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Creative Production => Competitions & Activities => Topic started by: Sinitrena on 27 Oct 2019, 11:08

Title: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Sinitrena on 27 Oct 2019, 11:08
Come in, come in and look around.

Have a snack, the eyes are fresh and squicky, the spiders ready to serve you...

Come in, come in, and if I eat you - muahahaha!

Happy Halloween everyone.


It's an interesting coincidence that two of our regulars in this competition have their birthday on halloween. So, let's celebrate this a bit and throw them (okay, one of them is me, so let's throw me) a party. And because it's Halloween, the party should be spooky.

It doesn't have to be specifically a Halloween Party or a Birthday Party, it just needs to be a party that has some spooky element, for example one that happens in a haunted house or the monsters under the bed have a free evening and organize a dance, or a normal party where an axe-wielding mass murderer shows up, or a prank gone wrong, or... There are many more possibiities.

I haven't decided on voting categories yet, but 'spookiness' will be a factor.

Deadline: 10. November 2019

Happy Writing!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Baron on 27 Oct 2019, 13:30
Tee hee hee!  ;-D  It's actually my mom's birthday; I'm paranoid of posting anything truthful on the internet. (
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Sinitrena on 27 Oct 2019, 16:03
Well, in that case.... No cake for you, young man!  (laugh) (laugh) (laugh)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Mandle on 27 Oct 2019, 16:55
That Fucking House On That Fucking Hill

Chapter One: Us And How We Got There

We rode.

Me on Mr. Arnold, my Harley hog of choice. My first bike and my last. I'll fix him up come hell or high-water
and make the parts myself when I'm sixty if needs-a-fuckin'-be.

Behind me, through the pealed-back-by-my-hog fog of Fanghorn Forest (not the legit name but what we had come
to call it) followed the parade of mostly lovely losers I had come to call my friends.

In the lead car, slashing it's dual side-by-side headlights through the gloom, "The Classic", a 1973 Oldsmobile
Delta 88 Royale came, drove by Reggie Stephero, it's greaser owner. In shotgun rode Debbie Harolds, his latest slut.
In back, Edith Grant, the town virgin, and Benny Judge, the town Nazi.

The second car puttered along behind, a hippy-homage of sixties Beetle glory, rainbow hand-painted by its driver Jerry MacFruitcakelestein.

His real name was Jerry MacFrugle, but you get the point.

The vine-tangled iron gates of the house appeared, speared in Mr. Arnold's headlight, and I slewed the hog to the side in a long gravel-spewing slide.

Reggie read the mood and hand-brake-slid The Classic right in behind me.

The Beetle pulled off on the shoulder, chugged forward once or twice, and then settled.

Engines went quiet. Headlights continued to shine through the mist. Five doors opened one after the other, footsteps crunched, and
Reggie was the first to come out of the glare.

He slammed an arm around my shoulder and said...

Hrmm, but first I guess I'd better explain about Reggie and me:

Second Grade: I beat the shit out of him. My dad taught me all greasers are of a weaker race and it was so.

Third Grade: We beat the shit out of each other. His dad taught him to fight back against bullies and it was so.

Fourth Grade: We beat the shit out of each other. His dad died of a stroke. And it was so.

Fifth Grade: He beat the shit out of me. My dad looked away when I came home covered in bruises and blood. And it was so.

Junior High: My dad desterted us. Reggie just barely beat the shit out of me. And it was so... but then some unprecedented shit unfolded...

We sat down, huffing and puffing, and he lit up a joint through his swollen lip. It looked so painful for him to drag
on it that I laughed. He passed it over and it was just as painful for me through mine.

We both cracked up and rolled around smoking and wrestling until well after dark.

Both our moms smelt the horse on our clothes and banned us from hanging out ever again. Of course both assumed the other kid had brought the weed!

We became a local legend of trouble and our mothers eventually gave up trying to keep us apart.

