Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC (Results)  (Read 1310 times)

Sinitrena

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Thank you for the Music!


For me, writing and music are strongly connected. Music is often inspiration and - more importantly - motivation for me when I work on a story. It is also often an essential part of storytelling, though admittedly not so much in written form. But the background music of movies or games can add so much to the atmosphere of a scene - or destroy it. And in our daily lives, we may not even notice all the music we hear: on the radio while we do houshold chores, in the store when we go shopping or through the headphones of our fellow passengers on the bus.

So let's appreciate music in our writing a bit. It could be a songtext like the video above, a story about a musician, a mystic melodie that plays randomly in the head of a protagonist. While I put the topic as thanks and appreciation for music, it doesn't have to be positive. A murderer using a song to haunt his victims, for example, is also fine. But music must play an integral part in the story, preferably with descriptions of the music itself.

You have time until 14. April
« Last Edit: 24 Apr 2018, 20:45 by Sinitrena »

Baron

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Wow, this one is going to be a challenge for me.  Especially because I don't often listen to music (my parents played too much ABBA when I was a kid... (roll)).  I guess I better get my thinking cap on. :undecided:

Sinitrena

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Challenges are good, they help us reach higher levels in our art. Maybe you need a bit of music to help you think? I have the perfect link for you. (laugh)

WHAM

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[Well this turned out strange. A sick and feverish mind can produce strange tales in the middle of the night.]

They sing, but not to us

I watched as the two axes hacked away at the ice, cold chips scattering down into the trampled snow as the pit in that sheer, glimmering surface deepened inch by inch. My own axe hung limp in my hand as I waited to see if my turn would come up. There was space only for two bodies to work on the hole we were making, and Carthall, as the leader of our expedition, had naturally taken his place, while Carter, the scarred woman, seemed eager and almost giddy to join him in the task. So I waited, watching as the axes rose and fell, occasionally glancing over my shoulder at Mr Crowley, our doctor, as he tried and failed to calm the dogs that had already sacrificed so much to bring us here. A gasp, a slip, and the Carter -woman dropped her tool into the snow.

“Churchill! Step up! Miss Melinda here needs to rest!” -barked the bearded man without pausing in his work. As she stepped aside to make room for me, kicking her tool before her so as not to abandon it in the snow, I gave her an apologetic nod and a smile that might have been made into a grimace by the bitter cold acting on my face. I watched for half a minute as Carthall worked his axe into the ice, learning the pattern of his strikes, before lifting my own and striking in between his blows. Blood rushed from my core to my limbs and after only a minute of work I could feel my heart pounding. The cold make work hard, each motion of my body felt like it might set me off-balance as the snow and ice shifted beneath my boots.

“Harder now, Churchill, lest we be here all night!” -the veteran of the Second Falklands War barked at me. I recall grunting in reply, lifting my axe higher than before and striking in a misguided attempt to impress the man. The blade bit into the ice, deeply, piercing its way through and striking something beneath it, something softer. Black liquid welled up around the metal and I could hear the hiss of gasses escaping, bubbling through the fluid, as I hastened to pull my tool free.

“Hah! Good work, Churchill! Crowley, step up now! You’ll want to sample this!”
-
It had been two more hours of work before the gap in the ice, and the wall of flesh beyond it, were wide enough for a man to make his way through. We propped up the hole with spare parts from our sleighs. The dogs barked madly as we worked, frenzied by either hunger for the living flesh we carved or frightened by the godless nature of our discovery. We had to take some time to embed stakes into the ice so that we could tie the dogs up and keep them from escaping. Finally, however, we were ready to enter. I fulfilled my duty by sketching into my journal, documenting images of what we were seeing, crude depictions of my comrades at their work. It was impossible to capture the size and scope of the thing in the ice, and as I stepped into that gaping wound it became clear to me that any attempt to do so was doomed to fail.

The electric lanterns we carried sizzled and sparked in the strange air, but their light revealed to us the reality of what we were experiencing. I could hear the Carter woman laughing as she lifted her eyes at the vaulted ceiling of flesh above our heads, with the pale shapes of bones visible under the translucent inner flesh. It was warm inside, though this much we had expected. That warmth had revealed the existence of the beast to us before, and had triggered this expedition of ours.

For that first day we worked near the entrance, never straying far enough away so as to lose sight of it. I did what I could to document our work, writing down notes and adding to my sketches, while Carthall stood to the side, grinning to himself. Another glory to add to his growing list of discoveries and victories. Carter was no less excited, smiling and laughing as she hauled in the gear our good doctor requested. Sensors, devices, a miniature laboratory. With a sharp knife he’d carve samples all over, leaving small pits in the flesh which welled up with that black blood we’d witnessed before.

