Writing Contest!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Writing Contest!

Writing Contest!

I'll give a one-word theme, and then you have to write a 100-1,000 word story based on it. The winner I pick will then give a new one-word theme, and they'll judge the next round! The rules are: 

1. It must be related to the theme in some way.

2. It must be in the 100-1,000 word limit. 

3. It can be any genre. 

4. No fanfiction, please. 

The theme is: Frost

I will be judging on May 20th, so that should give you about two weeks. I can extend the date if nessesary. I'm excited to see your responses!

submitted by pangolin
(May 6, 2021 - 9:30 am)

Admins, my story is pretty long- its 2 and a half pages on google docs. I know sometimes people post long threads by putting in half of the thing replying with the rest of it, so I don't know if I should do that, but maybe mine isn't very long in comparison, I'm not sure. What do you think?

Do it either way, whichever you prefer or is easier for you. It's the same amount for me to read either way. I suppose as a Chatterbox reader, I'd rather have it all in one. I like to keep going till the end!


submitted by Caroline
(September 11, 2021 - 5:00 pm)

Ok, thanks! Sorry it's so long, but here it is:

There are 3 things I know about myself that will never change: I am never going back. I will never feel that fear again. I used to be known as a woodswomen. The rest changes, the longer I am out here. Some parts of me fly away with the wind, and new parts nestle in like the dirt that has turned my hair brownish gray. I used to be regular. I used to be Theodora. I used to live in a city and I used to have a father who taught me all about who I was. But I don't know who I am anymore. I think it flew away with the wind.

There were, there are, many woodsmen who live in that city, just like the watermen and earthmen and skymen. It runs through the men's side of the family, which, I think, is why I still have that dim memory of being rare and special. I was a woodswomen. I remember that woodsmen have a certain way, a certain power, with wood and with trees. I used to know everything they did. Now, I only know two: They can shape wood in anyway they want with only a blade. They can kill with one strike of an axe. I whittle most days. I sit up in my tree of the forest, whittling only sticks I find on the ground. The ones that are already dead. My father, one day, decided to show me how woodsmen get more wood than just the sticks they find on  the ground. But with the first strike of his axe… the tree screamed and thrashed, its pain almost a part of me. My father tried to comfort me. He carried me away from the tree until I could be convinced that it was over. But that fear… that fear echoes in me, even today. My fear, the tree's fear? I don't know. All I know is that no one else in the city could hear it. They decided I was weak. But they couldn't feel the fear the way I could. It was tearing me apart. It still is. It's why I ran away. 

"Theodora? Theodora!?!" The word cuts through the forest like a blade. But it only cuts air, so I soupouse only skymen would feel any pain. It does cut me out of my cycle of thoughts, my wave of memories, which I have been  drowning in for a very long time. "Theodora?" The blade comes again, but this time I recognize it, a bit. Where have I heard it before? Theodora. I don't know that I said it until I hear it echoing. My voice is semi-familiar. I haven't heard it in a very long time. "Is that you?" the blade asks, this time less sharp. Not dull. Just less sharp. But me? I don't know. Who is the blade talking about? Me? I wouldn't know. I don't know who I am myself. But there doesn't seem to be anyone else here, so I answer "I don't know who you are talking about. But I'm here, and I'm somebody". I think. I add quietly. And then I hear my own echo. I haven't talked so coherently in- I don't know. I don't know how to measure time anymore.

 Footsteps and laughter echo through the meadow. "Come down, Theodora!" is the blade's next slice, but it's more like a launched pebble mixed with all the newfound noise. “There’s no one else here”, I say, my voice falling to them like sand and sounding like it too. I’ve paired the footsteps and the laughter with the blade, and now I know there is someone down there. Who, though? The squirrel’s guess is better than mine. Of course, the squirrel scampers away on the next movement the person makes, which brings them into view. I haven’t seen a person in so long. Too long. She is slightly familiar. She is perfect, somehow, I don't know how. She drove me crazy, but I loved her. I crinkle my eyebrows. How do I know this? But the thought is washed away by the tsunami that says I need to tell her. She needs to know. Love her, Love her. I don't know what she says after that. All I know is that she needs to know. Eventually, as night falls, she seems to give up. She sighs and walks away. She can't leave and I know it. But how can I tell her? The forest falls silent again as she is gone. The rest of the night my mind just replays her. I don't know why I love her. It's not an emotion. I just know I should. She needs to know. How can I tell her? Hearts mean love, don't they. I can make anything with wood. And just like that, I forget the fear. All I care about is her, it's an obsession. My brain is immune to the fear as I sharpen my blade, as I climb down from the tree I've spent so much time in. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. I can't hear the, my, tree screaming. How do you make a heart? I don't know. One last strike and the tree, my safe haven, my only friend, is gone. I sleep. 

