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Challenge Accepted

Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Communications Technology.

Books, books, and more books!

Books, books, and more books!

Challenge Accepted, Indeed

I stumbled upon a challenge posted on my wall years ago about having to write an introductory story of a novel for those who comment on it. And sadly, I was beaten by that. But not this time, no, no, no. I shared it once more and waited for my friends on my social media account to comment once more so I can finish the challenge once and for all.

It's a great practice for creative writing since you have to write a story based on the person who commented on it, all while having to remind yourself that you have to write it on how you could introduce them to a fiction novel. It's more of an on-the-spot flash fiction anthology writing challenge series, and it was fun having to see their reactions to the stories you've written and fun to have stories be written.

Ideas aren't easy to come around, but when they do, they sure give one heck of a punch.

So, below are five of the stories I've written on how I could introduce my social media friends to a novel. There's actually more them who commented on it, but I could only put five because of personal constraints (I got tired and I still need to write for some of them).

Enjoy!

Photo by Shot by Cerqueira on Unsplash

Photo by Shot by Cerqueira on Unsplash

Genre: Action Adventure

The Lady in White Dress

Faint music of piano keys playing can be heard from the distance. People drowned themselves in beer while cackling laughter filled the atmosphere. For an outsider, it will look like a foreign bar established for those seeking pleasure. But this is just like any ordinary bar, on any ordinary cold night.

The putrid smell of cigarettes' smoke greeted the mysterious man's nose, lingering like spoilt honey on an old, crusty loaf of bread. He marches on with hands hidden inside his pockets and eyes fixated on the ground. The barrage of noise was seemingly nothing to him, like a rock floating down the flow of an angry river.

He met the bartender tending another customer with a pint of bubbling alcohol. "She around these parts?" He asked the man behind the counter.

"I know nothing of any woman, but the woman who owns these parts." He said while engulfing himself on a stick of cigarette. "Best be leave this place if you want to keep your parts intact, that's what I say."

The mysterious man shuffled across the counter and sat on a nearby, rickety stool. He looked at the bartender while placing his hands on the counter. He removed a rose's stalk with its thorns removed between his dessert lips and licked them before uttering another word. "I ain't going nowhere." And the place went as silent as ghost towns found in the county. The people stopped and looked and stared at the mysterious man's soul, with each eye telling a million stories than one.

The silence broke when the sounds of footsteps echoed across the second floor. It traveled smoothly on the surface of the wooden wall, down the pavements, and down the stairs to the hall. The people looked in awe and fear as the mistress has finally been awakened from her slumber. Carrying a white slender dress and wearing a red floral cap, she stopped a few feet in front of her audiences until she walked towards in front of the mysterious man.

She slowly raised her hand like a wand, holding a bullet-filled .45 revolver gun. She pointed it at the mysterious man as she spoke like the sirens of the seven seas. She lifted it up, nudged it a little, and raised his chin to make the mysterious man see her face, eye-to-eye.

"Heard you're looking for me." She spoke elegantly. "I ain't looking for suitors at the time." She touched and caressed the mysterious man's cheek and slightly punctured it with her long, flashy nails. "But you may do just fine."

The people know her as the princess of rebellion, the goddess of beauty in chaos. She changes her name in the day and transforms herself at night. The mysterious man asked her name as the lady in white chuckled at his request. She leaned closer to the man's ear and let out a solemn whisper that he can only hear. "I have a thousand names to choose from, which one would like?"

Photo by Sean Mungur on Unsplash

Photo by Sean Mungur on Unsplash

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Sightseeing Between Balconies

She stood outside the balcony of her two-story comfy home, with both hands hugging a warm mug of macchiato. The gradient colors of the dying dusk illuminated the sky, painted like art pieces in the museums in the city. The evening was young and the air is still bold, but the smell of freshly baked goods scented from afar poised a weary weather for the rising darkness enveloping the neighborhood. And as she looked at the Parisian lights flare one-by-one like the stars in the sky, she caught a glimpse of a boy looking at her from another balcony, just a few meters apart.

The boy captured his shameful act and role-played as if he's looking for something on the now empty streets. She stared at him with a painted shock on her face, without having any knowledge to do in such situations. Until the boy looked at her again, and again, and again, as if checking if she has not caught red-handed. The passing seconds felt like minutes, and the minutes like hours, and the hours like days. She caught herself doing the same shameful act as the boy she was seemingly trying to catch and averted her sight to the nearest opened bakery, with the bakers still inside, enjoying the moment of warm bread and fragrant baguettes.

