Project REUTSway Challenge #4: Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark – Introducing…This Week’s Top Looks!
Thank you to all who participated in the fourth and FINAL challenge of Project REUTSway 2013!
With your help, we smashed…destroyed…completely decimated the 50k word count for NaNoWriMo, clocking in at just under 700,000 words. Ooh-da-lally! (Not bad for a mere 30 days of work, right? Even less, when you cut out the time in between submission windows.)
But wait, SHHHHHHHH. There, there. Don’t cry, little REUTSWriMos. Because this twisted little journey is FAR from over. Within the next month, the Project REUTSway team will be hard at work, reading and re-reading all several hundred of your creepiest, most deliciously evil fairy tale retellings. All with the goal of finding out who will be IN for the final anthology.
Make sure you subscribe to the REUTS Notebok for all kinds of VIP REUTlet goodies over the coming holiday season, including giveaways and thrilling announcements…like the official title and cover reveal for the 2013 Project REUTSway anthology! It’s going to be a MAGICAL month, kiddies.
In the meantime, cool your jets with this week’s TOP LOOKS:
Project REUTSway Challenge #4: Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark – Top Looks
(In no particular order, in their original, unedited submission form)
His mind slowly blanked, fading to darkness, as the other took hold. This master plan to wrest control from his unwanted roommate would have to wait.
Where the Captain had once stood, there now sat a creature, covered in hair from snout to tail, shivering in fear.
It did not know why it had once again been brought back into this world, to exist amongst the warlike companions of his other half, during an onslaught of an innocent city.
He knew not why they fought, but he knew all too well of the crimes of the Captain, the man he would once again become at the rise of the sun. He hated his other half, that cruel and wicked man.
To flee from the field of battle, to distance this killer of women and children from those soldiers under his command, that was this beast’s new mission.
It was the same task he had always tried to fulfill every time he had been dragged back into this dreadful world: distance this murderous human from the killing floor, by whatever means necessary.
Maybe this time, he’d find himself far enough away to end his tyrannical reign of chaos. To go as far away from this bedlam, to perhaps flee from the care of his comrades, maybe that would be enough to stop the bloodshed.
Adorned in the tattered clothing of his human counterpart, the Wolfman fled from the Captain’s Quarters, and fled from the town in a panic.
The streets were choked with bodies and fire, ash and rubble. Off he went, barreling into the field and prairie alike, on all fours, as quickly as his legs could take him.
None of the Captain’s men noticed the beast’s grand escape. They were too inebriated on stolen spirits, too caught up in causing the sweet release of human spirits from their earthly forms as well, to notice their leader had become an animal.
Project REUTSway “Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark” Top Looks – Excerpt from “The Angel and the Wolfman” by Michael A. Signorile
It left me with horrible scars, still jagged and red, but at least I still have my life. Unlike the girl.
Knowing where my thoughts have gone, you smile at me sympathetically and come to sit in front of me. “Oh, Harry. It’ll go away soon, I promise. It’ll be nothing more than a distant memory.”
I want to believe you; it would make my life so much easier. But for that to happen, the nightmares have to stop, too. And that does not seem likely; they only get worse, more bloody, more frightening. Sometimes the wolf comes after me in my dreams. Sometimes it goes after wildlife, tearing them to shreds. Last night, it came after you. It cut you into ribbons with its sharp, razor-like claws while you begged it to stop, screamed my name, and then it bit into your throat with its teeth and you finally stopped, finally succumbed to death.
When I woke, I was so happy to see you standing over me that I sobbed.
I often wondered if I was sleepwalking after a month or so of nightmares. They seem so vivid, so real. How else can you explain the blood stains on my chin or that I find myself outside and nude when I know for a fact that I go to bed in my nightclothes?
I asked you to watch over me last night; to follow me if anything happened. You did, and apart from the sleepwalking, nothing happened, you said. You sounded so sure.
So, why can’t I believe you?
Project REUTSway “Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark” Top Looks – Excerpt from “When You Go Into the Woods Tonight” by Sam Hardy
Hansel tells me not to be afraid. He will save us. I believe him.
I squeeze my eyes shut as my body begins to shake. My bones begin to grow. Popping.
Cracking. It hurts when my skin stretches over them. The pain only lasts for a second because skin turns into thick, coarse fur. Ears lengthen. Sharp fangs emerge in the powerful muzzle that replaces her thin, dainty lips.
