..."
"I love you too, Lionel. I love you too."
"Never forget that. Never. Promise."
"I promise. I'm going to write, every week."

"I look forwards to... to getting letters from... Mrs. Trevoiant."

Lily took in an exceptionally huge breath and turned to look at herself in the mirror "We should go now, shouldn't we?"
"Yes, it's time now. You ready?"

"Yes."

Her face slowly turned to a smile as she wiped away the tears "I'm ready."
He offered his arm and she slipped her fingers around it.

It felt like she'd fallen into a dream as Lionel led her down the hallway and outside. Excited voices, familiar faces, sweet scents all blurred into an unrecognizable fantasy scape as they walked through the door outside.
The grass bent like clouds beneath her feet as she passed through the aisles. A song, sweet as the honest stars, rang out like a faery voice, accompanied by the violin, masterfully played.
But it blurred, blurred.

As she stared forwards only one figure was in focus.
Lionel let go and stepped aside, leaving her to take the final step by herself, for a moment she was certain she would go falling over onto her face and never be able to stand again. But as she kept her eyes focused and with a heart beating like it would in the heat of battle, she took her place across from Martin.

Then the music stilled and a low solemn voice intoned a speech that dragged on for half an eternity. Then Martin began speaking, precious words that burned into her memory, a promise for forever.

Then words turned out from her own lips, the iron of her heart coming out to join in Martin's vow. Somehow every word rang true from her throat, straight and unwavering.

The solemn tone spoke the last words.

Martin wrapped his arms around her shoulders and they sealed the vows with a kiss.
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Re: 20 One-Shot Challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:00 pm

18-A new breed of human
804 words
This was beyond what was right.

It was beyond what was natural.

It was a horrible mistake.

It was her daughter.
And it was a beautiful tragedy that made the girl who she was.
Society would not, could not accept her, for the wondrous disability that ran through her fingers and tempered her blood.

It was startled when it saw the light she cast, instead of a shadow, and that was only the first thing to terrify the normality of life.
The outer world never saw the tiny girl as she played with the rain, bending the drops into bracelets to grace her wrists, or how she lifted the wave up to see the shore beneath it.
They never saw, but Areline did and it amazed and horrified her.

It filled her heart with the desperation to protect her child. It was the reason they lived high on the mountain. Deep in the trees, where no one ever wandered. Where only a deer trail marked the way down.
But it didn't keep the girl from growing in strange ways.
As soon as she was tall enough, she began pulling bits of the galaxy out of the sky and filling glass jars with them; her nightlights.
It was utterly beautiful as she wound the tiny swirling space into garlands that she insisted her mother wear in her hair.

Sometimes she painted the walls with the breath of stars, a game of childish words and stick figure scribbles drawn with the light of eternity.
All little things in a time of growing up, but Areline often feared that some day she'd wake up to find that infinity had leaned out of the sky and snatched her daughter up into is ever caressing folds.

It was a fear that intensified when she found the girl sleeping curled up against the living room wall, then reading as she sat upside down on her bedroom ceiling.
But her daughter never seemed to be upset over the appearance of a new ability, she treated them as talents to be mastered or games to be played or like a song to be memorized.
She never questioned her own powers, but some days, when her mother dropped the light on the floor and shattered it or burst the bracelet of raindrops or lost a star even though it flew straight to her hands, those days began to show her that she was different.
Special, Areline insisted, but as her daughter began to read more and more, she knew that she couldn't hide the treasure from reality much longer.

It happened on a late summer evening, a few minutes after the sun had sunk beneath the line of trees, leaving behind traces of warm orange light floated amongst the leaves on the warm breezes.
Areline was sitting on the porch, allowing herself to enjoy a few minutes of inactivity after spending the long day in rigorous cleaning.

Soft footsteps, gentle as the first rain of spring upon the thirsty faces of flowers, crept up behind her slowly.
"Mother?"
Areline motioned for her daughter to sit next to her "Yes, darling?"
"May I ask you a question?"
"Of course."

Eyes with ever changing heavenly bodies of color looked towards her through a veil of raven feather hair.
"Am I different?"

It caught Areline off her guard, though she'd been preparing for the question for years.
"My love, everyone's different."
Please, just a little longer of the pure innocence. Just a little longer of weaving rain into jewelry and stars into nightlights.
Just a little longer.

"Mother, I mean different in... a different way," fingers that caressed light reached out to touch her mother's tightly clenched hands "In a different way. No one I read in the stories has talents like mine. Why not?"
"We don't have every book that ever was, perhaps the one with talents like yours in it is simply somewhere else."
"But Mother," lips that kissed the moon goodnight opened in earnest, intense pleasing "I know something is very different. Why do we never go down from the mountain? Why have I never seen another human? Who is my father?"

The final question pierced Areline in its unexpectedness and all the ice of grief.

