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Everything you worried might happen did, not to mention a few things you hadn't even considered.  The walls feel like they are caving in on you.  The waves crash high above your head, tossing you about like a rag doll.  You close your eyes and resign yourself to your fate, the end has come.

Then the morning sun rises.  You are battered and bruised, worse for wear, but for some reason you are still alive.  Visions of the end of the world vary, but our own personal Armageddon can seem like it impacts the whole world.

Guest Judge: Steve Voelker

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Steve Voelker is a writer that specializes in the horrible and fantastic. His work has been included in numerous anthologies and collections, including the Bram Stoker Award Nominated Slices of Flesh. He lives in Pennsylvania with his ridiculously supportive wife, three energetic children and one completely insane dog. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @Voelker58, where he will keep you informed in the very likely event of a zombie apocalypse.

You can follow his blog at SteveVoelkerFiction.com

Steve's Story "Live Better" contrasts the most significant event in history with the most mundane of circumstances.  Find his story and more in Song Stories: Volume 1.

The Prompt

I saw four men on horseback

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 brownie points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST0
  5. If your story would be rated R or NC-17 in a movie, please post a note to that effect at the beginning of your entry.
  6. The winner of each week's competition will win a kindle copy of "Song Stories: Volume I"
  7. The winner and runner-ups will be entered into a drawing to win a beautiful paperback edition of song stories
  8. Have fun!

 

Contents

Judge's Comments

I sincerely enjoyed reading all the stories and was honoured to be guest judge. Well done to everyone. They were all very good.

Honorable Mention

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Inescapable Logic by Jeffrey Hollar
The clever last line made me smile

Winner

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The opening paragraph instantly grabbed me. It was a pretty neat twist at the end, where the ... lover turns out to be more than human too.

The Change
By Robin Abess
If I could erase one memory from her mind, it would be of what she witnessed that night. In the midnight hours, as the screech owls gave their eerie cries and the loons on the lake answered back, her world changed, and it was my fault.

I knew better. I shouldn’t have taken the chance, but I loved her so dearly, I couldn’t let go. Not even for one weekend. We’d only been together two months then, although I had known her longer, as a friend. I brought her with me to the cabin. I remember how childlike she was, clapping her hands at the sight of the cozy structure nestled comfortably amongst the tall trees. I’d never brought anyone there before, and it seemed perfect. It would’ve been too, if I’d kept track and paid attention better, to the month and time of year. I was so besotted, I simply forgot. By the time I realized, it was simply too late.

It was spring, and everything was in bloom. The smell of pine and daffodils combined wafted through the windows I’d opened, perfuming our love nest. She came to me with open arms and willing lips, her eyes shining with love. We lay together afterwards, basking in the late afternoon sun spilling through the window and holding one another. We had dinner, made a fire in the fireplace and talked of future plans. It was only when night came on that I suddenly remembered and swore aloud. She asked what was wrong, and as I opened my mouth to make some excuse, I felt the pull and turned away.

I heard her move toward me, and I ran from her. She called my name, hurt making her voice tremble. Wanting to get as far away from her as I could, I moved into the woods, but in my worry over putting distance between us, I slipped, twisting my ankle badly. Cursing, I rose to my feet, but I could hear her following me, continuing to call me. Then it was too late.

The light hit me, spreading around my body, transforming me. The last mortal thing I remembered was her wide frightened eyes as she witnessed the change, and her scream. The next thing I knew it was morning and we both lay on the ground beneath the trees. I rose, but she didn’t. When I went to her, her eyes were still wide, but blank. I spoke to her, and she made no response. Knowing there was no other way, I lifted her, closing my eyes, muttering the correct words for the portal.

Now, I watch her as she moves around the room gracefully, trying out her new wings. She is no longer capable of loving and she is no longer mine. She’ll exist to procreate for the race, and in a few short years she’ll die, with no memory of human life or love. And I will never forget. Such is the life of the fey.

 
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This weekend, I lost my best canine friend of 9 years, only four months after we lost our cat of umpteen years.  Watching them pass - one by stroke and the other by the hand of the vet - are things I wish I could erase from my memory. 
There is a Sunday School song that includes the line "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see." 
What things have you seen that  cannot be unremembered?  What Lovecraftian horror might drive the view insane?  Share your deepest regrets and darkest fears -  or just some silly or gross image you could have done without seeing.

Guest Judge: Jack Horne

Jack  Horne lives in Plymouth, England, where he works for the local theatre. Quite a number of his poems, short stories and articles have been published, with some also broadcast on the radio. A collection of his short plays has just been printed and a novel and a co-written poetry book are scheduled to be published soon

In "Raquel's Photograph", Jack considers David Soul's classic "Don't Give Up On Us Baby" and pondered what might happen if the hero failed to get his love back.  Find out what happens in Song Stories: Volume 1.

The Prompt

If I could [erase/change/forget] one memory...

*Bracketed words can be replaced with any comparable word or phrase.

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 brownie points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST0
  5. If your story would be rated R or NC-17 in a movie, please post a note to that effect at the beginning of your entry.
  6. The winner of each week's competition will win a kindle copy of "Song Stories: Volume I"
  7. The winner and runner-ups will be entered into a drawing to win a beautiful paperback edition of song stories
  8. Have fun!