I've been waiting for the banners to be ready before posting a link to my entry in round two of the Last Fic Writer Standing contest over on sgahcchallenges. While I was pleased with what I'd produced, I was well aware that it was an idea that probably shouldn't have been squeezed into so few words. It was a better story in its original 610 word form than in its final 500-exactly form. I think in both my stories so far I've tried to fit in too much for the limited word count. Both of them have confused a couple of people.
I feel very guilty since I didn't vote in this round. I read them all the day they were posted, and had a vague idea of what my voting would be, but I wanted to sit on them for a few days, then come back and make my final choice when I was able to tell which stories had lingered with me after reading. However, being ill put paid to that, since I wasn't up to sitting at the computer on Sunday evening. Still, I was most relieved to see that the votes I'd been likely to make wouldn't have changed the final outcome at all.
This week's challenge is a tough one - no dialogue, though it must include social interaction between at least two characters, and a cast list that excludes all the people I'm most comfortable writing - but that's why I signed up for the challenge. I tend to write very much within my comfort zone, with regard to genres, characters etc., so welcome the challenge to do something I wouldn't normally do. I hope, so, anyway, since I'm not up to actually thinking, planning or writing at the moment, so have no ideas yet on how I'll respond to the challenge. This'll probably be a last-minute entry, since the moment I feel up to writing again, I'll be attacking that last chapter of my pirate sequel.
Anyway... Here are my entries for the first two rounds, with the round two story complete with the lovely banner made by highonstargate:
The round one challenge was for stories that were entirely in dialogue, in which every member of the team spoke at least once.
When You Say Nothing At All
"You okay, guys? Guys? Crap. Radio's busted. Must have been when I fell. Uh, this is not good. I think I… Yeah, talking to yourself, John. Crazy, huh?"
"John? Can you hear us, John?"
"We can hear him. Why can't he--?"
"Working! Oh, that's wonderful. Throw yourself bodily at the delicate locking mechanism. How stupid of me. Of course that's the way to open it."
"But he's going to--"
"Hence the 'working.' Stand aside and let me--"
"Can't feel my legs any more. Felt something break inside. Ronon, buddy? Think you're gonna have to… No. Crazy, John. Can't hear me. It's this damn cold. Gotta keep moving. Safe. They're safe. Rodney's gonna--"
"We have to--"
"I know! This is very intricate work. It can't be hurried."
"Sheppard hasn't got time."
"I can't...! God, yes, I know. I'll cut… Oh. Oh no no no no no."
"No, I can--"
"Gotta keep moving. Gotta stay... Gotta… I'm sorry, guys. Can't… I'm… not doing so good. Gonna sit down and… Sorry. You'll get home. Rodney'll fix it. Guard his back, buddy. Teyla, I wish I…"
"Oh, you gotta be kidding me! The control panel blows out, and it's still locked. No, Conan, you can't shoot your way through. Let me--"
"But Rodney, your hands…"
"I've got to get the door open. Sheppard… You heard him. Do you know how quickly you can freeze to death in winds like that?"
"Because, oh yes, I forgot the magic fairy who waved her sparkly wand and fixed his radio."
"At least let us bandage them."
"There's no time. But be ready to go. As soon as I--"
"Never used to think about how I'd die, and then… Some guys were scared of dying alone. But if you die alone… you know your team's made it through. Best way. It's… been a pleasure. No, more than that. Never thought… Never thought I'd find… Rodney, Ronon, Teyla… All of you…"
"Any minute now. Any… minute… now…"
"John. Please, John, live. You must live."
"Sheppard, you're not quitting on me. Remember our deal?"
"Gently, gently… Yes! Go! Go go go!"
"Think he's waking up."
"You can't distract me that easily. This fruit cup is mine, my friend. Injured man!"
"No, Rodney, I believe Ronon is right."
"Really? Sheppard? Sheppard?"
"Of course you heard us. We're right here."
"No. Then. Heard you. Almost quit. Almost said… Then I… heard you."
"And now he's delirious. Your radio was damaged. You couldn't--"
"No. Knew you were there. Knew what you would say. Heard you."
"No. Heard you here. Always do. Always."
"It's the drugs talking."
"Yeah. But you were there, even… when I… couldn't…"
"And we will still be here when you wake up, John."
"I know. You… Listen, guys, I…"
"There is no need to say anything at all, John. We know. We know."
Round two called for a story from the viewpoint of an original character. I love writing outsider viewpoint! (Although, having recently gone on a bit of an outsider viewpoint spree, I'd already used up many of my ideas.)
Woven Into the Lives of Others
Woven into the Lives of Others
I will never forget the men with skin the colour of elinyr in winter.
They were all contrasts. The bands at their wrists were black, and the chain that linked them was rusty orange. The mud on their feet was brown, and white showed through rents in their dark jerkins. It was the blood that I saw first, though. They bled the same as you or I, these two strangers.
But I am jumping ahead of myself, like an ay-baer over-eager for the water. Let's start again, shall we?
When I was your age, dear heart, I ran away from home. I do not remember what drove me to this act, but I knew that I had been wronged as no boy had ever been wronged. Glowering, I stamped through the crumbling leaves, as black-winged kraes screamed above me.
That was when I saw them, the strangers. Nothing makes fury vanish swifter than fear, and I melted trembling into the undergrowth, and watched through fronds as they staggered through the glade. What did they say as they walked? I no longer remember, but their accent was strange, and they goaded each other with jagged words, as if they despised each other.
Yet when the shorter man fell, the dark-haired one was silk and steel as he tried to rouse him. Rodney, he called him - yes, the name I gave your baby brother. "Can't," Rodney gasped. "Can't."
I did not see the hunter approach. He did, though, the dark-haired pale one, and he acted as swift as summer lightning, throwing his body over Rodney's.
He took the arrow in the middle of his back. Its feathers were tawny, and the blood--
But I will not talk about the blood. I will talk instead of Rodney, who cried out, wild as a kraes. "Sheppard," he gasped – yes, dear heart, your own name. As Sheppard fell to his knees, Rodney found the strength to haul him up, and this time he was the one doing the shielding. When the arrow struck him, he screamed. "No," Sheppard rasped. He broke away, the chain taut between his hands...
But you are young, as I was young, and some things are not for telling. Their pursuer would never hurt anyone again. We will leave it there.
I wonder what became of them, these strangers. The long patrols found no bodies, and wild-faced hunters stamped through the woods for many days, searching for their missing prey. I can only hope that they had homes, and that they found them. That is all.
And as for me…? I went home changed. My childhood sufferings seemed as nothing in a world where men could feel such pain. My childhood grievances seemed as nothing in a world where men would willingly die for a friend.
And so I set my foot upon the path that still I walk. Every soul we meet has the power to change us, if we have eyes to see. Remember that, my son.
The title comes from a quotation attributed to Pericles: "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."