This past week, many of us, especially in the United States, took a moment to remember friends and loved ones and the sense of shock and loss for a nation during the events of September 11, 2001.  Many people died in the attacks, in the rescue efforts and in the military response that followed.

Whatever our political or religious beliefs, we have our own ways of remembering lives that were lost to tragedy.  Use this week’s prompt to explore those ideas.  Or use it to explain why the moon is made out of cheese. It’s your prompt after all.  I look forward to reading your stories!

The Judge

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Last week's winner, Mark Ethridge is a talented author, poet and lover of alternative music.  Check out his website: My Soul's Tears to find out more.

This host especially enjoyed his uplifting Book of Lies

You can follow him on Twitter @LurchMunster

The Prompt

[I/We/He/She] will never forget the sacrifice [he/she/they] made, nor let it be in vain

The Rules

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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the
    first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the
    prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an
    unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted
    by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be
    invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the
    one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

The Prize

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In addition to judging next week, this week's winner will get a free copy of Transylmania by Wakefield Mahon

Dana convinces her roommate, Leah,to visit Transylvania on Halloween for the amusement value, but the fun runs out when they discover real witches, vampires and werewolves.

Dana and her whimsical ideas are always getting Leah into trouble. As predicted, their backpacking trip across Romania turns into a nightmare, one worse than either could imagine. Fortunately, Leah has a secret that might just save the day.

 


Comments

09/17/2012 11:10

“I will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain.”

Clara stared at her captain. She hated when he got like this, all self-righteous and misty eyed. It was annoying, and it was dangerous for now only him, but the entire crew as well. They’d lost 4 members before when he went on a tirade like this, and she wasn’t prepared to let them lose another. “So this means that you’re gonna have us go into a heavily guarded facility, all guns a-blazin’ just for a few vials of a vaccine?”

“Clara,” he started. It was a warning, but this time she wasn’t going to back down.

“No! God damnit, listen to me!” She pulled herself upright, stood in his face so he had nowhere to look but at her. The rest of the crew held back, some even lingering at the door. It was a risky move, and out there in the edges of space his word was absolute. He could hit her or discipline her in any fashion he saw fit. And that even included shoving her dead weight into Pre-Boarding and dumping her ass into space. She was hoping he’d be more rational than that. “I get what you’re fighting for. I get it. You’re like that old tale of that guy who stole from the rich and gave to the poor…only this time you’re giving to a society instead of the general public… But Captain, those people, they don’t even have a Homo-sapien gene in them. Who’s to say the vaccine will actually work? Hell, it could make them worse! It could kill them! We have no idea the effects our medical practices will have on an alien species!”

He stared at her, his grey eyes cold, unfriendly, set on a course. “It’s a chance we’ll have to take.” He turned to walk away but she called him back.

“Thayden!”

He reared on her, grabbed her by her collar and flung her backwards into the table. She didn’t fight, she didn’t even yell. She just gathered herself, turned her pleading desperate eyes to him as he breathed heavy and shook. After all, he wasn’t all Homo-sapien either. “They died for me!” He screamed. “They believed a lie and I let them and they died for me!”

Clara countered. “They were an uncivilized colony who believed in magic and polytheism. Of course you looked like a god to them!”

Thayden angrily cleared off one of the counters. Everything went to the floor in loud crashes and clatters. If he gave in to that other side of him, the alien side of him, one of his tantrums could tear the ship apart. “They killed themselves getting me off that planet, and I will kill myself saving what is left of their race!” He bared his teeth angrily, pointed at his crew. “Get your weapons ready. We leave in an hour. Anyone who doesn’t come along will be punish by me and sentenced to space.” He stormed off and left the crew in a stifling silence.

497 words w/o Prompt
511 words w/ Prompt
@TheWriterMegan

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09/17/2012 11:27

«We will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain,” Chancellor Marehm said, and cupped his hands behind his back.

Cayla and Bren were sitting beside each other, staring at the book on the table. It held their history - the deaths of their parents, relatives and everyone they once knew.

Bren cleared his throat, wanting to say something; but, the words wouldn’t come. He had no idea what would make her feel better. He gently brushed away her tears, and kissed the back of her palm. “We’ll start over – you and I; our culture and people won’t die. We are still breathing.”

The Chancellor gave him an approving nod, and glanced out the window. The last sun was setting, bathing the valley and coloring it red, it was time to sleep.

“I will let you two talk,” he said, and kissed the top of Cayla’s head before leaving. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but – he was terrified of losing her again.

