Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writing Contest -- Just in time for Halloween

The NPR-sponsored contest is called, "Three Minute Fiction." The winner will have his/her story read on air. The idea is to keep the story short enough so that it can be read in its entirety in three minutes.

This is an on-going contest. Round Five seems designed for Halloween. The story is to start with the sentence, "Some people swore that the house was haunted," and end with "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

Let's try some openings.

Some people swore that the house was haunted. I was one of them, of course. After all, I was haunting the house. Why? It's a long story, but let's just say I was angry, really angry, and I wasn't going away until I'd had my revenge.

Some people swore that the house was haunted. It was mostly kids, but some adults seemed to believe it, too. If not, why were parents always warning their kids to stay away from the place? That's what Jake was thinking as he approached the ram shackled hulk of a house.

Some people swore that the house was haunted. The stories had been embellished over the years. The prevailing myth was that Mr. Kovalski had murdered his young wife and buried her in the crawl space. The singing that people claimed to have heard was poor Mattie Kovalski lamenting her fate. But there was singing. Jacob heard it now, as he made his way through the overgrown yard towards the house. He'd heard it before. That's why he was here. He needed to know. You see, Mattie had been his mother.

Now to the endings.

And then he saw her. And she came to him, gliding effortlessly across the floor. And he opened his arms. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

He tried not to open his mouth. The great, gray thing looming above him held the pulsating, sickly green blob over his face, pushing it at him. Kostya jerked his head one way and then the other, but the ghastly, rank-smelling horror pinned his head and smashed its rotting paw over his nose and Kostya, his lungs about to burst, gasped for breath. The green blob was pushed into his mouth and he took it deep into his lungs. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

"Don't listen to the singing," his mother warned. "Whatever you do, don't listen." She held his face and stared into his eyes, large now with fright. "Promise me?" He stammered out a promise. A promise he couldn't keep. The singing was so beautiful. A woman's voice, a young woman, perhaps a girl, her lovely voice floated out across the meadow delicately, like butterflies, painting the air with lovely colors. The words were strange, a language he didn't understand, but felt, felt deep, deep inside. He listened. Nothing was ever the same again after that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Papal Visit

"Science flies you to the moon; religion flies you into buildings."
Sign at a protest during Pope Benedict's visit to the UK.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In Memory

We have but faith
We cannot know
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from thee
A beam in darkness
Let it grow*

from Tennyson, In Memoriam