My sense of smell is better than hers. Blasted ham. I could smell it a mile away. It’s my fault for bringing us to the old woman’s cottage. Anger fills me when I think of everything my dear sister has seen. But that doesn’t matter now. I will take us home.
Metal rattles as the woman unlocks the cage door. She must be blind, for she doesn’t notice I fill the cage. She calls to us. “Come out, come out.”
In a powerful lunge, I pounce on her. Surprised, weak, she falls to the floor like a rag doll. I sink my teeth into her flesh, tearing it from her body—my massive jaws a bear trap around her puny, brittle bones. Gretel yells at me to stop. I ignore her. I can’t restrain the beast. The old woman will never bother anyone again.
We waste no time leaving the blood-soaked candy prison. Gretel says she’ll never eat gingerbread again. I am sorry for her, but she will forget.
Project REUTSway “Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark” Top Looks – Excerpt from “One” by Summer Wier
“Earlobe,” the boy said.
She squinted at him, and then Marcela, as the bodies began packing in more tightly.
“What the hell does that mean?” she asked Marcela.
Marcela, who held a small silver case to her as the elevator continued to fill up shrugged and said, “I haven’t the slightest clue.”
The last one in was the bot. The door whispered closed. The light turned green. Marcela felt her stomach lurch as the elevator began to rise. It was made of glass, including the ceiling, so they could watch it dock with the shuttle that would take them to the space station. Everyone in the elevator—except the bot of course—had their heads tilted up to watch the approach to the shuttle.
“Earlobe, earlobe, earlobe, earlobe . . .” the boys began to chant. Some of them raised their fists in the air and waved them in time to the chanting.
Sara mouthed “What?” at Marcela, who shrugged again. She clutched the case even more tightly.
The chanting became louder and louder as it drew closer to the dock.
“Earlobe! Earlobe! Earlobe!”
The elevator slowed and stopped. The doors slid opened. They were greeted by the rest of their class, who were also chanting “Earlobe! Earlobe! Earlobe!”
“Oh, for Pete’s sake!” asked Sara, once the chanting had finally died down. They departed the elevator, trying to avoid the careening bodies of boys and girls excited at the reunion with their friends. “What’s wrong with these guys?”
“Immaturity,” said Marcela.
Project REUTSway “Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark” Top Looks – Excerpt from “Earlobe” by Debra Vega
In these days of darkness, I knew better than to expect a gift. Papa was a huntsman, and Mama was a weaver, so there wasn’t much in between for frivolities. The only other family we had was my grandmother, who lived deep in the woods, even farther away from the village than we were. But Mama was determined. When she wasn’t sewing fine gowns to trade with the rich for food, or knitting scarves and mittens for the coming winter, she tucked away scraps of cloth and began cobbling them together with her artist’s eye and mother’s heart.
That day is ingrained in my memory, every detail clear and crisp and unforgettable. Papa had left at dawn with a hunting party, leaving the celebrating to Mama. She woke me with a kiss, her lips brushing my forehead in her gentle, tender way.
“Marie,” she whispered into my hair. “Happy birthday.”
As my eyes fluttered open, she told me she had a gift for me, if I would be a good little girl and wait just a moment. I sat stock-still in bed, the covers flung away in anticipation.
Mama brought me the gift in a crude wooden box, clearly Papa’s contribution.
“It’s for you,” she said with a smile that lit up her face. “A little red riding hood.”
I took the box, my eyes wide and lips parted.
Then I opened the lid and promptly turned into a monstrous wolf. That’s what Mama told me after I came back into consciousness hours later. I didn’t remember a thing, and thought that it was all a dream, but the blood crusting on my fingernails and the bruises on my back verified Mama’s story.
I was a six-year-old monster.
Happy birthday to me.
Project REUTSway “Shifty Stories to Read in the Dark” Top Looks – Excerpt from “Red” by Ryanne Kap
Project REUTSway PSA: If you weren’t chosen for this week’s Top Looks, don’t worry! You’re still in the running for the final anthology, provided your story met all of the posted submission guidelines. Likewise, if you were chosen for the TL this week, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a finalist overall.
Keep sacrificing to those pagan gods (or whatever it is you do when you’re waiting for good news)!
As they say, it’s still anyone’s game!
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