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Books & Comics
Horror and Cats's avatar

Is there any rough MAXIMUM cutoff word count? I don't want to get carried away lol

Rich's avatar

We'll look at stories of any length, but let's say aim for around 1,400-1,500 words as a decent ballpark. Absolutely no need to go any longer!

A

My favorite author writes chapters in poem form. Ellen Hopkins. Would this be okay?

Rich's avatar

Beg pardon the slow reply, but yes, this sounds great!🙂

Horror and Cats's avatar

“The Feigning Terror” - In the style of H.P. Lovecraft

In the dusk of a summer eve, gentle breeze coaxing the limbs and leaves of trees to sing a tender lullaby for a quiet neighborhood, Sarah placed the final piece of flatware into the cupboard, freshly washed after supper. She dried her hands and surveyed the space, allowing sharp exhalation from her nostrils along with a nod of satisfaction, derived from a job well done.

She stepped with purpose from the kitchen to the hall, lifting the needle from the record player which had kept her company during the washing up and ascending the stairs to the second floor. Her next task at hand was to bid goodnight to Todd, her son whom she had sent to prepare for bed after dinner. Sarah approached the door of Todd’s room, finding it ajar. This was not unusual as the lad was only six years of age, long before the propensity for privacy would instill in a young man. She spread her fingers apart, gently pressing the door open in case the boy had already fallen into slumber.

The room was dark, but not quite pitch black, the final pinkish-orange hue of the sky eerily silhouetting the branches which tickled the glass of the bedroom window. Sarah stepped forward, quietly swinging the door back to its slightly ajar position as to not let light from the hall into the room for too long. She approached the bed as her eyes adjusted to the new circumstances. Coming into view, she made out the shimmer of her son’s eyes, wide open and unblinking, the bedding pulled up just below. His eyes pierced hers and she slowed, immediately sensing something was amiss. His gaze did not deviate from hers, his eyelids never blinking, his hands gripping the edge of the blanket tightly, ensuring the bedding remained his cloak against fear.

She came to a stop by the bed, her mind racing as she prepared to speak, to ask her child what on earth petrified him so. As her lips parted, a hand shot out from beneath the bed, small but strong, grabbing her ankle. She shrieked and stepped back, tripping in her shock and falling to her backside, hands outstretched behind to keep from collapsing further. What she saw beneath the bed robbed her of breath.

It was her son’s face she saw, peering from the darkness just above an outstretched hand. “There’s a monster in my bed,” he whispered.

Sarah shook, petrified and confused, her mind unable to parse what she was seeing, what she was hearing. Her eyes darted to the surface of the bed and beheld the image of her son sitting up, back unnaturally straight. The panic which had painted his visage only moments ago absent, replaced by an emotionless, empty stare, still ever unblinking.

She acted, reaching out and clutching her son’s hand, pulling him from under the bed and into her arms in one smooth motion, maternal strength and reflex driving her. As she did so, the thing in the bed, what she now knew only wore her son’s likeness as a mask, tore the bedding to the side and prepared to give chase.

Sarah clutched her son tightly with one arm and ran, swinging the ajar door open only enough to fit through, then pulling it shut with a slam which shook the home. She held the handle for a moment, expecting a frantic attempt to wrench the door open once again, but it never came.

She held the door shut and quickly pressed her ear to it—there was no sound, no sign of movement. She turned, now holding Todd to her with both arms, preparing to run down the stairs and straight through the front door. She needed help, neighbors, trusted faces for security in numbers. But, as she turned, at the top of the stairs stood the feigning terror which had taken her son’s image, face blank, unblinking, silent.

Her heart leaped into her throat and she stepped back several paces, despair and disbelief culminating in a medley of nausea and adrenal tremors. There was no second way to the ground floor, no means of escape. The terror deliberately strode toward her, taking a step forward for every step Sarah took back. She neared the end of the hall, her bedroom door before her to the right, the bathroom door beside her to the left.

She ceased her retreat and instead stepped forward, reaching for the bedroom door handle. In an instant the terror lunged forward, immediately bearing down on Sarah at full pelt.

“No!” Sarah cried, lunging to her side and through the bathroom door, slamming it shut and pressing her back against it.

