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Prize Wins

Took first place with this short story about Vampires

All That Glistens


A bright coloured mist partially obscured the flashing neon sign, which was also reflected in the dark mirror like puddle. Breaking up into thousands of brightly coloured shards as a boot stepped directly into its middle. Disgustedly Kerra leaned down and wiped away some of the muddy water from the bottom of her purple gown, then she stared up at the sign, seemingly entranced by the ethereal effect of the misty fluorescent halo, her long purple hair and pale face being illuminated in the sporadic light. A few moments later she felt a rough hand clap her on the shoulder breaking her concentration, and she turned to see a big hulk of a man standing behind her, the broad, open face capped off with a small goatee beneath the wide chin.

   Dante! Her voice was soft, with just a hint of a Southern Irish lilt.

He grinned in response. You Toreador are all the same, all look and no action. Oh the beauty, the angst! He grinned again, almost mockingly, holding a hand to his forehead as he spoke.

She smiled tiredly, it was an old argument, and she motioned with her hand for him to carry on in front of her. With long, even, slow paced steps they strode up to the open doorway in the side of the building, and for a moment they were both highlighted in the long rectangle of golden light that flooded through the open doorway, warping and twisting their shadows as if reflecting what might be in their souls. Then they were inside, past the square of light and into the comforting near darkness of the club. Both of them nodding briefly to the slim dark man in the elegant suit and black glasses as he stepped to one side making room for them to pass through the open portal.


#   #   #


            Inside it was dark and smoky, smooth music filled the room, plush red leather chairs hid behind tables of highly polished mahogany, and pieces of artwork in gilded frames lined the empty wall spaces between the rich red velvet drapes. The whole atmosphere was like that of a Gentlemans club, rich and elegant, but all such resemblance ended there. Men in sombre suits mingled with others who wore tattered jeans and t-shirts, the women too wore varying styles, old and new, revealing and not so, every so often flashes of silver fire as piercing's caught the light in faces, ears and from other more suggestive locations. Cut crystal glasses glistened in the soft golden light, as people sipped at the red viscous liquid. Kerra nodded to several of them as she made her way to the bar on the far wall.

   Dante, let me, you get us a place to sit.

He nodded, heading towards an empty table in the far corner. Kerra ordered them two drinks which were quickly placed in front of her picking them up making her way over to Dante where they sat together in quiet contemplation.

The hubbub of conversation raised an octave or two as two new figures entered the room, the male was tall and slim, his skin a pale white off set by the charcoal grey of his Victorian style suit. To some he nodded, others he completely ignored, a physical display of those who where in favour and those who werent. Kerra took a deep sip of her drink, savouring the rich taste as it spread out across her tongue. The other was almost ghost like in her appearance, an extremely thin, pale faced girl who walked several paces behind him with an almost predatory air. Spotting Kerra and Dante almost hidden in the shadows the man beckoned them forward with his middle finger.

   Yes Prince? She curtsied as she spoke, her long dress brushing against the floor with a soft whisper.

   I have work for you and your coterie, will you please attend me shortly in the rear room. His voice was soft and melodious yet carried command not request.

Kerra nodded in assent heading back towards her seat. The conversation around them grew an octave, and the Prince glared around the room as if challenging the raised noise levels. Then turning his back on them all he walked across the room, entering a room at the back, the woman shutting the door behind them with a gentle thud. Again the conversation level rose, several glancing over at Kerra and Dante as they spoke, their mouths hidden by a raised hand. Kerra and Dante already back at their table swallowed their drinks, draining them down to the last few dregs.

   What do you think it is he wants?

Kerra shrugged, dabbing at her lips with a napkin. Guess we should go and find out. With that she stood, throwing the stained napkin onto the table, they headed towards the closed door. Knocking at the wooden panels waiting for the Prince to call them before entering.


#   #   #


The Prince was sat behind a table, his thin frame supported by a high backed leather chair that creaked as he moved, to his left stood the pale faced woman her hand resting lightly on the hilt of a Katana.

   Kerra, its good to see you, as I said I have a task for you. He stood as he spoke, indicating towards two empty chairs in front of him with a sweep of his arm. He waited for them to settle before continuing. This task is of some importance to me. I have a package that I wish for you to collect.

   Package? Kerra leaned forward. An interested look flickering across her sharp, ferret like features.

   Yes, a new statue designed by one of the greatest sculptors I have seen this age. A man of true talent and genius.

   Youre going to embrace him?

   In a year or two perhaps, Ill let his work mature a little, the embrace always seems to add that streak of darkness. Besides there are so many pretenders these days, so we shall watch and see.

