November writing challenge -NaNoWriMo

My halloween story is taking too long, so here’s this month’s challenge way too late; however, since it is National Novel Writing Month, it seems only appropriate that we both write….

About a novel.  Or a novelist.  Or about writing.  Let’s broaden it a bit further and say that you can format it as a blog or essay if you would like.

Subject: Write about a novel or novelist or process of writing.

Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Restrictions: None
Due: This Month

October Writing Challenge – The visit to the Lich

Subject: Halloween Theme

Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Restrictions: None
Due: This Month

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Yep, during October I tried to perfect the beginning of the new story. The Halloween season inspired me to make it a dark, creepy scene complete with rotting corpses and zombies. Advice would be much appreciated.

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The three men rode their steeds along the overgrown path approaching Ghrakus Castle. The quick-paced, two-week journey had taken its toll on the small group and the open road had offered little relief from the heat of the summer sun. Rathen, the man in the lead, wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm as his eyes searched the horizon for signs of movement.  They had not encountered any threats on their ride so far, but as the castle came into view anxiety grew in his gut. He knew what he had to soon confront.

He shaded his eyes from the sunlight with his hand and looked up at the massive stone structure that seemed to go upward endlessly in its grand design. In the distance, a middle sized forest could be seen on the other side of the castle and stretched away in the distance around it.

The sound of an approaching horse caught his attention. He looked over to see Bulo riding to his side. He was a huge man, tall and weighing nearly two hundred forty pounds. He had a big barrel chest and hands twice the size of a normal man.

Bulo flashed Rathen a nervous glance. “Do you think we can do this?” he asked, his sweat-covered face sharing the same fatigue. Rathen noted that even a seasoned warrior like Bulo felt apprehension.

“Of course,” Rathen replied with a smile. He dare not show his own fear. “Besides, so many are counting on us.”

Riding through the Castle gates, Rathen saw Bulo shifting nervously in his saddle. “I smell death,” Bulo said, seriousness etched in his face, his eyes scanning the area.

“There’s the temple,” Rathen said pointing to the large stone building that spiraled high into the sky adjacent to the Castle. Somehow, even in midday the area lay in a sinister shadow.

Bandark, the third man rode up beside the two. His face looked fresh and Rathen thought it peculiar that it lacked any noticeable sweat. He was aged in the mid-forties, clean shaven with a full face and a strong jaw line wearing grey robes. “I see bodies near the temple doors,” he said, his deep voice booming in a strong exotic accent.

Rathen nodded, straining his eyes to see that far in front of him.

As they neared the Temple, Bulo jumped off his giant horse and walked to the three bodies lying in the dirt. He bent down to inspect their conditions, “they’ve been dead maybe… three months.”

Rathen eyed the bodies from his horse noticing their charred black robes. “Burned,” he said, not surprised.

Bulo bent done to inspect one of the bodies. “I’ve seen this before,” Bulo said holding up a silver amulet.

“What it is?”

“The Guild of Ghrakus,” Bulo said, tossing the amulet back onto to the corpse.

“Fitting end, I guess. No doubt killed by the very thing they tried to keep locked up. Rathen dismounted and unpacked a large bag from his horse. Slinging it over his shoulder he walked toward the temple’s doors.

“Let’s hope we don’t end up the same,” Bulo muttered.

Bandark dismounted, remaining silent.

Inside the temple the smell of death choked the air. Several more black robed bodies were scattered around the large hall, some burnt, and some in pieces.

Rathen moved the large bag to his side and walked through the hall taking notice of the evidence of the battle that must have taken place. One corner had been scorched black while other walls bore large divots where objects must have impacted them. This was a battle of magic.

Rathen lead Bulo and Bandark back to a dark hallway his eyes focused on the door at the end of the hall. Fighting the fear and dread, he pushed the door open and stepped inside. A dark robed figure stood in the middle of the room facing the door. Pale light from the ceiling flickered off a golden crown around its bony head. Two fine points of crimson lights glowed from inside its otherwise empty eye sockets. Long grey hair clung to the side and chin of the figure’s skinless skull.

Rathen knew that this undead creature was a lich and that it was once a powerful mage who had used the dark spells of necromancy to cast aside his mortality and magically sealing his soul away to live in a decayed body attempting to escape death. He had to be wary of its power.

At seeing them, the lich hissed raising its skeletal hands.

“Wait, Prince Magom. It’s Rathen!” He said holding his hands out in front of him.

“I know who you are! And you shall not escape,” the lich said. A surge of energy swirled around its skeletal body like a windstorm, sending a buzz in the air.

The hair on the back of Rathen’s neck stood alert, yet he did not move.

Bulo crouched down into a ready stance, Bandark stood directly behind him.

