Leanne has already posted her fab story based on our created challenge. Click the image below to go read it and make sure you follow her. She really does have great posts and she is super talented.
So now to explain the Pen Wars Challenge.
It is a writing challenge, based on one single prompt that we both have to interpret in our own way. We decided upon a visual prompt rather than written and after much mulling, over images we settled on one that we both could work with. I would just like to mention I am not a writer, and have not done anything like this before. I hope you like my story, please comment your thoughts and if we inspire you show us your story.
- Aim to write 1,500 - 2,000 words max
- based on 1 prompt (this week is a visual prompt)
- 1 writing session
- must include reference to the prompt
- NO prior planning
- No editing till the end and only minor. No story revisions
**Disclaimer** Possibly not suitable for younger readers
No time for love
Brooke, pull yourself together, no one knows I kept chanting the mantra over and over in my head under the stares of the others. They weren’t staring maliciously or even suspiciously and were even expected under normal circumstances. If only they knew the truth nothing about this situation was normal! The worried, concerned looks of sympathy were only making me feel even more anxious, my stomach tying itself in knots, beads of nervous sweat running down my spine, as I tried to play my role. Perhaps I hadn’t helped myself, Perhaps I should have dressed up I mean jeans and a burgundy woollen jumper did not scream funeral never mind grieving girlfriend and my green parka jacket didn’t help matters more functional than formal, more discount mall than runway chic I thought. Fiddling with my grandmother’s ring, I imagined just what the good old folks of Mallowpine would be saying to each other Poor child, look at her, I think it has twisted her mind, awful business losing a love so young especially after so little time. Her internal monologue continued warring with itself, a child! I’m twenty-one! Stuff them they don’t know the truth, they couldn’t see that although my grief was somewhat real, I wasn’t broken, I’d never be broken, I couldn’t allow myself to.
The bitter cold breeze sweeping the eerie graveyard broke through my thoughts blowing my blond curls back, huddling deeper into my jacket and gipping the dainty pink rose harder between my grasp relishing the pain from the thorns digging into my skin. Pain, I knew pain, better than most how it feels, how it works winding into your every being mind, body and soul and how to cause it. Focusing on the familiar feeling I forced myself to drag my attention back to what was happening around me, the people huddled solemnly, friends of the family and Logan. His family sat beside his future grave and his pale blue coffin, in various states of grief. Of course I stood alone, I didn’t blame them though they didn’t know it this was all my fault or really know me I had only moved here a couple of months ago, not that it mattered after what was coming next I would be moving on, another town, perhaps a different country the South of France is nice this time of year right?
The reverend was just finishing up his sermon, when I finally managed to bring myself into the here and now. The coffin was lowered by a group of Logan’s friends as his siblings comforted his parents, each holding the ropes with the same strength and their eyes all gathering shiny wet tears amongst their faces still in serious expressions. People began moving forward to place their offerings into the open grave and say their final goodbyes. A small moment of amusement breaking the tension when Jared, Logan’s mischievous best friend tipped in a basket full of marbles and toy soldiers, a nod to their private little joke. His siblings placed carefully drawn pictures, others carefully placing flowers or notes. His parents approached together leaning on each other for strength, silent tears ran down his mother Martha’s cheeks as together they gave their son their last gift his favorite red cap and the gold cross they had bought him for his now not upcoming birthday. They paused as people began to disperse for the wake, saying their own goodbyes. I hadn’t known them long but they were good people, they didn’t deserve this.
I waited wanting to respect their grief, staring at the ground. A hand touched my shoulder and I had to ignore my natural instincts to strike out. Looking up, I found myself staring into the grief ridden eyes of Martha.
‘ Honey, you okay? It’s your turn take your time. We’re all heading back for the wake now. We’ll see you there?’
‘ Honey, you okay? It’s your turn take your time. We’re all heading back for the wake now. We’ll see you there?’
I froze before replying choosing my words carefully ‘Um … thanks, I’m so sorry.’
‘It’s not your fault ….. He loved you very much you know’ she said her voice full of sympathy
‘I loved him too’ I automatically replied in a whisper.
She smiled sadly, pulling me into a short but sweet hug before walking away to join her husband. I wished I could tell her; would it bring closure? Or just fear. She wouldn’t see me again; I wouldn’t be at the wake my night was already planned. I slowly walked forward aware of the bored men leaning on their shovel wanting to get the ‘job’ done and back to their warm homes where their families waited. Again my internal monologue spoke up You can do this, just get it over and done with, you were never made to love, you have bigger things to do. It didn’t stop my breath quacking, my heart from hurting, grief rolled over me as tears ran down my cheeks soaking my jumper. This maybe wrong, this shouldn’t have happened but the emotions hitting me were real like a tidal wave they brought me to my knees. Losing all sense of time, I began sobbing, muttering for forgiveness, telling him how he was stupid but how I would always love him, he would never be forgotten. I had learned my lesson no one, will get this close to me again, no one will die for me again. I dropped the rose and pushed myself to my feet, turning I stalked off towards the woods where my home away from home awaited.
