Please vote for your favorite

Number 1
2 (33.3%)
Number 2
1 (16.7%)
Number 3
3 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 4

Voting closed: September 06, 2007, 04:17:25 AM

Author Topic: Challenge 32. Voting reopened to break the draw.  (Read 1799 times)

Offline bob414bob

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Challenge 32. Voting reopened to break the draw.
« on: September 04, 2007, 04:17:25 AM »
We had a three way draw for this challenge, so I am opening the voting for another two days. So far each entry received two votes. So please vote to break the deadlock/

Number One.

As the boat started to come alongside the three people at the rail were seeing the same quayside coming into view, yet each with different feelings and emotions responding to what was before them. As far as David was concerned his pulse was starting to quicken and his eyes were already taking in everything they possibly could. It was a new place with new people to meet, new friends to make and new experiences to add to his life. It was like a blank sheet of paper waiting for the pen, the story was just beginning.

His one ambition ever since he could remember was to go to new places, forever on the move, with his senses getting stimulated all the time. The smells were always unique, although some were similar enough to remind him of other places, and the lighting was always different enough to emphasize different colors. Even in the same countries the diversity of the people, their culture and accents, always amazed him and kept his senses buzzing.

While in some respects it was a lonely life with no permanent attachments, he had an address book full of “friends” he’d made as he continued his one man crusade to see as much of the world as he could in his lifetime. Occasionally he would go back to places but the experience was never as “lifting” as the first time.

Marie viewed the approaching quayside with a lot less enthusiasm; in fact she was more than a little apprehensive at been a “stranger in a strange land”. At eighteen years old, and having been no more than thirty miles from the place of her birth for all of it until now, she was feeling homesick already. She would have no friends here; the customs would be as strange as the people, it might as well be a different planet.

She didn’t like change and would never have set out on this journey unless it was absolutely necessary. She couldn’t remember feeling this low since her mother died; she hadn’t stopped crying for months and had never felt so lost and alone in her whole life. But there comes a point where the grieving begins to ease a little and you realise that life does go on. That’s what this was about, a student exchange for one specific project. Still, it was only for a month, and she could handle that. Couldn’t she?

John, the third person at the rail, looked at the approaching quayside with eyes full of eager anticipation looking for the girl of his dreams, so it always seems to the young and in love.
It had started as a holiday romance, which for him had turned into almost a compulsion; he thought about her twenty four hours a day and could hardly sleep on a night. He’d spent a fortune on SMS messages and calls to her mobile but it was all worth while just to hear the sound of her voice and feel that little bit closer to her.

If he could bottle and sell the excitement he felt at this moment in time he would be able to make a fortune. He’d never before felt so alive, so open to every stimuli coming his way. Although he knew in his heart this was one of the cross roads of his life he was in reality only looking down one of the roads, and right now he had no fear of making a mistake.

Number Two.

Pass The Chutney

Sophie, Bob and Lizzie entered the foyer of Strange-Land Games. They walked over to reception. The receptibot looked up at them said, “How can I help you?”

“We’re here to play The Blue Planet,” said Lizzie.

“Go and stand at gate H and a guide will come and get you,” said the recpetibot pointing off to the left.

“This better be good,” said Lizzie as they walked across the foyer towards a large yellow H painted onto the wall. “I’ve spent all my savings on this game-break.”

“It will be fab!” said Bob.

As they stood waiting, a giant foot suddenly appeared from above and slammed down on Lizzie, squashing her dead. Bob screamed, stepped behind Sophie and peered over her shoulder at the giant pink foot.

There was a small speaker on the right ankle, from which a voice said, “That makes it easier for you. Now bloody well get on with it!”

The foot rose slightly and did a little wiggle, shaking off bits of flesh and crushed bone, some of which fell at Sophie’s feet. “Uck,” she said.

With a whoosh, the foot ascended rapidly and disappeared into the high ceiling. Bob, now pretty sure he was safe from the foot’s wrath, straightened his shoulders and stepped forward. “I never liked her anyway,” he said. “She was a whinger!”

