Now how about another chance in the ring for those writers who submitted an anonymous sample of their work to WRiTE CLUB 2012, but weren’t lucky enough to be chosen to compete. There are no prizes to be won, or further advancement beyond this one bout, but as all of the other contestants have discovered before them -- there is still plenty to be gained…and learned. I will post one of these skirmishes each week until I run out of contestants.
This week it's Sengteller turn in the ring. Here is their 459 word submission.
Kailey and her ride devolved into a tangle of arms and legs, fins and spears. When she finally stabilized, she saw that she’d crashed into her dad’s marlin, slicing its side. A small green creature bobbed in front of her, running long fingers through its kelpy hair.
“I’m so sorry!” it squeaked. “Thank Triton you’re not one of those hooligans from Abaddon’s clan. You’re not, are you? Not that I don’t like the Pacific Ring. I do. Really, I do.” It reached into its slimy waist pack and withdrew a ball of herbs. “Here, take these. Really, you must. Staunch that blood, you know. Sharks like these waters.” It cast a worried look over its shoulder. “Lots to eat. Bye now.”
It shot off into the gloom, leaving Kailey holding the herbs.
“What was that?”
“A jengu. They’re not usually so flighty.” Her mom took the herbs and pressed them gently into the marlin’s wound. “But I suppose I understand, given our surroundings.”
Kailey peered through the dusky waters. She cocked her head to the side, trying to focus in the shifting darkness. She couldn’t be certain, but it looked like bulky shadows streamed toward them.
“Dad? I think someone’s coming.” Her dad groaned, turning toward her mom who stuffed the remaining herbs into her satchel.
“Can we ride yet?”
“The cut’s not deep, but still, it’ll slow us down.”
They remounted, but not before a burly man arrived, astride a massive hammerhead shark. A long scar split his face diagonally, giving the impression that he peered at them through fractured glass. “You don’t belong here.”
“We were just leaving.”
The man fingered a jagged knife that hung from his belt. “I’ve seen you before.”
Kailey’s dad stammered. “Oh…I, uh, come through here now and again.” He was obviously going for nonchalance, but failed dramatically.
“Is that so? With the whole family?” The brute’s gaze lingered on Kailey until she glinted green in nervousness. He pulled back his mount, raising mismatched brows. “A shocker?”
“She’s just a child. We got off course and this was the shortest way through.”
“Most people think twice before crossing the Moonless Mountains.” The brute’s face twisted in suspicion, which looked terrifying since it was so twisted already.
But Kailey was tired of being bullied. She concentrated her anger into her hands, hoping it would produce the desired result. Her fingers blazed with light. Now, if she could just keep her voice steady, “Grant us safe passage and you won’t have any trouble.” She ignored her brother’s disbelieving stare. “Fracture Face don’t take no threats from children,” the brute said, looking highly amused. Her glow faded and she imagined how silly she must look, threatening this hulk of a man with her tiny hands.
And in the other corner, checking in with 435 words, is Dr. Jekyll.
When the first one fell from the sky, no one noticed. Of course, it took the MAB three days to make it to Center City from the crash site. By then, two more Airships had fallen and the Elite were in chaos.
At this point they had taken the proper steps and hired me, Private Detective First Class Owen Straff, at your service. However. Even I got a bit worried when Queen Victoria, herself, arrived at my tidy third floor office. You don’t normally see the Queen in these parts over your morning tea and toast.
I had just finished commenting on the latest crash to my MAB, Gertie, when there she was.
“Queen. Queen. Queen.” Stuttered Gertie uselessly.
“Desk, Gertie.” I rose to my full, imposing height of 5’4 before sweeping a proper bow to the Queen. Leg and all. “Your Majesty. To what do I...”
“Oh, cut the crap, Straff. You know why I’m here. You’re the only one who can catch him. And I’m the only one with the information you need to do it. “ She flounced into the leather wingback chair, tucking her feet beneath her shapely bottom. That was when I noticed her battle dress. The leather of her flying duster heavily coated in a sticky ash. It was getting all over my wingback.
“Where have you been, Vicki? You’re getting..something..all over my furniture.” Just as she was about to expound on the details of this mystery, Gertie rolled in on her loose bearings. A tea tray balanced precariously on her dented brass head.
“Tea..tea..tea..” God, she was useless.
The Queen raised a regal eyebrow at me. “You’ve been over-winding her again, haven’t you?”
I shrugged, manhandling the tray away from Gertie. “Always hated these things. Airships, and such, are one thing. But an Automated Butler? I miss Stevens.” The niceties of tea out of the way, we returned to business at hand.
Victoria reached into her duster, pulling out a folded sheaf of yellowed papers and a long brass screw. “We lost him after the third airship fell. But I know that screw came from him. We built him after all....” She was quiet for a time. Staring into her chipped wedgewood cup. With a sigh she set the untouched tea down and stood. Shaking her duster to rights, she grasped my shoulders. “Find him Straff. Find him before they do.” And just like that, she was sweeping from the room. I unfolded the sheaf of papers, easing into the wingback. There wasn’t much among them, but if she had entrusted them to me, she had a reason.
See you back here at the ring again next week!