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Wknd Scene: Writing Contest…

Wknd Scene: Writing Contest…

May 12 / 18

Don’t get mad, but this just came into my radar. Are you able to write a short story in let’s say in two days?  The Writer has another contest for those who can throw down a short story. Read below for details…


Credit source: The Writer

 

Write a 2,000-word fictional short story using any nuance, definition, or understanding of the word “change.”

Deadline: May 15th, 2018

Grand prize: $1,000 and publication in our magazine

Word count: 2,000 words or less

Other prizes: Our second-place winner will receive $500 and publication on our website, writermag.com; our third-place winner will receive $250 and publication on writermag.com as well.

I know, I know…it’s short notice, but if you can write 2,000 words with the understanding of the word “change”, you may want to enter!

 

Image source: The Writer & Tweed Editing
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Reflections: Summer Short Story

Reflections: Summer Short Story

June 27 / 17

Hello, all. It’s that time again and since summer has arrived, might as well keep up with the summer theme. Found a sci-fi short story titled All Summer In A Day by Ray Bradbury. It was published in the March 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I hope you like it….


cred: http://www.btboces.org

All Summer in a Day
By Ray Bradbury

“Ready ?”
“Ready.”
“Now ?”
“Soon.”
“Do the scientists really know? Will it
happen today, will it ?”
“Look, look; see for yourself !”
The children pressed to each other like so
many roses, so many weeds, intermixed,
peering out for a look at the hidden sun.
It rained.
It had been raining for seven years;
thousands upon thousands of days
compounded and filled from one end to the
other with rain, with the drum and gush of
water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers
and the concussion of storms so heavy they
were tidal waves come over the islands. A
thousand forests had been crushed under
the rain and grown up a thousand times to
be crushed again. And this was the way life
was forever on the planet Venus, and this
was the schoolroom of the children of the
rocket men and women who had come to a
raining world to set up civilization and live
out their lives.
“It’s stopping, it’s stopping !”
“Yes, yes !”
Margot stood apart from them, from these
children who could ever remember a time
when there wasn’t rain and rain and rain.
They were all nine years old, and if there
had been a day, seven years ago, when the
sun came out for an hour and showed its
face to the stunned world, they could not
recall. Sometimes, at night, she heard them
stir, in remembrance, and she knew they
were dreaming and remembering gold or a
yellow crayon or a coin large enough to buy
the world with. She knew they thought they
remembered a warmness, like a blushing in
the face, in the body, in the arms and legs
and trembling hands. But then they always
awoke to the tatting drum, the endless
shaking down of clear bead necklaces upon
the roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests,
and their dreams were gone.
All day yesterday they had read in class
about the sun. About how like a lemon it
was, and how hot. And they had written
small stories or essays or poems about it: I
think the sun is a flower, That blooms for just
one hour. That was Margot’s poem, read
in a quiet voice in the still classroom while
the rain was falling outside.
“Aw, you didn’t write that!” protested one
of the boys.
“I did,” said Margot. “I did.”
“William!” said the teacher.
But that was yesterday. Now the rain was
slackening and the children were crushed in
the great thick windows.
Where’s teacher ?”
“She’ll be back.”
“She’d better hurry, we’ll miss it !”
They turned on themselves, like a
feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot
stood alone. She was a very frail girl who
looked as if she had been lost in the rain for
years and the rain had washed out the blue
from her eyes and the red from her mouth
and the yellow from her hair. She was an old
photograph dusted from an album, whitened
away, and if she spoke at all her voice would
be a ghost. Now she stood, separate,
staring at the rain and the loud wet world
beyond the huge glass.
“What’re you looking at ?” said William.
Margot said nothing.
“Speak when you’re spoken to.”
He gave her a shove. But she did not
move; rather she let herself be moved only
by him and nothing else. They edged away
from her, they would not look at her. She felt
them go away. And this was because she
would play no games with them in the
echoing tunnels of the underground city. If
they tagged her and ran, she stood blinking
after them and did not follow. When the
class sang songs about happiness and life
and games her lips barely moved. Only
when they sang about the sun and the
summer did her lips move as she watched
the drenched windows. And then, of course,
the biggest crime of all was that she had
come here only five years ago from Earth,
and she remembered the sun and the way
the sun was and the sky was when she was
four in Ohio. And they, they had been on
Venus all their lives, and they had been only
two years old when last the sun came out
and had long since forgotten the color and
heat of it and the way it really was.
But Margot remembered.
“It’s like a penny,” she said once, eyes
closed.
“No it’s not!” the children cried.
“It’s like a fire,” she said, “in the stove.”
“You’re lying, you don’t remember !” cried
the children.
But she remembered and stood quietly
apart from all of them and watched the
patterning windows. And once, a month ago,
she had refused to shower in the school
shower rooms had clutched her hands to
her ears and over her head, screaming the
water mustn’t touch her head. So after that,
dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was different
and they knew her difference and kept
away. There was talk that her father and
mother were taking her back to Earth next
year; it seemed vital to her that they do so,
though it would mean the loss of thousands