When I wake up, I see the stump of the tree, still raw and green from its… death. My heart doesn't have room for hating the girl that made me cut it down. My throat fills with sadness. Sadness, because I loved that tree. The emotion spreads through my body like sunshine. And the love melts the ice that has buried me for so long. 

The tree can still regrow, I know. I can water it and nutrize it and help it stay healthy. I am a woodswoman. I love all trees.

And I can't, I won't, cut down another tree. Not because of  fear. Because of love.

The girl comes later, after I realize I never should have obsessed over her at all. I just love her. I now know that she is my sister, Cassandra. That information was under the ice that the love melted. It came back in the rush of ice water that reminded me of everything about my old life. The love creates new pathways, to, and I realize just how much I have about even my messed up life to love. The trees, the leaves, the animals, the ground. Myself. I guess I wasn't blowing away, I was just buried.

My sister smiles when she sees my tree, which has regrown in a different way. I love it all the same. She doesn't ask questions. She seems to understand. "Are you ready to go?", she asks. "Of course", is my reply. I am ready. The city seems like a wonderful place. If I can show all the woodsmen there the love, I could change it for the better. And though I will miss my tree, I think, if it could speak, I know exactly what it would want me too do. Save the other trees, its leaves whisper. I'll be okay.

It takes us a few days to get back to the city. Cassandra, who I've called Andy all my life, chats the whole way, telling me, among many other things, the reason that she finally came to get me after all those years. I learn about how the city was using up so much wood, and eventually they realized they were spiraling towards a disaster. The Emperor called all the woodsmen together to try and find a solution. After a few days of hearing hopeless reports from our father, Andy brought up the idea of finding me to have a set of fresh eyes. Everyone told her it was hopeless, that I was probably dead, or if not, she would never find me. But Andy was set on her idea, like she always is, and went to look for me anyway. This is the main topic of conversation, but of course there is the occasional, "Well, and the Prince got a new haircut, and he just looks soooo handsome!" Andy thinks I am excited to see the Prince. I just can't wait to get to the woodsmen's meeting, and see my father and all the others like me.

Eventually, we are there. I run to the city center, desperately scanning the heads for my parent's faces. When I find them, they blink a few times. Then we both run in a dead sprint for each other, and I fall into my parents arms, with Andy a few steps behind. "Theo," said my bewildered father through tears of joy, "You're alive!" Shouting erupts all throughout the courtyard. While some are fearful, most of the woodsmen are gesturing to the barren land that used to be forest. "Help us fix it!" they ask. The noise overwhelms my sensitive ears, but I know I have to try. When I killed my old tree, my love helped it regrow. It might have just been the work I put in because of the love, but you never know. And I have all the woodsmen here, ready to listen. So I start to walk to the elevated edge of the courtyard. But my sister catches up to me when I am almost there. "Do you know what your name means?" "No", is my reply. No one ever told me it had a meaning. My sister starts to tell me, but she is drowned out by the noise of the courtyard. As much as I strain to listen, I cannot hear. Eventually she waves and disappears into the crowd. 

Facing the collected woodsmen, I tell them to love. My voice is shaky, at first, but as I reminisce about my tree, as I think about all the trees in the world, I grow more confident. "Love is the answer", I say. "The world needs our love". Something shifts, then, and the love seems to radiate out of all us. But it doesn't just seem- it does. The misty looking emotion rises from all of us in a beautiful orange like the first days of fall. I can feel it washing away the sadness and grief that had been covering the forest like a blanket. I know those trees will be able to regrow, if we just keep on loving them. I see other colors joining as others join in. The sky starts to brighten, the water starts to gleam a bit more than it used to; all the other men were joining in. And the love, the pure, unconditional love of the earth, from the woman but also the men, a bit of it entered myself and settled in there. And it melted the last bit of ice away. It revealed the last bit of buried information: What my name meant. I knew it now.

Gift from God  

submitted by Caroline
(September 11, 2021 - 5:39 pm)