She suddenly felt like something is trying to catch her watch, again, from her peripheral view. She ignored the calls and urges and annoyance and found a ridiculously wonder inside her own curious emotions. Like magnets trying to stick together, or glue trying to hold each other, or hands clinging to one another.

She gave up the battle of look-see to finally, directly, see the boy in the neighborhood balcony. He shied away and tried to cover his face with a book that came out of nowhere, pretending to read like a researcher, and pretending to be silent as if he's in a student-filled library. He slowly peeked to see her awkwardly smiling, waving her hand like pressing buttons on a game show. He waves as hell, with smiles written all over his eyes.

The mug of macchiato turned cold that night, but the warmth remained for the neighborhood, filled with calm and light.

Screenshot from Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne

Screenshot from Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne

Genre: Dark High Fantasy

When the Storm Have Finally Arrived

Blankets of snow and ice melted, and the oceans have called the waters back into their domain. The population suffered from the Queen's attack in the city's capital. Homes and lives were lost. But the first rise of the warm sun for the first time in a decade brought hope to Dracagon.

The remaining members of the Valmero royalties decided to have the King buried alongside his fallen army. The Winter War's remains were either burned to ashes by those filled with grief or collected by those who wish to exploit their powers. The Arctic Queen's crown, however, was hidden inside the castles, away from any that can use it for their personal gains. A replica of it was made and sculpted and placed in the middle of the town's square, a token to remind them that the pain of the evil of Winter and frost and that they are now defeated, melted like the glaciers they once constructed on the Northern Alps.

The clouds cried as it covered the sky, muffling the voices of those who have loved ones fallen from the frost for the ones who have died and lost. And after a week, the capital had finally begun to stand on its wounded legs with more than golds and riches to boast.

But something strange started happening on the West coastal seas of the region. The villagers have been reported massacred by another unknown force and the fishermen and pirates and sea dwellers have been discovered missing from their boats. The tides were as giant as they were, gigantic to reveal a hidden, malicious concern.

Deep in the depths of the coldest and darkest, a howl erupted that has never been heard by the world. The thunderous skies eroded the surface and covered the entirety of the region's coasts. Towering waves splashed and disintegrated leftover villages on nearby ports, as the blazing heat and light of the sun hid again once more behind curtains of rampaging cotton.

And when the air whispered and cut and pierced through mountains and trees, the first of the Fallen arose from the dismal abyss. He rose and slithered and crawled slowly from water to land, with eyes as blue as the waters and skin as green and ancient as the city that had been engulfed by the oceans for thousands of years. His scale reflected the remains of light that tried to pierce through the sky, covering his body from head to tail, holding a golden trident covered seaweed and muck. His fins arose like mountain ranges from his back as his gills bubbled and foamed. A distinct mark is left on the sandy shores as he slithered.

He held his trident up above and it glowed in purple and indigo, and the storm above only grew even stronger and stronger at every command and blow. He let out one final roar to awake his sleeping brethren, until one-by-one one, arose from the oceans.

They came from depths for they were the drowned ones the people of the surface have feared to return. And while Spring brought new beginnings for the capital cities of Dracagon, the Fallen, the drowned ones, the ancient race swallowed by the oceans, bring only death and vengeance to those with will and force to try and stop them, even if they are on their own.

Photo by Farida Davletshina on Unsplash

Photo by Farida Davletshina on Unsplash

Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Horror

Terror Strings

Ten months, three weeks, and a day, the tiniest of details recorded on crumpled paper plastered on a rectangular whiteboard that had been turning gray. Detective Mallard reached inside the highest partition of an opened table cabinet, grabbed a half-empty box container of colored tacks, and weaved and cut a foot-long fabric from a red ball of yarn. He stared blankly at the whiteboard and saw the pieces of his clues interconnecting each other with a missing, recognizable bald spot in the middle of it all. It looked like a jigsaw puzzle filled with paper and pictures and handwritten notes.