Her daughter must've heard the sharp gasp as Areline breathed against the pain that riddled her chest and seen her eyes flutter quickly.

"Are we hiding from him?"

"Lacuna," Areline placed a gentle arm over the shoulders that shed no shadow "Lacuna, my darling. You are different. Different in a way that I could have never imagined. Different in a way I don't understand and in a way that the rest of the world may not accept."
"Do you accept it, Mother?"
"Yes," unshed tears began to way heavily in Areline's eyes "Yes, my darling, I do."
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:57 am

19-Wishing upon a star
808 words

Shyshie listened to the groups of other girls playing across the lawn while she tucked her body close against the house.
It was another home, another place to put an unwanted child.
She had been to many of these places, more than her young mind could count. Or remember.
Moving, always moving, no one wanted her, no one would be her friend.
Always the new child, always the first to leave and the last to come.

She sighed a little as all the emotions tried to accumulate in her too small body.
Coley's Home for Girls was nice, the food tasted good, the creatures in charge smiled at her, she even had her own bed.
But it would only be a little while. The moon would grow and thin once or twice, then she'd be off to another place.

It was too sad to think about moving again. She liked this place too much.

She tugged on her bracelet, admiring the stone beads marked with blue runes. The blue was the color of her eyes, like the sky and stars and lightening.
The piece of jewelry was too large, but she'd had it as long as she'd been moving from orphanage to orphanage. She wasn't sure where it had come from or who'd given it to her, but she liked to imagine that her parents had left it for her.

She wasn't allowed to ponder on it long for the call to dinner came, summoning the children inside.

The food was eaten beneath a storm of happy chatter and light giggles. Shyshie ducked beneath the whirl-wind of confusion and words, focusing in on the warm soup and the sweet bread.
There was even pudding for afters.

She smiled at herself in the mirror as she dressed in a long soft nightgown. Maybe they'd let her stay here. Maybe she'd make friends.
Maybe-

Her hopeful thoughts where interrupted by the high pitched, flustered voice of the headmistress.
"Oh are you sure, are you sure? The poor dear's only been here a day! Not even had a bit of time to rest.
"I'm afraid there's been a misunderstanding."
"Oh the system, the system! So tangled up, a child can't even lay her head to rest for a night!" The headmistress paused "Can she sleep here for the night, official? Please let her have a nice peaceful sleep, all in her own bed, just for one night? Before going back into all the inns and the traveling."

Shyshie's breath caught hard in her throat.
Already?

"One night. Have her ready to travel first thing in the morning."
The heavy clack of retreating shoes was overlaid as the headmisteriss shuffled around the corner to be confronted with large sad eyes.
"Oh dear!" The badger startled away "Oh. Oh, it's you Shyshie. I'm afraid I've got some rather bad news."

Shyshie nodded, her ears tucking back against her head.
"Oh you heard, did you? Such a mess the system is, such a mess. But no use worrying about it now. It's off to bed and leave the worrying for the morning."

The badger said it was no use worrying about it, but she couldn't close her eyes for the knots working up in her stomach.
If only they'd leave her alone.

If only they'd give her a chance.

She might find a friend.

She might find a home.

Her bed was the sixth on the left row; too far away to see the whole of the sky. But as she leaned against the pillow she could see a single star riding low through the white curtains.

One time, at one place, high in the cold mountains, filled with children who had strange voices, she'd heard a story about wishing stars.
Only certain stars where wishing stars and they could only grant wishes sometimes.

She had thought the story silly, the stars had certainly never shown any interest in her granting their wishes.
But as she laid against the soft pillow and the warm blanket tucked up against her chin, with her cheek still tingling with gentle goodnight kiss from the headmistress, anything was worth trying to stay.

She squeezed her eyes closed, so tight that she could see specks underneath her lids, and silently mouthed her wish.

She wished that the officials would forget about her, that they would decide that Coley's Home for Girls was a good place for her to be.
That someone would say that she had to stay. That she needed to stay.
That anything would happen to keep the official from coming in the morning to fetch her away on another long journey by ship and by tiring dusty path.

She slowly slipped into sleep as her wish, her prayer, gently fluttered on the warm breeze that hovered through the open window, then blew out into the night.
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:29 pm

20- a corrupted nation
765 words
A deep haze of raging grief isolated Townly from the world around him, the darkness of the mines no match for the darkness welling up inside him.
She was dead.
She was dead.
She was dead.
The pick swung limply in his grip in time to the agonizing stream of conscience that he could not escape.
He could not escape the reality of missing her forever.
Could not forget the look on his father's face as she slipped away in his arms, the fever claiming her so swiftly.
Could not forget his brother's long muffled screams as he tried to hide from the sight of her limp form, her sightless clouding eyes.
Could not forget the shattering of the hope he'd snatched and clawed at for the few short days.

