The First Contest of the New Year!!

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The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Gunneh on Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:37 am

'Family Secrets'
2010's New Year Contest


Welcome to a new year, Foggers! With the absence of our FOG Mother and the recent re-introduction of our usual active population after their post-holiday recuperation, it is myself and the rest of the staff's absolute pleasure to bring to you the January 2010 Writing Contest! This contest will only be judged by the moderators as a way to boost morale and participation, so check it out, give us that good ol' Footsteps of Ghosts writing and, most importantly, HAVE FUN!


Rules


  • Only members of FOG may enter. The Administrators and the judges are the only ones here not able to compete.

  • No material submitted can be above the rating we have set for our message board, which is R. If any submission is deemed unsuitable, that person will be disqualified. If you are unsure whether or not something could be rated R or above (as in NC-17), then it is best to just exclude that from your writing.

  • There is a length limit of 3,000 words. No entry is to exceed this limit. If an entry is above the limit, we will ask you to shorten it before it is even considered for judging.
    (In order to check how many words you have, simply open Microsoft Word, and go to Tools --> Word Count. If you do not have Word, or would simply like a quicker/easier way, you can use this Word Count Tool.) There is no minimum amount of words required.

  • All submissions must be posted here in a reply.

  • Only fictional stories will be accepted. In other words, poems, songs, biographies, or other written works will not be recognized.

  • All entries must be original works in English. Plagiarism, in any form, will, of course, disqualify you.

  • Only one entry per person is allowed.

  • All entries are final. No revisions will be accepted. This means, be sure to carefully read over your entry for mistakes before turning it in. When it is submitted, it will be considered complete and finalized. (Only when the judging is complete and a winner chosen are you allowed to edit your entry, if you desire.)


Subject


The theme of this contest is Family Secrets. Everyone must have a form of the following at or near the beginning of their entry.
Spoiler:
It is a nothing-out-of-the-ordinary kind of day. You wake up and do your usual morning rituals, perhaps make a quick trip to the bathroom to relieve yourself of those nighttime fluids and that awful morning breath, and then you make your retreat into the kitchen. Today seems like a day for a wholesome breakfast, but what will you have?

As you reach into the refrigerator's cool confines for that carton of eggs, a loud knocking on the back door pulls you from your thoughts of breakfast. That's odd, you think, no one ever comes to visit through the back door.... Warily, you make your way to the door and open it slowly. A gasp escapes you and your knees grow weak as you see, staring back at you through the storm door, your two-years dead grandfather.

"There isn't much time," he says quickly, pulling the door open as his eyes lock onto your own. "You're in grave danger."

"But...w-what do you mean?" you ask.

"Let me explain."
Descriptive wording may be altered in order to fit a different setting. You may write in any genre you wish, but Family Secrets should be the focal point of each entry.


Prizes


The winner of the contest will have their winning entry placed into the Contest Winners subforum of the Hall of Fame, where all may read it from then on. Every official contest winner also receives a badge that they can display (if they choose) in their signature. They will also be awarded with an art request from Kalon Ordona II. The winner will be able to request a drawing to be done for them of whatever they like. (For examples of his works, see his Elfwood Gallery, and a couple full-color renderings of GaiaOnline avatars: himself and Serinal.)


Deadline


The contest is now officially open. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, which will mark the end of the contest. Judging will be open for five days afterward, and the winner will be announced no later than January 31st.

EDIT:

THE CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED!

All entries are DUE on January 31, 2010! Judging will begin shortly after and the winner will be announced NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 7, 2010!

Judges


  • Gunneh
  • Weiss
  • Kalon Ordona II


Entries:


To Bring Back The Dead - Bird of Hermes
Untitled - hubris1987
Welcome Home - The Melancholy Spirit
Untitled - Kestrel
A Wonderful World - MoiraofWords
Two Worlds - Ragter the junior Greeter
The Parks Escape - Hello Danger
Bloodlines - Anaris


Last edited by Weiss on Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:46 pm; edited 12 times in total (Reason for editing : Sticky (Shades, 1/12/2010))
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Sunwolf007 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:34 am

Sweet! I couldn't wait for another short story contest. Certainly didn't give us much time to write. Well I am going to try for it anyway. Does it have to be a dead grandfather or can it be a dead someone that you recognize?

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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:00 pm

Oh. This is kind of creepy. I like it. Now I just need to think up an idea, because I am completely at a loss.
-----
Now I have an idea. Hopefully, I can get it to paper in time. I am looking forward to it.


