CWWC 2016: FINAL CHALLENGE

cwwc-2016

half-blood

WOW. Already the last challenge and let me just start off by saying how proud I am of my team. Last challenge we had several members include all 24 of the prompts and made a ridiculous comeback! Don’t count us half-bloods out of the race yet!

So, for this last challenge, since we haven’t pulled ahead completely, I’m going to do another brand new story, this time using all 27 prompts. So…yeah…brace yourselves:-)

Daydreams and Bad Memories

d53a13374d4c475534ac44f2ea7f28bfIt is cunning, they told us. It is brave. It is brutal. It is relentless. And it is hunting us, at least, that’s what they said. I never believed them. Never had reason to, that is, until he went missing.

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Logan’s disappearance was all over the headlines. It was the talk of the town. The talk of the state even. And because of his disappearance, I finally believed in the faeries.

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They were rumored to be giants of an almost translucent epidermis. Roaming the woods around the graveyard, devouring anyone who dared enter their domain, they were almost considered ghosts. But no one had ever seen them and lived to tell the tale, so I dismissed them as nothing but folklore.

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The stories always started the same; No one ever comes back if they stray past the border, what lies beyond is unknown and deadly. 

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These stories were believed by everyone so intensely that a sign was even posted at the edge of the forest next to the graveyard. Here be faeries it read, for people believed that they inhabited the forest and simply hunted the graveyards.

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This is where the term haunted came from; and unusually, most people associate the term to houses. But not all haunted places are houses, I actually know of more graveyards that are considered haunted than I do of houses.

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But there is one spooky house in particular that has rightfully earned the title of Haunted House. It’s the house that Logan lived in. Well, the one that he lived in before he disappeared. It had locks on every door, and also on every door, were the words “The World’s Not Safe Anymore” on the inside and out.

Prompt2

Logan was one of the people who believed in the faeries. He called himself a Ferryman, telling me that Mirrors are passages to fantastic worlds, guarded by creatures called the Ferryman.  I never understood that. Was he calling himself a “creature” and talking about actual mirrors? Or was it a riddle?

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Mirror Lake is located not far from the Faerie Forest and is famous for being the shallowest lake in all the world. It spreads for miles and miles but only comes up to one’s knees, never drains, and never gets deeper. And at night, the most beautiful and exotic fireflies come from no where. It has always been a mystery.

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One night, by only the light of a candle, I went to Mirror Lake thinking that Logan wanted me to go there. But when I got to the place that the lake was supposed to have been, I never found water. It was as if the lake had dried up completely, but I knew it was impossible.

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Taking more steps as I spun around, confused of where I was, I felt myself falling. For a split second, the feeling knocked me off balance and I fell to my hands and knees. I knew I hadn’t stepped in a hole so I looked up in confusion; and my breath stopped when I saw daylight. I was in a warm forest.

Prompt 3

I panicked and rolled away from the strange tree that was not there before and almost lost consciousness when I felt a wave of dizziness. Landing back on my stomach, I blinked a few times before I examined my surroundings. They had changed again. I was now laying on asphalt in ice.

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My breathing sped up and I jolted to my feet. Once standing, I was back in the empty lake. I was freaking out so I ran. I ran straight towards the graveyard, my feet slapping the concrete path.

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Suddenly, right in front of me on the path, a tombstone rose out of the ground. I slowed to a stop and read the words. “Here lies a man who was not of this earth” then below those words it had a name. Logan Johnson.

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At the name, I startled out of my daydream. I was alone in the classroom, again. Logan Johnson. His name was always in my thoughts and in the center of my daydreams, but not usually in these types of stories. In fact, I had never had a daydream turn scary on me like that, they were mostly feel good stories that I wished would come true.

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Looking down at my desk, I saw my writing assignment for the week. It was one sentence, “She needed a hero, so that’s what she became”. I rolled my eyes, it was so cliche. I hated these writing assignments because I knew I was so much better than what they allowed me to be.

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“Since you’re still here and all, you wanna help me with my writing assignment?”

I jumped at the voice behind me and turned to see who it belonged to.

Logan Johnson stood in the doorway leaning on the doorframe, that stupid smirk that always made my heart jump, plastered to his face.

“I-I-I can’t help you.”

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“Why not? I’v read your stories, they’re pretty darn amazing. I could really use your help.”

“B-b-because, you know who I am. I can’t help you.”

Prompt1

“Look, I don’t care about all that family feud business. You’re good at writing, I’m bad, I need help and I need it by this Friday. You’re the only one in this class that I’m interested in asking for help from.”

“Okay. What was your assignment?”

