Monday, February 3, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #31




Welcome back! I'm so glad you could join us for another week of fantastic stories! I handed the last edits to my crit group last week, so I've had a week of what-to-do-in-between. So I pulled out my Nano project and re-read the whole thing (I only wrote 26K, but the book is certainly halfway finished) and it was AWESOME! So now I'm super excited to work on that story while I give this one a break before I revise again for beta readers. :) Anyway, enough about me, let me see what you have to say for this weeks prompt. Go write!



If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Rebekah Postupak also known as @postupak and @FlashFridayFic. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #31 is:



Fingers trembling, [s]he slowly unrolled the ancient document.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a sentence in a foreign (non-English) language.



 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!



15 comments:

  1. Lost in Translation (497 words)

    Fingers trembling she slowly unrolled the ancient document, a small yellowing page, placing it carefully onto the table. Dust spiraled lazily off of the dry page, instigating a coughing fit that echoed back and forth between the barren stacks of the deserted library.

    Astrid took a swig from her canteen, quelling the rebellion within, before returning her attention to the page. As she had suspected the faded print was discernible yet, as she had also feared, unfamiliar. She cursed Max for his hot headedness, if he hadn’t threatened the hermit whose treasure this was, if Max hadn’t fired off that round trying to persuade the hermit to translate. If the resultant ricochet hadn’t split the Hermit’s head apart.

    If ….

    Well that was the past, like Max now was. Astrid had last seen walking back towards the wasteland. His tail between his legs, the gun in her possession. She knew that by now she would have convinced the Hermit, lured the secret of the page out of him.

    Astrid willed the black lines on the page to form into something even her basic grasp of English could understand. Whatever it meant was important, the Hermit’s behavior told her as much, hiding it within a thin steel tube, coveting it, protecting it. Whatever the words meant, they offered something worth dying for.

    The toll of weeks spent traversing the wasteland threatened to overwhelm her. The constant battle against heat, thirst and brigands had almost thwarted their journey here. Astrid rested her head on the table, giving in to the tiredness.

    #

    When she awoke a new day had dawned, Astrid sprung to her feet, revolver drawn. Yet the library was empty, just the page on the table and the rotten corpses of books decomposing on the floor. She was gutted to see that the markings still made no sense, the truth tantalizingly out of her reach.

    Astrid paced between the stacks, eating a ration pack, working out her options. Returning to Big Smoke was foolish, finding someone to translate very unlikely. Suddenly Astrid found herself on the floor, tripped by book sticking up out of a pile. She was about to throw it away in anger when she realised that the cover had markings like the page. She focused hard on the English words she recognised alongside: Ch …I … Nese … to … Eng …Lish.

    This was it! She ran back to the table, fingers tracing the black marks: 這是一個虛構的工作。名,人物和地方的產品 …

    By the time she had finished the sun had fallen and risen again. Ration packs lay around her feet as for the hundredth time her fingers traced the translation she had carved into the wooden table.

    She wanted to scream in frustration. What did it mean? What was the secret? She read again:

    “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters and places are the products …

    @imageronin

    special challenge accepted


    ReplyDelete
  2. Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. His mother, Oceana, sealed the note centuries before he’d been born. He’d always known about it. “I’ll leave you a note one day. On that day, you will open this.”

    When he woke that morning, the castle was in an uproar. Oceana was gone. “All she left was a note on her pillow, addressed to you!” He recognized her handwriting, signature, and seal on the note. “I’m leaving to find myself. You are king now. Please, don’t follow me. It’s time to read the note.”

    Sword closed his eyes and took a deep breath, “Breathe in. Breathe out. Recognize your fears. Step past them.” He felt the tremors in his fingers fade, and managed a smile. “Mother, you told me this day would come. May I not fail you.”

    He read the note she’d written so long ago.

    My dear son.

    Someday, I will leave the kingdom, and return to my home, the sea, to find myself, and remember who I am.

    You will become King that day. It will be a big responsibility, but you will be ready.

    The people of the ocean will be ready too. They will need you to lead them, to guide them, to protect them, as they take their next step into the future. I cannot see what that future will bring. I only know you are the one to lead our people into it.

    It will be your turn then, to write a note for your child. Daughter or son, I cannot tell. And explain to them the day you will leave. The day they will become the ruler of the ocean kingdom. The day they will lead our people as they take the next step in their journey into the future.

