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I'm Giving Away an Autographed Copy of Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter" [Feb. 8th, 2010|11:03 pm]
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Like he needs any help from me, but Peter Freaking Straub the man who singlehandedly re-invented the gothic novel, scared the wits out of millions of people for the past 30 years, as well as acting on a soap opera, has a new book out and I want you to read it so much I'm giving away an autographed copy of it.* (He's also a very very funny man, check out his website and read his Frequently Asked Questions).


Forty years ago something happened in a field in Wisconsin.

Something horrible that left one person dead, horribly mutilated, and another ... simply vanished with no trace. The other seven people who were in that field had their lives changed in ways that nobody will ever understand. At the heart of it is Spencer Mallon, the strange, charismatic guru who brought them to that place and lead them in a strange ritual.

Four decades later, the survivors are scattered and one man, armed with a handwritten manuscript -- the diary of a dead detective who was unable to solve the greatest case of his career -- sets out to discover what happened, and what manifested itself in that field so many years ago.



Here's how it goes:

To win this book, mailed to your door, write a short story in 350 words or less that involves Roswell and any mix of the following:

a) a mysterious man named Spencer Mallon
b) a creepy, lonely field in Wisconsin
c) a shadowy serial killer
d) college buddies
e) hidden pasts
f) apparitions and monsters
g) strange rituals


(If you're new to all this, Roswell is my cat.)




Roswell, photographed with book to enhance value




Post your entry here in the comments. The final winner may possibly be picked by Peter Freaking Straub, we shall see.

Contest goes until midnight TUESDAY, February 16th 2010. Continental US only. In the event of a winner from outside the con. US a substitute, but equally cool prize may be awarded.

Now get writing. And feel free to repost this in your own LJ's.






* Note -- he hasn't actually signed it yet -- so in the event of some catastrophe like Peter suddenly joining a fish-cult, moving to Antarctica and refusing to sign autographs, you'll get the book and some other Thing of Coolness.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: fivecats
2010-02-09 04:06 am (UTC)

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i would so enter this contest but seeing as how i won the Boneshaker contest and, *ahem*, still haven't seen that autographed copy of Cheri's book appear in my mailbox (after sending you my home address again and again) i think i should probably just skip this one.

*coughcough*

...
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-09 04:09 am (UTC)

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Now that Carl the Intern Monkey is no longer laden down with copies of Bunny Named Swine, I'll put this package in his "todo" box, it wasn't super high on his list because you said you already had one. Sorry about that!

Edited at 2010-02-09 04:11 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: mutantenemy
2010-02-09 04:19 am (UTC)

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September 15th is a Wednesday. Just a heads up. :)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-09 04:24 am (UTC)

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of course it is, because my calendar was still set to 2009. fixed.
[User Picture]From: mutantenemy
2010-02-09 04:29 am (UTC)

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*snorfle!*

Working on that time machine project again? Flux Capacitor 5.0?
[User Picture]From: nagasvoice
2010-02-09 05:31 am (UTC)

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Now where's your sonic screwdriver when you really need it?
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:03 am (UTC)

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i dropped it off the top of the empire state building in 1930.
[User Picture]From: nagasvoice
2010-02-11 03:21 am (UTC)

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Could check with the pig people, maybe they caught it? I hear rumbles complaining whenever they use a hairdryer.
[User Picture]From: segue
2010-02-09 04:41 am (UTC)

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No Roswell auto? Well, interesting devices... I'll have to write it with my phone, which is another interesting plot device!
[User Picture]From: thespian
2010-02-09 04:56 am (UTC)

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that is one of the most grand pictures of Roswell ever.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:05 am (UTC)

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She does have the Evil thing down doesn't she? What a wonderful actress.
[User Picture]From: cherokee1
2010-02-09 05:46 am (UTC)

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Spencer Mallon is out in a dark field in Wisconsin.
Accompanied by cat.
Rosewell licks a paw, swipes an ear, and clearly asks, " ....What?"

Strange rituals tonight, strange rituals and shadowy, nefarious deeds.

The man calling himself Mallon mutters, and stops.