And now here we stood, arms around each others' shoulders, with the rest of the gang, first Debbie, with her full Madonna look
failing, then Benny, in his Doc. Martins and dark Mohawk, then Edith, with her shirt tucked into her skirt, and finally up
staggers Jerry, off his face with a joint planted, smouldering, in the middle of it.

I plucked it out of his face and we passed it as we turned and looked at the vine-encrusted iron gates before us, lit in the
glare of our headlights through the chilly fog of that October 31st all that time ago way back in 1981.

Those gates that opened on that switch-back gravel driveway that led all the way up to that fucking house on that fucking hill.


Chapter Two: How We Got In

Gravel crunched under my rider boots, slid sideways under Reggie's patent-leather wog shoes, was crushed by Benny's boots, pinged every-which-way by Debbie's high-heels as they juttered and slipped, bowed to Edith's sensible flats, and got totally fucked up by staggering Jerry's ratty sliding-ass Converses as we turned back and forth on that long switchback path up to the house above.

Every so often I looked up at it as we twisted and turned our way upwards.

The dark jutting triangles of the gables, I think they are called, against the soft glow of the moon through the fog, is what I remember most vividly from the climb.

Then the solid, white-pealing uprights of the front porch came into view. There were six of them. Why do I remember that after all this time has gone by, down the drain, since?

Four on the left of the mould-stained stone steps that led up to the porch and two on the right.

Stomping around on the rotted floor-boards on the porch, we tried the front door, the two musty windows, and even looked in the rusty mailbox, but it only had a solid mass of spiderwebs inside.

Reggie said "Gonna have to break a window.", but, before he got past "break", his slut Debbie said "There's a key right here under the doormat.".

The key was totally Metal. It was a cylinder of blue-steel with jutting slabs of square teeth at its business end and a face out of a nightmare embedded in the hole of its handle.

The face was that of Jumping Jack, exactly as told of in legend and lore, well... at least in the legend and lore that we had heard of back in high-school:

Jumping Jack was the bad-ass devil dude that ruled over the Halloween-party-from-Hell that, according to the story, raged in this house every October 31st.

It was said to be the ultimate rave, hosted by Jumping Jack, with his head as pale as Fanghorn Forest's fog, his bugging-out eyes, and his huge yellow teeth smiling from black gums in his mouth with no lips.

The same face we saw in the key's handle, the same guy we were here to hook up with, and whose party we were here to crash.

"Noooo waaaay!" (Jerry)

"It's gotta be a setup." (Reggie)

"Guys, this isn't fun or funny anymore." (Edith)

"Well, who wants to do the honors?" (Debbie)


Debbie turned to me, her Madonna-do catching the fuzzy moonlight spilling through under the porch's roof, and I still remember her face pretty much in complete shadow, but that hair was lit up like a halo around the fringe.

"That's what we're here for.", I said, winking at Debbie and then nodding to Benny.

He snatched the key from Debbie's hand, stomped over to the door, his Doc. Martins splintering the rotten floorboards of the porch in places, and slammed the key into the keyhole.

Benny turned the key and we all heard a deep and resounding "CLUNK" from the lock. It felt satisfying somehow.

And then he opened the door.


Chapter Three: Crashing The Party

From inside, if anyone had been there to see us, we would have looked like something from a goof-ball comedy as we all peered around the edge of the door, curious as fuck, faces stacked one upon the other.

Inside was a foyer, square, about ten-foot on each side. There were lines of coat-hooks on the left wall, hung with all kinds of cloaks and coats, of over- and trench- and other styles.

On the right wall were rows of hat-hooks: Fedoras, top-hats, and, what-the-fuck, even wigs and rubbery human masks.

Straight ahead was an impressive set of heavy oaken doors, inlaid with arched stained-glass windows showing flames from deep red in the bottoms to pale yellow in the tops.

Through the windows pulsed rays of light, colored by the glass, dancing on our faces as we looked at each other up and down.

We heard the music for the first time. A deep, rhythmic beat, with what, at first, sounded like a killer electric guitar riff driving it, but then began to sound more like the rising and falling pitches of screaming voices.

