Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)  (Read 603 times)

Sinitrena

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Under Water


About 2/3 of our earth are water - vast oceans, smaller lakes, rivers or just little streams in the mountains. Some are underground, some open to the eye, some natural, some man-made, but all bodies of water are filled with a certain sense of mystery. We still know little about the depths of the oceans. There is a whole new world down there.

Tell us about it. Tell us about the prehistorical monsters still roaming at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, about the village that has to drown due to a new dam and hydroelectric power plant, about the civilizations of mythical figures we know nothing about or about the new high-tech submarine going for its first cruise. The main part of your stories must take place under water, but that is the only rule.

Deadline: 21 September 2018
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2018, 13:38 by Sinitrena »

KyriakosCH

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Awesome topic.

No word limit? (what about lower limit?)
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Sinitrena

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No word limit. Write as much or as little as you want.

Sinitrena

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Drip. Drip. Drip.

Water is dripping, time is running...

We've nearly reached the half-way point. Is anyone working on something?

KyriakosCH

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My plan was to keep quiet and then post something a few minutes before the time expired, so as to win by default :~(
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KyriakosCH

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Ok, here is my entry :)

The stir

When I was little, each night I used to love looking at the images encyclopedias had, of the monstrous fish which live at the bottom of the oceans. At the time I wasn’t aware of the underlying meaning of this persistent habit. For, in reality, this childish interest was not about the sea as an object but as a symbol: it concerned my inner sea and the deep abysses inside myself.
It has been many years now since I feel that I am always below sea level... Everything in my thoughts is in flux, swimming about in the deep, while I, virtually incapable of autonomous movement, am carried about by the powerful currents, lulled by the impression made upon me by magnificent sea creatures.
It is as if I dwell below the surface, in secret caverns in the sea; I feel no intimacy with anything sensual, those things almost repel me; to me the sensual forms become diminished and distorted and overall my connection to the reality of the senses is very tenuous, consisting only of a few worries, vague hopes and indistinct ends.
In stark contrast to that, to the deep where my thoughts perpetually wander I am bound  by a very sturdy rope, which stretches out to the full distance, with its other end remaining firmly tied around my waist.
Sometimes I think that all which is needed of me is that I simply touch that rope, and pull it even a little bit towards me, so that whatever lies in the other end will already begin its journey to reach me; and, in doing so, despite of the massive distance which will originally lie between us, it shall cause the gravest of stirs to the waters around me...
« Last Edit: 15 Sep 2018, 11:24 by KyriakosCH »
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Baron

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My plan was to keep quiet and then post something a few minutes before the time expired, so as to win by default :~(

That was my plan all along as well! 8-)  Great minds think alike, I suppose. (roll)

Frodo

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THE FOUNTAIN


A gigantic hand reaches down from above. 

Fear and confusion reign below.  Their peaceful life invaded.  A single thought races through the collective consciousness… WHY?  They’ve lived in this fountain in the dark cave for hundred of years.  Why are they being invaded now??? 

The gigantic hand retracts, then almost immediately re-appears, along with another gigantic hand.  The 2 hands form themselves into a kind of cup-shape.  Seconds later, the hands vanish, and a slurping noise is heard high above


Diolenia has been taken.  So has Philia, Morelia, Halia, and Anithea.  In one foul swoop, five of them has gone.  The collective mourns their losses. 

Sounds are heard from above.  Strange sounds.  The collective doesn’t know what the sounds are


*****

A group of explorers have taken shelter from a raging blizzard in the heart of an unknown land - freezing snow storms blow fiercely outside this cave, undiscovered by man… until now.  Now, the cave is their sanctuary.  One of the men takes of his gloves, dips his hand into the fountain, then scoops up some water in his hand to sip.   


MAN 1:  Ahhh, this water tastes good.  Never expected to find anything like that, here. 

MAN 2:  Would you forget about the damn water!  What we need to worry about, is that blasted snow storm outside. 

MAN 1:  Okay, okay!  Let’s make camp here for the night, then. 

*****

The sounds from above seem to go on for hours.  But eventually, things grow quiet, and the collective can relax. 

Time passes.  The collective doesn’t know how long.  But the strange noises from above start up again.  The gigantic hand appears again.  And this time, it’s joined by many other gigantic hands.  Prosymina, Okyrhoe, Savarna, Talula, Leuciphi, Oinoie, Semistrea and Meliphia are taken. 

The Queen of the collective holds an emergency meeting.
 


QUEEN:  My friends… we are under attack.  Our world… is under attack.  Why… I do not know.  But these gigantic creatures are malevolent.  They have taken many of us already.  And I mourn for our lost friends. 

IANTHE:  But what can we do?  What do they want?  They’ve attacked us twice now! 