He walked over and laid the picture on my desk. It was a girl reading to a very pretty dragon in front of a huge waterfall.

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“Where do you wanna start?” I asked, suddenly aware of how close he stood to me.

“I don’t know, can you start it the way you started your story of the girl with the blue butterflies? I really liked that one.”

My mouth fell open, “You read that one?”

He smiled, “Yeah, I did. Wasn’t supposed to, but I did anyways.”

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I shook my head and let the matter fall, “So like I opened my butterfly story? Like with her talking to the butterflies? Except with a dragon?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay.”

I grabbed a pencil and wrote down on the paper he laid in front of me, “She called out his name in the silence like he would actually hear, like he would actually care.

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“That can be from the book she’s reading to the dragon right?” He asked, surprisingly being able to read my mind. I nodded.

“Cool, make the book she’s reading be medieval with bows and swords.” Again I nodded and added.

Peeking around the house with bow in hand, she watched his fading figure disappear from view, longing to bring him back.” 

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“What’s this?” he interrupted my train of thought, holding a box.

Recognizing my *supposed to be* hidden memory box, I turned red and answered quietly, “It’s my memory box.”

“Why does it say ‘bad memories’?”

“Because most of the memories are bad.”

“Can I look in it? Or do you want me to put it back?”

“You can look in it. I don’t care.”

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The first thing he pulled out was a picture of me and my two sisters. I was in the middle, not looking very happy because I hadn’t wanted to take the picture at the time.

“Why is this a bad memory?”

“Because both of my sisters died.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

I shrugged. “It’s okay, ya get used to it after a while.”

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The next thing he pulled out was a jar half-filled with that sour sugar powder that I used to love eating.

“Is that-?”

“Sour sugar? Yes.”

“How on earth can that be a bad memory?”

“That jar was the first thing I ever stole. It was so easy that it started a chain reaction and eventually, before that jar was ever gone, I ended up in jail for a whole 3 days. It was torture.”

He just blinked and set the jar down on the desk.

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The next thing he examined was a piece of paper that had the two sentences that often haunted me written on it. She leaned over the edge of the roof and inhaled deeply. The air was more fresh up there and the moon and stars seemed brighter and she finally looked free.

After he finished reading it, he looked at me and raised an eyebrow, expecting me to explain.

Sighing, I gave in to his wonder, “That was what ran through my mind 3 seconds before my sister fell off the roof. She died that night. She was really sick and never got to do anything; I talked her into getting on the roof because it would make her feel better. And I was right. But she died.”

His whole demeanor changed and he set the box down.

“Ashley, you’re amazing. I know you probably don’t realize it because of how clouded your mind is, but you are. To anyone who would ever look in that box, they would think everything was fine and dandy and that you have tons of amazing memories and you know what? You do. Yes they seem to end badly and its okay to be sad, but if you focus on the good part of those memories, instead of the bad, I bet you’d feel better.

The picture of you and your sisters; look at their facial expressions. You can see how much they love you and you can feel their feelings of the moment.” A weak smile grazed my lips as I studied the picture.

“The sour sugar; come-on you’ve got to smile every time you imagine that amazing taste!” The smile grew and I turned away to stifle a giggle.

“And that memory of your sister, finally feeling free. Yeah, it may rip your heart out every time you think about how she died, but if you remember what you wrote down; that she finally felt free; that you helped her do something that she loved; that will make you smile.

Don’t dwell on the bad Ashley. Live off the good!”

With tears in my eyes I looked back at him and threw my arms around his neck. He really had no idea what his words had just freed in me.

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CWWC 2016: Challenge#8

cwwc-2016

half-blood

Unfortunately, Team Half-Blood is falling seriously behind the other teams when concerning points (aka we are losing) and I missed challenge 7. So, I am going to take this challenge and write a totally new story using all 24 prompts to bring up the point count and give the other teams a run for their money! And yes, there are 24 prompts included in this story!

So having said that, brace yourself for a long story, though I will try my best not write a book:)

Worse Than an Alien

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Misunderstood to my grave. So misunderstood was I, that they actually believed I died. But I didn’t, I’m still here, unfortunately. The only people who cared enough to bury “my body” and give me a stone were Jamie and Johnny Hide, but even they had their limits of understanding me. Though they were my only friends, they believed that I was, or rather am as I’m still alive, an alien of sorts. But the truth is so much scarier.

Gazing from my perch on the cliff that overlooks the graveyard, my unnaturally keen eyesight allows me to watch Jamie and Johnny as they stare at the stone they placed over my grave. I suppose that they were trying to compliment me when they had “Here lies a man who was not of this earth” marking my place of rest, but it just aggravates me more.

