Monday, April 6, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-40




Welcome to April (in case you missed it)! I hope you had a blessed Easter celebration. With a quarter of this year in the past, I have to tell you that I'm behind on my goals. If you see me around - especially on facebook - tell me to get off and get back to work. :) Now go check out that prompt and write a story!



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Clive Tern. Read his winning tale from last week here! Clive writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories from a secret redoubt in rural Perthshire, Scotland. When not writing, reading, educating (his two oldest children are home educated), or caring (various health issues in the family, from Epilepsy to autism to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), he likes to plan a menu, don his chefs jacket, and pretend to be the next Masterchef. He’s currently working on two projects, both collections of short stories. the first is to be a cycle of fifty stories, one for each US state - a challenge for someone who has never been there. The other is a collection of tales set on a non-earth world with a vague steampunk ethic - a challenge for someone who has never been there. Follow him on twitter @clivetern, and spot his occasional gripes about how hard writing is at www.clivetern.com.






 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-40 is:


It was the night of a blood red moon.





 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Use an alien protagonist, on Earth.





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!






9 comments:

  1. Frayne’s Sacrifice
    @laurenegreene
    490 words

    It was the night of a blood red moon. His fourth trip to Earth to look for Basha. Frayne hated this place. Last time he’d come, he landed right in a drone path. Took all his power to steer his ship to safety. He couldn’t understand a whole world intent on killing each other.

    He stumbled around in the dark, staring up at the moon. The last of four blood red moons from 2014 to 2015. He knew the Christians of the earth thought this was religiously significant. Frayne laughed at that, shaking his head at their lack of astronomical knowledge. They’d been using Christianity to explain natural phenomena for centuries. He didn’t know what Basha saw in these earth people, and he was sick of looking for her. She needed to take her rightful place next to him on the throne of Planet Bingo, where they would rule and reproduce as necessary, and then their little spawn would take over after their time was up. Until he found her, their duty could not be fulfilled and he would feel incomplete.

    The red barn stood at the edge of the field. The farmhouse was in the distance, lights dancing in the windows. He snuck up to the house, and folded down upon himself until his knees were touching the grass. He placed his hands on the edge of the window frame and peeked into the house.

    Basha was in the kitchen, making a meal. She was moving as he’d never seen anyone move before, swaying her hips. The human man walked up behind her, and what was he holding? Was that a baby human? Frayne saw the paleness of the baby’s skin and the truth hit him like a penny falling from a hundred foot building. Basha had reproduced with this earthling. He glanced back through the window, and as he was about to turn and walk away the screen door opened.

    “Frayne—come out from behind there. I can sense your presence, you know.”

    Frayne unfolded his seven foot body and stomped over to Basha.

    “We were to be married. You could have had this on Bingo.”

    She shook her head, and he noticed she was holding the half-earthling, its little fists waving in the air.

    “I could never have this, Frayne. The earthlings believe in family.
    There’s is a love so eternal; I can feel it in my core.”

    “You’ve seen the wars, same as I have.”

    “They fight because they’re so passionate. It is something you could never understand, unless you let yourself live as one. They love as no others love.”

    “I don’t understand this thing you call love.”

    “It’s a feeling—something you can’t touch.”

    “I’ll tell the council you died,” Frayne said.

    “You’ll do that for me?”

    “It’s what you want.”

    She walked back toward the dim light of the farmhouse, but turned around to look at Frayne one more time.

    “That’s love, Frayne.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, special challenge accepted. :-)

      Delete
  2. Returning home
    @studyleaks
    499 words
    special challenge accepted!

    It was finally the night of the blood red moon. He had stayed awake for weeks to see it as he had failed to decipher exactly when it would occur. His head was pounding heavily, but his heart was light with hope. Soon it would be time.

    The creatures’ footsteps clattered and echoed loudly, as they passed him on the concrete sidewalk, while his were but a faint whisper only he could feel as his atoms dipped in and out of the sidewalk he passed over and through.

    How did people really connect? he wondered, as he gazed up towards the enormous orange orb, hanging low in the sky. He crossed the street and headed for the sand. It felt warm from the day that had passed and the air was thick with the scent of flowers. He merged with the sea and the coral; he swam through and with the waves. He could feel the moisture of the salty water flowing into him and through him.

    The moon was growing rapidly smaller and in a few minutes, it would be time – he could return home again. He imagined his unit, where they would download the information captured, the sensations, the sharp burning feeling he had experienced when he stepped onto a sea urchin, and how the atoms around that spot had throbbed and spread like a drop of water into a larger lake. He would share the sounds of the waves – huge amounts of water, rolling and smashing down particle after another, grinding the small pebbles into fine grit, into finer sand, washing up and down and back and forth again in a never-ending ballet and symphony.