A raise of the lich’s hand sent a wall of flames roaring toward Rathen.

Rathen’s eyes widened as he fought the urge to flee.

The flames crashed in front of Rathen with a deafening roar. As it dissipated he saw the lich through a light blue shell that surrounded and protected him.

“Impossible! It’s you!” the lich said looking toward Bandark.

Rathen turned to see Bandark with his hands in front of him, focusing on his spell of protection.

“I know where you are from and I know this magic you employ,” the lich shouted its bony arms up and the energy still building around him.

Bandark held his spell and nodded at Rathen as if urging him to continue.

“We need your help!” Rathen said, turning back around attempting to regains the lich’s attention.

The lich lowered its arms allowing most of the energy to dissipate. “What?” it said, hissing.

“We need you! Our world needs you!” Rathen reasoned taking a step forward. “The book that we found in this castle was the Book of Ziz. It was written by a deity of another world many centuries ago containing powers to protect worlds from an evil deity named Gothoar who once threatened to spread his power of death and destruction.”

“I knew the book was not of this world. The majority of its magic was almost impossible to decipher,” the lich said, turning toward Bandark. “Your companion is of the same world.”

“Yes, well a dark cleric named Vargas stole the Book from us and took it back to his master, Quax. Right now we know Quax is trying to decipher the Book to transform himself into a demigod. He promised the followers of Gothoar that he would return the book to them for Gothoar to gain power in this world. If Gothoar gains power here then no one will be safe.”

The lich let out a hissing laugh. “Why should I care? Whatever this Gothoar will release, would not harm me. However, I would expect it would be the end of you and your kind!”

“We can offer something you want!” Rathen said.

The lich laughed again, “what could you offer me?”

“You told us before of your desire to transform yourself back to human. Bandark has offered to help your efforts using the spells within the Book of Ziz.”

“I knew that book contained the magic I required to undo this … fate,” the lich said holding up its skeletal hands. “Is this true?” the lich asked, walking toward the three, the energy around him stopping completely.

Bandark lowered his protective shield and his hands. “It’s true,” his voice boomed from the back. “If we can retrieve the book, I will aid in your research to help restore your condition.”

The lich stood motionless but Rathen dared not move. Finally the lich spoke, “I believe you… I believe you will try but not convinced my condition can be restored.”

“I will take you back to my world for further assistance if necessary,” Bandark said.

“Then, what is it you want from me?” the lich asked walking closer to Rathen.

Looking into the lich’s crimson eyes, Rathen fought the urge to back away. “You said the last time we met that you could sense where the book was.”

“Yes… it was my father’s book and in my possession for almost a hundred years. I know the feel of its magic well,” the lich hissed.

“We need you to join our group to infiltrate the stronghold of Quax. We will sneak in and get back out as quickly as possible. We need you to lead us directly to the book.

The lich stood silent.

“Well?” Rathen asked, hoping to avoid another long silence.

“Before I answer, tell me how you just so happened to walk into my temple after these months,” the lich said hissing, closing the distance between it and Rathen.

“Boder, a friend of ours who left the Guild of Ghrakus a while ago informed us of the attack on the Guild’s headquarters. We assumed you reconstituted and took your revenge.”

The lich let out a hissing laughter. “They had it coming. Their greatest mistake was removing the protective shield around this castle thinking I was gone forever. Their failed attempt to kill me in my own temple was the final insult. Do you remember Salamar?”

“He was the leader of the Guild, was he not,” Rathen answered.

The lich raised his skeletal hand as a shuffle could be heard from the dark corner of the room.

Rathen’s hand instinctively reached for his sword.

A figure in black robes lumbered forward and into the pale light of the room. There stood Salamar, half of his face and upper body had been badly burned exposing rotting skin and bone. His eyes hallow and empty. He was a walking corpse.

Rathen heard Bulo mumble under his breath behind him but Rathen had no words for what had been done. The rotting corpse stood motionless. Although appalled by the sight, he felt little sympathy for Salamar.

“I reanimated his body after his death … for my amusement.” Lich said. “A fitting fate for the Guild Leader who hoped to steal my research to live forever.

“Yes, well … do we have an agreement?” Rathen asked anxious to end the conversation. After seeing what the lich was capable of he questioned if his group would endure its presence.

“I can sense the sincerity in you. However if you or your friends try to trick me or break your promise to assist my research to become mortal again, I will kill you,” the lich hissed.

“So, that’s a yes?” Rathen asked.

“Yes. But how do you expect me to travel outside these walls with you without causing panic?”

Rathen picked up the large bag and set it beside the lich.

October Writing Challenge, Halloween!!

