Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
Sun-soaked humidity under an emerald canopy felt like Johnny would have to start swimming soon. The past hour’s uphill hike from the river would have been a breeze if the atmosphere weren’t so heavy. These were not the woods he had made his pact with.
Pausing at a fork in the dirt trail, Johnny took a pull from his water canteen. This tropical jungle wasn’t his forest, but it still spoke to him and he didn’t like what it was saying. Or, rather, what it wasn’t saying.
“Hey,” he tapped his earpiece. “Any sign?”
The voice on the other end was so faint and muffled that Johnny knew he was out of communications range for anything less than Agency tech. Which is why he was the one in here. He was the only one who didn’t need backup if he found the target.
Johnny crouched to study the jungle from another angle. There had been signs by the river that Butch Slade had come this way, but nothing since then. It didn’t make sense. How could a nine-foot-tall rampaging maniac just disappear? For that matter, how was he slipping past national borders?
The Agency ace turned his attention to the mossy stone wall that could have been part of the foliage if it weren’t so dark and solid. It didn’t look like Butch’s kind of place, but there was a sort of door the big guy might have been able to fit through.
The ancient city on the other side dropped Johnny’s jaw with its perfect repair and zero evidence of even the jungle encroachment he had seen clearly before entering. Raising his hand toward his earpiece the agent noticed his fingers had thickened down into a clawed furry paw.
“Oh boy…”295 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)
Off the Beaten…
Sam Sliver was a predictable fellow. Folks would say that if you wanted to see what Sam was doing today, and didn’t mind waiting, catch sight of him tomorrow. Better yet, ask him what happened yesterday. Aside from his fidgeting about his routine being disrupted he would gladly tell you what yesterday had wrought.
Sam didn‘t like change. You could set your watch by him. As a professional jeweler, Sam believed that everyone needed a good watch. His maxim, hanging above his storefront, as well as in his kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, was “Life is a sliver of time. Watch it fly by.”
In my teens, Sam hired me to work alongside him on Saturdays. Principally, I dusted, swept, smiled at the customers, allowed Sam to mentor me in the skills and related vicissitudes of a jeweler’s life. It was an excellent opportunity to learn a career, but I muffed it. I found timepieces and baubles, not to my liking.
And Sam was just a little too…different.
Ultimately, I found the work was too finicky, too confined. I needed a more active life and took up policing.
I moved to a larger city and had a twenty-year career catching felons. When I retired in my mid-forties, I moved back to my hometown and got elected Sheriff.
I saw Sam from time to time and we shared the odd memory.
Our paths rarely crossed.
Then that Wednesday call came. Sam hadn’t opened his shop for three days. It was only ever closed on Sundays. I went to his house. He lived alone. He wasn’t there.
Three months went by.
The case went cold.
“He musta done a walkabout,” some said.
“Worse than that,” others speculated.
We found his car near the foothills.
Trust me. They’ll never find him.300 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)
She was coy, if that’s the word. It was no act. No attempt to ensnare me. It was who she was, and that’s what ensnared me. This wonderful, distant creature.
It was when I just caught her eyes lingering on me a second longer than they had before that things got interesting since my eyes lingered on her from the start for far longer than was appropriate.
Things advanced as these things apparently do. (Though I can’t say that for sure since I’d never advanced at all with a wonderful, once-distant creature.) Now our eyes were no longer the only things that lingered. Fingertips. Hers running through my hair. Mine dancing slowly down her cheek. Her hand grabbing my wrist so she could raise my fingertips to her lips and demonically run her tongue across several of them.
She was coy. That was the word. Our eyes again lingered. Mine on hers. Hers on mine. And with them locked, she allowed my fingertips to explore her.166 words by Joseph P Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor)
The Edge of the Unknown
The Edge of the Unknown started as a bit of a joke. A place everyone agreed existed, but no one could point to it on a map. I only ‘discovered’ it by running out of money. I had everything I needed: supplies, guides, crew and enough whispers to somewhere exciting. All I lacked was a ship and the money to buy one. A major failing for an ocean explorer surrounded by sea on three sides. Behind us, home.
Slowly crew slid away, spare supplies sold to other crews. Our rum used to toast other’s first steps, yet never enough to buy the much desired boat. Soon, the same crews would toast their successful return with rum from the same supply. Word got round that our rum was special, blessed. Anyone who drank from it came back. I set up shop or, more accurately, tavern.
The name, as I said, was a joke until it became who we were. People search out The Edge of the Unknown and found me, a frustrated explorer with a never emptying barrel of rum. I made sure the locals kept it topped up. My success depended on it.
At this point, people always ask the same question, ‘did I ever buy my ship?’
‘No,’ I reply, ‘but I completed by exploration a thousand times over.’
Explorers are talkers at the best of times, more so with a healthy amount of rum in them. I saw the world through their stories. Piecing together places from scrape descriptions. Does it matter I never saw these places no? Truth is what you make of it, especially when you owe The Edge of the Unknown.276 words by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)