   Ok, where is it?

He opened a briefcase that sat on the floor beside him like a faithful dog, and taking out a slim black folder he slipped it across the desk, Everything you need is in here, his finger tapped the surface of the leather wallet, collection permits, import licence, everything. Do not fail me in this simple task.

Kerra picked up the leather file, flicking through it quickly, and then nodding to the Prince she stood up and left, Dante following her.


#   #   #


                        Outside of the room she settled back down into a chair, reaching into a pocket of her dress for a small compact mobile phone, stabbing at the buttons with a finger she hit the send button and held the receiver up to an ear.

   Zafirah, get the gang and meet me outside of The Inferno, oh and bring a van. She spoke rapidly into the receiver, pausing for a moment before closing it shut with a satisfied smile. The rest will be here shortly, excuse me a moment. She got up sliding out of her chair gracefully, going into one of the private rooms where she made another brief call. That done she headed back to her place to wait for the others. Dante looked at her quizzically for a moment before settling back in his chair, his hands held behind his head as if in surrender.


#   #   #


            Almost half an hour passed before an exotic looking woman entered the room, her dusty coloured skin highlighted by the black leather cat suit that somehow revealed all and yet showed nothing. She stalked over to where Dante and Kerra sat.

   Were all here, so whats the op? She sat in a chair opposite them, draping herself across the table.

   Ill tell it to all of you outside, save me saying it twice.

   We have to rescue the Malkavian Primogen from the Sabbat who are intent on breaking the thin veil of the Masquerade.

Zafirah looked at him disgustedly, before poking her tongue out at him, then as one they stood up, exiting the building together.


#   #   #


            Zafirah led them to a small beaten up transit van. More rust than paint. As they got closer the side door slid open and a chubby face peered round the side almost hidden in the shadows she could just make out the dark form of another. Opening the door she clambered up into the front, sliding over so that Zafirah could slip in behind the steering wheel.  She turned to face the others sitting in the back. One almost bestial, his eyes sharp and feral, his clothes near rags, and here and there was the suspicion of dirt. The other was large and chubby, and wore what could only be described as an eclectic collection of clothing, a pair of bright orange jeans, white t-shirt and tweed jacket. Kerra waited till they had eased into the traffic, a grey ghost in the dark night. Then she began to tell the others what was happening.


#   #   #


            They pulled up outside a dilapidated looking building, all crumbling concrete and flaking paint. A single working streetlamp flickered overhead seemingly out of place with the other silent sentries. The van gave a final shudder as the engine cut out, Kerra and her party disembarked, spreading out across the area, eyes open and bodies alert for any sign of trouble. Three green metal roller doors sat squarely in the centre of the building. To the far right a dingy orange light shone through a dusty window, behind which they could just make out a solitary man in uniform, he was sat behind a desk, apparently engrossed in a book. She walked towards rapping against the glass sharply, startling the man his book hitting the desk with a hollow thud.


   Ive a collection to make, the papers are here. She waved the folder at him.

   Put em through here. He pointed towards a slot in the bottom of the window.

Kerra slipped the papers from their leather folder and poked them through the gap; the man grabbed them and began studying them. Pushing a button on a computer he quickly punched in a number and studied the results on the screen, his face turning a sickly green as he did so.

   Centre door, Ill get one of the others to bring it over to you. It should just about fit.

Zafirah climbed back into the van, it shook gently as she turned the engine over a pale grey/blue cloud of smoke rising gently from exhaust as she began backing it up towards the green shutters. Then something screamed in the darkness, and with a low dull thud the van exploded in a white ball of light, burning its after image into the eyes of all those stood near it, throwing them to the ground as the shockwave rolled over them caressing their skin with its warm breath. Kerra hugged the floor slightly blinded as five ghost-like forms entered the arc of light. One was an image straight out of hell, more than eight feet in height, its skin a sickly greenish-grey, which glistened like a beetles carapace in the artificial light. The legs and arms were well muscled and ropey, ending in deformed hands and feet that were tipped with ragged black claws. The face was warped and twisted looking anything but human, all along its back was a row of bone like spines. The others, three men and two women, at least looked fairly normal, apart from one of the females who wore two oxygen tanks on her back which were attached to a metal pipe she cradled in her arms. From her position on the floor Kerra grinned.