Last edited by Bird of Hermes on Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Gunneh on Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:13 pm

Keep with the subject of Family Secrets, Sunwolf, and I don't believe there will be a problem changing it around a bit.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Ragter the junior greeter on Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:42 pm

Wow, drawing a blank here about how to go from that, but I'll figure it out Neutral Hopefully.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Gadreille on Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Hm. The beginning thing is throwing me off. Am I to assume that we have to have someone ressurected from the dead knock on our door, saying we are in danger?
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Gunneh on Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:54 pm

Not exactly resurrected unless that's how you want it to go. Could be that it was a faked death or any other way that you could think of to do it.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Weiss on Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Just so you all know, we realize that this is a very loose theme. It can be taken in an insane number of directions. So, as long as that opening is, in some part, incorporated into your own story's opening, you will have matched the theme of the writing contest.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:47 pm

Can it be from the 1st person perspective or must it be 2nd person?

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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Weiss on Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:49 pm

I don't see why it couldn't be from another perspective. I don't want to say one way and have Gunneh say another, so in the end it's up to him, but I'm fairly certain it can be written in any perspective you like, so long as it's prose and contains a version of that opening.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by MoiraofWords on Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:25 pm

1. So that relevant statement has to be included in the word count?
2. You have to be in danger?
3. Grandpa must be dead? (Or to that point, it must be Grandpa as opposed to another Grand/ Great- relative?)

Those are my three questions of relevance: please don't get offended if they seem a bit boorish.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Gunneh on Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:53 pm

If you can think of any other relative, situation, perspective of writing or anything like that, I'm game. The idea behind this contest was to give you guys a little more information to work of because of the shorter time frame.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:36 pm

Wow... I'm surprised that the word limit became shorter rather than larger... but I suppose with the limited time frame and only three judges, it's not too surprising. Just a bit disappointing considering I had thought it would be becoming larger.

I'll take what I can get, though.

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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:45 pm

*keeps track: 1 request for longer* Homework


You all are free to write in any genre or style you like. Just include that starter script at or near the beginning. You may mess with the setting all you like--and change the wording accordingly--but the spirit of the thing should match. Nod

Also, the dead person doesn't have to be the only family secret, or even the main one. There are so many ways people could interpret and expand on the starting words. It's probably best to stick with the grandfather, but I suppose you don't have to.

Yes, the starter script will be included in the word count, since you're free to modify it.
No, you don't have to be in danger. The grandfather might have it totally wrong, after all.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:12 am

Does it have to be the starter script with added words or just the idea of waking up on an ordinary day?
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:19 am

Kalon, it's just that when the last contest rolled around, Fate had said something about possibly lengthening the word limit because so many people would have preferred it. I was just surprised that the opposite had occurred. It's not a big deal, though.

I have an idea in mind for all of this, and even though the story itself will be fictional, a few real people are going to be the inspiration for some of the characters. =3

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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Hello Danger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:39 am

I think I'll sit this one out.

Good luck everyone!
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:38 pm

I am already two pages double-spaced into my story. I really am having a good time with this theme.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Weiss on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:06 pm

This theme has a lot of possibilities. I'm finding it hard not to write up an entry myself, just for fun, but I know there are other things I should be focusing on.

I hope everyone can come up with a different and creative branch from this central theme. I look forward to reading the entries. Aww
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:45 pm

I can't believe this. I have done nothing but write for the past few days and have surprised myself that I am now finished the story. Not only that, but it is less than a hundred words short of the limit.

I will have it up after I finish the proof-reading.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:48 pm

That's awesome, Hermes!! xD
Feels great, doesn't it! cheers
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Great job, Hermes! I wish I had the time to do that... I'm juggling so many things right now that I don't even know if I will be able to participate in this contest.

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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:19 pm

Here is my entry. It is a mere one word under the limit. I hope that you enjoy critiquing it.

Without futher ado, here is "To Bring Back the Dead" by the Bird of Hermes.

