Who would have thought that the words "cemetery" and "in a tree" could inspire you to such heights of literary greatness? Last week's prompt brought out your dark side—there were enough ghosts, murders, tear-streaked faces, and graveyards to win Stephen King a Pulitzer—but you still managed to make me laugh (possibly because I'm rapidly becoming mentally unhinged, not unlike Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining, which you should never, ever see unless you want to have nightmares FOREVER). Anyways, WELL DONE. Here are the moneymakers (they didn't make any actual money, so don't work yourself into a jealous huff) for today:
Sparklers' Choice (with 18 votes): NicholleTheNarwhal! Read her terrifying tale right here:
I leaned my head back against the stone, silently panting. The cold seeped through my hood, chilling me to the bone, but I refused to make a noise.
"Come on out, little girl," he called to me, his gravelly tone raking against my eardrums like nails on a chalkboard. "You can't hide forever; eventually, you'll grow tired of running from me."
I would not let this man take me. He had murdered my parents, he had tortured my sister, and now he wanted to finish the job. I would kill myself before I let him lay one of his filthy, disgusting hands on me.
He grew silent, listening for my breathing, and nature occupied the void. Owls hooted, crows cawed, and the wind brushed through the leaves of the tree above me, disturbing their peace. Just like he had disturbed mine.
I heard him begin heading my way, dry twigs crunching under his heavy frame. He would not take me. No way in hell would he take me. I would not become another headstone, another grave. I refused to join the dead who surrounded me.
I gathered my courage, whispered a pleading prayer, and ran.
I've never looked back since.
Dagger's Choice: dac213! Check out her heart-warming story (sometime you just need a happy ending, ya know?):
I wake with a start, slipping from the cradle of branches I'd been napping in and nearly tumbling to my death. At the last second I catch hold of a sturdy branch and begin to climb down. On the ground I aim a halfhearted punch at Jack, my best friend and the best graffiti artist in the city. Jack easily evades my right hook, grinning.
"Come on, tree-sleeper, I want to show you something."
Whenever Jack wants to "show me something", it's because he's tagged an even more dangerous location. Last week it was the warehouse, he’d had to leap over a barbed-wire fence and avoid cameras and dogs to tag it. I wonder what he’s going to show me today. He leads the way to my driveway, where his vintage Mustang is parked.
I smile, "You finished it!" Jack had been rebuilding that thing for a year.
"Yep," he said casually, like the car hadn't been his obsession, like he hadn't ever blown off friends or homework to work on it. I climb into the passenger side and we're off. We don't talk much along the way, lately it's been awkward being alone with Jack. Before long we're on the freeway, and I’m worried he's done the unthinkable.
We pull over to the shoulder, just under an overpass. I shove him; he looks at me, bewildered,
"What was that for?"
"You could've fallen off, you could've--" Jack grabs my arm, spinning me around to look at the tag. It's...me, I'm napping in a cradle of tree branches. And it’s suddenly clear that he's been feeling the same way I have.
"Anderson," I turn around, smiling hugely, his face breaks into a grin as well. And then I know, I’m not alone, I never was.
All hail ye, geniuses! Let's see who'll take the crown with this week's prompt, inspired in part by DomiKat's suggestion: Write a short story (300 words or less—GARY WILL EAT ANYTHING LONGER!) using any one of Shakespeare's characters. That's the only constraint—the rest is up to you!
Writing Quote of the Week: A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. —Charles Peguy
Can't wait to see what you'll come up with this week!
Related post: Writer Wars!