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By † Shazi
Aishod is a story I have been working on for years (and is still on it's second draft) I started it for NaNoWriMo in 2011 and finished the first draft for NaNoWriMo in 2013. Since then it has been and on/off sort of project (since I started writing a novel for my mumsy) but I have edited and rewritten the first 9 or 10 chapters to a standard I am much more happy with. I'm still not totally happy with the story, there is a lot of explaining that needs to be done and a lot of things that need to be expanded but for a second draft of a really rushed story I am pretty happy with it.
The story of Aishod...
Aishod follows the young and somewhat imulsive princess Pippa who has come home from magical boarding school. She had been receiving vague letters from home for years and suspected her uncle Tibbott of foul play. As soon as she returned she was put under house arrest, but little did her uncle realise that her magical ability of the mind far exeeded his own. She easily slipped out of the palace unseen and hired the mercenary Ivy to help her work out what is going on. The two are set on a journey niether of them expected as the Guardans of Magic warn that Tibbott is planning something far worse than just removing the Queen from power and taking the throne.
By † Emotional Outlet
Michael stared at the woman in the mirror. He supposed averaging four hours of sleep over the past two weeks wasn't ideal, but hallucinations seemed excessive.
She seemed to blink when he did, mimicking his other movements perfectly. Even the number of teeth seemed to match as he ran his tongue over each one.
When he reached for the long dark hair that flowed over her shoulders in the reflection and grabbed an unexpected handful of hair, he took in a slow, controlled breath. The reflection smiled, the corners of her eyes crinkling and drawing attention to the faint bags that formed beneath.
He felt his lips part. “That’s enough for now.” The voice was feminine, static faint beneath the lilting sounds. “Rest your eyes, won’t you?”
Michael went to sleep.
Corben tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but was met with utmost resistance from his body. He groaned and took a mental step back, focusing his energy into opening his eyes.
It was painful, like soap rubbed under his eyelids. His arms wouldn’t cooperate long enough to let him rub the pain out, so he squeezed his eyes shut, forcing out the pooled tears. They tumbled over his cheeks hotly and still his eyes burned.
After a few orchestrated blinks, he managed to stabilise his vision long enough to examine his surroundings—or, at least, realise he was staring at the open predawn sky sandwiched between towering grey brick.
The smell hadn’t left either.
He tried to move again. It felt like he was lying on garbage bags, but he couldn’t get past how much his eyes hurt. Whether the bags were filled with pizza boxes or rotten fruit didn’t make much difference—he needed to get up. Corben grit his teeth and tried to launch his upper body forward.
When his back seized with pain instead of lifting, he swore he could crack a tooth. He clumsily groped the bags beneath him, trying to force some feeling into his limbs long enough to figure out what he was lying on. What little he could feel through the plastic was immediately recognisable.
Bottles. Broken bottles.
By Jeremy Lloyd Beck
Chapter One -- Welcome to Write Club
The first rule of Write Club is you never tell anyone they should stop writing.
Lucius Alugan joined Write Club so that he could brag about how his vampire movie was a genius re-imagining of Greek mythology. “Real next level shit,” he said. Lucius works as an overnight stockboy at the neighborhood Snak N' Grab and came to Write Club to feel like a writer; he came to Write Club so that he wouldn't have to sit on his ass and make pages to feel like a tortured writer. Lucius Alugan pretended to be an alcoholic and a Satanist for his writing. His government name was Joseph, but pretended the name's Judeo-Christian roots offended him.
The second rule of Write Club is you never say when a story is a rip off.
Mononymous Henna told everyone she was a proofreader for Rolling Stone, but we all knew she worked the sandwich cart. Henna came to Write Club to get feedback on her song lyrics. Like every other singer-songwriter hopeful, she wanted to fuck a rock star and believed that meant she had vocal talent. She wore black and boots and died her hair jet because that's what she thought was cool. She was going to bring the hard rock back to pop music. Her music was shit but she had a cute face and eye-liner, so maybe she could achieve her dream if she learn how to stuff her bra.
Sir Lancel Aincroft tried to ask her out for lattes after Write Club once, but she didn't want to risk staining her perfect white teeth. The same week, Lucius got her number because she thought his frilly white shirt was exotic and original and totally rock n' roll. That weekend, Lucius took her to his crypt to get her drunk and blacked out on her shoulder. Sir Lancel spent the night abusing his emergency inhaler and masturbating.
Jennifer Logan wanted to become a blogger. She came to Write Club because she couldn't figure out anything interesting enough or true enough to blog about. Nobody asked her out for lattes or sex because she wore a pixie haircut instead of make-up. Everyone at Write Club knew Jennifer cleaned the toilets and children of some interchangeable Hollywood executive. Lucius tried to convince her to give her boss his screenplay, but she wasn't stupid. When Jennifer wanted a raise, she bought gel inserts for her empty bra.
The third rule of Write Club is that you give any writing exercise a chance, no matter how bat-shit it sounds.
When Sir Lancel Aincroft suggested everybody go through Craigslist personals and write up a character sketch, Lucius said he was a hack and that his Conan the Barbarian rip-off stole it's plot from Lord of the Rings.
The fourth rule of Write Club is that you don't use words like “hack.”