"You did say," he addresses the cat, "You did say that the Ingredients include one serial killer?"

Rosewell eyes Mallon calmly, promises and threats visible in the set of her whiskers.

"Right, right. One serial killer coming up."

A shivery, chuckled whisper crackles in the cold.

"Are you sure, Mallon?"

Spencer turns away from the shredded leaf voice, bending to pick up Rosewell, and moves slightly to the west.

"Why, Mallon, it's been so long since you called me out.... I thought it was hunting season again. Have you forgotten our little pleasures? Mallon?"

A whoosh of air, a burst of bright, the cat's eyes shining ghostly green in the circle of wrong flame that springs up, not cold not hot, not right.

"Never forgotten, never forgiven, recompense is required. Both of us pay this night, monsters that we are."

"Got religion since college, old friend? It won't save you, and does amuse me. We are our own gods, you
remember, we had them praying to us, our prey, our supplicants..."

Mallon shakes his head, heavy as a beast with horns, "Enough! Rosewell, your time, your call, your turn."

And the Goddess Bast did descend amongst the beasts of the field, and silence once more ruled the
Wisconsin night.

Rosewell again licks her paw, and disdainfully flickers out of sight.

CKN









[User Picture]From: cherokee1
2010-02-09 05:53 am (UTC)

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Aaaand I misspelled Roswell's name. Consistently.
Please forgive the unintentional slight, it is late, and I apologize.
C
[User Picture]From: m_cobweb
2010-02-09 06:55 am (UTC)

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I am pleased that you have a proper appreciation of Peter Straub, as I also do.
[User Picture]From: hellziggy
2010-02-09 07:06 am (UTC)

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Oh, if only I had the time and the short story writing skills.

These two items: b) a creepy, lonely field in Wisconsin & c) a shadowy serial killer just scream out in my head that the shadowy serial killer should be Neil Gaiman.

[User Picture]From: eliaele
2010-02-09 10:31 am (UTC)

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Story in english, I guess ? ;o)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-09 01:36 pm (UTC)

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unless you think you can wow us in Dutch.
[User Picture]From: eliaele
2010-02-09 03:03 pm (UTC)

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to wow you : non.
to make you die laughing : yes probably.
[User Picture]From: diamondreads
2010-02-09 01:06 pm (UTC)

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Yay! I love Peter's work! I remember lo those many years ago when I first read Floating Dragon, which of course hooked me. It was fun to reread Eyes of the Dragon and find Ben and Peter both in the pages!
[User Picture]From: empheliath
2010-02-09 05:27 pm (UTC)

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Outside of the field, the air was still and quiet. Roswell watched the grasses shift in a breeze she didn’t feel, and shivered.
“Remind me why I’m doing this again?” she asked.
“Because you’re my friend,” Spencer Mallon replied.
“And?”
“And a lifetime supply of tuna. The pouch kind, so you can open it yourself.”
Roswell didn’t move.
“Look,” Spencer said, “It’s easy. All you have to do is go to the center of the field, find the flat stone, and lay the medallion in the depression. Piece of cake.”
“Piece of cake my fuzzy white paw,” Roswell muttered. “If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”
“Because the last time I was here….well, let’s just say I’m marked, okay? One step into that field, and he wakes up. But you’re safe. You’re small. He’ll never notice you.”
“That tuna’s packed in oil, right? Not water?”
Spencer nodded.
Roswell stepped into the field, and shivered in the sudden breeze; the medallion around her neck felt chilly through her fur. With a sense of unease, she walked towards the center of the field. When the grasses parted in front of her and she saw the flat stone, Roswell’s mouth gaped open. A man sat on the stone, a long knife laid across his knees.
Roswell stared, certain this was the end of her. As she did, she realized several things; first, his eyes were shut – he hadn’t seen her. Also, he hadn’t moved so much as a twitch since she arrived. And last, he was transparent. Through him, Roswell could clearly see the edge of the field.
And the depression in the center of the stone.
Cautiously, she approached and circled behind the apparition. She silently slipped the medallion from around her neck, and laid it on the stone. With one paw, she slid it towards the depression, ignoring the crawling sensation as she passed through the apparition, until she heard the medallion snick into place, and a sudden jubilation from the distance as Spencer cheered.
Roswell looked up – the apparition was gone. She had succeeded.
Now for that tuna.
From: infiniteskyes
2010-02-09 07:08 pm (UTC)

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Roswell could not shake the feeling that there was something wrong with the field she had just entered. Being the intelligent cat she was, she knew that she should just turn around and find somewhere else to go, but there was just something about that field that made it impossible for her to turn away. It was as if there was an invisible magnetic pull that she prevented her from turning away.