The disappearances of the victims were not only the most shocking to the force that is still trying to identify the perpetrator behind but their reappearances days after they have been abducted as well. Some of the force decided to have the case closed as soon as possible, the people trying to have a whiff of gossip says that the victims may be suffering from mental illnesses, and the news kept on ranting that the whole thing is only but a prank to gain popularity and a huge waste of time and money.

Detective Mallard has been receiving non-stop requests for him to stop the investigation and just sink down the drain or be swept under multiple layers of a rug. But not Detective Mallard, as he first-hand saw what had happened to a victim of the supposed "crime," getting taken and dragged into the dark and nothingness and almost leaving nothing but crumbs of clues to chew and eat on.

And after a few more months of investigation, he finally traced the source, like cracking an encrypted code made by a malicious hacker. He drove off using his trusty car on a Saturday evening 60 miles to North and 55 miles to East, away from the busyness and noise of the city. He reached a small part of the region, notable for its damp, wet nature and exotic plants and animals, housing nothing but predators and mosquitoes to feast on bodies, living or not.

Despite the murky despair and the pungent smell of the swamp, it was a run-down cabin in the middle of it that took his breath away. No one from the city had ever known a cabin existing in such place, let alone it being archaic and as broken as crushed bones. He slowly stepped inside, holding a flashlight beaming his way, and a self-defense gun stacked on top of it. The light of the moon illuminated the crevices of the broken wood, as drips of water echoed across the rooms.

He looked from room-to-room to find nothing but abandoned belongings covered in dirty, white sheets. But when he finally relaxed and decided to close the whole mission over, he suddenly stepped on a very thick strand of string. He lifted up his footing and the string sang like that of instruments he used to play. He followed the string from his footing to the end, slowly lighting it until the string began to color in red. Like opening a mysterious yet malicious gift, he stopped for a moment to prepare himself for an upcoming and unknown surprise. And when he continued, he saw nothing but empty, hollow, and broken shells of human bodies piled on top of each other.

He jumped in shock and slammed his back across a hard, wooden wall. And when he looked again, the string began to move on their own, and one of the hollowed bodies slowly arose.

Photo by George Kedenburg III on Unsplash

Photo by George Kedenburg III on Unsplash

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction

A New End for the Beginning

A beam of light shot through an unseen roof as it scattered on an even darker floor. A hooded figure went down from above, creating static as her corporeal body materialize itself. And when the process is done, the room is blinded by black once more.

The hooded figure stood in the dark for a moment until waving her hand graciously on an empty space. A small podium slowly arose beneath the ground, with a U-shape thing gravitating above its surface. The figure carefully took the thing and hid it inside her extravagant dress, as she began to slowly walk in the shadows towards a destination seemingly without an end.

The room was quiet and gigantic and bold. No footsteps can be heard as she, herself, is gravitating a few inches above the floor. Soon, insignias of the unknown alphabet slowly revealed themselves all over the room. They illuminated the hollow room with a faint cerulean light and blinked when the figure is "stepping" on a walkway filled with signs out of this world.

She stopped as the lights grew stronger and stronger, blindingly piercing through her translucent veil. And from the darkness, on his knees, and glowing chest, another figure present itself.

"Is it time?" A heavy voice can be heard from the faceless man. His face is fixated on a mirrored floor, filled with nothing but darkness and shining light, like the blinking stars he once sees in the darkest of night.

"The inevitable has come." Said the hooded figure. She placed her hand holding the thing on the man's glowing chest, and it gleamed like a thousand radiant suns as the molding object got nearer and nearer.

The man looked at the hooded figure and tried to stand. His hands shook and were in shackles, wrists in tightest of bonds, hands on unseen podiums that looked so grand, and palms touching the luminous floor he's cursed to stare at for who knows how long.

"So shall be it," said the prisoner of the once empty hall, "and they will now pay for what they have done," As the thing merged inside the man's chest, the chains that held him for eons are now broken and in their rightful places — away from grasping their victim and disintegrated like clouds of dust and sands. "And they will now pay for the crimes they committed," he slowly arose from his once prison, free from their grasps. "And retribution must be done."

He stood valiantly in front of the hooded figure as the room lit up to see the woman. She let her hood down and presented her beaming eyes, the same color as the light that is trying to swallow them whole.

"So shall it be." Her final words to the unshackled man. This universe will not only see the stars that blinked for centuries but the dismal corruption it tries to hide.

© 2020 Darius Razzle Paciente