Spoiler:

‘Take my hand and we’ll ride into the sunset, darlin’
We’ll ride on past the cold darkness fallin’
I’ll give you a kiss and take out the knife,
I’ll give you a kiss to take back your life’

The sound of the radio was the signal that it was time for me to awake from my slumber and greet the day. It was going to be yet another uneventful day at the coffee shop. I was sure of that. Wednesdays always had the most depressing lot of people show up for their quarter to six cup of caffeinated joe. The boss insisted that we be awake and chock full of smiles and good greetings for the morning shift. She said that our cheer would pass on to our customers. I highly doubt that hopeful sentiment. Yesterday, the first person in line shot me the bird as he left because I told him he would have to wait another five minutes for the donuts to come out of the bakery. Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth minimum wage to wake up before the light even hits my window. I gage how long I have left of sleep by the light of the sky through my widow. The night sky was turning to a dim gray that could only mean it was approaching five. I groan, roll over and slide out of bed, the sheets still wrapped around my feet like a noose I need to shake free from. God, how I hate Wednesdays. I don’t bother to shower. Showering before work was pointless. The damn kitchen was filthy and I always come home full of grease and smelling like burnt dough just to feel so disgusting that I must bathe immediately. I slip on my work pants and tie on the white half-apron that hung at my hips and held a pen and pad for orders and a small pouch for tips. That pocket was empty. I sigh as I look at my thin fame in the mirror. My bare chest holds half of a bird tattoo on the left side. I had never gotten around to having it finished. It wasn’t the only thing that was unfinished; it was one on a list of many things. I button up my blue blouse and check the mirror again as I run my fingers through my hair to straighten it a bit. I grab my badge from my pocket and shine it on my shirt in spite of it all. The name ‘Elijah’ glows back at me in the reflection in gold lettering.

Knock. Knock.

I almost trip over the bed sheets that had fallen at my feet. Who knocked at the door at such an hour? The person must have the wrong house. I proceed to straighten my room a bit before heading out. I had knocked over a photo frame and a book from my nightstand the previous night while tossing and turning trying to get some sleep over the noise of the train that ran past the apartment. I pick up the frame; the glass has cracked. It was a picture of my sister and, had it not been clear that the person in the photo was a female, it could have easily been mistaken for me. Ellia was my twin sister and she was off at college up-state now. I never was the college type; she was the one to go far, not me. The other item was an old book. It was a story my deceased grandmother had used to tell me when I was a little boy. Fairy tales.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

It was the door again. This time the sound seems frantic and close. Was the person at his back door? No one ever came through the back unless they had been here before. A strange feeling lodgez itself in my gut. This wasn’t normal. I approach the door with caution. I almost didn’t open it. But that’s when I heard my name in a voice I hadn’t heard for years…

A gasp escapes me and my knees grow weak as I see, staring back at me through the storm door, my two-years dead grandfather.

"There isn't much time," he says quickly, pulling the door open as his eyes lock onto my own. "You're in grave danger."

"But... w-what do you mean?" I ask.

"Let me explain."

The phrase ‘let me explain’ was one of which I was familiar with. It was that type of phrase that always brought about some hard truth or crazed justification. It was a phrase I don’t want to hear, especially from a man that has come back from the grave. My head reels. What was this about? Part of me doesn’t want to know.

The old man before me was dressed in a ragged navy trench coat, looked as if he hadn’t taken a bath in weeks and appeared decades older than I remember, but it was clear through the dirt, grime and age - this was my grandfather fresh from the depths of the dead, a true dead man walking. His hoarse voice beckons me over and I push through my shock to listen to his faint words. Part of me needed to know and that was the part that kept me on my feet.

“God, they have her, boy. They have her. I… after Eleanor… your grandmother…” He gasped for breath. Had he run here? “After they killed her, I vowed that—“

“Killed her!?” I exclaimed. “That’s not possible. Grandmother died of cancer. She had been in the hospital. She- she—“ Now I was gasping for breath. What in hell was going on?! My heart pounds and I think, for a moment, that I am dying too.

“Think, Elijah. You never saw the body. No one did. That casket… that casket was empty. Remember, please, remember how I insisted that we not have a funeral, that we not announce her death, that the service at the cemetery just be us… just her family.” Grandfather was gaining his voice again. “That was all for a reason, Elijah. I didn’t want to draw any attention to us.”

“Us? What do you mean ‘us’?!” I clench my fist. How dare he suggest that I had anything to do with his filthy lies? How dare he?! This man was not my grandfather.

“Eli, listen. Please. I beg of you. I know it’s much to take in at once. But I ask that you believe me, son. If you are going to survive, you have to listen to me.”

Survive? Why am I getting pulled into this mess? My eyes widen. I know now. His words of just minutes ago ring in my head. I still have the book and picture in my hand. I look down at her face, the cracked glass severing her sweet, innocent smile. God, why her? What was going to happen to her? Ellia…

“Ellia…” My eyes begin to water. I try to shake it off. I try to flee from this nightmare. It is no use. I am awake.