of dollars to her family. And so, the children
hated her for all these reasons of big and
little consequence. They hated her pale
snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness,
and her possible future.
“Get away !” The boy gave her another
push. “What’re you waiting for?”
Then, for the first time, she turned and
looked at him. And what she was waiting for
was in her eyes.
“Well, don’t wait around here !” cried the
boy savagely. “You won’t see nothing!”
Her lips moved.
“Nothing !” he cried. “It was all a joke,
wasn’t it?” He turned to the other children.
“Nothing’s happening today. Is it ?”
They all blinked at him and then,
understanding laughed and shook their
heads.
“Nothing, nothing !”
“Oh, but,” Margot whispered, her eyes
helpless. “But this is the day, the scientists
predict, they say, they know, the sun…”
“All a joke !” said the boy, and seized her
roughly. “Hey, everyone, let’s put her in a
closet before the teacher comes !”
“No,” said Margot, falling back.
They surged about her, caught her up and
bore her, protesting, and then pleading, and
then crying, back into a tunnel, a room, a
closet, where they slammed and locked the
door. They stood looking at the door and
saw it tremble from her beating and throwing
herself against it. They heard her muffled
cries. Then, smiling, he turned and went out
and back down the tunnel, just as the
teacher arrived.
“Ready, children ?” She glanced at her
watch.
“Yes !” said everyone.
“Are we all here ?”
“Yes !”
The rain slacked still more.
They crowded to the huge door.
The rain stopped.
It was as if, in the midst of a film
concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a
hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something
had, first, gone wrong with the sound
apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting
off all noise, all of the blasts and
repercussions and thunders, and then,
second, ripped the film from the projector
and inserted in its place a beautiful tropical
slide which did not move or tremor. The
world ground to a standstill. The silence was
so immense and unbelievable that you felt
your ears had been stuffed or you had lost
your hearing altogether. The children put
their hands to their ears. They stood apart.
The door slid back and the smell of the
silent, waiting world came into them.
The sun came out.
It was the color of flaming bronze and it
was very large. And the sky around it was a
blazing blue tile color. And the jungle burned
with sunlight as the children, released from
their spell, rushed out, yelling into the
springtime.
“Now, don’t go too far,” called the teacher
after them. “You’ve only two hours, you
know. You wouldn’t want to get caught out !”
But they were running and turning their
faces up to the sky and feeling the sun on
their cheeks like a warm iron; they were
taking off their jackets and letting the sun
burn their arms.
“Oh, it’s better than the sun lamps, isn’t it
?”
“Much, much better !”
They stopped running and stood in the
great jungle that covered Venus, that grew
and never stopped growing, tumultuously,
even as you watched it. It was a nest of
octopi, clustering up great arms of flesh like
weed, wavering, flowering in this brief
spring. It was the color of rubber and ash,
this jungle, from the many years without sun.
It was the color of stones and white cheeses
and ink, and it was the color of the moon.
The children lay out, laughing, on the
jungle mattress, and heard it sigh and
squeak under them resilient and alive. They
ran among the trees, they slipped and fell,
they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek
and tag, but most of all they
squinted at the sun until the tears ran down
their faces; they put their hands up to that
yellowness and that amazing blueness and
they breathed of the fresh, fresh air and
listened and listened to the silence which
suspended them in a blessed sea of no
sound and no motion. They looked at
everything and savored everything. Then,
wildly, like animals escaped from their
caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles.
They ran for an hour and did not stop
running.
And then –
In the midst of their running one of the
girls wailed.
Everyone stopped.
The girl, standing in the open, held out
her hand.
“Oh, look, look,” she said, trembling.
They came slowly to look at her opened
palm.
In the center of it, cupped and huge, was
a single raindrop. She began to cry, looking
at it. They glanced quietly at the sun.
“Oh. Oh.”
A few cold drops fell on their noses and
their cheeks and their mouths. The sun
faded behind a stir of mist. A wind blew cold
around them. They turned and started to
walk back toward the underground house,
their hands at their sides, their smiles
vanishing away.
A boom of thunder startled them and like
leaves before a new hurricane, they tumbled
upon each other and ran. Lightning struck
ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a
half mile. The sky darkened into midnight in
a flash.
They stood in the doorway of the
underground for a moment until it was
raining hard. Then they closed the door and
heard the gigantic sound of the rain falling in
tons and avalanches, everywhere and
forever.
“Will it be seven more years ?”
“Yes. Seven.”
Then one of them gave a little cry.
“Margot !”
“What ?”
“She’s still in the closet where we locked
her.”
“Margot.”
They stood as if someone had driven
them, like so many stakes, into the floor.
They looked at each other and then looked
away. They glanced out at the world that
was raining now and raining and raining
steadily. They could not meet each other’s
glances. Their faces were solemn and pale.
They looked at their hands and feet, their
faces down.
“Margot.”
One of the girls said, “Well… ?”
No one moved.
“Go on,” whispered the girl.
They walked slowly down the hall in the
sound of cold rain. They turned through the
doorway to the room in the sound of the
storm and thunder, lightning on their faces,
blue and terrible. They walked over to the
closet door slowly and stood by it.
Behind the closet door was only silence.
They unlocked the door, even more
slowly, and let Margot out.

