Welcome to the Writer’s Challenge! This month we are focusing on creating the writing habit. The best part? You get to choose your own goal!
Here is the page for you to declare your goal, update your progress, and get a bit of the writer limelight by being featured on this page. Please check in by leaving comments when you reach a new goal. If you want to keep them all in one thread, reply to your own thread and you’ll have a record. If you would like to be featured on this page, please send a 500-word, G-Rated sample of your writing and/or a mo
Welcome to the Writer’s Habit Challenge!
Here is the page for you to declare your goal, update your progress, and get a bit of the writer limelight by being featured on this page.
ck cover (make sure it doesn’t break any copyrights, please!) I am not responsible for any infringement of content posted on this page. Ready? Go!
Eldir’s Estate by Abigail
Author’s Note: This has one character in it that is not mine, Jason Todd (aka the Red Hood). Everything else is either me (1st person POV) or mine.
This is my world building of what I currently call ‘Eldir’s Estate’. If it feels clogged with detail, that’s the point.
I stand at the base of the castle stairs. They extend in a slow ascent, mingling different brick, stone and wood without breaking up the steps. It looked almost hodge-podge; it is beautiful.
Others mount and descend the stairs, a few using the railings on either side, which are made of gems and stone that glow in the dark, curtesy of the dryguth tunnels. I just run straight up the stairs, hearing Jason yelp when he stops staring at the building itself. He catches up quickly, only to run ahead when I stop at the top. The front is made of two sets of double doors with coral looking frames and rich wood swung wide open. There’s a wide space between them that’s glass with a statue of gold and thickly decorated in colorful gems. It is almost blinding to look at with all the light reflecting off it. After a moment, the sun casts a shadow over the statue and I can easily see what it is.
It is Eldir. Or at least, what they believe he looks like. In reality, he can change his form to be any of the peoples or races. He doesn’t even have to have a form, but chooses so when interacting with someone so they will be more comfortable. This one is mamlane looking. No one can point out which race it is, because there are bits that can fit ulda, fomilon, and kyriol. One thing that’s correct about the statue is it is many many colors, and easily the part of the entrance that stands out the most. It’s twice as tall as the doors. Wide windows are level with his chest.
Jason calls me to keep going. I step through the large doors, which I’m sure only ulda, or a large race of dryguth, could pull shut with relative ease. The inside courtyard is more wooden with branches and leaves covering the ceiling. As I stare up at it, I see someone descend from inside, leading me to believe that it is a faster way for aveons to reach an aveon specific room on the next floor. Lanterns hang from the branches, which also snake down the walls and cluster in the corners. This room has a grand staircase on either side of the wide yet shallow room. The far wall has smaller frames, leading to different wings. The areas not covered in an elaborate rug has couches and cushions on marble for people to sit and relax. There are a couple people there who direct newcomers, with a scroll tucked into their belt, a book under their arm, and a clipboard in hand, pointing to one of the stairs.
I walk over to one of them, and smile, “Can you point us to the library?”
“Of course,” she chimes. She turns to the back wall, “Walk straight down the middle corridor, then turn right at the fountain. You’ll see the south east entrance on the left.”
“Thank you,” I say. She nods back. I start down that way, tugging the bewildered Jason along.
I join him in admiring the architecture, though I keep track of where we’re going. The end of the corridor that changes from aveon to mamlane to nekto decoration opens into a sunlit garden. The air is warm and when I look up, I see it has a greenhouse ceiling. There are stones that weave simple paths through the greenery on the floor, with trees and bushes popping up throughout. There are some perches on the high wall behind us, as well as a stream that cuts through towards the South West corner of the room. I realize that it’s coming from the fountain in the very center.
I run passed the fountain, to the far end of the room. At the wall, there’s another statue. It’s a similar size to the other one, only the base metal holding the plethora of gems is silver. Also, the statue is in the form of a nekto. Jason watches with me as the water bubbles from the outstretched hands of the statue. The water falls to a hole in the floor. The area around it is constantly wet.
“The water must run under us and then go to the fountain,” I say, turning back to the fountain. I watch the water come out of the top of the fountain, pools a little, then falls over low spots in a coral arrangement. The water pools briefly on stones carved into leaves, finally spilling into the bottom pool which comes to our knees.
The edge looks like tightly packed roots, some bits even extending into the ground around it. On the South West side of the fountain, there’s an opening in the root, allowing a little waterfall to spill into a small channel, leading to a grate in the far wall.