“We have to leave this place at once. I fear they know your whereabouts. Follow me.” He grabs my wrist. I don’t have time to drop what is in my hand. His grip is strong and I cannot resist. “You must trust me completely if you are going to live.”

If I am going to live? Those words ring in my head as I am pulled through streets and back alleys. I fear that the man that is pulling me is no longer one I know. There’s a determination in his eyes that is coupled with fear. It is a look I scarcely recognize. As my feet begin to give way under my own weight and the stress of running, I wonder if he has gone mad. Perhaps it is the pain talking, but I think I may have gone mad myself. I cannot continue to run from ghosts I can’t see. I stop short. The figure of my grandfather pulls at my clothes. I refuse to move. I need answers.

“Tell me now what this is about.” I try to keep my voice even, but my hands are shaking. “I need to know.” I lock eyes with him and my heart feels like stone.

My grandfather sighs and almost laughs. This makes me indignant. He looks at me like I am a child in that way I remember from when I was just a kid.

“You’re not going to believe me if I tell you.” As he utters this enigmatic phrase, I scoff at him. Was this just some sick joke? I am angry. I am standing in an over-flowing gutter and I can hear the pattering of rats near my feet. My pants are splattered with mud and filth.

“No. You won’t. Always had a level head, you. No. I will have to show you.” With that, the man looked down at the ground and found the very thing that he was looking for. A dead rat. Stiffness had already set in and one of the poor creature’s eyes had already decomposed. It lay prostrated on its back. My grandfather picks the creature up. It is covered in gutter water and slime and it reeks. The man really had lost it. This was nonsense. I was leaving.

My grandfather’s look stops me. His pale blue eyes meet mine and hold me where I stand. “Watch.” With that word, he strokes the rat’s underside delicately. I wonder what he was doing. The thing was dead and probably carried diseases. I try to stop him from touching it again, but he stops me with his free hand. “Watch.”

Before my very eyes a miracle was taking place. The rat, dead and decaying just a minute ago, began to change. It was as if someone had breathed life into its still body. The chest inflated. It deflated. It rose. It fell. The creature’s one eye opened. It stirred. It looked at me. It was alive.
My body began to shake. I took a step away from my grandfather. This wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be.
“It must be a trick.” I whisper to reassure myself of my own sanity. But who could pull off such an elaborate trick?

“It’s no trick, Elijah. My family has had the ability to bring back the dead for centuries.” He pauses as he lets the now squirming rat go. “Your family.”

The reality of it all sets in and it sets in deep. My mind scrambles to connect the dots. I pull the family tree out of the closet of my pre-pubescent mind. My father had died in the military and my grandfather’s parents were long in their graves. That leaves three people: My grandfather, myself and Ellia. Could Ellia really do these things? Could I?

As if reading my mind, my grandfather answers my question. “You and Ellia both have the power to do this. Ellia found out while away at college. Apparently, her pet bird had died, but when she had gone to bury it a day later, it came back to life as she laid it in the grave. She told me this thinking it was just a curiosity. I knew then that I had to tell her. You see, I had never wanted either of you to know.” He must have noted my expression and continues. “The power of God is not for mortals to tend.”

My mind was reaching overload and my adrenaline was starting to kick in. So was this why I am in danger? Is this why someone has taken Ellia? I need to know. We have to save her.

“Ellia…” That is all I can make out before I start worrying about the answer. My grandfather answers. He knows what I had wanted to say without me finishing the sentence.

“They have her. They are keeping her in a warehouse a few blocks from here. We must hurry. I don’t know what they will do to her.”

His last sentence worries me, but my mind does not have time to fathom all the things that they could want her for. It does, however, have time to think up some of them. None end well.

I am now standing before an old warehouse building. There is nothing special about the place. It is surrounded by many more concrete structures just like it. I am pulled forward. My grandfather finds a gaping hole in the rusty wire fence. I follow him through and he leads me into the building. We are in the belly of the beast.

I see that we are on the second floor in what looks like an old mechanical storehouse. There are broken down lifts with chipping paint and dusty boxes held together by cobwebs in the corner. There appears to be no one here and I think there hasn’t been for many years. That is when my ears perk up. I can hear something in the distance.

Footsteps.

My grandfather pulls me down behind the railing of the overlooking platform. He brings a hand to his lips and gives a signal for silence. I hear the sound of someone dragging something. I can hear the scraping of metal against concrete, but my vision is blocked by the crouching form of my grandfather.

The next sound I hear cuts me like a knife. It is a voice… one I know all too well.