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I’ve lived here on the cliff for the week since I’ve “passed” and some people have seen me, calling me a “ghost” before running away. That’s why I live here, because I can’t redeem my reputation when everyone only sees me as the ghost of a strange creature.

Not all haunted places are houses, as everyone so naturally assumes, but often graveyards too. But what people also assume to be “haunted” aren’t really haunted at all, simply misunderstood and dramatized. As is in my case.

What am I? Well, that requires a bit of a lengthy tale, so if you’re interested in hearing it, take a seat, I’ll share it. But just know, my tale could leave you with feelings of joy or feelings of utter terror, it depends on who you are as a person.

***

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My story begins in a place unknown. Maybe not to you, you may know exactly where the Amazon Rainforest is, but I had never heard of it before, until I woke up in the dead center of it.

Laying face down on top of giant tree roots, with my head barely an inch away from a water stream, I was lucky I didn’t drown. I had no memory of anything. Not my name, not my home, not even my species. I knew nothing, except that I had to eat and drink in order to sustain myself.

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Raising myself up to better see my surroundings, I gasped when I saw giant creatures made from a smoke like substance. They would blow away, vanishing altogether, only to reappear when the smoke gathered again somewhere else. They went wherever the wind commanded them, as if they had no mind of their own.

Not knowing any better, I leapt to my feet and staggered quickly after their vanishing forms. Unsure of why I felt the need to follow them, I just knew, somewhere deep down inside of me, that following them would be beneficial to me.

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Suddenly, one of the smoke creatures appeared directly before me and stared at me with hollow eyes. “Why are you here?” It asked me.

“I don’t know.” I responded, much too honestly.

“No one ever comes back if they stray past the border, what lies beyond is unknown. Yet here you are. You have returned, unharmed.” The creature’s rough voice and puzzling words shot a vague memory through my mind. But before I could fully grasp it, it whisked away just like a wisp of smoke.

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 “Who are you?” I asked, daring to question the being that was far above my intelligence.

“You know who I am.” It replied quickly, “You need to only remember, come, follow me.”

Nodding, I walked behind it as it vanished and reappeared towards wherever it was leading  me. As we journeyed through the forest, vague memories would swarm in my mind just beyond reach. I could feel that my surroundings were familiar, yet I couldn’t place them. I knew who I was following, yet I didn’t. A deep calling of destiny rang loudly through my being, yet I couldn’t hear the details of it.

Confusion, yet understanding were playing in my mind at the same time.

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We came up to a road and followed it without a word. After several hours of dodging trees and tripping after the smoke giant, I was content to remain quiet. That is, until I saw a sign nailed to a tree. It read, “Here be Faeries.”

“Faeries?” I whispered silently to myself, knowing that the word meant something very important to me. “What is a faerie?” I asked my guide, but he ignored me and continued walking past the sign.

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I paused at the sign, staring at the familiar texture of wood, then I touched the sign. As soon as my hand was pressed against the cool wood, a picture of a door flashed before my mind’s eye. It was the first thing I remembered. A door bolted shut by so many locks and the words “The World’s Not Safe Anymore” carved carelessly into the precious wood.

I had seen the door. That much I knew, but where the door led to or where I was standing as I looked at it, I knew not. It held a great deal of significance to my destiny; that door had something to do with why I was here.

Prompt2

“Please!” I called out to the creature, “Tell me something that could help me remember! I’m here for a reason!”

The creature just looked at me and mumbled one sentence.

“Mirrors are passages to fantastic worlds, guarded by creatures called the Ferrymen.”

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The words puzzled me. Nothing rang familiar from the sentence.

I was about to call out again to my guide, but something blue flashed to my right that took my attention. Gazing at the bushes, I saw butterflies that glowed a bright blue, it seemed as if they were appearing out of no where.

Then a girl walked out of thin air stepping into the bushes, surrounded by the blue butterflies.

“You’re a faerie.” I knew immediately, recognizing her blue eyes.

She shook her head and looked at me confused, but it did’t last long, because she turned right around and waved to the butterflies; causing them to swarm into a perfect rectangle.

“Behold, the mirrors of teleportation.”

Prompt1

A bright light flashed and yet another memory surfaced. The butterflies were called “mirrors”, which must have meant that this girl standing before me was a ferryman, not a faerie as I had assumed.

The rectangle provided by the mirrors flashed different sceneries before me, the first being a gorgeous waterfall. A girl sat peacefully on a branch reading to her pet dragon in front of the waterfall, and I knew it was a domestic dragon by the way of its perch.