Justin the feral faced kindred leapt up from the floor his fingers sprouting razor sharp claws, and Dante too rushed into the fray. Markus the chubby kindred who had sat in the back behind her brushed dirt from his trousers then began staring at one of the kindred who was rushing towards him. Kerra knowing what was coming allowed the blood to rush to her tongue, transforming it, willing it to change, it became long and forked, some eighteen inchs in length. She flicked it out towards the unsuspecting Markus, striking him just above the ankle, breaking the skin, and at the same time she felt a jolt as some of his blood entered her system. Markus looked shocked, as he turned to face her. Looking her squarely in the eyes, and she felt her mind begin to drift, loose focus. She shook her head, clearing it, lashing out again. But Markus had already moved and all she tasted was the bitter night air. Off to her left a jet of flame engulfed Justin, turning him into an orange pillar of flame that blinded her with its brightness. Screams of pain and terror filled the night; already in the distance she could hear the distant wail of sirens, and glancing round at the warehouse behind her she could see that it was shut up tight, no doubt it was they who had called the police. A steel shutter now covered the glass hiding the mortals behind it. Dante was already in close combat with several of the others, she could see several smoky black tentacles were wrapped around his body. Markus had by now no doubt obfuscated, she stood up, assessing the situation, a glowing pile of ash represented all that was left Justin, and even Dante was slowly being over whelmed. She beckoned to the women carrying the flamethrower, explaining about Markus, the toreador grinned allowing the blood to suffuse her senses, heightening them. There, a shuffling sound, out of place with the rest of the nightly noises. The flamethrower belched out a stream of liquid fire, lighting up the night around them. The sudden bright orange flare blinding Kerra for a moment or two.

   Nope not there, The nozzle moved a few millimetres to the left and again flame belched out into the night. Not there either. The action was so quick that Kerras eyes couldnt follow the movement. She guessed that the Toreador was toying with the Malkavian, and that her blood fuelled speed would soon begin to fade but it would all be over before that happened. Again the flamethrower spoke out into the darkness of the night, only this time it was followed by a short sharp scream as the flame struck its target.

   Make sure hes dead, you know what to do.

   Oh hes toast. The Toreador grinned, her teeth shining brightly in the near darkness. And again as Kerra walked away there was a bright flare behind her followed by a long drawn out scream, then silence.

Dante was down, his white t-shirt stained a dark murky black and she could see the head of the large stake that had been hammered into his heart. She indicated to a tall emancipated man with pale skin and hair to pick him up. He nodded once and seemingly picked up the larger man without effort. Follow me, Ill show you where we parked. His accent was thick and heavy, almost a caricature of how one expected a vampire to speak. Together the bodys feet scraping along the ground they headed out into the darkness, oblivious to the nearing wail of the sirens.


#   #   #


            Dante was neither dead nor asleep, but stuck somewhere in between. He could see even hear, but that was all, he could feel his thirst raging, a need, want for blood. Around him shadows flickered in the near darkness, he could just see the hand at his chest. Then there was blinding white pain followed by the welcoming comfort of unconsciousness.


#   #   #


            Kerra slit her wrist allowing the blood to drip into the chalice, gathered around her were her pack, who gazed at it eagerly, it was passed from member to member who each added a drop of their own vitae, finally ending in the hands of the tall thin pale man, he too slit his wrists, then made a sign over its surface, muttering some strange and incoherent words, then drank deeply. Slowly it was passed back around the rest of the group all of them taking a sip until finally it was back in Kerras hands and she too drank deep. She wandered over to where Dante stood chained to the wall, allowing the bowl to pass beneath his nose, the delicate coppery scent of the blood titillating his senses and actuating his thirst. Almost without thinking he drank, two large mouthfuls that seemed to revitalise his system. Already he felt it go to work on his wounds, repairing the bruised and damaged tissue, and he saw Kerra smiling at him almost paternally.

   Sabbat bitch. He spat at her.

   Ahh but so are you my friend. Or will be.

   Screw you, Ill kill myself first. He lunged forwards to be stopped by the chains at his wrists.

   Temper, temper, you Brujah are all the same. All action and no thought. He looked at her, the words almost exactly the same as he had spoken earlier that night.

   Your fucking dead when the Prince finds out, hell stake you out and leave you to greet the fucking sun.

   I think not. We all have our role to play, and youll play yours to perfection. Robert, you know what to do.

A man stepped forward looking directly into Dantes eyes.


#   #   #


            Are you sure the statue is safe? The Prince rubbed at a spot on the table nervously.

   Of course, we never got a chance to collect it, it was sheer luck that myself and Dante managed to escape. Wasnt it Dante?

He nodded, of course that was exactly as it happened, her bravery and quickness of action had saved them both of that he was sure.

   Strange though that the Sabbat just happened to be there though is it not?