-

I recall waking in the night, opening my eyes to the oppressive darkness of the cramped tent I shared with doctor Crowley. I could hear his breathing, the whine of a restless dog outside, the low rumble of Carthall snoring in the other tent. Normal sounds. Sounds I was used to. Sounds that would not have woken me up. Perhaps it was the fear of being thought mad, that had me silently slip out of my sleeping bag and put on the rest of my gear before stepping out into the cold night air all alone. If I’d awoken the others for naught but a dream or a figment of my imagination, which I will freely admit had been running wild ever since we set off across the glacier, there would have been no end to the cruel jokes and harsh judgement from Carthall.

I recall approaching the wound-opening we had cut in the day. I had no light source with me, but the singular lantern we had left inside was still on and I could navigate by the sliver of light it produced. My gloved hand touched the flesh and I could feel a hint of its warmth on my fingertips. There was another sound, coming from inside. At first I suspected a recording device had run out of tape and the mechanism had jammed, producing a high-pitched whine. It changed key, dipping lower before rising up an octave. The melody of it was slow, ponderous. I pressed into the hole in the flesh and witnessed the walls move, undulating as bones shifted and sinew twisted around the internal passage, the wall of which we had violated with our axes. The lantern, sitting atop a tripod, wavered so that its light caused the shadows of the objects we had left inside to dance madly on the glistening, crimson walls. The sound rose further. I could feel my brain throbbing, then sting in a sudden spike of pain, as if the sound had manifested physically inside my ear and taken the shape of a six-inch nail. The lantern sparked and burst, and as I stumbled away from the darkened hole I could hear the dogs go into a mad panic, tearing at their leashes, barking and howling.
-
Come the morning we took stock of what had happened. The lantern was easy to replace, some device that recorded vibrations had broken and would have to be abandoned as useless. One of the dogs was dead, its neck broken as it has gotten one of the lines stuck around its throat before trying to flee from the terror of that night. I did not speak up of the sound I had heard, crafting a lie of having been awakened by the snoring of our expedition leader. In whispers I asked our doctor for something to soothe the pain in my head, and he produced the necessary pills to keep me functioning.

This day we planned to delve deeper, see where that passage of monstrous flesh might lead us and what we might learn of the creature. Doctor Crowley seemed dispassionate about the task at hand, while miss Carter protested loudly as she was told to stay behind and care for the dogs in our absence. I volunteered to stay in her stead, but my task of documenting our findings was deemed of more value to Carthall than an end to Melinda’s protestations. We turned left from our initial opening. The fleshy floor was almost flat and easy enough to traverse, despite the occasional slippery spot. We had no trouble following the order to ‘not laugh’ after Carthall slipped on a puddle of slime and fell on his backside. In fact, I was petrified, afraid that some unseen opening had split up to devour him. I think the doctor and I shared that feeling of being swallowed whole by this monstrosity, as his demeanour closely mirrored my emotional state. To voice my apprehension, however, might have sent Carthall to a fit of rage. His military background made him effective, but harsh on his underlings. I wondered if Crowley had served in the war, considering his medical background, but never asked.

We had expected the tunnel of flesh, the doctor surmised it must have been some sort of airway for the creature due to its open and semi-rigid nature, to carry on mostly flat for some distance. The tight twist to the right was unexpected, as was the following continued upward spiral. Sickly yellowish nodules lined the ceiling here, dangling above our heads as we crouched to avoid touching them. Only after being twice ordered to do so, did the good doctor puncture one of these nodules to gather a sample of the fluid that welled inside. Clear, sweet in scent, but corrosive. The fingertips of his glove melted away in seconds, but fortunately he avoided any damage to his hand.

The spiral continued for some time, I lost track of the number of rotations and had little idea how far we had climbed. The sweet scent was strong here, a constant companion. As we paused to discuss whether or not we should return and see what the other end of the passage might hold, or carry on and see what sort of fleshy formation awaited atop the spiral, I could feel a vibration beneath my feet. The others felt it too, and we exchanged confused glances. I recognized the sound as soon as it began, though it took the others a few moments longer to realize it was more than just the passing of air.