Sophie stepped away from her ex-friend’s bloody carcass and looked around the foyer. As if from nowhere, a small robotic dog trundled up and stopped in front of them.

“Welcome. My name is dogbot 69” it said in a mellifluous voice. “Please follow me.”

“Better dogbot than bog-breath I suppose,” said Bob, grinning.

The dogbot laughed like a metallic hyena.  Then, it abruptly stopped. “Oh I’ve never heard that one before,” it said sarcastically.

“Smart arse,” Bob mumbled.

The dogbot gave Bob an evil glare. “Don’t get clever with me palindrome boy,” it said. “If I enter the wrong access code, you’ll spend the entire game in the sewage nebula.”

“Leave the nice bot alone Bob,” said Sophie and then turning to the machine, “We’ve come to play The Blue Planet.”

“Yes I know!” said the dogbot, “As I said a few moments ago, follow me.”

The dogbot reversed across the foyer and headed backwards down a long narrow corridor.

“Dogbot reversing,” it chirped as it raced along at a surprisingly swift pace. The two friends trotted along, following the machine into the depths of Strange-Land Games.

“We are nearing the purple zone,” the dogbot said. “Once we have entered the purple zone, you will not be able to leave until the game is over. Do you understand?”

They both said that they did.

The purple zone was actually just a small room containing a number of full emersion gaming pods. Bob looked around but saw nothing purple.

The dogbot went into supercilious mode, “You have chosen to play The Blue Planet at the standard level. The price of 28,000 credits will be deducted from your security. The game lasts 15 glarks, but you can choose to exit at any time before the game concludes simply by saying the sentence ‘pass the chutney’. If you exit the game before it concludes, there is no refund. Try not to say ‘pass the chutney’ by mistake. Clear so far?”

Bob and Sophie nodded.

“While in the game you will have no knowledge of true reality. The Blue Planet is populated by primitive beings called people. These ‘people’ have no understanding of hyper-time. They think (in as much as computer animated beings can think) that everything is finite.”

The dogbot stopped talking and chuckled for a bit, shaking its metallic head from side to side in disbelief. “The creator is truly a comic genius,” it said.

Bob used this break in the bot’s monologue to ask a question, “What about dolphins? I’ve heard that they have the best channel; just eating, playing and having sex. Sounds good to me.”

“You wish to upgrade to the premium level?” asked the dogbot. “If so that is an extra 12,000 credits.”

“Sounds expensive,” said Bob, “What about the people thingies, do they get to eat and have sex?”

“Indeed yes,” it replied. “If you wish I could put you on what we call the USA channel; there’s a tremendous amount of eating goes on there; not much sex though. The French channel on the other is almost constant sex; but French food is disgusting and the people are a bit smelly.”

Both Sophie and Bob were undecided.

“A good compromise,” said the dogbot, “is the English channel; mediocre food, mediocre sex but the people do have an inherent feeling of superiority so you won’t actually feel mediocre during the game. We are also doing a special deal at the moment on the English channel; 20% cash back due to the hideous weather they have been having for the last 500 years.”

“What’s a year?” asked Sophie.

“There are 5 years to one of our glarks,” said the bot.

“Come on Sophie,” moaned Bob, “let’s get on with it. I’m going for the English; I could do with the cash back.”

“OK I’ll go English too,” said Sophie.

“Rightie oh then, get settled into your pods and we’ll get cracking,” said the dogbot.  They both lay back, thought of England and waited for the countdown to begin.

“15 nano-glarks to birth, please relax. 10 9 8 7 thank you for playing The Blue Planet, enjoy the game 2 1.”


Pass the chutneeeeeeeeeeeeey.

Number Three.

 It was a strange land...

          A little piece of the Fifties which simply stepped aside and hid.  A segment of cliff loosened by the winter storms, taking a wild ride for some thirty feet then stopping at the foot of the slippery scar.  Gorse reclaimed the over-cliff and the ledge was invisible from below and above.

          In the mid-Sixties a young man searching for his dog painfully followed the yelps down through the thick gorse bushes.

