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JANUARY CHALLENGE It's the return of the CC Challenge!

#1 User is offline   Elspeth 

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  Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:22 AM

Remember the monthly challenges we used to have? When it was Official, the winnah! got a custom title ("Writer of the Month") and declared the terms for the next challenge. This is an unofficial attempt to restart the challenges (we'd love it if a mod would pin it, though) so we make no promises about user titles. You will get admiration and affection for participating and the winner (determined by a voting period in February) has to gets to set a challenge for the next month!

The winner of the last challenge was Korora, who offers this challenge for January:

JANUARY ORIGINAL WRITINGS CHALLENGE

Challenge: Take a tune from any of the MREDURE soundtracks, and imagine a scene with its mood. Do not use MREDURE settings or characters – this is the Original Writings (non-myst) challenge.

Please indicate which track or game/area you chose (whether as a title, or in an author's note, or in any other way you devious writers can come up with).

Focus: Setting and mood.

Length: open

Submission deadline: January 31, 2009, Midnight GMT

Where to submit: Right Here, in this topic

Additional guidelines: All entries must be your own original work, no plagiarism and should follow the tenets of MystCommunity's family rated language. WiP's (Works in Progress) are allowed if you would like to submit your work for feedback and suggestions prior to submitting your final entry. Please label all WIP threads as: "January Challenge WiP."

:cheesy: Have fun! :D

Please use this topic for submissions only. Another topic should be opened for discussion. A voting topic will be opened on February 1.
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#2 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 08:57 PM

Just a note, guys - this is for original writings only. That means that any other fandom you might happen to write for is disqualified.
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#3 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:08 PM

A little vignette.

-----

Gateroom

There is water flowing somewhere far below, in the dark places. I can hear it with my ear pressed to the ground, but when I stand up I am in silence, and the glare of light on metal blinds me.

Why does my chest hurt so badly?

Contact made with the lightning rod, switches are up-up-down-up-down. Except one of those lights won’t turn green. I have tried everything. And still they watch. Some of the panels have lines embossed upon them similar to circuit boards, but I can’t figure out the relation of the lines to the machine’s workings. When in frustration I pull the dark red lever at my side and with muffled clanking everything slides back to its original place I hear for an instant a hiss, like boiling liquid.

At the sound longing for an old gustatory pleasure seizes me, but I have no tea. I only have a bottle of warm tasteless water filled from the pump near the door, which makes strange noises when you use it. A click, a whirr, a buzz, and then the sequence repeats.

I remember when I used to play puzzle games for my own amusement: Obsidian…Myst with that rocketship… Now I struggle with these machines for the amusement of others, and I don’t even know who they are that watch me. I do not know what will happen if I fail. I look around the arena as wide as the heavens and I see no one else, but I know they watch me.

Let’s try this again. In the center of the arena is a monstrosity of pipes and iron with two outlets that I can see: a “lightning rod” that rises into the incredibly distant ceiling and a shimmering cable that winds into the floor. I can shift a contact so as to provide power for the machine from one of these at a time. Why is the contact shaped like a bird? Five switches, three of which connect via wires to the bird and two to the cable. The cable is bad – or at least that’s how I interpret the diagram scrawled on the back of my hand.

Why is there a diagram scrawled on the back of my hand? I don’t think it was there yesterday, in the last place, in the chasm of catwalks and flashing purple lights and distant howling. My chest tightens with pain again when I think about it.

The levers, I shouldn’t forget to mention the levers. The red one resets the system, the yellow one does nothing I can see, and the black one on the other side of the machine raises the visible portions of the machine to reveal that within is a simple platform, on which is a black cloth, on which is a golden dagger.

Maybe there is only one solution to this puzzle.

I shouldn’t think about certain things. So I look at the intractable again, and this time I see the small crosses next to some of the switches. One of the bird wires and one of the cable wires. Maybe if I try providing power to just these, or maybe to the ones that aren’t so marked. Maybe I should compare the crosses to the diagram on my hand.

Stop watching me, please stop watching me. I might be able to do this if you just left me alone with the machines and the rumbling and the clicking and the distant sound of water. I might be able.
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#4 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:33 PM

Here's mine.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A/N: I chose the track “Saavedro’s Theme” from the Myst III: Exile soundtrack for this piece, and the idea of being alone and feeling stalked for the setting/mood. Hopefully, it gives a few people the shivers.)