Benny said "Well, pussies, are we in or out?! I'm fucking IN!!!".

I gotta admit, I felt like I wanted to just get the fuck outta there but I couldn't let punk-ass wannabe Benny get the better of me.

I shoved him out of the way and walked through the door into the foyer. It helped that I could feel the solid weight of my over-and-under sawn-off knocking against my torso in my leather jacket's custom slot.

I sensed the rest of the group filing in behind me, by the distinctive sounds of their footwear's footsteps and the shit they were whispering to each other...

None of which I remember now as I tell you of how I threw open the double doors with the fiery stained-glass windows and...

Well, he was just right there. Jumping Jack was right there, as if he'd been waiting for us, with a disapproving frown to let us know we were tardy to the party.

Then he smiled and his lip-less black gums pulled back further and further in the direction of his stubby pale ears and he said, in a voice like eons of mud pouring down a worm's throat:

"That band-aid you wore last year isn't here, but it's near."


Chapter Four: Insane Rave

And then he waved one hand around above his head in a figure-of-eight-and-a-seventh gestures and grinned at us a lot through his huge yellow teeth.

I didn't know how to respond to his words. I've never used a band-aid, let alone last year.

I held my hands out in the universal gesture of "What the fuck?!", appealing to my friends and this is what they said as best as I remember:

Reggie: "SHOOT IT!"
Edith: "Christ our savior who is with us now, and always, we beseech..." Yadda, yadda, and so on...


Jerry: "Woah!"


Jumping Jack, pale limbs pumping, so many limbs, jutting from his black lacy attire, powered through out midst.

He slammed the oaken doors shut behind us, turned around in a flash of teeth and eyes, and rushed us, all pale-limb grabby-like, down the hall and out into the ballroom.

The intensity of the deep bass beat and the wailing "guitar" screams grew beyond the normal human limits to absorb. We were thrown over the balcony railing and down into a mosh-pit from Hell.

Sliding to a halt on the uncomfortably hot floorboards of their dance-hall, I looked around and saw, what I thought at the time, to be the most insanely inconceivable shit possible.

I had a lot to learn.



Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Baron on 27 Oct 2019, 20:22
Wait, hasn't Mandle already submitted something by that title? (

I recommend disqualifying him preemptively and then slowly sorting out the details over the coming months and years.  :=
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Sinitrena on 27 Oct 2019, 23:26
I recommend disqualifying him preemptively and then slowly sorting out the details over the coming months and years.  :=

We are not the UK.  (roll)

And as for disqualifying this entry, it is not the same text, but people should be aware that at least part of the idea existed before the start of this competition. (And Mandle should let us know how much was written beforehand.) Everyone can decide for themselves how they want to treat the entry during voting.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Baron on 28 Oct 2019, 00:36
That's an AWESOME idea, Sinitrena!  ;-D  We should have a referendum on how Mandlesque we want this competition to become.  :=
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Mandle on 28 Oct 2019, 01:07
Hahaha, Baronesque has a much better ring to it.

Yeah, so the other entry was the end of the story when The End was the theme.

This is the start of the story. I believe others have continued same character(s)'s (Gawd, how do you write that?!) story over several contests with different themes.

As for the material, I had a vague outline in my head for a while and Chapter One was written already (although I did go back and edit it quite a bit).

I'm planning on this becoming a very trashy, but hopefully entertaining, book one day and the theme of the contest was just too good to resist as it fit perfectly and was a good kick-in-the-butt to get me started.

I was going to explain but by the time I finished writing it was 2AM and I just posted it and collapsed into bed.

