Microcosms 144

Hi, flash fiction buddies, and welcome to Microcosms 144.

Today, 12-OCT, is the anniversary of the birth in Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire of Aleister Crowley.

He was a bizarre figure — a poet, playwright, novelist, occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician… and keen mountaineer. Based upon a spiritual experience that he had in Egypt in 1904, he believed himself to be the prophet of a new age — the Æon of Horus — and went on in the early 1900s to developed the new religion or spiritual philosophy Thelema whose fundamental tenet was ‘Do what thou wilt’.

He travelled the world, and is believed to have been sent by Britain to Moscow before World War I to spy on revolutionaries in Moscow. During World War II, he was associated with a variety of figures in Britain’s intelligence community, including Dennis Wheatley, Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming.

 
Geoff

 
(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

 
Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are:

Spy; Loch NessThriller

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

 

  • Spy
  • Magician
  • Occultist
  • Poet
  • Globetrotter
  • Mountaineer
  • University
  • Mountain
  • Luxury Apartment
  • Loch Ness
  • Abbey
  • Moscow
  • Diary
  • Poem
  • Occult
  • Thriller
  • Horror
  • Crime

 

Spin!

 
Last week’s Judge’s Pick, David Lewis Pogson, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

 

REMEMBER!

(1) You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EDT) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length (excluding the title)
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Include: word count, which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
(5) Do not give details of your entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results post is live
(6) If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines 

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 143

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69 comments for “Microcosms 144

  1. 12 October 2018 at 1:01 am

    The author of this entry has asserted his right to have his first feeble effort replaced by a much more streamlined and dynamic piece of flash fiction which may be found below.

    [Please don’t vote for this comment…]

    1+
    • 12 October 2018 at 1:58 am

      http://www.engleson.ca
      @billmelaterplea
      300 words
      Spy; University; Diary

      The Spy Who Came in With a Low GPA

      August 8, 1964
      Dear Diary: it’s been a while since I had much to say. Basic training’s such a bitch. I was thinking again that I might not be cut out to be a soldier. Way too much marching. And following orders. And ironing. What’s with that? Today did hold a surprize but you had better keep mum about this. Captain Fancy Pants asked to see me. I went to his office and he wasn’t alone. Two suits were there. Seems like they have me pegged as a potential spy. Get this, they want me to go undercover, return home to the West Coast, finish grade 12, and go off to University…and they’ll pay. SFU. Brand new U. They’re expecting a boatload of Yankee anti-war agitators and such to start at the University in September ’65. Teachers, grad students, and, wow, I’ll be spying on them.
      Sounds good to me. No more marching.
      Or ironing.

      September 15, 1965
      Dear Diary: What a year its been. The University’s a hotbed of radical ideas. Everywhere you turn some one wants to overthrow something. The Gas Station. The Faculty Lounge. You guessed it…all those agitating teachers and grad students have their own lounge. We’ll take care of that in short order.
      I have been meeting with my handler every week since July 1st. Now that I’m actually on campus, they expect results. I don’t know where to begin. Everywhere I turn, someone wants to overthrow the government. Its like a disease.

      October 20, 1965
      Dear Diary: Its strange but I find myself thinking new thoughts about the world. I’ve grown my hair quite long to fit in, of course. Like a good spy. But, I’ve also been smoking the most amazing dope.
      I think I’m gonna retire from espionage.
      Spying ain’t much fun.

      8+
      • 12 October 2018 at 4:16 am

        Ha, I wonder where that may lead…

        1+
      • Geoff Holme
        12 October 2018 at 1:09 pm

        Sorry, Bill; I do not have the technical knowledge — assuming it’s feasible — to promote ‘a reply’ to ‘a comment’. I was going to copy your second attempt at the story to replace the original comment and then delete the second attempt, but I remembered I had to be somewhere else.

        When I got back, there was a vote cast for the reply with your second attempt, and the reply to it from Vicente. If I had deleted the second attempt, both of these would — presumably — have also disappeared.

        Plan B was to replace your original story with a note to say that it had been deleted and replaced with the second entry.

        I wonder which part of ‘Please don’t vote for this comment…’ is not clear! Now we don’t know whether the vote for the original comment was meant as a vote for your story, Bill, or an endorsement of my witty repartee! 😉

        [ We can only hope that your wonderful response to the chosen elements receives the Judge’s Pick! ]

        1+
      • 12 October 2018 at 1:15 pm

        Geoff, I feel terrible. Thank you for you grand work. I have so made feeble efforts that it super to have one so exquisitely addressed. And…your wit shines like an exploding star in the sky…

        0
      • 12 October 2018 at 1:18 pm

        Original comment: “Geoff, I feel terrible. Thank you for you grand work. I have so made feeble efforts that it super to have one so exquisitely addressed. And…your wit shines like an exploding star in the sky… ”

        Revised comment: ” Geoff, I feel terrible. Thank you for your grand work. I have so many feeble efforts that it is super to have one so exquisitely addressed. And…your wit shines like an exploding star in the sky… “

        0
      • 12 October 2018 at 5:58 pm

        Sorry I messed up with your mess… 😉

        0
      • Alva Holland
        13 October 2018 at 12:59 am

        I almost got lost in the comments on this, Bill, but recovered enough to say what a cracker of a story!