When I created Write Club, I was looking for a place to practice my craft. I always believed that words were magic, that they had the power to build new worlds and realities. Sir Lancel believed that, which is why he wrote Conan rip-offs and colored them with rings of power, it's why he wrote escapist fantasies where good also won. He knew that words could create the worlds that didn't exist but should, the ones we need to survive. Sir Lancel understood that we would all burn in hell if we never thought to write ourselves a heaven. When I started Write Club, I was looking for a creative space to build my own heaven.
The fifth rule of Write Club is that you always find something nice to say about a piece before you critique it.
“It's shit,” Lucius said. “Another Lord of the Rings rip. The world doesn't need another one of those.
Sir Lancel cringed.
“The sixth rule is honesty;” Lucius shrugged.
“At least include what you liked about it,” I said.
“I liked that it ended,” he replied. “Took it bloody long enough.”
One more thing about Lucius: He wasn't British, he just thought it was cool to steal vocabulary from the BBC.
“I liked the world you created,” Jennifer offered. “It was. . . big. Epic and all that. I liked the map you drew of it all.”
“Yeah,” Henna followed, “real big, really complex. Like a movie. I liked that. And the bit with the snakes was creepy.”
“He'd never make it in Hollywood,” Lucius muttered. I frowned.
“Neither have you,” Sir Lancel whispered dryly, eyes lowered, lips static.
“Up yours, Harry,” Lucius spit, tipped back in his chair; Henna touched his shoulder; Sir Lancel took a hit from his inhaler.
His real name was Harry, but he went by Sir Lancel Aincroft, his D&D name. He was fat and tall and smelled like his job at Burger King. When he worked the fryer, he had to wear a hairnet around his wild neck beard. He studied computer repair at the local technical college and sent anti-Creationist letters to the school board as a herald of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a sort of sauce-strewn Cthulu. He swore off alcohol and drugs, but always kept the emergency inhaler he didn't need nearby for a few inebriating puffs.
When it was my turn I told everyone about the snake that whispered to my protagonist in his sleep. I told them about how crazy it was driving him and that I was beginning to suspect I had an ending – between you and me, the hero goes nuts and axes the shit out of his bride to be.
“Does somebody die?” Henna asked. “Somebody always dies in your stories.”
“It's horror, not pop music.” Lucius said. “Of course somebody dies. Somebody has to die.”
“Why though?” She asked. “Wouldn't it be more of a surprise if they didn't?”
“What can I say –” I laughed – “every spell requires sacrifice. I guess mine take it in blood.”
“Be careful with that dark stuff, man,” Lucius warned.
“Said the Satanist?” Jennifer raised her eyebrow.
“It's not for everyone,” he retorted; I smiled; Sir Lancel turned his head away from the entire scene.
“My song today is about finding true love on Craigslist and finding out it's your spouse,” Henna said, beaming in her ingenuity.
The second rule of Write Club is you never point out when a story is a rip off.
On the bus, I was struck with a vision of my story, I saw what it could be and what it should be. I felt it run through my blood like a virus, an amoeba swimming as fast as possible to my death. I pulled out my cell phone and, chubby fingers fumbling over the touchscreen, I wrote the last act of my story. The words were there; the spell was written. All that was left for me to do was to put it all together and cast it on the world.
When I got home, I was happy to be done for the night. My daily word count achieve, I was content to give myself over to slumber. I quickly stripped to my boxers, climbed in to bed, and let a snake-fueled ax-murder drift gently out of my mind – or perhaps it just sunk deeper in.
After I went to bed I woke up in my protagonists room. A three-legged crow tapping it's nine talons impatiently against my dresser. It was crimson red and flecked with gold. The bird opened it's mouth to caw, but nothing came out. All I could hear was the hissing.
“Sssacrificce,” I heard, turning instinctively to the golden snake in the aquarium by the bed.
I straightened in the bed and tried to stand up, but, as I turned to stand up, I realized my legs were both flayed and bleeding; I realized I was not the hero.
The hero was standing over the bed with an ax.
I heard the crow's cawing like an echo as he lifted his weapon. I grabbed the nightstand and pulled myself to the ground as the ax dropped deep into the mattress. My hand slipped into the nightstand drawer and pulled out the gun I'd left for my ill-fated heroine. It was unloaded and unhelpful, but that was the story and my body couldn't help but follow through. I squeezed the trigger and listened in terror as the gun clicked impotently as the hero – wearing my face, as all my heroes do – climbed over the bed, ax raised, ready to end the story.
Then the bird flew between us, the hero slipped fell backward off the bed and his hatchet fell helplessly behind him.
Then the hissing returned.
I turned to the sound and saw the snake, scales aglow, growing fatter and longer in it's coil in the small glass box. The snake grew until it could no longer be held back; the sides of the aquarium popped and sand and water spilled from the perch. The snake continued to grow as it crawled toward me hissing:
“Ssssacrifice. . .”
The snake turned and snapped at the bird. I watched it dance in the air and then fly out the open window. I was alone.
The snake raised it's expanding mass and hissed provocatively, its tail rattled like the muffler on my first car.. Make a move, try your luck, it seemed to say – though it could clearly say so if it wanted to.
That's how I wrote it.
That's when my protagonist grabbed me by the shoulder and, hand choked up on the ax, released the mortal blow. I winced as the blade sunk easily through my collarbone; I felt the very tip touch my heart.
“Thank you,” the snake hissed, coiling itself back up.
My protagonist dropped me back to the ground and began hacking cleaving blows into my chest, the blood sprayed like a water fountain in hell, all the way up to the ceiling fan.