QUEEN:  Alas, I know not.  Never has our world been under such threat before. 

PHISYLEI:  How can we protect ourselves?  And our world? 

QUEEN:  … If you see them… swim away as fast as you can.  Swim for your lives! 

*****

MAN 3:  Morning already?  Gawd, I didn’t get much sleep last night. 

MAN 1:  Me neither. 


CRAAAAASSSSSSSHHHHHHH


MAN 4:  What the HELL was that? 

MAN 2:  *looks towards the cave entrance*  Um… hate to tell you guys, but the snow storm has just caused a block in. 

MAN 5:  Oh great!  Just great!  We’re bloody trapped! 

MAN 1:  Well at least we won’t go thirsty.  We have a whole fountain full of water.   *grins

*****

The queen is worried.  Worried about her people… worried about their home in this fountain… worried about the invasion.  WHY are they being invaded?  Are these gigantic creatures intent on destroying them all?  She is approached by one of the collective


CHAMINE:  Your Highness.  Maybe we could communicate with the invaders?  Come to some kind of solution? 

QUEEN:  Indeed, a solution is what I seek.  But how can we communicate with them? 

CHAMINE:   *hesitates

QUEEN:  Chamine? 

CHAMINE:  What about… the ancient ways?  They say we used to be able to defend ourselves… by our very essence. 

QUEEN:   *thinks*   Those ways have not been used for hundreds of years. 

CHAMINE:  I know.  I just… I don’t know what to do against an invasion such as this.  But maybe we’ll get lucky?  Maybe they won’t invade again. 

QUEEN:  I can only hope!  But your advisement is much appreciated. 


Time passes.  Things have gone quiet above.  The Queen desperately hopes the invaders have moved on.  Her hopes are in vain.  The gigantic hands suddenly re-appear, along with some strange object.  The Queen sends a frantic thought through the collective consciousness


QUEEN:   My friends… if you are taken, you must invoke the ancient ways.  It is drastic, I know, but it may be our only hope.  But PLEASE… try to swim to safety. 

*****

MAN 1:  We’re still trapped in this hell hole of a cave!  Might as well put the water in this fountain to good use. 


Man 1 takes out his water bottle, and fills it with water.  Everyone else follows suit.  Man 1 drinks the water, then refills his water bottle


MAN 1:  DAMN, this water is good! 

*****

The invasion continues.  The gigantic hands, and what must be the hands weapons infiltrate the collective.  When the invasion finally ends, MANY of them have been taken.  The Queen cries with grief and despair.  She disliked giving the order to invoke the ancient ways, but she dislikes this invasion even more.  She HAS to save the collective!  HER collective! 

*****

Man 1 drinks more water from his water bottle.  Suddenly he turns pale, and drops his bottle


MAN 5:  Hahaha!  Clumsy oaf! 

MAN 1:   *stands up*  What did you call me? 

MAN 5:  I called you a clumsy oaf for dropping your flipping bottle.  Why? 


Man 1 grabs Man 5, and is about to punch him.  But then he suddenly starts gasping for breath

Man 4:  Hey, you alright there, bud? 

MAN 1:  Can’t… breathe…  *gasps

MAN 3:  Maybe you should drink some more water.  After all, you keep telling us how good it is. 


Man 1 drops to the ground.  His friends jump up, finally realising it’s something serious


MAN 2:   *looks at Man 4*   Well, you’re the bloody doctor.  Help him! 


Man 4 kneels down next to Man 1.  He opens Man 1’s mouth, try to look inside his throat to see if there’s anything blocking it.  But there’s nothing there.  Man 1 is starting to lose conciseness.  Man 4 rolls him over, and bangs on his back, trying to dislodge anything in the throat, even though he couldn’t see anything. 

Meanwhile, Man 5 takes a sip of water from his water bottle. 

Man 1 has stopped breathing.  Man 4 tries to resuscitate him.  But fails.  The men fall silent.  They don’t notice a trickle of water escaping from the dead man’s mouth



MAN 5:   *looks at Man 1*   He was a good ‘un.  I’m gonna miss him. 


Man 5 sits down by the fountain.  He dips his hand in the water, as he thinks about his fallen comrade.  How did he die? 

*****

The gigantic hand appears again.  Another attack!  The Queen is frantic!  She sends another thought racing through the collective consciousness


QUEEN:  We are being attacked again.  These invaders will not stop!  We HAVE to take drastic action!  Invoke the ancient ways! 

*****

Almost immediately, Man 5 starts coughing and choking.  Everyone looks at him, alarmed


MAN 3:  What the hell…? 


Man 4 rushes over, and looks his friend up and down.  What’s making him choke?  How did this coughing fit come on so suddenly.   Seconds later, Man 5 is gasping for breath.  Again, Man 4 tries to clear his friend’s airways of any blockages.  But to no avail. 