So, it can be judged as a non-entry, or people can just take Chapter One as an introduction and only vote on the merits of the other chapters. Whatever is decided is fine by me. I'm just happy I got something written.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Mandle on 28 Oct 2019, 16:38
Added a bit to what I hope is a very trashy but equally entertaining read in my first post above...
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Baron on 29 Oct 2019, 01:24
Baronesque sounds too much like burlesque....  :P

I for one have no qualm with a continuation of the same story-world or even the same story.  It's just the use of the same title that I find confusing: how are we supposed to discuss your works intelligibly if they're all called the same thing?  (roll)  Imagine Shakespeare named all 39 of his plays "Hamlet".  Now, write a high school English essay comparing and contrasting Hamlet, Hamlet, and the other Hamlet.  Go!  ;-D 
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Mandle on 29 Oct 2019, 03:53
Well, it's the beginning of the same story I wrote the ending of for that other contest. It's not two different stories.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Baron on 31 Oct 2019, 02:06
Even George Lucas had the good sense to rename his original Star Wars as Star Wars: A New Hope so that the fan boys could argue and debate which instalment was better.  You gotta make it easy on us fanboys....  How else can we trace the trajectory of your artistic development (and your inevitable fall)?  ;)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Sinitrena on 07 Nov 2019, 22:48
Only a couple days left. The party still looks a bit empty. No other guest, be they victim or monster?
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (ends 10. November 2019)
Post by: Reiter on 10 Nov 2019, 19:15
Have no fear! Here are a few more guests, arriving on the dot. They are rather shy, I fear, not to mention armed, but I do believe it will be a jolly party, once they come around.

Picknick on the Green.

There was an island, and there was a ship.

The Island looked, at a distance, akin to a titanic tree stump sticking out of the sea, weathered by unfathomable ages, covered in moss and lichen, its core long rotted away but still looming a jagged wall of petrified splintwood.
Sheltered there was a dense and gnarled forest, shrouded in a mist it seemed to produce on its own. It stretched down through the stone teeth, and smothered the very edge of the Island's one and only beach.

The Ship, a schooner, was steady at anchor at the edge of the reefs. It did not enjoy much shelter from the Island, but the sea was eerily calm. The waves seemed to lap around the ship with a certain respect for the Island and its business with the Ship. It was not their place, and they knew it. The winds, too, seemed to abide by this.

The ship was named The Flying Scud. It was an unassuming vessel, and set before the granite splendour of the Island, it looked particularly puny, although its many scrapes and cuts proved its pluck.
They had travelled far to reach this place, Ship and Island alike.

The ship's master and commander was captain Badin, at present standing in front of a looking glass in his quarters, combing his hair. He had dug out his best dress-coat, for the occasion. Although he was a man that greatly enjoyed fine dining and lively parties, he felt a cold, hard lump in his chest. The voyage here had been the simple part.
Captain Badin contemplated putting the island's position down on his charts, but decided against it. A waste of ink, and the Island would no doubt consider it quite rude, if it came to hear of it. It no doubt would.

There was a man in the chair behind him. He was leisurely dressed for the occasion. He was looking at his pocket watch. Captain Badin glanced at him in the looking glass, while he was struggling with his cuff-links.

-”We are on time”, said Captain Badin.
-”Oh, no doubt. We could hardly not be. Not here”, said the Man.

Captain Badin chose an understated neck-tie with a floral pattern. It had served him well before, in other circumstances where he did not know what one could expect.

-”I'll have the men draw straws to decide who gets to guard the ship.”
-”No. That would be worse. Don't do that to them.”

Captain Badin looked at the Man.

-'It'd be worse to be left out. Think of it. You won't come back unchanged. And anyone left behind will know it, but all they can do is guess.”
-”As long as they must resort to guessing, they can hope that they are wrong.”
-”There will be no hope in their case. They won't thank you for it.”

Captain Badin nodded, and returned to the grooming.

-”They would have no reason to”, said the Man. “Further, they're cordially invited, too. They're coming, and it's not your place to stop them, my friend.”

Badin picked up the invitation card. It was as ordinary as they came; black ink on stiff, white paper. A familiarity of his previous life, before he set to sea. The typeface was simple, elegant and the letters were well-mannered. They pretended to sit still, and did a fine job at it, too.

Cordially invited to a luncheon. Himself, their Passenger... The Crew, too. And someone else.