    Your loving mother,
    Oceana.

    Sword knew what to do. He called the captain of the kingdom’s guard. “The queen has declared we are not to follow her, or look for her. She has declared I am now king.” He ordered no one search for his mother. “The kingdom guard will spread the word of Queen Oceana’s abdication.”

    He ordered a week of mourning for the departure of his mother. Followed by a week of celebration of the future. “It was always her wish the people of the kingdom be happy.”

    Then, he invited emissaries from the machines to the kingdom, so the people of the kingdom would learn of the machines.

    Lastly, he ordered the kingdom be searched for any fairies with wild magic, with any found brought to the castle, where he would teach them of their wild magic, and how to use it responsibly, and for the good of the kingdom.

    At the end of his first day as king, Sword visited the surface. He stretched his wings, soaring into the sky, where he watched the moon, and the stars. Change was coming. It was time for he asked Rose to become his queen.

    492 words
    @LurchMunster

    ReplyDelete
  3. @stellakateT
    355 words
    Challenge accepted

    The Gift

    Fingers trembling, she slowly unrolled the ancient document. The parchment reminded her of her mother’s skin, brown and crepe-like. She had sat at the bedside for days waiting for her mother to take her last breath, but the old crone just kept on wheezing and rattling. She hadn’t quite believed it when it was finally over and done with.

    She enjoyed planning the funeral, picking everything her mother would have hated. No mention of her beloved catholic faith, no sacraments, just a neighbour sprouting humanistic clap trap about being returned to the earth. When the mourners filed out the voice of Edit Piaf rang out with ‘Non, Je ne regrette rien’, the French words lost to most of them. She wanted to laugh out loud and dance down the street but common decency prevailed.

    She had dreamed of this day for decades. She had already cleared out the kitchen most of it going in the bin and a few pieces ear marked for Oxfam. The wardrobes in the four bedrooms were going to be a revelation. Her mother always wore designer classic pieces so most of it would be going on E-bay for a tidy profit. She must remember to look everywhere, under the beds, behind furniture, check if anything was taped to the bottom of drawers. Her mother was always devious.

    Thank goodness her brother was in Singapore and her sister in New Zealand and neither wanted to fly home to sort Mother’s possessions. They hadn’t bothered to attend the funeral they were just waiting for the will to go to probate and then pocket their inheritances. Poor mother, three ungrateful offspring but as they say ‘You reap what you sow’

    She felt the bile rise in her throat, muffling a scream, she felt dizzy and faint. Within the parchment was a letter from the solicitors. It read ‘According to your Mother’s instructions she wanted her children to be aware of her everlasting love for them’. The parchment had the names of each child and birth date entwined with hearts and roses. It was a tattoo removed from her mother’s body by the undertaker.



    ReplyDelete
  4. @jujitsuelf
    493 words
    Challenge not accepted -sorry!


    Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. Before he even had chance to read it, it was snatched from his hand.

    “Finch!” Martingale grumbled. “Careful, you ape, that’s thousands of years old.”

    “You think I don’t know that?” Finch sniped back, staring intently at the parchment. “What the hell does this gibberish mean?”

    “Did you expect it to be in English?” Martingale muttered under his breath, reverently taking back the scroll.

    Finch glared. “I expect you to fulfil your resume and translate the damn thing. That’s why I dragged your sorry scholarly ass all the way out here, if you recall? I certainly didn’t do it for the pleasure of your company. Read it, for God’s sake, I’m sweating like a pig.”

    It wasn’t surprising, Martingale mused as he tried to decipher the markings on the parchment. They were in the middle of a desert and Finch was wearing something akin to a 1930s twill safari outfit, all he was missing was a pith helmet and knee-length socks.

    The scribbles on the scroll began to make sense as actual words and a shiver of excitement traced its way down his spine. Maybe this was a love letter to Cleopatra or a military dispatch from Alexander. Perhaps a note from Patroclus declaring his undying love for Achilles or a letter penned by Caesar himself...the possibilities were endless.

    “Well?” Finch demanded. “What’s it say?”

    Martingale struggled not to laugh. Considering Finch had spent a fortune on research and hunting this thing down, the contents were unlikely to please him.