She let Todd down as she fumbled in the dark for the handle’s lock, breathing a sigh of relief at its subtle click. Her hand moved beside the handle and found a switch by the door, flicking it and squinting at the sudden influx of light.

After only a moment of adjustment, she once again open her eyes fully, only to be met with the sight of blood spatter on nearly every surface of the room. A toothbrush with heavily applied paste lay on the floor and a shape could be seen behind the opaque shower door. She stood, her ears ringing, her mind spinning as she stepped forward, sliding open the shower door with shaking hands, causing the metal bearings to rattle as they rolled.

There, on the floor of the shower, lay the body of her son, flesh torn by tooth and claw in an indescribable fashion.

All the sound drained from her ears as she slowly turned away. The shaking subsided, her shoulders slumped, and she beheld the image of her son by the bathroom door—face blank, unblinking, silent.

The audiobook reading if you prefer.

https://youtu.be/uBewDVzEiQM?si=oKLxQZoJ9ntBjF27

Vixxy's avatar

This was an amazing read! You have a real talent 🥰

Horror and Cats's avatar

Aw thanks! That genuinely means quite a lot 😊

Rich's avatar

Brilliant - super creepy and very Lovecraftian. Congratulations on 1st!

L

The Blade’s Oath - in the style of David Gemmell. with the writing ability of a year 6 student. this is ridiculously difficult. i had to use a story builder and a online thesaurus and a hell of a lot of researched descriptive phrases.

Chapter 1

In the shadowed alleys of Stonehaven, where darkness and shadows stretched, a lone figure moved with purpose. His name was Kael, once a soldier, now a blade-for-hire. The few beggers lefts in these streets knew this man, staying huddled in the corners, making sure not to make eye contact. Kael’s face bore battle scars, each one a story of his survival. His piercing grey eyes, held many secrets of friends lost, of long gone battles. He wore a cloak of faded crimson, its edges frayed.

The Black Lotus Tavern stood at the heart of Stonehaven, a hive of villainy and scum :) . Kael stepped inside, the air thick with pipe smoke and the clatter of dice. Lord Thorne sat in a corner booth, admist the smoky haze. His eyes, met Kael’s.

“Your payment awaits,” Thorne said, sliding a pouch across the beaten wooden table. “Dispose of the merchant, and you will be rewarded handsomly for it .” Kael’s gaze shifted to the tavern’s entrance. A young woman stood there, cloak drawn tight. Her eyes looked fearful, then she met his gaze. She was the merchant’s daughter, of whom he had been tasked to kill.

The blade’s oath weighed heavy. Kael had sworn to protect the innocent, but gold whispered promises of freedom. He glanced at the pouch, then at the girl. The choice was difficult. The young women left the tavern in a hurry, and Kael gave chase. As the sun dipped below the rooftops, Kael followed the merchant’s daughter through narrow alleys. Her footsteps quickened, fear on her face. Looking behind behind her she saw nothing, then suddenly Kael appeared in front catching her by the arms. She let a gasp which quickly turned to a sorrowful look. “Why, did you do it?” she whispered. He didn’t answer. Instead, he guided her to safety, a hidden door leading to a cellar. As they entered the room they were met by resistance fighters, plotting against Thorne’s tyranny. The girls face turned from fear to relief as she she realised Kael's true alignment. But unbeknownst to her internal struggle still weighed heavy upon Kael. The night drew in.

Emerging from the dim cellar whilst everyone slept, Kael’s boots crept up the narrow streets towards thorne's residence. The flickering torches cast dancing shadows, illuminating the passageways.

At last, he stepped into the moonlit courtyard, where to his surprise Thorne awaited, unperturbed and ready.

As he look uponst thorne he saw that arrogance etched into every line of his sneer. “You hesitate, mercenary?” Thorne taunted, drawing his own sword.

Kael’s grip tightened. “I’ve made my choice.”

Their blades clashed, flickers of the moonlight shooting into the stone. Thorne’s strikes were swift, but Kael’s defence held firm. He parried, sidestepped, and countered. The courtyard echoed with steel on steel and became a battleground. Thorne’s strikes were like lightning, unyielding but Kael danced around each thrust. He parried, the impact jarring his arms, sidestepped, and countered with a vengeance.

Kael’s defense held firm. The noble’s arrogance gave way to desperation, and sweat beaded on his forehead.