        1+
  2. Alva Holland
    12 October 2018 at 4:09 am

    @Alva1206
    300 words
    Spy; University; Diary

    Information Systems

    I was given the diary yesterday.

    Today, I mingle, looking like all the other twenty-somethings embarking on a new life-phase. I’m accustomed to hiding myself in plain sight. Already signed up for seven activities, I joined the Student Council group, familiarised myself with the general layout, quickest routes to lectures, labs, back to Halls.

    I’ve been asked out three times already – once by a girl studying Physics, wanting to study mine, twice by two guys – Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. This might be interesting.

    Made a safe place for the diary by cutting a cardboard template of the back of the top bookshelf and slipping the dog-eared leather-bound holder of secrets between the two. Invisible.

    I’m good at invisible.

    Professor Langley singles me out in Discrete Mathematics & Computational Complexity. This is not unusual. I answer him. He looks satisfied enough. Good.

    I spot Miss Physics turning in her seat. She waves. I signal back with a grin. Communications 2 was a specialist subject at my last place.

    I lope along to Analysis of Circuits, listening intently as the Prof drones on. I could give this lecture.

    Back at Halls, I rescue the diary from its hiding place and examine Page 102, Paragraph Four, lines three and six. Coded of course. I know my plan for tomorrow.

    A knock at the door. I need to get used to this, hurriedly securing the diary back in its hiding place.

    It’s Mr. Computer Science. ‘Going for chow?’

    ‘Not now, thanks, but try me tomorrow.’

    ‘Sure thing, mate.’

    Sleep is fitful. I dream of Miss Physics who transforms into a giant algorithm and I need to deconstruct the data. I’ve had more satisfying dreams.

    Today, I recruit my mole. I’ve identified her. Our paths are compatible.

    My time here will be short.

    4+
    • Geoff Holme
      12 October 2018 at 1:21 pm

      This is a good story, Alva.
      However, you seem to have overlooked the fact that ‘Diary’ is intended to be the genre for your story, rather than an object that appears in it. And a diary with page numbers rather than dates seems, to me, to stretch the definition.

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        12 October 2018 at 2:25 pm

        Ah, sorry about that. Feel free to delete my entry for this week.

        0
      • Geoff Holme
        12 October 2018 at 3:22 pm

        No, it’s just my pedantic opinion. Let’s see what David has to say.

        1+
    • 13 October 2018 at 4:05 am

      It may not be in Diary form, but it’s still oh so good (“a girl studying Physics, wanting to study mine”)!

      0
  3. 12 October 2018 at 4:14 am

    @VicenteLRuiz
    296 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    And Thus The Legend Starts

    “Gauss, Hedwig E,” she said into the vocaliser. The machine clicked and whirred, and emitted a green light. It was his turn.

    “Collier, Albert M,” he said. Another green light. He looked at the secretary. “How’s the boss, Miss Grant?” he asked her.

    “Fuming,” she stared above her spectacles.

    “Capital,” Hedwig said. “I told you, Collier…”

    A buzz interrupted her.

    “Come in,” Miss Grant said. She pressed a button, and the doors to the Minister’s office opened.

    “This is intolerable!”

    “Good morning, Minister,” Albert said.

    “Don’t you ‘Good morning’ me, Collier! I don’t care who you are or what services you may have provided for Queen and country, this is a fiasco!”

    He threw a copy of The Times on his desk. There was a blurry picture on the cover, showing what seemed to be the neck and head of an aquatic monster, just above the surface of a body of water. Above it, in rich typography, the heading claimed ‘Monster sighted in Scotland’.

    “It’s not a good image,” Hedwig said.

    “And thank God it isn’t!” the Minister said. “But we know what it is, don’t we? What were you two thinking?”

    “Sir,” Hedwig calmly said, “there’s a design flaw.”

    “Pardon?”

    “A design flaw,” she repeated. “The test started fine. We left the Loch Ness base on time, Collier piloting, me navigating. The new echo-locator works perfectly, by the way.”

    “But,” he took over, “we ran out of air too soon. We had to get more, and it wasn’t dark yet. And… hence that image.”

    “A picture of our newest secret submarine vessel on the cover of The Times,” the Minister said.

    “Actually, sir, I think we could use this,” Hedwig said, pointing at the newspaper.

    “The image?”

    “No. This.” And she tapped the word ‘Monster’.

    6+
    • Eloise Tapson
      12 October 2018 at 10:36 am

      Brilliant. I loved the end.

      0
    • 12 October 2018 at 3:21 pm

      This is why I should read the entries before I submit! I did a conversation story as well 🙁

      I guess creative minds think alike. I try to submit my own without any influences, then I go back and read. Great story BTW!

      1+
      • 12 October 2018 at 5:44 pm

        Thank you Arthur!