    “Um. It’s...well, it appears to be some kind of list...”

    “For God’s sake!” Finch yelled. “Will this thing make me rich?”

    Martingale lost his battle against laughter and had to sit down. “I doubt it,” he wheezed. “Unless you know anyone who wants a list of all the graffiti in Pompeii.”

    Finch blinked at him.

    Martingale picked up the scroll again and read from it.

    “‘Phileros is a eunuch! Epaphra, you are bald! The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian’.”

    Finch’s face purpled.

    “Oh this is a good one - ‘we have wet the bed, host. I confess we have done wrong. If you want to know why, there was no chamber pot’.” Cackling with glee now, Martingale went on. “This! Oh god, this is perfect. ‘Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they ever have before’.”

    He collapsed back onto the sand, holding his sides and hiccupping.

    Finch stared at him, his face twisted into disgusted defeat. “I spent over a million dollars searching for that? What am I supposed to do with it?”

    “Have a good laugh?” Martingale suggested flippantly, then guffawed some more as Finch stormed off. Ah, he might be stuck in the middle of a desert with an arrogant ass but at least he had amusing reading material. That was always a plus point to any job.

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  5. PROOF

    Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. Montana Brown gasped in disbelief as he read the faded Latin inscription. "Hic sunt dracones." He spoke the translation outloud. "Here are Dragons." The map showed the area that modern cartrographers had christened "The Bermuda Triangle. "No wonder so many vessels have vanished there." He mused. Finally he had a solid clue! He opened his notebook and swiftly transcribed the sailing directions included in the document. "Hold on Dad, I'm coming!" He shouted in relief. Early the next morning he chartered a small boat and put out to sea. The weather forecast had called for a clear day, so he was very surprised by the fog that suddenly billowed over the ocean. He activated the radar and continued on his course. Minutes later all of the instruments went wild. "Where the heck is all that interference coming from?" He wondered. The wind began to gust strongly and the day grew dim. A flash of lightning and a loud "BOOM!" announced the arrival of a thunderstorm. The darkness increased. The motor stuttered and died. He turned the key repeatedly without any luck. Wearing his life jacket he went aft and opened the engine compartment. He checked every connection with no result. "Darn it!" He started forward, over the sounds of waves hitting the boat and the shriek of the wind, he could hear a dull roaring. He thought he recognized it. "Breakers? Why would I be haring breakers, there isn't any land here?" He managed to get the spot light working.He was just in time to see that The Wanderer was headed straight for a jagged and rough shore line. With a jolt the boat crashed against the rocks. Montana was flung into the ocean. He started swimming, then he caught an in going wave and body surfed to shore. Exhausted, he collapsed on the damp sand, catching his breath.He felt warmth on his skin and realised that he was lying in the sun. He looked back towards the ship. The Wanderer had been pounded to pieces. "Well, I sure won't be getting home that way." He said sourly. He staggered erect and turned a full three hundred and sixty degrees. "What on earth?" He stood on an island in the eye of a huge storm. But there wern't any hurricanes in the Bermudas today!" He objected. He felt a tremor in the ground, seconds later he felt another. More tremors came, quickly getting closer and growing louder. "Now what?" He said in exasperation.

    Branches cracked and an enormous figure shouldered its way through the palm trees fringing the beach. Montana's jaw dropped in disbelief. The figure seated on the back of the brachiosaur waved at him and shouted. "Hello son, welcome to Atlantis!"

    Special Challenge Accepted
    468 Words @EmilyKarn1

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fingers trembling, she slowly unrolled the ancient document. Julie and her sisters had been packing up boxes for days, and today was the end – the last day her family would be in this house. She was off to college in the morning, and her siblings, all older, had been gone for a while now, building their own lives in their own houses. The crash that had taken their parents away was now months in the past, but still raw, still something her mind bumped into when she turned a mental corner too quickly.

    Julie was in the crawlspace – it was too small to be a proper attic – and she’d been walking down memory lane with her brother and sisters, trying to find the joy amongst the sorrow. There were random Christmas ornaments, and boxes of homework and report cards and photos – too many to look through in just an afternoon. And there were too many of mom and dad.