Of course she wouldn’t have been in this mess if Spencer Mallon, a mysterious supposed college buddy of one of her human associates hadn’t shown up. She had never heard of him before and when he suddenly showed up at their front door, she could sense something was wrong. He smelled wrong, like he wasn’t completely human at all. She had tried to warn the others but instead she found herself in the car, going somewhere she had never been before.

Somehow, she was still unsure of how, she ended up alone, walking along a back road in the middle of the night. Being pulled toward this strange, lonely looking field.

As she got closer she saw a figure standing alone, with candles flickering around him. Curiosity getting the better of her, she started to inch closer, realizing that the figure was in fact this Spencer Mallon. From the looks of things, he was in the middle of a ritual, one she had never seen before, which was saying a lot because she was a well traveled cat and had certainly seen a lot of things.

Even though her gut was telling her to turn around and run away, she wanted to see what would happen when this mysterious man finished what he was doing. She backed up, making sure that she was covered by the shadows and some tall grass. Laying down she made herself as comfortable as possible, it was going to be a long night.
[User Picture]From: tempest_gypsy
2010-02-09 08:17 pm (UTC)

"Roommates Make the Worst Warlocks"

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In movies, occult rituals occur at midnight, involving bonfires and dark-robed, chanting men. But firelight makes vision difficult, and arcane symbols smudged by long hems make very bad things happen.
Which is why two friends stood under grey, afternoon skies, in a bare field. Their pants were muddy and the wind whipped through the bare limbs of the distant windbreak.
Charles chanted, sketching in the muck with his hands. Nathan shivered.
"Do you know what you’re doing?" Nathan grumbled.
Charles stopped chanting. "We've tried police and private eyes. None found this Spencer Mallon, and HE's the one who knows who is murdering our friends."
"Summoning spirits helps, how?"
Charles's grinned. "Have I ever betrayed you?"
"Yes. Freshman English. That frat party where you said the punch was just Kool-aid. Setting me up with 'Lavender,' who was actually 'Larry.'"
"Doesn’t matter," Charles poked a drawing. "I’m done."
"This isn't-" Nathan trailed off as the mud in the center of the circle bubbled, then spat forth a seriously annoyed looking tuxedo cat.
"ROSWELL! You summoned Roswell. While epically cool, I don’t think he's, oh, useful!"
"I don’t understand!" Charles wailed. "I should have summoned a spirit that understood our most pressing problem." He reached down to pet Roswell, who had gleaned that Charles’s boots were marginally drier than mud.
"Our problem," Nathan growled, "is you! You mess everything up, and now we’re out in a freakin' creepy field, in freakin' Wisconsin to ask Kyle Freakin' Cassidy’s freakin' nori-eating cat who is freakin' murdering people?!”
Charles was startled as Roswell leapt off his feet, neatly over his circle, and ran for the treeline. Charles was more startled when Nathan violently tackled him.
He groaned as the two friends fell, obliterating a large portion of the circle.