 

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured image: Mrs. Russell's Classroom

The Scene Weekend: ‘The Hand’ by Guy de Maupassant

The Scene Weekend: ‘The Hand’ by Guy de Maupassant

October 31, 2015

Hey there again…..found a short story to share with you guys on this day. I hope you like it…..


The Hand

by Guy de Maupassant

All were crowding around M. Bermutier, the judge, who was giving his opinion about the Saint-Cloud mystery. For a month this in explicable crime had been the talk of Paris. Nobody could make head or tail of it.

M. Bermutier, standing with his back to the fireplace, was talking, citing the evidence, discussing the various theories, but arriving at no conclusion.

Some women had risen, in order to get nearer to him, and were standing with their eyes fastened on the clean-shaven face of the judge, who was saying such weighty things. They, were shaking and trembling, moved by fear and curiosity, and by the eager and insatiable desire for the horrible, which haunts the soul of every woman. One of them, paler than the others, said during a pause:

“It’s terrible. It verges on the supernatural. The truth will never be known.”

The judge turned to her:

“True, madame, it is likely that the actual facts will never be discovered. As for the word ‘supernatural’ which you have just used, it has nothing to do with the matter. We are in the presence of a very cleverly conceived and executed crime, so well enshrouded in mystery that we cannot disentangle it from the involved circumstances which surround it. But once I had to take charge of an affair in which the uncanny seemed to play a part. In fact, the case became so confused that it had to be given up.”

Several women exclaimed at once:

“Oh! Tell us about it!”

M. Bermutier smiled in a dignified manner, as a judge should, and went on:

“Do not think, however, that I, for one minute, ascribed anything in the case to supernatural influences. I believe only in normal causes. But if, instead of using the word ‘supernatural’ to express what we do not understand, we were simply to make use of the word ‘inexplicable,’ it would be much better. At any rate, in the affair of which I am about to tell you, it is especially the surrounding, preliminary circumstances which impressed me. Here are the facts:

“I was, at that time, a judge at Ajaccio, a little white city on the edge of a bay which is surrounded by high mountains.

“The majority of the cases which came up before me concerned vendettas. There are some that are superb, dramatic, ferocious, heroic. We find there the most beautiful causes for revenge of which one could dream, enmities hundreds of years old, quieted for a time but never extinguished; abominable stratagems, murders becoming massacres and almost deeds of glory. For two years I heard of nothing but the price of blood, of this terrible Corsican prejudice which compels revenge for insults meted out to the offending person and all his descendants and relatives. I had seen old men, children, cousins murdered; my head was full of these stories.