    It was dark in here, and hot, and the fiberglass dust made her itchy. The sweat running into her eyes began to burn, and from there it ran down her face, mixing with tears. It was just too much, sometimes.
    The box of her grandmother’s dishes, used once a year, for a while, and then stuck up here with the rest of history, caught on a rafter, and Julie had to crawl carefully – Remember, Julie! Don’t step between the beams or you’ll come through the ceiling! – to get it free. Reaching into the dark behind the box, her hand came upon something – rolled up and brittle. She eased it free and wiped the sweat from her forehead, and then from her hands onto her shorts, before opening it up. It had been torn from a book – a diary? – and was in her father’s blocky script.

    “Kate – I just met you today, but already I’m in love. I can’t wait – can’t wait for kids, and love, and vacations, and love, and old age, and love. As the Germans say, Ich leibe dich.”

    Julie rolled the paper back up and started for the ladder down from the crawlspace. She needed air, needed to cry, needed to yell, needed Tom and Lisa and Missy. But most of all, she needed her mom, needed to know what it was like on that day, and what it was like to know that there were no more tomorrows.

    401 words
    @drmagoo
    Special Challenge Accepted

    ReplyDelete
  7. @NadaNightStar
    500 words (exactly)
    Challenge accepted

    The Scroll

    Fingers trembling, she slowly unrolled the ancient document. The parchment was as fragile as it was old. A light scent of antiqueness mixed with the earth infiltrated her nostrils. Maya savoured the scent as a million thoughts and fears raced in her head.
    Rumours of her family’s roots had been the hot topic of late. Though it scared her which bits of what people said were true and which weren’t, she desperately needed to uncover the truth.
    She took a deep breath and exhaled, breathing out some of the fear and trembling from her body.
    She gulped and opened the ancient document before her.
    سترين النور يوماً
    ستعرفين من تكونين
    ومن نكون جميعاً!
    سنكون قد رحلنا
    وسِرُنا بين يديكي.
    اغلقي عينيكي
    وانتظري النور

    The words were written in breath-taking calligraphy. Artistically entrancing in their own way, Maya thought.
    The language was foreign but somehow it had suddenly passed down from generations and relations she had never met, seen or even heard of.
    She closed her eyes as the words replayed themselves in her mind.
    ‘One day you will see the light,
    You will know who you are;
    Who we all are.
    We will have gone,
    By then.
    Our secret will be in your hands.
    Close your eyes
    And wait for the light.’

    Maya did close her eyes. From an endless stream of blackness, a rainbow-coloured light flowed into her sight. She inhaled as she saw her parents, grandparents and many generations before them. They smiled; then they began to move away from one another. Their forms began to change.
    Each took a form that Maya, and anyone else, would have thought was a mere myth. A white light flooded each person as they transformed into otherworldly beings.
    There was some speech in the distance but Maya couldn’t tell who was speaking. When she gave in to the attempt, she realised that the speech was coming from the stream of white that swept over every member of her long-gone family.
    “Embrace us child,
    Open your heart and mind,
    Let them run free and wild.
    We have always been there;
    We are a family of creatures of air.
    Rise child, as a tree rises from the earth!
    Rise and spread the wings
    You’ve carried since your birth.”

    She watched the creatures take shape. When the last was done, in one voice that echoed in her mind, they said “Rise! And come to us!”

    Maya opened her eyes. Tears had involuntarily left them, sliding down her cheeks. Her surroundings were dark but she saw that there was a light ahead, one she never noticed before; an opening leading directly to the night sky.
    “Rise!” They had said.
    She took a deep breath; she didn’t know what form she was meant to take. But somehow her body knew what to do. Inhaling again, she felt wings emerging from her back. Her body twitched, a white light bathed her and she took off into the night.
    A lizard of old, a mighty dragon to behold.

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    Replies
    1. I included a sort-of poem. Hope that's ok.

      Delete
  8. Mislead

    Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. A map. It had to be. What else could it be? He was meant to find this, it held the answers.

    When the first sliver of dawn had crept over the horizon he headed toward the rocky cove where his boat had shattered into a thousand shards during the storm. This area was new for coconut hunting and elation swept through him at the copious amount that hung high above him. There, while shaking trees he had come across the hidden catacomb.

    A soft thunk sounded after a coconut landed in the middle of the tree cluster. He stared at it for a moment before he grabbed the handmade shovel and hustled over to the lone coconut. After he tossed it toward the pile underneath the shady palm trees he began to dig.