I watch in awe as Jason stands next to me. “I take it this is an important place?” Jason asks.
“Are you not at all in wonder?” I ask.
“Well yeah!” Jason motions to the garden and building -maybe even the world as a whole- “This is breathtaking. All of it! I could stare at one thing for an hour and still not find all the details. I could stay here the entire month and not find everything amazing about it.”
I beam at him.
“But I was just wondering if this is more important than, say… the library?”
I nod, “We’ll get there. But look at this.”
“I’m looking,” he chuckles.
“This water, is the purest water you’ll ever find in Atniuq.”
“It’s not supplied by the ground.”
Jason looks at me in confusion, “Meaning… it’s rainwater?”
I shake my head, “Look at the statue.”
Jason turns, shielding his eyes from the sun.
“What do you see?”
“Uh… the water falling from the hands.”
“What don’t you see?”
Jason thinks, looking over the statue.
I answer the question when he looks back, “A source.”
He looks at the statue, then back at me. He then looks at the constant stream of water.
“Then…” he points, tilting his head, as if that could help him better understand it.
“Eldir provides the water,” I explain, “and because it hasn’t been tainted by anything else, it’s pure.”
“So… it has special properties, right?” Jason asks.
“Like… the Lazarus Pit?” He asks carefully.
I sit on the fountain’s edge, thinking. “Well… not exactly. It can help heal, but it can’t bring people back to life. …I don’t think.” I look at the water, with the stone bedding. “It would be great use to those that would use it wrongly, which is why it’s here.”
“Shall we continue?” Jason asks as I admire the water for longer.
I take a relaxing breath, then stand, “Yes.”
We follow the paths to the East entrance, then follow another hallway, the same width as the last. There are windows on either side, showing a different wing. There are doors sparsely spaced along the wall to our left. The largest of the doors almost reaches the ceiling. I see a plaque on the side of the doors; Library.
I push one of the doors open.
The Sleeping Baby by Brian Stansell
I stared in seething, helpless, hatred, my pulse pounding, taking in short, shuddering breaths that rasped and wheezed through my tightly-clenched teeth. My body trembled in barely controlled rage as I stared into the crib and saw the quietly sleeping infant oblivious to its imminent danger.
I didn’t dare speak, tried to quiet my tremulous breathing as I carefully approached the crib, not daring to wake the blissfully unaware child. Something terrible and violent was about to happen, but I didn’t know how to begin….
[Two hours earlier…]
The night had turned cold and misty as hidden Death moved silently and fluidly through the jungle. It coasted around thick, green bamboo, hardwood cypress, teak, kyun and palm boles. Over rotting leaves, moss and jungle detritus. Between thick ferns. Far beneath the wet multi-layered canopy. An unseen hunter, deadly in its calculation and skill.
The normally warm and moist night air was now cold and gradually numbing. Unpleasant and stiffening to the muscles.
A mist had settled over the ground, barely covering the jungle undergrowth of ferns, elephant ears and flowering tropical flora. The once vibrant colors now shone muted through a grey translucent haze of wet silver. The air near the ground was slightly warmer than the moist air lying supine above across the couched foliage.
Dark, emerald eyes scanned the terrain, tasting, sensing, listening, feeling, perceiving and calculating its next move in the night hunt. It paused. Waiting in the filtered moonlight.
It knew that the pale green, moss-stained structure, just fifty yards ahead, though externally adorned with cold stone also had a heart of huddling warmth within. Ever so quietly, it made its way closer and closer to the festooning short garden of freshly turned, dew-moistened earth and row after row of now closed, brightly-colored cups bent in slumber awaiting the coming of the rising sun. Jeweled ice, silvered by the waning moon, dripped quietly from the downward turned petals and leafy fronds slithering into the thick, dark soil. Careful not to leave incriminating prints in the soft ground around the structure, the killer distributed its weight evenly along the paver stones, as it circled the perimeter, searching and seeking for the most opportune, quiet and unobserved way in.