“Let me out of here! I won’t show you bastards anything!” There was no mistaking it. That was Ellia’s voice. I crawl to the edge of the platform. I can barely make out the scene. There is someone tied to a metal chair. That must be Ellia. Her arms are bound behind her and her legs are tied to the chair. A white gag is around her neck. The men standing before her have their back turned to me. I cannot see their faces.

“Fine. If the bitch won’t talk, we can just kill her. She’ll just bring herself back, won’t she? Then we’ll know if the old man passed down that gift ‘o his, won’t we?” The man turned to the one beside him. “If she doesn’t resurrect, it’s no big deal. We’ll just hunt down that boy. Besides, she knows too much anyway. We can’t let her live.”

It was then that I saw the man pull out the gun.

They say that moments like this are supposed to happen in slow motion. I now know that they don’t. The next few minutes were to fly past me faster than a hurricane. The damage would take several days to become clear to me.

“No!” I scream as the round is fired from the weapon and into my twin sister’s chest. The blood runs thick from her heart. I can no longer watch. This can’t be. God, you can’t let this happen! But God let it happen all the same.

The ‘BANG!’ that they write about in cartoons and comics really can’t be put into words. The sound is akin to death itself and it rings through my mind as I run through the woodlands. I remember the look in his eyes as my grandfather told me what I now know to be his last words.

“Run. Run and don’t look back. They know we are here now. There is nothing that can save me. I have made my choice. But you… yes, you boy. You don’t have to die. Not like this. Not today. You can lead a life worthwhile, if only you flee now. I want you to listen to me one last time. I want you to trust these words. Never… ever… bring a person back to life. You hear me, son. NEVER! Not me, not her, not even yourself! The punishment for becoming like a god is great and it is a punishment that I don’t want you to bare. I will never be forgiven for what I have done.”

Tears are flowing down my cheeks in waves now as I run farther into the woodlands and father away from civilization. My feet are beginning to fail me now. I cannot bring myself to stop.

“Goodbye, Elijah. God help me, Eleanor.”

I try to shake the images from my mind, but the memory is forever implanted there. His ghost will forever follow me.

I know he was wrong about something though. There is something that I will be punished for. It is a price I will have to pay one day. I am sure of it. If God is just, I cannot be forgiven for what I have done. I left her, dear Ellia, there as they burned her body. It is as if I can still feel the heat of the flames as the place went up in smoke.

I have abandoned my own flesh and blood. That is the crime I have committed. That is what hangs over my fate.

As I run deeper into the darkness, my feet finally fail me. I fall to the ground. I can barely move. Every inch of my body cries out in pain. Something falls from my pouch and lands in the mud. It is the old book of fairy tales. The moonlight hits the pages of the old book. I read the words of a title as I lay unable to move. My heart skips a beat as fate readies her scythe.

Time seems to stop for me as I recall the story of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, just like my grandmother used to tell me. Her soft voice echoes through my head as I hear the words of the prince as he vows to kill the dragon and bring the princess back to life. I hear the words and my lips mimic them.

I know what I must do. I must do the forbidden act. I must bring her back.
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Contest Entry

Post by hubris1987 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:28 pm

Hello. I'm new to the site and this is my first post. I was instantly attracted by the Caligo world your site has formed, and after creating my character, I noticed that forum was a little neglected. So, I decided this contest would be a good way to get my first story about Caligo down, so here you are.

Spoiler:
Dale's azure eyes opened to stare momentarily at the log ceiling of his cabin. Though hundreds of years old, the smell of the finely sanded oak was always the first thing he noticed in the morning. Ruffling his shaggy, brown hair, Dale nudged himself up onto his elbows and looked to where Egil lay curled at the foot of the bed. The medium sized black hound had yet to stir, but its blue eyes were open and regarding Dale expectantly. Meeting his shade's gaze, Dale grunted himself into a sitting position, yawned deeply, rubbed his short beard absently, and then scratched softly at the hair which covered his toned chest.

"Ah! A nothing-out-of-the-ordinary kind of day, I think, Egil." He ran his hand down one of the bownyte's silver horns to where they emerged from the back of the hound's head and then scratched Egil behind the ears. Egil tried to hide his approval by allowing a contagious yawn to open his narrow jaw so widely, Dale was half-surprised the hound's jaw didn't dislocate. The bownyte ended his yawn with a lazy sort of whine and a snap of his closing jaw. Sounds great to me, a voice said in Dale's head, a day like all the others.