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Then the girl and the dragon disappeared and a girl, alone in a classroom was placed in front of me. I was trying to make a recollection of who she was and where she was, but before anything could come to mind, another scene replaced hers.

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I saw a battle unfolding before my eyes, but the mirrors then zoomed in on one warrior in particular that was stalking a house. He was in all black, and his arrow was dripping with poison. But again, before I could gather any thoughts about what I was seeing, it left.

Confused, I looked at the ferryman who was still commanding the mirrors. She looked at me apologetically, “I’m new at this.” she mumbled.

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 Nodding understandingly, I focused my attention back onto the mirrors. A picture of three girls stared back at me, as if they could see me just as well as I could see them. They all waved from their seat on the stairs and I hesitantly waved back before looking at the ferryman to my left.

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“Please help us.” She said. “That creature that you’re following is a faerie and it is cunning, brave, brutal, and relentless. And it’s hunting both both us the ferrymen, and the helpless mirrors. They want to control the mirrors and the only way they can do that is to extinguish the ferrymen. You are the only one who can help us. Because you crossed the border.”

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“How can I help? I can’t even remember my own name. And the faerie? He seemed to want my help just as much as you do; how do I know who to trust.”

“You can’t.” Her blue eyes shot through me, “You must choose. But you must choose quickly.”

I looked up then and saw the smoke faerie turning around and begin to charge angrily towards me. Making my decision, I jumped thought the portal that the mirrors held open. As soon as I was through, the three girls waved for me to follow them and they led me to a shelf of colorful powders in bottles.

Looking behind me, I saw the mirrors close the portal and I knew somehow that I had chosen correctly. Turning back to the girls I listened to their instructions.

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One girl already held open a bottle of the colored powder and the other two were jumping up and down expectantly.

“These bottles are secret passages to new kingdoms. They are unlabeled for their protection; but we have them memorized because we made them.” She indicated to the one she held in her hand, “This one will take you back across the border where you will gather further instructions for how to help us beat the faeries.”

She opened the lid, grabbed a handful of the powder, and tossed it onto the girls. Instantly, a mystical fairyland, unable to describe, appeared before me. It was a painted path that started in front of me so that when I looked over my shoulder, everything was normal.

The girls twirled and danced in the water that sparkled as they signaled for me to follow them. The third girl staying behind to ensure that we weren’t followed.

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We journeyed in this land for what seemed like days, and the stuff floating in the water puzzled me beyond comprehension. Once, I saw a pink toadstool floating upside down; a blue book that seemed to expel water, because it remained perfectly dry; and then a box labeled “bad memories, do not open”. The box grabbed my curiosity, but I let it float by without touching it.

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At the end of the path was a dark forest; a disturbing change in atmosphere. One of the girls, of which never said a word to me, stayed in the mystical land while the other, who also seemed as if she was mute, waved for me to follow her into the forest. She pulled out a light from seemingly no where and I followed silently, beginning to feel hesitant.

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The surroundings changed yet again and we were in a graveyard. My guide must have not expected this change, because she turned around suddenly, eyes wide and began waving for me to follow her as she broke into a sprint down the path. I peppered her with questions until I remembered that she could’t speak, so I just ran after her hoping whatever we were running from wouldn’t catch us.

After that, I don’t remember anything. I think she sent me through a teleport to keep me from whatever had been chasing us, but I suppose I’ll just never know. The next thing I remember happening is me meeting Jamie and Johnny Hide in the park.

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Johnny had just ripped Jamie’s purse from her shoulder and took off running with her yelling and chasing after him. I watched curiously as Johnny zigged zagged down the path before disappearing into an already planned hiding spot.

Jamie called out his name in the prolonged silence like he would hear, like he would actually care about returning the purse. It wasn’t as if he had stolen it, it was a game; a game in which he was winning, so far.

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Jamie must’ve heard something that told her where her brother was hiding, because she ran off towards a tree. She needed a hero to rescue the purse from the evil clutches of her brother, so thats what she became as she swung up into the tree and caught up to him.

Prompt 3

It was in the middle of winter, so there was ice everywhere; and apparently in the tree too. I heard a snap and then winced when I saw the branch that Jamie was on fall hard to the ground. She landed on the asphalt and rolled a few feet before laying on her stomach trying to catch her breath.

I ran towards her, concerned and scared at the same time, because I didn’t know what to do if something was broken. I made it to her side and asked her if she was okay, mainly just to see if I got a response from her.

I heard a gut laugh and she rolled over revealing a gorgeous smile about the same time her brother jumped out of the tree.

“Its been a long time since I fell out of a tree!” She laughed again and I was hypnotized by the beauty she had. I hadn’t noticed it before as she ran, she had been too far away. But here, up close, I was in awe.