    He would forgo this shape he’d been given for the journey, and rejoin with the unit. He longed to embrace the joy of being a flow, a stream, a cloud of united energy.

    “Mister? You really wanna know?” His eardrums vibrated pleasantly as the high-pitched voice addressed him. He glanced around, and found it finally in a small sized form, whose eyes were big and trusting. Up to now, he hadn’t been seen.
    “Yes,” he replied.
    “Like this” said the child, and reached out her hand to his.

    The sensation was electrifying. All his nerves gathered at that place where she touched him. He gasped and had to steady himself not to back away. This data would be priceless. It was a million times stronger than the pain or the crash of the waves.

    The little girl placed her pink lips to his cheek. His heart exploded into a million pieces and he became one with the girl, the people around him, and the ground which suddenly felt solid beneath his feet.

    As the moon turned its darkest crimson, at the moment of total eclipse, while his unit called to him to return to them - he willed his atoms to retain this form and shape.

    The blood red moon would never mean the same thing again.
    He was home now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Spoiled,

    It was the night of a blood red moon. Great, every time I see it all I can think of is how arrogant and incompetent the set makers are.

    A drunken revealer comes too close. I whack him in the head with my cane. Anomaly corrected. I continue walking through the crowded streets.

    I asked for an azure moon. Who knew that would such a difficult request. Of course, once the ear-breathers put up the wrong moon, they claimed that is what I ordered. Too bad I kept copies of that work order.

    I cut through an alley. Two cats crash into me while fighting. I grab them and morph their bodies into one. Anomaly created.

    But then the arrogance started. The foreman said it was a blood moon. Then the director admitted it wasn’t, but they told me my request was wrong. Imagine the nerve. Here I care for the creatures on this planet. I let them flourish. I provide the right conditions for their species to survive. But, I was wrong about the biggest object they think exists?

    A woman asks if I’d like to get a t-shirt in exchange for signing up for a credit card. I throw her into a nearby dumpster.

    The part that annoys me the most is how this is meant to be my playhouse. Sis wanted a pony, and she got it. All I ever wanted was my own world to care for. I am the benevolent power behind their planet. I told my folks I would take care of it and love it more than anyone could. And I treat them better than any should.

    A destitute man, a veteran from his sign, shakes a can at me as I pass. I pull out a few thousand in his currency and toss it toward him. The wind catches is and sends parts of it through the skid row. The others race for it and soon fights break out throughout the area.

    Sometimes a good ruler shares in the spoils. And sometimes, you just want to see the whole place burn. I’d stay to watch the fun, but I promised to get my homework done. I step into the nail salon and head for the transporter I keep in the back.

    @michaelsimko1
    381 words
    Challenge Accepted

    ReplyDelete
  4. Foy S. Iver
    @fs_iver

    WC: 337

    Alien Invader

    “It was the night of a blood red moon.”

    “No, it wasn’t at all.”

    I hear their voices first. The plastic bucket they’ve dropped over my head colors my skin red and increases the humidity 1,000%. I suck in stale air and remember that week on the asteroid I almost ran out of oxygen. The organism that is me reacts, increasing fluid flow and upping hormonal secretion rates by 50%. I hate tiny spaces. Need to focus.

    “You weren’t even there when we picked it up, what do you know?” The whiny one says and his somber compatriot replies, “I know it was three moons ago and at that time, our Lady of Luminescence was waning gibbous.”

    “I’ll wane your Gibbous!”

    “Enough.” A third voice cuts them off. This one is deep like an underground lake where eyeless fish crawl to tar-black shores and nibble on the bodies of starved bats. “Where was it found?”

    Snivels pipes up, “Ten clicks outside of Area 51.”

    “Does it speak?” Lake-Doom again.

    Silence. Then some shuffling.

    “We hadn’t thought to check.” This time it’s Mr. Precision who answers.

    “That would be expecting far too much of my subordinates’ intellect, wouldn’t it?”

    There’s movement my direction. In preparation, my muscles tense. The bucket is yanked from my head and instantly, light dries my eyesight up to pin pricks. My captors are dark globules in front of me.

    “By the Suns, it’s ugly!” Snivels says, I assume referring to me.

    “It’s breathing apparatus juts out so inconveniently,” Precision adds, his Jell-O form wobbling closer.

