I just checked the votes at Wendy’s Place. 5 votes – each story has one vote. So, head on over and read all 5 stories, then vote for your favorite. It would be great to get a whole bunch of votes this week! The theme relates to Spring. There are an interesting variety of ways spring is used in these stories… so enjoy!
ACH!!! Forgot to post this in the morning so I could enter this week’s #WOW555 contest over at Wendy’s place. The theme is spring. Everything grows in the spring, right? Here’s a bit of a different look at Spring growth….
The old man scratched his grizzled beard and then threw back the hood on his parka. He wouldn’t need that parka much longer. The snow was melting, and then…. He looked at the boat arriving at the dock. It came every week with supplies, just like clockwork. He laughed a bit as he watched the boat come to the dock. In years past, Wyvernfield, was a tourist paradise in the spring. Now, the visitors waited until the cleanup; rather the “all clear” he sounded after the cleanup.
He walked towards the dock being careful to stay on the path. The flowers of Wyvernfield were well known and he didn’t want to harm one of them. They used to laugh when they said that Wyvernfield was so fertile it could grow anything. Now they said it with an ominous air to their voices. As he got close to the dock, his ears perked up. He heard laughter. Old Jake had forgotten how to laugh ever since… well ever since that day. He didn’t like laughter and yet there it was on his boat.
Gerald finally spied the source of the laughter. Two young men and a woman talking and laughing on the deck. He shook his head. “What in tarnation is Jake thinking,” he said out loud mostly to himself. His boots thumped on the dock as he grabbed the rope Jake threw.
“Afternoon, Gerald,” the skipper said. Jake hadn’t smiled since that day either. “Got some visitors for ye.”
Gerald tied the boat to the dock and Jake put out the gang plank. “So I see,” Gerald said. “What brings you folks to Wyvernfield?” he asked.
“Huntin’” the blond headed boy said, suppressing a giggle. “We heard you got an interestin’ huntin’ season startin’ soon.”
Gerald closed his eyes and shook his head. He didn’t really want to say something he’d regret later. “Jake,” he finally said, “tourist season doesn’t start for another couple of weeks. What’s up?”
Jake shrugged and pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket. He looked at the visitors who were crossing the gangplank onto the dock and tapped his forehead. Then he shrugged again.
The girl came up to Gerald and held out her hand, “I’m Arliene Fennelly. Pleased to meet you. I hope you’ll lead us in the hunt. You’ve got quite a reputation.”
Gerald sniffed as he looked at the outstretched hand. He finally shook it. “Missy,” he said looking her in the eyes, “I don’t know what you heard, but I ain’t giving you any promises; not even that you’ll get out of this alive.”
“We understand,” Arliene said. “Henry and Egbert really wanted to come and try the challenge. They said it was the most dangerous game.”
“Tourists,” Gerald spat. “It’s all fun and games to shoot the walkers – until you run out of ammo or they come at you in a group from behind. You’d better pay me in advance – and know that next year, you may be one of the targets.” Gerald shook his head at the whole situation. Wyvernfield could grow anything in the spring; even zombies.
Voting begins soon!
We all “know” that four leaf clovers are “lucky.” They are rare and finding one usually is a source of excitement. As we head towards St. Patrick’s Day, Wendy got us in the mood with this prompt: “For this week’s prompt, I want you to find a four-leaf clover, that extra leaf representing luck.” What if, really what if that luck was based on a power we didn’t know? What if there really was a basis for our superstition regarding four leaf clovers? Here’s my #WOW555 entry this week.
I think most of us welcomed them when they came. We didn’t expect anyone to fly hundreds of light years just to find some slaves. Were we wrong! They not only wanted slaves, they wanted the planet. It was total world domination in days. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived. Now this big alien led me around by the nose getting me to do his dirty work for him. These guys had far superior technology, but they were soft. Every thirty minutes, he took a ten minute rest break. I didn’t mind that since I was doing his hard work, but I realized that if we ever got out of this enslavement, I’d never complain about a government worker’s work ethic again.
“Hum-AN” He screeched through his universal translator. “Stop digging. I rest now.”
Lucky me. I got a break. I decided to wander around the area. It had been a field I played in before the photon bombs had ripped it up. I wanted to see what was left of it. Ali, did I tell you I called my master “Ali” instead of “big ugly Alien,” didn’t mind me wandering. All he had to do was snap his fingers and the nose device would call me back to him. The first time he did that, the pain lasted until the next break. I wouldn’t wander off and not come back.