Dale grunted and rose to empty his nighttime fluids and get a quick cup of water for his awful morning breath. Meanwhile, Egil hopped off the bed, opened the back door with his snout, and trotted, half-dazed, into the misty Caligo dawn to urinate on the compost pile near the small backyard greenhouse. Enjoying the sensation of a rapidly emptying bladder and the cool kiss of the dewy grass on his legs, Egil, despite his animal senses, did not notice the corpse walking out of the surrounding trees until it was nearly on top of him.

Dale was just reaching into his refrigerator's cool confines for the gull eggs he and Egil had gathered the day before when a frenzied burst of yelping split the morning serenity. A flood of Egil's surprise and panic assaulted Dale's mind, causing him to stagger into the fridge in shock. Shaking his head in an attempt to clear it, Dale straightened to look out the kitchen window to see Egil snarling and barking at his two-century dead grandfather. The corpse held both skeletal hands in a warding-off gesture as it slowly approached the cabin, tying to bypass Egil, who had transformed into a truck-sized wolf, bristling and snarling.

Calm, Egil! Calm! Dale willed at his shade as he rushed to the back-door and flung it open. Dale's grandfather's gaping eye-sockets noticed Dale's appearance, and he croaked out "There isn't much time, Dale!" he lurched forward a few steps in desperation. "The family graves are in danger!"

"W-what do you-?" Then it clicked together. It was true that the victims of the gods' wrath still wandered the island, but Dale's grandfather died relatively recently, so he couldn't possibly be amongst their ethereal numbers. That left only one possibility: the power of some other Caligoan's shade.

The graveyard, Egil! Go now! Go! Dale shouted mentally at his shade, whom upon reaching the same conclusion at about the same time, instantly tore off into the forest underbrush, heading north, higher into the foothills. Dale ran to the front-door alcove (a short trip in his small cottage), grabbed his hunting rifle, and burst out the backdoor in pursuit, knocking his shambling grandfather off the porch in his haste.

He was not a man who enjoyed conflict, nor fighting or inflicting pain, But if Erin or Garret have been touched...- a sudden surge of rage came from Egil ahead of him, letting Dale know he had caught the thought. The 923 year old man shouldered his way through a low-hanging branch with the ease of a man of 30 and ran on, the cool mountain air stinging its way into his laboring lungs. From ahead up the small trail, a rapid series of Egil's angry barks was joined by an echoing feline yowl of outrage.

Someone shouted. "Easy, bolyne, easy! We mean no harm! Come back here, Osiris!" The voice was alien to Dale, but he allowed himself to slow to a easy jog. Whatever was happening, Egil had obviously put a stop to it with his appearance.

Dale leveled his hunting rifle to his shoulder and stepped into the clearing of the MacFurgus family burial ground. It was a humble clearing, kept naturally as a serene forest glade that was dotted with the mounds of his deceased family members. Egil was bristling and snarling at a similarly agitated black grimalkin that crouched, ears back, in front of a thin man of around 23. Dale covered them with his rifle and then quickly glanced to where his wife and child laid in eternal rest to his right, and he let out a gush of relief when he saw them undisturbed.

"I'm not armed, sir!" shouted the young man, "This is my mistake! My mistake!"

Dale scowled and advanced with the rifle still up, blood boiled in his temples and his eyes were narrow slits of fury. He noticed his grandfather's grave was dug up, though that he more-or-less had expected, and several digging tools were strewn about it and the young man's feet. "Asshole! This is my family's graveyard you fucking mother fucker!" Rage rarely made Dale an eloquent man; Egil barked in agreement.

The young man was reaching the point of panic, and his grimalkin's hindquarters began to arc aggressively. Dale put his finger on the rifle's trigger as he aimed between the huge cat's eyes. "Calm your shade, or its fucking dead!"

The man seemed to come back to his senses at that. He stared at his feline shade intently, desperately, and slowly the cat lowered its body and slunk backwards a few steps. Dale lowered his rifle a few inches and the young man let out a gasp of relief as he ran a dirty hand through his short-cropped, sandy-blond hair. "L-l-look, man, I'm sorry. I didn't know this was a family plot. I didn't see any signs. I'm with the Academy. I'm an anthropologist. I thought this was some forgotten cemetery."

"We're immortal, dipshit!" snarled Dale, "What made you think anything on this island is ever forgotten?"

The academy student burned red in a sudden blush and he slapped himself compulsively in the face. "You're right. I should have thought." He slapped himself again. "It's just I thought no one lived this far into the mountains here." He waved his hand over the grove. "It just looked so... so... ancient that I got excited because I had finally found something!"