The directions to the Island had been at the bottom of the card. They had gone away, now that they were of no further use.
The time for the picknick, however, was still there. The little hour-glass, drawn at the bottom, had almost run out.

-”Then who?”, said Badin, “I am not abandoning the ship, not even here.”
-”Your... Last officer, perhaps? He could do it. He's sleeping in the galley. Karlsson, is it?”

Badin paused for a moment. Mr. Karlsson was the ship's cat. He was of limited use, beside catching the occasional insect and warming his feet.
Mr. Karlsson would usually hold court here, draped fat and resplendent across the bunk. This voyage, however, he had ceded it. He took exception of the Man.

-”That is an idea.”
-”He'll watch the ship. He won't be harmed by not going.”
-”Fortunate creature...”
Badin shook his head.

-”Well, I doubt he will have to fend off pirates out here... Mr. Karlsson it is.”
-”Further, he isn't on the card, now is he?”

Badin looked himself over, and considered himself tolerable for company. He went for the door.

-”Aren't you forgetting something?”

Badin nodded, and went back to his cupboard. He produced a plaster fish mounted on a board. It certainly looked like it was plaster, at least. It was too emphasised to be a real fish. Its long, grinning jaw went beyond the comical into the eerie. He wrapped it in a pillow-case, and took it under his arm.

He took one last look through the room. He had everything he needed. There was no man there.
Captain Badin coughed, put on his least-stained hat, and went out to the crew quarters.

The crew had gone through their wardrobes and made themselves as presentable as could be expected. Llynn and Smeede were hurriedly blacking boots, and Sirius was polishing the ship's complement of guns to a high sheen. Pom-pom had finished painting a cheery and affable skull-mask on his face, and was tying strings of sea-shells to his tailcoat.

-”Skipper”, said Sirius, and set the bottle of polish aside.
-”We're about ready”, said Axelsson, climbing down from the deck to fetch more cargo.

Mrs. Stone emerged from the galley, wearing what resembled a sturdy tea-cosy on her head, studded with wax fruit. If her hat looked comical, however, her purse looked formidable. Captain Badin decided that they had passed inspection, and had them assemble on the deck, along with the cargo.
It was decided not to stir Mr. Karlsson from his sleep. Badin reckoned that they stood a good chance to return before he would wake up and miss them.

Arranged on the deck in the day light, the crew of the Flying Scud were truly dressed in their best, and they would no doubt pass for respectable diners, although people rarely embark on a formal picknick clutching rifles and machine pistols. The sight did make Badin feel oddly proud.
Mrs. Stone and Pom-Pom had prepared a few hampers. Some were open and contained common, respectable food and drinks. Others were carefully locked.

There was also the tea-chest, labelled 'Passenger'. A collapsed wheel-chair stood next to it.

-”Right, boss”, said Mrs. Stone, “You've got all the guff we need?”
-”Yes, that would be all. Get the boat loaded.”

With the cargo stowed, they lowered the ship's boat and left the cat in command as they set off for the Island. The waves were gentle, and they had no trouble passing the reefs. Captain Badin held the rudder in the back of the boat, and looked over his crew. No pipes were lit, no songs were sung. He had never heard them this quiet.

-”Nervous, boys?”
-”Never done much fine dining is all, boss”, said Smeede.

For a while, all was quiet but the sculling and the lapping waves. The air was cool, but heavy as if thunder was near. They approached the shore, and Axelsson and Llynn crouched at the nose of the boat, guns raised to keep the tree-line in their sights. Badin felt uneasy, as it hit him that there were neither fish nor bird in sight. Their absence produced a silence that was quite oppressive once he had noticed it, but he decided not to talk of the matter. It was clear that his boys were thinking the same thing.

They reached the surf, and stepped onto the peculiar grey sands of the beach. With combined strength, they hauled the boat out of the water, and began to unload it. The dense, gnarled woods began precisely where the beach ended, like a cliff in greens and greys.

They looked back at the Flying Scud. It was not far, but set before the clouds in the distance, it looked more like an old picture on a wall.