It would have taken ten coins to purchase the medicine to save her life.
Ten coins.
Ten coins.
Ten coins more than they had.
More than he would be paid in several months.
His family was falling apart, piece by piece.
He'd lost Riley, he'd lost his mother.
How long before he lost his father, Wesley?

How long before he lost himself in the coal dust and the hot breaths of the desperate hungry creatures who had families to feed, just like him, who had fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, mates, daughters, sons, all struggling and losing against the fevers that spread like a fire.

Despair swallowed him like a surging tide of emptiness and shadows, dragging his soul down, even as he rose with the crowd of tired miners into the stinking hot waves of the final hateful blazes of the sun.
His pick drug against the ground as he pulled behind the rest of the pulsing, muttering crowd, his heart as heavy as the metal head.
He couldn't return.
He couldn't bear the thought of facing Wesley's unending flow of tears, the broken emptiness in his father's eyes as he stared at his shaking paws.
Couldn't bear returning to the silence, punctuated only by a sudden quiet gasp as one of them tried to withhold breaking into open, wrenching sobs.

He stood at the edge of the pit, looking down at the rickety railings and the plank walkways where he spent his days, gouging the stone for coal.
A dark wound in the earth, spiraling down into the center of nothing itself.

His claws dug into the splintering dried wood as his balance shifted forwards, the emptiness creating a vacuum to suck his heart out of his chest and dissipate his spirit.

"Hey, Whisk!"

Townly spun around, leaning heavily on the wood, gasping.

A thin fox with a long snide grin waving a dust covered paw towards him.
"Yeah, remember me, Whisk? Trevoilles?" The fox flicked out a tiny copper badge "Guess who got promoted over your flat ears, huh?"
Townly hissed, feeling anger come rising to crowd out the emptiness "Trowse."
The fox laughed, the haughty screeched tearing at Townly's aching head "Jealous? Aww. Too bad you'll never get my type of salary. Ten coin a month."
Without his bidding Townly's shoulders locked into a stone stiffness, his grip locked around the pickaxe, lifting it slightly.
"Shut. Up."

Instead of listening, Trowse pulled a small ratty bag out of his pocket and tossed it into the air with a light tinkle.
"Ooohh, don't you want it Whisky? Don't you?"
"Shut-"
"Oh come on, ten coin. Ten coin. Ten coin."
Trowse chanted in time to tossing the bag up and down.

Something snapped inside Townly as his mother's still face flashed through his mind and without even half-thinking he raised the pickaxe and lunged.
The heavy metal bit into the fox's body again and again, fueled by unrestrained emotion that turned into a dazing, storm filling Townly's ears with screams ringing from his own throat.

When he stopped, when the wood handle fell from his graspless fingers, Trowse was a bloody, mangled pile, mutilated beyond recognition.

On his knees, blood pooling around him, soaking into the ground, staining his paws; Townly expected to be horrified, disgusted.
But the blank hole inside that had so swiftly risen with a flood of anger, was again empty and he stared apathetically at the creature he'd murdered.
He lifted a finger and ran it through the dirt matted fur, a slight tingle of electricity running down his spine.

"You've got to get rid of the body."

Out of nowhere the advice came, causing the weasel to bolt to his feet.
Standing in front of him was an orange cat, with yellow eyes shining weakly in the waning light.
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alternate ending

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:59 pm

alternate ending
787
two short compare and contrast scenes. One where Lionel is alive and Mei-li revealed to Jon-tai that she is his mother years ago. Another where Lionel died and never took Jon-tai in and the resulting consequences.
SCENE ONE

With shaking paws Jon-tai clutched at the newborn bundle of life, terrified of letting it slip through his grip and fall, horrified at the thought of holding too tightly.
He felt a touch on his shoulder, then saw his mother reaching for the baby. Willingly he let her take the newborn, then sank against the wall feeling totally overwhelmed and at the same time madly euphoric.
Lionel sat next to him, beaming broadly.

"Have you and Ashlin decided on a name?"
Jon-tai nodded "Shifter."
He looked over at his mother "What do you think, Mom?"
She nodded faintly the majority of her attention focused on her newborn grandson "It holds deep meaning for both of you."

He smiled "You would've preferred something more traditional?"
"Oh, you know I like traditional names, but I think the one you and Ash chose is perfect."

He noticed a few tears gathering in the corners of her eyes as she handed Shifter back.
"He's a beautiful little boy."

Jon-tai nodded, feeling tears pressing against his own lids.
But as his father took him back, the infant let out a hungry cry.
"Aw, I think he wants his mommy," Lionel laughed softly.
"Yeah," Jon-tai stood up and returned to the room, Mei-li close behind him.
Soon as they entered, a thin wisp of fur exited and bounced up on the seat next to Lionel, curling up into a bundle and tucking all four paws beneath her body.
"Hello Freeta."
His oldest friend grinned up at him, her pale teeth glinting through her white fur "How's it feel, Grandfather?"

