Aug 30, 2013

The Chosen - WW 24-hour contest - Summer 2013 - all audiences

Heya folks,

We've heard back from Writer's Weekly as the results are in: I didn't win a damn thing!


But hey, that means I can ask you guys to give my story a read and tell me if you think I should've won something, even if it's just a door prize (which is an e-book of your choice). So, here it comes, I've left the prompt in, so you can see what the starting point was on this one.

Enjoy the read and make sure to let me know what you think ;o)

Thank you!!!


Holding the sleeping infant on her shoulder, she gazed peacefully at her surroundings. Tourists wandered in and out of stores, an old man was setting up his easel by the lakeshore, and a
child's balloon escaped into the breeze. A moment later, she looked up as shouts startled her and the baby. Everybody was running in her direction...


The chosen.

Holding the sleeping infant in a loving embrace, she let her eyes drift. Feeling peaceful and emotionally fulfilled, she took in her surroundings. The sun warmed her face and she instinctively adjusted the hat to better protect the small head and face, keeping her baby safe from the sun. Tourists wandered in and out of stores down by the lake, eager to find the perfect souvenir to take home with them and thankful for the momentary escape from the heat. Others strolled along the lakeshore, happy to be near the water as it brought some relief. On the far side of the lake, an old man was setting up his easel, his slender limbs moving in slow motion but with experience. He had probably performed these actions a thousand times before.
Her eyes continued to float as she took in the scenery; a group of children playing near a fountain, their cheerful voices carried on the warm winds blowing across the land; the seemingly endless line of people at the ice cream cart enjoying a clown’s entertainment while they shuffled forward a few inches at a time, their minds on the ice cold treat that awaited them. A young family walked by, the children running ahead, dragging colorful balloons in their wake. She smiled and watched as one of the balloons came detached, causing an immediate reaction in the entire family. The younger boy, his balloon now drifting up lazily, cried out in anguish at the loss of his toy; his brother, a few years older, stopped and turned, his face turning to sadness in a blink; the mother moved forward to comfort her child while the father attempted to recover the balloon. He only missed it by an inch, but the wind lifted it beyond his reach and he turned to his child, an apology ready on his lips.

The baby in her arms stirred and she looked away from the family, giving all of her attention to the child. A moment later, she looked up as shouts startled her and the baby. Everybody was running in her direction. She tightened her arms instinctively, comforting and protecting as her baby cried in alarm, but she could not tend to it now. First, she needed to understand why everyone was running and why they were all running in her direction. She saw nothing that might have caused a panic in all those people, yet they ran as if their lives depended on it. Her eyes found the young family as they joined the others in their inexplicable race; the youngest boy -still sad about the loss of his balloon- now cradled in his father’s arms for safety; his brother pacing their mother with some difficulty, holding on to her hand for dear life. She could not see fear or anguish on their faces. What she saw puzzled her and she turned away from the advancing crowd, looking behind her for answers she did not have.

The mountain slope behind her house was empty, as it had been when she stepped out a few moments earlier. She saw nothing that might explain the sudden rush of the villagers and tourists alike. Even the old man had abandoned his easel and was making his way to the mountain, an eagerness in his halting steps she could not clarify. She could hear their voices, excited and vibrant, rolling up along the path ahead of them. The mountain trembled softly beneath her bare feet as dozens more began the gentle climb some 200 feet away. They would be upon her in moments and still she knew not what had caused the stampede in the quiet and peaceful lakeshore village. She whirled around, still trying to hush the child in her arms, as the fastest men reached the edge of her property. They slowed but did not stop and quickly pushed the ornate gate out of the way, continuing their rush forward as others followed in their wake.

Her fear gripped her tightly as they approached gingerly, arms outstretched, an expression of amazement and happiness on their faces. She took a step back, turning sideways to protect the child, but they were all around her now, filling the garden with their excitement. Their voices blended together, making it impossible for her to understand what they were saying; their hands touched her, gently, reverently. The murmur overwhelmed her with its rhythm and the words became clear.
‘The one.
You are the one.’

She turned slowly, feeling their hands on her body, realizing with a sudden shock her child was no longer in her arms. Her breath stalled in her throat and her eyes scanned the crowd, urgently and desperately. She did not see her baby boy. She did not hear his cries. A tug on her arm made her look down and she saw the young boy who had lost his balloon moments before their irrational rush. He was no longer sad, instead his little face beamed with expectation.

“Can you bring back my balloon?” he asked, hopeful.

“I don’t know.” she answered, her mind racing.

Suddenly, the world went dark and the murmurs ceased, causing her ears to ring with the memory of them. The hands fell away from her and everyone stood in silent shock.

“Cut!” a voice rang out from the darkness, “Who turned off the lights in here?”
“Goddamn it!”

 The end.

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