First Writing Competition

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The Strongest
Sep 3, 2015

This is a new (and final) competition series called the Dickens Essayists Series. It is an writing competition exclusive to Modern INKers, that challenges anyone to construct a story in any themes. As with the other two competitions, there will be awards, feedback to improve your skills and the chance to expand your writing ability outside of your comfort zone. 

This is a test competition: Starting on October 20th, you will be given 11 days to complete it. The theme of the competition is relatively an easy one:
  • Freestyle: You can write whatever (in any forma such as original, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, fan-fiction, etc.) and however you wish! Everything is on the table for this one, folks! Join for fun and help iron out the details to improve the next Dickens Essayists Competition.
  • The requirement is a minimum word count of 300 and the maximum is 1500.
  • You simply post your story; you will received feedback to help you improve!
  • If it's mature, warn your readers with a "Mature Rating" warning, so they know what they're getting into.
I'll give this one a shot. I've been itching to try out new things lately. Do we c/p our short story and put them into spoilers, as usual?
Yep! Just simply post your story here and placed them under spoilers to avoid scrolling text.
Short, sweet, and to the point.  I guess you can say I entered my story with a bang.:maybe:

The rubble settled and the deafening roar that came with it silenced as the wind blew away the dust that came with the destruction. Under it, all, lay a man who was barely recognizable after being caught in the center of the explosion. His face, or what remained of it, was burned away entirely on one side. The rest of his body caught under a massive pile of debris, his legs crushed and virtually useless. The soldier stayed motionless in a pool of blood forming around him, his right arm blasted away from the trap he found himself in. The man didn’t know what to do or who to pray to, his thoughts only drifted to that of his younger brother, wishing he could see him before he perished. 

His wish was met. The voice of his younger brother woke him, returning him back to the pain. He heard another voice, one with more authority. His commander. They both called to him, crying—begging for a response. A bloody cough was all the soldier could muster, unable to say much with the weight of the rubble over his body. The younger brother, Mark, pleaded with the commander to save his brother, Smith, but all he received was silence and a look of insecurity. He shoved the commander.

“You can’t just leave him here! We can save him!” Mark cried out. “What do we do commander?!”

“Mark,” The older one called out. “I am beyond the point of being saved…”

“N-No! We can take you to our Medic and she can—“

“Look at me!” Smith roared. “Open your eyes! You think any amount of help will fix me?!” He coughed out blood, the yelling taking much of his energy. “I lost my arm, I cannot move my legs, I cannot see, this pain is choking me… I lost my purpose as a sniper, and more importantly, a soldier…”

Mark remained silent, the truth of his brother’s words striking him but he refused to let his brother die. He was all the family he had left after the war took both parents, he looked up to him, learned from him, and needed him. Smith turned his head to face the commander, and smiled slyly despite the situation; the commander did not share his enthusiasm. All he saw was a man reaching within the rubble to pull out a handgun and gently push it to his younger brother. His smirk then directed itself to the brother.

“Mark, you have to prove to me that you have grown into a man… You will face many hardships in this world, this war will only test you. I was foolish, and this is the result of me not listening to the commander… Do not make the same mistake I did. I want you to live on, enjoy the life you worked so hard on building… ”

Smith chuckled to himself before feeling tears run down his cheek. Mark’s eyes widen, finally catching on to what his brother wants him to do.

“Mark, I need you to end my suffering…”

“I… I can’t.” Mark was paralyzed, the request is too much for him to burden. He felt his throat tighten and his hands shake. “I can’t…”

“This will be your final obstacle. If you can kill me, then you will be the soldier you dreamed of.”

“I won’t kill you, Smith! I can’t!”

“Then let the commander do it,” Smith ordered. “He knows it is a hard decision, but saving me is impossible… The only thing left for me is death.”

Mark hesitated before looking to the commander, the look on his face showed nothing but pain. The commander, understandingly, did not want to kill off a good friend of his but it would be crueler to leave him alive to suffer. Letting out an audible sigh, the commander took the handgun from the floor and placed a hand on Mark’s shoulder, letting him know that it wasn’t easy for him either. There was no talking, no sort of communication between the two, and Mark knew what his commander wanted of him. Without saying a word, the younger brother took a deep breath and smiled brightly to his brother, holding back any sort of emotion he might have, and turned his back to the duo to walk away. Smith grinned at the thumbs up from his younger brother.