Spencer Mallon flipped up his collar as the shower of mud fell around him, splatting on the branches. He appreciated for his hat. He lifted Roswell, who had just arrived.
"You knew their most pressing problem, didn't you, Roswell?" he muttered, as he wiped mud from perfect paws. "Their most pressing problem was they were idiots."
[User Picture]From: littlegoth
2010-02-09 09:04 pm (UTC)

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Nobody had seen or even met Spencer Mallon before that fateful day he came to town with a lovely tuxedo cat. He was an enigma to the people in the small community of Ironwood, Wisconsin. He appeared one foggy morning in one of the abandoned pastures, standing like a bizarre statue. Around him and the cat (who was later discovered to be named “Roswell”) were strange and grotesque apparitions, shifting and undulating, half seen in the opaque morning air. The only person brave enough to approach the pair was a small girl called Ash. She stumbled, trembling and shivering, through the thick air, walking wide of the strange creatures. From the road, the townsfolk saw her slight form approach them, and they stood in conference for what seemed an age, and then the girl returned, carefully lugging the cat in her arms. She explained that Spencer Mallon demanded a few of the folk to return to the field that evening for some kind of ritual, and if they didn’t the bizarre creatures would slowly gain strength and roam freely.

A few members of the community met at the place they had first seen the stranger at sunset that evening, and they noticed that the eerie pastureland was still covered in a dense fog, but the creatures seemed to be less transparent than they were that morning. Those brave souls crept in as night began to swallow all the colors of the landscape, replacing it with silvery outlines from the moon. As they reached the spot Spencer was to be waiting, the sight that met their eyes was something none would forget. Yet, none of those brave souls would ever be able to tell of it.
[User Picture]From: i
2010-02-09 10:39 pm (UTC)

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i'm too busy learning spanish to write a short story, but i'll definitely buy his freaking book.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:02 am (UTC)

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that's what it's all about.
[User Picture]From: nagasvoice
2010-02-10 07:50 am (UTC)

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Scabby patches of snow betrayed uneasy vortices, outlining rough spots in the churned muck of a wetland frozen between bog and pond. Stunted trees heaved up slabs of eroded rock at the waterline. Among them a muddy manshape sat clutching a raw knee joint. Ritual chanting with the name 'Spencer Mallon' got louder, spraying fragments of teeth.

Near the shape, a cloud formed into lips. It opened into a mouth exhaling warm fog scented with musky perfumes, beans, and tuna. A black and white cat yawned in its center. Impossible to tell if a larger body lurked nearby, as it only answered to the cat's name, Roswell. “Now that's what I call a zombie. Looks like you've been clogdancing.”

The manshape moaned. “Wanna rest.”

Hazy bipedal shapes roiled behind the cat, calling for a mimosa over fiddle music. Distorted voices wailed laughter like the damned. “Who'd you kill this time?”

“Them say, go twist the cap offa this guy Straub been tellin' stories. Got a wrong 'un, me. Goof's over there in four, five pieces.”

The cat flicked its tail. “Spencer, were you lost? You didn't ask, you just walked hundreds of miles the wrong way, and you killed the wrong person? Hello, snow?”

“Can't feel it. Loas don' care. Make bones ache, grabbing ye with them ropy hands, twisting inside out, them cheap tricks.”

Whiskers twitched. No creature can do sardonic like a cat. Drunken shapes did a two-step to ghostly accordions behind it. Beads glittered in patterns around the cat.

“Me, I blame Katrina,” complained the dead man. “What do you think happens when locked places flood, cemetery fences go flyin', alla folks who could reset decent bindings got killed? Who gonna stop it when mummies walk and weremonkey troops howl at Mardi Gras and--”

“They're called tourists.” Another twitch of whiskers. “Spencer, sleep. Go out on the ice. You'll sink. Your damn loas will get sorted.” The cat looked back with slitted eyes. “They'll all get sorted, once the Old Ones send in fishmen.”
[User Picture]From: albertine
2010-02-10 11:21 pm (UTC)

Can we submit more than one story?

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Roswell happened to be a cat that morning. Later, when he will spread out this latest story, he will state it was for the best. But right then, he wished he had picked a fiercer form. A wolf perhaps.

But as things were, he was a cat and had to handle the situation as such.

She rested on one knee and called out to him, black eyes twinkling and pretty red lips pouting: “Pretty pretty, come to me pretty little cat.” Leaping through mid air, Roswell slashed the woman’s hand with his claw and bit down viciously. Blood sprayed out, soaking the budding bush that would spread life through this desolate plain in the middle of Wisconsin.