There wasn’t much to see. Lots of bomb craters. Some green patches where bombs had missed. I was too old to play any kind of games now, but decided to play one anyway just to have some fun. My secret mission was to walk only on the green parts of the field and avoid the bombed out parts. Maybe I was trying to pretend that I would have been lucky enough to live through that bombardment. I jumped from strands of Johnson grass into a small area of clover and almost fell into a bomb crater. As I looked at the possible end of the game, I saw it.
There in the middle of the bomb crater were a couple of lucky four leaf clovers that had survived the bombs. Or maybe they had grown up after, who knows. All I knew was that I hadn’t seen one in years and I wanted one! I finished my game and jumped into the crater to pick up the lucky clover. I turned and ran back quickly before Ali decided to get nosy.
I rushed back and suddenly realized I was holding the clover where Ali could see it. I stopped and put it behind my back. Too late.
“Hum-AN! Whats do you gots?”
I had tried to lie once before. Never again. I showed him the clover. “This is a sign of good luck for my people.”
“Gives it to me, Hum-AN.”
I put it in his outstretched hand with a bit of a tear in my eye. His reaction was amazing.
“Its burn! Its burn!” He screeched out. Then, he toppled over.
I looked carefully and picked up the clover. It really had been lucky. It seemed to have a special glow to it. If other Alis responded to four leaf clovers like this, we had hope.
Check things out!
Ok folks, here’s the deal. There are still only 6 votes overall this week. So, go to Wendy’s place and VOTE!!!! (Ok, read the stories first.) 5 Stories, about 500 words each. It shouldn’t take much time. Some interesting takes on the theme of something buried.
Well, that was uncomfortable for me! I’m very careful with my language and don’t usually say things you couldn’t let your children repeat. That being said, this title spoke the truth of the story. Our prompt this week was “I hope you enjoy this week’s prompt – something buried must play an important role in the story.” I had seen a story about the pods used to bury people and grow a tree and I thought that there could be some unforeseen consequences to such a burial. Thus, the Forest of the Damned was born.
The sensors sounded. I had almost fallen asleep. I got up out of the chair and headed out the door. “Forest keeper” they called me. Really I was a people protector. I saw him heading for the forest. “Hold on there, young feller!” I called out.
He musta been startled to know someone else was around. He stopped and came back to me. “Looking for my dogs, mister. They got out and I thought they might have decided to enjoy all the trees there.” He pointed.
I shook my head. A newcomer. “No dogs passed this way, son. If they got in there, you best forget ‘em.”
He looked at me strangely. “I don’t forget my dogs.” He headed towards the forest.
I grabbed him. “Sonny, if your dogs went in, they’re dead. If you go in, you’ll be dead. Trust me.”
“Whatcha mean?” he asked. He didn’t try to hide his defiance.
“That’s the Forest of the Damned,” I said. “No one who goes in there survives.”
He looked at me and laughed. “Superstitious old man!” He headed towards the forest. The click stopped him. He turned around and stared at the gun I leveled at his stomach.
“You can survive a gutshot, but it’s plenty painful,” I said matter of factly. “That’s why they pay me to stay here.”
His eyes widened. “You’re serious old man! Why?”
“Just trying to keep your sorry butt alive.”
“I mean what’s wrong with the forest?”
Everyone knew the story, so I hadn’t had a chance to tell it in a while. “Back in 2015 they began burying people in pods with trees growing from them. It seemed like a good idea.” I sighed. “Then in 2025 we had a shootout over there,” I pointed at the forest, “drug cartels got into it.”
“And…?” the kid asked.
“It was war. Three hundred people died that day. The put ‘em in the pods and buried them.” I looked him in the eye with an intensity meant to frighten him. “The trees grew and soon the wails began to grow. Windy nights, you could hear the voices screaming. Birds disappeared in the forest. After a couple of years, we realized that the forest was haunted. All the damned souls of the cartel members were protecting their turf and fighting each other when they could.”
He shook his head. “Do you expect me to believe that old wives’ tale? Move it buster! I’m going for my dogs.” He started to walk past me.
“Check the lic…” I started to say when a couple of dogs barked from the road. “Them your dogs, kid?”
He turned around and a smile lit up his face. “Yes, sir. Now that I found ‘em, I’ll be heading back home.” He turned and started walking the way he had come, the dogs bounding at his heels.
I went back to my shack. The kid reminded me of my son and I teared up a bit. I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had after my son and wife had disappeared there.
Hopefully you’ll take the time to vote Saturday or Sunday! There are always some interesting stories!