“I’ll be sure to watch my back from now on, big brother.”

With his final words, the little one departed to wait for the inevitable.

Smith turned to face his commander, smirking at the fate he bestowed on himself.

“So, this is how it ends huh? And here I thought I would go out in a more dignified manner.”

“Smith, you know I don’t want to do this to you…” The commander stared at the gun in his hand.

“I know, and I’m sorry commander. Mark can’t do this, only you can…” Smith chuckled.

“Yeah, well, it doesn’t make it easier for me, y’know.” The commander cocked the gun and stood before his soldier. His body begged him to stop, but his brain knew what had to be done.

“Hey commander…” the man spoke up, his voice slightly gargled from the blood. “I want you to win this war. Don’t think of this as a loss, but rather a reason to stop this senseless fighting…”

“I will…” The commander slowly lifted his arm to aim the gun at Smith, his finger wrapped around the trigger.

“And take good care of Mark…”

“Anything else..?” The commander’s voice trembled, stalling for as long as he could.

“Yeah…” Smith let out a sigh of relief and broke into a smile. “Pull the trigger.”

The commander hesitated, and all he could feel were tears running down his cheeks. He began to breathe slowly and steadily aimed the gun to his soldier’s head. Each passing second felt like an hour, the silence of the atmosphere drove the commander insane. He didn’t want to kill his best soldier, but there was nothing he could do. In a way, he wanted someone to get to Smith before he did so he wouldn’t have to be the one to put him down. The memories of their past adventures stormed through the commander’s head, and his finger only tightened around the trigger.

A single gunshot was heard, but it was a shot that everyone knew was more painful to the wielder than the receiver, as the agonizing cries of the commander echoed on such a lonely night.
Better late than never! Mine is Bloodborne fanfiction, but I think it's understandable to anyone who hasn't even touched Bloodborne. There's really no huge spoilers in it in terms of the story, but the game has also been out for 3 years, so I think I can get away with it.

The plaza in the city of Central Yharnam was full of paranoid, angry townspeople congregating together after erecting a large pyre for their largest capture yet; a giant lycanthrope. It was already dead, bisected by the huntsmen as flames consumed its corpse. The stench of burning flesh and singed hair filled the air as the smoke billowed into the blazing orange sky. These people weren't the hunters who fashioned tools for killing beasts as part of their trade; they used pitchforks, garden tools, torches. Fire was a staple for cleansing a place of beasts. Every so often, the bell of Central Yharnam’s clocktower rang its eerie echo; a looming alarm to all that the hunt was on tonight.

They whispered to each other about splitting into groups and venturing out to various parts of the city outskirts in order to fight off the beastly scourge that continued to ravage Yharnam. A hunter skilled at his trade could easily clear it out alone, but these were townsmen turned hunters spur-of-the moment who feared even a mere scratch would infect them. The more beasts they hunted, however, the quicker people seemed to succumb to the beastly scourge; it either turned them into a monster or sapped their life force away as a deadly disease no amount of medicine could cure. Central Yharnamites who were still sane had barricaded themselves inside their homes, refusing to open the door to anybody for fear the mysterious plague would spread to them. It was the town's huntsmen that constantly were exposed to the scourge, and it was inadvertently beginning to change them into bloodthirsty beasts, albeit slowly. Perhaps their use of blood ministration to maintain stamina sped up this process, but such claims would label you a heretic against the Healing Church.

“This town's finished…”

“Fat lot of good these hunters are. Ain't it their job to keep the beasts out’a Yharnam?”

“It ain’t their fault… it’s the outsiders. If they never came here…”

Right now, there was no way an outsider would be welcome in Central Yharnam-- not the way it was now. And it was easy to tell; the clothing, the manner you carry yourself, even the accent you speak with can give you away. For an outsider, it’s easier to just not speak at all when stuck outside without shelter from the crazed public. The only safe places are inside, and the only one that Eydis knew of was the clinic she had woken up in. Her first objective was to collect her bearings and figure out what was going on in this strange town. The doctor who called herself Iosefka that treated her refused to so much as open the door like everyone else, and gave vague answers.