His prey screamed in pain and collapsed almost instantly. She had done great evil and now was no more. The grainy dirt beneath her instantly became a fertile ground promising to feed the nearby village. Her body slowly sunk unto the soil as Roswell, once again a man, turned his back and walked away.

Of course, this is how he recounts the story. He doesn’t mention how he spent over a century tracking her down and losing every fight. Or how he got stuck in cat form because he had hit his head the night before and couldn’t remember the right words. Or how he hit his head the night before because he was once again making love to her. Or how the fight that culminated in her collapse took over 12 hours.

Oh no. Listening to him, he showed up, licked his paws clean, attacked her, and won. This is why, after all, he is known as the greatest man to have ever existed. Each step walking away from the fertile plain brought him one step closer to joining her, finally, forever.
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-11 02:06 am (UTC)

Re: Can we submit more than one story?

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knock yourself out.
[User Picture]From: the_seraph
2010-02-11 03:03 pm (UTC)

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The day my cat saved the world was like any other Thursday. I got up that morning and made a pot of coffee, was half-way through my second cup when I realized the T.V. had been left on CNN. They were following some strange hostage stand-off situation in Wisconsin. I hadn’t been paying too much attention because all the footage was of this fog-shrouded field with a solitary barn washed out to pastel in the distance.

What made me sit up and take notice first was probably the realization that I hadn’t been watching T.V. before bed. Then there was the fact that I never watch CNN. But when I saw Roswell, my cat, streak across the front of the screen, tearing across that field like the mother of all tuna cans was being opened in that distant forlorn barn, I nearly fell off my chair. The reporter moved aside and started to interview a “Mr. Martin Grant,” whom I instantly recognized as being one of my old college pals. I got the rest of the story from him later.

See, even though the police and the news later reported that Spencer Mallon, the alleged hostage-taker and all around mysterious and murderous individual, killed himself up in the hayloft, Martin told me that he’d seen the body himself when he helped lead a SWAT team through the old bomb shelter dug underneath the barn. He said that Mallon was surrounded by a bunch of strange symbols and carvings, burnt-down candles and the stench of incense, but that wasn’t the strange part. The strange part was Roswell, standing over his body, licking his paws like nothing strange was going on despite the fact that Mallon’s body was clawed to shreds, like he’d been in a razor-blade blender.

Now, Martin was always slightly prone to exaggeration, but Roswell didn’t turn up again for another two days, and when he did, he still smelled of strange incense and had a piece of parchment stuck to his fur. The parchment, you ask? Covered in strange symbols. I tossed it out. Good riddance.
[User Picture]From: cobaltika
2010-02-11 04:12 pm (UTC)

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my first short story in years. please be kind?
_______________

He struggled to open his eyes. They were adhered tightly, as if he had been asleep for days, ill. As he rubbed the crust from them, he noticed the brown flakes in his cuticles and streaked on his hands. Dried blood?

Spencer Mallon looked around the room he found himself lying in, on a pallet of stale blankets. Dim, cold, with the debris of ancient furnishings strewn about the place. Crumbling plaster. Peeling wallpaper of a faded rose-pattern barely covered the termite-bitten exposed wood of the place. He sat up, blinking, turning to the window. Past the rag of a curtain was the most desolate view imaginable. As far as he could see, black dirt, brown stalks, gray sky. Where the hell was he?

“Wisconsin.”

He jolted. Did he actually hear that? Or was it a voice in his head?

Turning from the window, he encountered no person present. Only a cat. *That* cat. Black and white with an impenetrable stare. The cat was haggard and thin, not like he was when Spencer last saw him.

“Oh God. No.”

He is beginning to remember. The night in Philadelphia. The people he was staying with, so kind and generous. The man with the ponytail and camera. The beautiful woman with the curls. Roswell, the cat. The party. The knife in his hand. Why? The blood. Oh the blood. Dragging a body out back, finding the snow shovel, trying to cover it in snow. All of that snow. Purify. Make it all go away. And that damned cat staring at him, relentlessly.

How the hell did he get here? And WHY?

“I have brought you here.”