          Sliding onto a little ledge, no more than twenty feet each way, he found a wooden chalet.  A fairytale gingerbread cottage, the red and white paint cracked by weather.   He freed his dog, caught in a coil of rusty fence wire.  No damage done.  Then he explored..

          The unlocked door rattled in the warped frame.  The faded red and white curtains were still intact, plus a table and two wooden chairs.  There was a pot-bellied stove, and a primus and kettle.  Remarkably dry and just waiting for the owners to return.

          The lad wedged a stick in the door to reveal  if anyone else ever visited and went home.

          Over the next few years he revisited several times, even taking his special girl there after swearing her to secrecy.  Shortly before they wed and moved away they spent a night there, the stove burning merrily at their feet as they cuddled in a nest of bright woollen blankets, a storm raging outside.

          "I felt the earth move."  She whispered, eyes wide.

          "So did I!"  Scrambling into their clothes they felt it again and ran for the barely discernible path.  Looking back they were certain the chalet had tilted sideways and was about to complete the long drop.  With a new life to lead they never went back and the path became lost.


          The next visitor approached the strange land in the late-Seventies, from beneath.  A mountaineer on holiday, cliff-scrambling to keep his hand in.  He heaved himself over the ledge and there it was.   

          The rumpled nest of bright blankets made him smile.  The long-cold ashes in the stove and the rusted steel parts of the primus told their story.  But he liked the feel of the place despite the precarious position.

          The next day he climbed again, with paraffin for the primus, easel and watercolours, and a few bits to eat and drink.  It was Summer, with no need to light the stove, but he collected a few sticks, poked an old bird's nest from the top of the chimney and set a merry little blaze going.  Somehow it just seemed right.

          From his private eyrie he painted the views.  On the fourth day he sat at the extreme edge, ignoring the drop with a blithe confidence and painted the chalet.  Angled brightly against the skyline, looking as if one more winter gale would send it crashing to the beach.

          It was an atmospheric painting, but he felt compelled to add a boy and a dog for completion, scrambling down through the gorse.

          The next day, against a lowering sky he painted faster to beat the weather.   The chalet stood stark against the clouds, and he painted a young couple hurrying from the door.

          Holiday finished he tidied up, left the nest of blankets almost as he'd found it, and returned to his mountains.  Sometimes, looking at the pictures, he wondered about the people he'd added.


          The third visitor came in the year 2000.  The unstable cliff had slid a few feet lower and he spied the strange land from above, through a diagonal gash ripped in the gorse.  Dangerously bored he slid down and found the chalet, still defiantly clinging to its ledge.  Most of the paint was gone, the curtains had finally crumbled away from too much sun, and the door collapsed inwards as he kicked it open with his Doc Martens.

          "Bloody Hovel.  Looks like some old Hippy Den."  He kicked the nest of blankets to one side and picked up the rusting primus.  The slosh of remaining paraffin triggered a switch in his head.

          Wrenching the primus apart he sprinkled the contents onto the tangled blankets, threw on a handful of sticks from alongside the pot-bellied stove and stood savouring the fumes for a few seconds.  He'd show those damned hippies what he thought of their skanky little love-nest.

          He struck a match, lit a cigarette, and then touched the flame to the blankets before walking back out.  Destroying things always made him feel better, but fire was favourite.

          Moving to the back of the ledge he sat on the raw gash where he had slid down and watched as leaping flames consumed the sun-dried timber within minutes, a huge plume of smoke towering skyward, carrying bright sparks.

          He heard shouts from behind his back.  Turned. People above him.  Signalling frantically.  The gorse was ablaze behind him, torched by wind-borne embers.   Trapped!

          Choking from the smoke he ran to and fro along the little ledge, certain he could feel the soil moving beneath him.  He curled into a ball, certain he was going to die.

          He was still mewing piteously when the cliff rescue team plucked him from the blackened surface of the cliff.  The chalet and its memories were gone from the bare and blackened lunar landscape.

          It was a strange land...

Offline Lady_Moonwise

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Re: Challenge 32. Voting reopened to break the draw.
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2007, 03:36:59 PM »
I vote for number 3.