Their swords clashed, sparks flying in the moonlight. Kael’s breath came in ragged gasps, the blades ringing in his ears. He saw an opening a fraction of a second and lunged. His blade met Thorne’s, slipping past, and the noble’s eyes widened in disbelief.

Thorne lay defeated, blood seeping into the cobblestones, Kael knelt beside him. The noble’s arrogance had vanished, replaced by a mix of pain and bitterness. “You betrayed innocence for gold,” Kael whispered, his voice cold. “But I choose honour.”

As dawn painted the sky, Kael returned to the cellar. The merchant’s daughter awaited him “You spared my father,” she said. Kael nodded.

And so, in the heart of Stonehaven, honour prevailed over darkness. Kael’s name would fade, but the tale of the blade-for-hire who chose compassion would linger.

Chapter 2

The next morning the fighters gathered to break their fast.

“Elowen,” Kael said, his voice low. “Your father’s life is spared. But Thorne’s crimes demand retribution.” He leaned forward, the flickering candlelight casting shadows across his scarred face. “There are many who still fight under his banner, men who would see the world burn for a handful of gold coins.”

Elowen stepped forward, her cloak slipping to reveal a slender blade at her side. Her eyes held a fire of determination. “I’ll do it,” she declared, her voice steady. “I’ll end them"

Kael hesitated. The weight of his past battles pressed upon him, the fallen comrades, the blood-soaked fields, the faces of those he’d failed to save. “No,” he said, his fingers tracing the pommel of his own sword. “Not like this.” “What other way is there?” she asked.

He rose from his seat, the wooden chair scraping against the floor. “Ill finish this alone” Kael said, his gaze locking with hers.

Kael’s lips curved into a smile. “I'll challenge them openly,” he replied. “A duel, in the heart of the city. Let them see their own blood spilled. Let them witness the consequences of their choices.”

Elowen nodded “And if you fall?”

“Then I will fall,” Kael said. “But I’ll take as many of them with me as I can.” He glanced at the other fighters, their eyes filled with both fear and determination. “We fight for justice, Elowen, for those who can’t wield a blade, for the innocents caught in the crossfire. Thorne’s tyranny ends today.” FOR I HAVE TAKEN "THE BLADES OATH"

M

Can I write in the style of two authors? As they have a similar writing style.

Makster's avatar

In the style of Murakami - trying to mix in a little mystery and mundane

In the stillness of a late autumn evening, where the soft hum of Tokyo’s nightlife barely touched the windows of my small abode, I found myself alone, contemplating the emptiness that had settled in my chest. The room, illuminated by the pale light of a single desk lamp, cast long shadows on the tatami mats, creating an intricate dance of light and dark. The silence was punctuated only by the occasional creak of the building and the rhythmic ticking of an old wall clock that came with the place.

I had moved here six months ago, after a bitter breakup with my girlfriend of five years. She had left me for reasons I still couldn't fully comprehend, but as with many things in my life, it was easier to accept than to understand. I spent my days listening to the same three vinyls on repeat, occasionally getting up from my stasis to turn it over. My nights lying awake looking at the ceiling. My life had become a series of repetitive motions, each day indistinguishable from the last.

One evening, I rose from my bed and I sat at my desk, flicking the desk lamp on in front of a empty sheet. I heard a faint, almost imperceptible melody fluttering through the air. It was a tune I had never heard before, yet it felt oddly familiar, like a half-remembered dream. Intrigued, I pressed my left ear towards the sound and listened more intently. The sound appeared to be coming from the neighbouring apartment, an apartment that, to my knowledge, had been vacant since I moved in.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to investigate. Pulling on some jeans and a hoodie, I stepped into the hallway the floorboards creaking beneath my feet, as I approached the door. The music grew louder and more distinct, a haunting melody played on what sounded like a piano.

My gentle knock yielded no response. After a moment’s hesitation, I tried the buzzer hoping it the noise wouldn't wake up the whole floor. Waiting, waiting. The door responded silently to my patience and yet the song lingered in my ears. I placed my right hand on the door and shifted my weight slightly towards it almost as a last ditch request for a response. And a response came as the door, heavy as the oak it was made from, creaked open.