Wait. The cat is speaking to him? The *cat*? And reading his mind?

“Yes. Me. And you must listen. I am your only hope if you wish to be rid of the one who has possessed you. He will want you to kill for him again. And again. Under this house begins the route to safety. But first, we must have food, for I starve. Normally, I eat tofu, but outside are rabbits. Let’s go.

__________
(edited from earlier post)
[User Picture]From: albertine
2010-02-11 05:47 pm (UTC)

Why serial killers always end up with cats

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Evil super heroes have cats. You don’t see [insert favorite evil super hero’s name here] frolicking with a dog. There is a good reason for that: dogs love while cats scheme.

So it goes without saying that this specific anti-hero had a cat. Or perhaps, it would be wiser to state that this cat had its own anti-hero. The cat arrived on a dark omnivorous thunderous night wearing nothing but a tattoo on its shaved side: Roswell. He trotted down the street, scheming to figure out how he would find refuge from the storm, when he saw faint flickering lights at street level, a block away. He always had great night vision.

Speeding up, he finally reached the light as the first fat drop of rain fell, barely missing his tail. Roswell slid through the small opening and arrived on top of a large armoire hiding the fox hole that lead back out. Stretching, Roswell glanced around his new pad and was startled to see he wasn’t alone.

The muffled screams should have tipped him off. The woman below didn’t look good. She was stretched out on a table – hands above her head, legs spread. Her blond curls were covered in some goo with a rather alluring scent. Roswell jumped down from the armoire and approached the gagged girl whose frantic eye was rendered blind by terror. The scent still leading him, the cat reached the table and was delighted to realize the goo that had lured him over was slowly puddling on the ground at the head of the table. Roswell salivated.

He approached the puddle carefully, not quite realizing the human above was tied down and helpless. Besides, she had left this realm when the fork first plucked out her eye.

The man walked in. Roswell kept him.


Edited at 2010-02-11 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: lilybeansmommy.blogspot.com
2010-02-13 03:09 am (UTC)

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i ADORE your blog because of the awesome photos & your tendancy to post things with your kitties (hello roswell!). ummmm... i should mention that i'm not trying to enter this contest, so pick someone who is! i just had to fan girl/geek out for a second... :)
[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2010-02-18 05:41 pm (UTC)

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woohoo!
[User Picture]From: isafantasy
2010-02-13 05:47 am (UTC)

Roswell

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I do not remember what happened before that night. I woke up, somewhere in a creepy and lonely field, in Wisconsin of all places. Spencer Mallon was there that night being busy being mysterious, it's his field you know (and I do mean his career and not his piece of land). Master of mystery. Sometimes it involves strange rituals, sometimes he has to fight apparitions and monsters, sometimes it requires him to silently follow college buddies and to save them from some shadowy serial killer. So many killers these days.

So I woke up that night and looked around, confused. Mallon was there, staring at me. "What business do you have here little one?" he asked. I wish I could have answered back but I found myself unable to solve the puzzle of who I was and how I got there in the first place and then I saw, looking at my hands... They weren't hands anymore. I wasn't human anymore. That's how I woke up being a cat. He named me Roswell after some old friend he had known back in the days when men were men and cats were cats.
[User Picture]From: littlegoth
2010-02-13 10:39 pm (UTC)