-”Well. Here we are”, said Captain Badin. “Get the passenger ready.”

They opened the tea-chest. A little swarm of insects flew out, and fell dead to the sands. The crew muttered, and Mrs. Stone hissed an oath. They had not seen the Passenger before. Badin, regrettably, had. They had met in port, and exchanged invitation cards.

The Passenger was a dessicated corpse, missing both legs, one arm as well as their eyes. Their cracked and knotty visage defied recognition as a human face.

They unfolded the wheel-chair, and Pom-Pom sat the Passenger down. The corpse looked at the woods with its lost eyes, and suddenly croaked something that none of the Flying Scud's crew understood. The Passenger raised their arm, and pointed blindly into the bracken and the tangle. Badin took the gesture to be one of approval, and nodded.

Axelsson looked at the dense woods, and shook his head.
-”We'll have to carry him, won't we? It'll be a...”
Captain Badin shook his head.
-”We have ways”, whispered the voice of the Man from the pillow-case.

Meanwhile, Sirius was prodding a few shards of china in the sand with the tip of his rifle. They were bleached and worn, and mixed with shards of old pottery. Beside them, there was an empty bottle that had once contained fine wine.
If they had landed to find smashed skulls, gnawed femurs and broken swords in the sands, he would have felt calmer than he did now, and he did not know why.

-”Now, then, boys. Close your eyes”, said Badin.
-”What? Why?”, said Llynn.
-”Trust me. Just for an instant.”

They closed their eyes, and waited. Just as it began to feel quite silly, a damp, heaving sigh rolled out from the forest and onto their faces, setting the leaves in motion, and vanished in the surf. They opened their eyes again.

The Pathway was there before them. It had always been there.

There was a loud click, and all eyes turned to Smeede, who had readied his machine pistol. In the din of silence, it had sounded as loud as a shot when he cycled the mechanism. Badin waved to him to lower it.

-”It's alright, boys, it's quite alright... We are were we need to be.”

The Path, while it was certainly practical, was not inviting. Slabs of mossy stone snaked its way into the suffocating green, and the shadow of the formidable archway stung their bare skin where it touched.

Captain Badin took a deep breath, pushed the wheel-chair before him, and went under the arch, and his crew followed one by one. No one dared to linger, and become lost.

-”Come on, fellows. This will be a lovely day out”, said Badin.
-”Oh, I bet...”, said Axelsson.

It did not take long for the Path to close in. The beach and the sea vanished from view, and there was not a sound, beside their steps on the stones, and the creaking of the wheel-chair. The crew kept close, and endlessly stepped on each other's feet to avoid being last.
The Passenger croaked again, a strange little sound so full of relief and cheer that it seemed impossible when set to its source. Badin knew that he would forget many, many things tonight, but he determined to remember that sound. He and the crew of the Flying Scud had done good, after all.

Far away, they could glimpse a clearing in the heart of the woods. Fires glittered, and shapes flickered. Now, they could hear flutes. Distant but shrilling flutes, foreboding but beckoning. Before they knew it, they Crossed over.
The Woods did not grow sparse and clear. They simply stopped. They stepped onto the Green. Emerald grass, jagged and soft, spread before them, and the woods towered high around. Their feet were now swift, and they no longer skulked and crept, guns raised, but marched beneath the final Archway, beaming and grinning. And all the terrors and wonders of the seas and beyond flew upon them, and all the impressions came crashing down at once. Badin and the Crew and the Passenger let go, and drank it all in.