Lionel laughed "I'm not the grandfather, Freeta."
"No," the fox admitted with a slight tilt of her ears "But you're going to love him like a grandfather and he's going to look up to you like a grandfather and most likely he's going to call you grandfather, so... Close enough."
"You're probably right," he smiled mistily "He's so tiny though. He will be alright, won't he?"

Freeta laughed, a tinge of sarcasm in her voice "He's big enough, let me tell you that!"
"Why? Where there any problems?"
"No, but it came near enough. Some how though we managed to avoid complications."

"Imagine that," Lionel sniffed "An otter that doesn't cause disaster the moment he's born. It's the start of a new era."
"I wish." But Freeta was grinning.


SCENE TWO

The little boy shivered against the wind, tears leaking out the corners of his eyes as he tried not to feel the frost forming along his whiskers.
There was no one willing to share, no one willing to lend the freezing orphan the edge of a blanket or the loose corner of their makeshift tent. No one who cared.
He didn't care though. He didn't care if they cared.
He just wanted a blanket.
Or the wind to blow somewhere else.
He tried moving around the whole tree, but the wind followed him, blowing, blowing, blowing, blowing his mind away.
There where no sharp corners and long walls to block it, like in the alleys and turn off streets, instead it screamed freely, laughing as it froze his blood.
He couldn't feel his paws anymore, just dead weights at the ends of his wrists and ankles. Twinges ran through his tail, but it too felt just too heavy, too thick, too big to lift and try and rub the life back into it.
Each breath stabbing his lungs, even when he buried his nose in his elbow.
He felt like he was being turned inside out, the heat from his heart being bared to the snowy skies and leaking out, each beat slower than the last.
He wanted....
He wanted to move, his joints hurt from the way he was resting on them. But he didn't.
He couldn't.
He was too tired.
It was getting warmer anyway. Maybe the wind had stopped.
The snow and the night where fading away now, the hard ground felt soft, maybe he'd get a good night's rest after all.

Matthias shook his head at the stiff small body curled in on itself, pity and guilt mixing in his stomach.
Churva had found the little otter early that morning. If only she'd found them sooner.
If only he'd paid a little more attention to the children as they all fought for a place in the tents.
As if too many lives hadn't already been lost to the brutal murderers of the Empire, now they where succumbing to the winter.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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10 one shots

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:56 pm

I’m all alone out here and hollow inside.
1,060
There was no warning.
Jessica's mother was handing her the tray of lasagna to put on the table.
Then there was a faint shimmering between them, as if Jess was looking through the surface of a gently disturbed stream.
Then her mother and the lasagna where gone.

Jessica's voice fell dead past her lips while her mind screamed in confusion.

Slowly a tiny word flew out.
"Dad???"

But as she turned in a circle she realized that her father who had been setting the table along with her older brother and sister, where gone.

From the next apartment over, someone bellowed and their door slammed.
Confused beyond reason, beyond even believing she could be awake, Jess stumbled out into the hallway to find her neighbor sprawled away from his door, his chest heaving, his eyes wide with terror.

"Mary... Mary... Oh my..."

She stared down at him, no less terrified.
"Gone?"

He staggered back to his feet "Sammy! Davie!"

Jessica watched him go hurling back into his apartment, yelling his son's names, then come back out again, silent.

He went past he and began pounding on the door opposite to his.
"Mrs. Alphonso, Mrs. Alphonso!"

"Maybe she can't hear you," Jessica somehow managed to say.
She understood what he was doing.
This had to be some terrible fluke. Some ridiculous, but reversible mistake. They would find someone who could reverse it.

The otter tried the door; it opened without a complaint into the empty room.
A pot of water was boiling on the stove and a ball of yarn with a pair of knitting needles stuck in it was sitting in the middle of an overstuffed arm chair

Dazedly he walked to the stove and turned it off.
"She's gone too."

Jess stared at the ball of yarn, sitting there all alone. The old hedgehog never went anywhere without it.

"Hello? Hello, reception desk?"
He slammed the phone back into it's cradle "The desk's out too."
"What do we do?"

He looked down at her and a bit of his shock and disbelief melted into concern.
"Your name is Jessica, right?"
"Yeah."
"Right, right, right...." He nodded "I'm Hiram... We met at... at the..."
"Piano recital, Sammy and I have the same teacher."
"Right..."

They just stared at each other, not fully comprehending what had happened.

"What do we do?" Jessica finally whispered.

He started as if he'd forgotten she was there.

"Do you have a cell phone?"
"No. I'm not old enough."
"Ahh, what about your mom?"

"She does."

"Alright. Go get it. Start calling anyone on the contact list. Family, friends, whatever."

"Ok."
Somehow his logic clicked with her. Indeed calling people was much less terrifying than going outside.

She darted back into her apartment, half expecting to find that her family had reappeared or that she would wake up.
But the rooms stayed empty as she scuttled through them and found her mother's phone sitting on the dresser in her room.
She couldn't bear the stillness, it stifled her, terrified her beyond words.
The hallway had little to offer in way of comfort, but Hiram was there, leaning against the wall with his cell pressed against his ear while he muttered in frustration.