Peeking inside, the apartment was dimly lit, the only light coming from a small lamp on a wooden table near the window. The air was thick with the scent of old books and something else I couldn’t quite place. In the corner of the room stood a grand piano, its surface polished to a mirror-like sheen. Seated at the piano was a woman, her back to me, her fingers dancing gracefully over the keys.

Her fingers descended gracefully on the the final keys before a brief pause. And then a new song started, a tune I didn't recognise but was mesmerising nonetheless. It drew me into the apartment though I was careful to shut the door behind me quietly as to not disturb her performance. I stood at the mouth of the room, transfixed, until she finished. Her hands placed gracefully on her lap. She turned to face me, and I was struck by her traditional beauty. In the dark I could make out a smooth round face, porcelain white contrasted with deep dark eyes and a slender nose. The contours of her lips were shapely and plump, though I couldn't make out her full features, I could tell that her presence in the room made it difficult to speak.

“Hello,” she said, her voice as soft and haunting as the music she had been playing. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I’m sorry,” I stammered, feeling suddenly self-conscious. “I heard the music and… I didn’t know anyone lived here.”

She smiled, a small, enigmatic smile that made her even more mysterious. “I moved in recently,” she said. “My name is Sayuri.”

“I’m Takashi,” I replied, still standing awkwardly in the doorway.

“Would you like some tea?” she asked, gesturing to a teapot on the table. “I was just about to make some.”

I nodded, stepping further into the room and closing the door behind me. Sayuri rose from the piano and moved with an almost otherworldly grace. Her steps were gentle as a ballerina that they didn't make a sound on the creaky wooden floors. We sat at the small table by the window, the steam from the tea rising in delicate spirals.

As we sipped our tea, Sayuri told me about herself in a calm, measured tone. She was a pianist, she said, a prodigy who had performed in concert halls around the world. But she had grown tired of the constant travel and the pressure of always having to be perfect. After her parents passed away, a relief was felt and she decided to return to Tokyo to handle the affairs and take some respite from the performance.

There was something about Sayuri that captivated me, a quiet strength and an air of mystery that made me want to know more about her. We talked for hours, the conversation flowing effortlessly as the night wore on. It felt as though we had known each other for much longer than a few hours.

Over the following weeks, Sayuri and I grew close. I would spend my evenings in her apartment, listening to her play the piano, the music weaving a spell around us. We shared stories, dreams, and secrets, our connection deepening with each passing day. I found myself looking forward to those evenings, the time spent with her becoming the highlight of my day.

One night, as she played a particularly poignant piece, I felt a strange sense of déjà vu. The melody tugged at something deep within me, evoking memories I couldn’t quite grasp. When she finished, I asked her about the piece.

“It’s something I composed,” she said softly. “It’s about lost love and the search for meaning in the emptiness.”

Her words struck a chord in me, resonating with my own experiences. I realised then that I had found in Sayuri not just a friend, but a kindred spirit. In the silence that followed, I reached out and took her hand. She looked at me with those beautiful eyes, and in that moment, I knew that I had finally found what I had been searching for all along.

Rich's avatar

Loved the delicate, thoughtful touches of magical realism. Inspired me to pick up a couple of Murakamis. Lovely stuff Makster!

EveOnlineTutorials's avatar

Finding The Nest - Raymond E Fiest Style

Jimmy stood staring down at the body, the dagger protruding from the victim's chest, a black feather attached to the hilt, sighing loudly he moved around the room, seeking any signs of how they got into the Inn's room. After hearing the shouting, the Innkeeper had to force the door to gain entry into the room.

The constable cleared his throat, he had been fidgeting for around ten minutes, Jimmy knew from experience the constable was new to the job and out of his depth and would rather be just about anywhere except here, especially when Nighthawks were involved. Jimmy smiled and waved the constable away, bowing gratefully, he made his exit from the room.

Jimmy, Duke Of Krondor, took one final look around the room and made his way to the stables, vaulting onto his horse he signalled his personal guard and they rode quickly to the palace, this was the seventh murder in four days, all prominent businessmen, all from different trades, but all part of the trade federation, a group rumoured to be part of the Nighthawks financial arm.