        Well, I’ve been writing in up to three (friendly) competitions per week, and I always tried not to read the other entries before doing mine; that way I would have no outside influence. And yes, sometimes two or three of us would end up with very similar stories. That happens.

        On a related theme, @zevonesque just down there has exactly the same intial idea I had when I read the prompts (a submarine), and we got different stories.

        I’d say it’s all part of the fun!

        1+
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:01 am

      Excellent, Vicente. Love that ending. I always enjoy your contributions here.

      1+
  4. 12 October 2018 at 5:49 am

    A.J. Walker
    @zevonesque
    300 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    The One That Got Away

    Once Gregor looked into my eyes across the street in Winchester I knew he’d recognised me from the train. I cursed under my breath and picked up my bag. He disappeared from view in that instant. It was now a race. He’d be trying to get away and hide somewhere until he could arrange for passage out of the country, whilst the British services would do everything they could to stop him. I could feel the adrenaline rush.

    That was a week ago and now I was bored with it. The trail had quickly run cold. There had been a few rumours and the most interesting one had him being sighted in Inverness. Micky had given us reliable information in the past, and using a small quay on the east coast of Scotland would certainly be a possible route for Gregor to meet a larger ship.

    At Brook’s Bar by the Inverness dock I was looking out across the grey, choppy sea wondering whether we’d already missed him when a commotion broke out.

    ‘Nessie!’

    ‘Best sighting for years, apparently.’

    The excited chat filled the bar. The bell at the door ringing constantly from newcomers arriving to spread the news.

    Ridiculous. Still, maybe something was afoot. I edged past an excitable American woman who was shouting down the phone to some poor fellow. I met Micky by the dock.

    ‘Missed all the excitement,’ I said.

    ‘Aye. These guys and gals think they saw Nessie.’

    ‘But they didn’t?’

    ‘Of course not. But in this gloom I’m pretty sure I saw what they were all looking at. I’d swear it was a mini-sub or something. Gone.’ Micky pointed out vaguely to the sea.

    Gregor must have been mighty important, and the bastard was slipping out in front of my unseeing eyes. Bastard.

    4+
  5. 12 October 2018 at 6:49 am

    @geofflepard
    300 words
    Spy; University; Diary

    Banter, Bunty and the Tale of the Premature Inhalation

    Saturday
    Cousin Bunty is up before the College beak for spying. Aunt Emilia blames me, per Bunty for ‘marinading him in socialism’. I had to ask Banter what that meant – something to do with stews. Bit of a dampener, mind as I planned on taking Bunty to Flousy O’Toole’s engagement to that Russian cad, Tellim Minesorf. Still espionage is a bit rum. Didn’t think he had the brains.

    Tuesday
    Champers delivery today. Despite Banter saying it needed rest like some heroine with an attack of the flimflams, I tried a glass; tasted like Nanny’s cure for gastric nibblets.
    Called Bunty. The Jolly Rozzers have seen the Dean. Poor old snout is full of the woes and wobbles. Have to ask Banter about it.

    Friday
    I’ve been threatened. Aunt Emilia pounced on me while I was having a crafty cigarillo with Dusty Wardrobe. Told me if I didn’t sort out the Reds in Bunty’s head, she’ll tell Pater I’m yellow and things will be blue for me. Feels like I’d been battered by a rainbow. Banter made me his secret After-Aunt pick-me-up and promised to sort things out. Off to the club to nurse a migraine and a Strathisla ‘32.

    Monday
    A good day. Flousy’s broken it off with Minesorf who’s scarpered without a word. Didn’t dare ask what it was she broke.
    Tried the well-rested pop and it slid down like an oiled oyster. While supping the fizzy nectar, Banter said Bunty’d been exonerated. Sounded nasty, like what Flousy did but Banter explained. Seems the chump had a tryst with the delectable Millicent Fitzanyone, helping her decline in Latin. But he chose the wrong door, found Minesorf with some dastardly type and conclusions were erroneously jumped to. Millie confirmed the plan and Bunty’s off the hook.
    Chin chin.

    5+
    • 12 October 2018 at 11:59 am

      Okay Geoff, I felt like I was reading some form of psychedelic spy code. But I was smiling all the while, even as my synapses were misfiring.

      1+
      • 12 October 2018 at 12:58 pm

        Usually I understand only half of Geoff’s stories… I blame it on me not being a native speaker. :)))

        1+
      • Geoff Holme
        12 October 2018 at 1:28 pm

        Even so, Vicente, sometimes it seems that it’s Geoff who isn’t a native speaker! 😉 Or — to be more charitable — perhaps he likes to push the envelope of creative writing…

        1+
      • 13 October 2018 at 4:07 am

        That will be it. 🙂

        0
  6. 12 October 2018 at 7:51 am

    @CarinMarais
    http://www.maraiscarin.com
    273 words
    Mountaineer; Abbey; Diary