She curled up against the baseboard and clicked on her grandparents' number.
It rang and rang while she pleaded silently for them to answer.

"Nothing," Hiram hissed as he clicked away at the screen "Have you gotten anyone?"
Jess shook her head as the dial tone turned to voicemail.

"Keep trying. There has to be someone out there."

For nearly half an hour they punched in numbers and listened to voicemails while despair began to suffocate them.
Jess had come to the third last number on her mother's contact list, someone named Gideon Delta, a cousin three times removed if she recalled.
Of all the numbers, she least expected this one to be answered but on the final ring someone lifted.
"Hello?"

"Yes?!? Hello?!? Cousin Edward?"
"No. I'm Walter. I found the phone on a bench. Who is this?"
It was a young boy's voice that came crackling through to her hears. It sounded like music.
"You got someone?" Hiram was suddenly pressed up against Jess's back "Put them on speaker!"
"Hey Walter, I'm putting you on speaker, my friend's going to talk to you."

"Walter," Hiram grabbed the phone "Walter, listen very carefully to me, are you alone?"
There was a sniffle "I was with my mom. Now I can't find anybody."
"Where are you, Walter? Are you at your house?"
"No. I'm at the mall. I'm at the mall and there's no one else here."
"I know," Jess could hear Hiram struggling to calm himself, trying to sooth the child somehow with a lighter voice "The same thing's happened here. Listen, do you know where you're at? We can come get you."
"I'm at the mall," Walter's voice cracked and Jessica thought he'd began to cry.

"I know, I heard you. But what mall? What city do you live in, do you know?"
"Brookten."

"Brookten... Brook-ten..." Hiram growled something in the back of his throat as he tapped away at his phone's GPS map "That's a three day drive from here. Walter, are you sure you're all alone?"
"I can't find anyone in the mall and I looked outside, but no one's there either."
"Does your dad know where you went?"
"I think so... but what if... what if he's gone too?"
"It's okay. We're going to come get you. But we're far away so it's going to take a few days for us to get there. Do you think you'll be alright?"
"I don't know... I want to go home."
"No, no, no, don't go outside and don't leave the mall, you hear? You'll be safest staying where you are. Now, we're going to go get in the car and come to you now so we've got to hang up for a little bit. Turn the phone off to save it's battery for a little while and when we're in the care we'll call you again."
"No, please don't hang up! I don't even know your names!"
"My name is Hiram and my friend is Jess, I know you're scared, but we'll only be gone a little bit."
"Okay, promise to call back as soon as your in the car?"
"Promise."
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10 one shots

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:30 am

I walk for days, searching for what I’ve lost.
982
"Alright, get what you're going to need Jess."
The chipmunk hesitated in front of her family's apartment.
"Are we going to come back Hiram?"

The otter paused, his hand around the knob to his own door.
"I don't know, Jess. But it's six days round trip. On average. Honestly I don't want to imagine what we're going to see on the road. So pack good."

Automatically Jessica reached for the small duffle bag she was usually assigned on family trips, but her hand hovered over it as she replayed Hiram's words over in her head.
She had no idea how long she'd be gone or what exactly she'd need.
She instead turned towards the substantially larger bag her parents shared and drug it off the shelf and into her room, piling every piece of clean clothing she owned into it. Then other essentials: toothbrush, the whole tube of toothpaste several bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner, then food that would keep during the long ride: crackers, granola bars among other than things. But even then the bag felt barely half full and she began to wander aimlessly around the apartment, wondering what she would take if she would never see it again.
The first thing her mind turned to was her mother's jewelry box.
There weren't many valuable things in it, but there was an old locket Jessica knew she'd hate to lose. It was a simple metal Lockett, but if it where two old photographs, one of her grandparents and one of her parents; Jessica's grandmother and grandfather.
She tucked away the old necklace in a plastic bag, then wrapped it in her socks, hoping it would be safe there, then hide the jewelry box behind the dish soap under the counter.

Hiram stood in front of his bed, travel bag open in front of him and empty.
He stared at it.
He didn't want to move.
He didn't want to leave.
He didn't want to believe this was happening.
He wanted to stay.
Because if he waited long enough, she might come back.
It might be alright.
He could apologize for his temper and this empty gray world could be disregarded as a dream.

But the longer he stared at the empty bag, the louder he could hear that little boy's voice, calling across the distance for someone to come find him, to be with him so he wasn't all alone in an empty gray world.
Hiram started moving again, packing in whatever clothes came at first to hand and piling it all in a haphazard mess.when he was finished he could barely close it, but he managed.
On his way towards the door he saw the picture that stood on top of the piano where his son had been practicing.his family smile beneath the glass and stood together as a whole.
He picked it up and opened his bag just enough to slip it in.

