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Belle and The Enchanted Castle

Once Upon A Time in a land far away was a young girl of such beauty, that all the eligible bachelors wanted to court her. Belle wanted nothing to do with her would be suitors. One man in particular was so smitten with the beauty, that even after all the others had given up, he continued to call.

“Belle, I have saved enough money to buy that small cottage on the edge of town. If you were to be my wife…”

“If I were to be your wife, I would be fat with six children. I want more for myself than to be married and cleaning up after a man. Even one as handsome as you Gaston.”

“I will hire you a maid. Belle, I want nothing more than to make you happy.”

Belle looked up in the direction of the castle that sat on the mountain. Dark and foreboding, it had hovered over the town for years with no signs of life. Looters that had attempted to steal from the fortress came back empty handed, with tales of an enchanted Prince, cursed to spend his life as a monster.

“Can you give me that castle, Gaston?”

“Belle, the castle and all that live there are cursed! Stay away from there.”

“Gaston, just because I have allowed you some liberties with me in the past, does not mean that you own me. I told you, I want more than you or any other man in this town can give me. I read Gaston. I want to travel to the places I have seen in books. I want to taste a truffel. I want to wear jewels and attend grand balls. I want to be wealthy. I want to be a Queen.”

“Belle, I can make you my Queen.”

“Gaston, how can you say anything so mean! What would you have me be, Queen of a hovel? I am getting out of this town, before it is too late.”

True to her word, Belle left the next day, despite the pleas of her father.

“Belle, I am sick and I cannot run the farm on my own.”

“Ask Gaston to help you. I broke a nail yesterday trying to plow your field. If I keep working like this, I will be old looking by the time I am twenty-five.”

“But Belle, if you leave, I will starve.”

Putting on her coat, Belle sighed, sounding sad and pitiful. “Papa, lets be honest, were already starving. The farm hasnt produced enough for us to live on since my brother stole those magic beans and ran off. Maybe if Jack hadnt stolen that golden goose, but now that giant keeps taking everything we grow and were nowhere close to paying him off.

Giving her father a kiss good-bye, Belle took the last of the food and left. It was going to be a long trip and she didnt want to have to try and hunt for food. The trip proved longer than she had expected though and in the woods that covered the path up the mountain side, Belle became lost. It was also cold and the flimsy fur coat that Gaston had given her on her last birthday barely kept her warm. Pulling it over her head, Belle cried out to the lone star that she could see through the trees.

“Wow, what a strong wish!”

Startled, Belle was surprised to see a blue fairy standing in front of her. Not trusting a fairy that popps out of nowhere, Belle crossed her arms and asked, “Who are you?”

“Why the Blue Fairy, of course. It was I you cried out to.” The fairy smiled and pointed towards the sky. “I am here to help you.”

“Wait a minute. I know you now. You are the idiot that turned that puppet into a real boy.”

“Pinocchio! How is he?”

“Poor. His father was ran out of business for being a fraud. People paid money to watch a puppet show, not a boy prettending to be a puppet. Geppeto decided to try his hand at fishing instead. Last I heard, they had been swallowed by a whale.”

“Oh dear! I had better go and rescue them!”

“Wait. Im the one that called you. Help me first.”

“I dont know what you need help with. You had everything you needed back in your village, a father that loves you, a man that wanted to marry you, despite your rather sour disposition and a full library of books. When you read a book, the whole world is open to you.”

“There is no need to insult me. Can you at least point the way to the castle at the top of this mountain and hopefully some food along the way.”

“If you follow that path over there, it will take you to the castle, but dear, I really think you would do better to head back to your fathers home. The castle is enchanted and the prince is quite literally a beast.”

“So I have heard.” Then ignoring the fairys warnings, Belle stepped onto the path and disappeared from sight.”

“Oh dear, I forgot to warn her about Red. Oh well, I suppose she will find out for herself.” Then with a shrug, the blue fairy disappeared, hoping she would get to Pinocchio and his father before they were digested.

Belle was beginning to think the fairy was playing a trick on her. The path was nothing more than a trail, barely big enough for a mouse to follow. She was about ready to turn around, when she heard something moving in the bushes.

“Hello? Is anyone there?”

Belle saw a flash of red disappear around the bend.

“Hello? Please stop. I am lost.”