“Like I said!” -the doctor shouted, gesturing at the fleshy ceiling. “An airway! It breathes just like we do!” As the song, which I now regarded the sequence of sound to be, slid down the scales, the vibrations in this spiralling passage grew unbearable. The floor beneath us shifted and due to its slick nature, we began to lose our footing. I will never forget the screams of doctor Crowley as he began to slide down, face first, slamming at the slick floor with his hands to slow or stop himself. The pool of acid from before had been stored in a shallow dip that served to stop him, but also doomed him. Carthall and myself used the twitching corpse to push ourselves back to our feet and as the sound that now flowed around us turned ear-splittingly shrill, we ran.

-

The rest of that day, and most of the following, are a blur to me. Carthall and I argued, this much I recall, and the black eye I had after that second night in our encampment would serve to remind me for many days. The dogs had gone quiet, as if they had accepted their fate. They hardly moved and some didn’t seem to want to eat. Carthall was adamant that the expedition would not stop just because our doctor was dead. Carter backed him up for reasons I cannot, to this day, fathom. She seemed to resent me for having been left behind, and repeatedly suggested that Crowley might still live if she had been present to help him. My demands to head back and return better supplied and equipped now that we had a better understanding of the creature, its location and its nature, went on deaf ears.
On the fourth day, we had planned to stay for seven, Carthall and Carter decided to enter again, both to see what the other side of the passage was like and to see if they might bring out Crowley’s corpse for burial. I was to stay behind, tend to the dogs, watch and wait.

They never returned.

I waited all day and all through the following night, listening to that awful song start, rise, fall and stop, then start again a few hours later. I watched as the passage we had cut into the creature’s flesh twitched in the cold air, the warmth radiating from it making the air move. The sound no longer hurt me much. Perhaps the dogs, too, were getting accustomed to it, which might explain their calming down.
Deeming my companions lost, I packed up my tent and sleeping bag, whatever supplies I could, loaded up one of the three intact sleighs and prepared the dogs. The animals seemed lethargic, unwilling to take a single step. Only with much coaxing I was able to get them to pull the sleigh and myself. We travelled for ten minutes when I heard the sound again, and this time the pain was back. The dogs went mad and began to tear at their reins. Two broke free and bolted right back in the direction we had come from. The others remained trapped with me as the sudden motion had overturned the sleigh.

It was hours later when I returned to our doomed campsite. The song had not ended and my brain was throbbing with the pain, though it seemed to lessen as I approached the mass of flesh trapped inside the ice. Paw-prints of the two escaped dogs led right into that gap, indicating the animals had entered the same hole that had consumed my three companions.

That evening I cried. I cried and sobbed and cursed as the desperate nature of my being was made clear to me. I could try to walk back, but without the dogs I had no hope of carrying enough supplies to reach the ship alive. The dogs I still had tugged on their leashes, always in the direction of the hole. I cannot say what madness made me give in, but in the early hours of the night I cut them free and watched them disappear into the hole. They howled in muffled voices, answering the strange song of this monster in the ice we had carelessly wounded.

As the dark of the night began to give way to morning light, I took what little supplies I could carry on me and followed the dogs. With two electrical lanterns with me, in case one failed and left me in the dark, I ventured right this time. The passage grew narrow soon enough, and low enough that I had to crawl across the slippery flesh as it pressed down on me. After a long moment the pressure relieved and the ceiling seemed to rise, allowing me to carry on like a pathetic parasite in this living tunnel. I tried to document my movements as the passage split. I continued as it split again, then again and again and… Bony protrusions jutted out of the walls, shifting slowly and restlessly as I passed them by. As air flowed around me, they vibrated, slowly at first, then visibly faster as the song picked up again. I saw the corpse of one of the dogs here, impaled be one of the spikes, somehow. Other things, bones of strange fish and globs of unknowable plant matter were caught on the spikes here and there. I began to wonder on the purpose of this passage once more.

My wondering was short-lived, however, as even without the knowledge of our doctor I could recognize the space I soon found myself in. Teeth. Teeth as long and as wide as a motor car, lined a grand opening. A smooth wall of ice had pressed against those teeth, which had melted bits of the ice. One of the dogs lay here, whimpering softly, its tail wagging as I laid eyes on the poor beast. I wonder what thoughts passed through its mind in that moment. I wonder what thoughts passed through mine.

What happened next is mostly lost to me now. Only feverish glimpses remain in my mind. I recall the sound again, the song, but it was not coming from the beast I inhabited like a heartworm: it came from ahead, in the ice, or rather: beyond. I recall motion, a thick translucent film that had pressed against the ice which slid away as the head I was in moved and dove deep. I recall the darkness of the sea beneath the glacier, the roiling bubbles in the pale blue glow, and eyes and maws uncountable, and the song of those numberless creatures as they sang to one another.