The Pipe Room

It’s dark down here in the pipe room. Even with my flashlight, it’s pitch dark - and strangely cold. I’m chilled to the bone, shaking with the effort of warming myself. A soft clinking fills the air, the sound of so many activated pipes. My echoing footsteps are my only companion, a confident, sure sound. I am sure in my footing, sure in my task.

My job was to fix these old pipes - no easy task. The water main’s broken, and they need replacing before winter comes. If winter came and the pipes weren’t fixed, the water main would freeze along with all the rest of the pipes, and then the house would...

My thoughts trail off, and I stop, listening to the echo of the last footstep. I… thought I heard something…

I shake it off as the moaning of the wind, the eerie, wailing voice of the chilled air singing past a broken pipe. That’s all, a broken pipe and the wind. Only a broken pipe and the wind…

Another sound something catches my ear, a clinking sound, like the pipes themselves. But it isn’t. It’s too loud to be the pipes. Far too loud. It sounds like something hitting upon metal, something sharp, perhaps…

Stop. You’re being ridiculous. Not a single thing is down here but you, you and perhaps a few rats. Just a few rats. Nothing at all to be afraid of.

But… rats are never that loud. Never. Rats scramble and squeak and scatter along the pipes. Rat claws don’t clink like so many keys hitting metal. No, it was something else. Something… bigger.

My breath hitches in my chest, and my heart skips a beat. Oh God. Am I being followed?

I spin around. Nothing. Absolutely nothing but the darkness. The all-pervasive darkness, hovering just beyond the beam of my flashlight…

“Who’s there?” I call, trying my hardest to sound fierce. No reply. Nothing but the soft, steady clinking, first here, then there…

There was something there, hiding out of my sight. Something there…

“A-answer me!” I cry. The sound carries throughout the chilly air. I wait for it to echo.

I receive it, a whimpering whisper that calls from either side of me.

But it isn’t my voice.

Dear Lord. It isn’t my voice…

A sickly wave of panic rises in my throat. It tastes of bile and fear and –

What was that?!

Soft mumblings, quiet whimpers, sorrowful wails, screeches, sobs; surrounding me, echoing everywhere. I spin to look, shining my flashlight everywhere I can, but see nothing. Always nothing.

There is nothing. And yet I feel the sting of countless glassy, inhuman eyes burning holes in my skin, sending waves of panic prickling up my spine.

Where are they? Dear GOD, where are they?!

A cry for help. An agonized whimper. A whisper in my ear, incoherent, but so very close…

I run.

Panic consumes me. My mind runs as wildly as my body, dark and demented thoughts of what lies behind me slithering their way through my imagination like so many twisted snakes. And still I hear the whimpers, the whispers, the pleading cries – they wrap around me, first here, then there…

A shriek tears from my lips. Then another. And another. I run faster. Where’s the door, oh dear Lord, where’s the door?!

There! There, I see it, but it feels so far…

I break into a sprint. My lungs are burning with lack of oxygen. My legs are burning with effort. My mind is burning with terrified questions. The sounds shriek and murmur and whimper in my ears. The run seems like an eternity, an eternity of whispered noises and aching, burning legs.

I reach the door. Wrench the handle open. Collapse into the damp, mildewed earth. Scramble in the mud and leaf rot in a desperate attempt to escape those horrible, agonized voices.

The voices fade as I frantically drag myself away from that hellish place, and I heave in great gulps of air. Fresh, clean night air. Not the damp, chilled, fearful air of the pipe room. My heartbeat slows, my breathing slows. I collapse on the ground, exhausted and covered in muck from my frenzied crawling. Shaking from the memory of that sound…

Oh God. That sound…

What thing on this Earth, on this vast and diverse planet, could make such a noise? Was it animal? Human? If human, what sort of eternal torment could cause a man to make such heartrending, piteous sounds?

I don’t know. I don’t want to know. And I never want to hear that sound again. Never again. Dear God, never again…
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#5 User is offline   RivenRebelPoet 

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 10:30 AM

Guys, I came back to lurk around because I was feeling nostalgic for both MC and this particular challenge idea, and I know it’s been <I>years</I> since they were posted but I’m so glad they’re here and they exist. Thank you :) I miss reading work from both of you.
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