“Well pfft! Poor, poor you! Stuck outside on the night of the hunt!” A gaggle of women indoors taunted at one house.

“I'm sorry, but I cannot let you through this door now that you exposed yourself to the outside elements. Please, don't think badly of me for this. I only wish to keep my patients safe from the infection,” The good doctor insisted, fearfully peering at Eydis through a hole in the window's parchment covering.

After wandering and slaughtering any townsmen that accosted her, Eydis found herself in front of a dilapidated building much like Iosefka’s Clinic, but it was located on the other side of Central Yharnam near the residential homes. There seemed to be a space above the doors that held some letters in place, but it looked like someone had intentionally torn them off. The most she could make out was that this was originally a clinic; there was a possibility that the original owner left town, but there was also a chance that they were still here. She rapped her knuckles against the old wooden door. She noticed a few old incense jars hanging along the porch’s upper railing. The smell was pungent and had an acrid aroma that vaguely reminded her of burning flowers among bone. It almost drove out the stench of plague and blood out of her nostrils entirely.

Nobody came to the door.

She tried again, but harder to make her presence known.

“Ugh… What is it?” came an angry voice that seemed to belong to a woman. “Back to bother me again? I told you, the clinic is closed. If treatment is what you want, go visit Iosefka’s Clinic. I ain’t takin’ anybody in.”

“I’m not in need of treatment,” the huntress replied.

“... Hmph. You an outsider? Women shouldn’t be out on their streets by themselves.”

“You don’t have the Yharnam accent yourself. I take it you’re the doctor of this clinic?”

“... Who’s askin’?”

“The only one in town who doesn’t sound absolutely mad.”

The curtain obscuring who was behind the door moved aside very slightly, revealing one honey-colored eye with dainty eyelashes. The lower lid was darkened by eye bags, as though she had been awake for several days. She eyed the hunter up and down, resting her gaze on her eyes.

“... A hunter too, are ya? I can imagine the warm welcomes you’ve been receiving.”

“For now, I suppose. At the moment, I need to figure out where I’ll be going from here, after I clean house.”

“Don’t tell me you intend on huntin’ the beasts alone. You must be mad.”

“Isn’t everyone here mad?”

“... Fair enough.” The doctor said nothing for some moments. “I don't much like the hunters around here… all of them seem to go mad eventually and kill whatever comes across them for the thrill of it.”

“I'm only interested in hunting beasts. So long as hunters don't attack me, they can do what they please.” Eydis said. "I only need information."

“... Tell you what,” the doctor offered. “How about you bring me one of those beasts down here so I can study it?”

“What, alive?” came the hunter's incredulous response.

“Freshly killed, you fool. There's no point trying to cure any of the ones infected, but a fresh specimen of the real thing piques my interest.”

The conversation went back and forth until they reached an agreement; in exchange for bringing slain beasts like the lycanthrope and anything in various stages of the scourge infection, the good doctor would reward the hunter with information and medical items fashioned from the very beasts Eydis slaughtered. At one point, the doctor even invited her in to see a dissection in person. 

They came to discover forbidden knowledge that the Healing Church would have done its best to hide, and they did, by exiling the ones who spoke of the truth.

The beasts were never beastly by origin; there never was a scourge that spread to humans from monsters. The beasts are people. The fur on the lycanthropes had the same composition that a human's did, but just appeared thicker due to the change in color. People hunted each other and are driving themselves mad. But why?

"Looks like old man Djura was right about the beasts all along. How foolish we were to doubt him."

“If it isn't a disease from monsters, then what's causing it to spread?” Asked the hunter.

“... Blood ministration, perhaps? Everyone around here seems to have it done on them.”

“I wonder if it has to do with what I saw when I woke up in the clinic.”

“What do you mean?”

“I saw a note left on the table next to where I woke up.” Eydis closed her eyes to recall the foggy memory. “Seek paleblood to transcend the hunt, it said. A gent named Gilbert said something about the Healing Church dealing with blood, but I didn't think it would be like this.”

“Of course it was the Healing Church, peddling blood ministration,” the doctor spat. “When Old Yharnam burned down, they were the ones that closed off the gate on the bridge.”