Jessica was waiting for him in the hallway next to a duffle bag that was nearly as big as she was herself.
Silently he nodded and they walked down towards the end of the hall.
He reached for the button to summon the elevator, but she went for the stairs.
"Do you really want to carry that thing down the stairs?"
She turned to look at him, clutching the strap " In case of emergency, take the stairs."
"In case of a fire."
"If that thing stops while we're inside it what are we going to do? There isn't anyone around to come help us."
Hiram paused, then nodded.
"Alright, makes sense."

They made their way down the long flights of stairs and to the garage.
"Toss the bags in the back. I...umm... Do you... Do you think I should move the the car seat out?"
Jess paused and peeked into the back of the minivan "You said that we should be careful. What if we need to pick someone else up?"
"Alright."

There was silence between them as Hiram navigated out of the garage. Jessica anxiously watched the phone, waiting for the signal bars to fill.
As soon as one come up she redialed Walter.
"Jess?" Walter's small voice came across the speaker
"I'm here. We're in the car right now. We don't know exactly how long it's going to be since the roads-"
Jessica's voice choked off as she looked up at the streets Hiram was driving through.
Cars littered the road. Some where pushed up on the curves, others smashed into each other, some where flipped and glass was shattered across the pavement.
"I do not want to see the freeway," Hiram said through gritted teeth.
"Hey Jess, are you still there?"
"Yes..." Jessica swallowed "Listen I can't talk for too long, I don't want your phone to run out of battery in case there's an emergency."
"Okay Jess. I-I'll only call if there's a problem."
"Hey Walter," Hiram leaned over to speak into the phone "we'll check in with you mornings and evenings and at lunchtime. Alright?"
"Okay. What should do in between then?"
"Stay out of trouble. See if there's somewhere you can find to sleep and a place you can get food from."
"You mean, steal...?"
"No. I will pay for it, soon as I get there."
"Okay. Um... Bye?"
"Bye. Stay out of trouble."
Jessica set the phone down as she heard the dial tone and stared blankly out the window at the empty crashed cars and the smoke rising from hoods and the small fires springing up everywhere.

This happened.
Hiram tried to put every ounce of his focus on the road but in the back of his mind the thought echoed.
This happened.
Everyone was gone.
Somehow, some horrible way, they where all gone.
But where and why?
The victimless accidents didn't answer that question, but as he stared out, he knew one thing.
This happened.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:26 am, edited 4 times in total.
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20 Random

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:26 pm

awkward situation
1,461
"Why is there a blasted bird on deck and no one's working?" Callie demanded, storming into Calypso's cabin without knocking.
"What bird?" Calypso shot to her feet.
"Some thick beaked bird with green painted head feathers is sitting in the middle of the deck and everyone is standing there staring at him.
Calypso let out a harsh hiss between her teeth "Lore bird."
"I beg your bloody pardon?"
"Worst tradion in Twora. Stinking birds go around telling stories and dropping down wherever they please. No one will do a lick of work while they're here and it's basically taboo to kill them."
"So what's my crew doing staring at them?"
"My bucketheaded bilgeswaps probably snarled at them. I don't know they're your crew!"
"Alright, alright, can we scare it off or get it to leave?"
"Usualy they can be reasoned with," Calypso fingered the hilt of her sword as she stood "Usually."
"Usually?"
"Well, there's this one bird who seems to get his life's joy out of torturing me and causing my ship to go to a standstill."
"Brilliant. This better not be the same bird."
Calypso sighed loudly and yanked the door open "Yeah, it better not or you're stuck."
"You're stuck. It's your ship."
"Yeah, but I'm not trying to save the world or whatever it is you're doing out here," Calypso stormed out ahead of the Navoiran captain onto the deck "Alright! What's going on out here!?"
The crew of the Vent Fille turned in confusion, uncertain whether or not they were in trouble, but the rouges didn't even look up and the bird continued telling his story.
"Captain, that bird just-" the second mate of the Vent approached but Callie waved him away as Calypso charged through her own crew.
"You bird, get off my ship!"
The bird tilted his green painted beak up with a smirk smeared across it "But Nix I was in the middle of my story, you wouldn't ask me to break it off and leave your poor crew dangling? Never knowing the end?"
"Let 'im be Cap'n, we want to see how it ends!"
"See?" Calypso turned to face her crew member "See? You want to see the end of the story he's telling!?"
"Uh... I want to know how...it...ends?"
"Oh please it's a bloody story-"
"A bloody good one," the Lore bird defended himself "It's one of my best. The tale of one of the most interesting ring-tailed cats I know."
"If you've been spreading stories about me, Lore bird or not I'll snap your neck."
"Don't flatter yourself Nyxie. A dastardly villain by the name of Carmodie Sinc."
Calypso blanched at the name.
The several of the crew of the Vent flinched.
"An... old ring-tailed cat?" Callie asked with an caught inflection to her voice and her hands wrapped into sweating fists.
"Well, yes. Carries his age rather well but I suppose he's getting on a bit."
"When..." Calypso choked out in an almost normal voice "did you last see him?"
The Lore bird tilted his head, eyes narrowing into brown slits "Fair is fair Nix, a trade, a tidbit for a snippet."
"Fine," She snapped throwing her arms out in a gesture of frustration "What do you want to know?"
"Oh not out here," the bird looked around at the two crews and the second captain all pressing in "That would not be a fair trade. My information in all their ears and only your words as payment? I think not."
"Fine, my cabin then."
"Wait," Callie stepped in front of them "I...I want to trade too. I want information on Carmodie."
"And what would a Navoiran captain have that would interest a Tworan Lore bird?"
"I'm certain we can come to a...mutually beneficial agreement," she gritted out between a hard cold smile.
He tilted his head, nonplussed by the threats behind her eyes "We'll see about that."