I had set up camp close to the edge of the graveyard, my trusty camouflage wind tent. It wasn’t ideal in this cold weather but better than being stuck in the guest house with its nosey old landlady and the pink flowery walls, so not me I grimaced at the thought, a few miles away. I grabbed my flask and hunkered down under the thin worn cream blanket I had brought along. It was going to be a long night and I was already weary. As minutes turned into hours and the sky began to darken, I praised the academy for its training. Nothing like being forced into dark rooms filled with obstacles over and over to get you as used to the dark, well as used to it as you can with human eyes. I no longer feared it, it comforted me like a cup of hot cocoa, it’s dark arms wrapped around me as if I was being embraced by a loved one. Thinking of the academy brought back flashbacks of training, hours of teachings and even more spent hunched over boring lore tombs. I had only been eleven when my mother had pulled her aside one evening to tell me the family ‘secret’, what I would become, the sacrifices I would have to make. For hours after I had sat still on the edge of my little bed in shock, the walls of my childhood home felt like they were closing in on me as my mother bustled around me gathering my things and packing them into my tiny suitcase as if I was going on holiday. No such luck, I was being packed off to Steelbriar Academy where I would be trained, my skills honed and if I was ‘lucky’ become a member of The Krieger Society, a group of individuals born to the founding families through the generations who supposedly battled the monsters from my nightmares.
Unfortunately for me it was all true. I was a warrior whose main focus in life was meant to be vanquishing darkness. A reluctant warrior, I thought. I knew that what I was doing was important, honourable, just and well … needed. However, it was also dangerous, lonely and lately difficult. And the society was going to be pissed, I’d messed up big time. An innocent was harmed.
That single thought was like a wrecking ball crashing through my mental walls. Mental images flew past my mind’s eye. My phone call from my superior, the long road trip to Mallowpine, bumping into Logan in the local bar where she had picked up a couple of shifts. His intense blue eyes flecked with green, his dark cropped hair and tall frame blocking the way when a drunk had started causing trouble. It had been sweet but laughable I mean me needing protection! I’d took down demons, werewolves, vampires and creatures that no one would even be able to process imagining. More images rushed through my mind, his relentless pursuing of me, me finally agreeing to a date thinking that I would botch it up so bad he would give up, our first date, more dates, first kiss and more all flashing through.
Then the last image, the worst the one I had kept locked away for the past few nights. Logan screaming, blood pouring from a wound in his neck while the blood from another poured into his throat. I heard my own screams echoing in my head. I saw myself rushing forward my weapon drawn, I could feel the fury rolling off me as my soul shattered the same time the monster broke his neck. Before Logan’s body hit the floor my stake drove home into the monster’s chest crunching its way through bone and muscle to the chamber where it’s heart should have been beating as the thing burst into flames and turned to dust. Time flashed forward showing myself crouched over Logan, crying steeling myself for what had to happen next. I kissed his cheek, and closed his eyes and then went to work ripping his clothes hiding the distinctive marks making them look like they’d been caused by an animal. Then walking away feeling my heart break more as I left him to be found. It had to be done this way but it felt like a piece of me was dying.
My head snapped up breaking my train of thought. My instincts had kicked in. Straining my ears, I listened closely. I heard the familiar scraping and banging of flesh on wood. It was time. I got up picking up my hand carved stake, I started moving back towards the graveyard. Moving faster, trees hitting me in the face as I ran past as I heard the noise of dirt shifting. As I broke through the trees I saw a hand break the surface quickly followed by another and then he was pulling himself out the grave. My beautiful Logan his wounds healed, his beautiful features twisted into the face of my enemy and his once intense eyes now dark and dead of emotion. My breath left my chest, pausing for just a second before moving closer. He had now gathered himself to a standing position, he seemed to be scanning the area. His eyes settled on me.
‘Brooke? …. What’s going on? Why was I in a grave. This is Jared isn’t it. Come out you big loon. This isn’t funny. I … don’t feel right. What is going on?’ he sounded different his voice huskier and deeper.
My adrenalin kicked in and I withdrew into myself going on pilot mode. I moved up to him my arm behind my back.
‘It’s okay Baby everything’s going to be okay.’ I heard myself say in a sweet voice.
He reached out to embrace me and I moved solely based on my training and instinct, I raised my arm the stake shooting forward, catching him by surprise and as it hit home and his body turned to dust. The soft breeze carried him away and I whispered my voice breaking,
‘I love you.’