Cayla got to her feet and flipped the book open, she wasn’t ready for the entire story – but, she was curious. “Do you think there are more of us?” she asked, without looking at him.
He joined her side and stared at the picture – them as children, with all of their parents. “Could be – the Chancellor said some of them might be held captive.”

Cayla stroked her mother’s face with her index finger, desperately wishing she was alive. “Back in the Solid,” she said, and swallowed thickly. “I was alone – I had no one, and I learned to depend on only myself. To find that I had a family, to remember - “ her voice broke and she quenched a rising sob.

Bren pulled her into an embrace, whispering soothing words against her silver hair.

She dried her tears on his shirt and inhaled his scent; it was familiar, like a forest washed by rain. “I remember playing by the creek with you, and dad swinging me in his arms. It hurts to know that I’ll never see them again,” she whispered.
“You have me, I won’t leave you again. We’ll find the Shadow Caster, rescue the Lords – and then,” he said, and took a deep breath.
“And then?” she asked, looking up at his face, releasing two tears as she blinked.
He wiped them away, leaned in and kissed her forehead. “And then, we’ll settle down by the old farm, and live happily ever after.”

Cayla smiled at the thought, but it quickly vanished as her vision blurred. Not again, she thought, as she suddenly saw a two hundred feet tall whirlwind of fire ravaging the land, while a village of giants tried to flee.

Bren shook her by the shoulders, repeating her name until her eyes cleared. His heart was beating like a drum.

“Giants,” she whispered, with eyes big as plates.
“Are you sure?” he asked, feeling his muscles tense with adrenaline.
“Yes, we have to go see the giants.”

Word Count: 500 (Without Title)

@ChessnySilth

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L.T.Dalin
09/17/2012 11:32

...Now I forgot the title.

It's "Homecoming".

Reply
09/17/2012 13:32

F “I will never forget the sacrifice he made, nor let it be in vain,” Saul said.

“But you were caught by Great Pig anyway. It just doesn’t feel right. Something happened in Great Pig Hall that we aren’t aware of.” Gappé paused, waiting for Saul to return from the Space Between. The never-ending cycle of stepping out and being pulled back into its slime had become tiresome and he did not have to endure it as Saul did. “As I was saying,” he started again when Saul came back into view. “Something happened in there that we don’t know about. You always trust them no matter what and this time look what it’s done for you.”

“You don’t know what happened. You only speculate and expect the worst from everyone. I admit Frank isn’t always the most trust worthy of my friends. He acts sly on the Second Plain as well as on the other side. Well he did on the Second Plain; now that that part of his is gone I can…”

“Believe that he did it for you,” Gappé interrupted then stopped, thinking of a new way to approach this topic but he couldn’t think of anything. “I guess you’re right. I don’t have any proof that he didn’t do it for you. I just find it odd that Great Pig knew exactly where to find you and keep me and the others away on the other side of the crater.”

“He has other people working for him all over the place. Someone else could’ve seen us up there and reported us.”

“I suppose.”

“Besides, I don’t think that is our biggest problem of the moment…” Before he could finish his statement, the gooey tendrils of the Space Between pulled Saul back within its lair. “Damn it, that’s getting old. Nasty shit. We need to figure out how to get me out of this.”

“We’re working on it. Keiradra is asking around at the Agency. Everyone is doing what they can. I do have an idea but I need to be sure before I get your hopes up.”

Saul shook his head. He felt the pull start and just let it happen. It didn’t make any difference. This was all his fault and he would take the punishment, even if it meant staying in the undulating ooze surrounding him for a lifetime.

“You enjoyed it didn’t you?” He opened his eyes to Gappé staring at him expectantly. “Playing hide and seek with him. Did helping to free the ones you could along the way matter?”

“Yes of course helping them mattered. The game with him was just part of it. It was exciting though.” He smirked.

“Then quit feeling sorry for yourself. This is not going to be forever. I promise.”

For the first time in quite a while, Saul actually felt as though there was hope.