You think I am mad. The others did too. The crew of the fishing vessel that hauled me aboard near Punta Buque had shocked expressions on their faces as I lay there, rambling and raving and crying, the lifeless corpse of that poor dog clutched in my arms. The men that questioned me upon returning to London were kind enough, compassionate, but I could see in their eyes that they thought me mad.
Can I truly blame them, if even I cannot fully believe the story myself? All I know is that when they put me on a boat across the channel, the fright of seeing the water nearly killed me where I stood, and I could swear, swear by my father’s grave, that I heard their song in the waves.
« Last Edit: 05 Apr 2018, 21:54 by WHAM »
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Baron

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WHAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!! ;-D

(I'm a little disappointed you didn't write about WHAM!, but still good to see you writing again. :) )

WHAM

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I've been stalking the forums, eyeing the fortnightly and MAGS threads, but poor health and other issues have kept me from doing much of anything. The Gnrblex -project has been stuck for far too long and it's really getting me down, but I can't seem to find the resources I need to finish it up.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Baron

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Hang in there, WHAM.  We're rooting for you!

(Except in this competition, of course.... :-[;))

Sinitrena

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The deadline's coming closer and closer. Any other entries in the works?

Baron

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Mine's in the works (somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 done).  It looks like we're getting a pretty severe ice storm over night which will probably cut the power, so I might tentatively please need a one day extension. :)

Sinitrena

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Sure no problem. Just don't freeze before finishing your story. ;)

Radio colours

The radio went out for a few seconds. I wonder if death will feel the same. Maybe all they did was put the radio tower on a giant guillotine and cut the top. I am not so different from an antenna in the end - a concatenation of metal beams that you do not even need to dismantle, just chop off the electricity conducting part at the end, and there will be no more signal. I wonder if I will be back on air at some point.

I remember that day I started fidgeting with the wires in my car and found a way to connect the radio potentiometer with the source of inner light. Now, everytime I change radio station, my instrument board and the little fanal on the ceiling all change colours, bathing the inside of my car in a different atmosphere. This is the last time I will ever drive - the last time I will ever do anything in fact. I guess it is my last chance to drive through a rainbow. But I prefer stay on the green station, and the steering wheel takes a radioactive tincture under this light. My hands look part of the same haze, even though I prefer to rest one palm on the gear lever, where it looks impaled and already desecrating. She always talks on the red station – I only refer to stations through the colours I assigned them, and now I forgot the acronyms they use to identify themselves. Maybe my name was just an acronym too. It doesn't include any M's or K's so I am not sure I could pass as a radio station. In a minute I will be fed up with the muffled beats of the green station and I will switch to the blue one because I will be craving a few last breaths of reeds and woodwinds and brass instruments.

Here, the car is blue now and could almost disolve in the early night sky around me. She wants it to happen in the middle of a plain and there is nothing around but clouds. Each blow in the saxophone makes me self-conscious about my own breath. In the end maybe I should go back to green and try to reconnect with my own heartbeat. If I am brave enough I will switch to the red station and hear her talk, always quiet and always right, between the terrifying chords of some easy-listening pop song. She used to love me because I enjoyed so much music, a wide array of different genres, far from her monochromatic soundscape. Maybe in the end she hated me for this too.

I cannot stand it anymore - I am only a few minutes away from the scaffold and its guillotine. I am now fidgeting with the knob, passing from yellow to green to blue to pink to purple and back to yellow. I neglected the yellow station all my life. There is nothing bad about the giggles of an electronic keyboard the kind they broadcast on the yellow station. I think I overlooked it because its colour is nothing special, this is what my car would look like if I did not change the wires. This is what I would sound like if I had never tried anything, if I had never tried to reach her, love her, and build something with her. Now she has all it takes to ruin my life and I will accept to disguise my death as a suicide rather than taking others in my downfall. Last time I listened to the red station I remember her saying "it is for the best". I do not remember which of her lame and saccharine singers she was talking about and what kind of passive-aggressive tactic they used to get away with the royalties at the expense of their former bandmates. But this is the only time her radio voice sounded like her real, everyday voice. Suddenly the mask of the host fell down and this sentence betrayed her - suddenly, she was the woman I know.