    The Book of Damnation

    Welstandsuitsig Abbey had been built upon a tall pinnacle. Waking and sleeping in shifts, they shared in the work around the abbey all the while tending to the Abbess who sat in the highest room writing blindly in the Vedoemenis Boek all that happened – and would still happen – in the world below.
    #
    He came at midday, raw fingers and knuckles leaving bloody specks on the stone as he climbed the height of the rock to reach the abbey.
    Two of the sisters helped him to the Abbess who still sat in front of the enormous book.
    “I’ve come for the machine,” he said, barely greeting her.
    She blessed him before simply stating ‘no’.
    “You know what is happening down there,” he said. “People are slaughtering one another! The world is coming to an end.”
    “And you would stop it?”
    “I would go back in time and stop it, yes.”
    “And? Would I then simply rip out the page, forgetting all it said?”
    “Yes.”
    The Abbess stepped closer to the window.
    “Come here and see what I see.”
    The man sighed, went over to the window. The Abbess nodded and the sisters pushed him out. With a heart-wrenching scream, he plunged to his death.
    The Abbess sat down at the Verdoemenis Boek once more and started writing.
    “I read what would have been written,” she said to the sisters. “The world would have been destroyed by now. We would have been destroyed.”
    #
    When they had left, the Abbess started to write their world’s doom once more, the sisters’ murder slipping into oblivion between the lines she wrote, taking the murder upon herself only.

    7+
    • 12 October 2018 at 1:01 pm

      I just love how much worldbuilding is there… Great job!

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        12 October 2018 at 1:35 pm

        I agree with your comment, Vicente. A great take on the first two elements, plus the inclusion of a ‘mountain climber’ to tie in with the preamble to the post.
        However, as I said in my reply to Alva’s submission, the story does not, to my way of thinking, use ‘Diary’ as a genre.

        1+
      • 12 October 2018 at 5:49 pm

        I agree with you, Geoff, that it’s not a Diary, but who am I to judge? It’s not my turn this week after all! 🙂

        (And for some reason I cannot reply to your comments, that’s why I’m doing it here.)

        0
      • Geoff Holme
        13 October 2018 at 7:34 am

        You can’t reply to my comment because we don’t have as many levels of reply as we used to before the blog developed so many problems a while back

        0
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:06 am

      I love this, Carin. Seems you and I are guilty of genre-confusion this week. Happy to be in such good company if we’re disqualified!

      1+
  7. 12 October 2018 at 10:08 am

    @alysia_ascovani
    277 Words
    Spy; Luxury Apartment; Thriller

    Good Fortune

    Jostling in the stiff lock, a rusty iron key granted reluctant entry. The rich oak floorboards squealed in protest as they were forced to bear weight again. Dust stirred, suffocating the open air, as it was dislodged from its resting places.

    Without a glance to the surroundings, a lithe young woman swept to the grand dining room window. The china of little interest, she pulled aside the damask curtains, opening the window they sheltered. Gently, she laid a glass telescope on the silk cushioned window seat. A moment to conceal her bright green hair, to polish the eyepiece of her life.

    A quick check of the time, she took a slow breath to fill the remaining seconds. Lifting her telescope, she looked to the roof across the forsaken street. The pool barely recognizable beneath years of filth, the formerly pearl-white tile caked in thick dirt.

    A sanctuary for the wealthy had become a monument to their downfall. She choked down a bitter laugh as another woman emerged onto the roof. Her clothes hung limply on her body, her blond hair listless, with none of the expected sheen. Even through the telescope, it was clear she had been crying, her face washed by her tears.

    She stepped to the edge of the roof, to the end of her lifeless world. Her eyes focused only on the salvation that waited far below. She drew a shuddering breath, tears still sliding down her cheeks.

    A single, shaking step.

    Her tears ceased as she fell.

    Across, the telescope was lowered with a satisfied smile. They were taking care of themselves, she could report. No intervention would be needed.

    All was well.

    7+
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:08 am

      This is a beauty! Love how the varying sentence lengths create tension. Cleverly done, Alysia.

      1+
  8. Eloise Tapson
    12 October 2018 at 10:10 am

    224 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    Nessie’s Not a Legend

    Drifting in the Loch, I was waiting for Sir Richard. He was my assignment. I needed to eradicate him before WWIII occurred. He was the only one with the codes. I drifted slowly through the Loch. I knew he had a summer house on the Loch and today he would be celebrate his child’s first birthday. A perfect time for my plan.
    I felt things gliding into my legs and slimy tendrils swept along my feet. But I kept on with the mission; after all, Nessie was just a folk story to stop young children swimming in the lake. I started to raise my sniper gun when I felt a gentle nudge on my leg. Bigger than a fish. I tried to look down but it was just ink black.I swam on.
    Nudge. I slipped my free hand down. Whatever it was slipped away. I crept closer to the shore. This time the nudge knocked the air out of me. I turned around. The water began to ripple. The ripples began to be small waves. I inched away. As I moved, something rose from the depths. Nessie wasn’t a legend. I leapt out of the water and stood drenched on the shore.
    I voice behind me said, “She is beautiful” as he held out a fish for the monster before me. Sir Richard.