    “It’s practically opaque.”

    “Where’s its blow-hole?”

    “I don’t think it has one…”

    “Silence!” Lake-Doom’s voice echoes throughout the interrogation chamber and I half expect stalactites to drop from nowhere.

    “Where are you from, Creature?” he asks in the welcome stillness. I wonder if I should answer that. It would break protocol but so has everything else I’ve done up ‘til now, returning to my home planet, abandoning the contaminated vessel, staging my capture.

    “I’m from here. From Earth.”



    ReplyDelete
  5. @weylyn42 414 words Special Challenge accepted

    Silent Night

    It was the night of a blood red moon. The planet's shadow began to slowly smother the reflected light from the satellite. Wen lowered itself to the ground, carefully brushing aside the sharp detritus that could puncture the weave that protected it from this foreign atmosphere.

    The light of the star was too bright for Wen's eyes, and some readings and surveillance were better captured by natural sight than through the sensors and machines. And truthful, Wen liked the sensation of observing with its own eyes. Orin would argue that sensors and readings were superior in accuracy, but then Orin never was the poetic sort.

    A breeze stirred the leaves, and Wen adjusted the settings on its suit to let in sound as well as sight. A slight whistle as the gusts brushed through the flora of this place was the reward. And underneath, a tone, almost musical, coming from one of the structures.

    A glance at the moon, still half lit, and a glance at the structure, forty paces, maybe forty-five. There was time to get there before the light grew too dim to safely move.

    Wen pushed itself up, turned eyes to the ground, and stepped deliberately to the structure, reminding itself that just because the gravity was less than the transport standard, it didn't make traveling less hazardous.

    The sound emanated from behind a wall of leaves, now franticly dancing in the wind. Wen pulled out a structural identifier, and found a door around the corner. The bottom of the door was caved in, but the top held firm. Wen untangled the lush green vines from the hinge, and took a quick glance at the moon. Quarter full, good enough.

    Carefully pushing the door out of the way, Wen finally saw what was making the noise. Some sort of decoration, yet untouched by the spreading tendrils, set away from the walls. Small tubes of metal bounced against one another in the wind.

    Wen moved closer and wrapped a hand around the oddly shaped piece hanging in the middle, and the sound stopped.

    The light outside the structure faded full red, and Wen held still, feeling the slight pull of the star, planet and satellite aligned.

    The moment passed, and Wen breathed again, releasing the metal windcatcher to sing once more. Orin would call Wen overly-romantic, but on a night like this Wen could imagine this simple instrument was speaking for the planet's inhabitants, carrying the voices of the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. --Part of a WIP I'm working on--

    It was the night of a blood red moon. According to the legends of Mirja'a's people, it was during nights like these where the rivers would flow with the blood of their enemies.

    It was also a night like this when the Bijeszlo attacked so many years ago, when the blood of Strijela flowed freely, saturating the ground and water.

    The time for revenge was at hand. It was a special blessing from Upinde indeed that would give the Strijela a blood red moon on the same night as Sha'donar. The holy celebration before battle took on a deeper, more personal meaning this night.

    Mirja'a tested the tautness of the string of her bow as she listened to the singing and drumming of the priests and priestesses. She would make an appearance soon, before her people, before they began their march north to the territories of the hated Bijeszlo.

    Setting her bow aside, she picked up her hakta and tested the edge with the pad of her thumb. A thin line of red blossomed across her skin. Satisfied, Mirja'a pressed harder, causing blood to pool along the edge. Once there was enough along the blade, she used her thumb to mark her face with her lifeblood, across her cheeks, forehead, and chin. The tang of iron settled around her, but she didn't mind.

    Carefully, Mirja'a held the blade out in the small fire in front of her, letting the heat burn away the last vestiges of her blood and cleansing it. The remnants of her blood bubbled, burned, then flaked away, leaving the knife sparkling and pure. The next blood that her sacred hakta would taste would be that of a Bijeszlo.

    The music from the holy people of Strijela was beginning to crescendo and Mirja'a was expected to appear soon. She murmured a quick but earnest prayer to Upinde as she gathered her various weapons.

    It was time. The people of Holy Upinde would get their revenge and the rivers would flow red again. Soon the Bijeszlo would discover the consequences of their actions. Soon, Mirja'a's parents would be vindicated, once and for all.

