Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gold Digger - Short story writing assignment

I decided to post some of my short stories... These were writing assignments of 1000 words or less. I'll start with Gold-digger. I hope you enjoy it! (I'm pasting these as is and not going to do much editing at the moment. I may proof them later as time allows.)

By Richard Howes
September 12, 2007 (Was that really FIVE YEARS ago?)
            "Where are we going?" the naked skinny creature in the back seat of John's car asked through the sliver of its mouth. Large ears twitched and sunken eyes scanned the road ahead of them. In the moonlight its skin was the color of sallow candle wax and the dank odor of a thousand years of dirt filled the vehicle.
            "You know," John stated flatly. He knew he had to return this creature to where he had found it. Why he must do that, or how he knew it, John did not know, but he had a plan and he hoped it would work.
            It was after midnight as they arrived at the Saint Pierre Gold Mining complex. He parked the car on a turn-out just outside the gate. He knew the guard shift schedule and as expected the security booth was empty. He unlocked the gate with his stolen keys and closed  and locked it after they entered. John leading and the creaturing tagging along behind him.
            "What exactly are you?" John asked the creature, trying to control his thoughts and words.
            "Do you wish me to answer?" the creature asked.
            "It's just a question, not a wish."
            "I'm a lucky Buddha."
            John turned around and faced the creature and said, "Buddha was fat."
            "Buddha was emaciated for a time," the creature replied quietly, backing away.
            "You are not Buddha." 
            "I exist. I am," it spoke firmly, finding his feet and standing as tall as his four-foot-nothing would let him.
            John started across the parking lot, the creature following behind him.
            "I promised you three wishes. You chose wrong. You still have one wish left. Care to make it now?" the creature asked coyly.
            "No," John said as he thought about his wife. She was probably fast asleep in the dog bed by the fireplace, unless she climbed onto the couch. It would all be okay. He would undo what this creature had done, what he had done in his greed.
            The wind blew dust into the air. John knew the familiar old mine by its scent. He had worked this mountain range for fifteen years, his feet following the path to the entrance six days a week. He took a flashlight from his pocket, unlocked a storage vault and retreived a safety helmet and a shovel. Moments later the rattle of a cage-elevator echoed through the complex as it carried them deep into the caverns of the mine. The cool, dank moisture of wet rock rose from its depths.
            John let his thoughts turn into carefully spoken words. "When I said I wanted a thousand pounds of gold I didn't mean a phony deed to this mine."
            "The deed is not phony. It is a real deed. There is over a ton of gold still buried in their mountain."
            "No!" John turned to the creature. "It got me fired. It got me arrested for fraud. It got me sued!"
            "You chose poorly."
            "I WISH I never found you," John spoke through gritted teeth, repeating the saying he had tried before.
            "You cannot wish to change the past."
            “I wish you dead.”
“You cannot wish my demise. I live. I am.”
            "When my wife started yelling at me… When she accused me of stealing, I didn't mean I wanted her turned into a dog."
            "You made your wish."
            "I mentioned a metaphorical state of her attitude."
            "Not exactly. You said…" The creature's voice suddenly changed into John’s voice, "Liz. Sometimes you can become such a bitch."
            "Did I make a mistake? Should her… transformation… be permanent and not just on the full moon? You did say 'sometimes'."
            "I didn't wish," John said calmly.
            “A command is a wish, a desire.”
            "Fix it."
            "You must wish."
            “Do you want to stop talking now?” he asked.
            "Do you want me to?"
            John smiled. "Now you want verification and clarification?
            "It didn't seem necessary before."
            "And now? Why is it necessary now?"
            "You seem like you are about to do something rash." A worried look crossed the creature's face and a nervous tone snuck into its voice. "Where are we going, John?"
            John didn't answer. The creature verified what John suspected. He had a plan, an idea that would end this creature and its powers. He knew he must remain calm. He had to be careful of every word and thought as they approached the unnatural pit he discovered by accident two weeks before.
            The elevator stopped. John slid the door open and walked into the large cavern, past loaders parked in a row. They continued into darkness. Soon they arrived at the end of a passage.
            "You know what to do." John pointed to the cut-stone pit. He phrased his words so it could not be a wish.
            "I don't want to," the creature cried.
            John looked around. "This is where I found you. Your power is strongest here."
            The sunken eyes of the creature grew and its large ears pricked up. When John spoke again it cringed at his well-practiced words.
            "You will become that nonhumanoid form which you were before you became humanoid."
            The creature's eyes widened. A gasp left the slit of its mouth. All hint of humor and ego left its voice. "I… I can't. You can't…"
            "I can and I do."
            "I'll take it all back. I'll change the past."
            "You cannot change the past. You can only change the present, and the future. I cannot wish you dead, but your form can be changed."
            "I… I cannot become that which I once was. I was not of consciousness."
            "Then that is what you will become."
            Fear and horror crossed the creature's face. It screamed and lunged at John. Its fingers like lion claws scratched at him. John was ready. He jammed the shovel into the creature's chest. As it staggered backwards, John swung the shovel around in a wide arc. The creature dodged and leapt forward again.
            John pushed the shovel up against the monster but it was stronger than him, knocking him to the floor. Long fingers scratched at his chest and face. Its hands struggled to close around John's throat.
            Through ragged breath, he yelled, "I wish…you to become… that non…humanoid form… which you… were… before you… became… humanoid."
            Suddenly John awoke. It was still dark. The full moon shone in the window casting its light on the smooth skin of his wife's face as she slept beside him. The magic was broken as time and place shifted. She was human again, no longer a dog. He leapt from his bed and went to his desk. The deed to the gold mine was gone. The stack of legal papers from his arrest and lawsuit were missing. He smiled and climbed back into bed.

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