I turn my car purple and enjoy a few sounds I do not understand - foreign sounds that I did not have the time to explore. The guillotine breaks the horizon on the left of my car. She said she would have loved to help me and comfort me as I let the blade fall on my neck, but she was afraid of inadvertendly leaving clues that would betray her presence and ruin the story of a suicide. "I am sure you understand" she said. I always understood, she used to love me for that.

Everytime I open the door of my car I am surprised by the difference in air presure. This is the only occurence in my life when I have the skills of a weather station. The music from the car will not fade away - I almost drove into the guillotine. Around me the light opens like a paper fan, cutting out my headless silhouette. I hear the bass and the vibration of some keyboard and this is what will accompany me as I interrupt the transmission and go off-air - and even if I rub my eyes while bending over the machine, and even if I my ears relish in their desperate craving for more music, I cannot tell anymore which colour the light is.

Baron

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£ÿ¢k!
   Marks shifted uncomfortably amidst the howling roar of the prop plane's engine at ten thousand feet.  Well, he would have shifted if there was room to move.  Since all his gear was packed around him he could barely budge an inch.  Then the engines lurched as a wave of turbulence jolted the plane sickeningly to one side.  He considered vomiting discretely into the water proof pack on his lap, but suppressed the urge.  Instead he tried to take his mind off the rickety old plane by thinking about the case.

Charts £ÿ¢k!ed: March 12, 2023

LOS ANGELES – Teen pop band £ÿ¢k! finally topped the charts this week with their new single Hybrid Hearts.  The group has garnered considerable attention in the US and around the world over the past year with their debut album Salad Toss, featuring no fewer than six songs that made the top 40.  Hybrid Hearts takes the popular band to a new plane of excellence, however, being the band's first song to reach number one.  Music reviewers at recent concerts have raved about other material being pieced together for what is quickly becoming the most anticipated follow-up album of the year.

   £ÿ¢k! was formed in 2021 by then 18 year old Jakob Grohl, an ambitious DJ-turned-musician with devastating good looks and an incomparable sense of rhythmic funk.  He recruited fellow high school students Helen Spry (synth player), Mødï (then called Jessica Blumfahrter, vocals), and Gage Foley (composer, lyrics).  An unlikelier combination couldn't be assembled.

   “Jakob was like this obnoxious show-off,” says Becky Kingsley, a former classmate.  “Helen was this weird artsy-band girl.  Jessica was this uber-jock that played on every team.  Gage was this greasy loser who had pretty much dropped out of school.  No one knows how Jacob talked them all into forming a group.  They didn't move in the same social circles and, Jessica and Gage at least, had never been known to have performed musically in public.”

   Stroke of genius it was, however.  The band has found almost unprecedented success and garnered a legion of devoted fans.  Leaving their teenage personas behind, the band has reimaged itself as the definition of cool.  Screaming fans and corporate sponsors claw at each other for just a glimpse as the band members....


   The plane lurched again suddenly, and Marks had to swallow hard to try to turn his stomach back right-side-out.  He turned his head to look out the window and wished he hadn't, for there was nothing there but bottomless fog.  Any moment he expected a mountain top or tree to emerge suddenly from the mist to take the wing right off the plane.  He swallowed hard again and tried to focus on the case...

£ÿ¢k! This: June 24, 2026

NEW YORK – Pop band £ÿ¢k! launched its fifth album yesterday evening at Carnegie Hall.  The band's meteoric rise has been unparallelled.  The video for their latest single Shanghai Jewel has over 2 billion views on YouTube.  They have sold out entire football stadiums to see their shows on every continent except Antarctica (but they did play a free concert to 100 000 penguins huddled beneath the aurora in the middle of a polar winter as a stunt back in 2025).  By every metric they now have more hits than Micheal Jackson and the Beetles combined.  There is not an ear on the planet that hasn't been seduced by their revolutionary upbeat sound.

    £ÿ¢k! was formed just five years ago by 4 high school misfits from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Who could say back then that Jakob Grohl's rooster haircut and tight-panted dance steps would shortly become an iconic symbol of New Era pop?  Who could guess five years ago that a billion hearts would have melted at the sound of Mødï's sultry vocals, or have broken over Helen Spry's devastating good looks?   Back in those dark ages of retro-spliced hip-hop pastiche, who could imagine the creative power of Gage Foley's songwriting to change the entire industry?  Often copied and mimicked, there is still only one £ÿ¢k!

