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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 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.
By † Emotional Outlet
Chapter One [Part One]
The bedroom was cosy, bordering on spartan with its limited personal touches. A glass vase with two sun-faded paper flowers attached to bits of wire. An errant comb, a few strands of hair woven into its teeth, next to a small stack of dogeared magazines long since out of date. Windows curtained and shut, the bright sunlight outside was barred entry. The walls were blank, a faded beige that might have been white at some point.
Blank, save for the wall behind the bed. A mirror, wall to wall and floor to ceiling, reflected the room in its entirety. Its surface was clean and unbroken, not a single scratch or speck of dust to be found despite the headboard pushed directly against it, the sheets and comforter on the mattress in disarray.
Felicia’s voice came through the closed door from the hallway, words dampened to murmurs. The door was pushed open, marked by a slight pop as it moved past the frame. She pressed her phone to her ear with her shoulder, a bowl of cereal in her hands. Shadows had formed beneath her eyes, her dark brown hair pulled back into a messy ponytail.
She set the bowl on the nightstand and pushed the blankets aside. “No, I just got back from the lab. What’s up?” She sat down on the bed, perching her feet on the edge of the bed frame.
“Tim.” She let out a breath. “Tim, stop. I don’t think she hates you. Your sister just turned, what, thirty? Thirty-one. She’s been in the spotlight since she was your age—that’s an entire decade in front of the camera, of her name being plastered everywhere in magazines. She’s not as young as she used to be.”
Felicia switched the phone to her other ear and picked up the bowl. She popped a few spoonfuls of cereal into her mouth. The flakes were beginning to get soggy. “Much as I love to hear you suffer,” she said, putting the bowl down, “I don’t think that’s why you called me this early on a Sunday. Early for you, anyway. What’s going on?”
There was a pause as she listened, a grin spreading across her face as she snickered. “Are you kidding me? Come on, isn’t Steve going? Aren’t you guys—” Another pause. The smile on her face immediately disappeared. “Oh. Oh. Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t… I hope they work it out. Have you asked Amy to go with you? Not my sister, Le—Bev’s daughter. She’s in town for a few weeks, isn’t she?”
Another pause. Felicia rubbed her forehead. “Figures she’d already have plans. All right, all right. I’ll go with you. It’s tomorrow night? Okay. I’ll see you at seven.” She hung up the phone and sighed, staring at the blank screen for a while.
Her eyes flicked to her reflection in the mirror. She put a hand to the glass and, for a moment, she thought that it began to ripple beneath her fingers. Something in her stomach seized and excitement crept up on her. She closed her eyes.
All she felt was its surface, solid as ever. She scolded herself silently for getting worked up and turned on her phone.
The background was somewhat distorted, just a touch too wide for the phone’s resolution. It was a picture of her as a teenager, with a ridiculous head of multi-coloured streaks she absolutely insisted was vital to her personality. Leon was carrying her on his back, a goofy grin on his face.
Here she found herself, sitting on a bed that had seen more people than she would like to admit, a mostly full bowl of cereal waiting for her on the nightstand, staring at an old picture…
And all she could think about was what she was going to wear tomorrow. A welcome distraction to be sure; it would be nice to be able to get away from the house. Felicia cast a sidelong glance at the mirror. Among other things.
She couldn’t shake what had happened. The mirror moved—she was convinced of that much. She dropped the phone on the bed and stood up, taking the bowl.
What more was there for her to do? Wait in front of the mirror for days like she used to? She was years away from sixteen—talking with Tim reminded her of that much. Of course, she was also years away from thirty. A small smile touched her lips.
She left the room, closing the door behind her, pulling it roughly to get it to stay shut.