A small girl in a red cloak stepped out onto the path, followed by a rather wolfish looking boy. “Did you say you were lost?”

Nodding her head, Belle said, “I am trying to find my way to the castle at the top of the mountain.”

“Its a good thin you found us,” the boy said. “You are going the wrong way.”

“That is what I was afraid of. Never trust a fairy.”

“I know I never do,” Red said. “Were heading that way though. You can walk with us.”

Belle looked the two over. They looked a little shady, but she was lost.

Red held up a basket. “I was taking a basket of food to my grandma. She doesnt live that far from the castle.”

Belles stomach rumbled at the thought of food. “I dont suppose you have extra? I ate the last of my food days ago.”

“There is plenty,” Red said. Pulling an apple out of the basket, she handed it to Belle.

“I have never seen an apple so red before. It must be delicious.” Taking a bite, Belle barely swallowed it before feeling a sharp pang in her belly. “Im not sure…I think something is wrong…oh dear…” The apple fell from Belles hand, as she pitched forward and toppled into the arms of Reds companion.

“You couldnt have waited until we got to Grandamas? Now I have to carry her.”

“It was either that or listen to her voice. Im not sure how well she is going to work out. Did you see her hands? I doubt she has ever done a days work in her life.”
***

“Where am I?” Belle looked around the room she was in. She was in a cage and Red and the boy were looking at her. The boy was wearing her coat and looked even more wolfish than he had earlier.

“Oh good, youre awake.” Looking into the cage, the old woman squinted. “My eyes arent what they used to be. I cant decide if I am going to put you to work in the diamond mines or cleaning my house. Cindy hasnt been doing that great of a job. Its beginning to smell like old shoe in here.”

“Well I am so sorry, your highness. Maybe if you washed your feet every now and then.”

The voice came from the cage right next to Belles. When the young beauty looked to see who was there, she gasped in surprise. It was a friend of hers. The two girls had grown up together and had shared the same dream of escaping their village life. “Cinderella! What are you doing here? I thought you had married that foreign Prince.”

“I did. Then his father lost all their money in a bad investment. When the bill collector came it was either give him my baby or send me to work in the mines.”

“And you sacrificed yourself to save your baby?” Belle was shocked. She had never thought of Cindy as the mothering type.

“No, I was all set to hand the brat over, but my darling husband wouldnt hear of it. He said if it came down to me or his child, he would rather lose me. Can you believe that?”

Belle wanted to say that she was shocked, but looking at Cindys middle, she wasnt overly surprised. Her friend had packed on a lot of weight and her husband had a reputation for liking his women gaunt.

“I should have turned you away when Rumpelstiltskin brought you to me,” Grandma said, “but you looked sturdy. I thought you would work well in the mine. Boy was I wrong. This housecleaning job was your last chance. If Belle can clean better than you, then I am taking my sister up on her offer to buy you from me.”

“Who is your sister,” Belle asked.

“She runs a bake shop on the other side of the mountain. Perhaps you have heard of it, The Gingerbread House? No? Well, it is rather a specialty shop. She mainly caters to ogres and giants.”

Belle spent the next few days cleaning the old womans house…it really did smell like old shoe, and cooking for the miners. Bele wasnt about to give up on her dream of marrying the Prince that lived in the castle. She had seen the dwarven miners eyeing her and thought she might be able to take advantage of the situation. She didnt think the grumpy one would help her, but the dopey one looked like he could be persuaded to help. She hoped this was true, because the one called Doc kept telling her he had something to show her.

On her third day there, she took lunch to the mines. The dwarves were crying and bent over a girl, who was laying on the ground. Her skin was white as snow and Belle thought she looked very beautiful. Almost as beautiful as she did, which made Belle feel jealous.

“She has been poisoned,” Doc said. “Only the kiss of a Prince will wake her.

“There is a Prince at the top of the mountain,” Grumpy said. “but he is a beast and would probably eat her.”

The old woman had arrived just then and stared down at the fallen girl. “Either way, she will be out of my hair. Box her up and send her up to the castle. Perhaps he will deduct some money from my rent if he is pleased with her.”

They placed Snow White in a glass coffin and prepared her for the journey up the mountain. The old woman wasnt going to spare anyone to deliver her to the Prince, so she summoned the mice that lived in her clock. They were blind and since they couldnt do much of anything, she used them for deliveries.