   The band arrived in New York on Thursday to raucous crowds and enhanced security after several minor incidents over the past few weeks.  Band leader Jakob Grohl was allegedly assaulted in Philadelphia last week by a crazed fan after his autograph, and Gage Foley narrowly missed being hit by a broken beer bottle thrown on stage two weeks ago in Atlanta.  Helen Spry notes that these sort of incidents have been on the rise as the band's fame has become all pervasive.  “It kinda takes the fun out of getting £ÿ¢k!ed,” she quipped to reporters.  “I wish everyone would just chill out and enjoy the music.”

   Unfortunately New Yorkers aren't known for their manners.  Already there has been....


   Suddenly a strip of gravel appeared out of nowhere and the plane bounced off it hard, listing sharply to the right before recovering.  Bang!  The plane bounced off the landing strip harder, causing Marks' gear to temporarily envelope him.  He held his breath for a third impact, but the plane seemed suddenly to be climbing again back into the mist. 

   “Sorry about that,” the pilot seemed to shout over the roar of the engines.  “We missed the first half of the runway due to low visibility and had to abort the landing.  We'll have to come around and try again!”

   Marks swallowed hard and took refuge in the case once more.

More £ÿ¢k!ing Incidents: September 23, 2026

LONDON - Screaming fans were disappointed in London yesterday evening after the band £ÿ¢k!'s lead instrumentalist Helen Spry was allegedly assaulted in her dressing room by a crazed fan.  The musician is reportedly traumatized by the incident but physically unharmed.  Details at this point are sketchy, but the pattern of the assault matches those of previous incidents this summer, giving rise to conspiracy theories about a serial stalker.

   “Scotland Yard takes these allegations very seriously, and we are following all leads available at this point,” said chief inspector William Rhemus.  “We will obviously do everything in our power to keep visiting global talent safe.  We have every reason to suspect that this is a targeted incident, and that there is no danger to the broader public.”

   This is small consolation to fans as the superband's last concert in Madrid was also called off when lead-vocalist Mødï was assaulted with a knife back-stage.  The singer managed to beat off her assailant, but not before he was able to cut off a large chunk of her purple-dyed hair.  Since then hundreds of counterfeit locks have turned up for sale on e-Bay starting at $10 000, frustrating investigators' efforts to track down the perpetrator.

   “We share our fan's disappointment,” said a statement issued by band-leader Jakob Grohl, “but we refuse to compromise our members' safety.  Nor will we make concessions to the quality of our performances due to the climate of fear and menace that has been stalking us.  We hope our real fans will understand and help the police with any information they might have about this serial stalker.”

   Speculation has grown recently as the stalking incidents have intensified....


   Bang!  The plane bounced off the runway again, but this time the initial impact was followed shortly by the slightly less-unsettling sound of the tires rumbling over rough gravel.  Marks gave silent thanks to the higher powers and prepared to disembark.

£ÿ¢k! Lead Found Dead: October 29, 2026

DUBAI – Jakob Grohl, lead-member of the superband £ÿ¢k! was found dead yesterday in his hotel room.  Full details of the incident have yet to be released, but the band was believed to be lying low as authorities investigated a number of disturbing assaults on band-members over the course of the year.  Dubai police have yet to make a public statement, but those close the band are calling the death of the 23 year old Grohl as “extremely suspicious”. 

   This is just the latest turn of events in what has been....


   “So we're here!” the pilot shouted at him, despite the fact that the engines were now idling and the plane was three-hundred feet away.  Marks' gear was strapped to him on every side, causing him to sink alarmingly into the fragile soil.  He just wanted to be off, but the pilot insisted on orienting him.

   “Mount Kayburn is in the Kenai range!” the pilot continued to shout, pointing at the map and then waving to the obvious prominence of the mountains to the south-east.  “Make sure you have your satellite phone with you to call for extract!  Remember, even helicopters can't land in those mountains, so if you get into trouble you're basically fucked!”

   Marks nodded without really listening.  He'd left the satellite phone under his seat back in the plane.  He had enough shit to carry as it was.

Life Without £ÿ¢k!: May 11, 2028

SANTA BARBARA - The young woman on the screen fidgets uncontrollably, a symptom of her terrifying ordeal over the past three years.  She vapes an unidentified substance, which she says helps calm her nerves.  She is the last surviving member of superband £ÿ¢k! That's a lot of baggage to carry for someone who has not yet turned 25.

   Mødï never sought out the super-fame that seemed to fall into her lap.  She wasn't even that much into music, instead spending her teenage years playing volleyball, basketball, and soccer on her high school's varsity teams.  A chance encounter at a karaoke party with fellow student Jakob Grohl led to her discovery as the planet's premier vocalist.  But now she wished it all had never happened.