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After several hours of idle chatting with both her and her brother, they invited me to dinner at their house. It was already dark and pleasantly cool outside, so Johnny recommended we eat on the roof.

As I sat there, leaning over the edge of the tin roof and inhaling deeply, I decided that the air was more fresh here. And the moon and stars seemed brighter than they had throughout the months of my journey. Admiring Jamie as she sat next to me, talking non-stop, I finally felt something other than running and confusion. I knew what I felt sitting next to her on that roof, I knew what I wanted, and I knew I couldn’t leave. I finally felt free.

So I stayed.

***

So you see? Do you see what a monster I am? I forsook the ferrymen and the mirrors for my own selfish gain. An entire species died because of me, and how do I know? Well there are no mirrors around anymore are there? And teleportation no longer exists.

When I discovered that they were all gone, merely months after my decision to stay with Jamie and Johnny, I went into depression. Jamie couldn’t understand, though I tried to tell her, and Johnny thought I was crazy. They all did.

So I staged my death, planning it all out so I could live alone and tortured by my thoughts. I am a liar. I am a failure. I am alone. I am useless. And that, my friend, is far scarier than any alien that anyone could assume me to be.

CWWC 2016: Challenge #6

cwwc-2016

half-blood

Behold, Part 3 of The Nameless Hero. You can find parts one and two below:

The Nameless Hero; Part 1 

The Nameless Hero; Part 2

(Loren I used 5 prompts)

The Nameless Hero; part 3

She ran, as fast and as hard as she could. Step after step her breathing escalated and her heartbeat sped faster and faster. The streets were littered with debris, causing her to zig-zag down the path and occasionally jump over obstacles in her way.

Finally the school came into view and her heart leapt with excitement. She was going to do it! She was actually going to make it!

But she should have known better than to jinx her luck by thinking those thoughts, because just as her feet hit the first steps, lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the rain fell so hard down on her head that she almost slipped.

Turning around and facing the clouds after she stood under the awning, she shook her head. “I almost made it” she muttered quietly and then shivered. Turning back to the school she slipped off her muck boots and hung her sopping wet coat up on the hanger, before going in to each room checking on the kids.

Everyone was finished eating and were happily playing games with each other in the rooms, thanks to Carly. She smiled, what would she do without Carly?

She approached her room, which was in the attic, but stopped short when she came to the base of the stairs. Three of the most recent refugees, sat at the bottom of the stairs. Annabelle, Belle, and Ciaelle were all sisters who seemed to always have some idea for a prank.

They sat at the bottom of the stairs with their chins rested on their hands and their elbows propped on their knees. Annabelle, the youngest, looked as if she was trying to keep from laughing while Belle, the middle child, looked as if something had made her mad. She must have muttered something unsavory as their rescuer had walked up, because Ciaelle, the eldest and always leader of the trio, looked at her astonished.

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“What are you doing girls?” She asked politely, trying to sound carefree and cheery.

“Nothing anymore.” Belle muttered before rolling her eyes and dropping her hands to her side. Huffing loudly in the process.

“We were playing a game!” Annabelle perked up, “We were pretending that we were in a magical land and we were trying to decide if we wanted to cross the border that no one has ever crossed before.”

“Oh, and why are you three the first to cross this magical border? Is it scary? Hunted by dragons?” She asked, genuinely interested in their imagination.

“Oh it’s very scary,” Annabelle continued in all seriousness, “No one ever comes back if they stray past the border, what lies beyond, nobody knows.”

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“Wow, that sounds very dangerous. Are you sure you have all the provisions to last you the journey? Do you have a weapon in case you encounter dragons? What about a map?” Eyes brightening with excitement as she engaged in the fanciful world with the girls, she had an idea.

“How about I supply you with everything you need and be your personal guide into the unknown?”

“You don’t know anything about our land.” Belle barked suddenly, “Its ours. And you’re too old to play our game.”

“Come now Belle,” Ciaelle interrupted, “It’ll be fun, and really, she’s only a few years older than me, thats not a lot.”

“Ugh, fine. But if she gets eaten by the lava dragon then thats her own fault.” Belle tossed her head.

Trying not to laugh at the remark, she bounced up the stairs and grabbed hold of one of Annabelle’s hands and led her up the stairs towards her room saying, “Hurry, I think I have just the things we’ll need on our journey.”

The girls followed closely behind her as they ran up the stairs and into her room. Once there, she grabbed an unlit candle stick and handed it to Ciaelle.

“This is the Light of Protection. It will keep all of the darkness away and scare away lava dragons.”