“Take Snow White to the Prince,” Grandma ordered.

“We will leave at sunset,” the head mouse said. Then he and the other mice returned to the clock, to rest for the journey.

“Belle,” Grandma ordered, “the mines are smelling musty. You have done a good job of removing the old shoe smell from my home, so you may clean the mines as well. Then after that, you will wash my feet.”

Once everyone had gone, Belle pulled Snow White out of the coffin and hid her in the bushes. Taking her place in the glass box, Belle waited for the mice to return. After a while she fell asleep. She was still sleeping when the mice returned. If she had been awake, she would have heard their conversation and might have changed her mind about wanting to marry the prince.

“What do you think he does with them?” It was the smallest mouse that asked. He didnt like going to the Princes castle. Every time Grandma decided someone had outlived their usefulness, she either sent them to the castle or to the Gingerbread House.

“Who cares what he does?” The older mouse shook his head, limping a little beneath the weight of the casket. “It cant be as bad as what happens to those taken to the Gingerbread house. I almost cried when we delivered Cindy to the old witch. She was so excited when she waw the gumball doorhandle. I didnt have the heart to tell her that she wasnt going to have a chance to eat any of the baked goods.”

“Now thats not true,” another mouse scolded. “Cindy had lost a little weight since working for Grandma. She might want to fatten her up a bit.”

“Still,” the smaller mouse said, “I worry about what happens to the ones we take to the prince. Snow White was always nice to us. Maybe we dont actually have to take her there. We could just take her halfway and leave her. Grandma doesnt need to know.”

“What if she finds out? Then it will be no more cheese for us.”

The mice argued about it for a while, but in the end they decided to leave her in the woods. The mountain was steep and the coffin heavy. They decided Grandma would probably never be the wiser and they wanted to get back to their clock and the extra cheese Grandma had promised them.

When Belle woke, she was confused. It was dark and she wasnt in the warm confines of the castle, as she had expected. Climbing out of her container, she looked around.

“Hello, mon cheri.”

“Who said that?”

“Down here.”

Belle looked down. A frog was looking up at her. “Hello,” the frog said.

“Ewww. Did you just speak to me. Get away before you give me warts!”

“You are thinking about toads. Toads give warts. I am a frog.”

“And slimy and gross and completely disgusting. Just point the way to the Princes castle so I can get as far from you as possible.”

“I am a prince.”

“You are the prince?”

“It is true. I am under an enchantment.”

“I had heard that the Prince was enchanted. But they said he was a monster, a…a great beast. No one said anything about a frog.”

“RIBBIT!” Startled, Belle screamed at the sound of the croak. It echoed all around her and sounded like it could have come from a frog much bigger than the one at her feet. “Trust me, I can be a beast.”

“Well then, it is you I have been looking for! I have come to break the enchantment.”

“I know,” the frog croaked, puckering his lips.

“What are you doing?”

“Waiting for you to kiss me.”

“Why would I do that?”

“To break the enchantment. A kiss is the only way. Kiss me, mon cheri and I will be your prince and you will be my bride.”

Belle looked at the frog and wrinkled her nose. “Are you sure that is the only way?”

“It is.”

“I think I am going to throw up a little in my mouth,” Belle said. “So, I have to….kiss…you?”

“I promise to be gentle.”

“I just bet. Well, if it is the only way…” Belle bent over and picked the frog up. Lifting him to her lips, she kissed him and then quickly set him back on the ground. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she tried to wipe the slime away. Spitting on the ground, she watched the frog, waiting for him to change.
“When is this supposed to happen?”

“I dont suppose you happen to be a princess?”

“No. Why? Does that matter?”

“It has to be a princess that kisses me.”

“And you didnt think to tell me that, BEFORE I got slime on my lips? Well, it doesnt matter. You told me if I kissed you I would be your bride. Im not too keen on marrying a toad…”

“Frog.”

“Sorry…frog, but I have been through too much to start second guessing myself now. Take me to the castle and we will forget this ever happened.”

“The castle? You mean the one at the top of the mountain? Thats not my castle.”

“But you said you were the prince.”

“I said I am a prince. I didnt say which one.”

“Unbelievable! Well, can you at least tell me how to get to the castle?”

“Why would you want to go there? I may be a frog, but that guy…that guy is a real beast.”

“Everyone keeps saying that, but Im not giving up now. How do I get there?”