    4+
  9. Lesley Turrell
    12 October 2018 at 12:22 pm

    292 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    The Storyteller

    She sees him run pell mell into the castle square. Late as usual, he slips in the back, trying not to be noticed. The story teller is in the centre of the arc. She does not cut a prepossessing figure, but the crowd hang on her every word. The lumpen figure covered in woven material surprises the newcomers.

    The seats are hard. The view for the audience is not always clear, so they crane their heads round obstacles. No one looks away, no talking, no shuffling. They are engrossed as soon as her voice delivers the first sentence.

    Her presence is commanding. Initially the woman’s tale demands a giggle, then even the most patrician start to chuckle. She relaxes. This is what she does for a living, or at least some part of it. She values their respect, but she’s done it for so long she just expects them to be swept away.

    She takes no prisoners. The tale becomes darker. Death and fear start to drip from her tongue. Dread permeates the audience and yet they still stay. There is little artifice, she carries them along with her into the demonic regions. Gradually, the audience murmur, restless, unease building. One by one they decide to go and check loved ones. Their need to reassure themselves that their possessions are still intact is overwhelming.

    The stone floor reflects the light and her face now shows her years. No one stays to hear to the end. Her agents have been listening in slyly. Their job has been to spy on the locals, to see what they can loot from the villagers around the Ness. More to fill her coffers. Her mind is moving on from Urquhart Castle, getting ready for her next mark.

    5+
    • 12 October 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Loving how you stretched the spy prompt here!

      0
      • Lesley
        12 October 2018 at 9:31 pm

        Thank you. I wanted to give a timeless impression as it is one of the world’s oldest professions.

        1+
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:11 am

      Oooh this makes me want to be a storytelling spy! Great job, Lesley.

      1+
  10. Deanna Salser
    12 October 2018 at 12:30 pm

    @ beadanna7
    300 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    Murderers Shouldn’t Do Drugs

    Looking out over the water, Sheldon could see why the place was the setting of legend. Right now, in the wee hours, the lake was smooth as glass, and fog drifted on the surface, ethereally obscuring the shoreline. Goosebumps erupted on his arms and spread to his chest and back, making his nipples stand up hard as shards under his coat. He stuffed his hands into his pits and shifted his bony glutes on the hard bench. He was waiting, he wasn’t sure what for, and thinking now that the tab of LSD he had taken might not have been the best idea. He had been celebrating…something, he couldn’t remember what just now, only that he had finished something he had been working on for months. His mind fragmented as he tried to recall details of his life before tonight. Had he been involved in espionage? Weird. He decided he didn’t want to think anymore. All he wanted to do right now was to feel, knowing he had robbed another of both.

    Fog slipped over his legs, caressing them like a lover, and Sheldon looked down at them, wondering how it was that he could feel that. He scrunched down, squinting to see through the tendrils of mist, when they parted, revealing a sleek tail spiraling off into the water. His eyes bulged as they followed it up to where it met and blended with his thighs. His sweaty palms flew from their nests to flutter around his burgeoning hips, waist, chest. His clothes rent as his body grew scales and fins and he slipped into the water, leaving them behind on the shore.

    The silken liquid rippled around Sheldon as he panicked, sucking in a lungful, and flailing his arms and legs at the drifting body of his foe.

    4+
    • Fractoluminescence
      12 October 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Now, here’s something original

      1+
      • Deanna Salser
        12 October 2018 at 7:24 pm

        Thank you! :*

        0
  11. Frank Key
    12 October 2018 at 3:04 pm

    @frankdaad
    287 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    The Urquhart Maid

    Caitlyn had grown up in a village on the eastern shores of Loch Ness within the borders of land controlled by Clan Fraser. Her mother taught her from her earliest years about what men want, how to please them, and, most important of all, how to keep their secrets when they babble on incessantly after satisfying their lusty urges.

    When Caitlyn Baird reached the age of accountability, she moved across the loch in search of a better life at Urquhart Castle, seat of Clan Grant. The head of household, perhaps more lured by her appearance than her humble manners, assigned her to cleaning chores in the Clan Lord’s Chapel located in the nether bailey of the castle. When asked if she understood the full range of her duties, Caitlyn looked straight into the eyes of her new master. “I am skilled to do whatever is asked of me, my lord.”

    Not long afterwards, the scope of her skills was put to the test on the straw-covered planks in the east corner of the chapel loft. It came as no surprise to Caitlyn when the head of household, flush from release, lay on his back and began to babble about all the castle’s secrets. “Tell no one – or else,” he warned.

    She kissed his cheek. “Of course, my lord.”

    Clan Cameron and Clan MacDonald, both controlling lands to the south and west of Clan Grant’s holdings, over the years to come, made good use of information they received from an unknown source by conducting many successful raids upon Urquhart Castle. And an old wizened wench died as a well-off property owner in a growing port town to the northeast called Inverness.

    6+
    • Deanna Salser
      12 October 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Lovely! Are you perhaps, a reader of Diana Gabaldon?

      0
    • 12 October 2018 at 6:06 pm

      I’ve missed your (longer) work, Frank. Loved this!