October Writing Challenge

Subject: Halloween Theme

Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Restrictions: None
Due: This Month

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My favorite time of the year always seems to inspire my writings! For this month’s challenge, let’s create a spooky Halloween story. Try to put the “scare” into the story while keeping it short. Or, if you prefer… make a longer story.

Pick up your pen and paper one evening this month, wait for midnight and turn off all the lights… listen for strange noises or faint voices in the darkness… and allow your imagination to run wild.

Scare me!

552086

September challenge entries

Steve:
“I’ve got it!” shouted Dropsy Dropinstuff.

When leaves fall, my heart begins failing.

Neverending night, neverending day, traumatized brainwaves

Grant:

“Can’t write nothing,” said unemployed writer.

Winter’s cold, my nose knows well.

“Apes aren’t people,” argued Tarzan’s lawyer.

Steve:

“Fishermen? Good appetizers,” said the kraken.

The Nigerian prince needs our help!

Force ale, baby spews; never warm.

The story’s end never really began.

 

Grant:

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a disease of the lungs.

September Writing Challenge – Six Word Short Stories

Subject: Write a six word short story
Setting: Any particular place you can imagine
Time Period: Any time period is perfectly fine
Length: About this length, no more/less
Restrictions: It can only be six words
Due: It is due in September, dude

So we’ve had a small ” vacation”. Now it’s time for a challenge. Write six word short stories, friend. I will post the first one. Then, we keep editing that post. No need for individual entry posts. This is based on a legend. A legendary story about Ernest Hemingway.

Someone in a bar challenged Hemingway. “Write a short story for me. However, you must use six words. It may not be any longer.” Hemingway weighed his options very carefully. “I’ll take that bet,” said Hemingway. He took a moment to think. Hemingway cleared his throat to respond. “Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo”. “That’s seven words,” said the man.

And that’s how Hemingway started drinking.

I may have some details wrong. I think you get the point. “Let’s writing!”, drunken Hemingway once said.

July Challenge Entry – Last Year’s Suspense Story

Subject: Continue a story you wrote in the last year
Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: Any
Restrictions: None
Due: July

This is a continuation of last year’s suspense story.  I have a full story to go along with this that I hope to finish one day.  It’s pretty good.  Trust me.

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Click.

Click.

Click.  Click. Click. ClickClickClickClickClick.

“You should take better care of your guns,” Geoff said, turning to Salvador.  “We know it works, so can you get me some fresh bullets?  The hospitality suite here sucks and I think I’m finally ready to check out of the Hotel California.”

Salvador seemed to ignore the comment but he grimaced nonetheless as he motioned to one of the guards to pick up the gun.  The guard did so and Salvador immediately took it from him.  He pulled a new set of bullets from a pouch on his belt, loaded the gun, and handed it back to the guard.  Oddly enough, Geoff noted, Salvador was focused on the smiling man.  Geoff turned to the smiling man and noticed that his eyes never left Geoff’s face.  In fact, his smile seemed to grow even larger at this last turn of events.

What the hell is wrong with you?  Your boss is right there staring at you and he doesn’t like what he sees.  Why don’t you give a shit?  Geoff looked puzzled, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort to care.  He grabbed the gun from the guard, put the gun back under his chin and pulled the trigger again.

Click.

ClickClickClickClickClick.

For the first time since he had been brought here, Geoff actually heard his captors talk.  The quiet murmurs coming from the guards were definitely in spanish.  One of them grabbed the gun off the table and began inspecting it.  They all proceeded to look at it, turn it in one direction or another, take shells out, put shells back in, and ask each other questions about what else they could check.

Salvador pushed past the group and approached the smiling man.  The man finally broke his gaze from Geoff and turned to Salvador.  “This proves nothing!” Salvador said in perfect English but with a Spanish accent.  “I’d say this proves a hell of a lot,” the man replied, “I’d  also ask you to let us walk out of here without any trouble, but I really doubt that’s going to happen, even if you say it will.”  Salvador’s face contorted into a mixture of insult and rage.  For a brief moment, Geoff thought Salvador was going to kill the man at that very moment, maybe even strangle him to death with his bare hands.  Salvador looked down at the table for a moment, then picked his head back up and said “you’re going to stay here a long, long ti” BAM!

The shot caused everyone in the room to jump and temporarily deafened geoff.  He assumed everyone else must be feeling the same.  Despite the deafness and ringing in his ears, the guards were doing their best to explain the situation to Salvador  with a look of shock and terror on their faces.  Their hands were up in pleading gestures as if they expected the next shots to be directed at them..  One of the guards was slumped to the ground with the gun still held in his hand and a fountain of blood streaming out the remains of his face.  Geoff’s hearing began to return, but he couldn’t understand the words Salvador was hurriedly shouting at his men.