Before the frog prince could answer, something wrap tightly around her waste and Belle felt her feet being lifted off of the ground.

“Let me go!” Belle struggled with the braided rope, but she couldnt free herself. Despite her struggles, the ground began to fade as she was pulled up into the trees and a house that was nestled among the boughs.

“Careful, you are pulling my hair out!”

“Your hair?” Belle looked at the woman that had pulled her up into the small house. It was true, she saw. The rope that had snatched her from the ground was in fact really long hair that had been twisted into a braid. “Why have you kidnapped me?”

“Im not kidnapping you, I am saving you. There is a witch that lives around here and if she finds you, she will bake you into a pie.”

“I dont need saving. Now put me back down so I can finally get to the castle at the top of this mountain.”

“Dont lie to me. You just want to go back down to him.”

“Him?”

“That short, green and handsome drink of water down there.”

“The frog?” Belle was beginning to wonder at the sanity of her captor.

“Isnt he just dreamy?”

“Um, yeah. A regular nightmare. How long have you been up here?”

“I dont know. I lost track of time since the witch imprisoned me.”

Belle looked around the small tree house. There was no door and the only window was the one she had been pulled through.

“Why did she put you here?”

“Because my father is a King and she wanted to marry him. Instead, he married her best friend. She put me here so that their happiness would be destroyed.”
Looking back out the window, Belle asked, “Why dont you just climb out the window?”

“I cant do that,” Rapunzel gasped. “Hes down there.”

“Who? The frog?”

“What if he thinks I am ugly?”

“Youre kidding, right?” Belle scratched her head and gave the woman a puzzled look. “Wait a minute…your father is a king? Then you are a princess?”

“Thats pretty much how it works.”

“Put me back down there and Ill talk to him for you. I bet he would be glad to meet you.”

“Oh, I dont know about that. Im not sure.” Rapunzel was biting her fingernails, a habit that Belle found disgusting.

“Trust me,” Belle said, “you two are perfect for each other.”

After a little persuading, Rapunzel sent Belle back to the ground, to the delight of the frog prince.

“You have returned,” the frog croaked.

“You still want to kiss a princess?”

“Well, I thought we had already determined that you are not a princess, but Im willing to give it another try, if you are.”

The frog puckered up his lips and Belle gagged. “Not me, you disgusting reptile. But I know where you can find a princess. Point me towards the castle and I will point you to the princess.”

“Are you sure, mon cheri? You could have all this. Trust me, I am quite a catch. No? Very well, the castle is not that far. Just around that bend and you will see a path that will take you to the door.

Belle tied Rapunzels braid around the frog and gave it a tug. Then she ran in the direction of the castle, not caring if the frog or Rapunzel got their happily ever after; she only cared about getting her own piece of happiness.
***
The castle was even more tall and foreboding up close. Belle knocked on the imposing door and it opened on its own. Stepping inside, Belle looked around cautiously. “Hello?”

No one answered. Belle began to explore the castle, wondering where the prince could be.

“I am here to break your enchantment,” she called out. No one answered. She passed a rose that lay dead on the ground.

Entering a library, Belle marveled at the size. From floor to ceiling, books lined every wall. In another room, she discovered walls lines with mirrors and a crystal chandier. It was a ballroom.

“I will love it here,” Belle whispered.

Finding a staircase, Belle followed it up and into a windowless tower. A woman lay on a bed there, sleeping.

“Excuse me, but who are you?” Belles voice shook. Filled with rage, she wanted to claw the womans eyes out. No one had said anything about the prince already having a bride. The woman didnt answer, she just lay there in a deep sleep.

“It was my understanding you were supposed to be asleep already. That is the way it usually works.”

“Are you the prince?” Belle was shocked, yet pleased to discover the man that had spoken was very handsome indeed.

“I am. Now who are you? You are clearly not Snow White. I was told to be expecting her.”

“There have been a change of plans. I am here instead. I had heard you were a beast.” Belle allowed the pleasure she felt at finding this not to be true, seep into her voice.

“You seem like a woman who likes appearances. You are beautiful on the outside, but not so much on the inside. I am not sure you will do.”

“Youre not sure I will do? Really? Well I am here and I do not intend to go anywhere. Now tell me, who is this?” Belle pointed to the woman sleeping on the bed.