   Perhaps a spy? Dante offered.

  Perhaps, but well done the both of you, you wont be forgotten you know, perhaps a minor position for you? Maybe even a small favour?

Inside Kerra smiled, the takeover of London had begun.



Another FIRST PLACE with this piece of Tolkien Fan Fiction

The Ring

The True Story


The Bindbole Woods were almost quiet apart from the usual nocturnal noises as animals made there way to and fro. But deep in its depths a small fire crackled merrily illuminating the two companions who sat in its warm friendly glow. Even the nearby trees seemed to lean in closer to the warmth, the gentle breeze causing the leaves to rub together like a pair of chilled hands.

Suspended by green sticks (to stop the wood from burning and marring the taste of the meat) sausages spat and crackled as they cooked over the glowing embers, the hot fat dripping into a cast iron skillet that held a huge pile of mushrooms which were gently frying. The two figures were short, almost childlike in their appearance, both of them were bare footed, and they wriggled their hairy toes under the assault of heat from the fire.

   Shame about old Bilbo going off like that isnt sir? Sam scratched his head as he spoke. He wore a brown jerkin and trousers, and a cream shirt, all homespun.

Frodo stuck the ring he had been studying into a jacket pocket, and looked up.

   Yeah, but what about the send off?

   All them fireworks, well pardon me for saying so, but that Gandalf hes a pyromaniac! All them bangs and whistles, and then when that dragon flew overhead I damn well near pis-well it scared me silly anyway lets put it that way!

   Oh, my dear Sam, Frodo stifled a giggle. Then looked intently at the sausages as they spat contentedly, he turned them slightly on their sticks allowing the uncooked part to be over the glowing embers, cooling his fingers afterwards by blowing on them, then poking at the mushrooms so that they cooked evenly. Are you sure Farmer Maggot said we could have those. He pointed towards the skillet full of mushrooms.

   Oh yes, course I am. Sam was glad that Frodo couldnt see his face clearly in the dark, his face would give away the fact he had been exaggerating the truth a little. As a point of fact he had only just escaped the dogs.

There was a sudden loud noise off to their left and both of them instantly dived for cover to their right in the thick greenery.

   Im sure they said theyd be here. The familiar voice of Pippin floated over their hiding place.

   Well they had better be, especially after lugging this potato salad all this way. Merry entered the clearing, Well a fires going and sausages and mushrooms are a cooking. So they cant be that far away.

   Maybe it was And he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, Elves. Mean buggers they can be.

The two of them settled themselves down in the clearing with a satisfied groan.

   Elves, not that old myth. Want a beer?

   Dont mind if I do. There was a glassy clinking sound, followed by a noise like a sink being drained.

Frodo and Sam hauled themselves up from their hiding place, bits of vegetable matter covering faces and clothing. As they entered the clearing Merry and Pippin raised an eyebrow.

   And where have you two been? Pippin sipped at his beer.

   Erm, getting more firewood. Frodo made his way back over to the fire.

   Really? Dont see too much evidence of that.

   Its all too green, it wouldnt burn properly. Anyway what time do you call this, the sausages are nearly ready.

   I call that the right time! Pippin laughed.

   Yes I suppose you could be right. Grabbing a nearby plate Frodo began piling up the sausages on it. Little curls of steam rising from them as the left the warmth of the fire and felt the chill of the night.

   Beer? Potato salad? Merry said. Pointing at the items spread before him.


            For a short while the clearing was full of the sound of munching and chewing, which scared off several bandits who had been making their way towards the bright campfire who had thought that a regiment of trolls had settled in for the night.

Finally a companionable silence filled the clearing and several of the Hobbits retrieved small pipes from inside their clothing. Filling then lighting them and drawing the strong smoke into their lungs. Pretty son the clearing was full of smoke rings and coughing.

   Ahh, nothing like a bit of long bottom leaf. Spluttered Sam after Pippin had thumped him on the back to help clear his coughing fit, this was his first attempt with a pipe and he hoped that it would help him look more mature in front of Rosie, a fine young female who he had been walking out with, or at least something within ninety degrees of walking.

   So why meet here? Said Sam coming to the crux of the matter. Oh anyone want a marshmallow?

Pippin and Merry nodded, sliding the white and pink squishy squares onto a stick, letting them turn a soft golden brown before devouring them and holding their hands out for more. Sam surrendered a couple more with a look of pure evil; marshmallows were one of his favourite foods, nearly as much as mushrooms.

Frodo looked thoughtful for a moment, and then with a sigh he began to speak. As you all know, my Uncle Bilbo has left, just upped and gone.