"Me first," Calypso said, shoving Callie aside as she attempted to enter the cabin.
"Fine, but don't kill him until I get my turn," Callie crossed her arms and leaned against the wall "And don't take your sweet time."
"I will take as much time as I please," Calypso growled as she slammed the door, then she turned on the Lore bird "Alright. Spill."
"Oh no, you first Captain," the bird bowed mockingly "And you may wish to hear my price before striking a bargain."
"Fine," Calypso drew her sword casually "What is your price, bird?"
"Your name," the Lore bird grinned "Oh come, don't look at me like that, no one really names their daughter Calypso."
"Realy? So you've had one I take it?"
"Captain, that information would take another question that you might like even less," the bird chuckled "So, your name?"
She snarled in the back of her throat "Fine. Fine. Helen. Happy?"
"Last name?"
"Oh for the love of the-" Calypso cut herself off and stared at the wal behind the bird "Pine. Helen Pine. Happy?"
The Lore bird gave her a knowing look "Reay? Helen Pine? For a pirate, you're not a very bright liar."
"Did you come here to insult me or trade information? I gave you my half."
"No, you did not. Your real name please."
Calypso's fingers tightened into a death grip around her sword "Gretchen Hilsey. If you ever tell anyone-"
"I won't."
"Now you. When did you last see Carmodie and where."
"Seven thousand years ago on the moon."
"You-!"
"Lies for lies darling," the bird fluttered backwards as Calypso raised her sword "Truth for truth."
Slowly Calypso lowered the sword, breathing hard "Fine, you feathered fool. Natalie. Sinc. Now where is he?"
She bit out the last words as if they brought her pain.
"Three days ago I saw him in the Corimion tavern. I trust you know where that is?"
"Yes..." Calypso sank into the chair, her sword falling limp across her lap "Now get out."
"My pleasure."

The Lore bird took three scrimpy steps out into the hall and found himself staring down Callie's sword.
"Ah, the Navoiren captain," he beamed and fluttered his wings "So-"
He was cut off as the metal pressed through his feathers to touch his skin.
"You are going to tell me where he is, or I am going to pluck you and feed you to my crew."
A shiver ran through his feathers "That is not the way things are done here."
"No? I thought Tworans thrived off of debauchery? Murder is a trade here, is it not?"
"If you do not give me what I want I'll wring your neck and get what I want from Calypso," Callie pressed the blade harder and nicked through the skin, causing his feathers to slowly streak with a thin line of blood.
"Alright! Alright! He's in Corimion! Staying in the taverns!" The Lore bird squawked, pressing himself against the wall, gasping "Calypso knows where that is!"
"Good," smoothy Callie withdrew her sword and sheathed it "Now get out of here."
The sword now sheathed he regained a fraction of his confidence "But what about the trade?!"
"The trade?" Callie laughed "Well, you're not dead. Isn't that enough?"
He tucked his wings close against his body "You must give me something."
"No."
"Why do you care about Carmodie?"
The Lore bird edged closer to the cabin door, reaching for the handle.
"I will give you nothing," she snarled.
"I thought that Navoiren captains were the paragon of all Navoiren virtue? Strange that you should so easily throw it all off, especially in a foreign land."
Callie hesitated, her back to him.
"Just...a few words for a few words. Who is Carmodie Sinc to you?"
"Ask something -anything- else."
"No. This is the deal," his claws wrapped around the door handle "Just say it, your words go no further."
Her shoulders sank and she mumbled out an answer as he began to turn the knob.
"Beg pardon, Cap'n?"
"Carmodie Sinc is my father," she said in a loud voice, spinning on her heel as the bird threw the door to Calypso's cabin.
For a second Calypso and Callie stared at each other, then Calypso shot to her feet, teeth bared "What did you just say!?!"
"Blasted bird what are you thinking?!" Callie screamed yanking her sword out again.
The Lore bird fluttered backwards as Calypso charged out of the cabi , her own sword drawn "What did you say!?"
"Carmodie Sinc is her father," the Lore bird supplied "And I do believe that he is yours as well Natalie Sinc."
Callie took a half step back, her mouth falling open and Calypso froze, their eyes fixed on each other in total shock while the Lore bird hurled down the hall, making his escape.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:10 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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20 Random