“One day I learned that an Englishman had just hired a little villa at the end of the bay for several years. He had brought with him a French servant, whom he had engaged on the way at Marseilles.

“Soon this peculiar person, living alone, only going out to hunt and fish, aroused a widespread interest. He never spoke to any one, never went to the town, and every morning he would practice for an hour or so with his revolver and rifle.

“Legends were built up around him. It was said that he was some high personage, fleeing from his fatherland for political reasons; then it was affirmed that he was in hiding after having committed some abominable crime. Some particularly horrible circumstances were even mentioned.

“In my judicial position I thought it necessary to get some information about this man, but it was impossible to learn anything. He called himself Sir John Rowell.

“I therefore had to be satisfied with watching him as closely as I could, but I could see nothing suspicious about his actions.

“However, as rumors about him were growing and becoming more widespread, I decided to try to see this stranger myself, and I began to hunt regularly in the neighborhood of his grounds.

“For a long time I watched without finding an opportunity. At last it came to me in the shape of a partridge which I shot and killed right in front of the Englishman. My dog fetched it for me, but, taking the bird, I went at once to Sir John Rowell and, begging his pardon, asked him to accept it.

“He was a big man, with red hair and beard, very tall, very broad, a kind of calm and polite Hercules. He had nothing of the so-called British stiffness, and in a broad English accent he thanked me warmly for my attention. At the end of a month we had had five or six conversations.

“One night, at last, as I was passing before his door, I saw him in the garden, seated astride a chair, smoking his pipe. I bowed and he invited me to come in and have a glass of beer. I needed no urging.

“He received me with the most punctilious English courtesy, sang the praises of France and of Corsica, and declared that he was quite in love with this country.

“Then, with great caution and under the guise of a vivid interest, I asked him a few questions about his life and his plans. He answered without embarrassment, telling me that he had travelled a great deal in Africa, in the Indies, in America. He added, laughing:

“‘I have had many adventures.’

“Then I turned the conversation on hunting, and he gave me the most curious details on hunting the hippopotamus, the tiger, the elephant and even the gorilla.

“I said:

“‘Are all these animals dangerous?’

“He smiled:

“‘Oh, no! Man is the worst.’

“And he laughed a good broad laugh, the wholesome laugh of a contented Englishman.

“‘I have also frequently been man-hunting.’

“Then he began to talk about weapons, and he invited me to come in and see different makes of guns.

“His parlor was draped in black, black silk embroidered in gold. Big yellow flowers, as brilliant as fire, were worked on the dark material.

“He said:

“‘It is a Japanese material.’

“But in the middle of the widest panel a strange thing attracted my attention. A black object stood out against a square of red velvet. I went up to it; it was a hand, a human hand. Not the clean white hand of a skeleton, but a dried black hand, with yellow nails, the muscles exposed and traces of old blood on the bones, which were cut off as clean as though it had been chopped off with an axe, near the middle of the forearm.

“Around the wrist, an enormous iron chain, riveted and soldered to this unclean member, fastened it to the wall by a ring, strong enough to hold an elephant in leash.

“I asked:

“‘What is that?’

“The Englishman answered quietly:

“‘That is my best enemy. It comes from America, too. The bones were severed by a sword and the skin cut off with a sharp stone and dried in the sun for a week.’

“I touched these human remains, which must have belonged to a giant. The uncommonly long fingers were attached by enormous tendons which still had pieces of skin hanging to them in places. This hand was terrible to see; it made one think of some savage vengeance.

“I said:

“‘This man must have been very strong.’

“The Englishman answered quietly:

“‘Yes, but I was stronger than he. I put on this chain to hold him.’

“I thought that he was joking. I said:

“‘This chain is useless now, the hand won’t run away.’

“Sir John Rowell answered seriously:

“‘It always wants to go away. This chain is needed.’

“I glanced at him quickly, questioning his face, and I asked myself:

“‘Is he an insane man or a practical joker?’

“But his face remained inscrutable, calm and friendly. I turned to other subjects, and admired his rifles.

“However, I noticed that he kept three loaded revolvers in the room, as though constantly in fear of some attack.

“I paid him several calls. Then I did not go any more. People had become used to his presence; everybody had lost interest in him.