“I suppose that is my next stop if I want to find the meaning of paleblood.” Eydis stood up and headed for the deadlocked door, hearing the clocktower ring again. “Before I leave, why don't you take this? I don't feel like I have a need for it if it came from that woman. If you find anything about what it's made of, please summon me here at once.” She handed the doctor a tiny vial with a strange amber hue.

The doctor swirled the off-color blood vial, a “clinic original” of Iosefka's, eyeing it suspiciously. If this was produced by blood ministration, why was it so unlike blood?

“I can try, but there's no promises I will discover anything. Before you depart, I have a warning for you: stay away from the Tomb of Oedon. I hear an old hunter’s gone mad and is taking out his bloodthirst on anything that comes near. You can tell it's him because he reeks of old blood.”


A series of footsteps. A howl rings out in the distance.
The door is shut again.

It didn't matter to the good hunter if the beasts roaming about were people; to end the hunt, she needed to find paleblood. 

To seek paleblood, a path must be carved.

Btw Bloodborne is mostly reliant on your interpretation, so my ideas about anything going on could be way off since I haven't finished the game yet. Might be a smidge over 1500 words.
Here's my entry! This is one of the early projects I was working on, so I made a ton of changes. Currently 1400 words (originality 2600...) :p

The stadium is full of uproars, the clanging sounds reverberate from their feet stomping the metallic flooring underneath the bleachers, and the beverages being tossed in the air as liquid sprayed downward to the crowd, their excitement of this 200 meter dash Olympic event is quite satisfying to hear. The more I look on of the stadium, filled with thousands of people, the more I am struck with wonderment of their enthusiasm. My eyes darted to the bottom corner, slightly turning my head to the right, to see my all seven of my opponents, doing their last minute stretches; from their composure, I sense a level of confidence on their faces. As I returned back onward, of the race, as the smell of rubber invaded my nostrils, a smell I had grown accustomed too, my lips broke into a small smirk. 

“Confidence is the hardest thing to perfect—all it takes is a minor mistake, and it all comes crashing down.” I muttered, but clear, and loud, enough for the other runners to take notice of my words. In harmonious succession, all of them stopped their movements, their eyes meet mines. “Try not to lose that when the race starts.” 

It was a cocky remark—no, it is a cocky remark. The Olympics is a terrible burden to be pressed on any individual; we are expected be pushed to the absolute limit of human conditions, to show off the best of our nation. There were no response from them, instead, they stopped stretching and readied themselves on the starting line, positing themselves in a starting position. A nerve I had struck—they will be motivated to do their best and make this race a memorable one. The loudness of the fans became erratic, I can heard the rawness of their screams, waiting for the start of the race. One last look to my opponents, their faces reveal whether or not they would fall behind or give them their all. The runner next to me has determination written on his—it seems that my words had gotten to him. He’ll be a good opponent to best. Yet, one particular on the far end on the right, is sweating up a storm. The sensation of the camera, broadcasting millions worldwide behind him is definitely wearing him down. As I bore the burden of the United States behind my back, he’s feeling the pressure of the United Kingdom.

The moment the OMEGA electronic start system triggered the speakers behind each runner, the runners set off. 

Time: 00:00:0.9

Bolting my body forward, my legs sprung in rapid movements—the scent of smelling salt that some of my peers had on their bodies and the sounds from the cheers of thousands of fans became nothing more than a void—my mind emptiness as my body moves, as if it has a mind of their own, as my mind focus on the finish line.


Time: 00:00:0.45

Several bodies are passing me. My eyes narrowed, trying to gather my thoughts. Yet, the more I tried to remain focus on running, more and more bodies are passing me—even the sweater is going leap and bounds ahead of me.

Time: 00:00:1.00

My teeth grinded against one another so hard, tiny fractions flickered out of my mouth. My body began to heat up that I could not afford to breathe out of my nostrils and opened my mouth. I noticed that I was slowing down, so much that the runners were that much ahead of me—halfway to the finish line. What is going on? What is happening? My stomach. I felt like I wanted to vomit right then and there. 