      0
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:13 am

      Wonderful to see your words back here, Frank. Super story!

      1+
  12. 12 October 2018 at 3:04 pm

    @ArthurUnkTweets
    https://arthurunk.com
    205 words
    Occultist; University; Occult

    Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

    “Percy, did you draw the proper diagram?”

    “I followed your notes exactly, Doctor Robbins.”

    “What about the materials?”

    “All gathered from the science lab and Professor McRoy’s office.”

    “We need to check the book.”

    “I don’t like the book.”

    “I didn’t ask if you liked the book. I said go check it.”

    “It still feels like flesh, and the words were written in blood.”

    “I didn’t make the book. We don’t know whose flesh it is. It’s not the blood of anyone we know. Go get the damn book!”

    “Bleh… Here it is.”

    “I didn’t get this much grief from my last assistant.”

    “Your last assistant is still missing.”

    “Yes…missing…”

    “I think you should get rid of that damn thing. It causes nothing but trouble.”

    “Oh no…”

    “’Oh no’ are not the words I need to hear right now.”

    “What day is today?”

    “Well it’s after midnight so, the thirteenth.”

    “The full moon is tomorrow night!”

    “And…”

    “We opened the gateway to the wrong dimension!”

    “Did you hear that?”

    “Shit! Shit! Shit! Run!”

    “Doctor Robbins! Wait up! I can’t run that fast. Doctor Robbins? Doctor Robbins, I can’t move.”

    “EGO VENI, UT BIBERENT IN CAME.”

    “Who said that? Doctor Robbins?”

    “NUNC TIBI ANIMA MEA.”

    “Ahhhhhhh…”

    4+
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:14 am

      I was running away by the end of this. Great build-up, Arthur.

      0
  13. Angelique Pacheco
    12 October 2018 at 3:33 pm

    @angs_pacheco
    295 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    Spying Nessie Killed the Curiosity

    He gazes over the water. The mist swirls over the surface and lingers ominously. He takes a swig of water from his bottle and wipes his mouth, smudging the black camouflage paint on his face. His orders were clear. “Find Logan Price, an old spy that went off the grid twenty years ago and eliminate him. He knows too much.” James rubbed the back of his neck with an old handkerchief. It was hot and humid here in the woods beside the lake. He chuckled to himself. This lake was where the famed “Loch Ness Monster” was supposed to dwell. He was after a different kind of monster. Price was rumoured to have tortured and killed hundreds of men. After he defected, of course. It would be a privilege to put an end to him.

    The water in the lake began to swirl and churn. James stared, mesmerised. Water shot up into the air and when it settled the creature sat so still the water looked like glass. James stared back, blinking as though he could not believe his eyes. Before him on the lake was the creature of myth itself. The Loch Ness monster. Or “Nessie” as the locals had dubbed her. So enthralled was he that he didn’t hear the rustling of the bushes behind him or the knife that sliced his throat open. He found himself lying on his back, looking at his intended target as his life blood spilled into the ground. His last thought was “I found a strange monster, but then mine found me…”

    Logan Price wiped the blade of his knife on his pants and stared at Nessie. He nodded to her and she nodded back before sinking underwater. As long as he lived, Price would protect her.

    5+
    • Alva Holland
      13 October 2018 at 1:16 am

      There are so many protectors of Nessie, but Price is definitely the scariest now! Well done, Angelique.

      1+
  14. 12 October 2018 at 4:10 pm

    @CrazyWriterGuy
    269 words
    Spy; University; Diary

    (NOTE: This is not fanfiction, and if it comes across as such, feel free to call me out on it. I tried to reference things, but I’m not sure how well I did.)

    Dear Dia— Mission Notes

    October 13th

    I have successfully infiltrated the university, posing as a student-teacher. So far, nobody suspects my true objectives, though the Dean is constantly asking after me. That’s annoying, but not too much of a problem. Once I finish my task here, I will leave. No mess, no fuss.

    October 14th

    Today something…very strange happened. I was doing some digging on the university network, using my “teacher’s” identification and password to dig into things, when I thought I saw a yellow canary fly by the window.

    It was, clearly, just my imagination, but the black and white cat that ran into the window wasn’t. Thankfully, the animal wasn’t too badly hurt, and soon ran off.

    I’m wondering if I didn’t get drugged without realising it.

    October 15th

    I’m convinced I’ve been drugged, or that somebody is playing games with me. I know that there are no cowboys here, especially not short ones with red beards! Why, then, was I chased by one down a hallway? And why didn’t anybody react to the gunfire as he shot at me?

    The sooner I finish my mission here, the sooner I can leave.

    October 16th

    WHAT’S UP?! WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!WHAT’S UP?!

    November 5th

    I recovered our lost agent’s notebook. It was in the university basement, surrounded by old plush toys from some old cartoons. We have not yet located the agent, but her notes indicate that she went quite mad. Quite…loony, one might say.