Arriving at the palace, Jimmy lept from his horse and made his way through the Palace to his liege, Prince Arutha, hurrying forward he signalled to the guards to open the prince's office doors, hurrying inside he quickly bowed "My liege, it is as you expected, another business owned of the trade federation, same style, same signature, locked doors, I fear magic may be involved"

Prince Arutha rose and went to his window, looking out across his city, he signed and turned to his duke "This cannot continue, whilst the federation holds no sway here, the sheer trade impact across the city is beginning to be noticed, you must find out what is happening and whilst you are valuable James, you are uniquely suited, use your contacts, find their nest, then we will stamp them out, once and for all" Jimmy bowed and quickly withdrew, walking back to his own quarters, he knew what his liege meant when he said uniquely suited.

Entering his quarters he waved away his guards, signalling them to retire, making his way to the closet he quickly stripped himself of his office clothes and donned his street clothes, a full grey set, whilst dirty looking, was custom made, he moved to his garderobe and removed the back wall, and dropped into the sewers, now he needed answers.

Entering the sewer, he made his way quickly to his youth, born a street urchin, rising to the rank of Duke Of Krondor, a tale worthy of a ballad. moving from section to section, utter blackness enveloping him, his almost supernatural abilities meant he needed no light, he froze, a slight wave in the sewage water, someone had entered the water with stealth, but not quite enough.

Flattening himself against the wall, pulling his black cloak tightly around him, he freed his dagger and held it lightly, waiting, as he suspected, a shape moved past him, slowly, step by step, Jimmy quickly leapt forward as the assailant passed him, pressing his blade against the mans spine, he whispered "there is a part at mothers", the stranger laughed "and a good time will be had by all".

Spinning the man around he looked straight into his eyes "Alvin, just the man I was looking for, I need some information" he grunted "Always looking for information er Jimmy? Or is it Lord James?" Jimmy smiled "It's Jimmy when I'm down here", Alvin sank down on the side, looking Jimmy in the eyes "What do you need" Jimmy sat down next to him and spoke into his ears "I need to know, where the birds of prey, those that hunt at night, lay" Alvin's shoulders drooped and he nodded.

Jimmy crept forward, quickly mounting some rusty iron steps, taking one step at a time, as he got closer to the top, he stopped and noticed a guard at the top, concealed from any but for the sharpest eyes, Jimmy took a step back, removed a dagger strapped to his arm and snapped his arm forward, the guards head snapped back, a dagger protruding from his skull, he crumpled to the floor and rolled down the stairs past Jimmy. Quickly darting up the remaining stairs he placed his ear against the door, hearing nothing, he slowly inched the door open and looked inside, a small but steep walkway heading up to a trap door, moving forwards he quickly knelt and placed his hands on the trap door and inched it up and looked inside, his heart rate doubled, row upon row of beds were lined up and in each bed, lay a man in black robes, a sword by his side, he had found the nest. Slowly lowering the trap door shut, he quickly retraced his steps, now was the time to act.

Soldiers lined the walls, the Prince's personal guard and the legendary Crimson Hawks, the elite of the Krondorian army, the pathfinders were also present and ready to storm the warehouse doors, below in the sewers, a crack troop of the king's own guard, lead by Jimmy, waited patiently, the orders had been simple, enter the warehouse and kill everyone. Jimmy crept forward with his troops and waited, soon they heard a commotion, men shouting "Let's move" he said and stormed into the basement, Nighthawks stood, weapons ready, facing the doors, Jimmy led his men, taking them from behind, a dozen were down before they realised they where being attacked from the rear. Soon they realised and the fighting began in earnest, assassins versus king guards, the fighting was brutal and hard-pressed, and Nighthawks fought viciously, preferring to die than be captured, as the last Nighthawk died, Jimmy looked around, a few of his guards were down "we need to keep moving" as they burst into the main warehouse, the situation seemed well in hand, the Prince hurried to his Duke, both covered in blood and gripped his shoulder tightly.

"I'm glad you survived, did any get past you" he demanded, looking around Jimmy answered "None sire, we killed the Nighthawks below and came straight up, why do you ask" Arutha looked around "Several jumped out of windows, rather than be taken, whilst we killed or captured the remaining assassins, there has to be a dozen loose in the city now" signally his guard commander to his side, he spoke quickly "Orders, ride to every gate, seal the city, until these blackhearts are found, the city is now under martial law".

