This week it's Vern A Culara's turn in the ring. Here is their 496 word submission.
Not just a contest, but a chance to step into the literary ring of challenge and lay out the competition. It can’t get any better than facing off against a fellow writer, and then another, and another until you stand on top of a heap of fallen hacks. This is my chance to show everyone that I deserve to be published.
My hands hover above the keyboard, fingers twitching in nervous anticipation. All I need now is the inspiration that will send my digits flying.
Fantasy. Science-Fiction. Comedy. All genres lay open before me, I need only pick one of them and begin the great journey of conquest. Any style will fit within the parameters of the word-wielding slugfest. I just need one idea and I’m writing my way to the next heavy-weight championship.
I lean back in my chair and command my mind to create. While I do that my eyes drift towards the window and the view beyond. The lawn needs to be mown. I bet Steven King doesn’t have to do his own yard work. Probably best that he doesn’t since I can imagine all sorts of ill fated events that could arise from allowing the master of horror to wield implements of botanical destruction.
My mind snaps back to the task of finding an idea worthy of authorial dominance. It has to be under five hundred words. That leaves out fantasy; you can’t even properly introduce a character in that short a space. I mean, who wants to read a tiny tale about a master wizard that blows himself up because he adds the wrong component to his cauldron while arguing with his wife?
What’s the point?
The same problem exists for Science-Fiction. You need at least a thousand words to describe how warp drive technology would create a schism in the brains of anyone traveling through multiple dimensions. How lame would that be if I merely described what transpired between the pilots’s split perceptions during the warp and how it changed him when they all combined at the end of the trip. How pathetically unspectacular.
Comedy? Of course, comedy. It works perfectly in a short format. You could write about practically anything as long as you put a humorous spin on it. Take a couple lines of dialogue and add my own unique perspective to it. BOOM! Hilarity ensues.
Then the children burst into my office. “Dad, can we have money to buy bullets from the ice cream man?”
Great! How am I ever going to come up with an idea for a story if people keep distracting me? I pull a five from my pocket and hand it to the oldest of the urchins and then shoo them out the door. When I sit back down in my plush writing chair, my mind is blank. For more than an hour my muse avoids me. Eventually, I put my head down on the desktop and admit defeat.
And in the other corner, checking in with 499 words, is Silver Lightning.
The cavern rumbled for the third time in as many minutes.
Frank Einstein jumped back as vials and flasks smashed on the floor. The contents snaked around, hissing and creating acidic puddles.
“Not again! Dr. Jake, control your blasted fungi.” Being apprenticed to the greatest scientist in the universe wasn’t easy. The constant hum of power aged Frank beyond his years and the charged atmosphere caused premature balding.
The young apprentice heard the trademark swishing of the long coat of his mentor.
“My dear Frank! It’s not my fungi,” Dr. Jake Illhyde ran his hand through the grey streak in his mottled brown hair; one of the many appearances he used to conceal his thousand year lifespan. “You’re not fiddling with your pylons again, are you?”
“No, of course not,” Frank replied, miffed because the pylons were his first individual project.
A thunderous crash shook the whole cave. “Then what is it? A real quake?” asked the apprentice, coughing hard as stone-dust rained down from the ceiling.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You know we are shifting between planets.” Jake’s creased forehead gave way to wide-eyed horror. “Somebody is trying to reach us.”
“Reach us here? But nobody knows where we are. Or for that matter, who we are!”
“Somebody must have accessed the memories of the two who did. And I’m guessing they are after....”
“The essences! But we have only one left.”
One of Frank’s experimental pylons keeled over and the blue crystal smashed against the floor as the ground began shaking uncontrollably. If the intruders were coming in such a large number, it was not for a peaceful negotiation.
“Head into the storage chamber. We must escape before they get here,” Frank cried out.
“What?”Dr. Jake exclaimed. “I am not abandoning our experiments.”
Frank grabbed his mentor by the shoulders. “We will come back later. Everything important is invisible and safe. Besides, you always say protecting our brains is more important than any experiment.”
The whole cavern was beginning to twist and warp. How many of them are coming? But his thoughts were cut short by a small chunk of rock falling from the ceiling in front of his feet.
Frank cursed and dashed towards the small chamber filled with their previous experiments and records. It also housed one of Dr. Jake’s old teleporters.
Frank hurried to remove the covers off the teleporter. A film of dust had accumulated over the glass vestibule but it appeared functional. Lights sparked and the machine purred to life as he flicked the switch.
His mentor threw cartons around, rummaging through piles of boxes.
“Dr. Jake, what are you doing? We don’t have time.”
“I must find the essence. It still might work.”
The explosions became louder. “Dr. Jake, we must leave. Now!” Frank shouted. They had less than a couple of minutes.
The old scientist emerged from behind a high pile of boxes, looking woozy. His brown coat was completely covered in gray cave dust as was his hair and face.
See you back here at the ring for one last bout next week!