The sound. The music. The heaving Black Organ was playing. The droning and buzzing of endless legions of flies rung before and within them. The flutes were shrill and maddening and wonderful, the fiddles and the fiddlers irresistible. Cymbals crashed and trombones roared and drums thundered and throat-song and horns and -
The food. The table. They could see the large stone table; huge and packed and utterly overflowing, crowded with bottles of every size, colour and shape their eyes would admit. Pillars, towering pillars, of heaving and rising pastry swayed precariously, while fruit of all possible and impossible types laid piled and hoarded, spilling from the table into the grass. Cuts and slabs of dripping, smoking meat were everywhere, and so were fish, shellfish and great, twitching insects; and the raw, heaving and dripping carcasses of impossible and irresistibly choice beasts were splayed on the granite, and blood and juice ran red with the pouring, streaming wine and -
The guests. The company. Through the droning haze, they could see the Other Diners, their Fellow Guests. Here, some where playing croquet with grapes of wrath; there, they were sat together, reciting an epic that could only be expressed in colours. Flesh and thoughts were torn by grinding teeth and goblets drained and thrown to the skies. They were of all stations and occupations and races and species known and unknown; some familiar figures to the Crew, others wild and strange creatures that they could only see allegorically. The Drowned danced with the Burned, the Spurned played with the Exalted and -

All were Masked. The vessel who had up until recently condescended to the name Badin also had a mask now, as did the splendid and pitiful and glorious and terrifying creatures who had been his crew.

Far away, in its rightful place at the end of the table, was the Host. They could scarcely look at it, for the writhing maggots and shimmering eyes savaged the sight in their splendour. And yet, the Host called them close, its honoured guests, and doubt was an anchor they had forgotten. They approached, swift to answer the Host upon jubilant feet.
As the Passenger sang a shrieking hymn, they came before the Host, who bowed its heads to them. The Scented Dream rolled over them like a wave and a scream and a beat and a fanfare, and the Captain and the Passenger and the Crew forgot themselves, and they joined the feast and they were gone.

Aboard the ship, still by the shore but worlds away, the cat turned over in troubled sleep.

Later, much too early and far too late, when the twilight had given way to moonlit night, the boat set sculls on the waters of the Island again and it returned to the Ship, and the Flying Scud silently set sails and raised the anchor and was gone in the dark.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Voting)
Post by: Sinitrena on 11 Nov 2019, 17:40
All guests have arrived, so let's party - with these entries:

That Fucking House On That Fucking Hill by Mandle
Picknick on the Green by Reiter

As always, voting is done in categories:

Character: Which characters stood out with their own personality or interesting development?
Plot: What happens in the story? Is it logical, surprising, exciting, etc?
Style: The technical aspect of writing, including but not limited to turns of phrases, spelling, ...
Spookiest Atmosphere: The story that dragged you into a world of its own, but especially one that gave you Halloween-apropriate goosbumps.

You have one vote per category and time until Friday, 15. November.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Voting)
Post by: Baron on 12 Nov 2019, 03:52
Dang it!  I missed the deadline.  I had a good idea for this one too....  Too much talking smack and not enough smacking down.  Oh well....

I'll be sure to vote by the last minute: PROMISE!   ;)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Voting)
Post by: Baron on 15 Nov 2019, 02:28
Good reads, both.  Thanks to the authors for their hard work.

Character:  There was an embarrassment of riches in this category this time: so many distinctive characters sketched in quick strokes, although sadly the promise of the tantalising glimpses is never fulfilled.  My vote goes for Reiter's the Man, purely for the sense of intrigue he presents.  Is he a Man?  Is he a ghost possessing an eerie plaster fish in a pillow case?  Like Joseph in the bible he just kind of buggers off without any indication of his fate.  Reiter's Passenger was a close second, having somehow encountered Captain Badin socially in port despite his many handicaps.

Plot: I vote Mandle on this one, as I see and understand the story unfolding.  Reiter's work for all its genius (and I liked it a lot!) felt somehow like a mystery too far: why are they there?  What actually happened at the party?  Did the boat leave without them in the end?  If plots and subplots are threads weaving the story, Reiter's feels more like a tangle than a fabric.