Geoff turned back to the smiling man.  “What the fuck just happened?” He asked.  “It sounds like the gun went off!” The man replied in a voice that was louder than necessary, as if he were trying to compensate for the hearing loss.  Now the smile seemed less knowing to Geoff and more like the dopey grin of someone who doesn’t get the joke, but smiles along anyways.  Salvador issued more commands to his guards and began pointing fingers, indicating that the guards were to do something with both men.  The smiling man shouted back at geoff, “Don’t worry!  Everything’s going to work itself out!”

One of the guards ran out of the room and headed off to the right.  The remaining three quickly yanked the smiling man out of his chair and ushered him out of the room with their guns held at the ready.  The smiling man gave Geoff a quick thumbs up as he left the room.  Salvador followed the group out, not saying a word, and suddenly, Geoff was the last living person in the room. 

The whole scene left him in shock.  He sat there, staring at the door, dumbfounded as to what had just happened.  The only friends he had for the past three years lay here dead, one of the guards were dead, he was supposed to be dead – hell, he wanted to be dead – yet everyone else walked out of the room as if he didn’t matter anymore.  Wasn’t this whole thing a setup?  Why was the guard dead too?  Was it really all about the smiling man?  And what were those noises?

Before Geoff had time to snap out of his assessment of the situation and register the muffled shouts and thuds of faces smacking into walls and floors,  the door began to open again.  The smiling man poked his head around the corner to make sure it was safe, then turned to Geoff and said “Come with me if you want to live”.  The man paused, looked down for a moment, then said, “I probably should have done that in a Schwarzenegger accent.  Sorry.”

June Writing Challenge – John Thomas, Private Dick

June Writing Challenge – 40’s Detective Story 

Subject: Write a story in the theme of a 1940’s Detective Story
Setting: Any
Time Period: 1940’s Theme
Length: Any
Restrictions: None
Due: June

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It was a slow day at the office and no one came knocking. It gave me time to think about the dame that walked in the day before asking me to help find her brother. It was like a scratch I couldn’t itch. Something she said before she left kept bothering me. Like a splinter under the skin too small to remove but just big enough to feel it every time you move. Most likely, it wasn’t really her brother. I refused to help her since she was only wiling to pay me half my normal fee, but with the lack of work, something was better than nothing.

I spent the rest of the day hitting up my usual contacts asking about this “Paul Peterson” the dame wanted me to find. Willy Johnson down on 38th Street had a lead that took me to the docks. He said this Paul picked up unusual packages every other Monday evening. It was a long shot but it was all I had to go on. And by coincidence it was Monday.

I hit the docks just before sunset looking for my mark. I had no idea what he looked like or what to expect. I watched a young dock worker argue with a hot blonde. She was upset and wanted the world to know. After several minutes of her screaming and him standing there like a big dummy, she slapped him in the mug and walked away. This was my chance.

“Hey buddy, got a light?” I asked the man as he stood there watching the blonde storm off.

He looked over at me with a jump. “Sure mister, here you go.”

I need to get familiar with this guy and quick. “So, who’s the babe?” I asked taking a long drag.

“No one, mister,” the young man replied, turning to walk away.

“I know it’s not easy being dizzy with a dame like that, is it.”

The young man paused, turning around. “You have any advice?”

I knew I had him now. I just had to play it right. “I do. Dames like that enjoy the furs and guys who have the bees.”

The young man frowned. “I..I don’t make enough to buy her things like that.”

“I’ll tell ya kid. Let me pass you a sawbuck to help you out. Maybe take her out on the town tomorrow and make up nice,” I said holding out a $10 bill.

The young man’s nose wrinkled. “Why would you help me out like that?”

“A trade,” I said, flicking my cigarette to the ground.

“What do you want?”

“Information… I’m looking for a man named Paul Peterson.”

The young man’s eyes widened. “No… sorry, I can’t help you.”

“Alright, kid. Let’s make it a double sawbuck,” I said taking another $10 bill from my pocket. “Think of the dinner you could have with your dame.”

The young man smiled and nodded his head. “Alright, what do you want to know.” He looked around carefully before taking the $20 from my hand.

“I hear he has a regular pickup on Pier 3. You didn’t hear it from me,” the young man said, walking away.

I couldn’t help but smile. Sure, it cost me some cush on a job I may not even get paid on, but there is nothing like the hunt.

I found a nice secluded spot near Pier 3 where I waited for something to happen. As the time passed without anything happening I was about to leave and hit the local Gin mill when a limo pulled up. I slipped back into the shadows. The driver got out and opened the door. A daisy man in glad rags stepped out and looked around. This has to be Paul. The driver walked around and opened the other side door. There she was, the same dame who walked into my office just got out of the limo. I knew a dish like her was too good to be true. She played me for a fool. My payback was to figure out what they are up to.

…to be continued.