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:28 pm

Fan Fiction
Guardians of Ga'Hoole, with noncanon characters
838 words
Dawn glittered like a golden river across the sky, painting the upturned leaves of summer in warm tones. The fingers of light traced across Freesia's tail feathers, tickling them playfully as she bank through the trees towards the familiar girth of her home tree.
The healing moss her mum had sent her out for fluttered from her talons, sending a sweet scent wafting upwards.
She smiled to herself as she imagined the pleased look on her mum's face. The healing moss was hard to find and never before had Freesia managed to collect any on her own. But now....
She was puffing her chest feathers before she had even landed.
"Mum? I'm back! I found-" the barn owl's voice died in her throat as she landed on the rim of the hollow. Her eyes widened with horror as she stared at the destruction of her home. The herbs and grasses and flowers her mother used to create her medicines had been slashed from the walls and trampled into a sickly smelling paste. Talon marks ripped through the bark and worst of all the gouges where stained with blood.
"Free...esia?" a shuddering voice broke through her shocked silence with a wheeze "Is that...you?"
A shadow twisted away from the wreckage and up towards her.
"Jordan?" she leaned forwards, her whole body shivering "What happened?"
The blind snake lifted his head towards her, his whole body shivering.
"They...came."
Before he could tell her who had come or where they'd gone, Jordan collapsed into a shivering puddle.
"No, no, wake up," She flutttered down to his side and gently nudged her friend "Please, Jordan..."
Her heart beating rapidly, Freesia swiped a clawful of the green medicinal mush and carefully began to form a poultice out of it.
Her talons shook as she applied it to his head, but several seconds after the bleeding stopped, Jordan coughed weakly and his body stiffened.
"Freesia?"
"I'm here, I'm here, it's okay," she leaned closer, cradling his chin with her talon "Jordan, what happened? Where's Mum? Who took her."
"Pure ones."
Freesia's gizzard twisted into a knot "No..."
"Me... me and Allya came up to have a chat with your mum...We didn't even hear them coming. Just swooped in and pinned your mum to the wall. Wanted to know if she was the healer and then....they took her and Allya. I tried...to...fight."
Jordan began to fade again.
"No, no, no," Freesia hunched closer to him, holding his head up "Jordan, Jordan I need you to stay awake, please, stay awake!"
The snake shuddered "I'm...I'm not going anywhere."
Freesia felt like she'd gone yeep in a downdraft. Her gizzard and heart were both turning somersaults and she couldn't even see strait.
Half-blind with stunned tears, she began to shred the moss and wind it around Jordan to keep the medicine in place. It was an automatic response, but got her mind working again. In a very jittery, clattery fashion.
Pure Ones. Pure Ones had taken her mother.
She hadn't even been able to believe that such a disgusting evil even existed. Now, it had swooped down out of the midnight sky and snatched her mother away from her, destroyed her home.
"Too tight!"

Freesia was pulled from her distracted worried thoughts by Jordan's voice and realized that she had indeed wrapped the medicinal moss too tightly around the blind snake's injuries.
"I...I'm sorry," she stuttered, loosening it "Th-there."

"Thank you," he stretched a bit "So I'm alright?"
She bobbed her beak weakly "You should be fine..."
"Okay, so then, let's go."
Freesia blinked "Go where?"

He tiltes his head and if he had eyes she knew she'd've seen judgment in them.

"To get your mother and my Allya back," he said, scowling.
"What? But I can't fight!"
"I'll fight them," he hissed "You fly me to them and I'll fight them."
"You can't fight them, you already fought them and you're a mess," Freesia fluttered her wings agitatedly "And I...I can't..."

"Fine then, you sit here on your fluffy feather tail and I'll go by myself," Jordan slithered to the rim of the hollow, clearly in pain.
"No, Jordan... How... how do we know they're even still alive," Freesia's gizard lurched as she said it. Her Mum couldn't be dead....
"Those fat featherbags took them because they're healers, they need them to heal someone. They're not dead, not yet," he shuddered "We got to go now, Freesia, or we'll never find them."
"B...but-"
Jordan stopped her by slithering up on her back and nestling between her shoulder blades.
"Please. Please. Freesia, if we don't go now, we'll never find them. Never. Do you want to never see your mum again?"
Freesia shuddered. She couldn't sot there, while her mum was drug away by those horrible...

She hopped to the rim of the hollow, flung her wings out and took off into broad daylight.
Into the sun, that blinded her to the world around her and to the future she'd just hurled herself into.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Sat May 19, 2018 8:59 am, edited 12 times in total.
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