Style: I vote Reiter here.  Both works had some impressive writing, such as Reiter's feast and Mandle's shoe imagery.  But I felt like Reiter employed a lilting kind of poetry to powerful effect.  The Ship's "many scrapes and cuts proved its pluck," and at the feast "flesh and thoughts were torn by grinding teeth" are just two examples of fantastically descriptive language.  I hate to do this to Mandle, but the title implies comparison with his other piece in this story, and I felt that the train of thought of his narrator lamentably lacked the pace and rawness of last time.  (Yes, I understand The End needs to be the thrilling climax, and that the rest of the story necessarily needs to be longer with steady building of pace, but I found the narrator's voice lacking the same distinctive character that I so enjoyed last time in every line).

Spookiest Atmosphere: It's hard to judge this fairly without contemplating the conclusion to Mandle's work.  Without the conclusion, I think my vote has to go to Reiter for an eerie tale of ghostly mystery.  His story pulses with anthropomorphism, to the extent where the whole story world, from the Island to the Ship to the cat to the dynamic note churn with a kind of sinister character.  The pervasive, overwhelming mysteriousness that was such a liability in the plot category becomes quite the asset in the atmosphere category.  Mandle's sequence where the gang encounters Jumping Jack is creepy, but I felt a bit more strategic description (of the mosh pit, for example) would have brought the atmosphere more to life.

Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Sinitrena on 16 Nov 2019, 09:46
Not a lot of votes, but we have to live with it.

As a matter of fact, we only have one voter, but one I completely agree with, my votes would be the same, and my explanarions would be the same.

Just to add a few words of my own:

Mandle: While I generally like the tone of your narrator, I don't think it's the best choice for a horror story. It kind of make sense to have him be so casual in the beginning when he doesn't know what is about to happen, here this doesn't work so great because it's clearly not told in the moment,but looking back at what happened. The atmosphere suffers quiet a bit under this flippant tone that uses little description. We get more when Jumping Jack appears, which made me more interestet in the story ... and then it just ends, right when it had pulled me in.

Reiter: Very atmospheric, very well written, a plot that has a beginning, middle and end - and stll one that left me utterly confused. I can tell you what happened one event after the other and still have no idea what is going on. Mystery is fine, piling one mystery on the other can work, but you expect some kind of solution, or you are helplessly lost (or feel like you stumbled into the tv show Lost). I also noticed an overuse of CAPITAL LETTERS for words that are not proper nouns. In general, I don't oppose this technique, but you used it for every single word that had even the slightest significance to your story, cheapening the effect. But other than that, it's really good writing.

And that leaves these results:

Mandle reaches a good 2nd place with 1 vote.
And Reiter, our newest candidate to become a regular, wins 1st place with 3 votes.

Over to you, Reiter, congratulations.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Baron on 20 Nov 2019, 00:13
Congratulations to the winners! 

I mean that sincerely this time, since I don't have any skin in this game.  ;)

Watch out next time, though.  I have every intention of following through and actually submitting something.  :P
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Reiter on 21 Nov 2019, 01:26
The Next Fortnightly Writing Competition round shall be posted shortly! You are hereby challenged to appear, Baron. It will be jolly! I think.

And thank you all for the kind words! I have yet much to learn (such as hunting down cappie letters who have slipped out of bound), but it is pleasant to have someplace to write to, as it were.

I am always hesitant to speak or vote on other works in a competition that I myself is in. Shyness, I suspect. But with this much time passed, I can state that I quite liked Mandle's piece. It is a peculiar style, but I did like the comedic approach. I do look forward to see further works in a few days. The competition will resume shortly!


There may be a bit of a snag. It appears that I will need Authorisation before I start a new thread in this particular forum. However, since it is a new round of a running competition (although it does not appear in the official list), I doubt it will be a problem. Nonetheless, in the interest of not stepping on toes, who should I ask for authorisation to post the next leg of the competition?
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Gilbert on 23 Nov 2019, 15:35
It's just something written in the rules so that people won't start random stuff without asking.
In most activities, the winners are just free to start a new topic, no authorisation required.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Spooky Party (Results)
Post by: Reiter on 24 Nov 2019, 06:39
Oh, I see! A useful precaution, no doubt, although it looked somewhat antiquated.

The next leg of the competition will begin presently!