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The drumbeat echoed in the oddly empty landscape. BadumBadumBadumBadumBadum, the deep staccato beat sounded back from the distant trees. Spencer Mallon stood holding Roswell, a lovely tuxedo cat, just inside the edge of the trees while looking across the empty snowy field in wonderment. He was gathering those who would come to him, gathering them for something BIG. The sound of the drum was not an alien sound here in Wisconsin. The tribes held powwows often, but the sound that issued from the field of pristine, unbroken snow was different. It had no source, and that was why the ritual needed to be held here. ”One more day,” Spencer thought. ”Just one more day and this will be done.” The smile that stretched across his gaunt face was something that would chill the blood of even the staunchest heart, but Roswell seemed not to mind a tiny bit.
“Get to sleep,” Spencer said to the small group. “Tomorrow is the big day and we all need to be in peak condition for what is waiting for us.”
A few of the people grumbled, but they all went into their tents and zipped them tight as night descended and drumbeats ceased.
The next morning dawned crisp and cold, the snow still unbroken by any human or animal presence. Roswell prowled the camp, eyeing the other humans who had gathered because of the strange, charismatic madman’s beckoning. As the sun began to rise above the tops of the trees the drum began beating again even louder. The ten people with Spencer and Roswell felt the music in their limbs and began moving to the deep yet rapid beat, being pulled against their will toward the eerie field that stretched before them. Spencer Mallon smiled at this as the first man broke the tree line. He scooped up Roswell and buried his face in her fur for a moment, murmuring so that only she could hear. As the last person jerked into the field, he set her down and followed, the same gruesome smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
[User Picture]From: hearcoyotesing
2010-02-14 01:27 am (UTC)

an entry! but not from gentry

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"Did you hallucinate anything else? Apart from the man at your window?" A coffee mug thunked against the table in the old diner. Roswell, seated next to the cash register, began daintily cleaning a paw.

The other man shook his head. Timothy Anderson was his name, but Roswell knew he was inconsequential. "Is that enough information? Can you really cure this?"

"Yes--although it's extremely surprising that your friend had such a similar experience. He's here, too, I hope?"

"Yeah. It's funny: we've barely spoken since college, but he let me drag him all the way out here once I got in contact with you. How do you know so much about this type of hallucination, by the way?"

The other man quirked an eyebrow. Roswell stretched out one back leg, licking the fur around her ankle.

"I don't want to be rude--I'm grateful for your help--but ... I mean, I don't even know your name."

The other man--Spencer Mallon, of course--held up his spoon, as though thinking about how to answer. The diner’s incandescent light smeared across the steel surface. Roswell looked away; Mallon muttered a word. Timothy Anderson's eyes went out of focus, and he followed Mallon out of the diner. So did Roswell.

Followed Mallon to the friend’s hotel room--he was hypnotized as easily as Anderson--then down a long dirt road and into the middle of a field. Not another human being was in sight, and no one would hear them over the wind. A veil fluttered atop a makeshift altar, held in place by two birch rods--the sides of a symbolic doorway--and a chunk of petrified wood for the lintel. Mallon drew a knife, which appeared to be solid silver, spoke an eloquent prayer offering up the college friends' lives, and tore a hole in the veil.

Nothing happened. Roswell, hidden in the grass, chewed on one of the birch rods, thinking, pointless sacrifice. There would be other ways to stop this “hallucination,” this common crook with his two-penny invisibility magic and his taste for shallow murder.
[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2010-02-14 04:27 am (UTC)

Yay! I have an entry!

(Link)

The men gaped at Carson. As esteemed members of their respective scientific communities (all except Jack, who was the foremost anthropologist in New England), the men were used to precise methods of investigation, not simply trusting their eyes to tell them their friend was a collapsed bundle of bones being held together by clothing and skin that resembled turkey jerky.
“Is this a joke?” Rainwright asked. “Tell the scientists there’s a field that’s a dead zone, then set up an intricate illusion?”
“Like the locals are that sharp,” Arthur scoffed.
“Wisconsin actually has a rich cultural heritage,” Jack said.
Sensing Jack was about to begin an excruciating lecture about the cultural history of Wisconsin, Barry held up a hand. “The way I see this,” Barry said, “is our friend walked out into the field, touched an accursed blade of glass with his bare hand, and withered away.”
The men found themselves awed by the reality of their situation. Jack fingered the small wooden pan flute around his neck.
Arthur shook his head. “Always falling back to myths for comfort?” he asked.
“According to family legend, this flute calls the life-bringer.” On impulse, Jack brought the instrument to his lips and blew five high, clear notes. After a few moments, a movement from a nearby clump of brush caught their attention. A black and white tuxedo cat stared at them peevishly. Finally, she looked away to lick her paw and visibly ignore them.
“Well, there’s your life-bringer!” Arthur boomed. An embarrassed pause followed as each man snuck a glance at Carson’s dried husk.
They didn’t notice Roswell’s approach until she was at their feet. She issued a quiet meow then stepped daintily towards the barren field.
“No,” Jack cried. “Kitty, come back.”
Roswell looked back before sprinting towards the brown vegetation. Jack held his breath as she reached the line where green turned to brown.
“Oh,” Barry cried when Roswell failed to fall. Instead, sprouts of green appeared where her feet touched the earth. Young grass formed a clear path as Roswell worked her way to where Carson lay.
[User Picture]From: ann_no_e
2010-02-17 01:30 am (UTC)