“Her name is Rose.”

“Is she your betrothed?”

The prince chuckled. “No. She is what keeps me alive. As will you be.”

“I dont understand.”

“You will. You had heard I was a beast, but all you see is a man. You do not see my inside, or you would be truely frightened…as well you should be. It would be better you were asleep, but soon you will be. I wish I could say your dreams will be sweet, but they wont be.”

On the bed, Rose began to stir. Her eyes fluttered open briefly and then closed again. A slight whimper escaped her lips and Belle wondered what horrors she saw behind her lids.”

“What have you done to her?”

“I have done nothing, except keep her in a deep sleep. It is better that way, even though it doesnt complety shield her.” Then the prince pulled back his lips, revealing sharp fangs. “Trust me, I wont kill you, but you will wish I had.”

Just before his mouth closed on her neck, Belle thought back to her father and Gaston. She hadnt understood how they could want her to stay trapped in their village. Now she wished she was still there.

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Superstitious

Superstitious
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

“Come on Sue, let us in.” Sarah pounded on her friends door, while the other women that stood behind her, echoed similar sentiments.

“Its cold out here,” Connie said. “If you dont let us in, we could get pneumonia and die. Do you want that on your concience?”

The door opened a crack and Sue peeked through the opening. Sarah could see the gold chain still attatched, but at least this was progress. She would break the flimsy chain if she needed to, if for no other reason than to restore some sanity to her friends life.

“Go away,” Sue said. “I dont want to be responsible if something happens to you because you were with me today.”

“Come on Sue, its your birthday tomorrow. We just want to help you celebrate. See…we brought cake and party food.” Helen held up the bags she held in her hand. Some of them had oriental symbols on them and the name of Sues favorite chinese restaurant. In birthdays past, Sue and her friends had celebrated her birthdays there. Sue, being superstitious, had always enjoyed reading the fortunes and finding ways to incorporate the saying into her life.

“I dont feel like eating,” Sue said. She attempted to close the door, except Sarah stuck her foot in the opening.

“Open the damn door, or I will break it down.” Sarah meant it too and stared pointedly at Sue to let her know she wouldnt put up with anymore of this bullshit.

“We would come back tomorrow, you know, on your birthday, but you kinda indicated you might be dead.”

Connie and Helen turned to look at Cindy, while Sarah almost lost her footing, startled as she was at Cindys stupidity. Cindy looked back at the other three, trying to figure out what she had said that was so wrong.

“What? Its not okay to tease her about her superstitions anymore? We always have before.”

“This is different,” Connie hissed. “Tomorrow we can tease her all we want. When she sees she is still alive.”

“Come on,” Sarah said, directing her attention back to Sue. “Let us in. If Death is coming for you, we will face him with you. We just want to help you through this. Friends forever, remember. Death cant stop that.”

Sighing, Sue nodded. “Fine. Ill let you in.”

Sarah removed her foot from the door and stepped back. She hoped when Sue pushed it shut to release the chain, she wouldnt decide to keep it shut.

Sue had always superstitious. For the most part, Sues friends thought her rituals were cute, even if they did border a bit on Obssesive Compulsive. Other times, like now, her superstitions became annoying. Sue was often preoccupied with death. Then a few months ago she had a dream, where a bird was flying through her house. She was convinced it was an omen. The next night she dreamed she was laying in a coffin. She woke up and her neighbors dog was barking outside her window. That dog barked all the time, but for reasons Sarah couldnt understand, Sue became convinced that Death was stalking her. So Sarah convinced her to go to see a fortune teller. She thought the woman would give her friend reassurance that all was well. Instead the stupid hag had told Sue she would be dead before her 30th birthday.

“If she doesnt open that door,” Sarah said, “were breaking it down.”

The three women nodded their agreement, though the door was heavy and they werent sure that they could. They all sighed with relief when the door opened.

Sue had to admit her friends being there did make her feel better. She almost believed that she might make it through this day alive. Almost, because the day wasnt over with. It was only 11:00 p.m. She had another hour to get through and anything could happen. She could choke on her fortune cookie for instance.

Stuffed on Sweet and Sour chicken, all of her friends had opened their fortune cookies. Sue had left hers alone, not wanting to tempt fate. Now she looked at it, still sitting in front of her and felt a new wave of fear hit her.

“Go ahead and open it.” Sarah said.