Man 4 kicks the wall of the well in frustration.  Only then, does he notice Man 5’s hand resting in the fountain



MAN 4:   *shouts*   IT’S THE WATER!  IT’S THE BLOODY WATER!  THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE WATER THAT’S KILLING US!   


As he turns towards his friends, a trickle of water escapes from Man 5’s mouth


MAN 3:  Are you serious?  You’re seriously saying that we can’t drink the water? 

MAN 5:  GODDAMIT YES!  I’m saying don’t drink the bloody water! 

MAN 2:  But we’re trapped in this damn cave, and there‘s no other source of water!  What are we gonna do? 

MAN 5:  I don’t know, I’ll think of something.  But for god’s sake, don’t drink that bloody water! 

*****

Time passes.  A lot of time!  There has been no more invasions, and none of the collective has been taken!  The Queen finally begins to relax - it seems like the invaders have gone.  She still mourns for those that were taken, but it seems like giving the order to invoke the ancient ways has saved them. 

She doesn’t know that 2 bodies lie above, their lungs filled with ancient water, and that 3 more men are close to dying of thirst. 

Her collective is safe.
 



Baron

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        Punder the Sea

   The tiny penny fish flit cautiously through weeds, aware that the hypnotic dance of the sunlight from the waves above could easily conceal a stealthy predator.  Then again, if he were to be eaten en route he would at least miss his odious appointment.  Summoning the courage to temp fate, the penny fish darted out from the weeds and raced through the grandiose marble columns of the First Bank of Atlantis.  Unfortunately, he made it.

   “Mr. Blobfish will see you now,” the bug-eyed secretary fish called to him.  The penny fish sighed and entered his banker's ornate office.

   “Mr. Penny,” the Blobfish scowled at him in greeting.  “How's the family?”

   “Mostly eaten, I'm afraid.”

   “Good, good,” the Blobfish replied absently, clearly glad that the formal niceties were now over.  “Now, let's get down to business.  The Bank is concerned that you are having something of a cash flow crisis.”

   “Not true, sir!” the penny fish piped up, trying to head off the inevitable fee-laden rate-hike that Mr. Blobfish was notorious for.

   “Hmmmmm....” the blobfish frowned, his jowls quivering slightly as the syllable drew out.  “It says here your mortgage is underwater.”

   “Well, yes, that much I concede, but-”

   “And you're still in school.”

   “Yes.  Obviously.  I mean, after all, I am a-”

   “Investments are mostly illiquid....”

   “Now I can explain that-”

   “And your credit rating is plumbing new depths.”

   “Uh.... Is it?”

   “Mr. Penny,” the blobfish gurgled sourly, “surely I needn't remind you that the Bank is built on minimizing risk.”  He eyed the penny fish disdainfully.  “The Bank must insist on a rate-hike commensurate with your abysmal risk-profile.”

   “Wait!” the little penny fish interrupted.  “You gotta give me a chance!  You're bleeding me dry here!”

   “Humph,” the blobfish humphed.  “Are you telling me you would prefer to take your business elsewhere?”

   “Uh.... no.  I'm not saying that.”

   “I hear the loan sharks on the upper east side specialize in dealing with minnows like you.”

   “Ha ha.  No, what I meant was-”

   “Or perhaps you think a customer of your net worth would fair better at the Grand Banks?”

   “That's not what I-”

   “Mr. Penny,” the blobfish grimaced, “Your assets are tanking and you are on the hook for a titanic sum.  You are in desperate need of liquidity.  Under the circumstances, I can't imagine you getting a better deal anywhere else.  Sign here.”

   The penny fish moved his mouth wordlessly.

   “Well?  I'm a very busy financier, and there are many other fish in the sea.”

   “It's just that...” the penny fish began slowly, working up his nerve.  “It's just that, well, I've been planning to start up my own business.”

   “What?”  The blobfish's eyes bulged in disbelief.

   “Uh, that's right.  I'm going into the hydroponics business.”

   “Hydroponics!  I'm not investing in the tech bubble.”

   “No, wait.  Hear me out.  My angle is to diversify into the cephalopod market.  I've already inked a contract for an octopus's garden in the shade.”

   “I've got a sinking feeling about this enterprise....”

   “And look at the macroeconomic picture!  The labour market is buoyant and stocks are rebounding.  The tide raises all ships!  Now is the time to channel investments into sectors about to face a sea-change.”

   “I can not fathom why I am even considering this....”

   “Remember Bait-coin?  You can turn drops into gallons when all those frothy revenues start pouring in.  After our flagship product makes a big splash, we'll be swimming in the money!”

   “All right, all right!  I'll take the plunge!  Where do I sign?  How much do you need?!”