   “We didn't know what fame would do to us,” she says in her first interview since the tragic deaths of her fellow band-mates.  “We didn't know the dangers.  We were young and out to have a good time.  We didn't understand the terrible consequences of our fame.”

   Terrible indeed.  Band-leader Jakob Grohl was bludgeoned to death with a golden globe award in his hotel room bath tub in Dubai back in 2026.  The trophy was won by Bruno Mars back in 2017, but hocked when he ran into financial difficulty back in the early 20s.  The only other clue left at the scene was a thin lock of purple hair taped onto the victim like a moustache.  DNA tests later confirmed that the hair belonged to Mødï herself, and was likely part of a chunk sliced off by an assailant in Madrid earlier that same year. 

   “He's the one,” she says, that famous voice now quavering.  “He's been after us since the beginning, and he won't stop until he's got us all.”

   It's hard to dismiss the former diva's prophesy as overly dramatic.  Fellow band-member Helen Spry was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in her Santa Monica home back in April of 2027.  The catch?  An autopsy revealed a lock of purple hair carefully jammed into her sinus cavity.

   Then, despite a massive security effort, fellow-band member Gage Foley disappeared without a trace back in February of this year.

   “Gage was the soul of the band,” Mødï exclaims through convulsions.  “Jakob was in it for the attention, and for Helen it was a challenge for her skill.  But Gage wrote the hits.  He was the one who looked past the everyday and composed such transcendent music.  Of all of us, he was the one that never let fame get to him.  He was so down to earth, so real.  Such a beautiful person.”

   Mødï has never confirmed rumours of a deeper relationship with Gage Foley, although there has been speculation in the media for years.  While not legally binding until confirmed dead, it is known that Gage Foley left the entirety of his considerable estate to Mødï.

   Police have conducted an extensive manhunt for the missing singer and found several suspicious circumstances surrounding his disappearance, including muddy footprints in his home matching those found at the scene of other assault attempts on band-members over the years.

   “He just, you know... gave up at the end,” Mødï squeaks.  “He said he knew what was coming, and there was no sense in living in a fantasy world.  He told me, the very last time we spoke, to get out while I still could.”

   But Mødï doesn't go 'out' anymore.  She has 24 hour security, and conducted this interview via web-cam.  She didn't even reveal her location, lest it tip off the bogeyman stalker that haunts her nightmares and every waking moment....


   Marks rummaged through the last of the food pack, then abandoned it by the side of the trail.  The forest stretched out in every direction, pock marked by tiny lakes and framed by mountains rising sheer into the clouds.  What a miserable corner of the globe.  A few snowflakes began to fall, driven by an icy wind that seemed to cut clean through him.  He took refuge in the case once more.

Mødï Blues: January 18, 2030

BERN – Sad news out of Switzerland today as the last remaining member of superband £ÿ¢k! was found strangled to death at her safe house.  Singer Mødï was discovered this morning dead in her bathroom, with locks of purple hair glued over her eyebrows.  The crime is suspected to be an inside job by one of her security team, as she meticulously kept her whereabouts a secret since the heinous deaths of her fellow band-mates.  Thus ends the tragic saga of perhaps the greatest band to ever....


Marks collapsed weakly to sit upon the moss covered boulder.  Around him stretched the endless expanse of wilderness.  He had no more food, and now too weak to carry on he had abandoned his tent and the last of his supplies.  There would be no return trip this time.  He carefully took out his latest newspaper clipping from a plastic bag he kept in the chest pocket of his coat.

Kenai Miracle!: November 10, 2033

ALASKA – Sophie Locklear, aged 6 and presumed dead, has been found alive in the small Alaskan town of Soldotna.  The child had wandered away from her parents' hunting bush camp on October 21st and was caught out in the largest freak-blizzard to strike the area in a century.  Despite a massive search effort between waves of snow there was no sign of the girl.

   “We figured she was frozen under the snow if she were lucky,” Kenai Park Ranger Stanley Cuthers says.  “Or eaten by wolves or a grizzly if she weren't.  We just figured there was no way a child could survive the weather and the wilderness for that amount of time.”

   But survive she did.  The girl reports being taken to a cave by a kindly hermit who fed her on smoked meat and comforted her with songs played on an old guitar.  The man, who was not seen by any witnesses, was said by the child to have a great long beard and crazy wild hair.  He reportedly left her at the edge of town next to the new police station with instructions to go inside and ask for help before disappearing back into the wilderness....