    Half a day later the hatch was uncovered but stuck. He jimmied the thing open with the tip of his shovel snapping it in the process.
    The hole was shallow, maybe five feet deep. In the center of the small room was a tomb. On top of it was a tiny wooden box. After searching for any other treasures he left with only the box.

    Back at the makeshift homestead he opened the box, inside was the tiny little scroll. One good gust of wind would turn the paper into dust but that didn’t stop him from opening it. This was his salvation, the answer to getting off this cursed island.

    But there was no map. Only five little words.

    a uet mucul a xicin

    All he could do was stare. This didn’t make any sense. Those words meant nothing to him. Would never mean anything to him. What kind of answer could be hidden in these tiny crooked letters that could help him get home?

    He chucked the scroll into the fire.

    “You stupid piece of paper!”

    The flames made quick work of the scroll. A scream tore through his throat and was lost to the vast ocean that surrounded him. Disappeared into the crashing waves.

    He paced between the fire and the shoreline. His hands clenched and unclenched, then went through his hair before making more fists. That scroll was the answer. It had been destiny.

    But it was nothing.

    He stopped and stared out at the ocean. That dark horizon was his constant reminder of everything that was out of reach.
    What happened next surprised him. He laughed.

    “You guys thought you were so funny! Travel the Bermuda Triangle, they said. It’ll be fun.” He laughed even louder. “Oh yeah, it’s a blast!”

    He collapsed onto the sand, caught between the moonlight and firelight, exhausted and on the verge of tears. And there he laid until he was no longer laughing.

    Caitlin
    @WBCbrblog
    Word Count: 466
    Special Challenge: Accepted

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fingers trembling, she slowly unrolled the ancient document. Dad would be furious if he knew she was getting her hands on these artifacts without him. But after withholding information about the excavation and hiding the discovery of the chamber entrance from them in the first place, he deserved to be undermined a little in return. Dad would never have found these chambers without Jamison’s directions; he had every right to be down here before the archeologists. And of course, as Jamison’s assistant, she was all too happy to tag along, look at statues, fondle artifacts, and read scrolls.

    Holding this one in the halo of light the lantern cast on the pedestal she examined the delicate ink marks. Twenty-six positions marked out in a circle, almost like the face of a clock, with a mermaid in the center. Courtney grinned, she immediately recognized her as the goddess, Feorna. Unfurling the scroll completely revealed a series of figures portraying each step of an elaborate dance. The realization of why this diagram was familiar caused a gleeful flutter in her stomach. It was the dance for the winter solstice. “It was a dance involving 26 people, two for each month in the Rinald calendar. They stood in a circle around the statue of Feorna. The person who symbolized when the rains came the current year would stand facing the west, the person for the previous year stood facing east, the year before that stood facing north, and the year prior to that stood south. It was an intricate dance, very beautiful, and when it finished, the person who stood facing west foretold when the rains would come the next year.” That was how a Rinald expert had explained it to the inquisitive, wide-eyed girl begging to be told about the legends of old.

    Her eyes roved over the tiny black letters, familiar in shape, but still indecipherable to her, craving to know more. She looked over her shoulder at her lanky partner, who was gawking at the lines chiseled into a pillar.
    “Jamison,” she called for his attention, bringing both lantern and parchment to interrupt his work, “this scroll about Paradython’s rain dance, can you see if it mentions how the ritual itself was introduced?” Tearing his focus away to glance at the document she held out, Jamison raised an eyebrow, casting a bemused glance at Court.
    “Where did you see this?”
    “It was the first scroll on …” she began, gesturing to a rack of scrolls near the wall.
    “No, Miss Smarty-pants, how does a doll like you know what this is?” Jamison interrupted. Courtney pulled her shoulders back, lifting her chin proudly.
    “I have my sources. Now does this have any answers I will care about?”
    “Nah, put it back for your Father to find. All those documents will end up on my desk anyway. We have bigger things to uncover,” he said, snatching the lantern from her to shed more light on his own work.

    Word count: 496
    asekingprinces17@yahoo.com

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. Its edges had worn thin with time, the inked characters almost fading before his eyes as the lantern light exposed their hidden message for the first time in centuries. Black dots crowded his vision and his temples throbbed. ‘Breathe,’ he had to remind himself. Slowly the throbbing ebbed away and he continued unfurling the cracked papyrus.