@ChuckWesJ

479 Words

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09/18/2012 03:48

Plan B

“I will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain.”
I switch the TV off and kick the man tied to the chair.
“So that lame bullshit was the best you could come up with?”
He mumbles behind the gag that I had forced into his mouth when I pulled him out of his bed.
“Shut up! You only know their names because someone wrote them down for you. Tell me, what is Pete’s boy’s name? What was Al’s nickname?”
I move to the window and ease the curtain aside. Following the neighbours’ gunshot report, the first guys on scene had established an inner cordon and taken cover positions. The marksmen wouldn’t be far behind, I thought, keeping myself flat against the wall.
The flashing lights are dazzling when they point directly at you.
The mumbling gets louder.
“Yeah, I know... could get messy. But we don’t have to face this alone. I brought a friend... well, a friend of yours anyway.”
I drag the body into the front room and leave it in his eye line.
‘INSIDE THE BUILDING. COME OUT THE FRONT DOOR WITH YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR.’
He starts rocking in the chair, eyes bulging like half plugged golf balls in a sand trap, straining at his bonds.
“Yeah, we both know the drill now. After the loudhailer, the phone call; then the rush assault - flashbangs, smoke, bullets. Can’t let criminals get away with it. Go in hard. That’s your policy after all, Boss... Some bloody Boss you are.”
‘YOU CAN STILL RESOLVE THIS WITHOUT ANYONE GETTING HURT. COME OUT NOW.’
“Time to force the pace.”
I kneel beside the body, pull a small revolver from inside his jacket and hold the index finger on the trigger. One squeeze and glass scatters across the patio.
“Residue on his hands. Never tell which bullet was fired in which order.”
The phone rings, making us both jump.
“Of course, you’ll die a hero, a tragic victim of a criminal vendetta... unless they find the drug money your friend here paid you. Is it well hidden?”
Mumble.
“No Evidence? What about your secret phone? There’s evidence on that.”
I produce it from my pocket.
“Calls, messages. A message to meet you tonight. And last week - one warning him about our ‘tragic and ill-planned raid’.”
I throw the phone into the corner.
“It should survive the fire over there. Did I mention there was going to be a fire? That’s the smell – petrol. Terrible for forensics.”
I turn the gun towards him and squeeze the finger again.
I strike a match, drop it; flame engulfs the room.
I scramble over to him, cut his bindings, toss them into the fire and roll him away from the chair.
Heavy boots pound towards the front door.
Ill-planned! When I plan something, it works. Pete and Al knew that.
I grab up the gun hand again and look straight down the barrel.

495 Words
@nickjohns999

Reply
09/18/2012 04:02

<em>We will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain.</em>

Diana traced her fingers across the plaque. It had almost become a ritual, the time she spent with this plaque. It was the last momento he’d left.

Of course, she had his clothes—some of them; she couldn’t bear to keep them all, hanging across from her so still, still so full of his smell. And she had games—he’d always been a child at heart, but she’d loved him for it. He’d made her realize how much joy could be had in even the simplest things. And she had his car, which she’d never sell, but hadn’t been able to touch for years.

Their son asked her every now and then, when was long enough to start living again? She didn’t know how to tell him she didn’t know how to live without him. She didn’t even know where to start.

The routine was easy—get up, get dressed, go work. Come home, cook, go to bed. But anything else? How could she possibly do it without him? What was the point?

He had been her life, had given everything meaning. And now that was gone. Meaning was gone.

She felt a burn so familiar in her eyes that she didn’t question it, but simply let the tears scald her cheeks without reserve.

She traced her fingers across the engraved words one more time, then noticed the time. She was late. She stood so quickly that she knocked the plaque aside. She barely caught it before it flew off the table, but beneath was a folded handkerchief.

She sat the plaque aside, picked up the handkerchief. It was the one he;d tucked into his jacket pocket when they got married. She pressed it to her nose, uncaring of dust and found that yes, somehow he lingered there, too. Something hard bumped her nose and she unfolded the slip of fabric.

His ring fell out, bounced to the floor and rolled under the bed. She stared after its path. He’d died with his ring on. Hadn’t he?

She ducked to her knees, scrambled after the ring and sat on the floor with it once recovered. She rolled it between her fingers, let the light catch its inscription.

“Always means just that. Remember.”

She pressed it to her trembling lips. How could she ever forget? She closed her eyes and for the briefest moment, she thought she felt something, something like him, a memory, a whisper, a fragment that sat beside her.

“Remember. But let go, baby.”

Her eyes flew open and she dropped the ring when she heard the voice, jumping up. The room was empty.

She picked the ring back up, placed it back in handkerchief and under the plaque.

<em>…nor let it be in vain.</em><em> </em>

She wiped her eyes. It wouldn’t be in vain. Never.

@J_M_Blackman
481

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Nellie
09/18/2012 06:35

“We will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain. Praise Allah.”