Jimmy grimaced, as a child of the street, he knew, martial law would cause havoc, but these assassins must be stopped and routed out, looking up he saw his liege signally him, it's time to leave, striding outside, he jumped into the saddle of a horse being held for them, in silence, they rode back to the palace, sleep would be a welcome thing, but, he knew, the hunt was on, duty before comfort.

M

A Hot Bargain - Written in the style of Rick Riordan.

When parents ask for help with errands, and say that it will only take “about 5 minutes”, you know it will be more than that. Ranging from an hour, to using up your whole day. So when my Dad, Hermes, the messenger of the gods sent me on a quest to retrieve some lost items for him, I answered with the most polite “No” I could give him. In return, he gave me a look as if I cursed infront of my grandma.

“Excuse me, what do you mean no?!”

“Dad, can you really blame me for refusing?” I replied. “Everytime you ask me to help you there’s always a catch”.

The messenger of the gods pinched his nose in fustration. “Oh Gods and Titans, is this about what happened last month in Wales?”

I glared at my father and crossed my arms. It was definitely about what had happened in Wales.

“Son, you are the only one who is available to retrieve these items,” he said. “I promise to reward you if you complete this small quest, think of it as compensation for what happen last month”.

He drove a hard bargain. “So where are these items?” I asked. Dad smiled. “Camden Market.”

It had taken me about 45 minutes by bus and train too reach the market, and I had been here for almost 30 minutes, so that was 1 hour and 15 minutes gone already. I wanted to get this quest over with as Dad wanted me to bring the items to him in Piccadilly Circus before sunset. As I was about to get distracted by the Bandai Namco Cross Store, I noticed two hooded figures heading down an allyway. I followed them to what appeared to be a hidden market stall, it was all black and had sign in bright red:

“HIDDEN TREASURE AUCTIONS”

I moved closer and hid behind a stack of plastic crates. Surrounding the stand was a group of roughly 30 individuals, but as I looked closer I noticed that not all of them appeared to be fully human. There were some with talons, wings, horns, and scales. I saw a couple of cyclopses, some nymphs, I think I saw some satyrs as well.

As I was crossing off monster’s off my mental mythology bingo card, a man in a black suit, crimson red shirt, black tie and black shoes, walked up to the front of the stall. He had short black hair, a clean shaved beard, a round face, and wore a pair of sunglasses which seemed to have a orange tint within the lenses. He cleared his throat and lifted a microphone to his mouth.

“Ladies, Monsters, and Gentlemen! Welcome to the Hidden Treasure Auction!”, the man announced. He sounded like an ITV game show host. A very entertaining one too, as the crowd cheered, roared, and howled. Literally because there were a few lycanthrops amongst them.

“I’m your host Blaze Burnfield, and we have so much in store for you today. Literally! This auction has sold many infamous items, we’ve sold the Eye of Balor of the Formorians, we’ve sold lock’s of hair from the Aesir goddess of love, beauty, and war, Freya. We’ve sold a lightning bolt which was “generously”, donated by Zeus - whilst he was distracted by mortal women.”

The crowd laughed, even I snickerd. But I quickly regained my focus.

“But today we have two special items, “gifted” by Hephaestus. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you..... The Mask of Mercury, and The Phaser Sword!”

Burnside pulled a red cloth off a display case showing what looked like the mask of comedy with wings attached to the side. Next to it was a Gladius sword which had a faint aura around it.

“OOOOOOOOO” “Wow!” “Take my money! Shut up and take my money!”

“Pipe down, pipe down!”, yelled Burnfield. “Let’s keep this auction professional. So let us start the bidding shall we? Starting at £200...”

£200?!, why is there never an atm when you need one?

“£300!” Yelled an auctioneer.

“£450!” “£600!”

“£600 going once...” called Burnside.

As the bidding continued, I noticed the mask and sword twitching, as if they were trying to get up from the display pedistool. It looked like the items were shifting towards my direction. However it didn’t look as if Blaze Burnside or the crowd had noticed.

“£1,000!”

The crowd gasped and looked towards a tall individual wearing a dark green hooded-cloak near the back. Crap! What do I do now?