I lifted my head, my eyes could barely opened due to the combination of sweat and tears, blinded my sight. That talk of confidence? I trained my entire life for this event! Every single day, without rest, going against the wishes of my trainer to take it easy. 

When my eyesight became much clearer, I saw the other runners turning their heads slightly to my direction, a smugness smile forming on their faces. 

“We trained harder than you.”

“We are more confidence than you.”

“You lack the stamina, while we preserved ourselves.”

“We are motivated while you just a trash talker… you get what you deserved.”

I can just tell from the look of their eyes, they were looking down on me. Mocking me for my cockiness. Those shit-eating grins on their faces. Fuck you. I will not let this moment passed. You want a race? I’m the real runner, right down to the marrow of my fucking bones. Don’t lump me together with your false confidence of competition! My right foot slammed onto the ground, pieces of the rubber from the track flung everywhere, and then I took another step.

Time: 00:00:2.10

My body hurts, but I didn’t care. My legs felt like they were about to split in two if I keep on pushing, but I didn’t care. My arms felt like they were going to fly right out of my arms, but I didn’t care. I just didn’t care. I just wanted to win. I pushed myself, trying to pass the seventh runner, then the sixth, then the fifth. Adrenaline high, so high, I lost all focus of my surroundings—expect for the finish line. Everything else turned into a blur, the stadium, the grass, and the other runners. Flashing through my eyes, I felt like flying, passing through each persons, one by one—then eventually, I passed the first, taking the league. 

The finish line, I see the finish line. 

I screamed as loud as I could as the tape hit my body, before the other runners could even think about reaching it, stepping over the finish line.

I slid on the ground to stop my movements. As I nearly fell over the ground, I jumped high in the air as I slammed my chest with my right hand many times. The words I yelled were became gibberish due to trying to catch my breath. I stopped jumping around, standing still, to regain my breathing. This sensation, the feeling of being backed into the corner and overcoming it. A feeling like I needed to empty my bowels right this moment. It was a good, no, a wonderful feeling. 

I looked over, to the clock to see my time on the wall, but there was something wrong.  

Time: 00:00:2.11

What? Is the time off or something? Two seconds? In that moment, I realized, there were no cheers, there were no stomping the ground, the smell of rubber suddenly turned into a foul, burnt one, and I heard the screams as if they were being attacked by a furious beast. I turned my head to see what had happened. 

In this moment, Nally’s eyes darted around, seeing the other runners in the air, screaming before crashing down onto the ground. The trail behind Nally was nothing more than a burnt pathway, causing him to take a few feet black. The announcers, utterly confused of what transpired, weigh in their thoughts.

“We don’t know what just happened. There’s a lot of smoke… lots of it. Runners are severely injured. It seems that Nally Barre broke the world record in 2.11 seconds! I repeat, Barre has broken the world record!”

Yet, the audience did not cheer; instead, they were scared, confused, and more focused on the injured runners. I can feel the eyes burning through my body, with their contempt and utter silence. I stare at my hands, the bones still shaking from the event, even when I tried to grip them. Suddenly, I became to hear comments, comments from the audiences, but it was whispers, silent voices, deep within the crowd.
I grabbed my head and crouched down, trying to get the voices out of my head until a referee came before me.

“Based on what happen here… it seems that you became a Special.” He spoke casually. “It’s a rare event, but it happens to some people… and with a feat like that, we cannot and should not consider your score legitimate; otherwise, the sanctity of the games becomes tainted.” 

“… Tainted?” 

Nally didn’t uttered a single word afterword as he rose his head up to the man’s face—at this moment, he knew well, that the life he sought for has come to a grinding halt.
You know if I get off my ass I suppose I can write stuff on time as long as I have the proper ideas.


It drives me forward.

It spins the wheel of progress and regression.

It makes every second last an eternity.

The ancients tower above me, beards of decades gone by turn from summer’s greens to fall’s reds to yellows, with the oranges in between. I walk along the path, staring at those with years beyond my comprehension, beyond my existence. Their wooden forms provide comforting familiarity, despite the vastness of time and age providing their physical forms. The sun’s setting provides beautiful illumination to their beards, and casts long shadows onto the ground. It is out of this shadow that a person approaches.