“Lava dragons aren’t scared of light. They have light in them.” Belle protested with hands on her hips.

“Its not the light that scares them away, its the one who holds the light. What is your power Lady Ciaelle?”

Ciaelle giggled, “I can sense danger and when I twirl my dress the danger flees.”

“Perfect! Can you sense the danger lurking around the corner? I’ll need you to save us in order to retrieve Lady Belle’s bow and arrow!”

“I’m Princess Belle, but yes, Lady Ciaelle. Scare the danger away!”

With a graceful bound and elegant twist, Ciaelle twirled with the candlestick in the middle of the room; envisioning herself surrounded by darkness aided only by the glow of the Light of Protection.

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“Excellent! We can now pass in safety!” Annabelle clapped her hands and led the way to their next obstacle. Everyone followed Annabelle at a quick pace until she halted and threw her arms open, an immediate order to stop and go no further.

“Look! The door to the border,” Annabelle whispered as they stared at an imaginary door blocking the rest of the hallway.

“Does it say anything Annabelle?” She asked, careful not to steal the story from the girls.

“Yes, it says ‘the world’s not safe anymore’.” Annabelle whispered, pretending to be mystified by the strange engraving.

“You know, I pictured a more elegant looking door.” Belle stated as she paced in front of the air, examining their pretend door. “This one is merely wood, and look at all of those locks!”

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“You’re quite right Belle, this is not what I was expecting at all! How do we open it?” Ciaelle pipped in.

“I know!” Annabelle suddenly shouted, “One of the locks must be the key!”

“Excellent idea Annabelle! Belle, Ciaelle, which lock do you think is the one with the key?” She asked, hoping to see the girls imagination in action.

“Oh that’s easy,” Belle waved her hand nonchalantly, “It’s the big one that looks different than the rest!” She reached out and grabbed the pretend lock and then jumped back in amazement as the door was magically thrown open.

“Oh no a lava dragon!” She shouted and then jumped to the ground, ducking out of reach with the rest of the girls following her.

“There’s your bow and arrow Belle!” Ciaelle shouted and pointed to an umbrella that was laying in the hallway. “See if you can get to it! My light isn’t working on the dragon!”

Belle nodded and then army crawled to the umbrella, pretending to fight off random things thrown her way. Once she had the umbrella, she pictured herself in a black cloak, like all the great thieves, and imagined herself hiding behind a building. Peeking around the building, she pretended to see the dragon flying fast towards her friends and in the moment of truth, she used the umbrella bow to shoot down the dragon.

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“You saved us Belle! You saved us!” Annabelle cried, jumping up and down.

All the girls bursted into giggles right before Belle’s stomach let out a loud growl, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten dinner yet.

“I’m hungry. Can we go eat dinner and play again later?” Belle asked.

“Of course, you all go ahead and eat and I’m going to change my clothes; I got a little wet on my way back today.” She laughed.

Ciaelle and Annabelle nodded and then started walking towards the stairs, discussing what could happen next in their world, while Belle hung behind briefly.

“Thanks for playing with us. What’s your name again?” Belle looked up at her expectantly.

She smiled briefly before saying, “I don’t have a name. I shamed the name I had because of how I acted when the earthquake happened. So you can call me whatever you want.”

“That doesn’t make sense. But I’ll call you Leader, because you were the leader today.”

Belle gave ‘Leader’ a hug and then ran to catch up with her sisters. Leaving ‘Leader’ choking on unexpected tears.

***

Thanks for reading!

The Journey to Passion: Discovering What You Love to Do

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Passion pulls at our innermost beings. Old or young, it’s always been there and will always be there. In its own unique shape, it resides undetected until one begins searching for it. It’s not one of those treasures easily stumbled upon; it’s one that requires a perilous journey in order to get a glimpse of it, and an even harder one to keep the passion burning brightly. But the results of well maintained, productive passion is often something bigger than what every day thinking could accomplish. Passion accomplishes the impossible.

But no two passions ever look the same. Just like diamonds, we may find some so similar that they are almost identical, but there will always be that slight bit of difference making it unique. So, how do we find our own special passions? Where do we start mining in hope of finding a diamond meant for us? Well, that’s a journey that I’d love to take you on.

The first place we should go is the little town called Trying New Things. Now, I’ve heard tale that the locals here can be a bit scary, and not all of them are likable, but don’t be timid or shy about journeying here. They have so many different things that could be helpful on our journey that we would have never thought about had we not visited this charming town. In fact, Trying New Things magically opens the door to Opportunities.