It had seen the fat pink infant playing upon the soft green grass, during the day. A manicured patch of lawn, bordered by pieces of wood, carefully and meticulously hand weeded by the woman charged with amusing and humoring the child during the day. The small one smelled of warm milk, and some other sweet, floral and fruity fragrance. It made odd warbling noises, as it reached and discovered, crushed and dug into the fecund earth. The killer had watched the baby day after day, smelling it, tasting it from afar. And then, once again, not so far. Later, only a few feet, and eventually as close as mere inches away, beneath the rhododendron bush. A time or two it had merely missed taking it away into the forest by a few seconds of hesitation. An adult had lifted the child out of its reach, unaware of its deadly proximity. This was a mistake the killer would not make again.
The smell of sweet milk upon the baby’s breath and body was intoxicating. Hunger pangs caused the killer to unknowingly quicken its pace, and scan even more desperately for the entrance opportunity. Its warm pink naked flesh would feel good against its cold and shivering body. It realized its growing speed and tried to calm itself and temper its throbbing heart, slowing its breathing through flared and dilated nostrils, quieting its whistling breath by closing and clamping its lips tightly together.
If it moved to fast or created too much noise, it would be forced to contend with and kill the rest of the family right away. In time, it thought, If I am careful, I shall be the one to choose the order of my silent kills.
Yet the thought of the warm, sweet, fat baby, continued to work on the mind and tease the desperate dark needs of the hunter, causing irritation. Irritation that flowed into growing annoyance, streaming into ever deepening pools of desire and insatiable need. Despite how much it knew it needed stealth, its obsession with its need for the baby grew and over took its caution. In its haste, it was leaving a careless trail of evidence of its passage.
It imagined the first juice-filled bite into the pink flesh, the sweet nectar flowing over its tongue, filling its mouth with ambrosia as its teeth sliced through skin and soft, undeveloped muscle. It shuddered uncontrollably at the thought. But first, it had to get warm. It was hungry, yet its muscles spasmed under this unseasonable chill. The infant’s body was warm, filled as it was with heated blood, plumb and rounded with the swell of it. Often the baby was wrapped in a thick soft coverlet of down-like material. Similar to the breast feathers of a young bird.
Many, many birds had been surprised by him in the dark heart of the night. Awakening with sleepy eye’s expecting the return of their mother with some soft writhing morsel in her beak to further fatten them up. Only to find that they were indeed now the “choice morsels” served conveniently arranged in a rounded bowl, like canapes to the hungry predator. “May I?”, asks the uninvited guest. “Oh, yes! Certainly.”, graciously replies the oblivious but accommodating waiter. A reversal, taught by the harsh realities of the natural wild. Lessons learned but rarely if ever passed along beyond their fateful night. Only interruptions of the inopportunely returning mother, ever caused the lessons of those nights to become instructive beyond those final experiences of their siblings, as they witnessed their terrifying disappearance one by one. The order of the kill was supremely important, but it would ultimately be determined most by opportunity and proximity. The smell of the infant was distinct and lingered in the killer’s memory.
The Creator by Lindsey Backen
“You’re going to have to kill that child, and the sooner the better.”
Milah’s tear hung off her chin, joined by a second and endangering both. She closed her eyes as Marah’s face pressed close to hers, her whisper invaded her space. The cup steamed between them, bits of leave floating suspended in the water.
She wanted to scream at the woman but the wrinkled face forbade such actions against an elder and the sound would only attract more people. Tears stood in Marah’s eyes as well but they did not fall.
“You’re not the first girl this has happened to, and I dare say you won’t be the last. But you have no man to claim him, no man even to give him a name. The master cannot keep a child without a bloodline.”
“He could be a worker,” Milah’s voice cracked on the words for they were the first she’d even spoken about her child. “The master needs workers.”
“You are not listening to me,” Marah said. “Without a father to prove a bloodline, the child will die. I’ve seen this before and it never, never ends well. You can end the poor thing now while it’s still safely inside you or they’ll run a sword through it as soon as its born.”
Sobs rose through her body and shook her head, knocking the tears into the cup. She covered her face, for tears were nearly as forbidden as a child.
“He has a father.”
“He won’t claim him. If he hasn’t claimed him by now, he won’t by then.”
Milah panted but the woman continued to speak.
Anger sparked. Her fingers tightened around the cup.
“Words, words, words!” She screamed, “You leave me no time for thought!”
“You’re a slave,” Marah said. “It’s not for you to think. It’s for you to obey.”
A rooster crowed and she glanced at the faintest light beneath the door. She stood, splashing the tea across the night fire. It hissed and bubbled against the charred bark as she handed the cup back to the woman.
“I will fight for the child,” she said, “even if I fight alone.”