The heat in Dale's face began to dissipate and he lowered the rifle to a neutral position. He squinted at the man. He looked 23, but on Caligo, you could never be sure. "How old are you? What's your name?"

"I'm 20," said the youth, sheepishly, "My name is Terith Delys." Dale scowled. That was the way of the young. They didn't- couldn't comprehend life as the older generations could. Idiot pup, offered Egil. Dale grunted in agreement, but he set his rifle against the mound of his grandmother to further diffuse the situation; even a bad misunderstanding was still a misunderstanding. Egil, too, dropped his aggressive demeanor, though he remained in his larger, more menacing form.

"Anthropology, huh? Do you even read the books they assign you? What the fuck made you think this was a pre-retribution site? Didn't you notice that my grandfather-" Dale blinked, he had forgotten about his grandfather (they were not close in life). "Wait, it was you that brought him back, isn't it? Is that what your grimalkin can do? Raise the dead?" As he spoke, the large cat slunk back to the youth's side.

"Err, yes," Terith gave his shade a calming stroke. "During my sophomore year his ability switched as I became obsessed with my studies. He can't raise the dead, exactly. It's more like he can get a corpse to ah.. well, remember the soul that used to inhabit it. Like a carbon-copy, if you're old enough to have used a real typewriter."

Dale had to laugh. "A typewriter? I've got nearly a millennium on you, kid, but I'm not that old." Still, only a youth who was an anthropology student would know what a typewriter even was, and this confirmation of Tarith's claims purged Dale of the rest of his anger; all that remained now was an intense annoyance.

Tarith seemed to sense this and grinned only slightly nervously. "As to why I allowed myself to be an idiot- look here." He pointed to a small stone between his grandfather's excavated mound and the mound he had recently begun digging into. "See these runes here? They sure aren't Caligoan."

Dale walked around the stone to see what Tarith was pointing at. Sure enough, a series of faded, but still legible runes were etched into the stone marker. Dale noticed that Tarith must have scraped a deal of moss and lichen from the stone to uncover the runic writing, as Dale had never noticed them before.

He swept some offending hair out of his eyes and he crouched down to squint at the writing. "You're right. I've never seen anything like that." He straitened up and stared down at the rock. Tarith shifted in the awkward silence, "D-... Do you mind if I ask who is buried here?"

"You know, kid- Come to think of it, I have no fuckin' idea. This one has always been here, as long as I can remember." Dale squinted at the stone as he searched his memory for some clue; something his parents or grandparents might have said. He came up blank.

"Would you be willing to let me-" Tarith began, but was silenced by a cold look from Dale and a ominous, low growl from Egil. "Er- right. Well, can I make amends by putting your grandfather back? I really don't know how he- ah.. slipped away...I just turned the other way to get my notebook for the questions I had prepared, and-" Egil's growl grew louder. "Right, well, I'll be off then, terribly sorry, again." He bent to pick up his dropped shovels and a toolkit Dale had failed to notice.

"No, leave your tools. You can have them back when you bring me two kegs of Mistblood."

Tarith blanched. "Two gallons?! That's premium beer! 200 bits a pop!"

"Tough shit kid; it's that, or I sell that toolkit for the 1000 bits I know its worth. And let's not fucking forget who just dug up and reanimated someone else's family members. You're fucking lucky I didn't like my grandfather much, and you're fucking lucky I'm thinking about not reporting you. Who's gonna fucking hire a dipshit archeology graduate with grave-robbing on their public record?"

Tarith paled noticeably. "Err, right. Of course...two kegs of Mistblood it is, Mr.- ah?."

"My name's Dale MacFurgus."

"Yes. Of course, Mr. MacFurgus. I'll go get them right away." And with only one nervous glance over his shoulder, Tarith Delys and his grimalkin disappeared into the woods, back towards the east and the small logging trail Dale assumed he had arrived upon; probably in some fancy hover-rover his rich parents had bought him. Asshole kid.

Beer!" rasped an outraged voice that made Dale jump and Egil yelp in surprise. It was his grandfather. Its shambling gait had finally caught up to them. "Beer is your compensation for this- this- abominable travesty!" If there had been eyes in the corpse's sockets, they probably would have been bulging.

Dale was not impressed. "As I recall, you had a habit of hunting down and ambushing invaders for your weird medical tests. It was in all the papers when I was young like that asshole who just made it possible for me to face your shit again. I had thought you were dead and gone 200 years ago, and I was happy for it." While it was standard practice to execute invaders, it was still considered by many to be inhumane to experiment-on or torture them.