“The present or the cookie,” Cindy asked and Sue laughed. She was in the process of opening her presents and Sue only had one left…Cindys.

“Okay, okay, I can take a hint.” Grasping the small box, Sue stripped away the colorful paper, revealing a small, white box. Lifting the lid, she gasped at the surprise inside. It was a lighter, shaped like a rooster. Besides her superstitions, Sue collected roosters. She believed they brough good luck. Flicking the switch, she laughed as flames shot out of the beak.

“Thank you!” Sue pulled a pack of cigarettes from her pocket and drpped one of the cancer sticks in her hand.

“You know, as preoccupied with death as you are, Im surprised that you even smoke.” Helen was only half joking, as she pulled out her own cig to join her friend.

“If I have to die, I might as well die happy.”

“Well I want to know what your fortune cookie says.” Cindy snatched the cookie off the table and broke it open, just as Sue was lighting Helens cigarette. The flame flickered against the end of the stick.

“So what does it say,” Connie asked curiously. Sarah hoped it was smomethuing happy. Judging from the look on Cindys face, it wasnt.

“Well, what does it say,” Sue asked, lighting her own cigarette.

“Nothing.” Cindy crumpled the piece of paper and threw it in the trash.

“Well, you opened it. I have to know now.”

“After midnight,” Cindy said. “Read it after midnight and then we can all laugh again at your superstitions.”

Sue looked at the clock. It was only ten more minutes. She could wait..
couldnt she. But then….Sue opened the crumpled paper and read the words, while she absent mindedly flicked the lighter, causing the flames to leap from the roosters beak.

Beware The Fire Breathing Rooster

Sue screamed, dropping the lighter. When she let go, the switch that she had depressed with her thumb stayed down, stuck in place by some invisible hand. The lighter landed against her drapes, catching the material on fire, engulfing them in flames in a matter of seconds. Before the women could react, the only exit from the room was cut off.

Grabbing a chair, Sue lifted it, preparing to throw it through the window. Sarah screamed for her to stop, but panicked, Sue ignored her, shattering the glass. As soon as the air hit the room, the flames exploded towards the window, lighting Sue on fire. A few moments after her screams died, it turned midnight.

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Undead Of Winter: AN Extreme Undead Release

Undead Of Winter  is an anthology that includes tales of extreme terror from 9 authors of horror.  The setting is the Zombie Apocalypse, winter time. Snow falls, blizzards abound, survivors are freezing and what about the zombies? Are the undead affected by the snow? Can they freeze? These are questions any zombie lover should have and they are answered in this book.

The authors include Armand Rosamilia  with his story, Undead of Winter, followed by Brent Abell with his tale, A Winters Feast. Then there is In The Dead Of Night by Suzanne Robb, Day of The Varmints by Jonah Buck and In The Name of The Emperor by R.S. Pyne. But dont start breathing yet, because the apocalypse is not over. Tim Lieder joins the fun with The Christmas Video and Blaze McRob brings Snow of Blood to the festivities. Then I throw in, bringing The Second Wave and a new kind of zombie to fear and Carole Gill closes it all out with Zombie Winter.

I am going to tell you that I am just thrilled to be included in this anthology with what I consider to be some of the best horror authors out there! Some of these authors were in The Masters Of Horror, Damned If You Dont anthology and I can tell you; Oh. My. God! They know how to scare and they can bring it!

If you are looking for a zombie anthology packed with tales that will keep you up at night and jumping at any groan that you hear, this is it. So go buy it. Pretty please and I promise not to send Frank after you. Whos Frank? Trust me, you dont want to know, so go buy the book and pray you never feel his breath on the back of your neck.

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55 Word Challenge Week 3

Its that time for 55 Word Fiction! I hope you all are having as much fun as I am. For those of you not familiar with 55 Word Fiction, it is a story told in 55 words or less. It doesnt have to be horror, though that is my favorite. However I am not the judge, last weeks winner is and whoever wins this week gets to judge next week. The winner will also win a cop of one of my e-shorts, either a pdf copy or I can give you a coupon from smashwords to download whatever version you prefer.

Below are a few examples of 55 Word Fiction

 

The Willow Tree

He felt the breeze blow through his hair and imagined her voice whispering in his ear.  He sat under the willow tree, remembering  the last time they had spoken.