{READ FULL POST ON PURSUE MAGAZINE}

CWWC 2016: Challenge #5

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half-blood

As I said in my last post, I am alternating two stories throughout the month of May based on the writing prompts. This challenge’s story is continuing A Day in the Life of Chelsea; if you missed parts one and two, here are the links for those.

A Day in the Life of Chelsea; #1

A Day in the Life of Chelsea; #2

(Loren I used 5 prompts in the story)

A Day in the Life of Chelsea; #3

 

In the silence, Chelsea buried her head. She often heard that you couldn’t hear God if you were too consumed with your own thoughts, but she was too weak to try and push them away. They were strong and pulling at her every piece of attention. So she gave up trying to hear Him.

Getting up and exiting the museum, she drug her feet back to her dwelling. She never could go back to the apartment after Jessica died, and she couldn’t afford anything else, so she lived in an abandoned little house.

It was run down and probably had been inhabited by an old miser scared to leave his house, she deducted this assumption based on the front door. On the outside it was just ugly, but it was also immovable. When Chelsea first found the house, she had climbed in through the window because even with her excellent lock-picking skills, there were so many locks on the door that she decided to take the easy route.

Curious as to how many locks where actually holding the door shut, she walked back to the front door and stopped short when she saw the hideous carving all over the once pretty wood. Dug deeply into the grains were the words, “The world’s not safe anymore”. That explained the eight locks.

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After living in the house for almost a month, Chelsea became oddly fond of it. She didn’t like it per say, but she didn’t feel miserable like she had in the apartment either. The little house was a mystery. One that she found a small clue to solving every day.

One day she found a note stuck inside the toaster of all places, it said, “No one ever comes back if they stray past the border, what lies beyond is unknown.” What it meant, kept Chelsea’s imagination running wild.

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Today, she found a picture of three little girls sitting on stairs, stashed inside of the roll of paper towels. Chelsea assumed that they were sisters, probably about a year apart each, and one seemed not interested in taking the picture. Smiling briefly, she took her focus off of the little girls and examined their surroundings, and instantly recognized it.

The stairs that they sat on were the same stairs in the house. Granted, the stairs were in a lot better shape in the picture than they were now, but the angle of the staircase and design on the guardrail were unmistakable.

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Chelsea hadn’t been upstairs yet, partly because she was afraid that the stairs would collapse under her weight and partly because she was afraid she’d find the corpse to whoever had lived here before her.

But now that she held the picture of the three little girls in her hand, knowing that they had probably lived here, her curiosity got the best of her and she walked up the creaking steps.

At the top of the stairs, there was a short hallway that had two rooms linked to it; one to the left and one to the right. The hallway literally dead-ended into the doors of the rooms, making the “hallway” more of a cubby-hole.

Doing “eeny meeny miny moe” in her head she decided on the door to the left and carefully approached the door, envisioning the floor beneath her giving away and her falling to her death. Shaking the thought away, she reached for the handle and through the door open, peering inside.

She had chosen wisely, this was definitely the girls room. A bunkbed was pushed up against the far wall and an additional twin bed was placed adjacent to the bunk bed. There were dressers, a vanity, and some chests around the room that were all decorated in pink. Just like in some perfect picture of a vintage room, it was in perfect order, not a wrinkle on the bedspread and not one thing out of place. The only thing keeping it from being featured in a magazine was the mounds of dust covering everything.

Chelsea walked in and saw the closet hanging open, all the clothes still hanging in perfect color order. Opening the drawers to the dresser she found yet another photo, covered in dust. Blowing the dust off she tried to see what the picture was and realized it was upside down. Turning it around, she studied the picture and then gasped.

It was of Jessica! When she was lying on the ground surrounded by the busted ice bag!

Prompt 3

But that didn’t make sense! That means this picture would have had to be taken only 3 months ago, and it looked so much older than that, a few years at least. Studying the picture more closely, she couldn’t deny it, it was unmistakably Jessica.

Creeped out and even more confused, she decided to leave the room and check the other room, carrying the picture with her. Once she opened the door, she wished she hadn’t. The room was empty, completely bare, except for one box in the middle of the room. It was labeled “Bad Memories; Do Not Open”.

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Shaking her head at the curiosity mounting, Chelsea backed away slowly before slamming the door shut and bolting back down the stairs. She grabbed her backpack from the floor where she had left it and then jumped out the window and began running toward the park. Why couldn’t her life be normal?

***

And there you have it! Thank you for reading!

 

CWWC 2016: Challenge #4

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half-blood

 Here is challenge #4, in which I decided to continue the story from challenge #2….So from here on out, all throughout the month,  I’ll be alternating between these two stories with the new prompts. Yes, I’m making things more difficult for myself, but I guess thats a hobby:-) So behold, Part Two of The Nameless Hero! 