    @MLGammella
    355 Words

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glark the Collector

    It was the the night of a blood red moon. Glark knew that on this planet it was a rare event, but she found it reminiscent of the Homeworld. Almost as if this planet was apologising for the sentients upon it. She had found little to Collect here. The low gravity of this world made her movements uncharacteristically graceful, and she enjoyed the way she flowed through the city. By now the creatures that inhabited the planet had largely come to accept her presence, and had stopped trying to bombard her with their various primitive weaponry. The thermonuclear weapons had been unexpected - only rarely did civilisations go down that route. But Glark was an experienced Collector, and had neutralised them all before there was excessive damage to the biosphere. Their presence brought into stark highlight the paltriness of what was available to her on this mission.

    She let her tendrils go where they would, phasing through the various structures that separated her from the timid beings. As always, the sensitive tips would delicately brush their consciousnesses, copying a sampling of their experiences. Glark had found it best to discard the feelings accrued after her arrival - she had caused too much fear and panic - but was was still surprised at how much hurt, hate and anger they caused themselves and each other. Even with the few rudimentary forms of communication at their disposal, the bulk of their memories were unsuitable for Collecting. It was if they thrived on malevolence!

    Glark paused in her task, struck by sudden inspiration. Over the eons, she had Collected many uplifting memories... as that was indeed her whole reason for existing. Perhaps it was time that they were shared not just with her creators, but also with the entities she visited. It was unorthodox she knew, but the way this race treated itself just wasn’t right. Admittedly their sensory array was lacking (perhaps this was the cause of their meanness of spirit?) but she was sure that the joy of a skell-turkle’s first swim, the exhilaration of a T’singik hatching ceremony, and the the countless other experiences she had Collected would find some translation into their emotions. She had to try, for their sake.

    When next her tentacles reached out, they gathered what she sought, but also lingered for a moment, depositing a selection of memories from other worlds. Think of it as payment Glark told their race. Even though it is Other, it will guide you towards a better form of humanity.

    424 words
    @davejamesashton
    Special Challenge Accepted

    ReplyDelete
  8. @CMAstfalk
    497 words
    Challenge accepted.

    Busted

    It was the night of a blood red moon. Allyson’s bare arms shivered as she lay against the vinyl-coated lounge chair. A mosquito landed on her left forearm, and she batted it away. She brushed another from her hair, and three swats later, she gave up and went inside.

    Disappointed that she’d miss the relaxing evening she’d anticipated, she retreated to the bathroom with a bottle of foaming bubble bath and a goblet of red wine.

    She drizzled the pearlescent pink liquid into the hot water and swirled it with her foot. Steam escaped, and condensation obscured her reflection in the mirror. She lowered herself into the tub, sighing as the water lapped around her arms and chest.

    Quickly twisting her hair, she knotted it above her head, sunk deeper into the water, and closed her eyes.

    What seemed like moments later, but must have been longer based on the shriveled pads of her fingertips, a loud and insistent rap at the bathroom window woke her.

    Her heart leapt into her throat. A shadow darkened the privacy window.

    Springing to her feet, she nearly slid on the slick tub ledge as she reached for her towel.

    The shadow loomed larger and darker outside the second story window.

    She blotted the water from her legs and torso and clutched the towel as she fled for her bedroom. She snatched her cell phone from the nightstand and swiped at the front, jabbing numbers with a shaky hand.

    She waited for the operator to pick up.

    Nothing.

    She glanced at the display. Blackness. Her battery had died.

    A scraping noise came from the bathroom, as if the window were being lifted. Something clattered and crashed to the floor.

    She glanced around for something to use as a weapon. Her gaze landed on her ten-year-old Kessel run trophy. The fake marble and metallic-looking plastic felt heavy in her hand.

    She hoisted it above her head and waited as footsteps shuffled toward her from the bathroom.

    “Freeze!”

    The trophy hovered over the head of tow-headed boy, no more than ten.

    The boy raised his hands. “Don’t hurt me, please.”

    He bent his head for protection, but his blue eyes peered up from beneath lashes wet with tears.

    His eyes widened. “I’m sorry. It was a dare. They said you. . . they said you were . . . one of them.”

    Alyssa lowered the trophy and exhaled. She propped a hand on her hip, and a smile spread across her face.

    “One of them, huh?”

    The boy’s neck craned up, and he nodded.

    “Here.” She handed the phone to him. "Take a picture and send it to your cell. Go on. Might as well get credit for what you’ve done.”

    With an unsteady arm, he snapped a picture, and quickly forwarded it before handing back the phone.

    “Now, go.”

    He scurried down her stairs. The front door slammed.

    She glanced at her phone. At least he’d gotten a good shot of her “Tatooine is for lovers” tattoo.

    ReplyDelete