I saw you, dont deny it! Im telling everyone what you did!

He chuckled. Hard to speak when youre dead and buried beneath a willow tree.

Last weeks winner was Bumfuzzled with his 55 word story, Supper Time. He will be the judge this week.

 

 Supper Time

Dinner came to those who waited patiently around the table. The apple in Dinner’s mouth looked like a gag from some seedy BDSM shop in Lower Manhattan. Dinner’s head–the only part left to move–swung. Dinner’s fear-filled eyes took in their smiles, as they picked up knifes and forks.

A really close 2nd was Thomas Scopel with this story

Being Bugged

My palm itched. I scratched deeply. Digging harder, surface blood flows, forcing flaky bits of red tainted flesh underneath my fingernails. Theyre not long enough and the itch dives deeper, fades from my palm, into my wrist, and begins striking up my arm. My nails follow and I feel unclean. The worm is moving again

Ok, so the only rule is to have fun and keep it at 55 words  or under. Post in the comment section below. If for some reason you can not post it…sometimes blogger gets a bit wonky, then email me your submission at jezri@writing.com and I will post it for you. Now GO

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55 Word Challenge

Have you ever tried to write a story in 55 words or less?  This kind of writing is a form of micro fiction and is, in my opinion, quite a challenge.  I have attempted 55 word fiction a few times in my life.  It is a challenge to put all the elements that a story requires into such a small format. It is however fun!

So I am issuing a challenge this Sunday morning. Write a 55 word story and post it in the comment section below. I am hoping to run this every week as a Sunday Shorts competition. I cannot afford to give an award, but I will give the winner one of my e-books, winners choice.

I will pick the winner this week. If anyone is interested in guest judging in the next contest let me know!

Below are examples of 55 word fiction I have written in the past. I hope you enjoy them and add your own to the comment section below.

Telemurder

Eyes gleaming, Bob told the telemarketer just what he thought of her, throwing in a few choice names for good measure. Later that night Bobs phone rang busy, the cord tied around his neck.

The lesson learned? Be careful what you say to a telemarketer. If she has your phone number, she has your address.

Tommys New Toy

Spiraling upward, towards the sun, the swallow rejoiced in the beautiful spring day. Diving towards his nest, he playfully teased his mate. Spreading his wings, he glides above the earth singing songs of love. It is wonderful to be alive.

The calm of the morning was shattered by the sound of Tommys new b.b. gun.

The Cliff

Sabrina hung to the edge of the cliff, fingers aching. She tried clawing her way to the precipice from which shed toppled, but the jagged overhang dug into her fingers. She was sure she would lose her grip, falling to the terrain below.

For the last time, go to bed!

Closing her book, Sabrina sighed.

Predators

The zombie held up his hands, warding off the diving vultures. The scavengers were not accustomed to their prey walking around; usually the dead just lay, waiting to be consumed. Rotting meat was rotting meat however and vultures werent known for being picky. Soon it became fashionable for the living to keep vultures as pets

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55 Word Challenge: Week Seventy-Two

Welcome back to #55WordChallenge!

For those that are uninitiated, the 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. Not an easy task, but fun and I have been blown away by some of the entries. See for yourself, past contests can be foundhere. (I am a bit behind in getting this updated.) The challenge begins at noon Eastern time every Wednesday and ends at noon Thursday. The story is based on one of three photo prompts. My only request is no porn. I don’t want to hear graphic details. If it is erotic, make it titillating, not obscene. I know that can be done and done well.

The story is to be posted in the comment section below, along with yourtwitter handle or email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner.

And what does the winner get? Besides bragging rights? This badge, which can proudly be displayed on your blog or website. You can even have it tattooed onto your body, but that might be a little weird.
I have also added 2 new badges. An Honorable Mention badge and an Overachiever badge. To be eligible for the Overachiever Badge, you need to use all 3 prompts.

If anyone is interested in contributing a prize, a book, cover art, whatever you want, let me know and we will work something out. If you are an artist that would like to have your work featured, let me know!

Photo Prompt:

This weeks prompts come courtesy of my children.

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55 Word Challenge: Week Seventy-One

Welcome back to #55WordChallenge!