“Shadow, my friend, I’ve been looking for you.” I said with a large smile at the approaching male. He shakes his head and chuckles.

“Liar, you heard me perfectly well that I was sick of waiting and would go on ahead. Where is Luna, anyways?” He asked, only to literally jump in surprise.

“Surprise!” Said a female voice behind him, holding a stick. Irate and flustered, he turned around to look at the one who did this to him, and scoffed.

“Can’t you handle someone being behind you, without you know it? You’re always behind me.” I asked him with a roll of my eyes. He shook his head and looked to me.

“Not at all. After all, that’s on you.” He stated without hesitation. A part of me feels the disturbance, and just nod.

“Yeah, yeah.” I replied, looking at the ground, before Luna poked me with the stick. “Hey! Not nice!”

“See!” Shadow yelled.

Fear, at its core, is not knowing something.

It is a lack of knowledge.

It is that lacking which leads to death.

Which leads to fear.

Seething at Luna with petty fury and indignation, that sweet smile, those caring eyes, I can’t bring myself to be angry at those I love for very long. Dropping my childish anger, I begin to walk along the path again, away from the ancients’ long beards into open air, open skies, looking to our destination. Shadow and Luna follow suit.

“What, no apology?” Shadow asked.

“One does not need to apologize for pranks.” I replied. Luna just smiled, as she always did.

When there is fog over a lake, the veil between this world and the next becomes visible.

The barrier, once revealed can be penetrated like an overeager spouse before the marriage is properly done.

Crossing the barrier leads from this world to the next, and once one crosses the barrier, they will see things.

They will know what fear truly is.

Something’s not right. I can feel it in the air. Like a murderous intent.

“I, I thought today’s forecast was bright and sunny.” Luna stated, seeing dark clouds rolling in.

“Not rainy and depressing.” Shadow added, though in most situations this day would make me, I mean him, happy.

“Look, it, it doesn’t matter.” I said to try and reassure them, heavy raindrops starting to fall onto us. “We’ll just go to the shore edge, grab what I left behind, and then head home.”

“And let me guess, hold Luna and fall asleep to the rain?” Shadow asked as his hair started to fall flat from being wet, rather grumpy about a day out being ruined on the basis of a bad weather forecast.

“You can paint to the rain, you know.” I replied, wishing I had my coat and hat to keep the rain off me. I looked to Luna, who said nothing, not appreciating the rain as much as I did internally.

“Sorry Shadow, we’ll be going home for my sake.” She stated, glancing up. As we continued along the path, crossing over the bridge and across the roads, fog started to roll from the lake and permeate our path. Taking what felt like hours but was truly minutes, we arrive at the shore of destination. Looking out to the rain falling onto the lake, and the fog covering everything but still being translucent enough to be visible, I shrug and look to my friends.

“I’m not so sure about this.” Luna said.

“You, really need to grab it today?” Shadow asked. I rolled my eyes.

“We’re here, aren’t we? Might as well. Not like a little fog won’t do anything.”

Fear makes every second last an eternity.

I cross the fog, approaching the shore edge from the road. I pass through, going right to the edge of the water. Searching for the bag I left behind, I hear the waters moving with the rain. Continuing to walk around, knowing that in the fog the bag looked just like the rest of the grassy dirt, I see the water moving around the shore. At last I managed to find it, and yoink it off the ground, looking up to begin my journey back to my home. That is when I see it moving. Cutting through the water, it caused ripples and waves in the medium depths of the water by the shore edge, its form starting to become apparent. Rising up, I can see its form tower. I am looking at a massive serpent, a human wide and twenty humans long, towering over me. It is in a cover not made of water, but a slime nearly identical in terms of looks to it. Parts of the serpent are the flesh of sea snakes, parts of it is water, and parts of it are rotting organic matter of indeterminate origin. It is a blue thing, helping it hide beneath the waves. It stares at me, looking down with curiosity at my insolence. The mouth opens, a tongue speaking a language I don’t know, but understand.

“It is awfully brave of you to come here alone, little human.” It says. I rapidly turn my head.

“No, my friends, my friends are here!” I shout in desperation.

“You have no friends. You are alone. As all things are, when they face death.” It replied, unamused by my self imposed illusions. I turn to face it, quivering where I stand.