“£1,000! We have £1,000! Going once, going twice, going three times -

Before Burnside could finish his sentence, the mask and sword levitated from their pedistool, both shining in a bright aura similar to that of a setting sun. Everyone took a step back, Burnside looked shocked, it appeared he didn’t read the instructions before he stole these items. All of a sudden, the treasures flew towards me as if I summoned them, as if they had noticed my presence. I grabbed hold of the sword in my right hand and the mask in my left. The crowd and Burnside all looked towards me.

“Uhhh.... Sold?” I said nervously.

I bolted.

I usually don’t run from fights, but I was outnumbered. I had two tasks, get to the train station and deliver these items to Dad.

“Somebody stop that boy!”, one of the bidders screamed.

I blitzed down the alley ways and into the center of the shops and food stalls. The bid callers hot on my tail. My eyes kept darting around for an exit, for anyway out. For some reason, my right hand which was holding the Phaser Sword, began to glow, and made a downward slash in the air, as if it had been possessed by the sword. The slash however looked like a tear within space, and on the other side I saw a bridge that was just outside Camden Market.

“How...?”

I didn’t have time to question it as I could hear the cries of the angry mob. I hopped through the space, as I came out the other side I instinctively slash across the tear, and it disappeared. I made for the bridge, however as I got closer, Burnside was standing there. How did he know I’d be here?

“Greetings young man, I would appreciate it if you return my weapons before things get a little... Heated.” said Burnside.

He thrusted his right hand and a beam of fire shot towards me. I rolled to side and charged towards him with the sword, but as soon as I swung down Burnside had vanished and reappeared a few feet behind me.

“Do you know what I had to go through to get those items? Return them now!”, Demanded Burnside. He raised both hands and sent a wall of fire towards me. I’m not sure why, but I instinctively put on the Mask of Mercury. At that moment, time began to slow down.

“What the?”

I steadily walked around the firewall. Burnside stood in position like he had seen the face of Medusa.

It seemed as though Burnside could tell what was happening, as whilst his body remained in place, his eyes moved towards me. In a panic, I kicked him towards the side of the bridge. However, the kick had more power in it than I intended as he went flying over the edge.

I took off the mask and everything began to fast forward. There was a loud splash, like someone had dropped a boulder into the water, I ran over to look for Burnside. But his body wasn’t there, all I could see was a cloud of steam rising from the river.

I reunited with my Dad at Piccadilly Circus, inside the Waterstones Cafe.

“Blaze Burnside, the son of the Titan Perses. He works as a dealer in the black market,” Dad Explained. “How he managed to steal these treasures from Hephaestus’s workshop, I have no idea. Perses and his children aren’t really known for being stealthy. Unless your Hecate.”

I knew that name, Perses was the Titan of Destruction. If he was anything like Burnside, I was very lucky not to be burned to a crisp. I then pulled out the sword and mask, and placed them on the table, luckily the mist obscured the true identity of the items from mortals otherwise I would have a lot of explaining to do.

“Here are the items you requested. Quest completed”, I said to my Dad. But as I was saying this, his facial expressions change from agreement, surprise, curiosity, shock, and then understanding in that exact order.

“Dad, what’s wrong?”, I asked.

The god looked up from the table. “I can’t take them anymore”. My eye began to twitch. “Excuse me?” “I said -

“I heard what you-” I had to stop myself from yelling in order to not draw attention to us. “I heard what you said! Are you having a laugh?! I almost got myself killed trying to retrieve these things, I nearly died escaping that mob of monsters and fighting Burnside. If you think-

“Son!” My Dad said sternly, it was quite rare for him to be this strict with me given his laid back personality. “I can’t take back the Mask of Mercury and the Phaser Sword, because they already claimed you.”

I stared at him dumbfoded. “What?”

“The sword, and mask have chosen you,” he continued. “I couldn’t take them back even if wanted to. Surely you felt as though the items were drawn to you in some way, correct?”

I remembered back at the auction stall, the items seem to have noticed my presence, like they had picked me.

“You may not know this, but sometimes magical items can eventually develop a mind of their own depending on how they are crafted, or what they have been through,” My dad said as he was getting up out of his seat. “Consider these items as a reward for completing this quest. See you soon son”. He then teleported away.

I sat there in the cafe looking at my rewards whilst enjoying my food. I looked at my watch. This task had taken me around 4 hours to complete. So much for 5 minutes.

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