    “What did you find?” the ever-present secretary inquired from behind his shoulder. Jamison threw a glare at her before returning his attention to peeling open the document. Thankfully, Courtney could take a hint. She stepped back a pace and turned her attention to a rack of scrolls along the chamber wall, the lantern light just barely illuminating the leathery rolls.

    His whole life’s work had been dedicated to this moment. The seminars, the books, the dusty articles on forgotten library shelves, interview upon interview with archeologists, researching countless fairy tales of legends that held more truth than anyone could have guessed--- all of it had been to prove that this ancient technological civilization existed. This ancient paper found wedged into the Book of Knowledge would solve it all.

    Brows furrowed, Jamison bent doubled-over the gilded stand that the ancient novel rested upon, his 6’7” height much of a nuisance in this tiny cavern. The language of the scroll was all but dead in this day and age, but not impossible to decipher for the Rinald expert. Tracing the characters in a caress with his long fingertip, he struggled to translate the first sentence.

    “Οκτώ κιλά ψάρια και δύο μπούσελ πατατών,” he read slowly. He blinked.

    “Need a translation for that?” Courtney quipped from her side of the room. Jamison glanced at her, then down at the papyrus, then back at her again in bafflement. He regained his composure into its natural sulk.

    Immediately, her curiosity peaked and she hurried over. “Well, what does it say?” she asked breathlessly.

    “It’s the answer,” he said sarcastically after a dramatic pause.
    “The answer to what?”
    “THE answer. To life, the universe, everything!”

    Courtney’s cheeks glowed with excitement. “Really? Is it really? Well tell me, what does it say?!?!”

    Jamison thrust the paper in her face, his features contorting into a deep scowl. “Eight pounds of fish and two bushels of potatoes. Some low-life Rinald scribe was using a receipt as a bookmark.”


    mary.lynne90@yahoo.com
    393 Words
    Special Challenge included

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    Replies
    1. Accidentally posted under the husband's Google account, but I think I got it all deleted. This is the real one!

      Delete
  12. Fingers trembling, he slowly unrolled the ancient document. The symbols that covered the parchment were of a foreign language, with shapes and lines that did not resemble any kind of letter that he had ever seen. Yet with widened eyes he scanned the pages as if he knew every word written, nose pressed so close to the paper that he could smell the dust that layered it.

    Quickly he placed the document on a rock and lowered to his knees while he flattened it out against the solid surface. He tried spreading the curled ragged edges against the stone as if straightening the pages would somehow decipher the text. Then without another moment’s thought, he immediately went to work.

    Dropping the pack before him, he whipped out his notebook and a pencil. Although these were symbols he had never encountered in his life, something inside him urged him to read the manuscript and forced him to understand it. His fingers danced against his notebook paper as the knowledge came into him. He read and he knew without knowing how.

    There was a throbbing in his temples, as if someone were drumming their thumbs against them to make unbearably painful music. He strained to read the symbols. They marched and swerved, making focusing difficult. They mocked and laughed at him because of his ignorance – his struggle to read them. But his determination whitened his knuckles and pained his fingers as the words flew off of the parchment and into his mind.

    His hair clung to the sweat of his forehead and before he knew, his arms were heavy and sore. He raised up from the crouched posture he held and stood on knees that were now bloodied and ragged. The light from his lantern was very dim and his eyes sagged with fatigue.

    How long was he here? He looked at his hands scraped raw with patches of dried blood. His lantern was almost empty. His pack was ravaged with its contents spread everywhere and his clothes stained with dirt and sweat. His hair was no longer neatly tied behind him, but instead wildly falling over his shoulders, his back, and curling along the sweaty edges of his face. His breathing had turned into a shallow panting as he looked down at the document he had discovered and his translated copy.

    His breathing changed. His demeanor changed. He held his breath, frozen in place as he read the words that he had written on the copied sheet.They made little sense, he knew. Each word was different from the last, but somehow the correlation was familiar to him. They told him something that no one else would ever know.

    Because the words were for him.

    The parchment came to him.

    Chose him.

    His body sunk into hunch and he stretched over the document, gravity seeming to pull him to it. What had to be done was clear. This was what he was searching for.

    And he would have to finish it.

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