   In an ocean this big, there's a sucker born every minute. :=
   

KyriakosCH

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I think we already know who the top 3 will be :=
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Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #10 on: 22 Sep 2018, 13:38 »
Yes, we do! Apparently, nobody snuck in a last minute entry, even though I'm late and they had a bit more time.

Anyways, here are our competitors, fighting for the win this round:

The stir by KyriakosCH
The Fountain by Frodo
Punder the Sea by Baron

Do you know this spiel yet? We vote in categories, with one vote allowed per category.

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 of writing.
Best Atmosphere: The emotions and feelings the story evokes.
Best use of topic: Do you get a sense of mystery? Do you feel immersed in the water?

Voting is open until Wednesday, 26. September.

Frodo

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #11 on: 22 Sep 2018, 17:08 »
Brilliant entries, Kyria and Baron.   :grin:

BEST CHARACTER:  Mr Penny Fish from Punder The Sea.  Great that he managed to turn things around, and get the upperhand on the greedy bank fish.   ( :

BEST PLOT:  Punder The Sea.  The Underdogfish becomes the topdogfish. 

BEST WRITING:  The Stir.  Love how he connects childhood-him to present-day-him. 

BEST ATMOSPHERE:  The Stir.  I get the sense that the character feels like they're drowning, and disconnected from reality.  But they're trying so hard to pull themselves back.

BEST USE OF TOPIC:  Punder The Sea.  I can really imagaine a bank meeting completely underwater... surrounded by coral and seaweed. 


Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #12 on: 26 Sep 2018, 03:59 »
Best Character: I'm going with Frodo and her Queen bacterium, or whatever she was.  Although her resurrecting Man 5/Jesus figure was a close second. ;)

Best Plot: Definitely Frodo, as her story was more plot based.  It was a fun read! ;-D

Best Writing: I'm going with KyriakosCH on this one.  There were small technical errors in both pieces, but I felt KyriakosCH's writing used a more in-depth vocabulary. ;) :P :-D

Best Atmosphere: Eeeeee.  I'm going with KyriakosCH by a whisker.  But, jeez, he's been tormented since childhood: just pull on the rope already! :)

Best use of topic: I think Frodo wins this category.  Her story took the theme in an unexpected direction.

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #13 on: 28 Sep 2018, 03:58 »
Best Character: Baron
Best Plot: Frodo
Best Writing: Frodo. (I like the movie script approach. Fast read.)
Best Atmosphere: KyriakosCH
Best use of topic: Baron (tech bubble got an audible giggle out of me)
*

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #14 on: 28 Sep 2018, 13:11 »
Sorry, I'm late (again). The good thing is, it means we got one person more to vote, the bad that we now have a three way tie. I leave voting open for another day or so.

These guys:

are looking for a new home, and with a three way tie, only one would find one. :~(

Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #15 on: 28 Sep 2018, 13:36 »
Best Character: Mr Penny Fish from Punder The Sea by Baron, You could really feel his anxiety and him finding his courage
Best Plot: Frodo, since you could really see the growing desperation on both sides
Best Writing: Baron, for an impressive amount of fish puns
Best Atmosphere: KyriakosCH, since he describes the feeling of being submerged very well
Best use of topic: KyriakosCH, since it was a very poetic and emotional entry

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Results)
« Reply #16 on: 29 Sep 2018, 21:58 »
Thank you, everyone, voting is now over and with Blondbraid's votes, we are down to a two way tie. So, as competition admin, I use my tie-breaking powers to declare:

Baron with 7+1 points the winner of a golden fish.

This story needs a warning: "Deep swimming puns, keep head down!" I laughed all the way through it. This was amazing. Thank you.


KyriakosCH recieves 7 points and wins a silver fish.

A very poetic work, very atmospheric. I just wish there were more in the plot department. It's a good description, but feels very much like a beginning of something else,  something more. You won the Atomosphere Category hands down with four of four points. Well done.


Frodo reaches a third place with 6 points.

I like your screen-play like style. It reads very easily. I just noticed a tiny logical problem: The men are caught in a snow storm. You can melt and drink snow, no need to use the old fountain. Change it to a storm in the desert and the problem is solved. Other than that, I really love your take on the topic and the "fight" of the two species that both just want to survive and are completely incapable to even see the other as living beings.


Thank you all for your entries and votes and see you in the next round. Baron, over to you.

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #17 on: 30 Sep 2018, 02:07 »
Whoa, a come from behind victory!  Thanks for all the votes folks! :)
   
It was really interesting how the three of us entrants took the theme in completely different directions.

I'll try to get the next competition up and running soon.

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: UNDER WATER (Voting)
« Reply #18 on: 30 Sep 2018, 13:20 »
Thanks to those who voted for my story... I moved to another city and couldn' t participate more.
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