My poorly-disguised “original content hiatus” is nearly at an end, but not yet. Today, more entries from the “First and Last” contest for you to enjoy. For those of you who haven’t yet read the winning entries, click here.
If you’re new to the noveldoctor site, take a moment to read this old post on 7 Things that Keep Editors in Business. And then read a bunch more. And tell your friends to stop by, too.
Alicia Gregoire-Poirier entered this fantastical story:
The sun didn’t rise on Thursday. This came as no surprise to the girl; she had been able to control the stars since quickening in her mother’s womb. The Destroyers were rapturous with the knowledge and each wanted the girl’s power for their own.
The girl’s mother, covetous in her own right, arranged fostering by The Destroyers’ mages – The Arcane Ones. Here, the girl learned of the delicate balance among the universe; how if one planet fell, all others were doomed. They imparted this knowledge to frighten her.
It empowered her.
Her powers blossomed under The Arcane Ones’ careful guidance, surpassing expectations of all. The eve she lost her maidenhead, she held the moon in her thrall until she and her lover were spent. The moon sighed in pleasure and disappeared for a fortnight.
Her lover was enamored of her talents and lavished her with baubles that were so prismatic in their beauty; they reminded the girl of the universe. She named them in accordance of her lessons.
Crimson. Saffron. Cerulean.
After their naming, the jewels rose and transformed before the girl and her lover. Each danced amid the elements they called forth with their lovemaking. Colors tattooed their bodies, an indelible mark of their union.
The girl’s infatuation with the boy was not in The Destroyer’s plans, and the boy foresaw his death in their eyes. The girl, clever as she was, did not have The Sight, not like he. For this, he sent his prayers up to The Deity. He asked for strength to carry his plan forward and that the girl would endure.
She was their salvation.
Unaware, the girl slept on and her lover chanted over her magic jewels. He sealed his life force in blue and death to his adversaries in yellow. He saved red for the destruction of all. Then, with his hand over her already ripened womb, he blanketed her with his parting wish.
The sun didn’t rise on Thursday, the day they sacrificed her lover, because it was her will. Darkness remained while her soul warred with half-imagined murmurings.
Murder was at her fingertips.
The babe stirred inside her.
She chose the blue one after all.
Here’s Jon Freestone’s creative entry:
Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where she’d left her wallet. That distraction was just enough to let her fly. Sam loved the H2G2 series but never thought you could really fly by forgetting to hit the ground.
Sam’s favorite dreams were the flying dreams, she even learned how to lucid dream to be able to control her dreams. Sam soared over the neighborhood, this was way better then any of her dreams.
The hardest part was deciding where to go. Fly home, buzz her boy friends house, or go pick up the wallet. While trying to decide Sam saw a red blinking light to her right and blue light strait ahead.
Why go home, I just want to fly, she thought. Sam started flying between the flashing lights. In the end it wasn’t too hard to decide which light to head for, after all her rival school’s colors were red.
So turning to the left, just to see what would happen, She chose the blue one after all.
Adrian Firth titled his creepy entry, “The Day of Screams”:
The sun didn’t rise on Thursday. Dense fog hid the sky, hanging low across rooftops and power lines, smothering houses and decapitating trees. Diffused light brightened the world gradually, like God was turning a dimmer switch. More likely it was the Devil. Oblivious, I eased my Toyota down the driveway in the half-light.
At the letterbox, I leaned out and opened the lid to find nothing but real estate flyers. Cursing the paperboy, I sat trying to get something on the radio, anything at all. The neighbour’s cat chose that moment to stroll into the street.
Pam Jameson’s black moggy often sat in the road, usually early morning and sometimes at dusk, as if it owned the world. As if it were invulnerable. Top of the food chain. We used to think that way too.
A funnel of cloud spiralled from the sky to the white line in the centre of the road. It oscillated like a miniature twister. From the wobbling point, a smoky tendril formed and snaked toward the cat like a ghostly boa constrictor, engulfing the animal.
Cats can scream like nothing on earth. I still had a hand on the radio band selector.
Ahead of me, up in the fog, a massive shape drifted across the sky. Something like a building-sized shark. It seemed to broadcast fear. I sat motionless and cold until it left. Then I put the car in reverse.
I ran from the carport to the house. Inside, I locked the door and went to the television. No picture. No cellphone coverage. No dial tone. You are not connected to the Internet.
That was Thursday. The day of screams. The power is out, and the water doesn’t run now. The fog wraps all sides of the house, all the way to the windows. I keep the curtains drawn. I cower and cry and piss myself when I feel them overhead.
This is how it ends for us. Not nuclear war, economic collapse, or slow drowning in a rising sea. Not plague, asteroid strike, or a broken ecosystem. It finishes the way we have always feared, since the time we huddled around fires in smokey caves.
And while Robyn D. Stone’s story didn’t open with one of the assigned first lines, it’s does end with one:
If only he could see the future. He would know it would work out. Losing his father was surely the hardest thing he had ever been through in his life. Thinking of him now made him happy and sad at the same time. Happy for all the times they had been able to share. Sad for all the times lost.
Looking down at his own son dressed in his Sunday best, his heart was so full of pain. So full of pride. Would his son remember his grandfather? Would he know how much he loved him? How proud he was the day he was born? Steven wondered what words he could use to make sure this six year old little boy knew all the things his grandfather would have wanted him to know.
With his tie slightly askew and hair more than slightly rumpled, he looked so much like Steven had when he was his age. Everyone had been saying the same thing since the accident. Family from faraway places and out of town guests who had not seen Taylor since he was a baby were all amazed at the strong family resemblance. Strong jaw. Dark eyes. Heavy bangs. It was all there. The strong family traits handed down from generation to generation.
Pushing those bangs to the side, Taylor looked up with a sideways glance and gave Steven the signature lopsided smile. What was he thinking? Did any of this make sense to him? Steven had tried explaining it all to him before the services, but how much would a six-year old really grasp. He was having trouble grasping it all himself.
The wind began blowing softly, which sure helped on this hot August afternoon. Southern heat in August was something you could always count on, but his father had been very firm in not wanting a major production for his funeral services. He was specific in saying graveside services only. They had honored his wishes.
As the last trumpet sounded, he gave Taylor a tight hug and watched him walk away and get in the car with Julia, his ex-wife. He reached for his pocket and felt inside, it was still there. But, he knew, the bottle was empty.
Just a couple more short stories to go and you’ll have seen ’em all. Pretty good stuff, don’t you think?
I’m already planning the next contest, and I think you’ll like it. Much less work, but still loads of fun. And, no, I’m not saying anything else about it until September.