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August 2017 Writers' Challenge

  • 01 Sep 2017 6:35 PM
    Reply # 5059976 on 5004727
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)
    Eerie good, Gloria.
  • 31 Aug 2017 4:24 PM
    Reply # 5058306 on 5004727
    Gloria A. Loftin

    The Man

    The man moved through the misty woods, hollow and alone. He had walked for days, past trees, past lakes, past mountains.  He hated the dust below his feet, the sun that mocked him in the sky, and the birds that had the audacity to sing at his misery.  Guilt weighed heavily on his soul.  Running from the one place he thought he belonged.

    He came to a crossroads with no signs or directions. On the opposite side of the road he spied a black cat staring at him from behind a tree. The man walked across the road and the cat began to follow him, darting through the trees and hedges along the road. Always there but never close enough for him to catch.

    Before dark they came to a stone marker with the name of a town, Stone Mont.  The cat and the man took a turn in the road and came upon an old abandoned house.

    “I guess this is a good enough place to rest my head tonight,” the man said to the cat that had followed him into the hovel.

    The man walked up to the top floor and lay down on a stinking blanket on a broken down cot and was asleep in minutes.

    Thunder began to boom, the sky turned black and the rain fell in torrents and as bad as the rain was, it did not come into the house where he slept.

    The man tossed and turned shouting at the nightmare that troubled his sleep. The cat sat by the door and watched the man.

    When the man awoke he looked around the room in surprise. The bed had soft sheets and a warm quilt. The curtains at the window blew in a soft breeze. He could hear a sound of a river that came from among the trees that pressed closely against the sides of the house.

    A tantalizing scent wafted up the stairs as he walked down them.

    He peered around the corner of the stairs where he could hear two women speaking.

    “It is about time that you woke up sleepyhead,” an old woman said.

    The cat, who had followed him into the kitchen, leaped onto the bench beside the table, and then onto the table.

    “You know we don’t allow Grimley on the table in our house,” the young woman said.

    “Who are you?” the man asked in complete bewilderment.

    “What do you mean who are we? I am your wife Cleodora and that is your mother Halia,” the young woman said. Are you still drunk from last night?”

    The man looked around with a troubled frown as panic set in. Have I gone mad he wondered? What is this place? He decided to wait and listen.

    The old woman set the table with cracked and pitted china. She grabbed four mugs from the cabinet on one wall and set them on the table.

    “Halia,” called a voice from the back of the house. “Is breakfast ready yet? Abreacan and I have to get to town this morning to pick up supplies.”

    The man wondered who is Abreacan?

    “Come on boy sit down and eat. We have to leave soon.” the old man said.

    The man gathered himself together. Ever since he had entered this strange house he had been bewildered, as though he was in a dream that he would wake up from any minute.

    He ate what the old woman, Halia put in front of him and then followed the old man out to his buggy.

    “What is wrong with you Abreacan?” the old man said. “We have a long way to go. Get up here and drive.”

    I must be Abreacan, he thought to himself.

    The road lead to the town of Stone Mont, that last night looked deserted and now was bustling with people.

    The night before the man did not notice that they were close to the sea. He could smell the salt and feel the spray on his face.

    The old man took the buggy to the wharf to buy fish.

    The man got out of the buggy and walked along the beach wondering what had happened to him since last night. He became sleepy and lay down on the beach and fell asleep.

    When he awoke he walked up the beach towards town. Only now there was no town and no people. Am I still dreaming, still asleep?

    The man started walking back towards the house.  The road ended at crossroads that he had passed the night before. No house lay in the valley before him.

    He thought he heard people talking and crying around him, but no one was there.

    “He was a wonderful father and husband,” a voice he knew spoke. He always wanted to travel and he did when he wrote his stories.”

    “He was always a dreamer,” said a woman somewhere above him.

    “Why did he try to swim so far out into the ocean,” he heard a child cry. “Why did you leave us, daddy?”

    “Welcome,” said a voice.  He looked over and saw a bright light and low and behold there was the cat Grimley welcoming him home.

  • 27 Aug 2017 1:13 PM
    Reply # 5050933 on 5004727
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)


    The echo of footsteps on the sidewalk made it feel as if I were inside a brass bell. The sound surrounded me but I could see no one for the fog. I could barely see my hand in front of my face. It was late, near midnight and I’d thought the streets were empty until I heard the footsteps. I sped up. Whoever was behind me increased their speed as well. My heart pounded in my chest. My mouth was dry. Should I call out to them, perhaps, like me, they are going home late and are frightened by the fog. No sound would emerge from my constricted throat. The night was deprived of sound, only the heaviness of my breathing and the reverberation of footsteps behind me disturbed the silence. I ducked my head and hurried up the street.

                The night was alive with smoke and shadows, swirling around me within its gray cloak. Was it protecting me or making it easier for my stalker to prey? I did not dare veer from my usual path for fear I could not remember my way without light or landmark. I slowed my pace as the night became darker. The silence descended, oppressive and suffocating. My thoughts whirled with demons, devils and assorted evil folk both real and lore.

    I shuddered as shapes materialized out of the fog. A man in a hat with a big cigar gained substance, flesh made from smoke. But like smoke he vanished as my feet stalled. Was he real or a mirage? Perhaps just a shade. Surely no man made of bone could have vanished so swiftly?  

                The scent of his tobacco lingered on the night air. A memory stirred within my fevered brain. Who smoked such sweet cigars? Do I dare call his name? For if it is he, that one from my thoughts, it must be a ghost. I dared not ask for fear it was truth. The shadow that hunted me this night was the one whom I’d just left, dead in his room. 

  • 31 Jul 2017 9:20 PM
    Message # 5004727

    For a brief moment you catch a glimpse of someone in the shadows. Who is he? What does he want? He disappears only to reappear when you least expect him to. 

    Note: To enter the Writers' Challenge, click the this link: "Writers Challenge", and post your work to the forum labeled "Writers' Challenge" for that month's challenge. Once your work has been posted, you can visit the and view you work on our site. To access your work and the work of others, click on the menu tab, "Open Forum" in the dropdown menu click on the "Writers' Challenge." There you can view your work.

    Last modified: 01 Aug 2017 8:02 AM | Anonymous
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