 

For those that are uninitiated, the 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. Not an easy task, but fun and I have been blown away by some of the entries. See for yourself, past contests can be found here. (I am a bit behind in getting this updated.) The challenge begins at noon Eastern time every Wednesday and ends at noon Thursday. The story is based on one of three photo prompts. My only request is no porn. I don’t want to hear graphic details. If it is erotic, make it titillating, not obscene. I know that can be done and done well.

 

The story is to be posted in the comment section below, along with your twitter handle or email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner.

 

And what does the winner get? Besides bragging rights? This badge, which can proudly be displayed on your blog or website. You can even have it tattooed onto your body, but that might be a little weird.

 

If anyone is interested in contributing a prize, a book, cover art, whatever you want, let me know and we will work something out. If you are an artist that would like to have your work featured, let me know!

 

Photo Prompt:

As you can see, I have a theme going this week. You can either choose one picture, or work all 3 in. I will be awarding an over achiever badge this week to one person that works all 3 in.

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A to Z 55 Word Challenge

Happy Hump Day and welcome back to the 55 Word Challenge. For those that are uninitiated, the 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. Not an easy task, but fun and I have been blown away by some of the entries. See for yourself, all the past contests can be found here.

 

The challenge begins at noon Eastern time every Wednesday and ends at noon Thursday. The story is based on one of three photo prompts. This week, since I am doing the A to Z Blog Challenge, a letter prompt is included. The story is to be posted in the comment section below, along with your twitter handle or email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner.

 

And what does the winner get? This purty badge for one.  For two, a gift card for $5.00 from either Amazon orBarnes & Noble.

 

Today is the last A to Z 55 Word Fiction Challenge. Next week we will resume 55 Word Fiction as usual, with just the picture prompt.  So what letter do we have today? V. Muahahaha. Yeah, I know, you are thinking Vampire because that is what I thought of. But last week you all showed me so many different types of monsters that started with P…several I had never even heard of, so I think I will let you surprise me again this week. You can use Vampire if you like, Lord knows I love a good vampire story, but you can use another monster as well, as long as it sticks to the Blog Challenge theme and begins with V. Most important, have fun.

 

Photo Prompts

Dont forget to use the letter prompt. V

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55 Word Fiction

 

 It is time again for 55 Word Fiction! Write a story in 55 words or less and place it in the comment section below. The contest will end at midnight tonight. Tomorrow our 2 judges, Stacey Turner and Jenelle Jenson, who won last week, will announce the winner, (or winners). The winner will get to judge next weeks contest as well as win a free copy of one of my e-shorts!

Now if you don’t know what 55 word fiction is, here is an example.

 

Dinner Music

Stacey opened her eyes. What had happened? Shed been walking home, thanks to her cars meltdown and something had come at her. Suddenly she screamed, remembering what she had seen before falling and hitting her head. No one heard her though, except the half manhalf something else and to him, her screams were dinner music.

And these stories from last weeks winners!

 

The Ghost

The hairs on the back of Johns neck stood up. Psychic, he knew how his body reacted before he saw a ghost.

He glanced around the room. Someone near the casket noticed him.

John? she said, fainting. Was that his sister? John stared in confusion. Speechless, he glanced in the coffin. His body lay inside.

No Other Choice

He stared at the body lying before him. Her dead eyes stared accusingly. He dropped to his knees and plunged in. Hot blood wept over his hands and forearms, drenching the ground below. His hands closed around something solid, and he desperately withdrew his prize. Soaked in viscous fluid and shivering, the tiny calf bawled.

Ok, so now you give it a try and have fun with it!

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The 55 Word Challenge: Week 10

Its time again for the 55 Word Challenge.  For those that are uninitiated, the 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. Not an easy task, but fun and I have been blown away by some of the entries. See for yourself, all the past contests can be found here.

The challenge begins at noon Eastern time every Wednesday and ends at noon Thursday. The story is based on one of three photo prompts and can be written in any genre you choose. The story is to be posted in the comment section below, along with your twitter handle or email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner.

And what does the winner get? This purty badge for one. For two, a gift card for $5.00 from Amazon. (The prize will be rewarded within a week and sent to your email.)

Photo Prompts:

If anyone is interested in guest judging please let me know, also if you would like to donate a prize for next weeks contest, (or any other week,) let me know. This could be a copy of your book or anything else you want to offer.

Shameless Promo:

Hidden Secrets, Whispered Lies is free through tomorrow night. It is a book of dark poetry.

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