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Monday, October 31, 2011

Liesl & Po Writing Challenge Submissions!

First, I want to thank those of you that participated in this month's Liesl & Po Birthday Writing Challenge. In honor of the release of Liesl & Po, I challenged you to come up with a short story in which magic falls into the wrong hands. The responses were great, and I love how you all conceived magic in incredibly varied and unique ways. Check out a sampling of the fab submissions below...

From Lexie Botzum

She falls on her knees before the simple gray stone, hands groping the soil as though she can tear it away and there he will be: smiling, laughing, leaning from his grave to kiss her cheek and tell her it’ll all be okay.

It’s nighttime, but it’s not a gentle nighttime. It’s the sort of nighttime that creeps upon you slowly, slowly, and then it pounces. And you’re caught, because you are alone, in a graveyard, sobbing feet above your boyfriend’s coffin.
“Please,” she whispers. “Please.” She rocks back and forth. She claws at her hair, claws at the soil. Lets her fingers skim the carved words, tracing the dips. That’s all that’s left of him, carved words and stone memories.
“Please,” she repeats again. “Let him go. Just let him go.” Rock back and forth, back and forth. If he were there, he’d press her arms against her sides and hold her tight. But no. He’s not there. He’s not.

“I’ll do anything,” she says. Her hands are fists, nails biting palms, tears biting cheeks, her whole body just one more sobbing broken wreck in a field of broken corpses. “Anything if you’ll let him go.”

She tilts her head back. Sorrow-stained cheeks meet star-stained sky. “I promise,” she says, and her voice is so soft, so dead, that one might think she herself is dying if not for the very live pain in her eyes.

And then something tears.

Something shakes.

Something groans.

Something bursts from the soil beneath her knees.

A hand.

An arm.

A torso, pale collarbone, bruised neck.

And his face.

His face, unravaged, insentient, unseeing.

She reaches out a hand. It shakes. Slowly, as though he might disintegrate beneath her fingers, she strokes one sallow cheek.

“I’d do anything,” she whispers. And she collapses.

From Kiki Hatzopoulou

Of Doom and Mondays

Malory Stone is a conflicted individual.

On the one hand, she is the mistress of Catastrophe, the all-consuming force of Destruction, the ancient goddess of Doom, the creator of Chaos, a hard-working black hole, if you will.

And on the other hand, she is caring, lovable and devoted, easy to please and hard to annoy, kitten-loving, puppy-loving, flower-loving, a sweetheart really, in every sense of the word.

Which only makes her job as undying power of disaster all the more difficult.

So Malory has devised a simple, bedlam-facilitating plan. She allows herself to care and love for something, as love as the ultimate fate of the object of her affection is ruination. A love-you-to-death kind of approach.

She has spent millennia trying to subvert all that seems nice and wonderful about this little greenish planet called Earth, starting with all the things that have to do with humans. A black dot to her otherwise spotless résumé, humans satisfy her greedy requirements; they are both capable of immense accomplishments and quite easy to obliterate. The fact that she allowed for them to be generated in the first place is beside the point; it was a moment of amorous weakness for the maker of all things good, otherwise known as Johnny D. It is a choice she has come to regret each and every day of her life, usually right before bedtime. (One could even go as far as to claim the reason behind her desire to destroy is jealousy that Johnny D was the creator of admittedly the most fantastic creation of all times, but Malory likes to think that she isn’t that petty and besides, she’s had some pretty good moments, too.)

But anyways, Malory, queen of Malice, recognizes a small perk to the birth of man; without him, the absolutely perfect candidate to test all her vicious demolition plans on, life would be so much duller.

First she tried the sinking of whole islands; that went exceptionally well. She has always been an avid fan of all things watery and Atlantis was simply an amazing construction of both man and nature, too amazing to survive her admiration and wrath.

Then, there was the spectacular stint in Africa. The sandy continent was a particular favorite of hers: the obsolete landscapes, the colors at night, the witty zebras and the studious lions. It was, and still is despite all her efforts, a beautiful piece of land. Unfortunately, it is also the place where the first humans lived and prospered and that was just the final drop; Africa had to go. Malory conjured up droughts and famine, tsunamis and tornados, but none of them seemed to seal the deal. And then it came to her, surprising her with the brilliance of its obviousness: on the fight of nature against man, man would always come on top. All Malory had to do was put man against man; that would be a battle to remember. So she caused a random earthquake and buried a whole forest underground, creating man’s ultimate demise, the almighty oil.

And yet, there is one of her creations that will always be close to her heart, despite the fact that most of her fellow deities, not to mention man, would not turn to look at it twice. Malory had been the mastermind behind uranium and infidelity―for humans were too lovely to just have one―and she had started the global wrecks that are known as World War II and the final season of Lost, but there is nothing she’s more proud of than the idea to create Monday mornings.

From Alexis

Karen glanced down and inspected the book in her hands. It was hefty and battered, like it had survived a hundred storms. The stories relating to the book ranged from bad to worse, and the main characters in the tale usually ended up dead or maimed. That fact hadn’t stopped her though.
As she opened up the first page, the magic almost immediately flooded through her veins like water from a spout. Karen could read the seemingly random markings on the page because she was a witch. A white witch as a matter of fact. She had always been forbidden from the dark arts, and now she had the biggest book of dark magic known in the world.
“Who goes there?” shouted a voice from behind her. She had left the library at around nine, so the alley-way she was walking down was almost pitch-black. Karen put the thick tome in her arms and ran at a dead sprint. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t, be caught with the book.
No matter what the cost.
Karen rounded the corner of the block, and after looking behind her to see if she was being followed, she stopped with a huff, opening the book again.
This time the magical feeling she got was less foreign and more natural.
“Here we go,” Karen muttered to herself.
She pulled out her wand from where she had put it in her boot and glanced once more around to make sure no one was watching.
“Take me somewhere safe, take me to my mother’s arms,” Karen chanted. Suddenly, the book opened up like a mouth and pulled her in, like a vortex to a world unknown.

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Content by Lauren Oliver - Copyright 2011. Blog designed by Ella Press Studio - 2011.

Author Photo by Jonathan Alpeyrie - Copyright 2010. Original Font Idea by Erin Fitzsimmons - 2010.