“A whole year rolled by. One morning, toward the end of November, my servant awoke me and announced that Sir John Rowell had been murdered during the night.

“Half an hour later I entered the Englishman’s house, together with the police commissioner and the captain of the gendarmes. The servant, bewildered and in despair, was crying before the door. At first I suspected this man, but he was innocent.

“The guilty party could never be found.

“On entering Sir John’s parlor, I noticed the body, stretched out on its back, in the middle of the room.

“His vest was torn, the sleeve of his jacket had been pulled off, everything pointed to, a violent struggle.

“The Englishman had been strangled! His face was black, swollen and frightful, and seemed to express a terrible fear. He held something between his teeth, and his neck, pierced by five or six holes which looked as though they had been made by some iron instrument, was covered with blood.

“A physician joined us. He examined the finger marks on the neck for a long time and then made this strange announcement:

“‘It looks as though he had been strangled by a skeleton.’

“A cold chill seemed to run down my back, and I looked over to where I had formerly seen the terrible hand. It was no longer there. The chain was hanging down, broken.

“I bent over the dead man and, in his contracted mouth, I found one of the fingers of this vanished hand, cut–or rather sawed off by the teeth down to the second knuckle.

“Then the investigation began. Nothing could be discovered. No door, window or piece of furniture had been forced. The two watch dogs had not been aroused from their sleep.

“Here, in a few words, is the testimony of the servant:

“For a month his master had seemed excited. He had received many letters, which he would immediately burn.

“Often, in a fit of passion which approached madness, he had taken a switch and struck wildly at this dried hand riveted to the wall, and which had disappeared, no one knows how, at the very hour of the crime.

“He would go to bed very late and carefully lock himself in. He always kept weapons within reach. Often at night he would talk loudly, as though he were quarrelling with some one.

“That night, somehow, he had made no noise, and it was only on going to open the windows that the servant had found Sir John murdered. He suspected no one.

“I communicated what I knew of the dead man to the judges and public officials. Throughout the whole island a minute investigation was carried on. Nothing could be found out.

“One night, about three months after the crime, I had a terrible nightmare. I seemed to see the horrible hand running over my curtains and walls like an immense scorpion or spider. Three times I awoke, three times I went to sleep again; three times I saw the hideous object galloping round my room and moving its fingers like legs.

“The following day the hand was brought me, found in the cemetery, on the grave of Sir John Rowell, who had been buried there because we had been unable to find his family. The first finger was missing.

“Ladies, there is my story. I know nothing more.”

The women, deeply stirred, were pale and trembling. One of them exclaimed:

“But that is neither a climax nor an explanation! We will be unable to sleep unless you give us your opinion of what had occurred.”

The judge smiled severely:

“Oh! Ladies, I shall certainly spoil your terrible dreams. I simply believe that the legitimate owner of the hand was not dead, that he came to get it with his remaining one. But I don’t know how. It was a kind of vendetta.”

One of the women murmured:

“No, it can’t be that.”

And the judge, still smiling, said:

“Didn’t I tell you that my explanation would not satisfy you?”

Lit-Scene: A Short Story & A Poetry Contest….

Lit-Scene: A Short Story  & A Poetry Contest….

September 9, 2015

Hi again. I’m finding some great things to share with those who have creativity with a pen, please read on……


THE 2015 RROFIHE TROPHY SHORT STORY CONTEST @ ANDERBO

No entry fee. For an unpublished story of 3,500 to 5,000 words, the winning author will receive $500, a trophy, and publication on Anderbo.com

Deadline: October 15. Complete guidelines here: www.anderbo.com/anderbo1no-fee-rrofihe-trohpy2015.html


 

INNER CIRCLE 2015 INTERNATIONAL POETRY CONTEST

A prize of $1,500 and publication in Inner Circle is given annually for the best poem. Five poems maximum, up to 14 pages per entry; $20 entry fee includes a 1-year subscription to Inner Circle Magazine.

December 31 postmark deadline. See www.platinumplum.net for complete guidelines. Twitter: @platinumplumpub Address: Platinum Plum, 7322 Southwest Fwy., Ste. 1090, Houston, TX 77074

If you feel the urge to get your short story or poetry out there, then you really need to get going! Enjoy your Wednesday and be blessed!

 

 

 

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