The quote was one of the few things still remaining on the statue. The features couldn’t be identified other than it might have been male. There was an outreaching arm but the sand had scoured the hand from the appendage and rendered the figure a shapeless blur.

Shahar gave a small snort as she gazed through around at the barren landscape. She reached up and touched a button on the side and the sand dune in the distance was magnified. The readers flashing in front of her were not picking up anything worth noting. Small blips of life but nothing large.

She pushed herself up and tugged on the lead. The camel gave a groan before getting to its feet, giving in to the command to keep moving. Metal jingled together as the armor plates over its body and neck hit against one another. She had thought the statue would mean a small town but it was a remnant of what had once been. Someone thought they would inspire with the phrase engraved on it. It only served to show how stupid they had been.

The desert was taking back the land.

A sniff and she clicked her tongue to keep moving. She hadn’t taken more steps before there was a grinding sound, metal on metal. The rifle over her shoulder was swung around and she gave a sharp command to the camel to lower down again.

Sand hissed as it was displaced behind the statue. Shahar used it as cover, aiming between the legs.

There was a loud call in the air as four wrapped up forms jumped out of the lift and ran towards her, their own weapons in hands.

No one called out a greeting. Which meant that as far as she was concerned, they were bandits that wanted her goods an animal. She wasn’t going to give up either of them so easily.

She didn’t fool around as she fired at the chests of the two coming towards her. One flew backwards to land with a thud and the other’s shoulder jerked backwards and the bandit’s steps paused before he came towards her again.

The other two who had come up laid low, using the lift they had come up in as shelter.

A stray shot bounced of the plating on her camel. The beast gave a growl and lowered its head down in response. Shahar scowled underneath the mask and pulled the small ball shaped object off the bandolier across her chest and pulled the pin before throwing it in their direction.

There was a pause in the gunfire before they yelled. She used the moment to climb up into the saddle, kicking her foot against the camel’s side. A switch to the flank had the lumbering mammal moving faster away from the bandits before there was an explosion behind her.

A girl needed to take care of herself.

500 words
@solimond



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09/18/2012 06:52

Based on characters and events in my new novel, Terminal Restraint:

I will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain. It was not a human sacrifice, as the media so often erroneously implied, but rather a human effigy, a doll really, made of straw and hastily sewn together scraps of cloth. The old woman had disrobed, and she was chanting and screaming, tears streaming from her eyes. These were the Satanic, greater black magic spells that I’d never had the fortune to witness, and despite my condition, I was thankful for that. I knew they were trying to help me, trying to save my life, but Jillian’s aunt was even scarier than me in my current state.

The man in the suit was on the ground in front of me, his face pale and his eyes distant. The bullet had entered under his armpit, and I could only imagine the organs it punctured as it barreled through his innards. Just like his knife had done to me.

I faintly heard Jillian’s aunt screaming something at me, and so I dove on top of the huge man, pulling his face toward mine and feeling his life drain from him. That same high I got from the other encounters, the old security guard and the two drug-addicts, overcame me with an incredible ferocity, and for a few moments I really did believe this wild story.

Jillian’s black magic protection spell really had turned me into a soul-stealing, undead monster. A wight, I believe, is what she had called it. I had no idea if this was going to work, if I would ever be able to hold Malaya in my arms again, but as I felt myself slipping away, I knew one thing: I had gotten my revenge. My friends were safe, and I had found my murderer.

311 words
@rastrohman

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09/18/2012 11:12

“We will never forget the sacrifice they made, nor let it be in vain.

“Sacrifice?”

The elder nodded vigorously enough to rock the stool he sat on.

“Our ancestors came from the stars.” He shifted into a storytelling voice. “Much like you, child. They explored the galaxies, finding only suffering and loneliness. This great moon offered a haven. And peace.

“Nearly a thousand years ago, they gave up their ships to make this world better.”

What did Isaac say? They’d drunk the Kool-Aid—like some 20th century cult had done. Isaac knew some weird freaking history, but sometimes it pertained. I didn’t know what Kool-Aid even was, but it must be damn potent. Holy hell, these people had been brainwashed.

I gulped, working around the nerves trying to squeeze my throat shut. Nerves. And anger. I had a damn good right to both from where I stood.

“We thank you for coming to us.”

“Thank me?” I tested the bindings at my wrists and arms. I had modest strength and speed nanites, but I’d do some damage to myself before I got through the densely woven rope. “Man, I have to ask, do people usually volunteer for this thing?”