(Loren, I used 4 prompts total)

The Nameless Hero

Months had passed since she’d stuffed her sulky journals into that box and decided to help others. And even more months passed since the day she opened the refuge camp at the school, carefully orchestrating and masterminding where to place everyone who came into her care. All of which were orphans.

So far, no adult had survived the earthquake. And the oldest orphan to be rescued thus far was only 14 years old. Out of 47 orphans exactly, all were under 14 except for herself, who was 17. She did her best to care for them, but she had little to no experience in raising children, much less shouldering the weight of responsibility that 47 of them brought.

She ran constantly throughout the day, trying to meet their every need, and she barely had time to sleep. But she never complained. Not even once. Because knowing that she was accomplishing something throughout her days, instead of wasting her time in those journals, kept her spirits up and her energy high.

The 14 year old, whose name was Carly, was her right-hand. Helping her do absolutely everything with maximum efficiency. But Carly had a few problems of her own, she was plagued with nightmares since the tragedy of the earthquake and often fell into fits of hysterics.

Every night, she and Carly would sit down on the front steps of the school and discuss Carly’s latest nightmare. Tonight, she hoped to really figure out how to put an end to Carly’s nightmares and help Carly trample her constant fear of the dark. But when Carly started relaying what she had dreamt, it seemed like a lot harder task than was expected.

“I was running, hard and as fast as I could through a graveyard. I had a lantern in my hand and a long black cape hanging from my shoulders. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, looking for something, but I never saw it.

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It was dusk and the bad lighting was starting to play tricks on my vision, trying to convince me that something was there when it really wasn’t. I continued to run, unsure of what I was running from but certain that it was dangerous.

Words kept echoing around in my brain, ‘it is cunning, it is brave, it is brutal, it is relentless’. Over and over and over again these words echoed, causing me to lose focus on where I was going or what was in front of me. As I looked over my shoulder one more time, the climate changed and ice began falling from the sky.

I tripped and fell hard to the ground, breathing heavy and not knowing where I was. Then, in the same voice that had been echoing the terrible phrases before, I heard one whisper break the eery silence. ‘And it is hunting us’.

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Prompt 3

Chills raced up my spine and I slowly raised my head to see what had spoken. But nothing was there. I was no longer in the graveyard, but on a lone road in the middle of a dark forest.

I stood slowly and turned around in a circle, looking for any sign of where I might be, but I saw nothing familiar. Then a mist began to cloud around me and giant creatures started lining the forest perimeter. As tall as the trees they were, almost transparent to my sight, and the sight of them struck instant fear.

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I didn’t know what they were, yet I did at the same time. I knew that I couldn’t defeat them and that they were there to keep me in the forest, but I didn’t know why. And I didn’t know how they were keeping me there.

I was frozen. Not just from the ice falling all around me, but also from the fear. I don’t know what I feared, I just feared. I kept turning around in circles, staring at the giants keeping me in my prison and breathing so heavy that it couldn’t have been good for me.

I suddenly began losing my balance, taking random steps from the dizziness before my eyes rolled back and I passed out. And thats when I woke up.”

Carly looked up at her and shrugged her shoulders, knowing she was a lost cause. But what Carly didn’t know, was that her friend had an answer.

“You were scared of fear Carly. You never saw anything in your dream because there was nothing there at all. Nothing there except fear itself. The only way to defeat it is by facing it and overcoming it.”

Carly looked down and shuffled her foot against the stone steps, “I know. But fear is scary.”

“Of course it is. Thats it’s name. But you know what?”

“What?” Carly looked up, tears filling her eyes.

“Fear is also afraid. Because that is also it’s name. All you have to do to beat it is make it more afraid of you than you are of it.”

“That doesn’t make sense.” Carly squinted her eyes in thought before looking back up at her friend confused.

She giggled and pulled Carly into a hug, “Just think of fear as a puppy. When a puppy is scared it growls and makes a big deal about everything, trying to nip at you and scare you away. But once you go up to that puppy and prove to it that it can’t hurt you and that is doesn’t scare you, it in turn will cower in front of you hoping you’ll pick it up and coddle it. Then you can carry it away and never be threatened by it again.”

Even more confused, Carly looked at her friend, “You’re really bad with analogies, you know that?”

Laughing, she hugged Carly again, “Yea, that sounded a lot better in my head.”

Both girls laughed and then Carly said, “But you’re really good at making me feel better.”

Smiling she looked down and stroked Carly’s hair, they felt more like sisters than friends. “I’m glad.”

*And viola! That completes part two of The Nameless Hero! Thank you so much for reading!