By: Samantha Martin
So, as you know, I challenged writers in the prefecture to give me a story beginning, and then switched things around and had them write an ending to a friend’s story. The two submissions were interesting beginnings by themselves, but they completed each other in such an original way on top of that. I hope you’re all as pleased as I am with the outcome!
Without further ado, please enjoy the mix’n’matches of Peter Underwood and Katerina Skarbinec below!
(Peter’s beginning/Kat’s ending)
“Ok…do it. I guess”
I put my mug down on the table, and slid it across to her. She raised an eyebrow.
“‘I guess’ isn’t good enough. You need to know.” She pushed the cup back firmly, and a little bit of the green liquid slipped onto the table, hissing slightly.
I leant backwards, stretching out over the back of the diner booth. I flipped open my notebook and skimmed my eyes over the list of pros and cons I’d scribbled down during our other conversations.
“I dunno…see I like the sound of “Near Limitless Power”, but I’m not sure it’s worth “Can only watch movies on VHS””
Her eyes flared, glinting gold, right at the back of her cornea, behind the mask. “It’s near limitless power. And you’re unsure because HD exists?”
“You’ve clearly never watched Planet Earth on Blu Ray”
I heard a crunch as she tore a piece out of the table. This was getting fun.
We both looked up into the grim gaze of Alradja. He was usually as tall as a house, so it was impressive that he had managed to squeeze himself into the neighbouring booth.
“Games are all good, but don’t get the rest of us barred. Nilera -” he favoured her with a rolling burning eye, “you should know better.”
She let the chunk of wood slip from her fingers and smack to the floor. “So sorry, your eminence,” she said, pursing her lips. “Just minding my business.”
Turning back to me, she sighed loudly. “I have never met anybody as apathetic about my gifts as you.”
I took a bite of my angel’s delight burger. It tasted of sunlight and a fresh leafy garden. Pan Papa’s Diner, I had come to realise over the course of our meetings there, sold a lot of grisly, entraily, unsure-whether-it-was-still-living fare, but they did have some food that catered to the mortal palate. It was usually a toss-up, but occasionally you struck lucky.
“There’s a lot to consider. ‘Great power means great responsibility’ and all that.”
“I should think that my champion would know how to use it responsibly enough,” she said. Through the mask, her eyes glittered like burning stars. The deep, bottomless green in the cup reminded me of the ocean.
“I did like the sound of champion,” I murmured, then grabbed the cup and downed it.
(Kat’s beginning/Peter’s ending)
“Do you think this is weird?”
The owl turned his head, vertebrae cracking with age, all the way around to look at her. He considered for a minute.
“I suppose that to some, it might seem unconventional for an owl and a mouse to have a conversation that doesn’t end in a meal.”
“Yeah.” The mouse nodded and kicked her feet. Below their branch, the wood was quiet and the still dark yawned around them like they’d been swallowed by a giant black beast.
“However, even with that said,” continued the owl, pivoting his whole body towards her, “I don’t believe that it is wrong.”
“Desperate times…” she trailed off, her mouth curling up to attempt a smile. The owl extended a wing towards her, and she froze instinctively. He pulled back, bowing a little in apology.
“No, in any times. I’ve never taken pleasure in what we must do to survive. I know my apologies mean nothing, but I hope this agreement can go some way to showing my re-”
There was a rustle from the forest floor. Without another word, the mouse swung up onto the owl’s back and gripped tight as they fell from the branch. As they plummeted the forest began to rumble, the darkness and shadows grew and the carpet of leaves began to spiral in towards the source of the tiny noise. As the owl’s great claws extended the ground rippled, and as he plucked the mouse up the leaves rose up in a long tendril, swatting and reaching towards them as they climbed back into the canopy.
“Don’t worry friend”, the rider said to the terrified cargo, “You’re not dinner today.” The cargo looked up.
“…A-An owl helping a mouse? Why?”
The owl looked down at his claws. “When the whole forest is against us, it’s the only chance we have.”
Stay tuned for next issue’s Wordslingin’ writing challenge! And special thanks again to Peter Underwood and Katerina Skarbinec for submitting their mix’n’match stories to GMA. You’re lovely!!