If you are participating in the 12 Short Stories Challenge, today is the day to submit your ninth short story for 2019, using the prompt: For The Glory.
It’s time for story number nine. I can’t believe it’s September already. In the Southern hemisphere we’re enjoying all the beauty of spring and looking forward to summer. This month’s prompt is “For the Glory” and it had me thinking for a while, but in the end the deadline did the trick.
Please read this post if you have not yet done so: 12 Short Stories Update
I will accept and approve posts for For The Glory (Word count: 1200 words) from 11 September 2019, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00), until 12 Spetember 2019, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00) on deadlinesforwriters.com.
Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world.
Please submit your story on www.deadlinesforwriters.com .
- Log in.
- Submit (Top right).
- Complete the form.
- Select the correct category: Prompt 9: For The Glory
- Do not select any other category.
- Your story must be 1200 words. I won’t approve stories under 1150 or over 1250 words.
- Submit for approval.
- Read and comment on four other stories. Please spread the love. Look for stories that haven’t been read, instead of everyone reading and commenting on the same stories. If you want tips on how to comment, read this post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story.
- This is an exercise in discipline. The comments are a bonus. There is no prize because I want you to focus on writing for yourself and to try and take more risks.
- Be kind when you comment. Start with a positive comment, suggest an improvement, and end with something positive. We are here to learn.
- Our next prompt is at the end of this post.
A few more points:
- I will try to read as many posts as possible, but I do have a day job that I would like to keep.
- NO hate speech. None. If you see something nasty that I should be made aware of, please send me a message.
- Be careful of profanity.
- I need to approve every post. Please be patient with me. I am teaching during the day and I will approve them as quickly as I can. They will all go up.
Can I still join?
You can join the 12 Short Story Challenge in any month. So, if you start in September 2019, that will be month one for you and then August 2020 will be month 12. Sign up on www.deadlinesforwriters.com
Here is my short story:
My Stars by Mia Botha Prompt: For The Glory | Word count: 1200 words | Genre: Drama/Action Warning: None He leads me into the room. It’s warm. Under the blindfold I see a thin strip of yellow light. They are chanting. No one can make out the words, but it becomes a continuous hum. He keeps his hand on my elbow and steers me through the crowd. I feel their fingers. I try not to react. He stops me, makes me turn, and pushes me back. I know what to do. We have practised this so many times. He pushes me back and I lie down. I can feel him moving around me, around the altar. He stops by my head. He pulls my hair when he takes off the blindfold, but I can’t make a sound. I am immortal. I do not feel pain. I keep my eyes closed at first, waiting for them to adjust to the light. I blink slowly. There is another tin roof above my head, but not rusted like the one in my hut. I can’t see the pinpricks of light. I can’t see my stars. This roof is new. Shiny. Silver. Solid. He stands above me. His arms raised, his wide, white sleeves spread like wings. “For the Glory of the Mother we are gathered here.” He says in his loud, bullhorn voice. “For the Glory.” They answer more or less in unison. He frowns. It should be precise. He hates it when it’s not. “For the Glory of the Mother we give thanks.” He says. “For the Glory.” They mutter along again. “For the Glory of the Mother we bring this sacrifice.” He says. “For the Glory.” They always say this louder, the anticipation building. He raises the dagger; the room becomes deathly quiet as he holds it over my chest. “For the Glory,” he proclaims as he plunges it into my heart. Blood blossoms over my white shift, I convulse, once, twice, a rivulet of blood spills down my now lifeless arm. The dagger falls to the floor with a clang. They hiss, gasp and babble. Someone collapses and convulses in the corner. The noise increases, they start chanting again. I keep still and hold my breath. He begins to chant again, louder than everyone else. His hands hover over my body, he moves along my limbs. He holds his hands over the wound and mumbles louder and louder becoming more and more incoherent. “Live.” He screeches at last and I can let out the breath I have been holding. “Live.” He screams again. “I command you: live!” I twitch my fingers first, then a foot. Someone screams. He begins to chant again and moves his hands over me again. Wherever his hand is, that is the part of my body that I must move. When he reaches the wound in my chest his chanting has reached a crescendo. As he increases the pace and the volume of his chant, I begin to sit upright. I keep my eyes closed and once I am up he quietens, and I blink. I keep my expression neutral, sheep-like. I look around at the faces. They are entranced, beatific, caught up in the rhapsody and I smile. Grateful to have been resurrected. Returned. “For the Glory.” A woman screams, clutching her shawl around her face. “For the Glory. We are saved. It will be. It is as he promised.” I’m never sure what exactly will be, but the collection plate is sent around, and the merry jingle of coins fills the air. Special coins, purchased upon entry. Coins that have cost them most of their livelihood. Their entrance into the sect. I move through the crowd and smile encouragement and thanks at everyone who contributes. I touch a hand when he squeezes my elbow, a particular patron who has donated a little more than the others. Salvation guaranteed. He puts a rough blanket over my shoulders and leads me towards the door. It’s time for me to go away. Next quarter we’ll do it again. The cold bites when he swings open the door and for a moment I can’t see in the dark. I squint at the movement. “Freeze.” A foreign voice barks. The world erupts. Men in dark uniforms with green goggles are everywhere. Small red dots appear on our bodies. I follow their red tails back to the uniformed men. He pushes me to the front, twisting my arm behind my back. The barrel of his gun pushes into my temple. “I’ll kill her.” He screams into the dark. The congregation screams. “Save them. For the Glory. They must be saved.” A stream of people pour out the doors and envelope us. He pulls me back through the crowd. They move past us and attack the men. He breaks away dragging me along. We duck away from the crowd. “There! On your three.” A man yells. They open fire and we flee as the bullets burst into the air. He dives around the hut and pulls me with him. Pounding boots follow us. I yank my arm away from him. “Get back here.” He tries to grab me, but the men have found us. I hold up my hands and turn towards the men, blinded by a flashlight. “Target secure.” The man squawks into his radio. He is held down and they tie his hands with long black cable ties. The man puts a jacket around me. My feet are cold on the wet grass. He lets me sit down. “Are you hurt?” He frowns looking at the blood. “It’s not real.” I whisper. “Thought so.” He grins. He isn’t much older than me. I am not sure what I should do. I just watch him. Another older man comes closer. “Can you confirm your name, Miss?” I blink. My name. “We need you to confirm your identity.” “I haven’t had a name in a long time.” My voice cracks. The man looks at the poster above my head ‘The Immortal Goddess of the Mother of All Creation’ screams in big bold letters. My face is below it with the words ‘Donate and be saved’. “Sir, she has been held against her will for 9 years. Since she was a little girl, maybe she just needs some time.” “We need to confirm your identity, Miss” The older man blunders ahead. “Sir, we can see it is her.” The man says pointing at the poster and then at a photo of a little girl he is holding in his hand. “I don’t know my name.” I whisper. I try to remember, but it won’t come back. “Your parents are here.” The older man says. Parents? I glance at the man and the woman standing on the other side of the compound. She is wearing a big jersey. She wraps it around herself. He is holding her. “I don’t know who they are.” I look at him. “You’ll remember.” The younger man smiles, “They said I should tell you, that they can’t wait to look at the stars with you.” I look at the two people again and remember a soft blanket on the grass under my back, the sweet taste of hot chocolate and hundreds and hundreds of stars.
Here is the 10th prompt for the 2019 challenge:
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by Mia Botha
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