(Link)

Roswell glided between the fence posts bounding the wasteland, a stealthy wraith alert to the small movements and alluring scent of unwary prey. Light from the waning moon picked out the white in her coat, while the black fur mantled her from the dying eyes of the body bleeding its last into the sere grey grasses of the abandoned field. The dark, however, failed to hide her from the incurious silver gaze watching from a distance, and she was unaware she had been observed.

As Roswell crept forward on soft cat feet, a shapeless figure, owner of the moonlit eyes, detached itself silently from the shadows of the copse at the edge of the field. Features unreadable, the figure contemplated the inert and torn body at its feet, the smell of copper and just-extinguished candles still in the air. Spencer had played no part in this violence, this danse macabre. It would not be his to glory in or to grieve, though he’d always claimed the pain and the blood shed by his acolytes, while feeding on the despair of the friends they left behind. Ultimately, though, these deaths served Spencer Mallon, sustaining his mythic status, while assuring that the part of himself he guarded most closely would never be revealed.

All gone. All gone now as the corpse of the last known member of the group lay cooling in this far away field. Trembling, the figure knelt, as if expecting a blow, as if to receive a blessing, and a grey, thin-fingered hand reached forward, touching sightless eyes and silent mouth with the still-warm wax from the spent candles near the broken head.

As the shapeless form stood once again, the breeze shifted, carrying the figure’s scent toward the cat still lurking amongst the grasses. Catching the odor, Roswell drew back against a post and hissed in mingled rage and fear.
[User Picture]From: segue
2010-02-17 04:43 am (UTC)

Untitled Roswell the Cat Story (by segue)

(Link)

It's 10:43PM CST, and here it is. I waiting til the last minute, practically.

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“Nah, man, you can’t do that! You’re gonna make him sick!” The postulant snaps.
Roswell stares at the drinking crowd.
“I’m not going ta let him drink it, Pledge!” the fraternal brother commands.
“Then, you’re gonna make him mad!” he pleads.
“Uh-uh. Watch closely, feeble minds!” The young man demonstrates by placing a tumbler of pale liquid down in front of Roswell.
Roswell looks, but does nothing.
“…And now…” The same young man removes that tumbler and in its stead he puts a tumbler filled with darker liquid down.
Roswell twitches a whisker, ever so slightly.
The wiser peer nods his head, “Yeah! See?! I told ya!”
Geek Letter wannabes are in awe, “Whoa…”
The president of the fraternity, appearing in the doorway, makes himself aware, “It’s time. Come prepared!”
The brothers move quickly, shuffling the youngers toward a door and down the stairs to the basement; it is slightly dark, damp, and unnerving for them.
The Sergeant-At-Arms takes Roswell, clutching him like a running back with a football, and trails at the end of the skittish line.
The pledges are put into a line facing a podium, the president and current Greeks. Black, gilded candles are alight on waist-high holders made with human bones.
On the dais in front of the president, is a small square pedestal made from ancient wood. The Sergeant sets Roswell there.
Roswell looks at the boys—This cues the president.
“This meeting will come to order.” He hits his gavel of tiger marble on the podium.
Roswell stiffens up, and falls off the pedestal, landing on his side, sliding quietly down the angled podium in front of the Greek president. Resting on the president’s passive hand, and still, his breathing is soft.
The president is horrified, and looks up in anger.

“Who made Roswell drunk?!”


------------------------ The End!

I had another little story that came to me while I was trying to sleep last night. I'll try to write it up, and post it to my LJ. I might like it better than this one!

Thanks for reading.