CWWC, Short Story, Writing

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.

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