The old man blinked, his clear blue eyes fathomless and showing no sign of getting it.

“Our seasonal offerings have come from the sky for centuries.”

“And none of them—I don’t know—disagree with the idea of being your sacrificial goat?”

“Goat?”

“Oh, come on,” I said. “Out of all the words I just said, you’re gonna trip over goat?”

The man chuckled, the kind of indulgent sound parents made to children still trying to figure out Mommy didn’t disappear from the universe by going around the corner.

“It isn’t a sacrifice to crash your ships,” I said. “It’s selfish. So they found something they didn’t like out in the black? Big deal. You make a little colony and park your ships in the garage. You don’t strand your descendants for all eternity just because you couldn’t handle it.” I worked at the ropes, my anger building enough that I almost didn’t feel the pain. “You don’t turn your descendants into xenophobic assholes who buy innocent people and kill them.”

“We do not hate or fear you, child,” he said gently. “You are a reminder we are most grateful for.”

“A reminder?”

“Your fall from the sky is a sign. The stars are beyond our reach where they belong. We mortals have no place among them.”

A sign? Like some kind of religious portent?

“You act like my coming here was some kind of destiny,” I said.

“Of course.”

“No.” Blood made my wrists slippery, but I had some wiggle room in the bonds now. “Someone bought me for this.”

He shook his head. “You are mistaken,” he said. “We have no currency. Our world has transcended such needs as wealth.”

Someone had money, damn it. But buying sacrifices?

I just had to live long enough to find out why.

@caramichaels
500 #WIP500 words

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Rebekah Postupak
09/18/2012 11:56

“She will never forget the sacrifice she made, nor let it be in vain. To Eliana!”

Loud guffaws filled the room, and the crowd echoed with whistles and catcalls, “To Eliana!” and drank enthusiastically to her health.

The bride in question guffawed loudest of all and tossed her champagne back with melodramatic flair. It would be followed hard and fast by three beers, two margaritas, and four B52s. Nobody counted, not today; but when the last of the guests stumbled out of the chilly hotel ballroom, nobody remembered to look for her, either, or wonder why they’d not sent her off in a flurry of bubbles or rice or sparklers to her honeymoon.

Nobody remembered except the groom who, bleary-eyed with exhaustion, eventually found her dead asleep beneath the head table, veil missing, gown torn.

She stared up at him in groggy confusion when he gently shook her shoulders. “Are you the DJ?”

“Eliana. Let’s go, my love.” He spoke quietly, patiently.

A grin lit her face as recognition struck. “My husband! You’re my husband.”

“That’s what the preacher said.” He helped her up, but after an unsteady moment, she collapsed at his feet, snorting with laughter.

“I can’t stand up, Husband.”

“I can see that. Perhaps I should carry you.” He grinned back down at her.

“That would be nice, Husband,” she said, still giggling. “You should carry me anyway. I’m your wife now.”

“Glad to hear it,” he said, scooping her up. It was an awkward and ungraceful undertaking, with the white gown billowing around them, blocking his view, and the bride unable to provide the smallest assistance; but he managed the long trek to their room, dropping her heavily onto the bed at last with a sigh of relief.

“You’re nice,” said Eliana.

“Always a pleasure to be of assistance,” said the groom. “Now how about I help you out of this contraption?”

“Okay,” she said, not moving. He rolled her over, still gently, and she felt him fumbling with the hooks and buttons. “It was a pretty wedding, wasn’t it?”

“The prettiest, though not half as pretty as my bride. Ha! Got one.”

“I had to sacrifice, you know. That’s what everybody says. Marrying you was a sacrifice.”

“And I will always be grateful. Another one! I’m on a roll.”

“A sacrifice!” she shouted. “I sacrificed!”

His fingers at the back of her gown stilled. “Yes.”

“I gave up the world for you!”

“Yes.”

“I had everything before I met you!”

“Yes.”

She twisted to look up at him, slender fingers lightly brushing his cheek. “No, you sweet idiot.”

“What?”

“They’re wrong.”

“Who?”

“All of them.” She smiled, sadly now. “Every last one of them’s wrong. I had nothing before I met you, do you hear me?? Nothing.”

His eyes glowed. “Oh?”

“And sacrifice? They wouldn’t recognize sacrifice if they were bound, gagged, and lying on an altar.”

His glow became a bonfire. “To Eliana!” he whispered, and turned out the lights.

496 terribly late and uncooperative words
@postupak

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