The skeletal corpse flung up its arms awkwardly. "That was legal. LEGAL." The fact that its grandson preferred it dead obviously didn't offer surprise.

"Uh-huh," grunted Dale as he bent over to pick up the shovel, "Look, just get back in your hole and I'll cover you back up again. I'm sure that grimalikin's power won't last forever. I probably should have asked about it, come to think of it." He turned around to find his grandfather staring at the revealed runes. "My gods," mumbled the corpse, "This grave, you must dig it up! Now, hurry!"

"What?"

"Gods dammit, don't be the failure I always knew you would be for one damn instant and DIG UP THIS GRAVE."

Dale held up the shovel defensively. "All right, all right, I'll do it. Fuck." As he bent over to begin shoveling, he wondered at the hypocrisy of what he was about to do. He told himself it was a family privilege to dig up a family grave. That made him feel better. Still, Dale wished his grandfather would just drop dead, so he would not have to do it. You mean again?, asked Dale's shade.

Go jump off a cliff, Egil. The bownyte's tail wagged slightly in amusement.

It took nearly an hour, but Dale finally uncovered a good portion of the corpse within the mysterious mound. It was a broad skeleton, but obviously old and brittle from many centuries underground. A rusted and pitted longsword rested near the body's right arm, and near its head lay the crusty remains of what looked like an armored skullcap.

Dale's grandfather's jaw literally snapped off and fell with a gentle thud on the bare earth. Though that did not seem to effect its ability to speak, "It's true!" it mumbled to itself, "All along, it was true! Why didn't I think to look here? Stupid, stupid, stupid!"

Dale looked from the walking and talking corpse to the still and properly dead one. "What's true?"

The living corpse turned to stare at Dale with its eerily absent eyes, "This man- he was my father's father; your great grandfather. That sword, that helm- those aren't Caligoan. Don't you see? It means-" and then the corpse of Dale's grandfather literally fell to pieces as the power which gave it false life finally vanished. With a curse, Dale jumped back from the tumbling pile of muddy bones. He stood and regarded the refuse that was his recent ancestor for a moment before what the thing had said fully sunk in.

"Not Caligoan?" he murmured to himself. Then it hit him like a simultaneous blow to both his gut and his head. Dale staggered and fell backwards onto his ass. As the dew began to sink through the rear of his trousers, Dale mumbled to himself. "By the punishing gods," As it hit Egil too, the hound flopped to the ground in stunned silence.

"I- I'm- part invader!" Dale put a hand to his forehead. "What. The. Fuck!"


Last edited by hubris1987 on Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:09 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Various grammatical issues, addressed the contradiction of Dale digging up a family grave right after he chased off an intruder for doing just that.)
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Weiss on Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:33 am

Hermes: Congratulations on being the first contest entry this time around. I'll try to provide a worthwhile critique, though I had intended to do less of a formal review this time around. Since you seem interested, though, I will try to jot down some notes as I go along and provide something of a critique at the very least.

Hubris1987: Well, I haven't gotten a chance to read through the whole thing - honestly, I just skimmed through the first few paragraphs to see if it met the basic criteria - but it looks pretty amusing. The idea of using a Caligo theme for the contest is quite unique. I'm looking forward to sitting down and giving it a thorough read when I have the time to spare. After I've read through Hermes' entry, of course.

For now, congratulations on finishing a contest entry as your first step here at the forums. Welcome to FOG. If this short story is any indication, I'm certain you'll fit in very well.


Last edited by Weiss on Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edited a bunch of times because I'm exhausted and can't type...)
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by hubris1987 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:02 pm

Thank you, Mr. White.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Bird of Hermes on Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:03 pm

Hermes: Congratulations on being the first contest entry this time around. I'll try to provide a worthwhile critique, though I had intended to do less of a formal review this time around. Since you seem interested, though, I will try to jot down some notes as I go along and provide something of a critique at the very least.

Don't stress yourself too much with the critique. As long as I have some feedback to know how to improve, it's good.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Ragter the junior greeter on Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:20 pm

Done already you two? Wow, good job, I'll probably be getting done either this weekend or next weekend, one of those two.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by Hello Danger on Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:43 pm

Sooo... I might be putting an entry in after all. I have a decent idea I'm playing around with. Lets see if I can make the deadline.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

Post by ImmortalSin on Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:31 pm

I finally came up with a decent idea last night so hopefully I'll be able to get something in before the deadline.
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Re: The First Contest of the New Year!!

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