34th #SatSunTails

Welcome to the #SatSunTails microfiction competition.

Be warned – the prompts aren’t easy, but that’s so you can write to the best of your ability.

If you haven’t had a go before at this writing challenge, then please don’t hesitate to try this weekend.

Rules!

  • Post stories in the comments
  • Stories must be 150 words (margin of 5 words either side) AND based on the picture and written prompts.
  • If you title your entry this is not counted in your word count.
  • Only one entry allowed (so make it count)
  • End each entry with word count and name/twitter handle (if you forget these REPLY TO YOUR OWN COMMENT with them before judging closes)
  • Monday 11am GMT is the expected closing time for entries BUT the competition will be open until I put a ‘competition closed’ comment so you may be able to slip something in (because I’m extra kind like that). Got that?

If you do not comply with these rules your story will be disqualified from judging. Good spelling and grammar will also help to make a better impression on judges – the odd typo, however, will be overlooked so please don’t worry about that.

For tips, read through the critiques from last week’s entries.

Winners!

There will be ONE OVERALL WINNER and THREE RUNNERS UP. After that there will be THREE CRITIQUES of three stories that didn’t make it.

It would also be nice to those participating if you could promote your fellow competitors and those who win.

Today’s Prompt!

The following may be used as a sentence in your story OR provide a basis for it:-

“darkened empathy”

And here is your picture prompt:

& good luck!

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8 thoughts on “34th #SatSunTails”

  1. Primal Detente

    Emily stood at the boundary between her back yard and the mysterious unclaimed lands beyond. Reaching out with her senses, she sought any validation for the voice that spoke in her mind each night, identifying itself as the Emissary of the Woodlands.

    She knew when daytime gave way to night and the skies darkened, empathy would open pathways within her only accessible in the stillness of the sleeping world. She would be summoned to the woods to treat with the Emissary.

    The Forest Spirits grew weary of the depredations of mankind upon their realm and would suffer them not much longer. The Emissary insisted Emily must accept the role of Speaker for Mankind and plead her kinds’ case before their patience was exhausted and they took retribution.

    She didn’t know if she truly believed what the voice said, she only knew tonight she must go into the unknown and find out once and for all.

    155 words @klingorengi

  2. PICK ME

    The scent from the oaks mixed with the ink from my life’s work as I entered the forest. In the trees, I envisioned worlds that would never be if I allowed my empathy to stay my choice. Each book printed cost a life.

    Their life.

    Fear, palpable as my racing pulse, infused.

    I steeled my heart to their plight as pleas of mercy clawed me. A mercy I could not extend. One would be sacrificed, if not me by another.

    “Pick me.”

    Faint as a whisper I heard it followed its second and third cry. The deep baritone called me until I stood at the base of a thick trunk reaching high.

    A breeze blew my bark-colored hair to dance with the canopy of leaves.

    “Pick me,” it cried again.

    I touched the roughness and…

    Days passed.

    A gangly boy entered my forest his apron ink-splattered.

    I called out in my soprano voice, “Pick me.”

    155 words @fetterslopez

  3. Empaths don't read minds. They see inside you, around you. Understand the core of your being.

    That's why I couldn't see her face. It was unimportant. Their faces always lie. No, I perceived her soul, her essence. She was old, very old. A being from other places, traveling through our reality. But, for what purpose? Even my skills could not discern.

    I followed at a distance. A mile or so. Reaching out just enough to feel my way. Why this forest so far away from humanity? What secrets did it hold?

    As she traversed deeper and deeper into the woods, her visions sharpened. I could hear the croaking frogs and birds around her. Even smell the rotting trunks of fallen trees. Her power flowed into my mind, expanding, shooting bolts of pain along my nervous system.

    Pain darkened my empathy. Too much to see that her sights and smells were the same I sensed.

    @Leo_Godin – 154 words

  4. Daddy’s Girl
    By Lisa McCourt Hollar

    Standing at the edge of the woods, Starla glowered, impatient for word that her father had survived. Angry, her empathy for those she used to call friends faded, her mood darkening with every passing minute.

    “Starla, come inside.”

    Shaking off her mother’s hand, she refused to budge, stiffening when she heard the sound of gunfire.

    “It’s for the best. Your father would agree, you know that.”

    The others came back, trudging slowly, dejected.

    “He got away.”

    That night, after everyone had gone to sleep, she slipped out her window, easily bypassing the guards. They were looking for intruders, not runaways.

    She went to their favorite spot…somehow she knew he would be there.

    “Father,” she said, recognizing his hunched back.

    Turning, Hank stumbled towards his daughter, reaching for her. Starla didn’t resist when her father, infected by the zombie virus tore into her neck. Always daddy’s girl, she didn’t want to live without him.

    Word Count: 153
    @jezri1

  5. Tammy hesitated only a moment before running into the woods. She could hear her mother behind her, stumbling, calling her name. Some part of Tammy thought that it wouldn’t happen to them, it wouldn’t come here, it was all a new tv show. Before her mother changed, she warned Tammy: If it happens to me, you run, you run to woods as fast you can and don’t look back. Tammy didn’t realize as she obeyed her mother, the before-mother, and ran into the woods– branches scratching her face– that her own heart was changing, and that a new sense of darkened empathy rose in her. She felt sad for the thing that was once her sanctuary from all the bad in the world, but knew the nightmare drooling blood down the front of her blue housedress wasn’t really her mother anymore. Tammy didn’t know the world she was running into, but still, she ran.

    Wordcount: 154
    @xbluestockingx

  6. Lilith hadn’t always been an eco-terrorist. She’d once been a little girl. That began to change when she was seven, and her mother took her to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Walking the refuge’s trails, seeing the birds, squirrels, turtles and horses, she’d felt alive. She’d smiled, laughed, played. And had such fun.

    But as they’d walked the trails that day, Lilith had become sad. She’d felt the pain of the trees, birds, squirrels, turtles and horses. She understood their pain. They were all dieing. Slowly being murdered. By the endless assault of human excess.

    Lilith returned each year and walked the trails in tears. Her darkened empathy with the refuge and the slow, agonizing death of everything within it igniting the fire in her soul. She would do anything, take any risk, to save it.

    Even if people had to die.

    150 words
    @LurchMunster

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