   Yeah I saw him leaving with that group of carnival midgets, Pippin interrupted Frodo.

   Well yes, but hes left me with a bit of a dilemma. Frodo stopped to consider his next words. Wondering if he should really tell them all of his problems.

The others stopped smoking their pipes paused halfway to their mouths and a look of simple, insatiable curiosity plastered on their childlike faces.

   Go on then. Dont stop now. Merry said. After all as everyone knows, or at least those that know Hobbits that is, that they have a voracious greed for gossip of any kind.

   Well its a couple of things, first of all Im going to have to look for a smaller Hobbit hole, Uncle Bilbo didnt leave me much in the way of cash, and of course he also gave away a lot of the more valuable stuff. So I need something a little cheaper I wondered if you had any ideas?

Again the sound of silence filled the clearing.

   Cricklehollow, thats pretty cheap. Pippin said after a while.

   Yeah but you go through there at less than five miles an hour and they pinch the hubcaps off your cart. And have you seen the sort of people that hang around there? Dark Riders, goblins all kinds of nasty sorts.

   Anyway what other problems? Besides money? Merry took another swig from his bottle.

   Well its this. He placed a hand in his pocket and drew forth a single plain gold ring for everyone to see.

   Cor, you could porn that, it must be worth a bit if its solid gold. Could solve all your money troubles that. Pippins eyes glinted as he spoke.

   Oh it is. Gandalf had a look at it. But its that and more. The circle of friends looked at him in a confused way for a moment. So Frodo continued. This is the ring, the one ring. There was a poem of sorts to go with it. It went something like, one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them and in the darkness bind them. Now and this is the good bit, Gandalf wants me to traipse, on foot mind you, halfway across the world and drop it down a volcano, thus starting a chain reaction that will rid the earth of the darkness that is threatening to devour us all. I mean after alls said and done its' just a gold ring. Why he couldnt have given it to that eagle mate of his and let him do it Ill never know. But no it has to be me, camping outside in the wet and cold. No regular meals. Sore feet, the lot.

   I knew he was a bit touched, but that, thats insane! Some dark horde ready to take over middle earth, well, what thatll do to house prices I dont know. You're right to think about selling up. Make a bit of profit on the old hole and then live comfortably for the rest of your days. Of course youll be wanting a gardener. Sam looked at Frodo as he spoke.

   Well Sam, I hadnt really given it that much thought, but with my budget as it is, I doubt it.

Sam turned away, looking into the darkness so that Frodo couldnt see his face.

   So what are you going to do with it? Sell it, or do as Gandalf suggested? Pippin took a deep long puff of his pipe.

   Well what do you lot think?

   Lets sleep on it, suggested Merry.

   That is a good idea. Frodo added a few more logs to the fire, and then wrapped himself up in his blanket. It was a long time before he was able to fall asleep, the nocturnal noises and Sams snores seemed to be magnified and coming from all around him.

            Wake up sleepy head, Merry booted Frodo in the side genially, before Sam eats all the mushrooms and bacon that we left for breakfast. Frodo wearily rubbed the sleepy dust from his eyes and liberally splashed his face with water from a nearby canteen. In the light of day the forest looked more friendly and welcoming. Birds sung from the overhead trees and dusty shafts of golden sunlight pierced the shadows. Even the air seemed crisp and clean, then the scent of cooked bacon and mushrooms assaulted his nose and he felt his stomach rumble. Eating directly out of the pan with a little fork the others sat watching him.

   You made up you mind yet Frodo? Pippin asked.

He nodded; too busy eating to make a verbal response.

   Well when youve finished eating that Mr.Frodo sir, Ill just pack them away and we can be off.

Again Frodo nodded in agreement, chasing the last few traces of mushrooms round the pan with a bit of bread. Replete he handed them over to the waiting Sam.

   Ready for the off, he asked?

Pippin, Merry and Sam shouldered their backpacks, whilst Frodo covered the last few embers with some earth smothering the fire. Whistling a jaunty tune they exited the clearing.

   Hold on Ive left something behind, I shant be a moment. Frodo spun on his heels and followed the path back. At the edge of the clearing he dug a small hole with a sharp stick, then after taking a look at the ring one last time he dropped it into the hole and tapped the earth back into place leaving the area to look untouched. Satisfied he caught back up with the others who began whistling a jaunty tune which soon had the others breaking out into song.

   Oh the road, goes on and on..


            In the darkest depths of the forest, where even the sunlight failed to pierce the thick leafy canopy, something screamed into the darkness triumphantly.