    4+
    • 12 October 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Absolutely loved this! 😀

      0
    • 14 October 2018 at 3:36 pm

      A fun read…on an espionage note, Yellow Canary is one of my favourite ww2 spy films…Anna Neagle and Robin Hood (aka Richard Greene)

      0
  15. 12 October 2018 at 5:18 pm

    @el_Stevie
    297 words
    Mountaineer; Abbey; Horror

    Sleep Eternal

    The mountain’s shape had changed, the avalanche shedding layers of rock and ice as tidal waves of snow rolled down its side to smother everything at its base. Chris eased himself from the cramped overhang in which he had cowered as the snow roared over and around him. He could see no sign of his companions. He did not want to call out again, in case it triggered another torrent.
    The light was failing and he was faced with a dilemma, to try and make his way back down over the mountain’s unstable surface or find shelter for the night. He would die if he stayed where he was. As he cast around, he saw strange stone walls. The shifting snow had revealed a building from centuries ago.
    Carefully he made his way towards it, anything, even a ruined abbey, would provide the shelter he needed. He jumped as a bell rang out, threw a nervous look at the slopes.
    A shadow at the door. No. No one could live here.
    The door opened. Another toll of the bell. Another rumble.
    “Welcome, Brother,” said the impossible shade.
    Again, the bell rang and the landscape shifted. Hurriedly, Chris entered. The monk silently guided him to a dormitory. Showed him beds, most already occupied.
    By his companions.
    “They sleep,” said the monk. “And so should you.”
    Reality dislocated and he allowed himself to be led to the one empty bed. He heard another roar. Overwhelming this time.
    “Their voices,” said the monk. “You called for them and now they answer.”
    He had but only the snow had come. Guilt flowered anew.
    “Time for you too, to sleep,” said the monk.
    A bell tolled and the snow roared in, tucking him in for the night, and for all nights after.

    3+
  16. Fractoluminescence
    12 October 2018 at 6:09 pm

    300 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    Reading Cycle

    He pushed his ear to the smooth surface and listened. Not a sound. Arthur applied pressure to the tile, lifting and sliding it to the side. Then he pulled himself up into the silence.

    He looked around. The library aisle stretched from his left to his right into the darkness. He stood up and started careful searching along the shelves. He felt like a spy, checking a hidden location for top-secret information. Arthur cautiously tugged on the edge of an interesting-looking book–”

    A noise startled Steve out of his reading. He shut his book and straightened. This wasn’t the time to get caught off guard by, well… a guard. The Loch Ness was heavily guarded since last week, when info spilled about a potential return of the famous monster. But he had been here first, and he intended to keep the role of the scientific pioneer he had planned on playing when coming here. It was well past midnight–”

    A shiver ran down Jane’s spine. A storm was rolling in. Of course, she should have closed the window by now, but reading in bed was so comfy… She sighed and put her book down, slipping out from under the covers and over to the intruding rain. Her bare feet nearly slipped in the puddle it had made. She quickly pushed the pile of thrillers and romances before it got them.

    Her mother would be mad if she learned she was up so late. And she’d better snuff out that candle, otherwise the smell of smoke would stay and ‘someone’ would angrily ask if she was trying to burn down the house–”

    Footsteps echoed on the tiles a little further off. Arthur shut the book. Whether he wanted it or not, he was here illegally, and it was time to leave–“

    2+
    • Fractoluminescence
      12 October 2018 at 6:12 pm

      I seem to remember I had some sort of an account on this website, but somehow I can’t figure out how to sign back in or anything. I anybody can help me out… (There maybe never ‘was’ anything like accounts on here, but I thought so… Am I mixing things up…?)

      0
      • Deanna Salser
        12 October 2018 at 7:33 pm

        There used to be signing in, but it’s broken and KM has been unavailable to fix it. So, yeah. You’re not crazy.

        0
      • Fractoluminescence
        14 October 2018 at 9:11 am

        OHH alright. I’m fine then XD
        Thanks 🙂

        1+
    • Fractoluminescence
      12 October 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Reading comments above it seems ‘thriller’ was meant to be the genre… Oh well. I’m not sure how do define a ‘thriller’. Does that count as an excuse?

      1+
  17. 12 October 2018 at 7:07 pm

    @OdsAndBodkins
    300 words
    Occultist; Abbey; Horror

    And It Shall Feast

    “Fiat in nobis erit reus sanguinis.” Hair blacker than the Void flowed from under the leader’s hood. Her disciples echoed the chant, none knowing a word of Latin. She had gathered them from the lost and forgotten corners of the world and now they were her lost, her forgotten.

    And they quaked and cowered and lay prostrate on the cold stone floor of the crumbling abbey, dreading and fearing and adoring the eldritch horror that they were about to wake. Soon the world that had cast them all aside would face a being far crueler than it was. And it would weep.

    “Veni, mi filiabus!” The leader raised her hands to a ceiling of starless midnight. Her followers did the same, tears flowing freely down their cheeks at the vengeance they were about to claim.

    “Epulemur!” Their voices rose to a maddened shriek as candles danced among the splintered pews. Suddenly, the chill breeze snuffed the flames out, plunging the unholy congregation into pure darkness. There they waited in silence for their new god to be born.