       Marks carefully folded the newspaper and placed it back in the plastic bag with the lock of purple hair.  Then he took out his bowie knife and began his final hunt.

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    •  
And we are done, with three entries that bring music to our hearts:

They sing, but not to us by WHAM
Radio colours by FormosaFalanster
£ÿ¢k! by Baron

As always, the voting is done in categories:

Best Character: The best personality, the most realistic or strange character.
Best Plot: What happens in the story? The events and structure of the story.
Best Writing: The art of combining words - the technical aspect od writing.
Best Atmosphere: The emotions and feelings the story evokes.
Best Music: The story that transcends the barrier between written word and music. Did a story manage to make you hear a song in your head?

You have one vote per category and time until the end of Friday, 20. April.

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • WHAM worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Best Character: Baron, for the character of Mødï.
Best Plot: Baron, for the more well-structured plot, albeing a predictable one this time around.
Best Writing: Baron for excellent use of vocabulary and english language. And for creating a challenge in my repeated attempts to figure out how to pronounce the name of the band.
Best Atmosphere: FormosaFalanster, despite some mistakes in writing reducing the effect, makes for the most atmospheric tale of the two.
Best Music: FormosaFalanster, for truly making an attempt to evoke the emotion and feel of the music through the medium of colour


Radio colours by FormosaFalanster
While the story is plagued by some grammar issues and such, and I failed to grasp parts of its key concept, the way it makes an attempt to weave together the different senses of sight and sound into one, and the curious sensations our protagonist achieves through imbuing himself with the music and, in so doing, wiping away much of himself, was an interesting read.

£ÿ¢k! by Baron
And then there were none. But alas, the story seems to miss some key elements: motivation for one. Why? Why the killing? The purple hair? Did I miss something in my reading, or was the tale intentionally obscured just for that final reveal? In any case, points for the interesting mixing of storytelling elements and narrative styles.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2018, 13:02 by WHAM »
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    •  
We need more votes!
Mmmmoooooooooorrrrreeeeee!!!!!

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • WHAM worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
If nobody else votes, can I change all my votes to be for myself in a most crude and unsportsmanlike display of evilhood?
Asking for a friend. ;)
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Sorry I only have enough free time to read and assess these stories on the weekend, so give me a couple days and I will vote too :)

I should have specified I am not a native speaker, maybe... I am sorry if I made grammatical mistakes, I wrote the story very fast as I only saw the topic one day before the deadline. Anyway, I will give votes before Monday.

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Sorry I only have enough free time to read and assess these stories on the weekend, so give me a couple days and I will vote too :)

We need more votes one way or the other anyway, so sure, vote on the weekend.

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
BEST CHARACTER:  Marks, from £ÿ¢k!.  Sneaky little devil! 

BEST PLOT:  £ÿ¢k! by Baron.  Really interesting, reading about the rise of the band, then their slow demise as they were picked off one by one. 

BEST WRITING:  £ÿ¢k! by Baron.  Loved how you combined the story about the rising stardom, with Mark's currant predicament. 

BEST ATMOSPHERE:  Radio Colours.  Really tense and sad. 

BEST MUSIC:   £ÿ¢k! by Baron.  The most successful band in music history has EARNED this vote. 

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Hey, it's still Friday here! ;-D

Best Character: I'm going with FormosaFalanster for his main character.  I can scorn and empathize with his thoughts in equal measure, which makes him seem very real.  I liked how WHAM's dysfunctional group interacted, but in the end they were each pretty one-dimensional characters (the single-minded leader whose obsession dooms everyone else, the obsequious woman henchman-enabler, the wall-paper man of learning, and the everyman).
 
Best Plot: Gotta be WHAM for a riveting Micheal Crichton-esque tale of alien encounters.  I'm a little confused about how the man (and the dog) were able to survive their ordeal, but I see why they did for plot reasons.

Best Writing: This was surprisingly close.  In the end I have to go for WHAM with his clear and punchy prose.  FormosaFalanster's piece read more like poetry at times.  It was impressive in its use of vocabulary and metaphor, but little details like missing words detracted.

Best Atmosphere: I vote WHAM who had me on the edge of my seat, as he often does.  It was a page turner without pages: you really should write a longer thriller and try to get it published.

Best Music: This category must be FormosaFalanster.  Yes it was feverish and psychedelic, but there was definitely some transcending of barriers between music and the silence of the written word.  Kudos to WHAM for evoking an emotional response of terror with his music, but the category specifically asks about managing to make you hear a song in your head, while his soundscape imparted more of a haunting, chilly sound into my spine.