“Please, I, I don’t want to die.” I beg of it.

“Death comes to all. That is why all things have the capacity to fear, because fear staves off death.” The serpent inched closer.

I screamed. I screamed in fear of the blinding, horrific nature of the end of existence, and I screamed until I could not stop screaming. My screams last until my memory doesn’t.

“Hey buddy, you okay?” Shadow asked standing over me. I shake my head and bat away his hand, but, it isn’t there. I pull myself off the ground, and look around. They are not there. No one is there. My bag was on my chest. I realize I’m absolutely drenched, and I need to get home before hypothermia kills me. Starting to jog, burdened by my bag and the weight of water on me, I eventually make it home, even if it took like an hour. Unlocking the house door I walk by the couch.

“Luna, where did you-” I asked before shaking my head. There’s no perfect goddess laying there, named after the moon, waiting to hold me in her arms. It is just a mess of pillows I haven’t straightened. Ignoring myself, I walk upstairs and look into my brother’s room.

“Shadow, stop-” I said before catching myself again. My brother’s still at school, won’t be back home until I go to work. Work, where Shadow’s my only companion. With another sigh I go and get myself dried off, and get into bed to get warmed back up. Staring out the window, I look at the rain still coming down.

“What a horrid nightmare, Luna.” I mutter to myself, in my empty home, alone except for me. Drifting off into sleep, I wish to dream of only one thing. A goddess who loves me and lives on the moon, and a brother I can relate to and share common interests in, who is always, always behind my back, like a shadow.

Maybe someday.

Lots of good stories! As of now, this competition is now closed. I will laid out the details of how this works in upcoming days (to be a standard for future competitions).
Thoughts on the competition: The word count was fair. Enough to force effort, but also enough that I wrote mine as a first draft with I think a thousand words in two hours after about three days of thinking. It was interesting that everyone chose a fantasy story. Granted, Z's was very realistically done in the Discord she stated it was based off a moment in the story about a genius scientist who invents incredible things, and Shine's was seemingly realism until the very end, mine was entirely fantasy despite it all being set in someone's imagination.

Onto individual stories:

I can't really judge grammar stuff and I'm bad at picking up spelling mistakes so I'll mostly give thoughts, but it won't be a solid critique by any means.

Z: Not much to say here, other than it is a fine entry. Very somber, very serious tone. I can't say much other than it succeed as a story, moving me and being believable. Only issue I had is that if someone's face is burnt off, well half of it, they probably can't speak entirely clearly. Now, I may be wrong, as I've known someone who could perfectly understand people who had major facial damage when others in the room couldn't. Heck, myself and my mother more often than not understand distorted speech better than my father or brother do.

Loopy: The primary thing that gets me here is the timeskip. In terms of story structure it just feels rather strange, especially with the length. It goes from an introduction of the state of Yharnam to a major revelation about the state of Yharnam, two different major ideas, in the span of 4 sentences, bridged by the development of the relationship of the hunter and the doctor. It just throws me off. I would say that the shortness of the competition really might be the cause of that. In addition, the ending feels a bit strange to me. Possibly because I don't understand the references, but also because it feels out of the blue. There's no real set up to the hunter leaving to seek out Old Yharnam and Paleblood, and I feel that element of the story would have worked better if it was introduced with the hunter waking up. The part about the mad hunter is fine after I read it three times though, mad hunters were set up earlier in the story and every game NPC warns player characters to not go to x place because y threat. Fine by me.

That said the story does work extremely well for someone like me whose knowledge of Bloodborne comes from three hours on the wiki out of curiosity and not even a game playthrough. So it is very well done in terms of accessibility. In addition, the hunter and the doctor act in very believable ways and I am completely invested into their story. The human element here simply works. I do not doubt that for a moment. I do not doubt the story for a moment. That is a good compliment that I can give the entry.

Shine: I don't know what to say here other than this is an exemplary example of fantasy realism I've ever seen. The details, the story structure, the writing, even the dialogue, every part of it is great and contributes to a feel of the story being an actual event. In addition, the mental dialogue of the narrator portrays a human being extremely well. I had to remind myself writing my thoughts that it was just a story.
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