    A single candle reignited. The flame, now an otherworldly purple, cast incomprehensible shadows on the wall. Another candle sparked and kindled. Then another. Then another, until everything was bathed in unsettling violet light.

    But nothing else stirred. No divine beast had burst from the earth. No cosmic horror had descended from a black star. The world was not burning down around them but continuing along the same cold, uncaring path as it always had.

    “I am sorry to have deceived you.” The leader pulled back her hood to reveal the most beautiful and terrible creature anyone had ever seen. Her sensual ruby lips parted in a hint of a smile, revealing two long fangs. “But you have awoken something. And it shall feast…”

    3+
    • Deanna Salser
      12 October 2018 at 7:37 pm

      That was awesome, and I don’t want to insert negativity, but shouldn’t “awoken ” be the word inside the stars?

      0
      • Kyle Spencer
        12 October 2018 at 8:54 pm

        Thank you! And I was actually struggling with which word to emphasize. I’m pretty sure I could’ve gone with “have”, “awoken”, or “something”

        1+
    • 13 October 2018 at 4:10 am

      Oh, I wasn’t expecting that! Great!

      (And I agree: the emphasis will work in any word, with subtle nuances in each case).

      1+
      • Deanna Salser
        13 October 2018 at 9:56 pm

        It makes sense now

        0
  18. 12 October 2018 at 7:33 pm

    298 words
    Spy; Loch Ness; Thriller

    Nessie’s Secret

    “What do you mean… three more have been detained?”

    “Two photo-journalists and their oarsman, sir.”

    “What did they see?”

    “Enough, sir. Both of the journalists were submerged with their cameras as Nessie was trolling back to Headquarters.”

    “Why didn’t our radar pick them up?”

    “Portable subsonic scramblers were used.”

    “I think we have a mole.”

    “I agree. But logistically, what do we do now, sir? Three deaths, two photo-journalists and their oarsman drowning on a calm sea night. A bit of a stretch, sir.”

    “What if they just disappear?”

    “No can do, sir. We’ve checked their phones and they had just texted their last location while Nessie alerted us of intruders.”

    “Who did they inform?”

    “Magnus Llewellin, sir. The editor of…”

    “I know who Llewellin is. What are they…”

    “They had his private number, sir. This one is going to be hard to cover up”.

    “Well, find a way. This faculty has been Scotland’s best kept secret since before the World War I. I won’t be having it exposed on my watch.”

    With that dismissal, Inspector Scot turned on his heels and headed back to the lock-up.

    ***

    “Detective McPherson, has a fog alert been broadcast for tonight?”

    “No, sir. When see that one is immediately issued.”

    “Sir?”

    “Offer the oarsman and the journalists a welcoming snack and give them our most sincere apology. Scramble all internal communications until we have them on their way home. Allow them to take their phones and their cameras… unharmed.”

    “Sir, are you sure?”

    “Yes, detective. I am afraid on their return journey they will be encountering a large pleasure yacht that will intercept them. I expect, all on board our inquisitive rowboat will be tragically lost at sea. See that the divers are ready to retrieve their communication’s gear.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    2+
  19. Arianna Hammond
    12 October 2018 at 10:38 pm

    300 words
    Magician; Mountain; Diary

    My Epic Online Diary for the World to Read My Magic Journey in the Mountains

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 2:17 PM
    No subject

    The rabbits seem to be okay adjusting to the new space. They are looking at me through the bars of their cage right now and making sound, probably excitement. I will let them out soon, I just need to finish giving this cave light….
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 4:41 PM
    No subject

    Soooo, after the cave was lit, the resident bear got angry and lunged. I used a stick and my voice to scare it and get it out of the cave. Once my arm was bandaged, my forehead stopped bleeding, and I dug the bag from the snow drift, I let the stunt bunnies out. Surprisingly, they didn’t budge from the cage. Weird.
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 5:17 PM
    No subject

    Dinner was good. Beans and jerky. The rabbits didn’t eat much, so we are going to start practicing the classic hat trick to warm up.
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 7:03 PM
    No subject

    Bad news. One of the rabbits stopped moving and keeled over. Hypothermia I think? Anyway, I am sad to see him go. He is buried right outside the cave so he will be remembered. Guess I have two to work with. Oh well…
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 8:22 PM
    No subject

    Things went well! The hat trick was successful, but now I should get some rest. Goodnight!
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/9/13 3:46 AM
    No subject

    The bear was back. Ate a rabbit and then ran off. Damn it.
    Matt

    Posted by: MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122
    2/8/13 2:17 PM
    No subject

    Air is cold. And I think the bear is outside the cave. I have my stick. Wish me luck.
    Matt

    {MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122 has disconnected}

    3+
    • Arianna Hammond
      12 October 2018 at 10:41 pm

      Hi Geoff, I posted the story and then some of the words didn’t show up.
      Would you mind putting MAGICMOUNTAINMAN122 in the spaces where it says ‘Posted by:’ ? Thank you!

      0

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