Writing Contest #18
Posted 18 June 2010 - 09:01 PM
DEADLINE: July 26, 2010, Midnight, Central Standard Time, USA
WORD LIMIT: None
I'm looking forward to my first foray into the world of the TU Book Club......hope you enjoy this topic.
Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:55 PM
Word Count: 1,133
Tentative Title: Her Corporeal Light
The verdant forest sprawled underneath the setting sun, its lush canopy catching the fading sunlight in a display of golden splendor. The long-awaited twilight was approaching, for today was the summer solstice, and on this most sacred of days, after the long, sweltering daylight hours had passed, the forest was said to burst with life of its own.
Already the fauna gathered together on the forest floor, sensing the coming events and seeking what protection they could find. The sun's rays seeped gradually from view, and darkness was gathering. Thick trees stood still, gnarled bark standing defiant against the chill, branches twisting and looping and entwining with no wind to stir the leaves. Creeks ceased to murmur, stagnating as oblivious insects glanced across their glassy surfaces. A putrescent serenity engulfed the undergrowth, ominously pregnant with an uncertain dread.
Only a dim yellow and blue light could be seen on the horizon, and finally, from a squat tree whose branches dipped nearly to the ground, a shimmering blue glow wormed outward from its resilient skin and tumbled to the ground. More lights protruded and fell, and the surrounding trees were bathed in a pale azure glow as the pinpoints of light swarmed the base of the first tree in a writhing mass. The others soon emanated with a dim luminosity as similar lights bled from their bark.
Within the haze of the wispy blue clouds gathering among the roots were thousands of ethereal and elfin figures, sprites of the trees that had abandoned their homes at dusk of the solstice. Every tree in the forest was ejecting these sprites, and they began to march towards some indefinite center of the woods, streaming along the ground in radiant rivulets as they walked, some hovering gracefully above the rest on diaphanous wings. They passed new trees and nascent sprites emerging from the wood, who joined the serpentine columns as if they were tributaries flowing into a great river.
The sprites lit the entire forest as the ghostly horde swept between the rigid tree trunks. From the mushroom patches larger figures emerged, diminutive men with green hair and leafy beards, watching the parade of sprites with yellow lantern-like eyes. As they peered, the mushrooms around them took on phosphorescent hues, the sallow pastels casting their light over the green men, and they too joined the sprites' march, scrambling over thick roots and helping one another along as they traveled alongside the thickening river of fairies.
Passing the bleached bones of a human, the green men were startled when a gray mist bloomed from the ground, standing on two half-formed, gaseous legs. The wraith glanced at the small creatures below him, and then glided gently along the sprites' path, accompanying them with his faded presence.
From a clearing trundled gangly, rough-looking creatures, long ears tapering back from their malformed skulls. They carried primitive weapons and jostled each other when they walked with undirected and erratic aggression, and they too were drawn to the mystical center of the forest.
Slender women of stone and moss walked from a half-flooded grotto, and from the pool the clear water coalesced into a feminine shape. The women strode through the growing field of sprites, who now covered half the ground, and passed the slower creatures with their quick gait.
Gnomish creatures emerged from the woods with their makeshift suits and dresses, ushered forward by a tall, gray-faced elderly man whose beard, flecked with heather and entwined with ivy, stretched as far as his robes did. The men smoked their pipes and spoke in hushed tones as they walked, and the tall man herded them forward with a purposeful expression.
Burly ogres were interspersed among the growing crowd of fantastic spirits. They wore rough clothes and each thundering footfall left massive prints in the fertile soil. A wooden face, embedded in the trunk of an ancient oak, watched the throng march, lit by the innumerable sprites, and its splintering eyes blinked thoughtfully. With the creaking groan of wood, the tree man pushed his branches into the dirt and pulled himself along with the crowd. More trees followed suit, half-seen eyes and faces petrified in neutral expressions.
Finally the forest took on its new life. The canopy shook, parting as a colossal bipedal shape pushed itself up from the ground. It loomed above the forest even while on its hands and knees, its entire body seemingly composed of trees and mountains. A wide perimeter of pale blue light encircled the massive creature, drawing closer as the sprites converged upon it.
They swarmed up its arms and legs, blue glow subsiding as they were absorbed into the trees upon its body. The tree men set root into its legs, and the ogres climbed upward onto its sloping back. The mushroom men found new patches of mushrooms, hiding in the fungal circles and behind shrubbery. The women of stone and water assumed their places in new caves and new ponds, and the gangly malformed goblins chased each other through clearings and outcroppings of rock, engaging in mock battle. The wraith dispersed into a copse of trees with a forlorn expression.
The massive forest creature stood finally, tremors running through the ground beneath him as his inhabitants clung to their surroundings. It stood, slumped over with its mountainous hump, and paced forward intransigently, one footstep taking ages as it lumbered with a patient, eternal stride, its pendulum arms grazing the treetops. The sprites surged up to its head, dissolving into its enormous cranium, and as they did two blue orbs appeared on the creature's face, giving the shapeless terrain an anthropomorphic appearance. With its supernatural eyes it gazed upon the moon as it walked forward, the tranquil white orb etched into the night sky returning the solemn stare.
The embodiment of the forest lifted one long arm skyward, and wisps of lunar light wrapped around its warped hand. The forest creature's mind was composed of the energy of the sprites and writhed vaguely with the fluctuating and unfocused swarm within its head, but the moon was a single entity, and with a firm mind it surged through the forest creature, and the two spirits stood side by side for a single night.
Then the dawn came. The warm orange haze corroded the silver strands of the moon and the forest lowered its arm despondently as the light dripped from its body like murky water. It turned to look at the rising sun, and its knees shook and its body groaned piercingly.
With tremendous thunder it collapsed, slowly and impossibly but inexorably. It fell to the forest floor, snapping the fragile trees underneath its gigantic frame, grinding rock to dust with its sheer weight. The light faded from its face, and the sun peered over the horizon.
Edited by Apocalypse, 29 June 2010 - 03:40 PM.
"Oh, come on... be reasonable. You can't destroy everything; where would you sit?"
Posted 01 July 2010 - 10:07 AM
By Tyler Edwards.
Come close, my boy, and I will tell you the tale of the Sentient Solstice.
Those in the cities will tell you it's a myth, an old superstition. But it's all too real, my boy.
In everything, there dwells a soul. In you and I, yes, but also in the trees and the grass, the stone and the water. For most things, that soul lies dormant. But once every few years, when the days are longest or shortest, those souls waken, and things come alive.
Lock your doors and seal the shutters on the Sentient Solstice, my boy, for it is a perilous time. Do not walk in the woods, or your bones will hang from the branches. Do not walk upon the fields, or your flesh will fertilize them. Do not swim in the waters, or you will never see the surface again. Do not walk upon the roads, or the soil will swallow you whole.
Some say it is punishment for man's crimes against nature. Some say the other souls are envious of the fact we never go dormant. But all who are wise agree that the only safe spot on the Sentient Solstice is barricaded within your home, where you are outside the reach of the trees' grasping branches and the hungry earth.
So remember the Sentient Solstice, my boy, and beware, for on that day, all things come alive, and man has no sway.
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